The Sunday Spotlight
Author Interview and Book Feature
This week I'm so happy to have fellow Brit & Indie Author, Chantal Halpin on the blog, sharing novels, writing and life.
So let us begin our little journey today, starting with...
Sam would prefer to stay concealed amongst the nobodies. She’s a witch with a dodgy past hiding in the insurance claim industry. When a high profile politician is threatened with having his Community position as a vampire exposed, she couldn’t care less.
Sadly her boss forces her on baby-sitting duty and she unwittingly attracts the attention of a witch-hunter. While trying to protect her confidential client’s secret identity she also has to fight her attraction to the pyromaniac hunter like a suicidal moth.
An urban fantasy short story of approx 2,500 words set in London with British spellings.
Insurance claims worker, Sam, doesn’t want to do any more jobs for the Community. She just wants to fill in her nice, harmless forms. But when she is coaxed into rescuing a witch’s familiar from a tree, she finds her charge is more than an average kitty.
Faced with the option of handing him over to the authorities, she instead risks her liberty and flees across London with the witch hunters in hot pursuit. But for a change it seems the Latino pyromaniacs are not the most dangerous players in this game of cat and mouse.
This is a short story of approx 10,000 words with British spellings set in London.
Chantal Halpin lives in the South West of England with her husband, two kids and their smelly rescue dog. She mostly writes urban fantasy and loves anything fanged, fae witchy or shifty. She is currently working on The Witch Hunter Series which includes both urban fantasy and young adult stories.
GoodReads: Author Page
Talking with Chantal
The Sunday Spotlight
Hi Chantal and welcome
What inspired you to start writing novels for your chosen genre?
Everything I was reading was urban fantasy so authors like Charlaine Harris, Laurell K. Hamilton, Ilona Andrews, Patricia Briggs, Kim Harrison, Karen Marie Moning and you tend to write what you want to read.
Are there any other genres you’ve written?
Oh yes lots - I’ve studied creative writing so you have to do a bit of everything, I’ve even written poetry - not necessarily good poetry I might add.
Are you working on anything new right now?
Yes, I’m actually writing a straight up romance - meaning it has no paranormal elements. But I also have several other works in progress that are all urban fantasy or paranormal romance.
What inspires you to write?
Everything. It could be something odd I point out to my husband and then I go, “Oh that would be a good idea for a story,” and then I tend to mull it over.
Can you offer any advice to the fledgling authors, just starting out?
Not really, I consider myself in their company. Except maybe read everything you can, go on writing courses, join writing circles and critique groups and write every day.
Who is your all-time favourite author?
A husband and wife writing duo who go by the pen name of Ilona Andrews - I love them, they are so cool and their books aren’t half bad either.
What are you reading at the moment & would you recommend it to us?
I am reading My Soul to Take (Soul Screamers #1) by Rachel Vincent and yes I would recommend it, she is a wonderful story teller. It is a young adult, urban fantasy about a girl called Kaylee who can predict death.
How do you come up with the Titles for your novels?
Foul is Fair was actually written for an assignment on my last writing course (which is why it is so short) and I was really struggling with the title. Usually the title comes to me at the beginning of the story, but this one was giving me so much trouble that I started dreaming about the story and witches and I woke up reciting the opening lines to Shakespeare’s Macbeth:
“Fair is foul, and foul is fair:
Hover through the fog and filthy air.”
Act 1 Scene 1
The Brinded Cat was a lot easier as it follows on from Foul is Fair so I used another line from further on in the play. I knew the witches said something about a cat so I went looking and found this;
“First Witch: Thrice the brinded cat hath mew’d”
Act 4 Scene 1
Do you have a day job, other than writing?
Yes, I’m a lab technician.
What is your preferred method of writing:- The plot pre-planned from day one, or just go with the flow and see what happens next?
I’m a pantser by nature, a writer who ‘flies by the seat of their pants’ rather than planning, although I usually know the ending and most of the key scenes in advance.
Are there any tips or tricks you use to get to know your characters?
My tutor on my last course made us write top tens on your character such as their top ten most important people, ten most important decisions, places, wishes etc. If you can come up with ten lists of top tens you tend to know them pretty well.
Do you like to write while listening to music and if so, does your book have particular playlist you’d like to share?
Generally I write in silence - or as close to it as I can get in a houseful, which isn’t very silent at all! But when I was doing NaNoWriMo I discovered that if I was falling behind on my daily word count, listening to Insomnia by Faithless over and over makes me write much faster.
Which type of book do you prefer to read?
An ebook. I was quite resistant to this until I got my kindle and now I don’t leave home without it.
How many novels/books do you typically read in a month?
Apart from writing, do you have any other hobbies?
Does reading count? Umm I ride a motorbike and I like baking cakes, other than that my kids tend to keep me pretty busy.
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Definitely a night owl - but I have to be up early either for work or with the kids so I don’t get to indulge my natural tendency.
What’s your least favourite part of the writing process?
It’s all either wonderful or hateful for different reasons in different ways. Editing can be hard but satisfying, the first draft can be frustrating but exciting.
How long does it typically take you to write a novel?
I finished the first draft of Death’s Daughter, which is a full length novel at approx 65,000 words, in three months.
What is the one book you can’t live without?
Umm... my kindle?
Many thanks to Chantal for letting me shine the spotlight on her, and her novels today, they look totally fab!
So stay cool - not in the cold BRRRRR way - in the cool and happening shaking your thing way and I'll see you soon with some more great posts!