Let’s kick things off with a rundown of you and your books. In other words, tell us about yourself and what you write!
I’m a British horror dystopian author, but I also dabble in fantasy, poetry, and journalism. I spent my childhood on the stage and went on to gain a BA Hons degree in Drama and Creative Writing. While at university I quickly discovered that I wanted to write far more than I wanted to act. I now live with my husband, our two young boys, and a somewhat neurotic cat.
I started out writing short stories, which you can find in various magazines and anthologies, and I’m currently working on my Paper Duchess series of dystopian novellas. My work is dark, disturbing, and definitely not for the faint of heart.
How long have you been writing? And how long have you been publishing?
I’ve actually been writing stories for longer than I can remember. My mum has a box of things I wrote when I was really little. I started writing seriously after university, and had my first short story published back in 2011. I self published my first book in 2015 and things have really taken off since then.
What “kind” of writer would you describe yourself as? (Traditional, Self-Published, Hybrid, Something else entirely?)
Strictly speaking, I’m a Hybrid author, having both self published and had short stories traditionally published with small presses, but I encompass that by generally just using the term ‘Indie Author’.
How did you decide what publishing route to take for your books?
I decided to take the self publishing route because I enjoy being involved throughout the process. When I have stories published by other presses, I have to wait at every stage, and it drives me crazy! I’m not very patient when I’m excited about something. Self publishing allows me to oversee the progress the whole way through, and I’m never left wondering how or when things will happen. I guess I just like being able to control everything. And I’m enjoying it too; learning how to format books, how to market books, even making all the mistakes along the way!
What one piece of advice would you give to anyone looking to do the same?
Make sure you know what you’re getting into. Don’t self publish because it’s easier or quicker, because, believe me, it’s not. It’s hard work, and you have to learn to see writing as a business, not just a creative outlet. It can totally take the love out of it for some people, but if you enjoy being a publisher, it will become an obsession.
If you could make one decision differently in your publishing career so far, what would it be?
In terms of writing and publishing, what’s something new thing you’d like to try in the future?
I would have had more than one book ready to publish before I started releasing them. I’m trying to release as quickly as I can, but when you have kids to raise, it isn’t easy to keep to schedule.
I’ve just finished my first non fiction book, and I think that’s something I’d like to do more of. It was a really nice break from writing fiction: my brain works well when it gets the opportunity to keep doing different things.
What about dystopia as a genre appeals to you?
I love to delve into the things that scare people, and, when it comes down to it, nothing in this world is more terrifying than what people are capable of doing to each other. Our world feels like it’s more divided, more unequal than it’s been in my lifetime, and I really think dystopia speaks to people at the moment. They need to see that evil corporations, or oppressive governments can somehow be overcome. That people can beat the odds. I need to see it too! In a strange way, dystopia can really give people the hope they need to find in their real lives right now.
How do you find a balance between tackling real life issues (such as society’s attitude towards criminals and the justice system) and crafting an entertaining storyline?
The element of any story that readers cling onto most, that keeps them reading, is character. You need engaging, relateable, believable characters to capture a reader. The important thing to always remember is that your book should always be about characters that happen to be living through a particular event, and never about a particular event that happens to have some characters in it. I think any issues can be tackled effectively, and in an entertaining way, as long as it starts and ends with awesome characters.
Do you have any writing rituals that help you to get in the writing zone?
I don’t have any particular rituals. I do need coffee (and cake helps too), but my only writing time is desperately grabbed at naptimes, so I don’t have much of a chance for rituals.
What’s next for you?
I’m currently writing the third book in my Paper Duchess series, called The Visionary, which will be out in December. After that, I’m having a change and writing an urban fantasy book (which may or may not become a series in the future) called The Memory Trader. I’m really excited about both of them, and I hope people will forgive me for taking a break from The Paper Duchess books!
Angeline Trevena is a British dystopian horror author. The first book in her Paper Duchess series, The Bottle Stopper, was published in 2015, and her short stories appear in various anthologies and magazines.
Some years ago she worked at an antique auction house and religiously checked every wardrobe that came in to see if Narnia was in the back of it. She’s still not given up looking for it.