Interview with Corinna Turner

When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Reading! Actually, mostly I spend the time when I'm not writing working! I work with children with special needs on school transport, that's my day job. I've had the one little boy for four years now, which is lovely. When not working I'm reading. Or at the cinema or watching films at home. Or saying the divine office/praying/attending Mass. Or having a coffee and cake with someone...
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Not specifically, because the very first would have been something from junior school. I remember various childhood stories, but I definitely remember the 'short' story I wrote when I was 14. It went on for 37 pages in my homework book and the teacher gave up marking it after about page 8. I promptly set to and wrote it up into a full length novel. The novel was awful. No one is allowed to see it. Ever!
What is your writing process?
I always find this a bit of a weird question, but I'll try my best. I like to have my plot settled before I begin, certainly the broad bones and the ending. When I first started writing (aged 14) I'd be writing away without even knowing how the book was going to end, and it resulted in really rambling books. For a tightly plotted book (i.e. a book that will be fast paced after the editing process is done!) I need to have my plot fixed. Then I just sit and write. Some days it's easier than others. I don't set daily word targets or anything like that. I don't usually have reams and reams of notes, though that does depend how long the idea has been waiting to be written! Then I edit. And edit. And edit. I've come to the conclusion that whilst it's not impossible there may be an author out there somewhere who actually doesn't need to edit, most authors who think they don't just haven't reached a certain stage yet - I can say that, I hope, because I used to be one of them!
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
No, I have a terrible memory! The first story I have a strong recollection of (other than something about Jack and Jill going along a street or something) is 'Redwall' by Brian Jacques. My parents bought it for me when I was a little girl; I was adamant that I wanted it, though they kept telling me it was too advanced for me. They were right! I couldn't get into it and put it to one side. But I remember picking it up again some months/years(?) later and suddenly finding I could read it and being hooked at once!
How do you approach cover design?
I approach cover design in a very hands on way, i.e. I do it myself! Like this: I take a deep breath. Then I work and work and work in Photoshop. I finish a cover and feel very pleased with it and show it to my mum, who is my best critic. She goes 'neh' and tells me all the things that are wrong with it. I deflate. Take a deep breath. Begin again. Finish a new cover and feel pleased. Show my mum. 'Neh...' Repeat multiple times. Eventually I have a great cover infinitely superior to the first one that I thought was so good and really wasn't!
What's the story behind your latest book?
A 'has to be written' idea came along at a time when I was growing increasingly dissatisfied with mainstream fiction. The mainstream fiction I was reading – and writing – seemed to have to obey an unwritten rule, ‘we don’t do God’. Especially ‘we don’t do Christianity’. As someone whose faith is central to their life, this was making mainstream fiction increasingly unsatisfying and unrealistic. When the idea for ‘I Am Margaret’ stormed into my head in a dream during a retreat I decided I would go right ahead and write it just as I would write a mainstream novel – but with a Christian heroine whose faith was integral to the story.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I've had a wonderful agent for over 5 years, but no books sold to mainstream publishers. I actually found a publisher for 'I Am Margaret' myself - they wanted the entire series - but the clause that gave them complete control over the book was a sticking point. I turned them down and decided to go indie, at least with 'I Am Margaret'.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Difficult question. If I narrow it down to recent (i.e. not classics) fantasy/children's/young adult fiction then five of my favourites would be:
1) 'The Curse of Chalio'n - Lois McMaster Bujold.
I love the whole world and set up in this book, but above all I love the main character. Cazaril is just the most lovely man, I adore him.
2) 'Flesh and Spirit'/'Breath and Bone' - Carol Berg
Technically two books, but they make one whole. I don't actually like anti-heroes much and if this was written by anyone else I'd have stopped reading on about page two. But she is one of my two favourite fantasy authors so I kept going - and wow! Personally I think it's the best thing she's ever written. Also the darkest. Her depiction of a world sliding into utter chaos is truly chilling.
3) 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows' - J. K. Rowling
If I must single one book out from the series, this would be it. It's the culmination of everything, we learn about Snape, the main characters go through so much and grow so close. I love all the books, though.
4) 'Artemis Fowl and the Arctic Incident' - Eoin Colfer
Very close toss up between this, 'Artemis Fowl', and 'Artemis Fowl and the Eternity Code'. But probably this one. They're all starting to get on and it's great.
5) 'The Host' - Stephanie Meyer
The 'Twilight' books didn't bowl me over, but I love this. A satisfying combination of adventure and romance, with a lot of character growth all round.

Top picks from outside the limitations I set above would be:
1) 'H.M.S. Ulysses' - Alistair Maclean
I've always felt that if he hadn't gone on to write best-selling thrillers, this might have joined the ranks of books such as 'All Quiet on the Western Front'.
2) 'The Singer Not The Song' - Audrey Erskine Lindop
In post-revolutionary Mexico, a priest and a bandit engage in a struggle for the bandit's soul. The priest fights with love, the bandit with evil. Who will win? An incredible book.
3) 'The Black Tulip' - Alexandre Dumas
Ultimately much more satisfying than 'The Three Musketeers', though that is also a favourite.
4) 'Worrals'/'Biggles' - Captain W. E. Johns
Still love these. Especially Worrals. How to leave the men standing whilst still being feminine. 'Worrals on the Warpath' and 'Biggles Flies East' are big favourites. Be aware, though, if you pick up any old editions from these series, many of the books reflect the attitudes of the time in which they were written regarding people of colour. But recent editions should be fine.
5) 'A Tale of Two Cities' - Charles Dickens
Always been my favourite Dickens. I think as Christian I'm just a sucker for the self-sacrifice.
Describe your desk
I have two desks, one for writing (in a little hut at the bottom of the garden) and one for everything else. The one for everything else is very cluttered, the one for writing is not. If I leave papers on it, the garden snails eat them!
What are you working on next?
Another book which like 'I Am Margaret' is rather too plausible for comfort. Unfortunately this one is set in the much nearer future! However after releasing books 2-3 of 'I Am Margaret' I'm likely to be bringing out a much more cheerful historical YA book (already written), before the gloomy one! Such is the plan, anyway. The gloomy one is what I'm actually writing at the moment.

If that was too confusing it goes as follows:
1st: The Three Most Wanted (I Am Margaret 2)
2nd: Liberation (I Am Margaret 3)
3rd: Bane's Eyes (I Am Margaret 4)
4th: Historical YA (series of 3)
5th (or technically 7th & 8th!): Too-plausible book (series of 2)
Published 2014-07-09.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Siege of Reginald Hill
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 65,990. Language: English. Published: December 1, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Christian » Futuristic, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Religion
Fr Kyle Verrall is snatched from his church one night by armed assailants. He’s in big trouble—his sister’s worst enemy is hell-bent on revenge. What could possibly save him? The humble young priest is defenceless—or so Reginald Hill believes. But Kyle has a powerful weapon Hill knows nothing about. And he’s not afraid to use it. Is Reginald Hill really the hunter? Or is he the hunted?
The Siege of Reginald Hill (U.S. Edition)
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 66,000. Language: American English. Published: December 1, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Christian » Futuristic, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Religion
Fr Kyle Verrall is snatched from his church one night by armed assailants. He’s in big trouble—his sister’s worst enemy is hell-bent on revenge. What could possibly save him? The humble young priest is defenceless—or so Reginald Hill believes. But Kyle has a powerful weapon Hill knows nothing about. And he’s not afraid to use it. Is Reginald Hill really the hunter? Or is he the hu
Elfling (U.S. Edition)
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 118,880. Language: English. Published: March 17, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Sci-Fi & fantasy, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Historical
Alone on the streets of London, young Serapia Ravena seeks her father, her only hope of survival. When the elusive Duke suddenly returns to the city, Serapia finds a loving father, but it soon becomes clear that he hides a dark secret. The search for his salvation will bring Serapia face to face with her own mysterious elfin heritage.
Elfling (U.K. Edition)
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 118,880. Language: British English. Published: March 18, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Sci-Fi & fantasy, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Historical
Alone on the streets of London, young Serapia Ravena seeks her father, her only hope of survival. When the elusive Duke suddenly returns to the city, Serapia finds a loving father, but it soon becomes clear that he hides a dark secret. The search for his salvation will bring Serapia face to face with her own mysterious elfin heritage.
Brothers: A Short Prequel Novella (U.S. Edition)
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 27,480. Language: English. Published: December 10, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Religion, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Adventure
DON’T GET CAUGHT. Joe Whitelow is 13. ‘K’ is 18. Joe’s small for his age. K’s tall and strong. Joe’s almost blond. K’s hair is dark. He’s a Believer. Joe’s a bit vague about what that even means. But they do have one thing in common. They both need to get out of the EuroBloc. Or die.
Brothers: A Short Prequel Novella (U.K. Edition)
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 27,480. Language: English. Published: December 10, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Religion, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Adventure
DON’T GET CAUGHT. Joe Whitelow is 13. ‘K’ is 18. Joe’s small for his age. K’s tall and strong. Joe’s almost blond. K’s hair is dark. He’s a Believer. Joe’s a bit vague about what that even means. But they do have one thing in common. They both need to get out of the EuroBloc. Or die.
Margo's Diary & Notebook (U.S. Edition)
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 51,500. Language: English. Published: April 2, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Christian » Futuristic, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Sci-Fi & fantasy
What happened after the vote? Well, I kept forgetting to write in this diary, but I did record the important stuff. Visits from: a former Facility guard, Lucas's sister & Bane's parents! After 6 years I gave up and just filled it up with interesting stuff. Plus there's lots of graffiti from Bane! A Companion Volume to the I AM MARGARET series.
Margo's Diary & Notebook (U.K. Edition)
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 51,500. Language: English. Published: April 2, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Christian » Futuristic, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Sci-Fi & fantasy
What happened after the vote? Well, I kept forgetting to write in this diary, but I did record the important stuff. Visits from: a former Facility guard, Lucas's sister & Bane's parents! After 6 years I gave up and just filled it up with interesting stuff. Plus there's lots of graffiti from Bane! A Companion Volume to the I AM MARGARET series.
Bane's Eyes (U.S. Edition)
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 139,390. Language: English. Published: June 24, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Religion, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Sci-Fi & fantasy
In 3 months, the citizens of the EuroBloc will decide whether to abolish Sorting. If they vote the wrong way, Margo and everyone she cares about will die. While Bane struggles to cope with the loss of his eyes, the lives of millions are at stake. But threats soon loom from unexpected quarters, compromising the security of the Vatican itself.
Bane's Eyes (U.K. Edition)
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 139,380. Language: English. Published: June 24, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Religion, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Sci-Fi & fantasy
In 3 months, the citizens of the EuroBloc will decide whether to abolish Sorting. If they vote the wrong way, Margo and everyone she cares about will die. While Bane struggles to cope with the loss of his eyes, the lives of millions are at stake. But threats soon loom from unexpected quarters, compromising the security of the Vatican itself.
Someday (U.S. Edition)
Series: Yesterday & Tomorrow. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 65,760. Language: American English. Published: April 15, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Christian » Futuristic, Fiction » Young adult or teen » War
Ruth and Gemma have a Physics exam in the morning. Becky and Alleluia are revising for their A Levels. So it’s an absolute nightmare to be woken by the fire alarm in dead of the night. But for them, and for 272 other girls from Chisbrook Hall girls boarding school, the real nightmare is just beginning. Because ‘al-Qabda’ are taking them all away. Whether they want to go or not.
Someday (U.K. Edition)
Series: Yesterday & Tomorrow. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 65,710. Language: British English. Published: April 15, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » War, Fiction » Christian » Futuristic
Ruth and Gemma have a Physics exam in the morning. Becky and Alleluia are revising for their A Levels. So it’s an absolute nightmare to be woken by the fire alarm in dead of the night. But for them, and for 272 other girls from Chisbrook Hall girls boarding school, the real nightmare is just beginning. Because ‘al-Qabda’ are taking them all away. Whether they want to go or not.
Liberation (U.S. Edition)
Series: I Am Margaret, Book 3. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 99,130. Language: English. Published: September 30, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Christian » Futuristic, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Sci-Fi & fantasy
MARGO WAS IMPRISONED STANDS EMPTY. EVERY OTHER FACILITY IS FULL. TIME TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. In the Vatican’s hidden place of exile, Margo and her fiance, Bane, hatch a daring plan: liberate teenagers destined for human ‘recycling’—to start a public outcry against Sorting. But if they succeed, the EuroGov’s vengeance will be swift and merciless.
The Three Most Wanted (U.S. Edition)
Series: I Am Margaret, Book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 94,880. Language: American English. Published: July 21, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Christian » Futuristic, Fiction » Children’s books » Dystopian
2000 KILOMETERS. THREE TEENS. A CONTINENT-WIDE MANHUNT. CHANCE OF SURVIVAL? NO CHANCE. Having outwitted the EuroGov by rescuing a whole facility of teens from recycling, Margo is on the run. Together with Jon and Bane, she’s posing as a summer backpacker. Their only hope is to keep ahead of the government trackers and somehow cross the continent to the last free state in Europe: the Vatican.
I Am Margaret (U.S. Edition)
Series: I Am Margaret, Book 1. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 102,300. Language: American English. Published: June 15, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Dystopian, Fiction » Christian » Futuristic
In Margo’s world, if you don’t pass your Sorting at 18 – or if you’re a Believer – you are recycled. Literally. Margo wants to marry Bane. But she’s a Believer. And she’s going to fail. But a chance to take on the system ups the stakes beyond mere survival. Now she has to break out of the Facility - or face the worst martyrdom of all. Conscious Dismantlement.
Liberation (U.K. Edition)
Series: I Am Margaret. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 99,250. Language: British English. Published: March 11, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Dystopian, Fiction » Christian » Futuristic
Margo, Bane and Jon are determined to fight the EuroGov. Preferably by rescuing as many other ReAssignees as possible. And if doing so shakes the EuroBloc to its foundations, so much the better. But the safety of their new home is deceptive. When they are discovered, the EuroGov’s vengeance will be swift. And merciless.
The Three Most Wanted (U.K. Edition)
Series: I Am Margaret. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 94,960. Language: British English. Published: December 6, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Dystopian, Fiction » Christian » Futuristic
Margo, Bane and Jon have two thousand kilometres to go – and the EuroGov’s hunt is closing in. They’re not the only ones in trouble. Major Everington is on trial for his life. And all those who help and betray them have problems of their own – the EuroGov has a lot to answer for. Even if they make it – just how safe is the long-besieged Free State? 14+
I Am Margaret (U.K. Edition)
Series: I Am Margaret, Book 1. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 102,380. Language: British English. Published: June 27, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Dystopian, Fiction » Christian » Futuristic
In Margo’s world, if you don’t pass your Sorting at 18 – or if you’re a Believer – you are recycled. Literally. Margo wants to marry Bane. But she’s a Believer. And she’s going to fail. But a chance to take on the system ups the stakes beyond mere survival. Now she has to break out of the Facility - or face the worst martyrdom of all. Conscious Dismantlement. This is the U.K. edition.