For those of you not “in the know”, there’s a powerful dark goddess that’s taken over the hearts, minds, and ears of many a podcasting fan. Her name is Philippa Jane Ballantine aka Pip and she writes and produces primarily fantasy. Her work and various ways of contacting her can be found at pjballantine.com and you can follow her on Twitter as PhillipaJane. She has also lent her lovely vocal chords to a number of podcasts, so even if you’ve never heard her work, there’s a good chance you’ve heard her voice.
Her books Chasing the Bard and Digital Magic are available in both print (published by Dragon Moon Press) and podcast form. She also has a few other works in the pipeline, one solo and one with frequent collaborator and fellow diva Tee Morris.
Favorite author of all time/Favorite author currently writing?
My favourite author is a hard one; I have so many, but I fall back on the lady that consistently amazes me with the breadth of her career. C J Cherryh. She writes amazing characters in beautiful, deadly situations, and can build worlds (not just one, but so many over her writing career)
Author that most inspired you to write (if it’s not the same as the above)
It would be Tolkien- since my Dad read me Lord of the Rings as a bedtime story. I always blame both those men for getting me into that.
What’s your “writing schedule”?
Well since I was crazy/brave enough to leave my librarian job and try this thing full-time… it’s my new career. I am trying to make sure that means a full day of writing. I like to get the housekeeping work out of the way in the first hour of the day, then give myself another seven hours to do actual work. This won’t be all writing- I do love research- but if I can get some thousands of words out, I count that a good day. A three month turn around is my best effort so far.
What’s your favorite genre/subgenre to write in? Why?
I guess I am most comfortable in alternate history, epic fantasy and now steampunk. I have also dipped my toe into speculative fiction erotica and cyberpunk.
What was your first paid writing credit?
In 1998 I was researching for my story set in New Zealand (which ended up being Weather Child) and knew there were ships buried under the streets in Wellington. So when one was dug up I was able to write a piece on it, and got my first sale to the metropolitan newspaper. My first fiction sale was to Woman’s Day, and I guess you could say it was romance.
How do you deal with rejection as a writer?
I am getting better at handling it. At first I confess, I really let it get to me, but eventually I was able to realise it wasn’t personal. A rejection happens for a variety of reasons. You just have to keep circulating your work, improving through practice and eventually you will break through. It’s not so much about belief, as it is about craft and determination.
Thanks for your time Pip! Best wishes on your new projects.