Virginie Pairaya, Felicity Freeman and Alice Austin Interview

there is no better way

Hello my fellow little munchkins. How are you all doing? I am doing well. This is the first part of interviews from the authors of the Dark Anthology Series! So, while it has three people in this it isn’t as long as you might think, it’s almost the same as the next interview for this book. So I hope you are able to read from the top to the bottom, but I totally understand if you don’t. This will be split up into 2 different posts and I should have the next part of the interviews up in around 5 days!

Anyways, why don’t we get into this interview?


Virginie Pairaya

What is your writing kryptonite?

My writing kryptonite is stress! I thrive a lot on being busy and having a lot of things to do (classic extrovert) but the downside of being too busy is that I don’t have the mental or emotional space I need to really dedicate to my writing. Finding a writing buddy and setting aside a time and place to write helps me get into the writing groove.

What made you want to write this book?

I’ve always been fascinated by myth or folklore – stories that have stuck in our collective imagination and that people have been telling and re-telling for centuries. Like most of the world I grew up very familiar with Western myths and folktales – whether it was epics like the Odyssey or folk stories like Robin Hood these classics of western cannon were ingrained since childhood, but growing up in Thailand I also had a whole other canon of folktales to draw from – one which isn’t really known outside of Thailand. If I’m completely honest it wasn’t until adulthood that I decided to really deepen my knowledge on these familiar stories – and I wanted to be able to share them with a wider audience. I want people to love these stories as much as I do.

If you could tell your younger writing self something, what would it be?

Never throw anything away – not because you’ll necessarily use it again, but if you’re like me and suffer from imposter syndrome, coming across reams and reams of old writing helps build confidence. I was doing a clear out of my bedroom and I found so many old notebooks and little scraps of story ideas hidden everywhere collected over the years and I thought to myself wow – I really am a writer.

Have you ever had difficulty coming up with an idea for your story?

All the time! I’ve had years (especially when I first started working) where I was too busy to have any creative energy left for writing, so no ideas flourished there. I’m much more careful now to protect some mental space for creativity – but even when I have ideas for stories I will frequently get stuck. Then the best thing I’ve found is to ask the questions I’m asking myself to different friends. For example I was stuck for a long time on what would make a daughter who loved her father betray him – so I asked my friends, what would it take for you to stop loving your father? Those ideas then became part of how I developed their relationship and characters.

As a writer, what would your spirit animal be?

Probably an owl. Most of my writing happens late at night after everyone else has gone to sleep.   

What Hogwarts house would the main character of your book be sorted into?

I feel like Supanna could be a Hufflepuff or Slytherin (weird combo I know, but it’s the one that makes the most sense). She’s intensely loyal and definitely has moral principles, but she’s also very observant and careful in how she moves around, always adapting to survive so quite cunning in that sense.

What do you owe the real people upon whom you base your character?

I don’t think I really base my characters on people I know – this might sound self-centered but a lot of the times I give different characters different aspects of myself. It’s easier for me to give them a real emotional grounding if I can think of a time when I might have felt or thought in a similar way as a character.

While you were editing your book what were some thoughts that were going through your mind?

Editing is so hard! Also it’s all awful I hate it. (I’m very critical of my work immediately after I write it, it usually takes some distance before I can look at it again and enjoy it).

Do you google yourself?

Yes – and I would recommend everyone do it occasionally, especially if you’ve grown up with the internet and spent almost two decades feeding it information about you. You’ll be surprised at what might pop up in a google search one day (ahem embarrassing high school graduation photos from when I didn’t know how to do make-up properly). 

Do you believe in writer’s block?

Yes – I do think there’s always something one can do to unblock it if it’s a creativity thing. Sometimes it’s just an exhaustion thing and that just means you need to give yourself a bit of a break.

What is your writing process like?

Sporadic and nocturnal.

What advice do you have for other writers?

Read a lot – and if you’re looking to achieve a particular effect, read from writers who are known to be masters at what you’re trying to do. It doesn’t necessarily mean from the same genre – for example if you want to develop a really strong first-person narrative with an unreliable narrator, there are many different authors across a spectrum of genres who you can read from to get ideas on how you can create your own.

How much research do you do for your books?

A fair amount – I avoid writing about any era or setting that I’m not knowledgeable about. So for example, while I love Istanbul and will devour any fiction I can find set in the Ottoman Empire – I know I 100% do not know nearly enough to go there when it comes to writing. Even when I am very comfortable in my knowledge of a setting or historical era I will seek out whatever resources I can find online or books/films, etc. to help me make it more realistic. I may never actually write a scene where the main character is sat down at dinner for example, but I’d want to know – what does a standard dinner setting look like for a character from this era and social class, living in this region?

When did you decide you wanted to become a writer?

I think I consciously decided I wanted to become an author when I read first Harry Potter – I would’ve been about nine then.

When did you first start writing?

My first complete story that I wrote and illustrated I completed on a sick-day when seven (time-travelling thinly-veiled Baby Sitter’s Club fanfiction if you must know). But I feel like I’ve been inventing stories since forever.

Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?

I write and brainstorm ideas in a notebook but when I’m in a flow it’s easier for me to type directly on a computer. It has to be a laptop or desktop with a proper keyboard, I hate typing on a touch screen like a phone, but have been known to do so if i’m struck with inspiration while out and about on the tube for instance

What do you believe is the hardest part of writing?

Finishing the first draft. Followed by re-writing.

What is the easiest part of writing that you consider?

Narrative voice. I usually find it impossible to write unless I can already hear the character speaking, so it’s the first thing that comes to me when I’m writing.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

I’ll let you know when I finally manage to finish a novel! So far I’ve had more success with short stories. The novel-length works I have that are closest to completion took at least two or three years to knock out 90% of a first draft.

Any tips on how to go through a dreaded writer’s block?

Write or do something else – I’m also an artist so I found drawing concept art for my work sometimes helps unblock the writing.

Do you think the cover plays an important part of the buying process?

Definitely – it’s the first thing to catch your eye if you’re browsing in a bookstore, or even if you’re browsing online (although that experience is a bit different as an algorithm has already predetermined the selection with stuff that’ll most likely appeal). As an artist I also love beautiful cover art and definitely have a fondness for beautiful books.

How do you market your books?

Usually through book bloggers and sharing on social media.

Why did you choose said route?

My first short story at uni was self-published and we didn’t have much of a budget so this method of marketing makes the most sense. I think with books as well people do tend to want to buy them if they’re recommended from sources they trust whose taste they feel aligns with their own – I know I do.

How can your readers discover more about you and your work?

The best place to follow me is probably on my personal instagram piratequeengin, though I do also have an art instagram virginie.pairaya.art


Felicity Freeman 

What made you want to write this book?

I’ve always loved studying folklore and mythology, so it was a project I could really lose myself in.

What Hogwarts house would the main character of your book be sorted into?

Aisling would probably be a Slytherin, and then Lilly and Ian would probably be a Hufflepuff and Gryffindor.

What is your writing process like?

I block out a rough idea of the plot and characters, then just launch into it. For small pieces like this, I will finish the entire thing before doing any editing, then go through it over and over again until I can’t find anything else to nitpick.

How much research do you do for your books?

Endless amounts, sometimes it feels like I spend more time researching than I do writing. My google search history is a nightmare.

When did you decide you wanted to become a writer?

In Junior High I had a teacher that really encouraged my writing, and it was that moment where I just went, ‘Finally, something I’m good at’.

When did you first start writing?

I believe I was thirteen or fourteen when I really started getting into writing.

 Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?

Longhand, I don’t get caught up in making every sentence perfect and the story flows more naturally out of me.

What do you believe is the hardest part of writing?

Deciding that what you’ve written is good enough.

What is the easiest part of writing that you consider?

Coming up with cool ideas and plots.

Any tips on how to go through a dreaded writer’s block?

Just keep writing, even if what you are writing sucks, just keep going.


Alice Austin

If you could tell your younger writing self something, what would it be?

Try to make writing a daily habit. Even if you don’t manage to do very much in a day, it’s still something and it will be easier to keep that habit going than to start writing again after not doing it for a few days.

 Have you ever had difficulty coming up with an idea for your story?

All the time! Sometimes I get a very basic idea about something I could write about, but it needs fleshing out before it can be a full story. Filling in those gaps can be difficult.

As a writer, what would your spirit animal be?

Probably a tortoise. Slow and steady…

 Do you believe in writer’s block? 

Definitely. Sometimes you have a story and it’s all planned out, you know exactly what to write… but for some reason you just can’t write it. Or you just have no idea what should happen next.

 What is your writing process like? 

I start off by roughly figuring out the plot, then I just write and try to get to the end without worrying about whether or not it reads well. If I change my mind about any major details part way through, I’ll wait until I get to the end and then go back and change them. Finally I go back and edit the whole thing from the beginning to make it more readable and enjoyable.

What advice do you have for other writers?

Don’t get too caught up in editing while you write, otherwise you’ll just get stuck endlessly editing the same part of your story over and over and you won’t make any progress. Try not to be too perfectionist until you’ve written a decent amount of your story!

 When did you first start writing?

I started writing when I was a kid, probably about 11-12ish. I wrote a lot throughout school, but then fell out of the habit a bit during sixth form and University. Luckily I picked it back up again after University!

 What is the easiest part of writing that you consider?

I think coming up with an idea for the story is the easiest part, and the hardest part is actually writing it! I think up a lot of potential story ideas, but don’t end up writing them all because sometimes I just don’t know where to take the story from my initial idea.


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