Interview with Icy Sedgwick

Icy Sedgwick describes herself as a “writer of dark fantasy, supernatural chillers, adventure fiction and even Westerns”. Her novella The Guns of Retribution has just been published in both paperbook and eBook format. She recently took some time out of her busy schedule to chat with me about her book, her inspirations and what the future holds for readers and writers alike.

Icy Sedgwick

Hi there Icy, thanks for agreeing to the interview.
No problem! It’s lovely to be here.

You’ve just had your first book published – The Guns of Retribution. So what’s it all about, what sort of readers would it appeal to?
It’s a pulp Western about a young bounty hunter who has to square up to a rather nasty blast from his past in order to move forwards. It’s very much a revenge tale but I did a lot of research so it’s as historically accurate as I could make it, so I’m hoping it’ll appeal to pulp fans and historical fans, as well as people who like Westerns!

A lot of what you seem to have done in the past has been horror or fantasy – was writing a western a bit of a departure for you?
It would seem like it, but I enjoy writing action scenes, and Westerns often have plenty of those. Besides, a lot of my horror or fantasy has been set in the past, so it’s not much of a leap from historical horror to a Western. Plus it’s nice to dabble in other genres – sticking to one or another gets boring. I’m not sure I subscribe to the theory that a writer should solely write in one genre. I understand the marketing reasons for this but writers should also feel free to write what they enjoy writing.

The Guns of Retribution is being published by Pulp Press who look both very exciting and very sure of what their niche is. What was the journey that ended up with you working with them?
Pulp Press actually contacted me. They were looking for more female writers, and they told me what they were after in terms of content. I took up the challenge and produced The Guns of Retribution. I had input from beta readers before I sent it over, and thankfully, Pulp Press liked it. I’ve been amazed at the quick turnaround from sending the manuscript at the start of April, to getting a finished paperback in my hands by the end of September, but such is the advantage of an independent publisher.

How are you going about publicising the book?
It’s a combination of blog posts, interviews, garnering reviews and Twitter mentions, although I’m also holding a launch party in Newcastle upon Tyne on 20th October. My publisher is also doing a giveaway of the book, which you can find on Goodreads.

You’re also in that small overlap of the venn diagram, publishing both electronically and print – which do you think we’re going to see more of going forwards, print, electronic or an amalgamation of both?
Personally, I think the print market won’t ever truly “die”, since there will always be people who, for one reason or another, won’t migrate to the new digital format. Until the new devices can catch up and produce reference books that are as easy to navigate as the paper version, I think a lot of non-fiction and reference will remain in print, as will children’s books. However I do think fiction will see a massive upswing in electronic sales since it’s just so convenient.

So how long have you been writing for? What got you started?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, but I truly decided I wanted to be a writer after I showed an English teacher a short story I’d written, and she suggested I take the creative writing course my Sixth Form College was running as a nightclass. That was twelve years ago, but I would say that it was only within about the last five years that I knuckled down and started working on my weak spots.

And who or what are your biggest inspirations?
I’ve always been impressed with Neil Gaiman’s approach to storytelling. Ever since I was little I’ve been a huge fan of Roald Dahl, and I love the way he can weave the fantastical and the macabre into something so entertaining. But aside from actual writers, I tend to get inspired by fairly peculiar things, as well as social history. For example, I was sat in the Old Operating Theatre in Southwark, listening to a talk about surgery in the early nineteenth century, and lo, I got the idea for a story. I think that, once you open yourself to the notion that ideas are everywhere, you start finding them. Or, rather, they start finding you.

You’ve had quite a number of short stories published on and offline – which is your preferred medium, flash fiction and short stories or novels/novellas?
Flash fiction is naturally easier to write for me because I’m not very good at “padding things out”. I like how succinct a form flash fiction is. Then again, sometimes a story needs more space to breathe. I’ve actually written a couple of novels that are still in the editing stages but I prefer the novella form – they’re short and snappy, so they’re long enough to satisfy anyone who enjoys the universe that’s been created, but they’re not so long you’ve forgotten what happened at the beginning by the time you get to the end.

What would you say are the most important lessons you’ve learned since first picking up pen?
Writing is never “finished” because you’ve come to the end of a story – feedback and input from others is absolutely crucial to your development, and it’s always wise to seek the advice and comments from other writers that you trust. I’d also say it’s important to keep a tight rein on those adverbs, ditch the speech modifiers, and don’t do info dumps of back story.

So once things have quietened down with Guns of Retribution, what’s next on your agenda?
The sequel! I enjoy working with Grey, and I’m busy working on the outline for the next one. I’ve got vague ideas for a third one as well, but one thing at a time. It doesn’t help that I just started studying for a teaching qualification, as well as doing a part time PhD, so I’ll be a tad busy for a while.

Well that’s us, thanks again for taking the time to share some of experiences and all the best with the novella!
Thanks again, and I hope the people who check out The Guns of Retribution enjoy it!

You can find out more about Icy at her blog:

Title image courtesy n0seblunt

Published in: on October 25, 2011 at 9:52 AM  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Great interview David & Icy. I love what you said about stories finding you! Congratulations on the publication of The Guns of Retribution.

    • Thanks!

      Keep your eyes open for those ideas…

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