On Writing had the chance to interview author George Bachman about his writing process and all the things that go along with writing a book like Spellcaster
In a turn-of-the century England steeped in steampunk and magic, Christine learns her life-threatening illness stems from her paranormal visions. During the London Season, Allie, her beloved sister and the family heir, seeks a noble match while she searches the occult underground for answers. But the only witch who can help will not do so unless Allie marries her beau, an impoverished aristocrat, so that the illicit pair can share Allie's wealth.
What inspired you to start writing?
- All the books I’ve read since I could read. I wanted to do what my heroes do, and my heroes have always been writers.
When did you complete your first piece of writing? What was it? How was that process?
- Grade school. It was supposed to be an essay assignment on Moses and the burning bush, but somehow it ended up being a very florid retelling of that story. Fortunately, my teacher liked it and gave it a high mark, though he warned me to stick to the brief next time.
What is your favourite genre to write? Why?
- Fantasy. It has the fewest rules and encompasses everything from M.R. James restrained stories and Peake’s Dickensian fantastique to David Lindsay’s total immersion in a world completely of his own invention.
What kinds of sources do you take inspiration from?
- Nonfiction seems to send me off into flights of fancy, oddly enough. Music does the same. And fiction of every genre. A recent trip to the Cloisters set off a dozen story ideas in my head. It might be easier to enumerate the things that don’t inspire me.
Do you model characters after real people?
- Never. This or that person’s traits may find their way in, but never whole persons.
What does your writing process look like? Did it take you a while to develop?
- It took a while for me to not overthink it, but otherwise the process emerged right away. My next story bubbles up over the others, and that is the same as my increasing desire to do it. Just two different ways to say the same thing. Once it does, it starts to organize itself into an outline I eventually write down when it’s settled down a bit. Each subsequent draft of the outline yields greater detail until it eventually becomes the text itself, which I refine the way you would do any manuscript draft, until it is done.
What does you editing process look like? Do you allow others to read your writing?
- Editing is simply the last process of refinement, getting out the dross until I can read a story all the way through with pleasure. My only external editors weed out any stray punctuation and spelling anomalies that slipped through even this final filtering.
Do you take criticism hard or do you have a thick skin? Have you ever received criticisms that you felt were unjustified or too harsh? Are you your worst critic?
- If the criticism convinces me of something I’ve overlooked and the critic is in sympathy with a story’s basic aim, then no, I never take it hard, though I may feel a bit embarrassed at not catching the flaw myself. If a critique chastises the story for not being something it isn’t meant to be, the words simply roll off my duck’s back. I am at once my own harshest and most sympathetic critic.
Have you ever felt like quitting writing? If so how did you overcome those feelings?
- No, never.
Do you have favourite characters from your own writing? What made them so special to you?
- Christine from Spellcaster amazes me with her warmth, determination, occult book knowledge, and self-effacement.
How do you keep motivated to finish a writing project?
- Anticipating my own satisfaction is usually enough, and the hope of a reader, any reader out there, whom a story may touch in solitude.
Have you ever written something you didn’t like, but felt necessary for the overall story?
- No any element that doesn’t give me as much pleasure as the whole does not make the final cut.
Is there any question you are tired of getting as an author?
- I haven’t gotten enough of them yet to get tired of any one.
What do you wish people knew about life as an author?
- I would rather they focus on the stories and regard me as invisible.
What would be your advice for aspiring authors?
- Read, write, read, read, read, write
Is there anything you wish you knew before you became an author?
- I’m still finding that out.
To learn more about the author click here.
To purchase the book click here.