T. Rae Mitchell is an incurable fantasy junkie who spent much of her youth mesmerizing her younger sisters with stories sprung from her crazy imagination. Abandoning her career as an award-winning graphic designer, she entered a fantasy world of her own making called, FATE’S FABLES, her debut novel. She lives in British Columbia with her husband and son, and has since released an urban fantasy titled, MAGIC BREW as she continues to work on FATE’S KEEP.Hello T! Welcome to the site 🙂
When did you know that you wanted to be a writer? How did you start?
Unlike a lot of writers who say they’ve been writing since they first learned how to spell, I came to it later in life when I started reading bedtime stories to my son. After we moved past his Captain Underpants phase, I introduced him to books like the Golden Compass and the Chronicles of Narnia. It had been a long time since I’d read fantasy books and this stirred up an old childhood addiction for me. But it wasn’t until we cracked open the Harry Potter books that I became irrevocably hooked. After that, I began writing a fantasy adventure with my son in mind as the main character. Unfortunately, that book never came to be because I had a lot to learn about the art of storytelling and eventually had to shelf that manuscript.
What genre(s) do you write in? What is it that you love about them?
Fantasy all the way. I can’t imagine writing a story that doesn’t include magic and super powers. There’s something very freeing in letting my imagination go wild with limitless possibilities. Fantasy is one of those genres where the lines between good and evil can be blurred. I wouldn’t be able to do that if the story was set in normal reality. We can forgive a vampire who’s trying to be good, for giving into his thirst, but there’s no forgiving a bloodthirsty killer in the real world.
Who are some of your favorite authors? Why?
Anne Rice is number one for me. Her writing is like poetry and her characters are so rich and complex. When I first read The Vampire Lestat, she had me believing vampires existed for a short time. I even had a few scary dreams about them.
Garth Nix is another favorite. I’m a huge fan of his Abhorsen series. His writing conjures vivid, movie-like images and his concept of a magical, alternate history in early 1900’s England is truly unique. I loved his talking cat, Mogget. Nix nailed the feline personality perfectly.
Joss Whedon has to go on the list too. In my opinion, Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel are his best works. Nobody weaves all the everyday problems we humans face into the lives of his supernatural characters better than Whedon. That’s what makes his characters so lovable and their stories so engaging. We can relate to them, regardless of how powerful they are.
What inspires your ideas? How do you come up with them?
For some reason my best ideas seem to come to me in the shower. That’s where I was when the idea for Fate’s Fables came pouring in. My favorite bookstore had closed. This wasn’t a chain store. It was a charming little place full of eye-catching book displays, hardwood floors patched with copper plates and book ladders that rolled along the brick walls of a century-old building. So there I was, pouting under the hot water, thinking about the emptiness of that hollowed-out store and wondering what I might see if I looked in the windows. Had anything been left behind? Strangely enough, my crazy imagination offered up a giant ten-foot tall book, a magic Book of Fables to be exact. And then a girl named Fate stepped into the deserted bookstore. I’d never had a character just pop in fully named before. I usually spend a lot of time choosing names, looking up the meanings and really making sure it fits the character. But that was her name and I knew Fate was destined to plunge inside the Book of Fables and face a series of dark, dangerous fairy tales.
What are you working on now?
Since publishing Fate’s Fables, I’ve been working on the sequel, Fate’s Keep. But my plans changed in the middle of working on book two and I took a little detour to write a meta book from Fate’s Fables. This is because my main character, Fate Floyd, is a teen author who flukes into writing a bestselling book called Magic Brew, which is about an epic rumble between supernatural gangs. When her fans show up at one of her book signings as cosplaying witches, warlocks, elves and pixies from Magic Brew, they proceed to get into a rather awkward brawl. In Fate’s Keep, some of these crazy fans join Fate, so I needed to flesh out the storyline for Magic Brew. However, once I started developing the story, I couldn’t stop and decided to get it done.
So to answer your question, I am now back to finishing book two, Fate’s Keep. I’m really excited to be back in Fate’s world with many of the old characters, while getting to know all the interesting new characters. If all goes well, Fate’s Keep will be released in November, 2016.
What does a typical writing day look like for you/what is your process?
Because writing is such a sedentary task, I like to get my workout done first. Getting the blood pumping and the endorphins going always puts me in a creative frame of mind. Plus, I’ve had my shower (my idea factory) and have thought through the last scene from the day before, so when I sit down, I just start typing. But not everyday goes that smoothly. If I’ve got other things on my mind and didn’t worked out previous scenes before I get into writing, the words can be hard to find.
That’s when I turn to my outline to remind myself of where I’m going with the story. Sometimes I might even need to review my character outlines and their back stories. A lot of times this will trigger dialogue within the scene and get me back on track with their core motivations.
I wish I could say I’m the kind of writer who pumps out five thousand words a day, but I haven’t hit that kind of word count…yet. I am consistent though. Writing daily is what gets me to the finish line.
If one of your novels was made into a movie, which would you choose and what actors would you cast to play the three main roles?
Oh that’s easy. I’d love to see Fate’s Fables come to life on the screen. I’d have Emma Stone play Fate and Alex Pettyfer play Finn. You can see pictures of both actors with excerpts from the book on my Pinterest boards:
For the third character, I’ve always imagined David Hyde Pierce playing Sithias.
What have been some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned on your writing journey so far?
I’ve learned that being a writer isn’t an easy road. While the writing itself is hugely rewarding, there are aspects of the craft that are challenging. Like when I’m combing through the manuscript for the fiftieth time, and still there’s more rewrites to be done. If there’s one lesson above all others writing has taught me, it’s to learn patience. It’s tempting to rush a manuscript but you really have to take whatever time is necessary to produce a quality book your readers will love.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers about writing?
First off, be willing to suck at writing in the beginning. Most every author has at least one manuscript they didn’t like that’s collecting dust under the bed.
Secondly, read lots of books on writing and learn everything you can about the craft. There are so many aspects a writer needs to become conscious of, like story structure, pacing, dialogue, theme, character development, point of view, conflict and motivation.
Some of my favorites writing books are:
Writing The Breakout Novel by Donald Mass
Wired For Story by Lisa Cron
No More Rejections by Alice Orr
You decided to go indie instead of querying to find a literary agent. What helped you make that decision? What insight have you gained in the publishing side of things?
I actually spent a year querying Fate’s Fables to agents. After finding out my manuscript was 50,000 words too long, I spent another six months trying to shave the word count down to 100k, but it was impossible to do without destroying the story.
Around the same time, I attended a self-publishing workshop with Bob Mayer. He spelled out where the publishing industry was going and all the new opportunities for authors, so I decided to go indie.
I’ve gained some valuable insights into the publishing side. You really have to put your business hat on for this side of the business. I’ve learned the hard way that publishing is not about throwing the book out there and hoping it will sell. It’s about doing your homework and knowing your audience. Every decision after that, from designing the cover, to writing the book description and choosing the right keywords and categories is all based on who your target reader is.
Anything else you would like to add or talk about?
Thanks for having me. It’s been great sharing my experiences with your readers!
Thank you so much! Where can people find out more about you and your books