Women In SFF Author Spotlight: Gemma Perfect
Gemma Perfect loves to write. She’s been doing it since she was nine. After a few false starts – self publishing children’s books, and having her romance novella published by Harper Collins, she has finally found her happy place writing young adult fantasy books.
She has two complete series – The Kingmaker Series and The Accidental Witch Trilogy and a new book The Rise of the Fairy Queen out in August 2020.
Gemma lives in Wales with her husband Craig and their three boys, Sam, Corey and Oliver. She is happiest when writing, day dreaming and eating smelly blue cheese.
Welcome to the Hive, Gemma Perfect. Let’s start small: tell us about a great book you’ve read recently!
Ooh, okay, I’ll go with Glennon Doyle’s Untamed for non-fiction, something I wouldn’t usually pick up, but I loved it.
Okay, time to escalate things: reality warps and you suddenly find yourself leading a D&D-style party through a monster-infested dungeon. What character class are you, and what’s your weapon of choice?
Now you’ve got me – I’ve never played. Is there a ‘I don’t know what I’m doing but I’m here to learn’ character. I love trying new things!
When you’re not trawling through dungeons, how do you like to work? (In silence, with music, or serenaded by the damned souls of a thousand dead shrimps? Do you prefer to type or to hand-write? Are you an architect or a gardener? A plotter or a pantser? D’you write in your underwear, or in a deep-sea diver’s suit?)
Tell us a little bit about your writing method!
I sometimes wish I was trawling through dungeons – I work from home and have three children, all boys aged 16, 12 and 7, so a dungeon might be preferable, especially during lockdown with the home schooling to contend with!
I definitely write in silence, as much silence as I can get. I could never write by hand – it’s a scrawl. I’m an absolute pantser but with an idea of where I’m going. And I tried writing in my underwear once and it was just too cold. I live in Wales in the UK, not known for being the warmest.
What (or who) are your most significant female fantasy influences? Are there any creators whom you dream of working with someday?
I remember reading the first Sookie Stackhouse novel and then ordering all of them. I loved the world Charlaine Harris thought up, the quirky details, the fantasy grounded in reality. I love those books.
And I’ll work with anyone who’ll have me!
What was the last thing you watched on TV and why did you choose to watch it? Alternatively, what games have you enjoyed recently?
I’m re-watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer from the start. It’s showing on E4 in the UK, every weekday night. I watch it the next day with my dinner. It’s so good. I watched it first time round, but I was seventeen when it started. I’m forty now. I think it’s aged better than me!
The world shifts, and you find yourself with an extra day on your hands during which you’re not allowed to write. How do you choose to spend the day?
This would be nice. A lay-in, followed by a day with family and friends. We’d have everyone over to ours. My husband would barbeque – in the rain – and we’d all chat and laugh. We’d eat freshly baked brownies and stay up late putting the world to rights.
Can you tell us a little something about your current work(s) in progress?
It’s the first book in a new series, young adult fantasy, about a fairy princess called Elsie and her rise to be fairy queen. It’s called The Rise of the Fairy Queen and it’ll be out on August 2nd.
What’s the most (and/or least) helpful piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
Most helpful – just do it.
Least helpful – write what you know. I know nothing.
Every writer encounters stumbling blocks, be it a difficult chapter, challenging subject matter or just starting a new project. How do you motivate yourself on days when you don’t want to write?
I do love a vision board, so I’ll take a look and remind myself where I’m going with my writing and why it’s important. Or I’ll just switch off for the day. I write full time now, so there are days when it’s just not happening, and I don’t want to live with guilt, so I’ll come back to it tomorrow.
If you could visit any country at any point in history, where/when would you go, and why?
I’d definitely go back to the court of Anne Boleyn and Henry Viii – that woman fascinates me. I’m not even sure why!
Who are your favourite female characters in literature or pop culture? And do you have a favourite type of female character you enjoy writing?
I love characters like Buffy – strong women who can kick ass and don’t have to rely on a man to save them.
I’ve tried to write about strong female characters in my books too. I know I’m not the only one who loves them.
Tell us about a book that’s excellent, but underappreciated or obscure.
I love Intensity by Dean Koontz. I’ve read it and re-read it and it still scares me. Usually, his horror has a fantasy edge, but this is grounded in reality and so it’s the scariest thing I’ve ever read.
Finally, would you be so kind as to dazzle us with an elevator pitch? Why should readers check out your work?
My opening lines for my first series – The Kingmaker Series – usually grab readers, and they seem to love it or hate it. Here goes:
“I am sixteen years old and I will die on the morning of my seventeenth birthday. As tradition dictates, I will be sacrificed and my life’s blood will determine which one of my two brothers will be King. My blood will kill one and crown one. My name is Everleigh and I am the Kingmaker.”
Thank you so much for joining us today, Gemma!