Back Porch Book Chat: A casual, virtual conversation about books. Join us as we chat with book lovers like ourselves about a topic we all love! Our guest today is W. R. Gingell from Australia. She chats with us about fantasy, books and authors that shaped her, why she writes “clean” fiction and more!
Interview conducted by Hayley.
Getting to Know W. R. Gingell
We call these our “back porch book chats” —So I’m going to start by asking: if we were sitting on a porch together, what would you be sipping?
Here in Australia, it’d be the verandah :D—and I’d definitely be sipping tea, summer or winter.
I think I’d be enjoying some iced coffee! Speaking of porches, yours would be in Tasmania, correct? I’ve enjoyed getting to know a little about Hobart through your books. How much do you think your surroundings have influenced your books?
Yes, I’m in Tasmania! My surroundings have definitely influenced my books as far as geography goes. I’m used to writing fantasy, where the world is made up and the geography is what I want it to be.
Writing urban fantasy, I have to be more or less correct (I say ‘more or less’ because I actually change things up a little bit; putting the police station a block before it actually is, or switching the position of two restaurants, etc.)
So as far as geography goes, these days I’m very much influenced by my surroundings. I’m never out and about in Hobart and don’t see something that makes me think, “oooh, I gotta put that in a book.”
Looking up photos of Hobart, I can see why! Now, you’re a writer, and a fantasy writer to be specific —correct? Why fantasy, and why fae? (I ask because I LOVE fantasy and books about fae, but they’re a niche and I always wonder what prompts the writing.)
I actually write a few different genres: fantasy, urban fantasy, sci fi, and a little touch of horror. I also write contemporary, but those are strictly on the back-burner at the moment. I don’t like to be stuck in one box. But fantasy is my first love, and fae have always been of particular interest. Since I was a kid, I loved the idea of dangerous, chancy beings that could be bargained with if not reasoned with. Plus magic is just . . . magic.
On Reading and Writing
What are some authors who have influenced your writing? (And what were your favorite books growing up?)
Big influences and greats loves as I was growing up were: Jane Austen, Antonia Forest, Diana Wynne Jones, Steven Brust, R. L. Stevenson, P. L. Travers, Alan Garner, Elisabeth Marie Pope and Nicholas Fisk.
Fave books would have to include (but were not limited to): Pride & Prejudice, Northanger Abbey, Kidnapped, Treasure Island, A Rag, A Bone, and a Hank of Hair, Mary Poppins, The Moon Of Gomrath, Hexwood, Dogsbody, The Perilous Gard. So many more but I only have so much space. . . .
I definitely see some favorites we have loved, too! For our audience, we like to give general age recommendations. I think your books would appeal to the YA crowd, but also fantasy loving adults. Would you agree?
My readers fall into a vast spectrum, in my experience. I have readers as young as 13 and have many in their 80s as well. Most of my books have adult protagonists (17 is usually the youngest, though I have one or two that break that generality) and are very much enjoyed by adults. Since I write “clean” (ie, no sex scenes, no bad language—unless you’re one of the people who think “heck” and “flamin” are swearing) they’re also mostly suitable for younger readers.
I explore some heavier themes in my urban fantasy, so I’d usually recommend those ones for 15+, but apart from a few gory deaths, 13+ is usually my age recommendation. That + includes any other age. . . .
I really appreciate how your books don’t push the envelope with swearing or sexuality. Can you share a little of your philosophy behind why you avoid this?
I love reading books that are about the characters and the plot, not the sex. I also don’t particularly like reading swearing, so naturally when I began to write, I wrote for people like me. I have moral objections to sex outside of marriage, though not to sex itself, but I found I didn’t particularly want to write sex scenes between married couples, either.
Many of my contemporaries are happy including swearing in their books, and for them I don’t think it’s wrong, but I personally don’t want to do it. I wouldn’t feel easy in my conscience. I also want my books to be as accessible as possible for all ages, and considering I don’t swear in real life, it’s not a difficult way to write. And of course, the biggest reason is that I still want to honour God with what I write, whether that’s fantasy or contemporary fiction; so the standards I have in real life, I try to keep in my books.
Where to Begin —and the Daily Writer
If readers are reading all this, and now they want to read your books, where do you recommend they start? I know I got hooked with your Twelve Days of Faery. But Masque is another great favorite —and I know we have a bunch of Beauty and the Beast fans.
For fairytale fantasy lovers, I recommend starting with Spindle, the first book in my Two Monarchies Sequence that ends with Masque. For slightly sideways fantasy lovers who like something a little out of the common way, Twelve Days of Faery is the first book in the Shards of a Broken Sword trilogy and a great place to start. If you love urban fantasy, look no further than Between Jobs for your feral human girl, icy-cold fae, and stroppy Korean vampire vibes. Sci fi? A Time Traveller’s Best Friend will fry your brain in hopefully the best kind of way 😉
I still need to get read your sci fi 🙂 I was going to ask one more question. What does a day of writing look like for you? And you do self-publish, correct? (I want to give our readers a glimpse on why your books might be harder to find, but worth acquiring if they like fantasy.)
I’m a self-published (or indie published) author, so a day of writing looks a lot like this: roughly 3-5 hours of actual writing (which often involves going to a café for a couple of hours) a heck-ton of procrastination between those hours, as much of a walk as I can force myself to do, making copious amounts of tea to go with the writing, plus a couple hours of answering fan emails/messages, setting up ads, and following up on business emails.
Despite being self-published, my books are very easy to find in ebook form: you can find them pretty much wherever you buys ebooks (including being able to borrow them from the library—and to request them if they’re not already there). In paperback, the options are slightly more limited, but still include Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and the Book Depository.
And some of them are available on Kindle Unlimited, too! Thank you so much for your time; we’re excited to introduce you to our readers.