1. First things first…a bio:
I’m C.L. Holland (Cheryl), a British writer of fantasy and science fiction. I’ve sold 25-or-so stories and poems, most of which can be linked to from my author page at www.facebook.com/CLHollandwriter. I also enjoy making jewellery, drawing, listening to music extremely loud, and I used to enjoy belly-dancing until a knee problem forced me to stop.
2. Where are you from and what’s your favorite thing about where you live?
I’m originally from Dorset in England, although I currently live in Wales. My favourite thing about living here is the mountains, which are glorious when they’re not obscured by cloud.
3. Tell about your latest book/story. What made you want to write it?
The hardcover edition of the Cucurbital 2 anthology has just come out, featuring my story “Dark Ghosts and Flamingos”. All of the stories were written around the prompts turtle, watermelon, and sex worker, and it was interesting to see what everyone came up with.
4. What are you working on right now?
At the moment I’m working out the beginnings of a new novel project, and trying to polish up a few short stories to get out the door.
5. What inspired you to be a writer?
I honestly don’t know! I remember wanting to tell stories from a very young age so I guess it’s something that’s always been there.
6. Who is your favorite character in your stories? Why?
Whoever I’m writing about at the time – otherwise I wouldn’t want to write about them! I have a particular soft spot for Yaphen and Kestrin in “The Reflection of Memory” as I’d been carrying versions of them around in my head for years so it was wonderful to finally see them in print.
7. What is your favorite comfort food?
A big bowl of pasta with roasted vegetables and aubergine pesto. And maybe some garlic bread.
8. What character from your stories was the hardest to write?
Probably Debbie from “Mr Bad Man”. The story is in first-person present tense, so getting her voice was tricky but rewarding.
9. What’s the biggest challenge about being a writer?
For me it’s not being able to write when I really, really want to. I find that incredibly frustrating.
10. Do you have any advice for beginning writers?
Write what you want and don’t worry about what anyone else will say about it. First drafts are for us, not an audience. Also, take a notebook and pen everywhere you go.
11. Who are your favorite authors and why?
Sarah Monette, because I love the depth of her world-building and because she doesn’t shy away from doing truly terrible things to her characters if she needs to.
Patricia McKillip, because there’s a wonderful lyricism to her prose.
Tim Powers, because he makes it believable that there’s more to the world than the mundane things we all see.
12. What books have most influenced your writing?
I take a little bit from everything, I think. But the one that stands out is McKillip’s “The Riddle-Master’s Game” omnibus because it showed me that there are people out there who write the kind of things I love. The greatest compliment I’ve ever received was when “The Reflection of Memory” was described as “a bit like Tennyson’s The Lady of Shallot as written by Patricia McKillip, with the tiniest of nods to China Mieville”.
13. What tools are in your writer’s tool-kit?
Literal or metaphorical? Literally, notebooks with good paper and decent rollerball pens. The act of writing should be enjoyable, rather than hacking through poor-quality paper with cheap pens. Also highlighter pens for drafts (three colours – for cut, keep, and edit). In my metaphorical toolkit is lots and lots of practice, reading, and critiquing.
14. Where can people find out more about you and your books/stories?
My Facebook author page, which I use only for writing updates, or my blog at http://xanthalanari.livejournal.com/, where I write about writing, cats, random musings, my recent forays into jewellery-making, and whatever else crosses my mind.
One of my necklaces is going to be featured in the readers’ gallery of a UK jewellery magazine, Creative Beads and Jewellery, although I don’t have dates for that yet.
If you are a writer interested in participating in Writer Wednesday, please send an email with a short biography to ww (at) ambersistla (dot) com.