First, can you give us some background about yourself?
I have loved telling stories and creating imaginary worlds since I was a child, whether when I played with my toys or when I was old enough to write and put words on paper.
I took a literary path even in high school, with a love of literature and foreign languages (French is my native one, and I learned English, Latin, German and Italian between middle and high school).
I wrote my first original fiction in my teen years, but took a break from it for about ten years, focusing on academic work (in Film, Media Studies and Humanities).
While struggling to find a paid job for several years, I focused on my writing, both fiction and nonfiction, and realized that it was my calling. Returning to it has been a worthy experience and I can't imagine myself not writing!
What have you written?
- I have published articles, essays, short stories and novellas in the past years. Besides academic publishing, whether as author or editor, I have taken the self-publishing road for about four years now. My nonfiction focuses on Media Studies, Gender Studies, Fan Communities and Science Fiction. As for my original fiction, I always write Fantasy or Science Fiction. Last year I published the first volume in an ongoing series 'Clairvoyance Chronicles', made of a series of connected short stories with human, Fae, Were characters (but no vampire!)
Are you currently working on anything?
- I always am. Keeping the muses in line and juggle between different projects can be challenging, but I prefer having too many ideas than none at all.
I have several upcoming titles at different stages of revision and formatting, but the main project I am working on right now is the translation (from French to English) of the first novel I wrote when I was a teenager. It requires a lot of rewriting, but makes for an interesting experience. I have only written in English in the past years. It is more comfortable to me and makes it easier when it comes to reaching audiences.
How much research do you do for your writing?
- When it comes to academic/nonfiction writing, I have an extended collection of books on the various topics I commonly work on. With my love to dissect movies and TV shows, I own several versions of some titles for better research too, and can play a video game multiple times to explore choices and storylines, if I write a paper about it.
For fiction work, I love world building, but research mostly focuses on writing craft, whether genre oriented or not. I do specific research when I need to set a scene in a given city or country if I write in a "real world" setting, and not a completely created one.
What is your process like in the midst of writing a book?
- I can't write more than one book at the same time. I am comfortable doing revision/formatting/marketing on other titles at the same time, but I can't do more than one book when I am doing the main "chunk" of writing.
I normally type my stories or essays right away and like having a large monitor to have a better view (I use Word over software such as Scrivener, only using the latter for formatting). I am a rather slow writer. Doing 1,000 or 2,000 word a day is how I usually do things.
I have notes stored both on the computer and on notebooks, because I always get ideas when I'm not at the computer.
If my inspiration runs off after some writing, I commonly go write some roleplaying posts on a Star Wars forum where I have multiple characters. The shorter length of writing and not having to think about world building helps a lot to restart my original muse, whether fiction or nonfiction.
What does your routine look like when you get to the editing process?
- Besides cringing at the stupid mistakes and bad wording, I always feel grateful to my editor to help point out things I can improve.
I am a slow writer and have a hard time doing my own editing, so I prefer taking my time and fidgeting with writing rather than revisit multiple times on my own.
It took me a while to find the right editor, but she has been of tremendous help. Since she uses a lot of color codes, I normally do an overview of what she did, to have an idea of which parts will need the most work. Then, I tackle things in order, and take care of the easier items to fix, leaving the heavy rewriting/rewording for last.
Do you have any quirks or rituals that help you achieve your writing goals?
- I need a lot of Earl Grey tea. That's my fuel!
While I have no problem taking notes regardless of where I am or what time of the day it is, I prefer writing quietly at my desk, with or without music.
Some projects work much better when I listen to music (mostly instrumental, whether classical, soundtracks or celtic, and symphonic metal music); and some I prefer writing in silence.
Tell us about your work space.
- I love my desk to pieces. I have had this old and massive Swedish desk since I was nine years old. I am now in my thirties and still work on it. There is a lot of room for computer, monitor, notebooks, pile of research books, teapot and mug, and also cats.
My beloved desk and a good monitor are really the core of my workspace. During summer 2016, I am moving overseas (from France to Texas), and my desk is definitely part of the few pieces of furniture I'm taking with me.
Are there any software or apps that help you in your writing process?
- Give me Microsoft Word and Firefox and I am happy. Even when it comes to listening to music while writing, I'm often lazy and just search a good playlist on Youtube.
What do you do when you lose focus? Any tips for getting it back?
- Most of the time, just writing a few Star Wars roleplaying posts will be enough to get my focus back, but if I really feel too frustrated with my writing, I will either work out a bit (pilates and some yoga can do wonders) or go kill things in a video games (I like Fantasy and Science Fiction RPG games such as Mass Effect, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Diablo III).
Every once in a while, I'll hit a mean writer's block time or earn myself a burn out. It took me several years to realize it was okay and could happen to me. In that case, I'll allow myself to walk away from the project I'm writing and focus on what I can revise, what I can take notes for, what I can market better, but take distance from the "writing" of writing. One week often fixes it.
Tell us about your publishing process.
- I have published in some academic volumes, but have chosen the self-publishing road for my other work. I have never regretted it. I am far from being able to live thanks to my writing, but I love the creative control over what I do.
I publish on Kindle through Amazon and print (if the volume is long enough) via Createspace/Amazon. The few free eBooks I have available are available on any e-formats on Smashwords.
It is a lot of work to take care of everything on my own, or build the network that helps (I am very grateful to the amazing and talented people who help me whether for editing, cover design or marketing) but it is extremely rewarding.
I normally publish three titles a year, and since 2016, I start on International Women's Day with a free eBook collecting all interviews from the previous year of my monthly blog feature "Sci-Fi Women Interviews" and follow with a summer and a winter release.
I offer pre-order on Amazon, start looking for marketing/advertising opportunities a few months prior to the release, and if I can organize a book blog tour. While I do 3 releases per year, I try to have a "main one" that benefits from more advertising.
After I've released a title, I try to go back to it via blogging, tie it to a guest post elsewhere, do free or discount days on Amazon to keep spreading the word.
Where can people find you and your work?
- Website: http://natachaguyot.org
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Natacha-Guyot/e/B00JAZS2CY/
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Natacha-Guyot/e/B00JAZS2CY/
Amazon France: http://www.amazon.fr/Natacha-Guyot/e/B00JAZS2CY/
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