Monday, 14 May 2018

#MondayMeet - Rachel Nightingale

This Monday we’re thrilled to have playwright and novelist Rachel Nightingale joining us on the Pict blog to talk about her novel Harlequin's Riddle.

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What inspired you to write Harlequin's Riddle?
I read an interview with Broadway and Hollywood actor Alan Cumming where he spoke about how in that moment before you step onstage it is like being about to enter another world. I took that idea literally!

What a lovely way to be inspired to write. Where is Harlequin's Riddle set?
It's second world fantasy so it's set in a place and time very like the Italian Renaissance. The Commedia dell'Arte (travelling players) use their performances to open the doorway to another realm.

So perfect for you background in the theatre! Who is your protagonist and how did you create them as a character?
Mina is a 17 year old who joins the player troupe, learning acting, but her true gifts really lie in story telling. I'm not sure where she came from, but on a completely unrelated note I did acting for many years before focusing on my true passion of writing.

I wonder if Mina could have grown subconsciously from your own experiences? Something for us all to ponder on… How long did the process take from start to finish - from idea right through to publication?
I began Harlequin's Riddle when my son was a baby and he's nearly an adult now. The biggest bump in the road was finding a publisher – it's a pretty original concept so it's not as clearly marketable as other fantasy.

Rachel's writing desk
Have you learned anything about yourself or your writing during this process?
I've learned two things: writing is a craft that requires commitment and a willingness to keep working at it; and it's best to get the stories out onto the page so they don't keep running riot inside your head.

Do you have any writing routines?
I like to write in the morning when my brain is freshest. My writing desk is surrounded by beautiful art, found objects like feathers and crystals, and anything that will inspire me with a touch of magic, so I can bring magic into my stories.

What's the most common question you're asked as an author?
I love that the answer to this is ‘When's the next book coming out?' even if it drives me slightly crazy!

So when is it coming out?
It’s coming out in early August. It’s called Columbine's Tale and it’s the sequel to Harlequin's Riddle. In fact, it starts about a minute after book one finishes. My central character, Mina, definitely comes into her own power as a story teller in the second book, but she also discovers that her quest is not as straightforward as she originally thought.

We look forward to chatting with you again when Columbine's Tale comes out!

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