I am delighted to be hosting the first stop on the Oksa Pollock blog tour. Here is my interview with Anne Plichota and Cendrine Wolf…
1. Please tell us a little about yourself?
Anne: I am an introvert and I have a rather anxious personality. I get easily sad or scared but every day I find ways of becoming stronger: laughing at myself, finding small joys, laugh or wonder at anything and everything …
More specifically, in no particular order, I love books (fiction), pop, rock and electro music, trees, mild lunacy, pugs, chocolate, swimming and TV series (at the moment, I’m in a Downton Abbey/Dexter/Homeland phase).
Cendrine: I have very simple tastes. I like good food and pop rock music. I love cinema and an avid DVD watcher !
What was your inspiration for Oksa Pollock ?
Anne : I made a list of every story I liked and made my own story. I mixed true stories I heard with made up ones, dreams and reality, fantasies with the limits of human condition. I try to imagine what’s beyond what we can see and start believing in this newly made up reality.
In our writing we combine what we can see with what we imagine and create. This also means everything can be a source of inspiration. On our minds, a fly on the wall can be a spy sent by hidden enemies, plants actually speak in their own language. There are several worlds out there, right in front of us, and we have no idea they exist. I find that idea very exciting and scary.
Cendrine : When I was a child, I wanted to be an astronaut, I was fascinated by what’s up there. I spent most of my childhood wanting to travel to Mars or the Moon! Now I know that travelling to faraway planets will have to remain a dream but these frustrations have given birth to the need to write books. When you write fiction, you change bodies. That’s my favourite thing about writing, I have control over everything, I choose the characters and decide what their adventures should be.
How does your writing partnership work?
Anne : Our partnership works because we put in common everything we have to bring, and what should be in the books, and what shape it should take. We each have our own vision of the story, but we’ve discussed the plot and the key points together (can’t do without!). We both know what the end goal of the story is, as well as the key turning points of the story, then we each add more details according to our moods, background and personalities…
Cendrine : It’s an ongoing dialogue, which allows us to merge our ideas and our creative visions. It’s a great way of building a story.
Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Anne : Well… Do indeed listen to tips from others, some of them are very useful but don’t lose track of what you want to do! It’s not always easy to find the right balance, between remaining open to other people’s points of views and willing to change whilst staying true to yourself!
Being persistent and keeping a regular schedule is also very helpful, keeping the momentum going is essential. And last but not least, check the overall consistency of what you write, review your work hundreds of times, know your characters inside out and know where you’re going (even though the plot may change as you go along). The prep work before you start writing is as important as the foundations of a house. If they’re not solid enough, the book will collapse eventually.
Cendrine : Believe in it, REALLY want it and take your time.
What are you working on at the moment?
Anne: The Oksa Pollock series is over but we’ve decided to focus on secondary characters to write a new story and a new series based on de Tugdual, Zoe, Mortimer, Abakoum and Barbara. A spin-off or a sequel of sorts… We’ve also planned a volume 0 as a prequel to Oksa Pollock (the childhood and teenage years of Dragomira, Orthon, Abakoum and Leomido), as well as the ‘short tales of Dragomira’ mixing her odd creatures with famous fairy tales…
Meanwhile, we’re also working on a completely different series, Susan Hopper. Volume 1 was published in France last year.
Cendrine : It’s all correct, nothing to add!
Thanks, Anne and Cendrine!
Look out for my review coming soon.