I am excited to take part in the Bewitching Book Tour for Camilla Chafer, author of Illicit Magic, the first installment in the Stella Mayweather series. Please click the button above to see all the blogs participating in this tour! Camilla was kind enough to answer my questions on world-building, indie publishing, and what she is too chicken to read. Stay around for the end of the interview where you will get a chance to win a copy of Illicit Magic. And, now, please welcome Camilla!
SWR: How would you describe Illicit Magic and the Stella Mayweather Paranormal Series in two to three sentences?
Illicit Magic is an urban fantasy series with a smart heroine who learns how to save herself. With my witches nothing is what it seems, so look out for double crossers, secrets, lies, and mysteries. My heroine isn’t kick ass; she’s got her own powers but she’s an everyday girl learning to live in an extraordinary world.
SWR: What was your inspiration for the character of Stella?
I tried to imagine what it would be like to be able to perform magic but not understand what it was you were doing, and finding it very scary. I wanted Stella to be the antithesis to many modern day heroines who need the powerful guy to swoop in and save her from the big bad. So, throughout the series Stella will learn how to wield her own power and save herself.
SWR: World-building is so important to UF/PNR reads. How did you start building the world and the magic of the Mayweather series?
I try to keep Stella’s world very grounded; so in many respects it is one that is familiar to us… but with an extra layer of magic. I introduce other supernatural beings – though the primary focus is on witches – and gradually build the layers of their existence. Stella is as new to the world as we are, so we find things out as she does. I keep a lot of notes to keep my world in order!
SWR: You have the opportunity to adapt Illicit Magic into a film or TV series. Who are your dream director, lead actress, and lead actor?
This is a tough one! I’ve never had a strong picture of anyone who could be Stella or Evan because they’re such unique characters. Étoilé, however, I imagined as a young Kristin Scott Thomas, kind of aristocratic, very elegant. I wish I knew more about directors; I guess the ideal one would be really willing to play about and have fun with the magic elements.
SWR: How has your former life as a book editor impacted your process as a writer? Do you find yourself being more critical of your writing?
It gave me more insight into the business side of publishing rather than writing fiction itself (I edited non-fiction and I’ve been a journalist for eight years). So, I had plenty of practice at blurb writing and had some insight into marketing. I could apply techniques I learned from writing non-fiction… things like not sweating the small stuff, getting something down on paper, and being able to write fast and consistently. It’s hard to be hyper critical of your own writing but when something isn’t working, I rip it out or rewrite until I’m happy. I also go through several edits before my editor even sees a copy. Hmm, maybe I’m more critical than I thought!
SWR: Who are authors you admire and who have influenced your work?
I adore Sarah Addison Allen’s work and how she brings magic into everyday things. Robin McKinley writes wonderful fantasy. HP Mallory’s Dulcie series and JR Rain’s Samantha Moon books are lots of fun.
SWR: What do you read in your free time?
I love mysteries, UF/PNR, magical realism and I’ll pick up a thriller or a romance if it interests me. The only genre I don’t read is horror. I’m too chicken.
SWR: What advice would you give to aspiring writers who are interested in taking the indie publishing path?
Really educate yourself about the industry and practice, practice, practice. Assuming you’re there with your writing, start researching cover designers, editors and proofreaders to get the right team behind you; learn how to format, how to upload and how to market. Have fun with your writing but think like a business. Learn how to get people interested in your books by finding out what other writers did and how you can emulate their success. Don’t rush. Take your time, get it right.
SWR: Tell us about some of your upcoming projects.
My next project is a new mystery series. It’s a lighthearted romp about an office temp who stumbles across her boss’ dead body and falls headfirst into the investigation of major insurance fraud. It was so much fun to write. All three books will be out May – July. Right now, I’m working on the fourth book in the Stella series which is due out soon and I hope to complete the series this year.
SWR: Thanks so much for coming by the blog!
Thanks for having me!
ILLICIT MAGIC GIVEAWAY!
More than three hundred years after the most terrifying witch hunts the world has ever known, it’s happening again.
Racing from attack by the ruthless Brotherhood in London to the powerful witch council in New York, twenty-four-year-old novice witch Stella has to put her faith in strangers just to stay alive but she might not be any safer in their midst than from the danger she is running from.
Sent to an extraordinary safe house by the sea to learn her craft, Stella finds there is more than one dark secret in her new family: Étoile’s sister is spoken of in fear and sadness; Marc is supposed to be a powerful witch but is missing his magic; where does the owner of their safe house vanish to every day and why does Evan have the eyes of someone not quite human?
There is only one secret that someone will do anything to keep quiet, but whose secret is it and will Stella have to pay the price for silence?
Amazon UK Top 10 contemporary fantasy bestseller
Amazon US Top 45 fantasy bestseller
Amazon US Top 50 contemporary fantasy bestseller
Please take a moment to say hello to Camilla!
HOW TO ENTER:
Please leave a comment below telling me what your favorite Urban Fantasy or Paranormal “world” is and you will be entered to win a copy of Illicit Magic! A winner will be chosen at random. Please remember to leave your email address so I can contact you. Winner will be announced April 27, 2012.
Let’s get to reading!
APRIL 30, 2012: WINNER ANNOUNCED! Booked and Loaded is the randomly selected winner of the Illicit Magic Giveaway! You will be contacted shortly for your details. Thank you everyone who participated!