I interviewed Ayn OReilly Walters as regards her existence and career, what stimulated her to start writing, and the story behind her new novel The Amulet’s Curse.
Tell Ayn OReilly Walters who you are:
I am a mother of three Australian children. In 2003 I moved to London to pursue a career in finance and after 9 years in finance, I quit my job to start a family. I started studying English in 2014 and graduated in 2018, learning so much about literature and history that I decided to become a writer.
When did the first want to write a book?
I’ve always wanted to write since I was a teenager in school. However, as I left school, entered the workforce, and quickly got into the routine of working and building a career, my writing ambitions took a back seat and this life/work seemed to overwhelm me. It wasn’t until college that I felt the urge again.
When did thou decide to start writing?
In my freshman year at university, I took a creative writing module and the feedback I got from my teacher was brutal. They opened my eyes from writing like a businesswoman to how a writer should tell a story. Then, after graduation, I found that I had some free time when my kids were at school. I started writing my first novel Between the Trees in 2018.
How long did it take thou to complete the first book, from idea to publication?
It took a year to write during the 2020 pandemic. It then took another eight months to find the right publisher, so the self-publishing process was a long learning curve. Also, the graphic, proofreading, and typesetting took some time to sort everything out.
How long did it take for thine latest book to go from idea to publication?
I wrote books 2 and 3 at the same time, which took a total of nine months. I prefer to write two at the same time because I mix up ideas while writing. Some ideas worked well in Volume 2 and some stories were better in Volume 3.
Zoom to the latest version. What made thou write “The Amulet’s Curse”?
The Amulet’s Curse is the second part of the Between the Trees series. In each of my books, the Pritchard children go back to a different historical era. I love the idea of mixing fantasy with little-known but important events that happened throughout history and for that reason, I thought it would be great to combine the two into one big story.
What was thine main difficulty in writing The Amulet’s Curse?
The biggest challenge I faced was finding the right dates. With any time travel story, finding the right timeline and making sure the characters don’t cross paths is a challenge. I have to write all my stories and events on the board to make sense of them. And also to classify historical facts correctly. It’s the little things you don’t think about that can make a big difference in the storyline.
Who or what stimulated thou to create thine, protagonist?
I have two characters, William and Isabel Pritchard, who are 17 and 13 years old. I wanted to write about the relationship between them and how they manage to overcome all the obstacles life throws at them. The loss of her father at a young age brings her family together and shows how they love and support each other through difficult times and of course the good ones too.
Who or what inspired thou to create The Antagonist?
There is a villain in almost every book we read, which makes this story interesting. My antagonist is a witch named Raven who starts life as a good person. When tragic events happen early in her life, she becomes bitter and angry, so I think what happens in a person’s life can ultimately lead to their downfall.
What is the inciting Fact of The Amulet’s Curse?
In The Amulet’s Curse, when children visit the palace, they see an image of a person wearing an amulet that has belonged to children for five hundred years. The amulet sets off a chain of events that forces the children to travel through time to rescue their mother, who is inseparable from the amulet.
What is the primary conflict of The Amulet’s Curse?
The relationship between Mrs. Pritchard, a good witch who has chosen a virtuous path in life, and her relationship with her twin sister, who is a terrible person. That doesn’t necessarily mean good will triumph over evil, does it?
Did thou plot The Amulet’s Curse in advance, or fly by the seat of thine pants and write freely?
I tend to write freely. When I started writing the first chapter I had a rough idea of how the book would end, but I’m not a good planner so halfway through the book I created something completely different than I thought it would end. I usually get my best ideas when I’m writing, and I love bringing life and personality to new characters.
Did thou get support with editing, and how much editing did The Amulet’s Curse need?
As a self-publisher, I don’t have any professional editing aid. After I’ve completed my first complete draft of my novel, I read it over several times and take to it with a big red pen. Then exactly as I think I’ve created a masterpiece I read it one last time and found more corrections so it’s behind what I think will always be the final edit. Often I’ll have done several editing drafts before my manuscript is ready for my publisher.
What is the first piece of writing advice thou would give someone that inspired thou to write a story?
Practice! Cheap! With every book I write, I get better and better. Even the best writers say practice makes perfect, and it’s true. Not only am I improving my writing style, but I also have better ideas and find that there is far less revision in every book I write.
Can thou tell me what books thou want to write next?
I intend to pen at least five more books in a series spanning the children’s adventures by the times of Plantagenet, Stuart, and Tudor, and I have whatever ideas of how the Windsor story will develop. Who knows where the series will end, I will continue until I am done writing about all periods of English history from a thousand years ago to the present day.
And finally, are thou proud of thine result? It was worth it?
I am very proud of what I have achieved. I’ve written three books so far (the third will be out after Christmas) and as a busy mother of three young children I’ve managed to write three great books that both children and adults will enjoy. I know it’s worth it when my kids enjoy reading my books and ask me lots of questions about the characters, the plot, and the future.