Welcome to Lillian Bishop and Constance Williams!
Please tell us a little about yourself.
Well, there are two of us for a start! We’re more than a little unusual as authors go, because we actually live on entirely different continents. Lillian is from the northern USA, Constance is from the UK. We met over a decade ago when we were introduced by a mutual friend. A mutual love of cult tv shows, all things geek and the written word worked to make us friends and we began writing together. First it was on a very casual basis, but it became more and more serious over the years. It was a little odd at first, of course, but now it feels like second nature.
Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc.
We’ve just released our first novel together. The Dreamwalker is a young adult, modern fantasy novel which will appeal to people looking for a fun and diverting ‘quick read’ for trips and those down moments in the day. It is the first book in The Witch Lake Chronicles, and follows the story of Sam Gardener, a boy who returns to high school to take his senior year, having been pulled out of middle school by his mother when he was twelve.
Nobody knows what to make of Sam, and in the small town high school, rumours are flying about him. All wrong, of course! He’s not about to come out and say that he can do things that most people can’t. Sam would like to just settle down and get through the year unscathed. Then he meets Rhionnan – a girl around his own age, though she’s been dead for nearly a century. A strange bond develops between the two. The Dreamwalker is their story – of Sam’s reintegration into life, and of Rhi’s fight to save her family, even in death.
Where can readers find your book?
How long have you been writing and what, if anything, made you choose the genre in which you write?
We’ve been writing together for over ten years now. YA paranormal fiction is a great playground to be running around in. It has so many angles you can use, and the age range of the characters involved is an entertaining one to write. We chose it because it seemed like the most fun to both write and read!
Who or what are your inspirations/influences?
Constance – Inspiration comes in a lot of different guises for me, and I never quite know which direction it will hit from next. I read an awful lot – over a whole range of genres. I also take inspiration from the world around me. As an author, you’re always switched on, always looking and cataloguing everything that goes on around you. You never know when something might spark an idea – even if it’s years later and in an entirely different context! Strangely enough, a lot of my inspiration also comes from dreams.
Lillian – I’m with Constance, I get it from all over the place! For me, I like concepts. That’s where I start out from most of the time, to build up from. I latch onto something and go from there, building around a central idea that I find interesting or think could be interesting in the right context. Sometimes that comes from a snippet of a news story, or talking with friends, dreams, nightmares, photographs, paintings, buildings, dolls, driving through ridiculous weather in the middle of the night – I get ideas all the time, from random places. For influences, it’s pretty much the same thing. Movies, tv shows, books, comics, web articles – anything can influence me, if it catches my attention.
Can you name a positive experience from your writing and a negative one?
Lillian – I got a best friend out of it! Writing together over the years, even if we’ve never met in person, really had a huge impact in my life. I’ve always written, ever since I was a child, but I loved the experience of writing back and forth with someone. Constance and I have very compatible writing styles, ideas and interests, and not only did we put together stories that we loved, we each made a lifelong friend we otherwise would never have crossed paths with.
Constance – which I guess leaves me with the negative, right? Choosing the right path for the story to take can be hard at times. No matter what, the story is the most important thing. There are often times where one of the other of us will have a really cool idea for a moment in our writing. It could be something funny, or sweet. Something that fits just perfectly in the moment, but that you know, in your heart of hearts, just doesn’t fit in with the overarching story. It can be so hard to sacrifice that perfect little moment. When you’re writing together just for fun and your own enjoyment, you can leave those little moment where they are. When you’re writing together for the enjoyment of others, though – the story has to win out. That is the most important thing.
With the rise of e-books do you still publish in print as well? Is this medium important and why?
Constance – I definitely think that print is important! I mean, I have an ebook reader and it’s so convenient to use. E-publishing has also opened up a whole new world, but I still think that you just cannot beat a proper, actual book. I’ve always been in love with books – not only what’s inside them, but the feel and the smell of them. When I was younger, I was a librarian, and that’s stayed with me. I often spend a weekend afternoon hunting through second hand bookshops, or in my local bookstore.
Lillian – I still believe in print. I love e-books. I have an e-reader, and think that it’s changing the entire structure for publishing, and that’s a good thing. That said, one living room wall is dominated by three bookshelves, and I’ve got more books in storage. E-books are good for me because I’m on the go all the time and sometimes like to switch what I’m reading depending on what kind of a day I’m having, and that’s nice. For instance, I have learned not to read horror when I’m having a bad day! So to be able to switch to something more lighthearted in an instant is a huge advantage. I agree with what Constance said too, however. The feel of books, the smell of them, you can’t beat it.
Do you listen to music or watch TV whilst you write?
Lillian – I do! Mostly I go for music, and change up my playlists depending on what sort of mood I’m going for in a particular chapter. I have a ton of different lists for different tones, and I’m constantly making new ones. I suppose for me it’s putting in my own soundtrack as the action unfolds!
Constance – Not if I can help it!! I’m definitely one of those people who needs peace and quiet to be able to write at my best. The fewer distractions the better.
Books are important, why is this the case? What can a book provide that say a video game cannot?
Lillian – As a gamer, this is a fun question for me. In my opinion, they’re apples and oranges. Even if I pay attention to the story in each game I play, (even the ones where story is pretty thin!) because you’re driving the action, it’s entirely different than sitting down with a good book where you’re being guided through the narrative. I appreciate both, there have been game storylines that even get me all misty, but books for me provide a more emotionally immersive environment. You never have to think about coordination and timing when you’re reading a book, it isn’t about learning the controls, etc. You’re just there, in that world whenever you pick it up and it gets your full attention.
Constance – I’d echo what Lillian has to say here. Both books and videogames take you off into another world – and both have the ability to lose you for hours, if not days! They work in different ways though, for me. Where a video game may provide you with a beautifully crafted world, where you marvel at the graphics, a book allows you to build that world yourself, inside your head. No world described in a book will ever be the same to two different people, no matter how well described. Look at the effect it has when a book is realised into a movie. How different the comments are about how closely the look and feel reflects how the readers imagined the world. I love that individuality. I love that readers can take what someone has written and crafted for them and leave their own stamp on it.
Can you give us a silly fact about yourself?
Lillian – I have Mottephobia! Fear of moths. I’m fine with spiders, with snakes, etc. Moths, however, send me into a squeaking panicked flee mode. I’m not much better with butterflies.
Constance – I’m afraid of heights. Terrified of them. So, of course, I took up rock climbing as a hobby at sixteen.