Interview with Honeysuckle Pear

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Somerset in a small village called Hinton Charterhouse. I was educated at the village primary school and my first writing challenge was to write an essay about the village cricket team. I had to supply a drawing with my work. I remember the argument I had with my teacher when I tried to use a ruler to draw the creases in the cricketer's trousers. She seemed to miss the point I was trying to make. I went on to my senior education at Frome Grammar School. In my Ordinary-Level exams year the form was challenged to write an essay about a major event in our lives; it was supposed to be anonymous. My essay was read out last and declared the winner. I never did believe that the teacher did not recognise the handwriting.
When did you first start writing?
School was very demanding. I have a dreadful memory and started to write everything down. I wrote letters to my mother while I was at college, but a once a week habit became once a month as my studies grew; eventually it became half term only as I hitch-hiked home at the end of each term. My first attempt at writing a short story began for all the wrong reasons. I was away in Belgium on a contract. I was alone in a small bedsit. I was writing to preserve my sanity as I had nothing else to do. A writer needs the desire to write about a subject they believe in. I was writing about whatever came into my mind. It was emotional rubbish but it achieved its objective; sanity was preserved.
What's the story behind your latest book?
There are two main themes in the 'Merlin's Millennia' series; they are based on how do you cope if 'magic is real' and 'telepathy is real'. It is my belief that telepathy is a real sixth sense. As a child I had an extreme Asthma attack while I was pushing my bicycle up a very steep long hill. At the bottom of the hill I was mentally screaming, praying that someone would come by and see my distress. About fifteen minutes later, I was only half way up the hill and nearing collapse. I was mentally praying for help. To my total disbelief, my parents pulled up behind me. They had been shopping in Bath and had decided, on a whim, to travel back on the route I was likely to take home. To this day, I believe that my mother heard my telepathy distress signals.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
It took me two years to write my first book. I submitted it to the traditional literary agents but there are very few in the science fiction/fantasy genre. I gave them six months to pick up my offering. Having finished the first draft of my second book, I felt it was time for me to look at electronic publishing. I found the Smashwords Style Guide to be extremely helpful. The death nell is sounding for traditional paper book publishing.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
The Style Guide was very useful. I had to apply the Nuclear method to my word document to get it through ePubCheck. The errors reported by ePubCheck are a nonsense. I came to depend on the errors outlined in the emails. I have read the guide end-to-end at least twice, but, some things take a long time to sink in. That is my path to getting published. The Marketing Guide was informative. This interview is a valuable addition to the profile.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I guess that comes when I am finished. There are many highs at the end of each section and I get a great deal of pleasure from describing an emotional scene. It is particularly satisfying when someone else gets the feelings that I intended.
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything. I cannot expect to please them all, but I will do my best to listen to constructive criticism.
What are you working on next?
The first book "Merlin's First Millennia" was a history of Merlin's life. It included the legend of King Arthur and showed how Merlin was released from the crystal cave. The book covered Merlin's life up to the end of the late 1880s. His activities in the twentieth century were classified as he still worked for MI5 and was in the SOE during the wars.
The second book of the "Merlin's Millennia" series, titled "the Science of Magic", introduced Samantha and showed her slow seduction by Merlin. The book laid down the foundations and philosophies that surround Real Magic. Samantha's skills set her up as a healer and she spent most of her time fixing drug addicts and chasing their suppliers much to Merlin's annoyance. A secondary theme, 'telepathy is real', supports Samantha in her endeavours. The third book 'New Horizons' continues Samantha's stormy relationship with Merlin.
The next book "Athena's Table" will show Samantha setting up a new home in Cartagena in Spain. This will be her dream home or is it Athena's Fortress?
Who are your favorite authors?
As a child, my favourite author was Dennis Wheatley; I loved his adventure and Black Magic novels, in particular 'They used Dark Forces'. I moved on to Ursula K. Le Guin; my favourite was 'Left hand of Darkness'. I liked Robert Hienlien, especially 'Stranger in a strange land' and 'I will fear no evil'. While at college, I read Tolkien, 'The Lord of the Rings'. I was a great fan of J.K.Rowling and the Harry Potter series. I loved the TV series True Blood but I am yet to read the 'Suzie Stackhouse Mysteries' by Charlene Harris. I have read 'Fifty Shades' by E.L.James' and look forward to reading more of her work.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My writing is top of the list with music and TV a close second. I usually know what I want to do for the next day and sometimes well beyond that. I am not writing to deadlines so my characters develop in their own way. All I have to do is throw the right spanner into the works at the right time. Staying in bed was never an attraction for me.
What is your writing process?
I start with an idea and then list everything I know about that idea. I try to define the birth and death of that idea; if I can see lots of little steps between the two events then I know the idea is viable. This string of steps is the backbone of the book or individual chapter. Each character has a diary and, in the magic world, a list of changes. My novels are not a fight of good against evil per se; if it happens then it is the natural progress of the character or scene. The enemies of a magic user are many. Secrecy is paramount. Fear of discovery is a paranoia.
How do you approach cover design?
This was a nightmare for me. A book is judged by its cover. I wasn't confident that I could describe to a third party what I wanted on the cover and I was almost certain that I would end up changing it; so I had to consider doing it myself. I found much of what I wanted to do was limited by the tools available to produce the cover. Ten years ago, this would have been impossible. Now, I had a lot of fun with 'DAZ 3D' to compose my 3D scenes which I saved in 2D. The product is free but you do have to pay for the characters and clothing. I used Gimp to add the Title. Gimp is another free product with a large user community. I try to choose scenes with pseudo blank areas to the top and bottom of the scene. I like to put the title at the top and the author name at the bottom.
Describe your desk
Its an organised mess. Bottom right is my laptop. Top right is usually clear so that I can look over my laptop straight at my 32" TV which is on for the greater part of the day. If I am writing an intense scene with a rapid flow of words, the TV is turned off. Back to my desk, bottom left is a large pile of papers, bank and utility statements and so forth; it is usually archived every 6 months. Top left is a pile of documents that I like to keep handy.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
For the most part, I watch TV. I like 'people studies' like Big Brother, but, I would never go on the show. I like Star Trek particularly 'the next generation'. I loved 'True Blood' which is an adaptation of the stories about 'Suzy Stackhouse' by Charlene Harris. I try to spend some time with my family making a point of turning off my laptop at 9pm. I am an early-bird so I am usually in bed by midnight.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. It was about the village cricket team. The village was somewhere around fifty families; I never actually counted them. There wasn't much to do on a Sunday other than watch the cricket team; so you can imagine how boring the winters were; those were the days when I started reading and writing. The village cricket team had a demon bowler; he was probably the best bowler that England never had. I wrote about the stiffness in their trouser seams and the formal approach of their whole game; they were a stickler for the rules. My favourite game on that pitch was catching the moles around the boundaries. I didn't want them killed by traps.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I didn't learn to read until I was seven years old. I was deemed to be a late reader. Like most people I read Enid Blyton, but that was under duress at school. I had no real interest in reading. My first serious read was 'Le Morte D'Arthur' better known as 'King Arthur and the Knights of the round table'. It was given to me by my grandmother; perhaps that was the incentive to read it. I was initially attracted to the character Merlin and the possibilities of magic. I found my empathy drifting towards 'Morgana le Fey'. In this modern world of being told "it's not possible", I have often asked myself 'how is it possible?'. The seeds of my writing had been sown.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
My laptop. I like the normal book size print.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I am still looking. Marketing is a minimal concept for me. I am not interested in what sells well and writing for that market. I may or may not be a commercial writer. I write for my own pleasure about subjects that I find interesting. It seems unlikely that I will ever become a successful writer without total belief and fascination with my current subject.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I don't have a lot of time. All of my time is extremely valuable. I read 3 or 4 books per year. Most of these I bump into on twitter. I am always on the lookout for authors, bloggers and beta readers who write in the fantasy, romance and SciFi genres.
What do you read for pleasure?
I do proof-reading for another author "Jessie Wolf". Her books usually have a central character who has undergone a sex change. Her series "Death's Own Daughter" deals with a war veteran who goes through a near instantaneous change from male to female and with a radical rejuvenation thrown in. The DOD series shows how the new 'she' copes with her new environment. There is a lot of humour in the series and I am always looking forward to the next chapter.
Her current series "Embracing Justice" deals with a character that is going through the transgender process and suffers at the hands of all the 'Sissy boy' attackers. This character witnesses a murder and the story centres on the American Justice system of Witness Protection. Jessie's sense of humour adds wicked spice to another addictive read.
Published 2015-08-05.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Zed - A Rings Of Gaia Story
Pre-release—available June 21, 2019. Price: $2.99 USD. Language: English. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Dark, Fiction » Romance » Paranormal
ZED was not blessed with long life like Merlin Parnassus, but, by using the power of a ring of Gaia, he had avoided his ‘Day of Reckoning’. If the ring was held by ZED and a pregnant woman when she was at 26 weeks term, ZED’s spirit could move into the new foetus. His memories would be stored in the ring of Gaia when his body died. The pregnant woman was one of ZED’s granddaughters.
Merlin Parnassus
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 66,580. Language: English. Published: October 25, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Romance » Action/adventure
Merlin Parnassus was a Real Magician, a Navigator and a herbalist. He was the wizard at King Arthur’s Court. According to Legend, Merlin’s existence ended when he was trapped by Morgana Le Fey in the Crystal Cave; it didn’t end there. This biography shows Merlin has lived for two millennia and is still alive today. This is a work of fiction around real places and notable historical people.
Samantha's Journey into Real Magic - Part 1
Series: Samantha's Journey into Real Magic. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 86,570. Language: English. Published: June 19, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Romance » Action/adventure
In January 2010 in Milton, UK, Samantha Smith kissed her Saint Christopher medallion before setting out on a journey. In just a few days she would be challenged to apply her computer programming skills to the control of real magic. Could she heal one of Merlin’s closest friends? Where would her new skills lead her? What was the risk of using her skills? What was the secret of the medallion?