Interview with Ciara Emily

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
In my early childhood I didn't have many friends and got alot of torment from my peers, writing served as a security blanket, it was a way to make sense of my own mind which always seemed to be on a different wave length to others. Now it is not only a way to understand myself but human nature as a whole. To me writing is a way to lend a piece of your consciousness to another person, It is a way to make language into art and to create lives contained to pages. When I am writing I know I'm being true to myself. It's my purpose.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Society is an integral part of humanity. It’s what segregates us from other animals. I tried to show this throughout Halcyon. In the most obvious forms the characters took on animal names as new identities and the group the story focuses on is referred to as their ‘pack’. I also drew reference to this idea in quotes such as this one which draws comparison between the animals and humans behaviour in crisis:
“Once they were all mostly domestic pets but when their owners died or fled they were left to fend for themselves. They created packs for safety in numbers. Just like the people.”
Although many people like to fault society (including myself) without one we would fall apart. The theme I wished to explore in this book was how we would fall apart and whether we could move on and so to write this story first I needed to remove society. The most efficient way to do this is a contained epidemic. I chose to contain it in Australia as it is as the anthem states ‘girt by sea’ and I know the land personally so it was easier to write realistically. Secondly I needed characters that embodied aspects of the theme.
I looked at the different ways people respond to trauma and their coping mechanisms. These were: Loss of sanity, giving up and depression, denial, dependency, shell-shock, blame on themselves and others, emotional detachment, paranoia caused by over protectiveness, substance abuse and adaption. I created eight characters based on one of these each (except blame which I spread between Wolf, Shearwater and Cat and loss of sanity which I merged with giving up and depression in Shearwater). I also gave them their personalities based on aspects of myself and their personal back-stories which reveal why they cope the way they do and the specific animals they identify as.
What are you working on next?
At the moment I'm working on improving Halcyon, I plan to tie some loose ends for Seagull and Wolf, delve deeper into the societies cause for collapse and the lives of other survivors as well as editing and polishing my writing style
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first story I ever wrote was based on a dream I had when I was about five, I was the protagonist alongside my childhood dog, Madra. We were going for a run when we came across a huge lake with a giant ladybird (almost the size of the lake) drowning in it. In the dream we couldn't save the ladybird and it became a nightmare. However in the story Madra helped me pull it out with a branch. That's when I realised I could alter my reality with my stories and when I decided I wanted to be an author.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
One of the first books that really impacted on my writing was Maggie Stiefvaters, Shiver. It was the first book I had ever encountered written in first person, and it also had multiple perspectives. Ever since then the prevailing majority of what I write has been first person, and many from changing perspectives. 'If a tree falls' is one of the few exceptions to this, where I deliberately stepped out of my writing comfort zone, though Halcyon is a perfect example of my usual writing style.
What is your writing process?
I often start with one detail. A place, or a character, or a concept, sometimes even a word. It gets stuck in my mind until I write something, a lost chapter or paragraph that could fit anywhere in the end story or not at all.
‘If a tree falls’ started with a metaphor. A fish in a sink. In my out of school drama classes we did a meditation like exercise where we walked through a house completely foreign to us and then realised it was our home and we were much older than we believed. In mine there was a goldfish swimming in the sink for no apparent reason and it made me quite anxious. When I returned home still in a dazed state I wrote a poem about it. That poem slightly altered appears in the final copy. In the following days we were given an assessment task in creative writing where we had to write in a style of the past that we had studied, I continued with this haunting image with the style of Gothic romanticism in mind and that's how 'If a tree falls' came into being.
Halcyon began with a word. The word Halcyon actually. It was pointed out to me by a friend and I decided to name a character after the concept of 14 days of calm. After some research I learnt that the term came from a mythological tale explaining the origin of Halcyon Kingfisher’s. With this in mind I further extended my story to include seven more characters with metaphorical links to specific animals. Then incorporating the concepts of closure aswell as the plague (which I plan to delve deeper into in future edits) I wrote Halcyon with a vague and flexible concept of where the story was headed.
What do your readers mean to you?
The idea that there are living, breathing people with limbs and lives and stories of their own who have taken time to read something that I've written is truly inspiring, thankyou
Published 2015-06-15.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Forgiveness of Yellow
Price: $1.00 USD. Words: 25,500. Language: English. Published: August 23, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Literary
This dystopian coming of age story is told through the switching perspectives of eight adolescents and a child living in Australia in the aftermath of the ‘yellow plague’ that wiped out two thirds of the population. “The Forgiveness of Yellow” follows their individual journeys toward closure and a new life gathered from the ruins.
If a Tree Falls
Price: Free! Words: 1,160. Language: English. Published: September 30, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
(4.67 from 3 reviews)
This short story based loosely on the writing style of Gothic romanticism explores memory and the after life from a present tense, third person perspective. It follows Shelin the protagonist struggling with memory loss, who finds herself in a foreign house piecing together her past only to find her present in a terrifying state of Déjà vu.