Author Interview – Lucy Saxon (Take Back the Skies)

CaptureAs many of you know, cosplay is a time consuming hobby by itself, so how someone manages to write a published novel at the same time is anyone’s guess, but Lucy Saxon has managed to do so! Her first book from Bloomsbury, Take Back the Skies, will be released in June and looks set to be the start of a fascinating and exciting series that will captivate audiences all over the world. Following the adventures of a government official’s daughter, Take Back the Skies tells the tale of Catherine ‘Cat’ Hunter and her desire to escape the confines of her father’s life, seeking a freedom she could only dream of before. As you can imagine, things are never that simple, and as she leaves her home on a skyship, her whole world takes twists and turns she never saw coming.

We recently had the chance to talk to Lucy about her cosplay talents, how she got into writing, and how others can follow in her footsteps.

Many of our readers will know you primarily from the cosplay scene. How did you first get involved in conventions?

Lucy: I went to my first convention back in October 2009, after having spoken to some friends I knew through online forums who persuaded me to go. I was only fourteen, so of course my mum went with me, not wanting me to meet strangers from the internet on my own. I had a brilliant weekend, got on really well with my online friends, and was hooked from that point on.

What do you think it is about cosplay that is so appealing to people?

Lucy: I think cosplay is so appealing to people because it offers different things to different people. The challenge of making a costume for the creatively inclined, the chance to take on a character’s personality and mannerisms for the more theatrical people, and the confidence boost that comes from dressing like your favourite character that I think everyone can get behind. It’s a way to show your appreciation for a character, and the media they came from.

I personally find it easier to talk to people at cons and in cosplay, as I know I will likely have some common ground with them; we’re both at the con for a reason, we probably share some interests. And even if we don’t share common fandoms or interests, it’s easy to start a conversation with ‘Hey, I love your cosplay!’ and take it from there. Cosplay is a very social hobby, and with an endless pool of characters to choose from it’s easy to get involved even if you don’t have the money, time or skill for some of the more complex costumes.

Are you working on any particular pieces at the moment?

Lucy: Of course! I always have at least one cosplay WIP at any one time; my ‘future cosplays’ list is waaaay too long for me to not be doing anything! I’m currently working on four cosplays; a remake of my Fem!Captain America, Wind Waker/Four Swords Link in all four colours, a clothesswap Ariel based on some fanart I saw on Tumblr, and Danielle Phantom from Danny Phantom. Soon I’ll be adding a cosplay from my own book to the list. Probably Fox, because Fox is awesome.

Bloomsbury are about to publish your first book – Take Back the Skies. When did you first seriously consider becoming a writer?

Lucy: I don’t think I really considered writing a viable career until after I finished writing Take Back the Skies. I loved writing, and I dreamed of being able to make a career out of it, but I didn’t think of it as a serious option for me. When I finished Take Back the Skies, it was the first time I had written something that I was actually proud of by the end, and the first time I thought any of my writing had the potential to be published.

Did you have any particular influences on the story?

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Lucy: Steampunk as a style is a huge influence on Take Back the Skies, as it’s an aesthetic and a genre I’ve always wanted to try writing for. Other than that, I don’t think I have any clear writing influences, but obviously I’m unconsciously influenced by every writer I’ve read, as everyone is. So if I’ve drawn any parallels in Take Back the Skies, they’re accidental!

Was it a deliberate choice to have a strong female lead?

Lucy: I didn’t sit down and think, ‘I’m going to write a book with a strong female lead’, as I find the whole concept of a strong female character to be incredibly frustrating in that it implies it’s an unusual thing for women to be strong. Male protagonists aren’t described as a ‘strong male lead’, because it’s expected that a male lead is going to be strong, because he’s male. But when I was planning out Cat’s character and the plotline, I knew she would have to be an incredibly strong and stubborn character to drive the plot in the direction it needed to go.

For a first release, the scope of the series is very ambitious. Can you see it being adapted to screen one day?

Lucy: I can only hope! I would absolutely love for Tack Back the Skies to be adapted to screen, and of course the rest of the series! But that all depends on book sales and such. I’ll keep my fingers crossed!

How will you feel when you see the first Take Back The Skies cosplayers out there at events?

Lucy: Well I already know that some of my friends are planning to cosplay from the book, which is going to be amazing. But the first time I see Tack Back the Skies cosplayers that aren’t bound by the obligation of friendship to cosplay my characters, I will probably cry and fangirl incoherently at them. And take about 3000 photos.

Beyond the books set in the Tellus World, what writing ambitions do you have for the future? 

Lucy: I have quite a few novel ideas that I’d like to write after the Tellus series; some that I originally tried to write a few years ago and would like to rework and revisit, and a couple of ideas I’ve had over the past year or so that I’m absolutely dying to work on. And maybe I’ll try branching out into a different genre or age bracket, who knows! It all depends on the inspiration I get. I don’t think I’ll end up writing anything other than books, though; I’ve never got the hang of writing scripts.

If you could offer any advice to anyone unsure of how to pursue their dreams, what would it be?

Lucy: If you’re not sure how to pursue your dreams, then the internet is always helpful. Search other people with similar careers and goals, see how they did it and see what kind of moves you have to make to achieve the same thing. Be open to any opportunities, even ones you think won’t yield anything; you never know what life might throw at your feet. And most of all, have confidence in your dreams, and be prepared to put the work in to reach them.

Fem!Captain America photo credit: Lisa Bee Photography.

Take Back The Skies is available to pre-order from Bloomsbury with a release date of 5th June (Hardback, Paperback and eBook).

Lucy Saxon will also be at the Bloomsbury stand at the upcoming MCM London Comic Con this May, signing copies of her book.

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