I love throwing open the doors of my blog to different writers, so today I'm very pleased to welcome South African word mistress Nerine Dorman! Nerine Dorman works as a newspaper sub-editor and writer by day; at night she writes and edits fiction. Her novels are an indulgence in black magic; vampires; tall, dark and looming...
You've got several books available, and more on the way. What first attracted you to writing as a career?
This is one of those very difficult questions I’m not quite sure how to answer. It’s safe to say, I’ve been story-telling since a young age, be it my worlds of make-believe I’d dream myself to sleep to, or make up games with friends. During my young adult years I used to do a fair amount of fantasy role-playing with my geek friends.
But I remember very clearly at about the age of 13 when I wanted to write a novel. It seemed such an unattainable goal and I had no idea how I was going to go about it, but it kinda stuck through all my phases—like the time I was convinced I was going to be the next best thing after Trent Reznor and Peter Steele for the South African music industry. I’ve always come back to the written word.
You work as both a writer, and an editor. Which gives you greater satisfaction?
This is a tricky one. I love both equally. I’m always thinking up better ways to say stuff. Nothing gets my goat more than reading a passage and wanting to reach for my red pen. I guess it stems from the fact that both my parents were school teachers.
But seriously, I get as much kick out of writing as I do making authors improve their writing. When an author turns around to me and says “thank you” or refers to me as their “super editor” on a blog, it makes me go all warm and fuzzy, and I have to go sit down ’cos I feel all teary-eyed. Working with an author who visibly improves after the first novel is just the best feeling ever.
As November is nearly upon us, what do you make of the NaNoWriMo phenomenon, from both a writer's and an editor's perspective?
Luckily this year I’ve talked myself down from the very high place of doing NaNo. I know I can do it. After all, at the start of the year I wrote a 95 000-word novel in just over two months. But to be honest, it’s very intense and since I’ve already proved that it can be done, I don’t want to go down that road again. It’s exhausting. Also, with my editing deadlines—I’d be treading dangerous ground headed for a burn-out.
NaNo is great if you’re a writer who needs the focus but as an editor, I see a lot of authors rush off their manuscripts the moment they’re done, and that’s not always so good. Usually about a month or two after NaNo I see an influx of submissions. Not all these are ready for publication.
Speaking of editing, you recently launched an editing service. Tell us about it.
At some point I’d like to resign from my day job and do the work I really enjoy—which is editing from home and not having to commute or get out of my PJs. I’d like to build solid relationships with authors who need a personalised editing service that isn’t going to cost them an arm and a leg; my rates are, I believe, affordable. I’ve been editing professionally now for a number of years and have a pretty good handle on the most obvious issues that occur in a manuscript. My preferred genres are horror, urban/dark fantasy as well as epic fantasy. I’m not averse to romance, erotica, BDSM or paranormal.
What hobbies or interests do you have that you find most compatible with writing?
I have a huge love for music. Considering that music features in a lot of my stories—some characters are involved in the industry—this is definitely a plus. I have particular soundtracks I prefer to listen to while I work that help to create a positive mood for my writing and editing. After that it’s magic, history and philosophy. These themes are recurrent. After that it’s travel and the environment.
Travel’s a big one for me because it offers me a lot of inspiration for creative world-building. Many of my readers have commented that my settings are very realistic. Even if they haven’t visited Africa, they feel as though they walk every step with my characters.
I am, by proxy, also involved in South Africa’s subcultures—be it the goth scene, the body mod tribe, indie filmmaking and the fetish scene. My husband is an indie filmmaker and photographer. I meet some VERY interesting folks; this ties into my writing quite nicely.
As your day job is related to writing and you do so much in your non-day job time, do you ever worry you'll get bored with the written word?
Bored? What’s that? I don’t have time to get bored. There’s always one more deadline I need to take care of. If I need a break, I play in my garden a little or spend time with my animals. To be honest, I’m on the go nearly all the time. I compulsively have to fiddle and if I don’t have a computer keyboard, book or ereader handy, I start getting twitchy. Sometimes I get a yen to play music on one of my guitars or even haul out my piano accordion. The sounds I produce are usually so discouraging I go back to my computer. A wee bit OCD—that’s me. I’ll sleep when I’m dead.