Author Interview: Eleanor Konik

It’s time for another author interview for the Blog World Tour: Fantasy Edition!

Today’s interviewee is Eleanor Konik, a fantasy writer who loves history. Her current work-in-progress, The Last Collared Mage, is in her own words “a fantasy mash-up of Rome’s greatest defeats”. I’m very much looking forward to reading it when it’s done! In the meantime, I’m so glad to have her here on my blog today. Welcome, Eleanor!

My first question is: What inspires you to get out of bed each day?

This is a really hard question for me. I have depression–though thankfully I no longer need medication–so some days it really is a struggle to get out of bed. For me, though, it’s social obligation that gets me going in the morning. I need to know that someone else–someone I care about–is going to be negatively impacted if I don’t get up and get moving.

I always joke that my brother and I are total opposites–he’s intrinsically motivated by external values, and I’m extrinsically motivated by internal values. Which is why he’s running a million dollar business and I’m a teacher. I think I’m a happier person, though, which matters to me a lot more than the money.

I understand that struggle, and I admire you for sharing it with us today. As for you and your brother–you do sound like complete opposites, and I’m glad you’re happy where you are. Happiness is worth far more than money.

My next question is a hopefully easier one: What is your favorite motivational phrase?

Heinlein has a quote–“Writing is nothing to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards.” It reminds me that writing is supposed to be fun, though when I first read the phrase I was too young to get the joke.

*laughs* That’s a great quote! And it relates well to my next question: do you see being a writer as a gift or a curse?

I think it’s a gift, really. My boyfriend likes to point out that it’s a pretty cheap hobby, and there’s something fundamentally fulfilling about entertaining people. I’ve also made a lot of friends writing, so it’s brought mostly positive things into my life.

Your boyfriend has a good point! Now, I know you’re still working on The Last Collared Mage, but do you plan on leaving the book to “stew” for a month before returning to edit it, or do you have a different revision process in mind?

I have the most success when I edit as I go, almost like stutter-starting. It still lets me have a change of pace when I get stuck drafting or can’t stand the thought of editing, while still staying on track. I don’t do well when I just put the book down and focus on something else for awhile, although I’ll go through phases where I get wrapped up in something like a video game for awhile.  When that happens, I still try to do at least a little on my novel every day, so that my ideas are fresh in my mind when the pendulum swings back around again and I get really passionate about a project.

That’s a neat way of doing it. It’s great that you make sure to write every day, too–that can be really important for keeping the threads of the story together. Speaking of story threads… How what is your plotting process like? How do you brainstorm your story ideas?

My process is highly collaborative. I do a lot of brainstorming by chatting with my Ubergroup team. A lot of times, I’ll ask a question, or for help hashing out an idea, and wind up with a much better idea than the one I started with. Or I’ll vomit out a really rough draft of an idea, show them, and the questions they ask help me refine it into something usable.

Brainstorming with others is really helpful for me, too–my sounding board is usually my sister, who is amazing at helping fill in plot holes and figure out character motivations and such. It’s also a lot of fun to discuss stories like that.

The clock’s ticking down, but we have time for one more question. You mentioned before that you’re a teacher–how does being a teacher impact your writing?

It makes me a lot less interested in writing young adult fiction, that’s for sure! But more seriously, I learn a lot of things at work, and I get a lot of inspiration from topics I talk about with my students, like endangered species or colonization.

*chuckles* That makes sense. It’s cool that they provide inspiration for your writing, though! It’s time to wrap up this interview. Thank you so much for being here today, Eleanor!

 

Eleanor Konik was born and raised in a close-knit neighborhood 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.