In celebration of Indie Author Day, I sat down with indie author C. E. Ord and asked her some questions about her experiences as an indie author. Join us for the Author Interview Event over at Book Nerds Unite (on Goodreads) to ask C. E. Ord any of your still unanswered questions!
And now, on to the interview!
Tell me a bit about yourself.
When not writing, I can pretty much always be found with my family. Hiking, traveling, swimming, reading, cooking, interior design, and eating too much chocolate are all ways I enjoy spending my time. A Melbourne resident, I have really enjoyed weaving a bits of Australia and Australian culture into the OEAF [Of Ember and Flame] series.
What did you do before you got into writing (officially), and how did you get into it?
I was a primary school teacher! I’ve been an avid reader ever since I was a kid (my grade five teacher actually complained to my mother that I liked to read too much! As a teacher myself, I call bu!!$&!t on that notion!), and I started dabbling in writing when I was young - I have a middle-grade novel I wrote in my late teens/early 20’s that I’ve never published, and a half-written crime novel that I chipped away at for several years during my late 20’s/early 30’s, before buckling down and getting serious about writing and publishing a book/series.
As a child, what was your dream job? As an adult, prior to the point when you first started really writing, what was your dream job? Has it changed since then?
I was horse OBSESSED as a kid, and I wanted to be an Olympic dressage rider! (12 year old me also thought being a movie star sounded like a pretty good option!). Adult me wanted to be a teacher, so I ended up lucky enough to spend quite a bit of time in the exact career I wanted.
Did you ever see yourself where you are now?
No, I didn’t really. I think it just seemed unattainable to me to be a writer or have a creative career when I was younger. While my life so far has been absolutely wonderful and I’m so incredibly grateful, if I could go back in time, I’d definitely tell myself to dream big and that almost anything really is possible.
What was your inspiration, and what influences your writing?
My family are definitely my inspiration. While there are so many great authors out there, I don’t have anyone specific who influences my writing. A big motivation for me though is creating worlds readers can escape into and immerse themselves in - that’s what I loved about reading as a child, and it’s what I try to give my readers.
What inspired you to write the Of Ember and Flame (OEAF) series? How did you come up with the world that is Gaea? Is the name intentionally similar to Gaia, the Greek goddess of Earth, or was that just a happy coincidence?
OEAF came about and book one was written during the early-ish days of Covid. My hometown Melbourne was one of the most locked-down cities in the world, and it was so tough on everyone. While I think fantastical, escapist reads in general are great, given world events I especially wanted to put a book and series for young people out into the world that could perhaps provide a small break from the more challenging aspects of reality.
You just released Ruin, OEAF #2, this June. How do you feel about it? Excited or nervous?
I just feel happy that it’s out in the world! I’m really proud of the second installment of OEAF, I feel like Ruin is a strong follow-up to Resistance, and so far feedback from readers has been really good, so I’m grateful and happy.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but OEAF is a planned trilogy? Where do you see the gang going in Book 3? Anything interesting you can tell us yet??? Or can you tell us if you have another project in the works????
[OEAF is a four book series.]
I am so excited about book three! I can tell you it’s shaping up to be longer than the first two books, and the pace will not be quite as relentless as it was in the first two books. There’s a LOT happening in book three, but things slow down just a little, and we get to see some really interesting character development. I do have another project planned for after the whole OEAF series is complete, but I can’t say anything about it yet!
We don’t know much about what you do, but I’d be surprised if you said you had oodles of time, even if you were a full–time author; there just never seems to be enough time in a single day. :\ Maybe you’re lucky though. Regardless, how do you make time for writing, and how do you conquer writer’s block?
I’ve been lucky, writer’s block isn’t something I’ve struggled with so far. We’re all so busy these days that finding time to write is definitely tough, but I’m pretty regimented about it. Once all the planning is done and I’m actually ready to start writing, I pretty much write six days a week, 1,000 to 2,500 words a day. I know that sounds like quite a high daily word count, but I spend a lot of time planning and world building before I type the first actual words, so generally once I start writing, the whole story is hashed out, and it’s just a matter of getting it out of my head and into written (typed!) form.
How do you handle cutting content? How do you decide what to cut and what to keep?
I don’t worry too much about cutting while I’m writing, and I find the best way for me to know what to cut is to walk away from the manuscript for a few weeks/a month once the first draft is done, and then come back to it with fresh eyes and a clear mind. I find the stuff that’s ‘not quite right’ leaps right out at you on that first reread. And then, of course, there are the little lines here and there that you go back and forth on pretty much right up until it goes for proofing!
Now, let’s talk to all those aspiring authors out there. What steps do you recommend they take?
Read. Read everything you can get your hands on. Read books that have good reviews, and books that have bad ones. Read different genres, and diverse voices. Read books that challenge you. Being well-read is invaluable, and I would say pretty-much essential, to be a good or great writer.
What is your biggest challenge, and how do you overcome it?
Time management! My life is very busy, and I love that and I’m so grateful for it, but fitting everything in is hard. I think overall I do pretty well with it. Having a super supportive husband helps a lot, and mindset is key. I’m focused on the big picture and celebrate all the small steps along the way, instead of beating myself up for any failures or mistakes.
If you could go back and do everything over again, is there anything you’d change? If so, what?
With my writing, no, I don’t think there’s anything I’d change. I think my life experience brought me to the place where I was ready to write this series, and I don’t think there’s much I could have done earlier to have been ready significantly sooner. In terms of life in general, if I could go back I’d definitely start working on my mindset earlier. I was super negative and hard on myself in my teens and twenties, and it wasn’t until probably my late twenties that I realized how crappily I was treating myself, and started to do something to change that.
Thank you so much for doing this interview with me! :)
Thanks so much for this opportunity, Asia! I really appreciate how supportive you are of indie authors.
**This interview was conducted independently via a Google Doc, where I provided C. E. Ord with all the questions beforehand, which she then returned to me with the questions answered. This interview was completed between 13 August 2022 and 7 October 2022.