Shining a Light on Wattpad!
Part 1 of my interview with Meredith Rose, author of Chains of Silver. Here we discuss her books and writing process. Part 2 will discuss her Wattpad tips!
Meredith Rose is the author of Chains of Silver, an Alchemy Empire Novel. Chains of Silver is a fabulous NA novel on Wattpad which has achieved over 61,000 reads and more than 2,300 votes!
Tell us a little bit about yourself please?
I never know how to answer this one! I got bored with my “gunmetal blond” hair so I started coloring it red—Love. It. I drink too much chai tea, and as a result am addicted to coffee shops. My favorite TV show by far is BBC’s Sherlock, and I’ve recently become a Whovian as well, so basically I bow at the shrine of Moffatt and Gatiss. I’m a terrible blogger, but constantly intend to become better. I’m thoroughly besotted with my husband, and we have two teen daughters I adore. I give literary names to all my pets—currently have a cat named D’Artagnon. I have never cosplayed but fervently hope to do so. And I am learning to speak Welsh—Shw mai! Sut wyt ti, heddiw? (Hello! How are you today?)
Had you always wanted to be a writer?
I think so! I can remember trying to write words and letters before I could even read. I started writing my first novel when I was seven—it was supposed to be co-written with my 4-year-old little brother, but he lost interest before I finished writing the title! It was two memo pages long—in my best printed, pencil letters, every other line skipped, two-finger width between each word—about best friends Flower and Bee who were doomed to be separated when winter came, and how they overcame Nature to be together.
Even though I was always working on some story or another, I went to college to be a teacher because I didn’t believe I could have a writing career. Now that I’ve had four books published and more on the way, it’s important to me to encourage younger writers to follow their publishing dreams, no matter how difficult it might seem to reach them.
What motivates you to write?
This might sound pretentious, but I love to explore human relationships and emotions. I write because it lets me discover more about myself and about the people around me. Love especially fascinates me—not just romantic love, but the love of family, of friends, of humanity. I think love is at the root of the best drama, and it’s what leads to courage and acts of bravery and self-sacrifice. How that happens and the effect of love on a person is something I love (haha!) to explore in story.
Tell us a little bit about Chains of Silver (audience age range too please). What inspired you to write it? Are you planning to publish Chains of Silver?
Chains of Silver is a older YA or possibly NA steampunk fantasy novel set in a Victorian theater. It’s about Minx Mellor, a theater tech apprentice whose painful past has left her with severe phobias of being on stage and of certain kinds of magic, including her own. When the woman who is like a mother to her is targeted by a mysterious serial killer, Minx must face her fears and join forces with her most hated rival and with the young, sexy theater director, who terrifies her, to find a way to stop the killer.
It’s mostly romantic fantasy and steampunk fun, not mystery. It’s also the first book in a planned series of five called the Alchemy Empire series.
I adore steampunk culture—especially the cosplay and gadgetry parts of it. If I could ever have a steampunked laptop, I would be in heaven about it! I thought it would be fun to combine my interest in steampunk with my fond memories of college theater.
Can you tell us about your main character?
My darling Minx—love to talk about her! She’s tiny and brainy—talented inventor, and user of technomancy (the ability to channel magic into making and powering machines). She also has another type of magic that she tries to hide because it’s caused her a lot of pain and suffering. She’s quite broken and has a hard time letting people into her life, but she wants very much to be whole and feel “normal.” She loves to read, but doesn’t have much access to books because library memberships aren’t given out to the lower classes, like theater apprentices.
She and the other apprentices live in a world suspended between the very rich and the very poor. Most of them are from poor families or are street kids who have been given this amazing chance to study at the theater because of their talent. They’re expected to learn to socialize with the upper classes but will never be accepted as one of them. They can achieve fame and some will even become wealthy, but they’ll never be treated with much respect because they exist solely to entertain.
How much research did you have to do for this book?
It’s interesting—writing fantasy means I can make up stuff and do a lot more “hand waving” over complicated or impossible details. But writing steampunk means that I have to have some basis in reality for my gadgets, technology, and general Victorian culture. So I’ve been researching Victorian inventions and clothing, etiquette, and other daily Victorian life details—did they have restaurants? What games did they play? Transportation? Libraries? Showers?
Then there’s all the theater stuff. How did Victorian theater work? What was it like on stage and back stage? What did they use for stage light? When did theaters become electrified? Who did what jobs, and what was it like to work for a theater?
Other topics that I’ve researched for this book: Victorian sewer tunnels and underground utility tunnels (actually stunning work—the Victorians made even their drainage tunnels a thing of beauty), the role of theater in social revolutions, how to properly tie a corset. And of course, I’ve researched steampunk and the steampunk community. There are a lot of other things I’ve researched, but if I mention them here, they’d be spoilers for the story!
The fun thing is taking all this research and then using it in my story world. Since it’s fantasy, I use the research as a spring board so that there’s a feeling of verisimilitude (meaning a sense of plausibility), but then I can put as many twists on it as I want.
Can you tell us about your next project? (Is there a sequel)
Yes! There is a sequel. Actually I’m planning 5 books in the series, and I have an idea for a spin-off series after that. I really am enjoying writing in this story world, so as long as I have readers for it, I’ll keep spinning stories.
Right now, however, I’m trying to squeeze in a stand-alone contemporary novel with magical realism and lots of humor. I’m going to be self-publishing the Alchemy Empire series, but in the meantime, I’d like my agent to have something to shop around to print publishers.
Do you set yourself a writing routine and a daily word limit?
Recently, our family is preparing a major move half-way across the country, so my writing time has been a mess! But in general, I try to set aside 2-3 hours a day, with a word count goal of 2,000. If I don’t reach it, I don’t beat myself up for it (this is supposed to be FUN after all), and if I go past 2k, I just roll with it, unless I absolutely have to go do something else. My family has learned to stay out of the way when I’m writing because I do not like to be pulled out of the flow!
Do you outline your books from start to finish or just start writing? Or a bit of both?
I do pretty extensive outlining, and I find myself appreciating and using outlining more as I become a more experienced writer. I have the overall structure of the book mapped out before I begin, and then I take each major section of the book and break it down into scenes as I get to that section. Then I map out each scene before I write it. For me, that works better than detailed outline all up front. When I try to do all the outlining up front, I get worn out and lose my excitement for the story. But if I just start writing, I find myself getting too frustrated because the story feels unweildy. So I like to have the broad picture set before I begin, and then fill in the details as I go.