Interview with L L Watkin

Which one are you?
Since this is a joint authorship, I take this opportunity to point out that this is Louise. We may be identical twins, but Liz's answers would definitely be different to mine. This is good in a writing partnership. If we never disagreed our collective work would be much the poorer.
What do you read for pleasure?
I'm trying to catch up on my classic sci-fi right now with Slaughterhouse 5 and The Handmaiden's Tale. I've also got a long list of 19th century classics on my to-do list. I never seem to get round to it somehow. The next Marvel comic collection comes out, or there's a new YA fantasy at the cinema which I can't go see without reading the book first... I'm a trend-follower.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Our mother read several classic children's books to us when we were very young. I remember The Hobbit vividly and my tastes have been towards fantasy ever since. As far as independent reading goes, I think it was The tale of Jemima Puddleduck. I remember the neatness of the square hardback cover, and the bright colours of its fellow Potters. It was magical.
When did you first start writing?
I remember telling each other fan-fiction stories about The Muppet Babies cartoon, but in terms of the written word it would be exercise books full of talking squirrels that appeared after I read Redwall. We could only have been seven or eight then. The early work no longer exists, and I'm not sure if I'm sorry or grateful for that. The oldest surviving piece is a fantasy trilogy called The Rurendan Saga, which is not and may never be published - that was complete by seventeen. It has a tie-in short story Faith, and that's the earliest of our published titles.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The great thing about writing is when the story just flows. Then there are the days when you wish you had stuck to daydreaming and never bothered writing it down because then you could just pretend this scene was finished already. Of course, I then wouldn't have Liz's opinion... I take back what I just said. The best thing about writing is when other people tell you what they thought of the stuff that was previously just in your head.
How do you approach cover design?
I try to keep it simple, heading for icons and abstract representations. Partly this is because I expect them to mostly be seen as thumbnails, where less is more, and also because I'm only a novice painter. A professional designer could certainly make them neater, but then they wouldn't be mine.

The designs are based on the story, of course. I only have two rules - I always use the same lettering, and the backgrounds are black for the novels and cream for the short stories. In 2015 I hope to publish a set of novellas, so I suppose I'll have to extend my system.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The latest book, Therion, is the second of the Leviathan series. It picks up immediately after the first with the human crew stranded on an immense alien ship and tells how they struggle to take control of their environment. I intended this series to be a single short story, since I usually write for fanzines, but it grew on me (in both the emotional and the wordcount sense) and it's now two novels. Three if you count to co-universe Handmaiden series. I have no regrets about that.
What are you working on next?
I'm working on the third Leviathan Pathiel. The next book out is Chapel in the Waste, the second of the Handmaiden series, but that's currently on Liz's work pile. We rarely work on the same project at the same time - some arguments good, nothing but arguments bad. We expect Chapel to be out in Feb-14, Pathiel in Aug-14 and The Snowglobe (which is a steampunk fantasy) in 2015.
Published 2013-09-13.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Love in the Dawn
By L L Watkin
Series: LL Watkin Stories. Price: Free! Words: 5,060. Language: English. Published: March 30, 2014. Category: Fiction
A Shifter can be anyone you want them to be, in both body and mind, if you can afford the price – or at least they can pretend to be for a night. Most men are content to be seduced by the lie, but Huren wants the truth. For what he has planned, he’s going to need a Shifter he can trust.
The Chapel In The Wasteland
By L L Watkin
Series: The Handmaiden, Book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 83,560. Language: British English. Published: April 8, 2014. Category: Fiction
Being a Handmaiden of the Goddess is a job with many perks. Keldaren had always dreamed of a life like this. Well, a life like this except for the constant threat of execution, the fear of assassination, the dread that the Goddess possibly has something nastier in store for her and the knowledge that her best friend certainly has underhanded surprises up her ghostly sleeves.
Mesrin Station
By L L Watkin
Series: LL Watkin Stories. Price: Free! Words: 5,670. Language: English. Published: February 21, 2014. Category: Fiction
Eben had lost crew before. They skipped out at any space port. Normally they were easily replaced, but Jan was different. He was smarter, wiser and holding on to some of the most valuable merchandise Eben had ever managed to steal. He wouldn’t run. He was, however, definitely missing and getting him back was not going to be easy.
The Harpers and Other Stories
By L L Watkin
Series: LL Watkin Collections, Book 1. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 58,650. Language: English. Published: December 20, 2013. Category: Fiction
A collection of sixteen fantasy, science fiction and horror stories originally published in a fantasy society magazine.
Faith
By L L Watkin
Series: LL Watkin Stories. Price: Free! Words: 7,320. Language: English. Published: November 29, 2013. Category: Fiction
Halan had always been told he was an angel, sent by the Gods to defend humanity from one particular demon - his brother Hadon. When they were children, this was easy enough to believe, but now they are almost grown his mind breeds doubts. It is time to choose between faith in the Gods, and love of his brother, and both their lives lie in the balance.
The Faeries
By L L Watkin
Series: LL Watkin Stories. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,900. Language: English. Published: November 2, 2013. Category: Fiction
Her memories of the day before were scant, but vivid enough that fear had already settled in the pit of her stomach. She had heard music. Her father had not. She had followed after the music. He had screamed at her to stop. Helplessly. No one ever said Faeries were nice.
The Blessed
By L L Watkin
Series: LL Watkin Stories. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 2,660. Language: English. Published: October 5, 2013. Category: Fiction
Marli was special. She was chosen to defend the faithful from the vampire pestilence. She had trained almost a year and she was ready, even if her teachers thought she wasn't. Besides, he was alone, hiding. Even his coven leader had no faith in him. It would be an easy kill.
McGellen
By L L Watkin
Series: LL Watkin Stories. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 4,340. Language: English. Published: September 6, 2013. Category: Fiction
The crew were the best of humanity, supplied with the most sophisticated ship and sent off to find new technology to aid the war effort. McGellen herself was a mere add-on, “Test this new computer while you’re out there, kill two birds with one stone. Makes the whole thing more palatable to the paying public.” More palatable it may be, but not less risky.
Therion
By L L Watkin
Series: Leviathan, Book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 84,450. Language: English. Published: July 22, 2013. Category: Fiction
Book 2 of the Leviathan series. Shauna Murray has too many Tren in her sights. Commander of small, swift ambush ship Therion, she is deep in Tren space plundering supply convoys when she receives news of the Alliance fleet’s defeat and orders to retreat to the core worlds. Outnumbered and outgunned, escape won’t be easy but she has no choice but to try.
The Siege
By L L Watkin
Series: LL Watkin Stories. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 4,970. Language: British English. Published: June 28, 2013. Category: Fiction
Andy hadn’t wanted to be a soldier, but there was a war on and no one got a choice anymore. Like everyone else he was shipped off and lined up on an alien world, to stand his ground between the unstoppable guns and the impenetrable shields. Battles are unpredictable things, however, and a poor conscript might get lucky. Or die trying.
Neon Lights
By L L Watkin
Series: LL Watkin Stories. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 4,390. Language: British English. Published: May 31, 2013. Category: Fiction
William has spent a century watching the city light up gradually around him as he hunted, not a bad occupation for a vampire all told, but a lonely one. Now the time is finally here for him to make the perfect partner, one who will dazzle their human prey even as she consumes them. His design has been long in the planning, which makes it a shame he didn't stop to ask her first.
The Harpers
By L L Watkin
Series: LL Watkin Stories. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 8,770. Language: British English. Published: May 3, 2013. Category: Fiction
The Lady of the Keep did not return to her people in the spring. The Lord reports that she is ill, too ill to even write. There is an heir, or so the Lord claims at court, but no one has ever seen him. No one brave enough to tell the tale, anyway. The Lord commands dangerous magics and keeps many secrets, but his Lady's people are powerful too and they are coming for answers.
Jethabel
By L L Watkin
Series: Leviathan, Book 1. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 88,680. Language: English. Published: April 16, 2013. Category: Fiction
Book 1 of the Leviathan series. Captain David Arman is worried. The fleet is falling back (again) and leaving Sheraton port to the hands of the Tren armada. To salvage his reputation he needs to go down fighting, but his orders are to take as many refugees as will fit on board and run. He will find himself questioning his loyalties and struggling to stay alive.
The Abbey at the World's End
By L L Watkin
Series: The Handmaiden, Book 1. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 90,080. Language: British English. Published: April 16, 2013. Category: Fiction
Keldaren just wanted an easy life. A job where the boss wouldn’t scream if she was five minutes late. A nice boyfriend. Treasure worth a not so small fortune. To go a week without a bomb going off in her near vicinity. Was that so much to ask? Unfortunately, when your best friend is a three thousand year old ghost with a chip on her insubstantial shoulders, it might be.
A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Festival
By L L Watkin
Series: LL Watkin Stories. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 11,840. Language: British English. Published: April 13, 2013. Category: Fiction
The festival always brings crowds of tourists to Abatha, thronging the streets with their holier than thou attitude and easy to steal purses. Keldaren is about to find out the hard way that they're not all as harmless as she thinks.