Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!
I’m Ronel Janse van Vuuren, award-winning dark fantasy author of Young Adult fiction. My debut book “Once… Tales, Myths and Legends of Faerie” won a writing competition in its Afrikaans incarnation (“Eens… Verhale, Mites en Legendes van Feërie”) in November 2017. Both language editions are available in paperback, ebook and audiobook.
In May 2019, I published “Magic at Midnight” and did a live book launch. Reception of this book has been amazing and has prompted me to start plotting a series set in that world. You can check out video and photos of the book launch here.
I also have stories published in various anthologies, most recently the “Grumpy Old Gods” series by Stormdance Publications filled with old gods of myth – and loads of humour.
What is/are the real-life story(ies) behind your book(s)?
I think it was early 2016 when the University riots were at their worst: burning down buildings, protests, violence against opposing groups, xenophobia, racism, the worst parts of humanity on display. This violence flooded the land and more people got involved for different reasons. All of this inspired the riots that made Emma a Valkyrie in the first place and everything else that happens in her story “Black Moon”. The editors of the Clarion Call anthologies loved it so much, it was included in “Unbound” in 2017. I’ve since published it as a short ebook as part of my “Faery Tales” series.
In “Wishmaster” (part of “Once… Tales, Myths and Legends of Faerie”), the drought we’re in – with all its consequences – inspired the suffering that led the princess down to the Underworld to make a deal with Dagda.
As for the rest… it’s a secret!
What inspires/inspired your creativity?
Nature. Taking long walks in the morning and evening refreshes my mind, body and soul.
My pets. I wouldn’t have had my idea for pegasi if it weren’t for my horses and chickens. And faery dogs wouldn’t have existed if it weren’t for my Rottweilers.
You can check it all out on Instagram 🙂
And if all else fails: music. I wrote about my eclectic taste in music and how it inspires me for my 2019 A-Z Challenge posts.
How do you deal with creative block?
Long walks usually help. Reading clears the mind. And if I still can’t write two words: binge watching my favourite TV shows (like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, “The Originals” and “Grey’s Anatomy” to name a few).
What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?
Inconsistency in actions and logic, of both character and story.
For example: in “Grey’s Anatomy”, Cristina doesn’t want to have children. She never wanted to have children and she’ll never want to have children. It’s an established fact since the moment we met her in season one and was reinforced throughout the first nine seasons. If, suddenly, in season ten she decides to have children just to make Owen happy, she’ll be miserable in the long term and this has to be shown (which they did in a special meta episode that showed the different paths her life could take). But if she is happy about it, it would go against story logic – and doing it in the first place would have been inconsistent with her character.
Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?
Know your genre. Give the readers what they expect with a touch of your own unique brand. Like what I did with “Magic at Midnight”.
How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?
I take it from who it came from: trolls don’t get attention or food; friends and fans allow me to become a better writer.
How has your creation process improved over time?
I’ve started to look at the bigger picture instead of just the current story. Most all of my books involve Faerie and because of that, I’ve been able to expand that world.
What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?
Best: new storylines.
Worst: confronting nightmares.
Surprise: better story after all is said and done.
Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?
A bit of both. My readers expect certain things when reading one of my books, so I can’t suddenly write sweet romance with no magic. But I also only work on projects I enjoy.
What role do emotions play in creativity?
For me, they’re the driving force of first drafts.
Do you have any creativity tricks?
Camomile tea. Mint tea. Coffee!
What are your plans for future books?
I’m currently working on finishing my “Faery Tales” series followed by my “Dark Court Sisters” series. After that… probably a sequel to “Magic at Midnight” seeing as readers LOVED the book and want more.
Tell us some quirky facts about yourself
…horse servant – my girls are in charge!
…chicken wrangler – I keep as many roosters as hens because I can’t bear to sell them. All of them need loads of discipline!
…Rottweiler pack leader – sometimes they need more direction than cuddling.