Paige L. Christie
Author Interview Questions
1: Hi, and thanks for joining today. In your own words tell us about yourself, not you the author, but just you!
A: Hi! I’m Paige Christie. I write under Paige L. Christie, because I have two first names, and if I don’t use the initial, everyone gets my name backwards.
I was raised in Maine. I was a cross country ski racer, biathlete and PSIA Ski Instructor. After college, I spent several years roaming the USA, before landing in the mountains of North Carolina where I have worked as a photographer, raft guide, website designer, gallery owner and wine shop specialist. (Yes, I’ve had way too many jobs.)
My hobbies include reading, cycling, skiing, Middle Eastern and North African Folk dance, Raqs Sharqi, photographing native plants, and drinking wine. I share my house with my hubby, a herd of three-legged cats, and two loud hounds.
2: Why did you decide to become an author and what’s the best part? Yeah, it’s a double-whammy of a question. So unexpected!
A: I knew when I was seven years old that I wanted to be an author. I can’t remember not being a writer. It just took me 35+ years to figure out how to write something that could be considered an actual book. Some part of me always assumed that I needed to know what I was doing to be an ‘real’ author, and not just a hack filling millions of notebook pages with stories no one was every going to read.
I decided to really go for it after my dear friend, Ellen, talked me into doing NaNoWriMo in November of 2014. By the time I’d written 50K words that month, I knew I had a real book on my hands. I knuckled down and finished the dang thing. After that, it was all about deciding to do the real work of multiple revisions and edits, to transform the draft from a pile of sand into a castle.
The best part about being an author so far…that’s a tough question. So many things have been great! Having people believe in the book and help get it out into the world, seeing it in print, and having my favorite author in the world write a cover blurb for it, are my tops things.
3: So, tell us about your work. Sell us on it! Why should we read it and why it will capture us?
A: The first book is called Draigon Weather. My publisher says it’s “High Fantasy Meets High Noon”. I call it a feminist western with dragons. I started with classic idea of the woman chained to a rock about to be sacrificed to a dragon. Then I messed with the idea. What if she didn’t want to be rescued? Why would that be? What would happen? You’ll have to read the book to find out how it turned out.
4: Why did you choose the genre you write in over others to start your publishing career? Did others appeal to you more and you chose this? Was there a bit of choice weighing or was it rather simple?
A: There was never really any doubt about what I would write. I love Fantasy and Westerns, so I smooshed them together – so dragons and cowboy knights. That’s the other great thing about being an author, being able to write the stuff I’d want to read. (Now, I just hope someone else wants to read it, too. So far, so good.) I love mysteries, but my brain is not organized enough to ever write one. And thrillers – same problem. I used to write ‘literature’, but it was not for me for so many reasons. I’ll happily stick with the weird and funky.
5: So far, what would you say has been the hardest part of being an author?
A: Time. Carving out the time to really get the work done. I wrote the first draft of Draigon Weather in four months while working seven days a week. It took another year, and a dozen alpha/beta reads, and ten edits, before I was comfortable showing it to anyone. I spent a lot of late nights, and lot of tears, and discovered a whole bunch of determination I never knew I had.
6: Now for the ever-so-shocking follow-up question. What’s the best/easiest part, if there is one?
A: I’m not sure there’s anything easy about being an author, at least if you’re really working at it. Maybe, for some people, things come easier. But I, for example, am a terrible typist. I also can’t spell my way out of a paper bag. And I’m a terribly slow writer. I’m also an introvert, so marketing is difficult. So…easiest thing…being excited that I’ve actually accomplished this!
7: Tell us about what your experiences in the author life have been like. I don’t mean the writing aspects. I mean the daily human life. Tell us what it’s like to live the day life you do and be an author at the same time. What’s it like when people in your life and, the people you come across, find out you’re an author?
A: It’s kind of weird to think about, because I’ve always held some identity as a writer, even if no one around me knew it. I knew I had good stories and was a decent writer, so that part I’ve always held confidently in the back of my mind. Being a real author with a published book, has been a new twist, though.
I was always super secretive about my writing, except for a few close partners-in-literary-chaos, so most people have been surprised to find out I have a book out. I’m still pretty surprised myself, every day, at the whole process. Mostly, I have been so busy learning how everything works that I am not sure I really think of myself as an author yet. Give me a couple years and a couple more books, then ask me again.
8: Writing is a hard craft and a harder career. What are the things that keep you going, both in improving the craft and enduring the downs/lows of the career?
A: Writing has never been a choice for me. It’s always been something I needed to do. I just never thought anyone else would ever see it – ha! The things that keep me going now that I’ve decided to go for an actual career of some sort, are the people around me who believe I can do it. I have fantastic writing partners. We attack and critique each other’s work without mercy, edit for each other, tell each other no, encourage, cry together, laugh a lot. Without them, I’d be lost. I also lucked into an editor/publisher who is crazy in the same way I am. That helps. Plus, I’m a damn stubborn Yankee.
9: What do you love about the genre/s you write and what others appeal to you?
A: Oh man, what don’t I love? I love fantasy for the fact that I can be as creative as I want to be, no holds barred. I love that I can use rich language, and can take on big ideas and themes. I love that I can subvert the expected. Plus, dragons. I can have dragons all over the place. It’s like having dark chocolate for every meal. As far as other genres, I’ll pretty much read anything but Erotica, or anything racist or sexist. I just flat like to read.
10: Tell us about the plans for your series and body of work.
A: I have four books planned for the Legacies of Arnan series. I did not know, when I began writing the first book, that it was a series. But I got 100K words in and discovered there was a lot more story to tell. So…two books, I thought. Then a minor character decided he needed to be a major character and get his own book…and then I still had more story to finish. So, now I’m looking at four books. I am in the process of revising book 2, and book 3 is ½ way into first draft. Hopefully, I’ll have all these out in a reasonable time frame.
11: The writing and publishing world has changed a lot. Self-publishing, small to medium presses popping up, and things like becoming a hybrid between indie pubbing and traditional. What are your thoughts on that? Any predictions on what the future might hold? What would you like to see, both as an author yourself, and, as a consumer/reader?
A: That’s a question we could discuss for hours. I love that Indie publishing exists. I think it’s a brave way to go, and I would have done so myself if I had not found my publisher. (I found my home with a small press, and, so far, I have enjoyed the ride. I’ve learned a ton and had a great experience.) That said, I had no idea how much I didn’t know, despite all the research I did when I thought I was going indie. I am so grateful to have a small press with a long-game-view of publishing backing me up.
I’m not a fan of ‘hybrid’ publishing. While I believe that if you get help from folks, professional editors, cover artists, formatting experts, etc, those people should get paid a fair price, (and if those creative services are not part of your skill set as an author, then, by all means, carefully seek them out) ‘package deal’ publishing rubs me wrong. If the ‘publisher’ makes all its money up front, what’s the incentive to really look after the author and promote the book? For some folks, maybe it works, but it feels off to me.
I think the Big Five are still doing great work, but maybe they need to be more nimble in the market place. I also mourn the lack of willingness to take risks, and back new authors, and let authors really find their audiences and grow. I think it’s a loss on all fronts.
In general: Among Indies, I’d like to see more polished work coming onto the market. There’s a lot of un-edited stuff out there, and it dumbs down the market and hurts those who put in the work. I’d like to see big publishers taking more risks and thinking outside the box. And I’d love to see more support for small presses and Indie bookshops, both within the industry, and from readers. Also more female protagonists doing things besides pining for menfolk. I also think people need to be willing to pay more for books. Writers have to eat, too.
12: The always done and asked question. Who are your favorite authors? What are you favorite books? What are you reading now? Tell us. Tell us!
A: My favorite question! Top of the charts if Janny Wurts with her Wars of Light and Shadow Series. I’m a shameless fangirl and have been for twenty years. Other favorites include Octavia Butler, Leslie Marmon Silko, Robert B. Parker, Max Brand (aka Frederick Faust), Gloria Naylor, Sandra Cisneros, Tim O’Brian, Dan Simmons, Naomi Movik, Robin McKinley…. I could rattle on forever, but I’ll stop there. I am currently reading a lot of women genre writers, Lucy Hounsom, Becky Chambers, Kameron Hurley, Naomi Novik, NK Jemisin, etc.
13: I’ve got to know…what’s your favorite word to use. Every author has one. What’s the word you catch yourself using a lot? We’ve all got those as well. What’s your favorite word just to say? Something where you like the way it sounds. What’s your favorite curse worse, if you’ve got one and or use them?
A: My favorite word I have wanted to use, but haven’t yet, is calefaction, because I love everything about it. My favorite word to use is ‘awareness’. I have over-used words, too, but I won’t admit to them. My go-to cuss word is the eff-bomb (sorry not sorry Mama) because it’s just so versatile.
14: Tell us about your latest release. Or, when can we expect your next one? What are we in store for?!
A: Draigon Weather is the first and therefore the latest. It’s official release date is April 18, 2017, and I CAN’T WAIT! Next will come the rest of the series, and maybe some shorts based in the same world.
15: Lastly, where can we find you? Facebook? Twitter? Website? Links to your material. Go on, don’t be shy. Share!
A: I’m in all nooks and crannies. I might even haunt your dreams, if you get lucky.
Website: http://paigelchristie.com (Links to the book in all its fabulous forms can be found here.)
Paige L. Christie was raised in Maine, and lives the NC mountains, writing speculative fiction, walking her dog, and being ignored by her herd of 3-legged cats. Always a nerd, obsessive about hobbies like photography, Ghawazee Dance, and listening to the characters in her head, Paige can be found slightly left of center.
As a believer in the power of words, Paige tries to tell stories that are both entertaining and thoughtful. Especially of interest, are tales that speak to women, and open a space where adventure and fantasy are not all about happy endings.