I am delighted to welcome a special guest author to my blog this week.
Allow me to introduce you to Harper Maze.
Harper recently published her debut novel, Life After?: The Coming of Age Story of a Girl with a Difference ( Kayleigh Summers book 1).
The book was launched to coincide with Transgender Awareness Week and Transgender Day of Awareness, 20th November 2019. The author is donating $1 from every sale to transgender youth charities.
Transgender Awareness Week is held annually during the second week in November and culminates in Transgender Day of Awareness which honours those whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence.
If you wish to find out more about this, please refer to the information links at the foot of this post.
Now, though, it’s time to find out a little more about Harper Maze herself.
Tell me a little about yourself and how you came be to an indie author
As a fossil, I have written for years mainly for friends, but also in magazines years ago. I tended towards short stories because when attempting to write novels, I would lose focus in the middle. Recently I discovered a new plotting system, by John Truby, and it changed my mental approach to storytelling. I have begun to dust off my old drafts and concepts, and write new material, and plan to release at least two novels a year.
Do you write under your own name or a pseudonym? And if so, why did you choose the name you use?
I write under Harper Maze, which I chose because it sounded young and contemporary, ideal for writing strong female characters between 18-25. It was also available on almost all social media outlets, including the .com, which is essential for building an online presence.
Tell me briefly about your latest book (no spoilers). What is it about, and what inspired you to write it?
‘Life After?’ is an old project, general fiction with an LGBT/’Coming of Age’ edge. It was the only one I had the idea from a dream, at least for the setting. However, the moral and psychological aspects of the book I added as part of the plotting. The book has an ironic, self-deprecating voice, which I think helps to break up some of the painful items the story includes.
Where do your ideas come from?
It varies for each story.
My inspiration for ‘Life After?’ was talking to so many young people who reached their goal and faced a void after because they didn’t consider long-term plans. As such, the story only briefly touches past events.
My Dystopia Sci-Fi project is based on a near-future Earth after fracking has caused mass seismic and volcanic activity. It’s an old idea but plotted using the new system, and from beta-reader comments, I hope it will do well when released in 2020, June or before.
Finally, my Action-Thriller came from watching a TV programme. I got annoyed when some of the characters would be killed off, and then came back for no reason other than to appear in the next season. We call these plots “spanners”, from ‘spanner in the works’. I got infuriated enough to write my own.
What does a typical workday look like for you?
I work full time, 9-5, and my writing time is before 9 am, 6 or 7 days a week. However, my mind never stops thinking about plots, scenes or ideas.
When did you first realise that you wanted to write?
I was not that good at English at school. I am a storyteller and struggle somewhat with grammar and sentence structure. That’s why we have editors and editing tools. My method is to plot and write the story, fix the story weave and the basic flow and continuity, then have someone edit the final version.
Where is your favourite place to write?
I write in a few places. I have an office at home, with a cat bed underneath the desk. But I also write on the sofa or the train. I find it relatively easy to block out noise or distraction, and I have headphones if the train grows too noisy.
What was the first book you read that had an impact on you, and what was it about it that made such a lasting impression?
It would be Lord of the Rings when I was in my teens. I had read many books by then, but the world-building and craft of Tolkien was a new level of brilliance. It’s still the benchmark in a lot of reviews and often used in comparisons and pitches.
If you could invite five fictional characters to dinner, who would you invite and why?
I like Vin from the Mistborn Trilogy (Brandon Sanderson) and have returned to those books several times. She is independent, fiercely loyal and diminutive, yet bluntly spoken and driven. I am also a fan of the Hunger Games, so Katniss Everdeen too. By contrast, I would include Moriarty from Sherlock Holmes. As a master villain, I am intrigued by his motivations and drive, and have added in a worthy antagonist in my Action-Thriller. For a complete change of pace, Rick Deckard from Bladerunner (PK Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep) is of interest because of how he tries to balance the necessity with what he is doing. For the 5th character, I would like to introduce Savanna Steel from my Best Served Cold book to see how she stands against the others. She is so much fun to write, and perhaps has a little of each in her nature.
What one piece of advice would you give to any aspiring author to motivate them? And what’s been the best piece of advice you’ve received in connection with writing?
You don’t have to do everything all at once, so writing small and regularly, and developing a habit of writing can help you long term. Don’t be afraid to write through an issue and edit later too; it’s more important to finish than to continually revisit.
I read John Truby’s ‘Anatomy of Story’, and it changed my whole approach to writing, so the best advice was to read his book.
And just for a bit of fun, tell me five random facts about you.
I live with my wife and two cats. I have played premier-level female football and professional pool but never took up a martial art (many of my characters do). I tell lots of (often bad) jokes, and I listen mostly to Skater and Punk Rock music.
Thank you, Harper. Delighted to meet another cat loving indie author 🙂
Life After?: The Coming of Age Story of a Girl with a Difference ( Kayleigh Summers book 1).
Kayleigh Summers fought for her dream most of her life but made no plans for her future afterwards.
Unsure what to do after life-changing surgery, Kayleigh receives an unexpected offer from a sports entertainment company to become their latest star and relocates to America.
Set in the backdrop of a training academy full of glamorous people, Kayleigh recounts with self-deprecating irony how she struggles with her self-image, relationships and her confused sexuality.
Bursting into the limelight, Kayleigh becomes burdened by the pressures of her sudden fame and turbulent love life and finds herself on the brink of a breakdown.
After a drunken night where she breaks her most sacred rule, will Kayleigh be able to face the consequences of her actions before her new future crumbles around her?
Want to learn more? Yes?
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