Interview with Chrysoula Tzavelas

12067894Tell us about your publishing journey 
I’ve been writing since I was a kid but I only started trying to get novels published in the last ten years or so. My fiction is a bit outside of mainstream interests– not enough to be called edgy or stylized but a little too close to the Uncanny Valley, if you will. This meant I didn’t get a lot of interest from big NYC agents on my novels. I considered self-publishing but this was in the early days of the indie boom and I prefer to focus on the writing rather than the production of a book. So I started looking at small presses, got an offer from Candlemark & Gleam and, well, here I am.
What part of being a writer do you love most?
I love so much of it! I love planning out a story and discovering how it all comes together to create something better than what I planned.  I love getting into a writing flow and losing hours to my work. I love it when I really manage to touch somebody with my fiction, show them they aren’t alone and they share traits with heroes. I love making up titles and manipulating characters and writing powerful endings. I even like going through editing and knowing I’m making the story better. And I love having real deadlines– they’re very motivating!
Which part do you hate most?
I hate figuring out the last paragraph of a story. I hate the mid-book blues, where I’m convinced the entire story is a wreck. And I hate the overactive critic inside that I can’t turn off that makes it hard to reread completed projects without wishing I could have done even better.
What life advice have you been given, that you wished someone had given you sooner?
“Average but hardworking beats brilliant but lazy.” Or, more generally, hard work matters. And having to work hard doesn’t mean you have no talent. 99% of talent is just the willingness to work hard on something. This was all stuff I heard/figured out pretty young, but didn’t actually start internalizing until much later.
If you could have a magical power, what would it be and why?
This is a tricky question. :-) A lot of my fiction explores magical powers and how they impact an ordinary life, so it’s hard for me to think of something without thinking of its complications. Still, I think teleportation would be a lot of fun, especially if I could take others with me.
What inspired you to write the Matchbox Girls?
Well… I have a bit of an anxiety problem. Among other things, Matchbox Girls came out of the idea of how _awful_ it would be if all of my anxiety was actually a form of precognition. I also wanted to write about dangerous chosen children who happened to be little girls.
If you could have dinner with any literary character, who would it be and what would you eat?
Jonathan Strange. We’d have one of those grand Regency dinners, but with a Faerie twist.
Who are your favourite authors and why?download
I like Terry Pratchett because his development as an author is amazing and he manages to evolve from writing light satirical comedy into writing profound literature. I like Lois McMaster Bujold and Susannah Clarke for their fantasy worldbuilding. I love Patricia McKillip for the sheer wonder and beauty of her stories. I’m also a big fan of Sarah Rees Brennan for her excellent character relationships and wonderful deconstruction of standard tropes. And I love Courtney Milan, for her fresh, open-eyed approach to historical romance.
Is there a supernatural creature that scares you? 
Not offhand. Hm. The idea of Greys peeking in my window at night freaks me out, though. I guess, given that, I can go ahead and say I’m scared of haunted houses. Yes, they’re a supernatural creature!
What’s your favourite fairy tale and why?
Beauty & the Beast is a classic favorite that I often like no matter how it’s retold. Which it is, a lot, I think because it’s one of the few classic fairy tales where both hero and heroine feel like real characters who develop, rather than people-shaped rewards who remain static. When I was a kid, I was a big fan of the much more obscure “Snow White and Rose Red.” I’m a pretty big Fables (the comic book) fan these days.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on Book 3 of the Senyaza Series, tentatively called Wolf Interval, and following a supporting character from both Matchbox Girls and Infinity Key. I’m also awaiting revision requests on a high fantasy novel recently placed with a new E-Harlequin line…
Where can fans find you online?
I’m trying to build a presence on Facebook ( and every like helps!
I’m reasonably active on Twitter. ( and I post sometimes on Google+ (
Finally, I have a blog @ where you can find all sorts of news and rants and weirdness.
 Thanks for having me on your blog!   It’s a pleasure, come back anytime!

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