Interview with Elizabeth Baxter

Elizabeth Baxter

Interview Date: 5/18/2012


I've been a bookworm since I was five years old. The first book I ever read was a crappy story about a boy going shopping with his mum. I picked it up from my brother's bedroom floor and suddenly those strange shapes on the page made sense. I could read! Hallelujah! I was soon working my way steadily through the school library and it wasn't long before I realised that stories about dragons, elves and great big talking lions were by far the most interesting. And that was it, my obsession with fantasy fiction was born. Hence, my blog about fantasy writing, both my own and others (with a healthy dose of humour and worldly observation thrown in.)
I wrote and published my first book when I was seven. This was a rip-roaring adventure tale called “The Golden Pheasant,” about, well, a golden pheasant. I wrote out three copies on bits of paper pulled from my school books, bound them in covers made from old cereal boxes, and gave them out to my teachers. And that’s it. I was a writer! (Ahem.) These days I write fantasy novels and short stories, published both in the UK and US.
When I’m not writing I enjoy playing tennis (badly), playing the guitar (very badly) and watching cricket whenever I can. I’m also intent on cramming as much world travel as I can into one lifetime. Funny, but my list keeps getting longer. You can never see it all can you?

When did you start writing, and was there a significant event that prompted you to do so?

Hmm, I don’t remember a specific event that prompted me to start writing – it was probably my insatiable appetite for reading that lead me into it. I wrote my first ‘book’ when I was six years old. It was a rip-roaring adventure tale called The Golden Pheasant about, well, a golden pheasant. It was full of talking animals with exciting names like ‘deer’ and ‘fox’. I wrote out several copies and bound them between covers made from cereal boxes. I gave these out to my teachers and voila! I was a published writer! In fact, I still have a copy of that first book. Ah, the memories.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be? (Assuming said power would be reasonably "powerful.")

I loved Firestar from Spiderman and his Amazing Friends, so I’d probably have her powers. Imagine, being able to fly and control fire? Awesome.

Kev's response: Oh, great. We've got a pyromaniac here!

Do you have a favorite superhero from novels, comics, or movies?

Oops, think I answered that question above. But I also like Storm and Rogue from X-men. They are two seriously kick-ass females.

Where do you get your inspiration for writing? What motivates you?

This is a really hard question to answer. I suppose my motivation comes from the feeling writing gives me. If I’ve spent the day writing I feel happy and have a greater sense of achievement than if I haven’t. Writing for me isn’t a choice. There’s this little tug deep inside that pulls me to it. I remember seeing an interview with JK Rowling once where she was asked why she writes. Her answer was, “I can’t understand why the whole world doesn’t want to be a writer. What’s better than it?” And that’s exactly how I feel.

Do you pre-plan your stories, or are you a by-the-seat-of-the-pants style writer?

I used to be a seat-of-the-pants writer. I’d scribble down scenes as they came to me. What I ended up with was a great big mess of disjointed scenes that took an age to mould together into some kind of cohesive story. So now I force myself to plan first. Not in huge detail, but just so that I know what’s coming next. My productivity has definitely gone up as a result.

Kev's response: So ... pants gone ... productivity up?

Do you write only when inspired, or do you have a set schedule where you sit down to write?

Would you believe me if I said I had a schedule? Okay, I’d like to have a schedule, but more often than not it doesn’t quite work out. I do something writing related every day. This might be writing, but it might be editing, formatting, critiquing and so on.

Do you have a favorite genre to write in? To read?

Fantasy and fantasy. I’m always getting told that my tastes are too narrow but that’s what I like, so there.

Kev's response: Oh, I don't know. Fantasy is a massive genre.

What do you enjoy the most about writing?

Er, everything? Writing is like watching a film in my head. All these wonderful characters come to life and let me watch their lives pan out. I just write it down.

Kev's response: Same here! I'm pretty much documenting what I'm watching!

Is there any part of writing that you don't enjoy?

Proof-reading. No matter how many times I read a story through I always miss errors. Particularly with commas. God, I hate commas.

Kev's response: *hides*

Can you tell me something odd about yourself?

I’m a cricket fanatic. Most people think that’s quite odd. When England are touring in the winter, I’ll happily get up in the wee small hours to watch them. I can’t think of a better way to spend a summer’s day than watching cricket. Glass of wine in one hand, tub of ice-cream in the other. Wonderful.

Kev's response: Mmmm, you had me at ice cream (or better yet ... custard, it's oh-so-fattening though!).

Do you write one story at a time, or do you have several novels in the works at one time?

One at a time. My brain can’t handle more than one thing at once.

Are you for, or against, evil plots to take over the world? (Not saying I'm doing that, but thought I'd ask, just in case....)

For, of course. Evil plots make the world go round. Mwah ha ha!

Kev's response: Well, there we have it. No plots, no spin, no day/night!

Where do you see the future as far as paper books versus digital e-books?

I think a balance will be achieved eventually. I think (and hope) that paper books will always be around but ebooks will definitely become more popular. I try to balance the two. My most favoritest authors I buy in paperback, indie authors or new authors I’m not sure of, I get in Kindle.

What are your current projects?

I’m writing a novella called Summer Storm. This is a prequel for my The Wrath of The Northmen series, the first title of which, Everwinter, will be out this summer.

Kev's response: Perhaps one of the key villains (Winterfury) from my latest novel can come visit. Sounds like his kind of place. :)

Do you have any advice for others about self-publishing?

Write the very best book you can, then go for it. It’s worth it.

Do you have any online sites where readers can find out more about you (and your books)?

My blog is called Small Blonde Hippy and can be found here: I’m on Twitter here:!/smallblondhippy Or my Facebook Page:

Kev's response: Elizabeth, thank you much for joining me. Good fortune on the WotN series! :)

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