TROUPE OF SHADOWS

Tell us about how you began your journey as an author - Where did it all start?

I read a lot as a kid, and being an author was one of my childhood dreams, but I didn’t really do much about that dream though for the best part of three decades. Writing a book is a lot of effort, you know? It was only during the midst of the Covid-19 lockdown and the cabin fever that came with it that I was finally pushed into actually writing something and now I can’t get enough. Over the next few years, I wrote a huge chonky fantasy novel, and a more medium sized one, neither of which have actually been published. Troupe of Shadows was my third go at it.

I didn’t really know self-publishing was an option when I started, but as I got to know other authors and heard about their experiences, I realised it might actually suit me better than going the traditional route so here I am.

Where do you see it going in the future?

One day I’d like to make a living off my books so I can write full time. That’s the dream. For now, though my focus is on writing the books I want to write. I have a lot of ideas, some very pulpy and fun, some very serious. If it becomes profitable, great! If not, I still have a very fulfilling hobby that I plan to keep working on for the rest of my life.

What obstacles did you have to overcome during the writing process?

For Troupe of Shadows, I found the biggest obstacle was my choice of protagonist. We often forgive fictional characters for being a bit morally questionable, but we don’t forgive them for being obnoxious, and Sellane has a lot of traits that would make her a real nightmare co-worker, friend, or relative. She’s self-centred, self-pitying, vindictive, insecure, arrogant, and petty, at least at first. It was a challenge to stay true to that vision for the character without making the book an unpleasant read too.

So, I was careful to look out for spots where she became a little too much, and made sure she had some humanizing emotions. I also tried to give the reader a bit of a break by having the point of view spend a lot of time with side characters. I think it worked? None of the reviews have mentioned her being super annoying, at least, which she definitely was in the earlier drafts!

If you could give some advice to a new writer in the indie community, what would it be?

Get help. Get help soon.

No, seriously. Not only are creative partnerships hugely rewarding, but getting feedback on your writing is one of the fastest ways to improve. Find writing communities either in the real world or online (Discord has some great servers these days). Get involved, make friends, make connections, join writing groups, trade critique, swap beta-reads. Be willing to give your own feedback in exchange: no one works for free. Look for nice, cool writers who aren’t afraid to be honest with you, preferably ones who understand the genre you’re writing in.

I know showing your writing to others can be anxiety-inducing (I felt physically sick the first time I did it) but exposure therapy is the only way to get over that anxiety. And personally, I think it’s better to go through that before you write a 200k chonker without realizing they taught you grammar all wrong at school… which is what happened to me.

Troupe of Shadows Author Profile Cover

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