I’m welcoming a special guest today: Scarlett Rugers! Scarlett is not on an author, but a talented graphic designer. (She designed all of my book covers.) What I love about what she shares below is that she is able to give us a fiction vs. non-fiction writing perspective. (Plus, she shares her name with my favorite literary character.) Let’s jump in!
A Little About Scarlett
You hail from Melbourne, Australia. For someone who has never visited there, what are some interesting and fun facts that you can share?
Scarlett: Melbourne is the most liveable city in the world! And when they say you get four seasons in one day here, that’s true. You could pack for summer but end up with a week of rain. We have amazing coffee, and a huge NaNoWriMo gathering! Five years ago NaNo meet ups were only about 10 people. Now days It’s massive, and they meet throughout the year. Sydney is the capital of Australia, but it should be Melbourne- as all Melbournian’s know!
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Scarlett: When I realised where books came from- that people just like me wrote them- that’s when I knew I wanted to be a writer. I used to draw and illustrate all the time but I quickly switched to words and that became my passion since I was 8!
What do you do to unwind and relax?
Scarlett: I do what I love- writing and design. I do design professionally, but on the weekends and at night will end up working on my own projects. I prop myself in front of the TV, set up my laptop and put on a good flick!
Scarlett on Writing
What is it about writing that brings you back to the page for more?
Scarlett: The itch. That compulsive addiction. There’s not much else to it. I’d say my love of words, my passion for story telling but when you get right down to it, it’s down and dirty addiction. I’m compelled to return to the page and write. Ideas nag at me, plot lines pull at me. I’m struck down by visions I have to extract.
Do you have a preference for writing fiction or non-fiction?
Scarlett: Fiction is my main stream but I get the feeling I’ll be moving in to non-fiction in the future. The more writing I do the more my stories develop ties to ongoing current events in the world.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Scarlett: Finding time for it. Doing it isn’t the issue for me, but I’m a workaholic. My new years resolution is to have weekends and I’ve been following that, which is great. But I still find myself working 16-18 hours a day.
What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
Scarlett: Write. Read and write and write and write. Write what you love. Do not give a shit what anyone else thinks- just write. I started out writing just scenes. I was obsessed with romance books so I used to write those scenes where the main character and the love interest confesses their love to each other, or kisses for the first time. Those rush of emotion scenes. Then after I wrote about a thousand of those I wrote stories, start to finish. Then when I had a few years of that I began writing chapters. And I didn’t follow anyone else’s advice, I just wrote.
People who want to be writers, talk about writing and whinge about never having time and think about plots and work out characters. Writers write.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Scarlett: I write quickly. I finished NaNoWriMo (50,000 words) in two and a half days. When I write I go bulk. I sit myself down and write for hours, as opposed to a little a day. I’d say that’s my only real interesting quirk, if I have one at all.
Scarlett’s Paranormal Perspectives
Given the topic of your current book, what do you think sets first lines of paranormal novels apart from other genres?
Scarlett: The most used format for paranormal novels is starting in amidst tension. Not so much action but inner or outer tension. Often it immediately explains to the reader that there’s vampires, or werewolves, or magic involved. It exposes the genre of the book a lot faster than the majority of other genres, besides I’d say science fiction or romance.
You’ve mentioned on your website that you are working on a fiction work that “dark retelling of the Wizard of Oz”. What more can you tell us about that?
Scarlett: A few years ago I redesigned the Wizard of Oz poster. The poster was the beginning and I realized I had something good to work on. This is the poster design for it: http://scarlettarcher.deviantart.com/art/Project-Brief-2-movie-poster-Wizard-of-Oz-166161605. Here is the synopsis: “The Great and Power Oz is a myth, a legend, in the city of Emerald. Everyone knows someone who has been hunted by him, everyone knows someone that could be him.
Dorothy Gale arrives in Emerald after her plane is forced to make an emergency landing at a city in the middle of novel, and after a while realises that there is something very unusual and unsafe about the city. The only way she can get a ticket home is to buy one off Oz, the man who runs the black market, alone and in secret. On the way she meets Mr Scarecrow, Mr Tin Man and Mr Lion who all need something from the wizard.”
A vast amount of research is required. I’m doing my best to rewrite it in my own voice while respecting and honouring the lessons, the structure, the format of the Hero’s Journey and reflecting the current state of politics around the world.
As a reader, do you have a favorite paranormal creature that you enjoy reading about?
Scarlett: I love ghost stories. I’m not big on werewolves and vampires but when it comes to paranormal activity and spooks and poltergeist and that sort of fiction I dig it!
What scares you?
Scarlett: Bugs! I’m not scared of them in general but things like sleeping outside where they could crawl on me and in to my mouth and all those sorts of things. And creaks and groans in the middle of the night. I’m effective at convincing myself there’s someone in the house and then I lie there frozen until I’m so tired I finally fall asleep!
Scarlett Rugers (writing as Scarlett Archer) has just released a book 1001 First Lines which is now available at Amazon. You can purchase a paperback, .lit, .epub, .mobi and PDF versions here: http://www.1001firstlines.wordpress.com.
She has been writing for over fifteen years, completed over eleven novels, and her main drive is in speculative fiction or its contrasting opposite romantic comedic novels. She has a passion for studying the art of story telling and is a grand lover of movies. Her focus in work is book cover designs which enables her to put all her energy in to the area she loves most- literature.
You can get in touch with Scarlett about getting a book cover designed for you for the super affordable price of $50! But there’s only 30 places for $50 and they’re running out fast! Check it out at http://www.booksat.scarlettrugers.com