Author Interview: Halli Starling

a woman drinking coffee and holding an open book; text says 'author interview: indie book spotlight'

Be sure to check out Halli’s website!

1.      Paperback, hardback, audiobook?

All of them! I’m only picky when it comes to audiobook narrators.

2.      Pick a genre, any genre!

Psychological horror! I can’t watch a lot of super scary stuff (I’m a jumper) but reading it is an entirely different experience.

3.      What is the first book you remember reading?

Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

4.      What book shaped your childhood most?

Redwall by Brian Jacques.

5.      When did you first start writing?

I used to make “books” out of construction paper stapled together, so probably around 7 or 8 years old.

6.      What made you want to write? Does it still hold true?

Storytelling is something I’ve always enjoyed. There is nothing quite like the rapture of being fully absorbed in a story. I chased that feeling as a child, since it was a way to escape a tumultuous household. And as I grew up, I still chased that feeling. But I decided I wanted to try to supply that feeling to others, too. It definitely still holds true.

7.      What book/poem are you most proud of creating?

My current WIP.

8.      Did you publish your first book or is it for your eyes only?

My first manuscript is definitely my eyes only. I might revisit it later. But it was unfinished. So I guess I did technically publish my first book!

9.      How many books/collections have you published so far?

I’ve published one novel and one set of short stories.

10.   What genres do you write in (or hope to)?

I want to write psychological horror and lesbian romance. I’ve found a way to combine both but the story is fighting me currently.

11.   Do you do research for your writing or is it all in your head?

It depends! I researched for my third book, ASK ME FOR FIRE, because I wanted to understand more about fire towers/fire watch towers. 

12.   To plan, or not to plan your plot?

Ooof, can I say both? Most of my stories start with a character or a scenario, and if it really takes me, I’ll ramble around until the story finds its way (thank goodness for editing!). But eventually I’ll find myself in a corner and need to plot something out. Mostly my planning is a set of notes at the bottom of my WIP.

13.   What route of publishing have you chosen? Do you plan to stick with it?

I self-published my two books. I’ve queried my third with a few agents, but it’s mostly because that book is extra special to me and I want to give it a chance “out there”. But I don’t expect it to get picked up, so I plan to self-publish that one as well.

14.   If you could live inside another author’s universe, which one would you pick? (Ex: Middle Earth, Narnia, etc.)

Definitely Becky Chambers and A LONG WAY TO A SMALL, ANGRY PLANET.

15.   Do you currently have a WIP?

I do! It’s a contemporary m/m romance set in the woods, featuring two neighbors who slowly become friends and fall in love. The title is ASK ME FOR FIRE.

16.   Tell me about the character you’ve created who is dearest to your heart.

I’m torn between Octavia Wilder and Raphael Lutz. I think they’re two sides of the same coin – will protect their families and friends at any cost. Raphael (Raf) is very much an extroverted introvert, while Octavia’s an introvert.

17.   What do you consider your *current* magnum opus?

Outside of a lore-heavy fan fic I wrote, I’d say my set of queer short stories, TWELFTH MOON. When I was planning the second book, one character spun off into his own book (ASK ME FOR FIRE) and another pair are getting their own novella.

18.   Do you have a favourite romance in your books? Or, if yours features no romance, tell us about your favourite character friendship!

Octavia Wilder and Bellemy (Bel) Eislen’s epic romance! They were separated for two years and fell back together again, then brought in Roderick for a healthy polyam relationship. They’re so dynamic together.

19.   Do you listen to music as you write? Recommend a favourite writing song.

Oh gosh, I actually can’t! Anything with words or a tune throws me off, so I listen to rain soundtracks when I write.

20.   Do you have any character art for your books, whether by you or another artist? (Be sure to credit/link if you can!)

Oh yes I do! @veranox on Twitter did art for WILDERWOOD, and @dazedinked on Twitter has done art for TWELFTH MOON, and what will be the cover for ASK ME FOR FIRE if I self-publish it.

21.   If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?

Be open to other ways to get your work out there! I know traditional publishing is a dream for many, and it can be disheartening, even soul-crushing. But if you can even be a little bit open to other ways to publish, it might be worth it.

22.   Have you entered any writer contests? Tell us about your experience!

I entered the BookLife contest. It gave me my first critic review, which has been super helpful in marketing. It does cost, which I know a lot of people aren’t fans of. But it’s run by Publisher’s Weekly, which is one of, if not the biggest, names in publishing and reviewing.

23.   Who are your top 5-10 favourite writers?

Robert Jackson Bennet, Becky Chambers, KJ Charles, Cat Sebastian, Jon Ronson, Victor Lavelle.

24.   Link us your book/twitter/goodreads or wherever we can best connect with you!

Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Website | Archive of Our Own

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