I’d like to introduce you to the fourth interviewee in my ‘Meet the Author’ series. She is Gillian O’Rourke.

Question: Hi, Gillian! Welcome to Susan Finlay Writes blog site. Can you tell us a bit about your background as a writer?

Answer: Hi Susan, and thank you for inviting me to Susan Finlay Writes! My background was originally in Nursing and in the last six years I have been working in Social Care. However, reading and writing have always been a large part of my life. For many years I was writing for my own amusement, but there was always a part of me that wanted to take it further and be published. It has taken me a long time to build up the courage to do it and I’m delighted I did, because my dream is now becoming a reality.

Question: Your fantasy novel, The Reluctant Prophet, will be released by Kristell Ink Publishing, an imprint of Holland House Books in 2013. Can you tell us a bit about your book? What inspired you to write it?

Anwer: The Reluctant Prophet was an idea I started writing about five years ago and it all started with the title! It was one of those moments when a random thought popped into my head and I said to myself, ‘The Reluctant Prophet. What a great name for a book!’ And then it began to evolve from there. The main character, Esther, then came to me and when I started writing chapter one, more of the story evolved and developed. I didn’t know where it was going for a long time, but other characters started to encroach on my imagination and I slowly wove them into the story.

The book is written from Esther’s point of view and follows her through her journey of becoming a priestess for a religious order. As Esther has the gift of foresight, she is sought by the more powerful members of the order to further their own agendas. She is a naïve character to begin with and the fact she is blind to her own future hampers her. As a consequence, she suffers a great deal, but it is not all in vain!

Question: You previously lived in Australia and now live in Ireland. As a writer of fantasy, how do you create the worlds for your story settings? Do you draw on those countries–their scenery, myths, and legends–or do you build entirely fictitious worlds?

Answer: To be honest, I would say it is a bit of both. The Reluctant Prophet would be set in a medieval European-type country, but it is also a fictitious world. It has its own religion and Gods, but of course, much of the inspiration is drawn from what I know. The fun part is being able to make it original for your own story.

Question: Do you have a book cover for The Reluctant Prophet yet?

Answer: We are currently working on ideas for the cover and have a fair idea of what we want. It is such an exciting process and I can’t wait to see a final product.

Question: What has your experience with your publisher been like? Is it everything you’d hoped for?

Answer: They’ve been really good to me – as someone who is being published for the first time, they really went into detail and spent time answering all my questions. It’s definitely more than I hoped for, because they really take into consideration your own thoughts about the book and publishing process.

Question: How does it feel to be a soon to be published author? Do you have a publication date yet? Are you working on a new book?

Answer: It’s a very exciting time, as well as daunting, because there’s so many new things to learn about the business. I’m slowly processing everything and I can’t wait to see the finished product. As of yet, I don’t have a final publication date, but it will probably be the latter half of 2013. In relation to new books, I am working on the sequel for The Reluctant Prophet, so far titled, The Sinner’s Daughter. I’m currently about 2/3 of the way through it.

Question: At some point or another, all writers come across the “rules” of contemporary writing: no adverbs, no dialogue tags, show don’t tell, etc. In your opinion, how important are they to writing? Are there any that you particularly adhere to?

Answer: This might sound bad (and cringey), but I don’t really follow any strict rules, not at first anyway. I write the story and then go back and edit it – that’s when I see some of the mistakes. I do have a tendency to over state things, but I am learning how to cut back and do more showing than telling. I’m sure there are a lot more rules I should follow, but I don’t!

Question: What is your favorite or least favorite part of writing?

Answer: I absolutely love imagining my characters for the first time. Sometimes, I mull over them for weeks before I write anything definite down.

Question: Do you have a writing routine, a special place where you go to do your writing, or a certain time of day? Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind of music?

Answer: As I work shift work, I don’t have a definite routine, but I try to write whenever I have the spare time. Usually, I like to sit on my cosy corner suite with my laptop and have the fire going. Then I will write with the radio on in the background. I have to admit that certain genres do help, and I will put on rock music to write a violent or dark scene. A group like Soundgarden or My Chemical Romance usually inspires darkness.

Question: If you could meet any book character, who would it be, and what would you do with them?

Answer: This is a really hard one, because there are so many brilliant characters out there! But maybe I would go with Jane Eyre, as it is one of my favourite books. I’d love to sit and have a cup of tea with her and talk about art.

Question: Of everything you’ve ever written, whether it’s to be published or not, what’s your favorite piece or scene?

Answer: I will go with the first one that comes to mind and it is from The Reluctant Prophet. There is a part where my main character, Esther, feels as though she is weak because she is not in a position to stand up to others more powerful than her. I was pleased with how I described her feelings. Although, the situation causes more confusion than resolution, I really enjoyed writing it that way. I know I’m being deliberately elusive in my answer, but hopefully, when people read the scene, they will like it too!

Question: What books are you currently reading?

Answer: I’m currently reading three books. One is, Strange Tales from the Scriptorian Vaults, a collection of short stories, edited by Sammy HK Smith. I’m also reading the second book in a triple trilogy called King’s Champion, by Cas Peace and the third is Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn Trilogy. I have a lot of reading to do!

Question: Please list any websites or social media links for yourself or your book.Thanks!