Interview: Cait of @PaperFury

Today I am delighted to host one of my favorite bloggers of the vast internet, Cait of Paper Fury! She is an Aussie word ninja and lover of chocolate in addition to being a fantastic authority on all things in current bookish affairs!

Hello Cait! Thanks for stopping by. What first got you to start Paper Fury?

I actually had no idea at all of ever what a blog even was when I started! But my older sister convinced me that I needed one and, well, you DO what your older sister says, okay?! Safety first. I started out blogging with my little sister (I have far too many sisters apparently) about our month-long adventure in China and then she wandered off and it turned into a sole endeavor by me called Paper Fury: an entire blog dedicated to books. Because really, what else is there in life. (Well, apart from cake obviously.)

(Older sisters always know best. Speaking as one, I can confirm. 😉 )How has being a fiction writer influenced your blogging?

I blog so insanely differently to how I write that the two are like opposite worlds for me! However, blogging has definitely influenced my writing. Since I started sneaking about with the bookworms, I’ve taken notes on: what’s popular in YA, what topics readers are shouting for, what’s not being written about, and exactly how much cake people want in their books. (Spoiler: lots of it.) So blogging is definitely an amazing help to my writing career.

Hanging out with the cool kids sure can’t hurt. Have you ever gotten to meet any of your favorite authors?

No, sadly! All my most favourite authors are American and I live in Australia. And while I’d love to meet incredible Aussie authors like Jay Kristoff, Steph Bowe, Amie Kaufman, and Claire Zorn…I’m never close enough to the right cities! I shall just sit here and pout quietly and glare at the teeny tiny country town I live in.

🙁 Former small town girl here knows your pain. It really seems like you have to live in a booming metropolis.What is your dream job from any book you’ve read?

I would not say not to working in a bookstore with Sam and Grace out of the Wolves of Mercy Falls series by Maggie Stiefvater. Or if there’s an opening for dragon queen, I’ll take that too. I can do both? Bookstores on the weekends. Slaying evil on weekdays. Multitasking like a boss.

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OH YES! I think we would all gladly play third wheel to Sam and Grace’s perfect romance! <3 How (if at all) do you think the bookish community in Australia differs from say, the US or the UK?

I’m honestly the kind of bookworm who frolics about in both communities so much they’ve all merged for me! I do think we Aussie bloggers tend to spend most of our conversations on twitter making fun of each other. Like the kind good souls we are. ‘STRAYA MATE. Friendly and relaxed.

Hehehe…it’s good you keep each other humble. Countries in books you’d like to visit? (Real or imagined.)

  • Paris because croissants and coffee and all the old famous authors used to go there.
  • Thisby from The Scorpio Races and not just for the November cakes…like it sounds all Irish and beautiful and full of deathly water horses and…November cake.
  • Red London from A Darker Shade of Magic, because I’m 67% sure I’d make a fabulous magician if I didn’t fall on my face and embarrass myself first.
  • Narnia, and I keep checking my wardrobe. It’s bound to let me through soon, right???

I’m strongly reminded you’re a Stiefvater fangirl and NARNIA ALL THE WAY. Favorite part of being a blogger/writer so far?

CREATIVITY. I absolutely adore creating worlds as a writer, or creating art as a blogger. And the amount of epic people I’ve met who are just as obsessed about books as I am?!? It’s marvelous. It’s also extremely satisfying to create a little bloggish kingdom out of nothing and gather the nerds to you so you can all flail together. MY PEOPLE.

Thanks so much for having me, Elisabeth!

The creativity really is a massive bonus and thank YOU again for stopping by! 

About Cait:

I am Cait. But I also respond to “your majesty” and “ruler of all”.

I read quite furiously and have been known to swallow whole books before breakfast. I’m taking over the world. It’s happening. JUST YOU WAIT. I also write and plan to be a famous author. Currently my stories are about sad characters with cake deficiencies. I’ve written 16 miserable manuscripts and someday you will read them all and either a) proclaim my genius, b) weep, or c) feel driven to eat cake.

I live in Australia. I’m 21. I’m agented by Polly Nolan of Greenhouse Literary Agency.

I make origami things and sell them. I love superheroes and comics. I read anything and everything YA. I’m 5’1. I play cello. I’m a very intense obsessive fangirl. My brain is extremely hyper but I am extremely shy. My bookshelves are arranged by colour. Humans make me anxious. I’m in love with my Nikon D300. My puppy’s name is Atticus. I like to zentangle. Cake is life.

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The Danger of Dark Books

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There’s a trend of writing dark stuff these days. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a place for discussions of mass murder, gruesome torture, pedophilia, etc. But where is that place? And how should authors use these things?

In fantasy books especially, you see the new slant toward dark themes. This is mainly because of a certain successful series.

*coughcoughI’mLookingAtYouGeorgeRRMartincoughcough*

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We’re seeing writers toss “stuff” in like never before—be it questionable sex, gratuitous violence, or general moral ambiguity. Sometimes, these things are suitable for a story. In many cases, I’ve even thought they were handled well. I tend to be a bit of a dark person myself. Yet I have more recently began to edit characters and stories to be less twisted. Why? Because I don’t want to get used to it.

Stalin said, “One death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.”

We should never let our characters become statistics to readers. Writing horrible things for the sake of shock value is about as low as an author can sink. Even the series-that-shall-not-be-named has reasons for the bad things and characters that remain appalled (generally speaking).

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Much like former child stars doing pornographic photoshoots, I feel many authors are attempting to prove themselves mature. Writing sick characters in twisted stories is becoming a benchmark, but it shouldn’t be. This isn’t a contest of who has the most tortured characters.

A good writer can make us feel more for a nervous child auditioning in a play than a bad writer can make us feel for 600 gruesomely butchered, nameless red shirts.

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Dark stories have their place, yes, but it’s imperative that they don’t desensitize us. It’s important to talk about evil, but it’s just as important we don’t get used to it.

When we don’t keep perspective and throw around things like rape, torture, and infanticide, it’s easy to forget how terrible these things really are. Worst of all, it starts to influence how we view bad things that happen in real life. Apathy is the single largest enabler of evil in the world today. Shouldn’t we fight it if we can? Art has massive power in shaping people—that’s part of its magic—and if anything can combat apathy, I believe art is it.

Fanged is free today for Kindle

Brace yourself—NaNo WriMo is coming

NaNo-2015-Participant-Badge-Large-SquareCome Sunday, it will be that time of year again. The time of writing meet-ups, all-nighters, and frantic pounding at keyboards to meet last minute word quotas. There is something exciting and addictively nerve wracking about joining people across the country and even the globe in getting to that 50k word mark. No pressure, right?

I’ve participated in National Novel Writing Month for two or three years now with pretty good success overall (if I do say so myself). Due to my (clearly vast and indisputable) experience, I thought I’d share a few things I’ve learned from participating this glorious tradition.

1. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

The whole point of NaNo WriMo is to write a draft—a draft. Drafts just need to be done. It’s okay to focus on word count for the next 30 days. Those plot holes, halfway character development, and inconsistencies can wait for now.

2. Actually, it does have to be perfect.

While you should not stress about editing during this phase, you do have to be sure and do it later. The months following NaNo WriMo mark a veritable deluge of questionable submissions flooding the inboxes of literary agents (almost all of which are deleted without a second glance). If you’re looking to publish traditionally, take a few months to polish up your work before submitting. If you’re looking to self publish, definitely take all the time you need. You’ll have a better finished manuscript and your characters will thank you for it.

3. Hang in there.

You may not write the requisite 1,667 words everyday and it’s alright. Slow progress is still progress and you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself.

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Yes, I totally stole that post title from a meme.

4. It’s supposed to be fun.

Forget about Little Mr./Miss Goody-Two-Shoes over there who’s done halfway through the month. I promise you, most people will be struggling with their word count just like you and I. Chat with other writers. Make friends. Relax and enjoy yourself a little. Kick the green-eyed monster to the curb.

5. FUN, I tell you!

Even if you don’t make it to 50k, that doesn’t mean you aren’t on your way to a great story or becoming a fantastic writer. Remember that the whole point of this is to express your creativity and self—to have fun.

If you’re participating this year, I’d love to be writing buddies! Friend InkspelledFaery here.