This month I am talking to Eleanor Konik, who is writing The Last Collared Mage.
Hi Eleanor. So to start off with, how do you write? Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?
I like to write longhand, on paper. I recently started a bullet journal, actually. It’s helped me be a lot more organised with my notes, and the visual aesthetic helps provide motivation. It’s also really helpful that the decorative aspect helps keep my hands moving while I have a moment where I’m struggling to write the next thing, to avoid the guilt that comes with a blank page.
And have you had to make any sacrifices for your writing?
I pretty much gave up video games so that I would have more time to write. I only play as a social thing with friends I would lose touch with otherwise, and only when scheduling permits, which is rare. I really miss being a gamer, like I was in school, but I do like the feeling of being productive with my downtime.
For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
I prefer ebooks. I was an early adopter of the Amazon Kindle, and there are a lot of reasons to love it. For me, not having to physically go and get a book — or wait for it to arrive in the mail — is a big deal, and so is the ability to read in bed with the light off. The biggest thing is weight, though. Before the kindle, I used to pack a whole suitcase just for books — and even then, I’d sometimes run out of things I wanted to read over the course of a week-long vacation. Now, I pop my kindle in my purse and go. My fingers never smear, the spines don’t crack, and I don’t lose pages out of much-loved tomes that have been re-read a few too many times.
What book do you think you’ve re-read the most?
That’s a really tough question, and I can only speak for my dead tree copies. The Fire Rose by Mercedes Lackey is definitely in the worst shape of all my books. I really like fairy tale retellings, and Mercedes Lackey was a big favourite of mine when I was younger.
Do you have a favourite fairy tale?
I’ve always been partial to Little Red Riding Hood, I think because it’s so different from the more Disney-style fairy tales, while still being mainstream enough to get recognition. It’s not about a prince, and in a lot of versions, Red rescues herself. I like that in a heroine.
What else do you like in a heroine?
I prefer that lead characters avoid gendered cliches. I’ve read a lot about “Strong Female Characters” and I’m always uncomfortable with how… mouthy they seem. Strength isn’t about how good your snark game is. It’s about standing for decency even when it’s hard, and being willing to take risks, make tough choices. I like to see characters struggle with decisions, instead of the author copping out for the “obvious” choice. I like heroines to sacrifice, to deal with consequences.
For me, it’s less a question of personality traits and more about the dignity with which make their journey.
Thank you for sharing with us today, Eleanor. I think that’s all we have time for.
Eleanor Konik was born and raised in a close-knit neighbourhood just outside of Baltimore, where she is putting the final touches on her teaching certification. She spends her free time gardening and playing cards with coworkers. She also enjoys fishing, hiking, and visiting attractions around the city. Her blog showcases insights she’s gleaned while researching The Last Collared Mage, a fantasy mashup of Rome’s greatest defeats.