I absolutely loved Ruth Warburton's A Witch in Winter, and am just about to get my hands on the sequel A Witch In Love (released next week!) so I was thrilled to get the chance to interview her.
1. When you close your eyes and imagine your readers, who do you see?
Um... me, I guess! I write primarily to amuse myself, so I suppose I'm writing for a younger version of myself. But when I'm editing I tend to imagine my editor because I know she'll be reading it soon...
2. I absolutely loved the setting of Winter! What are your favourite fictional settings?
I love Lyra's world in the Northern Lights, her version of Oxford is just so dark and seductive, I'm sure if I ever went there I would just stay for good. I also love the setting of Frank Herbert's Dune - it's so layered and cleverly worked out, and everything fits together, even the ecology. Often in sci-fi there's some element that hasn't been thought through properly and when you put the book down you find yourself thinking, "no, hang on now, how could that possibly..." but with his world you never get that feeling. And I recently finished watching the first season of Game of Thrones - I think the way they've brought Westeros and the seven kingdoms to life for television is just fabulous. I wouldn't want to live there though - I'd be rubbish at court politics and would probably get exiled and have to run away and become a wilding.
Agree that Westeros would be a terrible place to live, but I love the way the TV series brought it to life. (I still haven't read the books, despite my dad being a huge, huge fan.)
3. I'm sure that reading A Witch in Winter will have put some people off even thinking about magic! If you were able to cast a spell that definitely, absolutely, positively, 100% wouldn't go wrong, though, what would you want it to do?
This is really wimpy, but I actually wouldn't want to do it. I wouldn't want the responsibility. I think it's the same reason I couldn't be a doctor or Prime Minister, I would hate to have that kind of power over other people, even for good, I'd be far too worried.
4. One thing that makes A Witch in Winter stand out is the fabulous dialogue, which I know has left some non-UK readers needing translations! What's your favourite British slang term?
I like the word "piss" because it's so versatile. Get pissed, piss off, feel pissed off, feel pissed, act pissy, piss yourself... I could go on.
5. If you could invite any six YA authors or characters to a dinner party, who would you pick?
I think I'd invite Edward, Alice and Rosalie from Twilight and Bill, Eric and Pam from the Sookie Stackhouse novels and watch them duke it out. I'm pretty sure Eric would end up seducing Rosalie in a broom cupboard. (I know the latter three aren't strictly YA characters but I hope you'll give me a dispensation because I think it would be very entertaining).
Definitely entertaining enough to be worth a special dispensation!
6. What book would you recommend to people who enjoyed A Witch in Winter?
Is it cheating to say the sequel A Witch in Love? *shameless plug alert*
Sounds good to me!
7. What are you reading at the moment?
I always have at least three books on the go. At the moment I'm reading Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa for my book club, A London Child of the 1870s by MV Hughes for research, a manuscript for work on my e-reader and Notes from a Big Country by Bill Bryson for falling asleep at night when you just want something funny and undemanding.
I love Notes from a Big Country - definitely my favourite of Bryson's books!
8. Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what's the soundtrack to A Witch in Winter?
I can't listen to music while I write - I don't know why. I always end up concentrating on the music and not the words. I need to listen to the rhythm of my sentences, so hearing another rhythm in my head would be too distracting.
9. If you could ask any other author any question, what would you ask and who would you ask it to?
I would ask William Shakespeare who the love of his life was.
10. What's next for Ruth Warburton?
I'm editing book three of the Winter Trilogy (A Witch Alone, which comes out January 2012) and playing around with ideas for what to do after that. A Witch Alone is the last book in the series, and it feels really weird to realise that I'll be saying goodbye to these characters soon - I've been writing them pretty much continuously for the last three or more years, so they'll leave a big hole to fill when their story is finished.
Can't wait to read it - best of luck for the future, Ruth!