Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Tor New Voices Event with Lucy Hounsom and Genevieve Cogman 14/5/15

Hi guys

Last Thursday the 14th May went to the above free event at Waterstones Leeds to meet two new debut authors with Tor publishers.  Lucy Hounsom(white dress) and Genevieve Cogman (blue top, glasses).
It was a great and informative event hosted by Joe from State of the Arts who asked questions to the fledgling authors.

The event started with the authors reading from their new novels.  Lucy from Starborn and Genevieve from The Invisible Library.  Both sounded fantastic and I hope to read them when I have the chance.

About the books and authors:

Lucy Hounsom - Starborn is epic fantasy whereby main character Kyndra breaks a family relic and runs off with two sorcerers to find out about herself and the world she lives in.
Lucy tried to put in alot of interesting twists.  Her novel is an ode to her favourite fantasy books including David Eddings,  Trudi Canavan and Robert Jordans Wheel of Time series (the first six books at least).
She is an avid reader and loves coming of age stories like the one she has written.   This is her debut novel but has wrote an unpublished novel before which she wrote  at 15 which was like Harry Potter. 
Lucy advised it's usually the second book that gets published.   She wrote the published book 8 years after first one and at first main character was male but changed to female after editing the novel 4 times.

Genevieve Cogman -  The Invisible Library - about a library in a different dimension which steals(borrows) books from different dimensions which have different versions of novels.  The library acting as a force to control the dimensions. 
Irene the heroine has to steal a Brothers Grimm book in an alternative London.
The novel weaves a lot of different things in which Genevieve likes including steam punk,  Sherlock Holmes,  Chinese dragons to name but a few.
Sherlock Holmes was the first adult book Genevieve read and was a pleasure to add the character into the book.

Genevieve is a freelance writer who worked for Games Workshop which is where she learned to world build and is also used to deadlines.   She made quite a few in drafts.
She writes chronologically - chapter by chapter.

LH -  Also writes chronologically and doesn't know characters well at beginning and likes to learn about characters as she goes along.  She has just handed in book 2 to her editors.

GC - Planned out most of the main events. Writes organically.

LH -  On research - researched a volcano in Hawai by visiting it to look at larva tubes for a part in her novel.  Also researched burns.  Also looked at how far horses can travel in a day and turning leagues into miles.

Both the authors novels are beginnings of trilogies.

GC -  She wasn't planning a trilogy but left the book open ended.  Tor bought the novel as a trilogy.  Books two and three now planned and final book has a strong climax.

LH -  The seeds of Starborn started when she was 18 and wrote the first chapter.   Always thought it would be a trilogy but no more.  Safer in a trilogy instead of loads of books.

Getting published/Agent

LH -  Getting published seems longer than it was.  Book was called Novelty of Light - she sent out manuscript too early wasn't edited enough.  Had a lot of rejections - one said it lacks tension.
Re-wrote and after over 2 years of re-writes and sending out got lucky as was picked out of the slush pile.
It was hard writing a synopsis and covering letter but if had given up wouldn't be here as only need one 'yes'.

GC -  Written 2 previous novels - both turned down.  A published author friend passed her novel to an agent.   Agent wanted it re-written - did and got deal.

First time seeing books

LH -  Works in Waterstones in Exeter and awesome seeing books for first time.   The books were in same box as Poldark.   She always goes to Sci fi / fantasy section.   She loves getting photos of her book.


GC -  Got word on cover design and loved it.

LH -  Surprised got say on cover, got to pick the model on the front.

Q & A

LH -  Didn't go back to Agents once rejected tried to find a new agent.   Went through Artist and Writers Year book where there less and less that take on Sci fi/fantasy.

Both authors intended books to be for adults as harder to write for YA.


LH -  Novel about 133,000 words.  Didn't do too much world building.   Built the world around the characters and pace.  She applied for Masters in Creative writing was told to write general fiction and not Fantasy to complete her MA.

GC -  Wrote fan fiction.


GC -  Not got a creative writing background just kept the pace and character going and kept things moving.

LH -  Not a plotter, had an idea of the ending and just had characters - no plot point - just sat down and wrote it - best not to think of word count, writes chapter to chapter.   She has an aim for in each chapter for the characters. Helps to build tension.

Chapter Length

LH -  Writes around 4000 words a chapter usually but depends on the style.  Has each chapter like a mini story.  Easy to write from a chapter perspective.

GC -  Around 3000 words a chapter and has readers she trusts read it chapter at a time.


GC -  Already started book 2 but more pressure as she has a schedule now.


LH -  No good  at writing short stories as every word has to count. Don't start with short stories as harder to get published.

GC -  Write what you love and build.

LH -  Write what you would like to read.

Overall a great event with some good tips for budding writers and insight into the new authors.   Hope to see more of them in the future as it's important for our Literary future that we have more new writers come along.

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