This week, I had the pleasure to interview Poppy Reid. Despite us sharing a last name, I had never met Poppy before I joined twitter last year. She’s a great, supportive author and helped me out a lot by editing my short stories. She also wrote a really great fantasy book The Blood of the Fallen
First, let’s get to know Poppy with some fun, quirky questions!
If you were stranded on a desert island, what three books would you want with you.
I assume you mean books I’d want to read, as opposed to huge tomes I can use to make a fire or island survival guides. I’d probably take ‘Outcast’ by Josephine Cox because I love the drama and romance. Another drama I love is Flowers in the Attic by Virginia Andrews. After those two I’d probably be thoroughly depressed so I’d have a fun book as a pick-me-up – probably “Is it just me?” by Miranda Hart. It’s more of a biography than a novel, but it’s so funny!
Yeah, the last thing you’d want is to be depressed while stranded on a desert island!
What animal best describes your personality?
I’ve never heard that question before! I suppose I’d say a squirrel, because they hide their food to prepare for winter. I’m fairly decent at planning ahead.
If there was one place in the world you’d love to visit, where would it be?
There are hundreds of places I want to go. Right now my dream is to travel the world. I’d love to visit New Zealand one day – go kayaking, skydiving and hiking on the gorgeous islands.
New Zealand is a beautiful place!
Are you a cat or dog person?
Definitely a dog person. I used to be scared of dogs as a kid but I love them now, I can’t see one without squealing and wanting to pet it.
If you could have a dinner with one historical person, who would it be?
Probably Martin Luther King. He was a great inspiration to many.
Now that we got the fun questions out of the way, let’s get down to the brass tacks!
Besides writing, what are you passionate about?
Travelling. It’s my dream to travel the whole world, working, earning and writing as I go. I might start next year!
Good luck with that! I could never do that, I would get too stressed about the details!
What drew you to the craft of writing?
I’ve been writing since I was a little kid. If it rained when I was at school and we couldn’t play outside, I’d be curled up in a corner writing a story. When I got my first computer (a huge, heavy old thing without internet that used to belong to my mum), I’d sit in my room for hours and hours working on the Fire Princess series (which unfortunately got lost after we moved house). I’ve always written, and always enjoyed it.
When writing a novel, are you a detailed planer or do you fly by the seats of your pants?
I have pages and pages of notes, comments and highlights on my computer. Sometimes I come across an ancient version of a book I’d written and laugh at the old – and sometimes terrible – ideas I’ve had. I don’t plan every little detail but the basic story, notes on characters and a timeline is on a separate document as a reference.
I have a hard drive full of stuff I wrote back in the late nineties when I was in high school. It’s dreadfully hilarious.
Your novel Blood of the Fallen is a sword-and-sorcery Fantasy. What is your favorite part about writing Fantasy?
I absolutely adore fantasy. It’s completely limitless. You can create an entirely new universe with its own rules, its own hierarchy, its own laws. You can control the magical elements, the weaponry, the creatures and the people. Fantasy is definitely my favourite genre for those reasons.
I think we’re on the same page!
Inspiration is such a fascinating phenomenon. Where did the inspiration for the Blood of the Fallen come from?
I’ve always been kind of a hopeless romantic, enjoying romantic books and movies. I always wanted to create something like that but didn’t fancy focusing on just a romance book. Since I love fantasy, I created the world of Theldiniya and developed the relationship between two people whose love could never be accepted by others – something I experienced when I was younger, and wanted to incorporate into my first book.
What has been the biggest obstacle you faced when you self-published your novel Blood of the Fallen?
Formatting! I didn’t enjoy having to sort out the front cover, page numbers, page size, etc. It was a massive pain in the butt.
Oh, yes. The joy of formatting. I’ve only had to do shorts, I can only imagine an entire novel.
I understand you are living abroad in Japan. What is it like to live and work in a foreign country?
If you enjoy being considered exotic, working in Japan is a lot of fun, if a little challenging at times. Once you’re over the homesickness and craving your country’s food (it took six months to stop fantasizing over sausage rolls) you start to get used to it and really feel at home. Japan is a great country in many ways – it’s safe, clean, the people are polite and it’s an entirely different culture. I did get a little culture shock when going back to England for a week, though – I forgot to tip the taxi driver (tipping isn’t done in Japan) and felt really bad about it afterwards.
I’ve always wanted to return to Japan, well Okinawa. I was there at a really young age, too young to remember it outside of my parent’s home videos.
Last, do you have any advice for a new or aspiring author?
First of all – write every day! Even if it’s nothing to do with a project you’re working on. Read a lot, especially friends’ and acquaintances’ work. Enjoy what you do – don’t think of it just as a way to make extra money. Get people to read your work and take criticism well. I actually wrote a small piece on being a writer on my blog which answers this question. Click here to check out Poppy’s Article!
Yes. Learning to take criticism is important. We are usually blind to the faults in our work until someone points them out.
Now that we’ve gotten to know Poppy a little bit, let’s check out an excerpt from her novel, Blood of the Fallen.
Theldiniya has been torn apart by two hundred gruelling years of war, both sides forsaken by their ancient gods. One last desperate strike by the Tyrans has prophesised doom for their people, yet, undeterred by the Seer’s cataclysmic predictions, a clan of Tyran warriors have moved east to attack a small Elven village. The Seer turns to Villid, his last true friend, in hopes that he will help protect the Elf Seer and save the Tyran people. When Villid is framed for a crime he didn’t commit he finds an unexpected ally in Aya, an Elf girl, forcing them to rely on each other to survive. In such turbulent times an unlikely friendship is formed between those who once would have been enemies…
“You like that one?” Shade suddenly hissed. “The one in green? You want her, do you, Tyran?”
Villid didn’t respond. He glanced round. The Tyrans had now completely surrounded the square, well-hidden in the shadows, waiting for the order to attack. Here and there he thought he saw the hilt of a sword, or a movement from one of the soldiers. The Elves round the tables, however, were oblivious to their hunters. Villid could see women and children sitting, eating, clapping and smiling at the beautiful dancers in the middle. He didn’t like this at all. Battles and arenas were one thing, but the slaughtering of the innocent?
The music had reached its climax and was starting to slow down, and then the dancers were entwined round each other, their arms outstretched, still and silent, smiling down at the crowd. All too soon their performance had ended. Villid knew it – the moment would come any second.
“Shade,” he whispered desperately. “We… we shouldn’t…”
“I tire of this,” Shade interrupted, as several of the Elves started to get to their feet and applaud the dancers. “This is it. So what was the one you wanted, six-one-twenty-seven? That one in green?” and he took aim with a long, sharp dagger from his belt.
It was like an instinct. Villid slammed as hard as he could into Shade’s shoulder, throwing him off his aim. The blade cut through the air as fast as lightning…”
Poppy Reid was born in Wick, Scotland and grew up in various parts of England before going to York St. John University to study Linguistics. She now resides in Nagano, Japan and works as an English teacher. Poppy adores writing, and has written several books and a numerous amount of short stories and informative articles online.