Blindsighted Wanderer by E.C. Hibbs
Meet the author of the book:
E. C. Hibbs has lived all her life in Cheshire, north-west England. A lover of stories from an early age, she wrote her first 'book' when she was five, and throughout school was a frequent visitor to the younger classes to read her tales to the children.
Living so near the coast, she loves anything to do with the sea. She studied Animal Behaviour at university and longs to work with marine mammals in the future. As well as nature and animals, she also has a soft spot for history, and loves paying visits to castles, cathedrals and museums.
There are many things she could be without, but writing isn't one of them. She carries a pen everywhere, in case an idea appears, and takes pride in still seeing the world as brimming with magic. Besides writing, she reads obsessively, her favourite genres being the classics and all kinds of fantasy. She also enjoys Disney and horror films, practising Shotokan karate, drawing, archery, and playing with her very cheeky kitten.
1. Blindsighted Wanderer is a wonderful story, where did you get the inspiration for it?
Thank you so much! I’m really happy to hear that you enjoyed it! Parts of the story came from a lot of different places, but the one that sowed the seed was when I was about eight years old. One day in class, we were given a booklet about water beings, and it mentioned a story that really caught my attention. It was a local folktale that wasn’t very well-known, about a mysterious type of nymph accidentally caught by an arrogant fisherman. A few years later I found that old booklet again, and I decided to think about what the story would be like, if the nymph could get her own back for being taken from the lake.
2. Where did you come up with the name Asrae, and the names of the towns?
Asræ comes from the actual name of the nymphs in the original legend. They’re called either Asrai or Asrey, so my version is a sort-of combination of the two. Ullswick is another combination, of Ullswater and Keswick: two places in the Lake District in northern England. It’s a beautiful national park that was one of my main inspirations for the look of the Elitland Valley. The other two villages just popped into my head fully formed. The underwater city comes from Latin: Evertodomus means “home of the demons”; and the Asræ’s version, Lacudomus, more-or-less means “lake home”.
3. Have you ever experienced writer's block and if so how do you deal with it?
I tend to get varying degrees of writer’s block with most things! Most of the time, it’s in the early stages, when I’m trying to plan everything and figure out what I need to research. I throw questions at everything that could potentially end up in the story, and when I can’t necessarily answer it yet, it really grinds me to a halt. I find the best way to deal with it is to leave it alone; usually if I try to force an answer to come, it won’t. So whenever it suddenly does solve itself, I have a complete lightbulb-above-the-head moment and scribble it down before I can forget it!
4. What or who started you on the road to writing?
I’ve been making up stories since I was very young. I used to tell them to the younger children at my school; every other week, I’d spend the last fifteen minutes of Friday in the reception class. The children and the teachers would give me feedback which I used to help me expand the stories, making them more exciting or bringing the characters back for another adventure. Their enthusiasm really inspired me, so it wasn’t long before I started writing the stories down in little ‘books’ with sewn-together spines. They gradually got longer and longer until when I was about twelve, and I had a go at writing my first novel. Looking back, it wasn’t very good, but I loved how it meant I’d be living inside my imagination for so much longer than with the short stories I’d always done. It feels like quite a natural progression really; spurred on by those children, my teachers, and my family.
5. Who is your favorite author?
I have an awful lot of favourite authors! I tend to have a handful of favourites for fantasy; for classics; for horrors... I find it so difficult to choose only one! But Charles Dickens, Michelle Paver, and Charlotte Brontë are definitely in my all time favourites.
6. If you had magical powers, what would you do with them besides writing?
I’ll always wish to be able to breathe underwater. But I think I’d love to step inside my favourite books, and have a conversation with the characters, or live a day of their lives. There are so many that I’d love to visit. If I could have a hallway full of doors all leading to different books; that would be incredible.
7. Who has been the biggest influence on you as a writer?
A lot of authors have really inspired me in different ways. I’ve always loved both history and fantasy, but I learned mainly from Marcus Sedgwick how the two could be seamlessly combined and yet not lose the story. Neil Gaiman is another big influence, because of the way he merges all sorts into a different book every single time. I’m also really inspired by Philip Pullman and Christopher Paolini.
8. When you write do you become a part of your book, do you see yourself as a part of the story?
Definitely. A lot of the characters are a part of me; most of what they go through is, on a very basic level, inspired by my own experiences. But when I write, it’s not like I’m creating a story; I’m just telling it, and they’re real people who I can’t order around! When I make my synopsis, to guide me through the actual book, I learn what will happen and essentially lay down the bare bones of the tale. Then when I begin properly, it’s almost as though the characters have taken me by the hand and swept me into their world to experience it for real. Even though I know what’s going to happen, every single time, I get quite emotional; if there’s action then my heart starts racing, and if a character dies, I usually get upset and then feel very guilty for killing them off! And it’s always quite a shock when I finish a chapter and look up and think, “I’m back”; even tougher when I’ve written the end!
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