Author Interview: Erika McCorkle

a cup of coffee, a lit candle, a jumper, three sweets and a laptop corner on a brick counter; text says: 'author interview'

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1.      Paperback, hardback, audiobook?

In my heart and soul, I want to say hardback. I will almost always buy a hardback copy of a book, if it’s available. But I am a slow reader, and I have a ton of time at work to blow through audiobooks. 

2.      Pick a genre, any genre!

Fantasy! It’s what I read and write. 🙂

3.      What is the first book you remember reading?

Some children’s book, I’m sure. Maybe the one with the fish with the sparkly scales? Or the one about the caterpillar? Do those count? I think the first ‘words-only’ book I read were some of the Babysitter’s Club books that were popular in the 90s.

4.      What book shaped your childhood most?

To be honest, I didn’t read much as a child. Unless we’re counting teenage years as childhood, since I didn’t read much until I was about 12-13. For a more abstract answer, I will say Childhood’s End (ironic given the title), because that was the book that brought my grandma and grandpa together.

5.      When did you first start writing?

1999, and I won’t say how old I was. Old enough to write complete sentences, young enough that those sentences were pretty bad.

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

I wanted to create my own fantasy world, characters, monsters, magic, etc. after being inspired by Pokémon, Digimon, and the like. I still write about those things, but with a more adult angle.

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

The book I’m working on right now, Merchants of Light and Bone. It won’t appeal to a wide audience, which is a damn shame, because it’s such an emotional roller coaster. 

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

I will publish all my books eventually. I occasionally write things for myself, but not entire books. Just scenes here or there.

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

My debut novel [came] out on April 8th, 2022, from Shadow Spark Publishing. My contract is also for the two other books in my Merchants of the Pentagonal Dominion Trilogy, but I anticipate I will publish a lot more with them in the future.

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

Just fantasy for me! All taking place in the same world, the Pentagonal Dominion, which I’ve been worldbuilding for decades now.

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

There’s a mixture of both. I have to research a lot of real things that exist in my world, but I can make up things too, when appropriate.

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

I need to have a plan to get started. I’m not very good at aimless writing.

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

I am with Shadow Spark Publishing, as I mentioned before, and I’m quite happy with them. We’re a group of indie writers. I feel like indie publishing strikes the perfect balance between self and trad publishing. We have editors, cover designers, and help with marketing, but we’re also not bound into a lot of the rules trad publishers have to follow. 

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

In the video game community, there’s an answer to this that one always picks: Pokémon. It’s peaceful, you get cool pets, the world is full of interesting places, and everything turns out alright. Though if you’re restricting it to media that are most famous as books, it’s a bit harder to decide. I am only familiar with fantasy, for the most part, and most fantasy books are focused on the bad parts: the dark lords, the hordes of evil trolls, the corrupt kings, the greedy dragons. I would want to live in a nice world, and I am not sure any fantasy worlds I’ve read can offer that … other than my own, of course, but you did say “another author’s universe” lol.

15.   Do you currently have a WIP?

Yes, Merchants of Light and Bone, which has made me cry so many times already.

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

I would love to, but I would go on all day and you would think I was insane. My feelings about certain characters, particularly Lucognidus and Vinoc, are too powerful, too real, for some people to understand. It just scares them away.

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

Honestly, I consider the entire Pentagonal Dominion my magnum opus. It’s not just one book, but the whole universe. If we’re only counting books, well, I don’t have much to choose from. My debut is coming out soon, and I’m working on my second book. Everything I’ve written before this needs to be reworked.

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

Favorite romance would probably be Sawyer x Laynie. He’s the God of Death, she was a normal clearblood woman, though has since become Demigoddess of Mercy. His absolute love and devotion to her powers my soul. I am not very romantic, but these two are perfect.

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

It depends on my mood. I will listen to anything from New Age music to vaporwave to video game background music. I’ll recommend the soundtrack to Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion as good writing music, especially the calm and soothing songs that play as you explore the land or when you’re in cities. 

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

I do! I love buying art commissions. I have a few artists I’ve become close to, professionally, and I will get art from them any time they are accepting commissions.  

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

Everybody has their own path and their own goals. Figure out what yours are, but also be realistic. A lot of people will give you shoddy advice because it’s something that worked for them. Even this advice might not work for you. Maybe you want to do what’s popular, and that’s fine. Listen to advice, but think about it critically to decide if it’s right for you.

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

No, it’s not something I’m interested in. In general, competition and contests don’t bring me joy. I feel like this world is too competitive as it is. I’d like to see more support and mutually beneficial relationships between writers.

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

If we’re talking famous people: Gene Wolfe, Robert Jordan, George RR Martin, and R. Scott Bakker are some. More obscure in America, but my favorite work of fiction (Umineko no Naku Koro ni) was written by a Japanese man with the penname Ryukishi07. I also have some indie favorites on Twitter’s Writing Community who aren’t well known now, but I hope they make a name for themselves in the future. They deserve it!

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

Amazon | Twitter | Goodreads

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