Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
R B Watkinson was born in 1960 in the Netherlands of Dutch parents. She now lives on a smallholding in the wilds of west Devon, England. She is married, has raised three children, and wrangles a menagerie of animals. She held down many jobs over the years, some interesting, some not. The best job as far as she was concerned was working as an editorial secretary for a few well-tamed authors. Her favourite ‘work’, however, is writing.
After gaining a Diploma in Creative Writing at Oxford University in 2011, she gained the confidence to embark on a writing career. In March 2015, she signed a three book deal with Claret Press, London (www.claretpress.com) for the epic fantasy trilogy – The Wefan Weaves.
Her novel, The Cracked Amulet, was published in January 2016.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
The Cracked Amulet is the first book of my trilogy, The Wefan Weaves. Inspiration for the book came from my reading about Neolithic sites and the ancient beliefs in green lanes and ley lines that connect these sites. Living between Dartmoor and Bodmin Moor in the westcountry of England, I had many opportunities to study the megaliths, monoliths, barrows, cairns and other pre-historic structures. It made me think about how it would be to use the energy of the Earth that supposedly ran along the ley lines, and if the standing stones could be portals to other worlds, doors that opened only when someone able to use the earth-energy touched them. Katleya, one of the protagonists in The Cracked Amulet, can see this energy in her world, but unlike others, she has yet to use it in any way…
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Sorry, not really. I can become so focused in writing that I completely forget that time exists let alone is passing. If no one’s around a whole day could pass by without eating or drinking from morning to evening. My dog is very patient with me.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
So many have that it’s almost impossible to list them all. I’ll skimp with the from Tolkien to Steven King, from Hemmingway to Steven Erikson, from Katherine Mansfield to Katherine Kerr, from Austen to Robin Hobb
What are you working on now?
The Fractured Monolith, Book Two of the Wefan Weaves trilogy.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I’m hoping websites like yours. I’m new at this, I’ve barely been published a week, so I’m throwing everything out there -Twitter, Facebook and blog sites – in the hope that my book get’s noticed, talked about and, most importantly – read. I’ll let you know when it hits the best seller lists, which method worked best.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Write a lot and read even more. Reading is the best way to learn how to write, writing is the best way to put what you’ve learned into practice.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Edit after you’ve got the bulk of your story down. You can get pernickity otherwise and never get past those first few chapters.
What are you reading now?
Neil Gaiman’s Fragile Things – a wonderful and interesting anthology. I read his book Neverwhere before that and it was just amazing.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Finish off the Wefan Weaves trilogy and get cracking on a paranormal thriller I’ve been thinking about. I’d also like to re-visit some of the poetry I worked on at Oxford and write some more. Poetry is one of the best ways to work out how to say as much as you can, with as much clarity but with as few beautifully chosen and placed words as possible. It’s a good exercise for helping you to write concise and beautiful prose too.
What is your favorite book of all time?
Noo, I can’t tell you that, I have far too many favourite books. The Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson (bit of a cheat really as it’s a series, but what the hey)