After five years of slavery in the shielded city of Utopia Deryn is finally free, and all it took was a slash of a knife to her owner’s throat. But escaping Utopia isn’t easy and she is forced to take refuge with the city guard, Xander. Soon they form a powerful bond that will not be broken, even when this cruel and beautiful world threatens to tear them apart.
What will threaten the powerful bond between Deryn and Xander? Laura Hancock has kindly spared a few moment to chat about two of characters that live in the shielded city explored in her novel ‘Broken Wings’, the first instalment of the ‘Cruel and Beautiful World’ series. Laura, can you cast your mind back to the beginning of ‘Broken Wings’ and share the initial seeds of this new series with us to kick off our chat today?
It was a combination of things. The story first took form from a dream I had. This was during my Harry Potter fanfiction days so I originally took pieces from that dream and fit them into a magical world. I eventually decided to place my story in a dystopian world instead because I wanted something that felt closer to home, especially when I realized how much modern politics influenced everything that went wrong in this story I created.
Did you also include events from your own life as another way to make the story feel closer to home?
Yes, I drew from my life experiences as well as so many important women in my life who have been made to feel like less of a person and that they are at fault for the terrible things that have happened to them.
It sounds like these important women not only have a strong influence in your life, but also in the characters in this novel. Can you share a little of the character development for ‘Broken Wings’ with us?
I feel like every woman I write has a piece of me in them, often sarcasm. I also like to write relationships where people challenge each other so a clash of personalities is always necessary. And that is Deryn and Xander. They are both intelligent, caring people who rarely see eye to eye.
I often find that characters who challenge each other can challenge the reader as well with the topics they tackle or the messages they share. What was the most important message you hope readers can receive from the characters in ‘Broken Wings’?
There are a lot of important messages in my book but the most important is to never give up hope. These people have been through hell yet they’re still fighting for a better future. Despite everything they still love and dream like everyone else.
What do you love most about creating a book that shows people who still love and dream like everyone else?
Every time I get a message from someone who was touched by my book in some way, whether it made them laugh on a bad day or helped them see their worth, it is just so rewarding. It makes every bad review I’ve ever receive dissolve because, in the end, you are writing for the people who love your book and see something more in it.
What have you learnt while creating a work that people want to see more of?
I have a tendency to be a bit wordy when I write, which was pointed out to me many times by people who edited it for me. Less is more. I always have to remind myself!
A great way to remind yourself and practice the skill of less being more is to write another book. What can you tell us about your current writing project that is letting you finesse this skill?
I’m working on book three since this is going to be a trilogy.
The final book of a trilogy is always a great place to practice refined writing. Looking back to the beginning of the trilogy, and even your work before then, do you personally feel that you’ve seen your writing become more refined or improved?
If you read my old stuff to what I write now there is a vast improvement. The style is more or less the same but relationships and dialogue feel more natural now.
Do you like to keep anyone in mind while you write to get your mind to use that more natural style?
No one in particular. I just think of the types of stories I enjoy reading and go from there.
That’s a great start! Why do you write?
I love it. I’ve been writing books since I was eight years old. It’s my passion.
How does that passion play out in terms of planning when you start a new writing project? Do you know where you’re going before you start writing, or do you start writing and find out the direction later?
I tend to know the ending but I am open to it changing, as it often does. Sometimes a story takes on a life of its own and you just have to let it.
Are there any techniques that you like to do to encourage the story to take on a life of its own?
I have no techniques. I try to write every day but sometimes my brain just isn’t having it. I do best when I’m not at home. Less distractions.
Do you have any techniques that you apply to editing? Or is editing something that you like to give to other people so your work sees more sets of eyes before it is published?
I do the majority of editing myself. I normally read it through at least three times before giving it to other people to read.
With an increasing collection of books now under your belt, you’ve written, re-read and published a large amount of your own work. What tips do you have for others looking to do the same with their work?
You really just have to put yourself out there and get involved in book communities. You have all the resources you need at your fingertips and you need to utilize them.
And I can see that you’ve done a fantastic job of using them! Laura, I hope you keep using and refining your writing and promotional skills so you can spend more of your time on your writing passion.
Excited to read the book we discussed today? Find it here on Amazon: ‘Broken Wings ( ASIN: B01HG0FWT0 )‘.
Want to find out more about Laura Hancock? Connect here!