Author Interview: Bonnie Wynne

Debut #LoveOZYA author Bonnie Wynne took the time to answer some questions from @SarahSacaKat earlier in the week.

Firstly, thank you Bonnie for taking the time to answer my questions. Just reading the synopsis for The Ninth Sorceress gets me excited and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy. 

Q: Where did the inspiration for The Ninth Sorceress come from?
A: It’s tricky to say exactly where the seed came from. I’m a bit of a bowerbird when I’m reading or watching TV or playing games, and when something strikes me as interesting then I always think ‘ooh, how can I use this in my book?’
So I’d say my inspiration for The Ninth Sorceress came from a lot of places over the years. But I definitely credit the authors I loved while I was growing up, like Robert Jordan and Isobelle Carmody and Frank Herbert and Anne McCaffrey. They were big influences on my work, and without them, The Ninth Sorceress probably never would have been written.

Q: Did much change from the first draft to the final copy of this book?
A: I wrote The Ninth Sorceress really, really slowly. There are parts I wrote over 15 years ago! So it’s safe to say a lot has changed between the first draft and the final copy.
My original concept skewed a lot more sci-fi (there was at least one scene set in space!) The characters changed, the world changed, the ending changed… It’s almost unrecognisable.
I also cut about 60,000 words before submitting to Talem, and trimmed another 20,000 words after that. It was tough to cut all that material I’d spent so long writing, but ultimately it was for the best.

Q: If you could go back to when you first started writing The Ninth Sorceress and give yourself any advice, what would it be?
A: I would advise myself to make an outline before I started writing! While I was working on this book, I took a ‘make it up as you go along’ approach, and I ended up wasting a lot of time pursuing plot threads that ultimately went nowhere and ended up getting cut.
These days, I try to leave room to experiment and make changes as I go, but also plan where I want to end up and what plot points I want to hit along the way. It saves a lot of stress.

Q: Did you always want to be a writer?
A: Being a writer is the only thing I can remember ever wanting to be. Even when I was in kindergarten I used to write ‘books’ (on printer paper, folded and stapled together) and try to sell them to my neighbours and friends.

Q: What advice do you have for young people who want to become writers?
A: Critique, critique, critique. Both giving and receiving. It’s really scary at first to have people reading your work and looking for problems, but it’s the only way to improve. You also learn a lot from reading other people and paying attention to what works and what doesn’t.
I think we’re all precious about our work at first, which is normal because writing is such a personal thing and it can be hard to separate a criticism of the work from a criticism of you as a person. But ultimately it’s not personal, and the faster you can get used to it, the better.

Q: Do you have habits/rituals to help you write – be it background music, a fave snack etc?
A: I don’t really have habits or rituals, but I do have a few quirks.
For starters, I need complete silence (I can’t write at all if there’s music playing). Even a ticking clock can annoy me. I admire all the mums and dads who can write in a house full of screaming kids! I could never.
I also prefer to write in really big chunks. I’m not somebody who can sit down and write 1,000 words and then head off to work. I need a six-hour stretch to write non-stop. There’s a cabin on the South Coast that I really love, and I try to get down there a few times a year so I can just get in my ‘zone’ and work without distractions. Although I’m always kind of weird and spaced-out when I come home from a week with no human contact!

Q: What are you reading at the moment (or what was the last book you read)?
A: I just finished Queen of Nothing by Holly Black – a great finish to the series, with some crazy twists and turns! I really want to read Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows duology next. I’ve been avoiding it because I normally hate ‘heist’ stories. But all her other books are amazing, so it might finally be time to take the plunge.

Q: The #AusYABloggers are all about promoting and supporting Aussie and Kiwi Authors. Do you have any favourite #LoveOzYA or #LoveNzYA books (other than your own of course)?
A: I really can’t give enough praise to my fellow Talem Press author Bronwyn Eley’s debut novel Relic. I gobbled it up in about two days when it came out last year, and it was such a fantastic start to the series. Bron has a real gift for dialogue, and I love that she gives all her scenes room to breathe. It never feels like she’s just sprinting from one plot point to the next. She won’t give me any spoilers for future books, so I have to wait to see what happens next!
Once again, thank you so much Bonnie for taking the time to answer my questions.
Keep your eyes on the #AusYABloggers blog on Feb 13, as Jade from @romanceanddragons will be sharing a review of The Ninth Sorceress.

THE NINTH SORCERESS, Bonnie Wynne's debut fantasy 

novel, is slated for release February 13.

48481720. sy475 Title: The Ninth Sorceress
Author: Bonnie Wynne
Release Date: February 13th, 2020

In the blackest dungeon of the Clockwork City, a prisoner lies bound in silver shackles. Who is she? And why are the wizards so afraid of her?

Seventeen-year-old Gwyn has no family and no past. Apprenticed to a half-mad herbalist, she travels the snow-blasted High Country, hawking potions in a peddler’s wagon. Her guardian hides her from the world like a dark secret, and she knows better than to push for answers.

But when she discovers she is hunted by the goddess Beheret, Gwyn is drawn into a deep and ancient tale: of chained gods and lost magic, of truths long buried and the rising of a war she never could have imagined.

Wizards and their magic-sniffing hounds pursue her – as does a stranger in a smiling mask, who calls her by an unfamiliar name…

But what really terrify her are the dangerous gifts she’s spent her life suppressing. Now, Gwyn must step out of the shadows and take charge of her destiny – even if the price is her own soul.

The Ninth Sorceress is the breathtaking first instalment of The Price of Magic, a sweeping fantasy saga full of rich storytelling and tangible magic.

About the author:
Bonnie Wynne studied Writing and Cultural Studies at UTS, and completed her law degree at the University of Sydney. After a brief stint in legal publishing, she now works for the Australian government, deciphering ancient law tomes.
She lives in Sydney with her cocker spaniel, Percival Hector (Canine Inspector). When she's not reading or writing, she can be found playing video games, booking her next holiday, or elbow-deep in flour.
THE NINTH SORCERESS is her debut novel and the first book in her series, THE PRICE OF MAGIC.
Bonnie’s Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

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