Welcome, Zathyn Priest! We’re thrilled you’re here!
Thank you for taking some down time and spending it with us. Let’s start this off with a beverage. We have coffee, tea, some sort of juice (I think it’s been in here a few weeks) and soda. What would you like?
Hmm… I think I might opt for tea, please.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m from Adelaide, Australia. I live with a cat, a duck, and two greyhounds. Living with greyhounds means my home looks like a daycare centre, with fluffy toys from one end of the house to the other.
Aside from that, I’ve been around the MM fiction scene for about five or six years, although I took a break away from writing during that time. Amara: The Rebirth is my first novel in about… ooh… three years, I think. So it has been a long time between drinks for me. While I wasn’t writing, I rediscovered my passion for art. I own Scarlet Tie Designs, and design pre-made and (occasionally) custom cover art. Mostly original artworks rather than stock photography based book covers.
What forces brought you over to the MM Genre and what made you want to write it?
Fate, I think. I had no idea MM was even a genre unto itself, and certainly no idea it was popular. Cruising the internet one night, looking for publishers and/or agents, I stumbled across Torquere Press’ website and read through their submission guidelines. I decided to give it a shot and wrote The Curtis Reincarnation specifically to submit to them. Thankfully, it was accepted.
Would you care for some cookies? We have chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal with or without raisins and a package of mystery ones. We have cake too. Your choice.
Actually, I’m going to be incredibly boring and decline your kind offer. About eight or nine months ago I was put on a new epilepsy medication, which has some strange side-effects. One of those side-effects is that it ‘rewires’ your brain to not recognize certain foods as appealing. So this once hopeless chocoholic now doesn’t like the stuff. Nor do I really like cookies, cake, candy, etc.
It’s quite bizarre because after a few weeks of taking this drug you eat a cookie and your brain reacts with a message along the lines of, ‘What the hell is this crap? Seriously… what the hell are you eating?’
How many hours a day do you spending writing?
I’m not one of those writers who makes sure they set aside writing time each day. In fact, I may not write for a couple of weeks and then, when I do, write for ten hours a day for several days in a row. If the mood strikes me, I’ll write. If it doesn’t, I won’t force myself. I can always tell when I’ve forced the writing and it only ends up being deleted.
Given that, I’m one of the least prolific writers in the MM genre. That used to really stress me because I’d see other authors pumping out one book after the other. I have to accept that I’ll never be like that.
Do you write right through or do you revise as you go along?
Oh God… I’m a shocker for revising as I go. Constantly. I obsess over every little detail and I’ve always been my own worst critic in that respect. I do a million drafts of everything. Well… not a million, but a LOT. I’ve never written anything from start to finish without editing, changing, revising, etc.
When it comes to plotting, do you write freely or plan everything in advance?
I have a general idea and then I basically make it up as I go along. Hence why I have to go back and change things a lot. I’ve never planned or plotted a story from A to Z. I let the characters and story develop, then see where it takes me. That’s half the fun, because it’s a surprise to me where it goes.
Of your characters do you have a favorite and why?
My favourite is usually the character I’m writing at the time. If I had to choose an all-time favourite, then it’s Alec (Tyler Curtis) from The Curtis Reincarnation. And I think he’s my favourite simply because it was my first published book.
Writers often go on about writer’s block. Do you ever suffer from it, and what measures do you take to get past it?
It’s my constant companion, together with a hefty dose of anxiety. I’ve tried all the so-called writers’ block cures to no avail. If anyone has a sure-fire cure, please let me know.
Do you have a particular spot in your house that you call your comfy zone?
I have my office, which is in desperate need of redecorating to make it comfy.
When you’re in the mindset to write, do you put a sign up that warns others not to disturb you while at work?
I live alone. I don’t have to worry about anyone else in the house interrupting me. But people interrupting me on Messenger or similar when I’ve said I’m busy… yes, that hasn’t ended well on a few occasions! It takes a while for me to get into the writing mood and, once I’m there, I hate being snapped out of it. If I am, that can ruin the ‘zone’ for the rest of the day/night.
How would you describe your sense of humor? Who and what makes you laugh?
My sense of humour? A little twisted, a little dark, a little off the wall and left of centre. My sense of humour is represented a lot in my books. It’s woven into everything I write.
What is the most frequently asked Zathyn Priest question?
Usually it’s, ‘Are you ever going to write again?’ This is because I might only write one novel every 2 years. However, I am trying to boost that up to at least one a year.
What are you working on now?
I have a few works in progress.
Counterbalance is a novel length contemporary story I’m working at the moment. I’m not sure what I’ll do with that one when it’s finished, though.
Dystopia is an almost finished novel, but something isn’t right with it and I can’t figure out what, so it’s shelved until I can figure it out.
The Violin Player is a sequel to The Curtis Reincarnation. It may or may not see the light of day, depending on the end result. I won’t let it leave my hands unless I’m absolutely certain it’s what I want it to be.
Left of the Middle is a sequel to Left of Centre, and I think that one will be graphic (Illustrated with digital art).
And I plan to write more in the Amara series.
Writing is obviously not just how you make your living, but your life-style as well. What do you do to keep the creative “spark” alive – both in your work and out of it?
To be perfectly honest, writing used to be a huge part of my lifestyle. It isn’t as much now. I suffer extreme anxiety in regards to writing and this is the reason I stepped away from it for so long. I’m in the process of dealing with the anxiety and trying to find coping mechanisms.
After I wrote The Slayer’s Apprentice – about 5 years ago – I was struck down with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It’s one of those things you never truly recover from, and anxiety related issues goes hand-in-hand with it. It’s taken all this time to get to a point where I’ve started to feel the desire to write again.
What kind of books do you like to read outside of the MM Genre?
I gravitate toward non-fiction, and a lot of my ideas for stories comes from things I learn from it.
Pick one: Scientist, Astronaut, Retail, or Horse Trainer?
Aside from writing, what else do you enjoy doing?
Art is a huge part of my life. But when I’m not doing that, I love scoping the internet for interesting articles to read, or Youtube for tutorials. I have one of those brains that gets bored quickly and can’t relax. It’s difficult for me to sit and watch TV or a movie, unless I’m watching something educational.
Any special projects coming out soon we should watch for?
Not really, no – lol. Amara: The Rebirth may be it for me this year. Unless I get Counterbalance finished and make a decision on what to do with it.
Although, I will be at GRL in Chicago!
Can you please tell us where we can find you on the Internet?
I’m most active on FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/zathyn.priest1
Twitter (Sometimes): https://twitter.com/zathynpriest
My author website: http://www.zathynpriest.com
and my blog: http://zathynpriest.com/brokenpencil/
It was a pleasure having you here with us today. Please come by and let us know how you’re doing from time to time. OH! And before you leave, can I get your help here in the kitchen? Thanks!!
I’ll rinse out my mug. But seeing as I didn’t have cookies or cake, the rest of the cleaning… you’re on your own *wink*