Author Interview - Catherine & Tymmathi Amberwood

April 10, 2019

 

We interviewed new authors, Catherine and Tymmathi Amberwood, about their first book.  

 

Tell me about yourself?

I work in a shop. I'm a reader and a scribbler. My husband and I run a gardening business. We keep bees and any free time is spent turning our house into a home.

 

I love sci-fi and fantasy but I enjoy watching all kinds of things on Netflix. My favorite authors are Orison Scott Card, Terry Pratchet and Ann McCaffree.

 

I’m in my sixties and I live alone under the control of several cats in a village in Wales.

 

Why did you want to write?

It never occurred to me to not write. I wrote stories as a child, awful poetry or songs as a teenager. If I'm not doing some type of writing then I'm probably sick. As an adult I've never been willing to share my work. Frankly I was keen as a child; people mostly told me it was too long to read. Since I'm dyslexic they also tended to have horrid things to say about my unique spelling. I got a calligraphy set for my twelfth birthday and I'd recommend giving one to any child with terrible handwriting. It was a total game changer for the way I wrote and the way I felt about writing.

 

I always loved writing. I enjoy sharing my thoughts with a hypothetical reader, and I hope the reader will be as entertained by my words as I am. I write to clear my thoughts when i am angry or upset. I believe in the power of words, to inspire, to share and enlarge ideas, to advance knowledge and understanding, to generate progress. It seems to me that all collective human endeavors fly upon wings shaped from words.

 

What do you love most about writing?

I love living in a fantasy world. My characters fight dragons or repair spaceships, they make a difference. My worlds give me somewhere to run when I need to hide. As a dungeon master I first started sharing my worlds it was as a play area for my friends. I could make up a character or a city and share it without feeling open to judgment.

 

It’s as absorbing to write a book as it is to read one, but it’s a much longer process. While I write, I live in another world, I know the characters, I take a personal interest in their doings.

 

Tell me about your writing environment? Music? Silence? Alone? People around? Pen? Computer?

My best writing comes when I have a pen and some peace, usually with a cat on my lap. However my best ideas turn up while I'm walking or trying to sew. This means I get to think about the story and nitpick for awhile before typing frantically. Like many people I have been known to scribble on a napkin when a new story floods my brain.

 

I illustrate as well as write, so I spend my days sitting at a desk littered with piles of paper, artist’s paints and crayons, and cats. The cats do their best to assist me by sitting on the papers, chewing paintbrushes, occasionally batting crayons onto the floor so they can play with them, climbing the bookshelves, and walking on my keyboard. There is a view of trees through the window, and the sound of passing traffic in the morning alternating with the sound of bird song.

 

Tell me about your novel?

The book I've actually decided to publish is a collaboration. My mother and I decided to see if we could be more disciplined writers if we worked together. She has insisted on treating me as an equal partner even though I feel she had done most of the work.

 

Our story is set in Elveria and the Sistren land of Aramor. We started of following a storyline each but they interact more over time. It has been really good to have someone else who loves my characters as much as I do and fascinating to put together our different points of view.

 

Both of us designed the fantastical elements of our setting together and I've enjoyed indulging my interest in researching campaign world elements and figuring out economic systems. It is important to me that we write our story in world with its own internal consistency.

 

It’s a fantasy about two different lands facing a common enemy. Each land has its own set of characters and its own storyline, interwoven with the other. One land, Elviria, is a monarchy, its people divided into clans. Most Elvirians are born into a clan which feeds, houses, and provides for them throughout their lives. This gives them security and pride in their clan’s identity, but the clans also tend to compete and intrigue against one another. The other land, Aramor, is the creation of my daughter, who co-writes with me. It is a land where men and women live in different areas, the women in the mountains, the men on the plains. How do they reproduce? You’d have to read the book.

 

Where did the idea come from?

I wanted to write a story that could be set in a campaign world stretching from the northern ice to the southern islands complete with water sprites, dragons and an evil empire. We both had a interest in writing a story set in a matriarchal society. So that the ideas just tended to show up constantly because once we'd talked about our world and argued about the characters they took on lives of their own.

 

My co-writer and I each invented one land and its characters and story line. Then we asked ourselves: how would they interact? We weave the stories together, as we try to answer this question, telling each other the story of our own land, and learning about the other land and its values and culture, as we go along.  

 

What is it like writing with a partner?

It keeps me on track and keeps the story growing even when I'm really snowed with overtime. Having someone to talk to every time you get a crazy idea is amazing. Catherine gets as excited about the world and the story as I do which gives me so much more confidence.

 

It gives me someone to bounce ideas off, it amplifies the concepts that feel right and work together, and it’s fun. It provides an incentive to carry on, knowing that there is always a reader who is as involved as I am in the story. It generates story-telling sessions between us.

 

Have you come across any problems in writing with a partner?

Sometimes we disagree. We can have wildly divergent visualizations of a character or a political situation. So we have learned to talk them through, to set in writing our usually hidden preconceptions. It challenges my describing style to put it next to her’s and I've learned a lot from the way she writes. One of the hardest things is keeping our notes shared as we file things in different disorganizations.

 

Sometimes I have to rewrite parts of the story because my co-writer tells me something about her characters that I didn’t know in time to write it into the story as I go. Usually the thing she tells me is better than what I wrote in the first place, so I put up with this. The problem is off-set by the fact that the characters in Aramor can still surprise me, as they spring from my daughter’s imagination, not mine. and sometimes, of course, I have the pleasure of surprising her, and seeing her reaction.

 

Sometimes I have to rewrite parts of the story because my co-writer tells me something about her characters that I didn’t know in time to write it into the story as I go. Usually the thing she tells me is better than what I wrote in the first place, so I put up with this. The problem is off-set by the fact that the characters in Aramor can still surprise me, as they spring from my daughter’s imagination, not mine. and sometimes, of course, I have the pleasure of surprising her, and seeing her reaction.

 

What are some challenges you’ve ran across in publishing your first novel?

I'm working on incorporating high quality pictures with a word file ready to send to Amazon publisher. So right now I feel that I need a bigger computer or different software.

 

With self publishing I'm very aware that we need visibility and I doubt I'm doing a good job of that. My ability to believe that we can publish had gone up since I started researching self publishing. But it’s a gamble. I guess I prefer to throw my own dice rather than going the traditional route.

 

I have no idea how to publish a book. So I am kindly leaving that bit to my partner.  She has more confidence than I do, and is better with I.T. so I regard publishing as her area of expertise.  

 

What can we expect for upcoming novels?

Well at this point The Whipping Boy is an upcoming publication. Catherine is determined to illustrate it so that our major time drag. Her art is truly excellent, I've been putting her stretches on the Facebook page even though she says they are just boring doodles.

 

After that the Chosen Heir needs very little work. One of the good things about co-writing is whenever you read the other authors work you automatically contribute or edit it.

 

Our characters are young and they are unlikely to settle down to boring lives, so I think there is a series of books to write.

 

Where can we go to find out the latest information about you and your writing?

Our Facebook page; Sistren and Elverian Citadel Chronicles had all of Catherine's art on it and will have a link to Amazon as soon as the e-book is live.

 

My daughter is managing this page, so she has all the info on it.

 

Additional Information you’d like to add?

Yes, we are interested in presenting the e-book in a dyslexia-friendly format.

 

 

 

Please reload

Featured Posts

A Winding Tale of Influence

April 25, 2018

1/3
Please reload

Recent Posts

November 20, 2019

September 25, 2019

September 11, 2019

July 31, 2019

Please reload

Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Classic
  • Twitter Classic
  • Google Classic

Flint Area Writers 2016.

Content by Melodie Bolt.

  • w-facebook