I have great pleasure in sharing my interview with Martha Dunlop, author of The Starfolk Arcana. Martha is a huge support to independent authors via her gorgeous website. Today she talks about her debut novel, playing the fiddle, and disappearing into imaginary worlds!
You can read my review of Martha’s novel, The Starfolk Arcana, HERE.
Over to Martha…
Tell us a little about yourself. (How did you get started writing? What do you do when you’re not writing?)
I have always played around with writing stories, but when I was studying English Literature at York, I did a module that included creative writing. That was my first opportunity to get professional feedback on my writing and I really enjoyed it. I played around with a number of ideas after that, but finally became serious with a fantasy book, that I wrote on my commute and in my lunchtimes. I have been working hard since then to make my publishing dream a reality, and here I am now! When I’m not writing, I love to play the fiddle, walk my dog and read lots of books.
Is this your first book? How many books have you written prior (if any?)
This is my first published book. I have been writing for a long time now though, and I have a number of novels in my bottom draw waiting to be reworked, if the new ideas ever give me time to go back to them, that is!
What genre is it, and what is it about?
The Starfolk Arcana is a paranormal novel about a woman who finds out she is part of a group destiny to stop a celebrity from using fear to control people. It has romance, mystery, psychics, tarot cards and a haunted Tudor hotel. I have loved digging into themes of soul mates and reincarnation, as well as exploring the impact of fear and how it can be used against us.
What or who inspired you to write this book?
It all started with a ghost walk. While I was admiring the Tudor buildings, listening to the stories of ghosts haunting local restaurants, and ghostly monks playing the organ in the Abbey, the idea started to build in my mind. I also wanted to explore the idea of personality cult and how this impacts us in these fast-changing times.
What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?
Be careful who you take advice from! There are a lot of people out there giving writing advice, and some are more qualified than others. Make sure you know who the advice is coming from, and that they are experienced enough to know what they’re talking about.
What do you enjoy most about writing and why?
Primarily, I love disappearing into my imaginary worlds and living with my characters! But I also enjoy the different stages, from the fabulous mad rush of the first draft, where I can write anything I want without worrying what anyone else thinks, (my characters tend to swear at a lot in this draft) to the thoughtful, word-crafting stage, where I look for the musicality of the writing. I also love collaborating with editors and my cover designer, all of whom are a joy to work with.
List three interesting facts about yourself
I played my fiddle in a folk band at the after party for the first Lord of the Rings film. It was a huge, star-studded event, but we didn’t know who most of the actors were, because the film wasn’t yet on general release. At one point, one of the organisers tipped us off that Liv Tyler was in the other room, so we all rushed through. When we got there, we realised that none of us knew what Liv Tyler looked like! I do now know what Liv Tyler looks like, but I doubt I’ll get a second chance to see her.
I am a tarot card reader. I love the cards, their symbolism and the way they are so beautiful and tactile. I see tarot as a personal development tool rather than a method of fortune telling. It is a way to better understand yourself and your situation, and to become the best version of yourself that you can be.
I love hand-made, scented candles so much that I have started to make them myself. It was the only way I could afford to support my habit! I put in lots of essential oils and I never save them for best.
What is your least favourite part of the publishing/writing process?
I think the final edits. I love the stage of editing where big changes need to be made, but I’m pleased when the ‘moving commas around’ stage is done.
What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?
If anyone would like to leave a review for The Starfolk Arcana, I would be hugely grateful. Reviews help authors get their books in front of new readers, and that helps us to focus on getting more books out to market!
What is your next project?
I have a standalone novel called Wild Shadow coming out in the New Year. It is a Romance about a woman who astral projects as a tiger. I also have the second book in the Starfolk Trilogy in progress and will have that out later next year, as soon as it is ready.
Destiny calls. Soulmates draw closer. One woman stands in the way.
Beth trusts her psychic senses. So when strange things start happening during her birthday visit to a TV Studio, she knows something is badly wrong. On stage, Amelia is lying. The audience laps up her claims of supernatural attack. And Beth becomes a target.
Jonan has waited lifetimes to be with the woman who haunts his dreams. When he sees her at the TV studio everything changes. But the more often they meet, the more Amelia uses Beth as a weapon against him.
Drawn together by a destiny that spans lifetimes, Beth and Jonan want to stop Amelia’s power-play. But Amelia is stirring up hate, distrust and a fear of the paranormal. And she turns their own emotions against them.
Only they can see what she is doing. But can they hold out and be true to who they really are? Or will they allow The Fear to tear them apart?
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