Regular followers of my blog will know the name Charlotte E. English..quite probably my favourite author right now. The biggest thing I’ve enjoyed is how she manages to write books that are different but at the same time the same..Have I confused you? Well take the Malykant Mysteries series, currently 7 books strong. Each has the same basic idea.. Konrad Savast brings justice for those murdered but each tale is very different from the last but builds nicely on the foundations set in the previous tale.
Charlotte has kindly answered some questions for me 🙂
Thank you Charlotte!
First I must ask, if you are willing to share, who does your covers? They are so eye-catching and for me fit with the tone of the tales perfectly.
I have a few different cover artists by now, but the ones for the Malykant Mysteries are done by Streetlight Graphics. They do terrific work every time, and I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with for the next batch of covers!
Covers for me are so so important, get it right and someone will buy the book..get it wrong and they won’t even look twice at it. Do you agree with a covers importance?
Yes, of course. As a buyer of books as well as a writer, I know that the cover is the first thing that catches my attention when I am shopping. It also sets the mood for the story, and creates expectations in the reader as to what they’ll be getting if they dive into the book, so it’s important to get it right. I think the Malykant Mysteries covers work well in both respects – they are eye-catching and also set the mood well.
Where has your inspiration for the series come from?
Well, funny story… the short answer is that I don’t know, because I never set out to write anything like it. There came a winter some years ago when I had just finished writing a long novel, and my mood at the time was as grey as the weather. I felt in need of a change of pace before I embarked upon the next long project, so I thought: I’ll write something shorter, and light-hearted, and funny.
I couldn’t write a word of any of this. I sat in a chair with a notebook and pen and tried… and what I got instead was Konrad Savast, grim as winter itself, chasing murderers through a frozen forest. Which I enjoyed, in spite of its being the very opposite of what I had planned to do. And so I learned that sometimes, it’s best to let my subconscious drive, because who knows where we might end up?
How do you manage to keep the series fresh?
I think it helps that the series has a lot of scope to begin with – the basic story is quite simple, in that somebody dies and Konrad has to figure it out. There’s infinite variation possible within that. Meanwhile, this is the only dark fantasy series that I write; my other projects are very different. This means that every dark and creepy idea that I get is Konrad’s by default. And there is a lot to draw on from popular mythology; Konrad has encountered my own take on vampires and werewolves, not to mention ghosts galore, and there’s so much more still left to work with.
7 books in, does Konrad have an expiration date looming?
Not at all! We are barely getting started here. In the last few titles, I’ve been laying the groundwork for some new story arcs which will take the series through many more books. I expect to be writing about Konrad and friends for some years to come.
I’ve said it before but for me you are Queen of the short story although I love your longer works too. Do you have a preference on which you prefer to write?
Once I would have said longer novels, without hesitation, but at the moment I’m finding that I prefer the shorter stories. I think it’s because I have always needed variety, as a writer – however much I love and enjoy each series that I write, I cannot stick with the same thing for too many months together without growing stale. Shorter books lend themselves well to this approach, as I can produce a complete title in a relatively short time and then swap to something else. I’ve just started a new series of shorter-length titles, Modern Magick, and like the Malykants, I’ll be writing these in between all the other things I do. Maybe it sounds a bit mad that way, but it works for me.
Do ever find yourself scrapping paragraphs to make the books fit a certain word count?
Strangely, no. I didn’t plan the length of the first Malykant Mystery, any more than I planned its content. The story took shape by itself, and I haven’t had any trouble keeping the later books to approximately the same word count (although, book by book, they are gradually getting longer…).
What’s next for you?
My next release will be the first story in the new Modern Magick series, and currently I am writing one of those colourful fairy tale things that I love so much. Later in the year, I have the next Tales of Aylfenhame book coming up, and of course, book 8 of the Malykant Mysteries.
I’m very happy to know there’s more to come from Charlotte! If you missed my recent review of her latest work click here – The House at Divoro
You can learn more about Charlotte via her website here – http://www.charlotteenglish.com/ . The site also links nicely to her social media accounts so you can connect with the author whichever way you like 🙂
I’d love to know if you’ve read Charlotte’s work before of if you indeed plan to.