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Thursday, 1 September 2011

Fantasy writer Prue Batten - A Thousand Glass Flowers

Two people… one an extraordinary young woman, the other an embittered immortal man. Both seeking concealed spells that could annihilate Life.

In a quest through a world where Others lace their way in and out of the lives of mortals, this is a story of legend, love, and clashing ideals. A story of murder, regret and revenge… a story that journeys across a world too hauntingly like our own.

An interview with:
Prue Batten, fantasy author of A Thousand Glass Flowers

What inspired you to write your book?
Believe it or not a Murano millefiori paperweight that my son bought in Venice. Without giving too much away, the paperweight becomes a vehicle for hiding an apocalyptic charm and the novel is essentially a hunt to find that charm. When I looked at my own paperweight in detail and then researched how the millefiori are made, I realized it would be possible to slip the flimsiest, piece of paper down the center of the hollow glass rods that are blown and cut to make the flowers.

Here’s a Wiki link for those who are wondering what millefiori is. (No, I didn’t know either!): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millefiori

What is A Thousands Glass Flowers all about?
It’s a fantasy/magical realism novel. Like many novels it is a journey to self-realisation by two very different, very damaged protagonists – one is a woman, Lalita Khatoun, a gifted scribe from Ahmadabad in the Raj, an exotic province in the world of Eirie and Finnian, an Other. Others are ubiquitous in the fabric of Eirie and a bane with which all mortals must deal. Many times, such confrontations with Others can be fatal, occasionally they can benefit the hapless mortal. To see what happens in Glass Flowers, you would have to read the novel.

Was there a character you struggled with?
No. Each had such dimension and such an amazing path to follow that I couldn’t wait to see what happened next.

How many unpublished books do you have lurking under your bed?
If you count the ones I wrote as a child, probably about eight, with lots of short stories on the side. If you count the WIP’s since being published in 2008-09, then two.

How did you find your publisher?
My publisher is a POD publisher YouWriteOn.com and they found me in a way. I was a member of the peer-review group and I received an email when they decided to go into POD publishing, asking if I was interested. I was so tired of the whole submission process at that stage. I had been assessed by a consultancy and told that my title at the time was commercially viable but the doors remained closed. So it was no effort to go to YWO. It’s been an upward rise since then. They treated me very well, the physical and visual quality of the print version was all I could have wished for. Yes, I would recommend them and their printers, Lightning Source, without hesitation. Since then, there have been second editions as e-books and likewise, Amazon is proving a reliable and supportive publisher.

How do your juggle a writing schedule?
Gaaah! Does that answer the question? I’m a farmer with my husband and NOTHING is regular in farming. I’ve been known to sit up in bed at 3.30AM and write.

What's the best/worst part of being a writer?
Best? Making friends of readers first and foremost and writers secondly. The worst? Time is my enemy.

What is the most productive time of the day for you to write?
3.30 AM!

Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer?
It begins to flow in pen and I flesh things out. Then I begin to type. But each day I flesh a little more in pen ready for the next day.

What/who do you draw inspiration from?
Inanimate things for my fantasies. But I am trying my hand at my first ever historical fiction and I was inspired by the legendary character Sir Guy of Gisborne.

Will you use another author name for that?
No. I am my brand. I am spending a portion of every day building that brand and it is hoped that ‘Prue Batten’ will be recognized by a small readership and that any title written by ‘Prue Batten’ will be sought after. As an indie, and as many other indies are proving, there is now no longer a boundary that corrals a writer permanently within a specific genre. If the mood strikes us to write another genre, we can with no restriction from ‘the gatekeepers.’

Do you set yourself goals when you sit down to write such as word count?
Never. It’s like making a New Year’s Resolution. It’d be doomed to failure. I just write. If it’s only a sentence, it’s something. Better than nothing!

What are you working on now that you can talk about?
Another fantasy entitled The Shifu Cloth and the historical fantasy called Gisborne. I don’t want to talk about them in any great detail yet, except to say that part of the rough first draft of Gisborne is on my blog and began life as a fun fan-fiction. That changed as time went on and I began to take it seriously and I now no longer upload to the blog.

How do you cope with writing about fantasy in the modern world? I mean do you dismiss all ordinary things like the impossibility of flying, magic, time travel etc.
A fantasy writer spends a large amount of time world-building. I have somewhat of a reputation for being minimalist with mine. I don’t dismiss anything out of hand, but essentially my world is a non-mechanised environment. Magic is a given, but subtle and not necessarily expected. It comes from Others only and even then, creeps up and sits like shadow. Time travel doesn’t interest me at all. The consultancy assessed my work as a form of magical realism, if that gives you a clue. My novels exist in a world that is like our own… and yet not.

How do/did you deal with rejection letters?
Since I no longer submit to mainstream publishing and never have any intention of returning to that path, it’s not something I will ever have to worry about again. The new road is the exciting, full-speed and dynamic Indie road.

Completely finished with agents and publishers then?
I can’t imagine what an agent could offer me that I haven’t already initiated myself. When someone like JK Rowling turns away from the mainstream system, it speaks volumes. I confess though, I would like help with foreign rights and translation. As to an agent, I would only be interested in an agent if he or she could secure a film option. Why would I want to pay a percentage to an agent, a percentage to a publisher and then find that when my novel hadn’t reached its sales target at the end of six months, that the royalty disappears and the novel remainders are pulped? I’d have lost control over my title for a contracted period. No ability to publish independently. My way, my novels are out there in perpetuity. That’s pretty good.

Do you have a critique partner?
No. I send my manuscripts to Cornerstones Literary Consultancy UK and rely on them to pull me apart and put me back together. It can take up to two years.

To buy A Thousand Glass Flowers: 

Amazon.co.uk: http://amzn.to/pngDVR

Amazon.com: http://amzn.to/nhUoOu

To connect with Prue Batten:


The best way to describe myself would be to use a quote written about me by Mark Williams on a recent blog (http://markwilliamsinternational.com/)

Here it is: ‘She lives in Tasmania, has a pet Tasmanian Devil called Gisborne, eats kangaroos’ testicles, has the most ridiculous one-star ever awarded on Amazon, and wrote a novel on Twitter…’

Believe it or not, most of it is true. My husband and I own a farm so we do have lots of kangaroos around, but the testicles? Ugh! As to the Tasmanian Devil? I wish I did have one for a pet, but as recently reported in the Huffington Post, http://huff.to/f3zxSd the poor little things are suffering the ravaging effects of a disease that is bringing them to the edge of extinction. Better the scientists and conservation zoos look after them than me.

And I do have a one star rating on Amazon… a woman bought my first book thinking it was an embroidery book despite the blurb and then gave ME a one star despite HER mistake. And yes, myself and 50 others wrote a Jane Austen style novel on Twitter, [(#A4T) http://www.austenproject.com] which was mentioned by The Times (UK) no less as it took off earlier in the year.

Me in a nutshell!


  1. Great interview, really makes me want to check out this author. Very inspring too! Found you on the tag group on facebook. While I am not a published author, I hope to be someday soon and I am currently book blogging and writing while I teach in South Korea. Please check out my blog when you can, awlays love new followers too!


  2. Hi Jenifer, thanks for popping over. Prue's books sound great, don't they? My TBR list is growing by the second!

    Good luck with your writing.