In The Chair 32: Matt Posner

Welcome, Matt Posner.

How would you describe your writing style in only three words?

Matt: Dialogue-driven, efficient, ironic.

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If you could have a relationship with one of your fictional characters who would it be and why?

Matt: Most of my characters are teenagers, and I am not, so there’s an obvious mismatch. But assuming ages could be equalized (I to hers, or she to mine) I would like to be with Simon’s fiancée in book 3 – Ana Vorkina, the Czech wizard. She is passionate and radiates a powerful life-force, and those things are a good contrast with my natural introversion.

If you had to exist for a week in one of your books … which one would it be? Would you be a central character or simply watch the story unfold from the sidelines?

Matt: I would absolutely like to live inside School of the Ages for a week. In fact, since the dean of the school looks exactly like me, maybe I DO live there. I am always the hero or the villain of my own story, but realistically I’m too timid to do more than watch the story unfold from the sidelines.

T.S. Eliot has stated my identity pretty precisely in “Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”: No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be; 

Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous…

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Dead or alive literary dinner party: who would you invite, and what would you serve?

Matt: Colin Wilson, who recently died, is a man I bitterly regret never having met; I wish I had tried to write to him before he passed, but I was too timid. I would invite him first. Not that they would like each other, but I’d like to meet J.R.R. Tolkien and Ezra Pound, two writers who have blown me away with their style. And of course, I have many living writer friends I have never met in person with whom I would dearly love to break bread, beginning with a kind gentleman who has advised me well in the past: Andre Jute.

If you had to write in a different genre which would it be and why?

Matt: I hope that someday I will write thrillers. Not soon – I don’t have enough great ideas for them yet – but I think this is a genre in which I can connect to a larger readership than with my YA or my nonfiction.

What do you dislike the most about being an author?

Matt: I don’t like the commercial aspect of it. Though being self-published is preferable to being screwed by a publisher (which has also happened to me), I see the big disconnect between the trends in popular taste that control success, and the impulse to follow my own sense of what I would like to read and must therefore write. I don’t like seeing low-quality authors, like E.L. James, make massive sales because they have hit the trend jackpot. If I try to write what’s trendy, I’ll be insincere and the work will suck. If I write what my instincts tell me, I have the psychological torture of monitoring limp sales figures.

 Favourite word? 

Matt: I am digging lately the expression from Hamlet, “miching mallecho.” It means “sneaky evil-doing,” where “mallecho” is Shakespeare’s version of Spanish “mal hecho”. Sample sentence:
“James Patterson’s new ‘learn how to write’ online course is one more example of miching mallecho from the ex-marketing exec.”

Matt Posner was in the chair: Author of the YA series – School of the Ages and several non-fiction titles.

Web:http://schooloftheages.webs.com/

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In The Chair 31: Jan Edwards

Welcome, Jan Edwards.

How would you describe your writing style in only three words?

Jan: Conversational, chilling, humorous.

If you could have a relationship with one of your fictional characters who would it be and why?

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Jan: Leinster Gardens and Other Subtleties is a collection of supernatural short fiction, so probably not! Many people have been in situations where they have seen or heard something that cannot be rationally explained, and most are only to happy to tell those stories, which by their very nature are looking to chill and thrill. If I have managed to do that with my offerings then job done!

If you had to exist for a week in one of your books … which would it be? Would you be a central character or simply watch the story unfold from the sidelines?

Jan: Right now I am working on a crime novel set in WW2 and I would love to be ‘Rose’ for a week in order to soak up the atmosphere. But… being the badge-carrying Fae detective romping through my Urban Fantasy series (currently with an agent) would also be huge fun. As I don’t plan stories in advance, and seldom know the ending in anything more than hazy ideas, I tend to inhabit the skins of main protags and watch the story unfold through them. For me writing is more fun if I am surprised by what comes next.

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Dead or alive literary dinner party: who would you invite, and what would you serve?

Jan: Ooh – tricky. I have organised a few conventions and had dinner with a lot of living fantasy and horror writers, who are seldom how you might imagine them from their writing; those horror bods are usually far more sane than the things they commit to paper would have you believe!  I would love to have met Daphne Du Maurier, who wrote in the spheres of horror, crime and romance with equal skill; Jane Austen because she was such an acerbic observer and Arthur Ransome purely because Captain Nancy was my hero(ine) when I was nine years old. If I named all the writers I’d like to meet we’d be here all day.

If you had to write in a different genre which would it be and why?

Jan: Having had a taste of scripting (as part of a team for a Dr Who spin-off coming out in August) I should love to tackle a larger project.

What do you dislike the most about being an author?

Jan: Lack of money? It is increasingly difficult to make a living as a writer and I cannot see that changing in the near future, at least where novels are concerned. But – I may strike lucky one day and hit that elusive zeitgeist that editors are always telling us writers to aim for…

Favourite word?

Jan: Discombobulation! It just rolls of the tongue.

Jan Edwards was in the chair: author of Leinster Gardens and Other Subtleties; & Sussex Tales

Web: https://janedwardsblog.wordpress.com/

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In The Chair 21: Vivienne Tuffnell

Welcome, Vivienne Tuffnell

How would you describe your writing style in only three words?

Vivienne: Sensuous, poetic, intelligent (don’t laugh; I really did hesitate with that one).

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If you could have a relationship with one of your fictional characters who would it be and why?

Vivienne: By relationship, I assume you mean the romantic sort? None. But I’d very much have liked to be a mentor and friend to Antony Ashurst from The Bet. He’s someone who needs all the friends he can get. And no, knowing him as well as I do, I’d never be tempted to jump his bones.

If you had to exist for a week in one of your books … which would it be? Would you be a central character or simply watch the story unfold from the sidelines?

Vivienne: Probably Away With The Fairies so I can have a week at Isobel’s cottage to sort out my own issues. Scrub that, I’d need a month. Or a lifetime.
I couldn’t live through The Bet, because it would be too hard to watch. I lived through certain elements of Square Peg for real. Strangers and Pilgrims, then. I’d enjoy being a fly on the wall there, as perhaps a friend of Mark’s, assisting him.

Dead or alive literary dinner party: who would you invite, and what would you serve?

Vivienne: Dion Fortune, Carl Gustav Jung, J.R.R Tolkien, Philippa Rees (fantastic poet and a many-talented lady), Suzie Grogan (history writer) and Gerard Manley Hopkins. I’d serve a buffet of all sorts of finger food so we could nibble and chat rather than have a hot meal going cold. But good wine, beer and all sorts of interesting spirits.

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If you had to write in a different genre which would it be and why?

Vivienne: I don’t tend to conform to genre anyway but write whatever comes. As a teenager I wrote a lot of murder mysteries in homage to Agatha Christie. If someone held a gun to my head, I could do that again. Probably. If the gun were loaded.

What do you dislike the most about being an author?

Vivienne: I imagine almost everyone has said marketing already. I hate that I cannot seem to separate my self worth from my sales. Low sales = low self worth. Stupid but true.

Favourite word?

Vivienne: A German one: Sehnsucht. I love the sound of the word and the world of meaning it contains; it sums up in one word something I’ve felt my whole life. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sehnsucht

Vivienne Tuffnell is the author of several novels which explore psychology and the metaphysical

Web: Blog: https://zenandtheartoftightropewalking.wordpress.com/

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