Q&A, Beverley J. Hall, Author, Fantasy Trilogy

These are the questions Beverley's newsletter subscribers asked. It is a constantly evolving list, so feel free to drop her an email and we will add it to the site ASAP.

When did you start writing?

I never know quite how to answer this question. The first and most obvious answer is when I was six or seven years old. I actually remember sitting down, at seven years old, to write my very first book. I can only imagine how dreadful it was but I had fun writing it, so that’s all that matters. The second and most accurate answer would be there have been multiple points where I have started writing. When I was sixteen or seventeen, I wrote a lot purely for myself. When I was at art school, I wrote lots of stories because my design always started with a story about a character. I think that’s actually where my love of storytelling began. I then wrote on and off for years, before finally starting to write seriously ten years ago.

What comes first, the character or the plot?

It is always the character for me. I think all my stories are very character driven. I start with the character then put them in a scenario and work out from the what-ifs, to see how they grow, what path they would choose, and let the story take me.

How much time do you spend writing every day?

Rather like the last question, it rather depends on what you call writing. Writing can be reading, it can be researching, it can be planning, and some days is editing. But, if I had to estimate, I would say I write for four hours a day, read for two hours a day, and edit or research for two hours a day.

Which character in your books do you relate to most?

I think there’s a bit of me in all of my characters, in one way or another. Equally, there are bits of the people in my life in my characters. But, I do think that Billey is the character I relate to most. I think her impulsive nature and overthinking personality, coupled with her physical disability, make her the character most like me, of all my characters. Much as I appreciate, in an alternate world fantasy book, ADHD isn’t a thing, her mind and mine have definite similarities.

What can you tell us about The Light after the Orange, that isn’t in the blurb… something we might enjoy knowing?

The Light After the Orange is actually an amalgamation of a great many things. It began as three separate things. The first was a story that I told my son when he was younger. The second was a short story that I wrote, entitled Life After the Orange. And the third, was a story plan for a novella which focused purely on Billey. After a while, I realized that the stories intertwined too much and needed to be brought together.

You write fantasy, do you read other genres?

I read a lot of fantasy, in many different forms, but I read a range of genres. I think, if I read too much of any genre it loses its sparkle. However, fantasy if the one genre I always come back to.

Do you read physical books, eBooks, or audiobooks?

I read all three. I read mostly eBooks, for environmental reasons. But, with my ADHD brain, I often find audiobooks (or at least audio narration) are key to keeping my mind on track. That being said, I have a lot of paperbacks which are books I am confident I'll read multiple times. Buying a paperback (by which time I've likely already got the eBook and audiobook) is a huge compliment to the book.

Would you ever return to The Tundra Stone Series?

From my popint of view, I've reached the end of the series. However, before I wrote the series, I wrote the prequel (the love story between Alex's mother and father). I often thinking about reworking it.

Did you always want to be a writer? If not, what changed your mind?

There was a bit of me that always wanted to be a writer. Somehow, I never took it seriously as a career choice until I was diagnosed with a chronic illness. I began reevaluating my life and paring it back, cutting out anything you didn’t bring me joy. Although, in the beginning, I didn’t see how I could make a career out of it but sometimes it just takes a hugely for faith.

What does a work day look like for you?

This is another question I don’t really know how to answer. Every day involves writing, but writing comes in many forms. Sometimes it’s research, sometimes planning, sometimes drafting, and some days this is editing. But I never have a day where I don’t sit down and move the story I’m working on forward. So, in answer to the question, every day involves a lot of me sitting at my desk. There is nothing glamorous or exciting about it but it’s where I get to go in my head that makes it interesting.

How do you keep track of all the characters?

I’m rather embarrassed to admit this one, but I have a terrible memory for names, both in real life and in books. Therefore, I actually have a whiteboard on which I keep an immense list of every character’s name, where they are from, what they look like, etc. because a few chapters later I will have forgotten who they were.

What are you writing at the moment and are you willing to share it with your readers?

I currently have two things I’m working on. One is very much in the research stage and I have been researching it for years. It may be a great many more, before it comes to fruition. But, it’s a stand-alone book, about a young woman who is offered eternal life. The second thing I’m writing, and this is much further into development, is a series that sits alongside the tundra stone books.  It is based in New Caled, and is focused on the Fae ruling class.

When you write sad scenes, do you ever cry?

Oh, gosh yes! I don’t want to put any spoilers out there, but there was a scene fairly early on in The Light After the Orange where I cried when I wrote it. There was a scene towards the end of book two where I found it really hard to focus, because I found myself too deeply inside Alex’s head. And well, honestly, writing the third act of The Light After the Darkness I was genuinely inconsolable.

What is your favorite book?

I don't have one. But, there are some books that have been pivotal in my path as a reader (and a writer). The first would be The Earthsea Series, by Ursula K Le Guin. I grew up reading them and they were the birthplace of my love for magic. The second would be The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde. It was my first real venture into magical realism, and the beginning of a new love in reading. There are many others and I could ramble forever, on this question.

Would you rather be an hour early or twenty minutes late?

That's very random! Okay, as an ADHDer, my nature is to always be late for everything but, due to my anxiety, I find being late stressful. I am always ridiculously early for everything, for that reason.