This week I reviewed The Veil by Cory Putman Oakes and as a follow up here is a short interview with her that she so graciously was able to do with me. If you want to know more about Cory or her book The Veil visit her website, twitter, facebook and/or goodreads.
I would classify your novel The Veil as fantasy- do you typically read fantasy also or do you like other genres?
To the extent that I am able to find time to read these days – I have an almost-two-year-old – YA fantasy is definitely my favorite genre. My “To Read” pile is shamefully large, and it is mostly YA. But I do try to expand my horizons because I think it helps my writing. Recently I read George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series (yes, I know, it’s another fantasy – but it’s adult as opposed to YA! That counts as different, right?). I am currently in the middle of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which I am really enjoying. It is deliciously dense.
With your background in law- did you enjoy writing a court scene into The Veil?
Yes, I had a lot of fun with the “Council” scene, which very much resembled a courtroom. It’s funny because right after I left the law in order to write, I was very adamant that I would never include anything remotely “legal” in my writing. I was determined to keep the two worlds separate. But over the years, I’ve come to embrace the fact that the law is a part of who I am, and it’s also a part of my thought process. So it just makes sense that it will sometimes play a role in my writing. I actually really like the “Council” scene – it’s where a lot of loose ends from earlier in the book get tied up and things start to come together.
Do you have a background in writing- beyond the massive amounts of writing that is done to get through law school?
I have no formal writing training, but I have been writing stories since before I can remember. I learned how to type when I was eight because laboriously writing everything out by hand was just too slow.
I did a lot of writing as a lawyer – I was a litigator, so most of my day was writing briefs – but that is a very different type of writing than fiction! Legal writing is about being precise, concise, and persuasive. I had to unlearn a lot of bad habits when I returned to fiction! The first book I tried to write after I left the law firm turned out like a legal brief – all of the paragraphs were short and terse and I believe I used the word “foreseeable” twice on the first page. YUCK! I was finally able to lose my “lawyer-tone” only after I spent a LOT of time reading and totally immersing myself back into the world of fiction!
What is your process for writing- ie plan out every detail, write from outlines, just let the characters take the story and go?
I am usually a big planner. I like to have at least a rough outline to go off of in the beginning so I don’t end up writing myself into a corner, but I don’t hold myself to it – the outline usually changes dramatically by the time I am done with the story.
THE VEIL was a little bit different though. I never intended it to end up a finished book. In fact, I wrote it while I was supposed to be working on another book for my agent at the time. I was burned out on my current project, so I gave myself two weeks to write about anything I wanted, just to get my writing-mojo back. At the end of two weeks, I had the beginning of a story that I liked very much – I had no idea where I was going with it, but I just had to keep writing. So I gave myself another week, and then another one . . . I kept expecting it to fizzle out at any second, but it never did. At the end of the month, I had a rough first draft of The Veil. I never outlined it, not even in my head. But it refused to leave me alone!
Is a sequel planned? And what is up next for you?
Yes, there will be a sequel! I’m working on it now and although a release date has not been set, I am hoping to have it to Octane in time for them to release it by the end of the year (fingers crossed! It may very well end up being a spring release instead!).
There is a “sneak peek” of the sequel on my website, which will give you a hint of where I am headed with the story and what my influences have been while I’ve been writing it: http://www.corypoakes.com/the-veil/the-sequel/
And in the meantime, I just released a short story from THE VEIL world as part of a Valentines Day Anthology called IN HIS EYES. The story, which is called Precalculus, is a re-telling of Chapter 2 of THE VEIL, only this time the story is told from Luc’s point of view. So if you are at all curious about what was going through Luc’s head during the cougar-in-the-math- class scene, check it out! It’s available on Amazon and B&N.com for just 99 cents (and there are a ton of other great short stories in the anthology as well!)