Friday, August 4, 2017

Interview with Chrys Cymri, author of the ‘Penny White’ series

Welcome Chrys Cymri!  It's great to have you here and to learn a little more about your series.

So Chrys, what exactly got you into writing?

I wrote my first short story when I was seven years old, and in a way I’ve just never stopped. It’s something that has chosen me, rather me choosing it.

Have you been given any helpful advice that you can impart with our readers?  Some may be aspiring authors in the works:)

Yes--write a series! That’s how to draw in readers. They like to know that the characters they’ve come to love will return for more adventures.

Not to knock stand alone books, who knows one day I might write one, but I love series because if I am reading a good book, then I don't want it to end.

Share a short excerpt from your novel

A movement in a tree drew my gaze. Two red-brown eyes blinked back at me. Dull yellow skin separated the eyes from steel-blue feathers. A sharp yellow beak and clawed feet told me that this was a predator bird, although Id never seen a falcon this small. He was only about a foot long.
Then two ears swept forward. Cats ears, although trimmed with feathers. The creature stood. Four legs. He had four legs. The forelegs were covered with purple-grey feathers, and the fur the same colour continued along the sleek back to the feline hindlegs. A furred tail emerged past short tail feathers and curled towards the purple-black wings.
I blurted out, Youre a gryphon.
Oh, shes a sharp one, she is.
But I thought gryphons were larger.
‘All this ego in a large package? Duw a’n gwaredo. Doors wouldn’t be big enough to get my head through.’

Currently, what are you working on?

The fourth book in the ‘Penny White’ series. This one will be called ‘The Vengeance of Snails’ and goes into the background of Clyde, the snail shark Penny adopted in the first book.

Tell us a little bit about your main characters

Penny is a hard working parish priest, who loves ‘Doctor Who’ and single malt whisky a bit more than she should. Morey is her Associate, a cat sized gryphon with sarcasm management issues. Clyde, who looks like a large garden snail but has a set of shark jaws, loves beer and children’s television. Because Clyde finds speech difficult, he often communicates by singing hymns. Penny has two romantic interests, Peter, who is a human police inspector, and Raven, a darkly beautiful dragon. And then there’s James, Penny’s much younger brother, whom she raised after their parents died in a car accident.

How did you decide on what to title each book?

I try to think about the overall theme of the book. The first Penny White book, ‘The Temptation of Dragons’, reflects the pull Penny feels both towards Raven and the magical world which she’s discovered. ‘The Cult of Unicorns’ is about the unicorns, whom the citizens of the parallel world revere. I think ‘The Marriage of Gryphons’ is rather more self-explanatory. As for ‘The Vengeance of Snails’, well, the snail sharks have a lot to be annoyed about.  

Share something with us not a lot of people know about you.

I live with a small green parrot called Tilly, and Clyde’s character is partially based on her. On my YouTube site, I have videos of me reading from my novels, with interference from the parrot!

How do you promote your books? Any tips you can share?

I try to be active on Facebook and Goodreads groups, and to reach out to bloggers to ask for reviews and interviews. Above all, I try to help out fellow writers, and I find that they are then happy to help me out as well.

I think it's great when fellow writers help others.  We each have unique lessons we've learned from having different experiences, and we can learn a lot from each other. Chrys, what brought about the idea for your book?

Sometimes my own life as a parish priest can seem, well, a bit boring! So one day, while driving back from a meeting, I found myself wondering whether holy water did destroy vampires and, if so, how could a Christian vampire be baptized? And what if I suddenly came across a dragon dying at the side of the road, and he asked me for the last rites? I had to pull over, park the car, and write down my ideas in my notebook. From this, ‘The Temptation of Dragons’ was born.

What was your biggest challenge when writing? Did you have any writer’s block?  If so, how did you work your way through it?

The biggest challenge is wondering if anyone will actually want to read what I’ve written. That can tempt me to watch TV instead of settling down to write. Then an email will come through from a happy reader, or a new review on Amazon or Goodreads, and I find the strength to get back to writing.

What was your writing process like?

I always have a notebook and pen with me to record ideas when I have them. But I don’t really sit down and plot out a book. I know the main scenes, but not always how I’m going to get there.

Is there something you learned from writing your first book?

Yes. Disappointment! My first two books were sold by an agent to a big publisher, but because the books only sold 5,000 copies each, both the agent and the publisher dropped me.

Chrys as someone who has seen both sides of the publishing world, what advice would you give someone who is considering publishing? Should they consider traditional or self-publishing?

Bearing in mind my bruising experience with traditional publishing, I’d suggest self-publishing. But you need to be willing to put time and money into covers and editing, and to doing the necessary networking and marketing.

Any last words?

Anyone who signs up to my newsletter list can choose one of my ebooks for free!

Thanks so much for sharing with us today Chrys!  You can find Chrys Cymri and more about her books at:

Check out the first book in the series 

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