Magdalena Ball runs The Compulsive Reader. She is the author of the novels Black Cow and Sleep Before Evening, , the poetry books Repulsion Thrust and Quark Soup, a nonfiction book The Art of Assessment, and, in collaboration with Carolyn Howard-Johnson, Sublime Planet, Deeper Into the Pond, Blooming Red, Cherished Pulse, She Wore Emerald Then, and Imagining the Future. She also runs a radio show, The Compulsive Reader Talks. Find out more about Magdalena at www.magdalenaball.com
What inspires you to write?
I’m inspired by the world around me – by the birdsong and natural beauty of my adopted country Australia, by my family, by friends, by science, by confusion, by pain, joy and wonder. In short, I’m inspired by pretty much everything!
Tell us about your writing process.
With a young family and full time day job, I have to write in small snatches – every day whenever and wherever I can. For poetry, I tend to just write my poems out whole, but for fiction, I do need to outline and am very keen on Scrivener, which allows me to dip into a very structured outline and compile all my extensive research in one, easily accessible place.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I don’t talk to them as such (!), but they do sometimes play out their plots in my head while I’m trying to do other things, or even in my dreams. I do also have to let them direct the action – so something they do may well not be plotted by me but will seem appropriate in the context of their story and arc.
What advice would you give other writers?
Not to be too self-critical too soon – just think of the writing as a ‘practice’ rather than an end and get to it every day even if it’s just for a little while. Like any other thing you want to do, it takes a lot of practice, errors and learning before you produce something wonderful. No one is able to just spit genius out without working at it.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I initially published most of my books with a traditional publisher but they folded and gave me back my rights and I then was able to self-publish my own titles. Carolyn Howard-Johnson and I always knew we would self-publish our chapbooks. There aren’t many traditional publishers interested in doing poetry and a poetry collaboration didn’t really fit many submission guidelines so it was just easier for us to self-publish. I still intend to go the traditional route for my next novel, but I think that all authors should explore both options – the world of publishing is changing so fast and each author’s needs are so different. An open, inquisitive mind and lots of research though is a must for any author.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think that the future is bright and exciting. I still think that traditional publishers and, in particular, their curation function, have yet to shape themselves to the changing paradigm, but it’s starting to happen and I’m interested in seeing how that will work. I do think that the new models should be more favourable to authors – I certainly hope so. There are still plenty of sharks in the waters.
What do you use?
Co-writer, Professional Editor, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?
fiction, poetry, nonfiction
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print