Today I am pleased to welcome Harriet Springbett on to the blog with a quick interview! She’s come up with some intriguing answers!
What is your favourite thing about writing books?
I love having an imaginary world to slip into. Writing books is like reading them, except much slower and scarier. And you get more involved because you’re actually making up the story as you go along. Things can go wrong. You get side-tracked. You have to resolve problems. But when you reach the end you feel both surprised and proud.
The easiest part of my writing job is editing and the hardest part is the daily grind of getting words down on paper (or rather onto the screen). My favourite part is having ideas and weaving them into a story. I get so excited when things come together – and so despondent when they defy capture.
Who is your favourite character in your book and why?
I care about my protagonist, Rainbow, as if she were my own child. I bet when I’m old and senile, sitting in an armchair in a retirement home, I’ll ask my kids where Rainbow is and why she doesn’t visit me. Having said that, I do have a slight preference for Mary. She’s the rebel I would love to have been in real life.
What is your favourite drink to consume while writing?
Tea – often a herbal variety. I always have a cup on my desk. Getting up to reheat it or make another cup is an excuse for a break, which allows me to stand back from what I’ve just written.
Do you have any bad habits while you’re writing?
The devil of procrastination is always nagging me to get up and do other things. To overcome this temptation I write those things down, which seems to be a good way of appeasing the devil. At the end of my writing session, ironically, I find the things on my lists are rarely important enough to actually do.
How do you research your books?
The Internet is vital for me, as I live in France. I also consult specialised books in French libraries, talk to experts, visit places and take my own sensorial notes. I do my research in several phases. First comes a feasibility research, when I find out if my ideas are possible, where I can set my story, whether the atmospheres are right. When plotting the scenes, I often find that details are missing, so I do more specific research at this point. If I’m not sure about a fact while I’m actually writing, I highlight the word/paragraph in red and come back to it during editing. This is the final phase, when I research to check any facts I’m not sure about.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I’m a bit of each. My first novel was so precisely plotted that I actually found it boring to write (it wasn’t published). So for Tree Magic I started with Rainbow and her problem of what to do about her gift, and I let it grow organically from there. This was far more satisfying but it meant it needed lots of editing. So for my 3rd novel I plotted the overall story arc, the acts and the sequences, and I discovered each scene as I wrote it. That seemed to work best, and it’s the way I’m writing my current novel.
If you could live in any fictional world, which would you choose and why?
The problem with fictional worlds is that they’re full of conflict and life-threatening danger. So I’d probably settle for a world once the story is over and the world is in its happily ever after phase. Or before it begins: for example, I’d love to be a ‘Lord of the Rings’ elf and live in trees during the elven spring and summer.
If you could befriend any fictional character, who would you choose and why?
This is such a difficult question! One of the things I love about fiction is that you make new friends with every book you read. There are lots I’d want to look after, such as Marlon in Orangeboy, who makes all the wrong decisions (that’s one reason why this book is so good). Or I’d choose a character who would whisk me from my everyday life and show me magical wonders, such as Marco or Celia in The Night Circus.
About the book
Thirteen-year-old Rainbow discovers she can communicate with trees.
But that’s just the beginning. Her magic hands can shape trees at her will, but her gift is dangerous and has fatal consequences. An accident that leaves Rainbow unconscious leads her mother to make a confession that will change Rainbow’s life forever.
Are her abilities a gift or a curse? Can Rainbow really trust her mother?
From England to France, through secrets, fears and parallel worlds, Rainbow’s journey to understand her powers takes her beyond everything she’s ever known.
To find the truth, she must also find herself.
About the Author
Harriet Springbett’s debut YA novel Tree Magic was published by Impress Books last January. It is a coming of age story about Rainbow, a girl who has a gift for communicating with trees, and is set in England and France.
Harriet’s work has been shortlisted in the Bath Short Story Award, longlisted with Fish and has won places in the International Segora competitions. Last year she was a YALC guest and she hopes to return to The Olympia for the 2018 edition.
She grew up in West Dorset and qualified as an engineer before fleeing to France in 1995 to escape machines and numbers. She lives in Poitou-Charentes with her French partner and teenage daughters. She writes fiction every morning and blogs on writing and French cultural events at Harriet Springbett’s Playground.