Interview with Soulla Christodoulou by Ellen Read

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Welcome Soulla.

I am delighted to welcome Soulla Christodoulou to my blog today.

Soulla is an author from London.

Today we’re discussing her new book The Summer Will Come.

Congratulations on its publication.

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ER  The Summer Will Come is very close to your heart and your heritage. So to start, would you like to tell us something about yourself and what inspired you to write this book?

SC   I’m British born, with Greek Cypriot parents and I’ve always lived in London. Growing up I remember embracing my family’s traditions and our culture in a way which made me feel safe. I liked having something that made me different to the children in my class at school. I also liked the way other Greek Cypriot children would somehow become part of not only my friendship circle but their parents would come to know my family too. So in a way, my family was always growing!

In my adult years, my mother became ill and after a long battle with cancer I was overwhelmed with the news she was in remission. This experience impacted on me deeply and I questioned my purpose and my life’s path. I began asking questions about my heritage, my grandparents and their decision to come to London. I knew part of the story but never really thought about it in the context of the political landscape of the country at the time. This is what planted the seed that lead me to write The Summer Will Come.

ER   I suspect your parents would have had many anecdotal stories to help you. However, you must have had to a do a lot of research.

SC  They certainly did Ellen but you’re right in that my research, both primary and secondary, opened me up to the reality of the harsh, violent and disturbing political backdrop which has, even to this day, shrouded the island of Cyprus. I always believed Turkey were wrong to invade Cyprus in 1974, but going back over the history since 1953, I can see why they did, even if I disagree with it. The research I did, in the main, was around the political landscape. It connected me with the family of a famous EOKA hero, Evagoras Pallikarides, whose poetry, incidentally, gave me the title of my book. I interviewed many people of my parents’ generation and older too and their personal stories are what makes my book so real. It’s not about facts and figures, or what I gleaned from history books of the time, but personal accounts; it’s the passion, the love, the fear, the uncertainty, the reality of leaving the home they had ever known, which I have explored and hopefully, bring out in the story.

ER  The story revolves around two families, both Greek Cypriot living in different villages in Cyprus. You’ve set the story in 1953. That was a turbulent time in Cyprus’s history. I refer in particular to a quote from your book, ‘You want to be a part of this. I praise your conviction to the EOKA cause even if I disagree. But it’s more complicated than you know. You’re putting yourself, and us, in danger.’

Could you tell us something about the turmoil and political conflict during those years?

SC   Yes of course, although it’s all far more complicated than I am able to tell you here and I am certainly no specialist on the subject; much of my research involved personal accounts of that time period. Many of the stories talk of complete and utter chaos and a reign of inter-racial conflict; the EOKA guerrilla group fought hard against the British in an effort to gain freedom from British occupation. Initially, the British administration didn’t realise how serious the situation was and when they did, it was too late; EOKA was highly organised, regimented and those who signed up were patriotic to the death in wanting to secure freedom. It caused a panic, form the accounts I have heard, and as such the tactics used by the British too were ferocious and inhumane. Many innocent people, including Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots and British, were killed in bombings and unprovoked attacks. Many school children got involved too with demonstrations against the British who retaliated by imposing curfews on villages and their inhabitants and arresting anyone who behaved suspiciously. It was a terrifying and chaotic time. There are, of course, many accounts written from many different viewpoints, however my book has been written from the viewpoint of those who lived in Cyprus during this time and it is these personal struggles that are depicted through the characters in my book. It is certainly not a political or historic encyclopaedia.

ER   EOKA was a Greek Cypriot nationalist guerrilla organisation that fought a campaign for the end of British rule in Cyprus.

How many years did it take before this was achieved?

SC   All in all, Ellen, it took 5 years until a resolution as reached which gave Greece, Turkey and Britain the authority to intervene should they have to through the Treaty of Guarantee. But if you look at the bigger picture it goes further back than 1955, all the way back to 1931 in fact and, I suppose, the repercussions of the EOKA movement is what ultimately lead to Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus in the summer of 1974.

The British flag came down at midnight on the 15th August 1960 which brought to an end the British occupation of the island. So officially Cyprus gained its first day of independence on 16th August 1960.

ER  Both families in The Summer Will Come immigrate to London. This must have been a challenge for them.

Could you tell us how they coped?

SC   Both families in the story had common hardships; language, culture, finding work, but they also had their own individual hardships to face.

Elena’s family missing family and friends and even foods and personal belongings. came to London in the hope of starting a new life with the Kostas, the wife of Evangelia, but their dramas were shattered when it evolves he was weak man with poor morals and little regard toward his family responsibilities. This in turn, brought additional hardship to the family whereby Evangelia becomes the sole income earner of the family and Elena, despite being a promising at student at school, has to leave and work to supplement her mother’s income. Christaki’s family struggle initially as Loizos, his father, does not come to England with them. Christaki therefore has to grow up and becomes head of the family. Pavlo and Melani both have their own demons; Pavlo is angry and cannot settle, Melani begins to fight the restricting demands of her culture and traditions which are exacerbated against the backdrop of 1950s London.

ER  The novel is written as a multi-point of view story – a mother and daughter from one family and a father and son from the other family. Elena, the daughter, and Christaki, the son, are the key main characters in the story.

How did you find writing in both female and male voices?

SC   Actually I feel like I cheated a bit here. I knew my grandparents, both maternal and paternal, and Christaki and Elena are based loosely on my own parents, and so I just imagined what they would say. The only difficulty was getting across the same passion in the English language as would be evident had the story been written in Greek. I tried to compensate for this by using little Greek sayings and anecdotes my family have used over the years and which are still used today in Cyprus.

ER   Do you have a favourite character in this book? Why?

SC   I would have to say, Elena who is one of the four main characters. She is the one who grows up the most in the story from being a child living in the village of Kato Lefkara to becoming a mature young woman in London and finding herself despite the setbacks along the way; both external and personal. She longs to meet her father and when she does, despite her initial excitement and intrigue, she is disappointed and let down and neglected but despite this she loves him to the very end of the story. She deals with poverty, a controlling mother after the family’s move to England and yet she stands by her family despite their failings, which are not always intentional or malicious but rather a thread woven into their lives through tradition, culture and beliefs. She’s my favourite because she faces her chance for a new life with a happy-go-lucky outlook and a can-do attitude, which sometimes gets her into trouble…she reminds me a little of me in a lot of ways!

 ER   Readers interested in Greek Cypriot life and culture, as well as 1950s Cypriot and British history will love this book. It’s also a story of hope and new dreams.

What do you hope readers take away with them when reading The Summer Will Come?

SC   I really hope that above all else they will get a real sense of what Cyprus was like and how passionate the people of the country are and how they held onto their values and traditions despite being miles away from home in a foreign land. It is with belief in God and their faith that drove them to continue and work hard to make things work in a new country, with no support network, a new language and culture and way of life to get used to.

ER   What are you working on now?

SC   I’ve written the first 43,000 words of a novel called Trust is a Big Word about an illicit online relationship that develops between two people. It’s quite experimental as I’m including in the book passages of narration in the first person, witter message feeds between the two main characters and poetry which one of the characters writes for the other.

 ER   What do you do when you’re not writing?

SC   I’m a busy bee doing lots of other things including private tutoring from home, working part-time for a private tuition school as well as working on commissions for proof-reading and editing and writing marketing content and blog posts for clients. I enjoy meeting up with my friends, especially if there’s dancing involved, and of course being Greek Cypriot I spend a lot of time with my immediate and extended family, which always involves food…a lot of food! I enjoy walking and holidays that take me to places that make me think and feel differently. (I can add a bit about India here if you like – going there in Feb)

ER   I’d like to thank you so much for joining me today. I wish you every success with The Summer Will Come.

Thank you so much for having me Ellen and for putting together this really thoughtful interview. I’ve really enjoyed taking part…you’re a dear friend and I wish you well with your writing too.

 

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Born in London to Greek Cypriot parents Soulla Christodoulou spent much of her childhood living carefree days full of family, school and friends. She was the first in her family to go to university and studied BA Hotel & Catering Management at Portsmouth University. Years later, after having a family of her own she studied again at Middlesex University and has a PGCE in Business Studies and an MA in Education.

Soulla is a Fiction author and wrote her first novel Broken Pieces of Tomorrow over a few months while working full time in secondary education and is a mother of three boys.

She is a compassionate and empathetic supporter of young people. Her passion for teaching continues through private tuition of English Language and Children’s Creative Writing Classes. She offers writing services too in support of businesses, authors and students.

Her writing has also connected her with a charity in California which she is very much involved in as a contributor of handwritten letters every month to support and give hope to women diagnosed with breast cancer. One of her letters is featured in a book ‘Dear Friend’, released on Amazon in September 2017.

When asked, she will tell you she has always, somewhere on a subconscious level, wanted to write and her life’s experiences both personal and professional have played a huge part in bringing her to where she was always meant to be; writing books and drinking lots of cinnamon and clove tea!

She also has a poetry collection inspired by old phrases and sayings, Sunshine after Rain, published on Amazon and is releasing her second novel, The Summer Will Come in March 2018.

She is currently working on a third novel, Trust is a Big Word, about an on-line friendship which evolves over time into an illicit cyber relationship.

A Word from Soulla.

I have recently come back from India and after spending 23 days there I can honestly say the country and its people have inspired a deeper happiness in me, which coupled with gratefulness, has allowed me to look at my life, for a second time, with different eyes.

Travelling always seems to impact on me in a big way; it refreshes, enlightens, empowers me in so many ways.

You can buy The Summer Will Come at the following:

The Summer Will Come

Connect with Soulla:

Website: https://www.soulla-author.com/

Blog: https://www.soulla-author.com/blog/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/schristodoulou2?lang=en

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/soullasays/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100016786150671

Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/asceducational/

  

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A Cup of Conversation: Soulla Christodoulou talks with Ellen Read author of The Dragon Sleeps

I was recently asked to do an interview for Soulla Christodoulou’s new series, A Cup of Conversation.

Thank you so much, Soulla.

You can read it here

 

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Writer Talks: I was so thrilled to be interviewed by fellow Australian author, Nadia L King

I recently interviewed Queensland author, Ellen Read about writing, self-publishing, and what it’s like to undertake research for historical fiction… NLK: How did you first begin writing fiction? ER: I began with reading books. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t reading and living in a story. As a child I made up fictional […]

via Writer Talks: Ellen Read — Nadia L King, Author

INTERVIEW WITH DIANA ANDERSON-TYLER – Armor For Orchids

I am delighted to welcome Diana Anderson-Tyler to my blog.

Today we’re discussing her book Armor For Orchids.

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Diana is an author from Texas, USA.

Welcome Diana…

 

ER  You recently published a new women’s contemporary novel, Armor for Orchids. It follows the life of three young women in a small town. Please tell us something about the book?

DAT  Armor for Orchids is a faith-based story told from four perspectives. At the heart of the story is a spunky, sage-like old woman named Poppy McAdams who takes the young women (her “Orchids”) under her wing to teach them invaluable life lessons. Each of the Orchids is in the midst of a tremendously trying time and learns that their chances of overcoming and winning life’s battles are infinitely greater when fought with spiritual weapons.

ER   What inspired you to write Amor For Orchids?

DAT   I’ve written a bit about my personal struggles in my nonfiction books but felt a strong desire to explore them through fiction. Each of the Orchids in the novel were inspired by pieces of my past, such as Marissa’s struggle with depression, Charlotte’s disillusionment, and Elise’s grief over her father’s sudden death.

ER  Was it important to you that the story should carry a message of hope, inspiration and life-changing belief?

DAT   I wanted the story to do more than entertain. I wanted women to feel like they were Poppy’s Orchids, too, and that they also could be strengthened by her insight and inspired by her story. It’s my hope that readers will walk away feeling uplifted and optimistic about their futures.

ER   Do you have a favourite character in this book? Why?

DAT   This is so tough! I think I would have to go with Poppy, though. She’s got a heart of gold but she’s no meek little church mouse. She’s strong in the ways that truly matter. It was very fun to write Poppy too, as she’s the one with whom I have the least in common, so it was quite a challenge to capture her voice and make her seem real… I hope I succeeded!

ER  You’ve written other books. Do you prefer YA or do you equally like writing in other genres? What are they?

DAT   I’ve written nonfiction books, but I definitely love writing fiction most! As far as fiction genres go, I’ve only written in YA Fantasy and Christian Women’s Contemporary, and must say I enjoy them equally! I love switching back and forth between the two as it prevents me from feeling burned out, and each one presents unique challenges to me that help me grow as a storyteller.

ER   Where do you get your ideas?

Various places. My own life, as with Armor for Orchids, as well as simply playing the “What-If Game” with myself in which I explore intriguing premises and keep asking questions until I land on a plot and/or characters that hold my attention for longer than an afternoon.

Word to the wise: always carry a notebook or electronic device with you for recording sudden bursts of inspiration!

ER  When did you first start writing?

DAT   I started writing when I was four or five, pretty much as soon as I was old enough to hold a crayon! I have bins full of my early attempts at storytelling. They’re so fun to look back on and try to make sense of!

ER  What are you working on now?

DAT   I’m working on editing my YA Fantasy trilogy, The Petros Chronicles. The first book, Age of the Ashers, will be out later this year. I also recently started the first draft of book 2 in the Armor for Orchids series.

ER   Who are you favourite authors?

DAT   I have so many, but here are a few: Steven Pressfield (both his fiction and non-fiction works are incredible), Margaret George, Fannie Flagg, Barbara Kingsolver, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

ER   Do you have any advice for new writers? Are there any pitfalls they should look out for?

DAT   I’ve said this in other interviews, but I can’t emphasize it enough: Never give up!

This career path is not for the faint of heart. Like a freshman college class, it will try to “weed you out.” The strong will survive if they persevere and keep showing up every day to do the work, despite how they feel. (Discipline is stronger than motivation.)

Expect to be tried and tested. Expect to fail and be frustrated. Expect to be rejected by agents, criticized by readers, and questioned by friends. But always remember your “why” for writing and hold that close to your heart. Doing so will ensure you don’t let the bad times conquer you.

ER   What do you do when you’re not writing?

DAT   I love to read, play board games, spend time outdoors, and lift weights!

Thank you for joining me today, Diana. It’s been such a pleasure. I wish you great success for this and your future books.

 

 

 

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Diana has been writing all her life, starting with her own versions of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle comics when she was four. She’s always been fascinated with Greek mythology and comic book superheroes, all of which inspire her fantasy novels. She’s also a gym rat who loves to pretend she’s Wonder Woman while lifting heavy weights and swinging from rings and pull-up bars. She co-owns CrossFit 925 in San Antonio, Texas with her husband Ben.

Diana currently writes entertainment and media-related articles for movieguide.org and contributes regularly to charismamag.com. When she isn’t writing or working out, she can be found playing Scrabble with her husband, watching Marvel and Pixar movies, and pinning recipes on Pinterest that she never gets around to cooking.

You can find Diana on her websites dianaandersontyler.com and dianadeadlifts.com, as well as on facebook.com/dianafit4faith, Twitter @dandersontyler, and on Instagram @dianaandersontyler and @authordianatyler.

INTERVIEW WITH KRYSTEN LINDSAY HAGAR – Dating the It Guy

 

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I am delighted to welcome Krysten Lindsay Hagar to my blog today to discuss her new book Dating the It Guy

 

Welcome Krysten…

ER   Congratulations, Krysten on the publication of your new YA contemporary romance, Dating the It Guy. Please tell us a little about it.

KLH   Thanks! The book is about a high school girl named Emme who winds up dating the son of a well-known senator. She goes through a lot of self-doubt as she watches his perfect ex-girlfriend trying to get him back and not feeling good enough for his new crowd. It’s a book about love, family, and learning to be yourself.

ER What inspired you to write this story? What was your first idea?

KLH   I was watching a biography of John F. Kennedy Jr. and wondering what it’d be like to date someone like that back when he was in high school. I started thinking about all the pressures you’d face being in that world. I started reading a ton of books and info on both JFK Jr. and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy. Brendon and Emme aren’t based on John and Carolyn, but their love story did inspire me.

ER   I would guess Emme would feel out of her comfort zone in Brendon’s world. How does she adapt?

KLH   Emme begins to feel out of place and often feels invisible by other girls who try to talk to Brendon when she’s standing right there! There’s a scene where she’s invited to a party at the senator’s home and you see her trying to navigate these very unfamiliar waters. She feels out of place at the party and the finds out Senator Agretti appreciates how she helps out a caterer at the event when everyone else there ignored the girl. We also see how Brendon appreciates what makes her different from his world and how he likes her for those things like her being authentic and real.

ER  When Brendon’s picture perfect ex, Lauren, gets into his father, Senator Agretti’s old school, does Emme feel threatened? Does she doubt Brendon and think this has all been planned?

KLH   Emme constantly feels threatened by Lauren especially since Lauren pounces and asks Brendon to homecoming the second he and Emme split up. So when Emme gets the news about Lauren getting into the college Brendon planned to attend (like his dad), her heart sinks. If she were to look deeper into what Brendon had shared with her about the future, she’d see what his future plans were.

ER   Emme’s last boyfriend cheated on her. It must have left her with trust issues. Does this colour all of Emme’s way of thinking?

KLH Emme is dealing with a lot of mistrust and hurt after her last boyfriend’s betrayal. Her ex, Jon, had been talking to his ex while he was dating Emme and it has left her self-esteem damaged. She’s constantly worrying about being cheated on again with Brendon. Her friends also see how this has impacted her and they try to offer their support.

ER   You deal with other issues as well, such as the illness of Emme’s grandparents. How does Emme deal with something like dementia?

KLH   Emme is very close to her grandparents and when her grandma gets sick, they become aware of things changing with her grandpa, too. Her grandpa moves in with them and Emme helps care for him. It’s hard for her to watch him become so vulnerable, but she really steps up to be protective of him and help him in this new phase of his life.

ER   This is a YA contemporary romance. The story deals with intricate relationships and very real characters. Do you think all age groups will enjoy your story?

KLH   I’ve gotten some great feedback from both teens and adults and I love that people enjoy the story for different reasons. Some see themselves in Emme and realize some of her insecurity issues are things they see in themselves. I had a male beta reader who told me he got swept up in the story and he enjoyed seeing Emme’s side of things with her relationship with both Darren and Brendon. Some see themselves in Brendon and how he often has to sacrifice what he wants to do for his family. So I think it’s a story that all age groups can find something in.

Thank you so much for joining me today, Krysten. It’s been an absolute chatting with you. All the best with the book. It sounds fabulous to me.

 

Besides mining her teen years and humiliating moments for her novels, Krysten is also a book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and writes young adult, middle grade, new adult, and adult fiction as well as humor essays. She is originally from Michigan and has lived in Portugal, South Dakota, and currently resides in southwestern Ohio where you can find her reading and writing when she’s not catching up on her favorite shows (she’s addicted to American Dad to the point where she quotes episodes on a daily basis and also loves Girl Meets World). She’s also a third generation Detroit Lions fan.

Krysten writes about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, frenemies, crushes, fame, first loves, and values. She is the author of True Colors, Best Friends…Forever?, Next Door to a Star, Landry in Like, and Competing with the Star (The Star Series: Book 2). Her debut novel, True Colors, won the Readers Favorite award for best preteen book. Krysten’s work has been featured in USA Today, The Flint Journal, the Grand Haven Tribune, the Beavercreek Current, the Bellbrook Times and on Living Dayton.

 

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Praise for Dating the It Guy:

“A sweet, endearing story—you’ll fall in love with Emme just like I did!” –Kimber Leigh Wheaton, YA/NA author

“Hager’s authentic characters will resonate with readers of all ages as they are immersed in the story – complete with teen drama and angst, but also the relationships which make it all worthwhile.” — Leslie L. McKee, book reviewer, Edits and Reviews by Leslie

Purchase:

Amazon paperback:  http://a.co/hBydoYm

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2n2hHmB

Barnes
and Noble: http://bit.ly/2m5y9OC

itunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/dating-the-it-guy/id1208876011?mt=11

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/dating-the-it-guy

Smashwords: www.smashwords.com/books/search?query=Dating+the+It+Guy

 

Follow Krysten

Website: http://www.krystenlindsay.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/krystenlindsay/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KrystenLindsayHagerAuthor

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/krystenlindsay/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KrystenLindsay

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClIQCsRcKc97-25oXvabZ8A

 

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MEET THE AUTHOR: KELSEY STONE

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Kelsey is an aspiring author and current Master’s of Fine Arts in Fiction candidate. Her latest project, a science fiction book titled Sabiak’s Creed, is currently being reviewed by several agents.

I am delighted to welcome Kelsey Stone to my blog today to discuss her trials with critique groups and her road to becoming traditionally published.

Welcome Kelsey…

ER  Your latest project, a book, is Sabiak’s Creed. What inspired you to write science fiction? The genre’s obviously one you love.

KS  I have a very eclectic literary taste, and so it took me a while to find my voice. I started off writing suspense. Before I began working on my writing career, I spent five years in law enforcement and I drew on my experiences and heartaches to write my first novel, but I fizzled out. Even though I managed to finish the story, I was stuck. I didn’t write anything else for almost a year. The characters and words still played in my head, it just took me a while to realize that those characters and those stories were rarely confined to this world and when I’d chained myself to a non-speculative genre, I’d drained the energy out of my imagination.

For me, science fiction operates much like a parable. I can tackle pressing issues in a manner that is less threatening for the reader and hopefully reveal some truths about the world we live in and what it means to be human. It’s kind of like being a scientist. I can isolate certain aspects of society and humanity and really dig in with the what-ifs.

ER  Becoming published is not an easy task. Even before you’re ready to take that step, there are so many stages during the writing. Do you send your work to critique groups? How do you find that part of the process?

KS  I am blessed to be a member of two fantastic critique groups, two amazingly talented editing partners, and one extremely argumentative writing group. It took me a long while to get to the point where I was capable of sharing my work. It was my passion for my stories and my determination to produce the very best story possible that finally pushed me to look for feedback, that and the gentle prodding of a couple of close friends who did their best to slay my insecurities.

I started the writing group in a quest for feedback. Originally, I had hoped that it would grow into a finely oiled critiquing machine, but that just wasn’t in the cards. There are too many strong personalities, and because of that, everyone was afraid to share their work. I did find one of my critique partners in that group, however, and I absolutely love the debates the group gets into, even if we aren’t particularly productive. The critique groups that I participate in found me through my writing platform and invited me to join them. As my writing network has grown, I have been presented with opportunities to grow my skill and craft.

With Sabiak’s Creed, I wanted a professional opinion before I sent it off, so I found and carefully vetted a freelance editor. The experience was incredible, and my writing grew profoundly during the couple of months we spent working on my manuscript.

ER  Once your manuscript is finished, the road to publication is, or can be, a long one. Agents are reviewing Sabiak’s Creed at present. Finding an agent can be difficult too. Have you learned anything along the way that might help other writers?

KS   The most important trait a writer can have is tenacity. The odds of an agent liking your book are about as good as have the same taste in food as a random stranger off the street. Not everyone is going to like your writing, and that is okay. Rejection is part of the writing process, no matter the type of publishing you pursue. A writer needs to learn how to move on and keep at it.

You can increase your odds by researching agents carefully. Find agents who you think will enjoy your story and tell them why you think they will enjoy your story in your query letter. Personalization is the key to getting agents to take notice.

ER  Why did you decide traditional publication over Indie publication?

KS  The biggest factor in my decision to attempt traditional publication is actually my own limitations. I am in awe of many of my writing friends who are Indie authors. They do it all: writing, formatting, publishing, and marketing. At this point, I am just not talented enough to balance all of those hats well.  Also, I want my novel to reach the widest audience possible, and traditional publishing offers the best opportunity to get a large readership. Finally, I would love to build my craft and skill enough to write literary fiction, and about the only chance I would have to find an audience for that kind of writing is through traditional publishers. The benefit of pursuing traditional avenues is that it has forced me to be more reflective about my writing.

ER  Would you ever consider Indie publishing?

KS  Absolutely! In fact, I do plan to pursue Indie publishing in the future with specific manuscripts. At this point, I just feel like I have a ton left to learn and refine before I am ready for that step. In the meantime, as I learn to navigate the literary world, I plan to continue querying agents and trying to get traditionally published. It doesn’t cost me anything, except, perhaps, a few tears over rejection letters, and it has already led me down unexpected paths and grown my writing in new ways.

ER  What are you working on now?

KS  Sabiak’s Creed is complete, but I am planning on taking another few passes to polish it even further. When I get stuck on new stories, I take a break and do an editing pass. It is the first in a series, and I have two more novels in the series written and am working on revising those right now, as well. I have also started a new project that melds science fiction and anthropology, but it is in the very first stages of writing and has a lot of growing to do. Whenever I need a break or need to feel the ecstasy of completing a project, I spend some time on short stories and poetry. My hope is to eventually have some polished shorter pieces that I can submit in competitions and to journals.

 

Thank you so much, Kelsey, for joining me today. It’s been a pleasure.

 

Check out what Kelsey Stone has to say about writing and peruse her short stories on www.tibetanlemon.com or connect with her on facebook https://www.facebook.com/authorkelseystone/ or on Twitter or Instagram as @scifistone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INTERVIEW WITH KRYSTEN LINDSAY HAGAR

I am delighted to welcome Krysten Lindsay Hagar to my blog today to discuss writing for Pre-Teens and Young Adults.

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Krysten is an author and book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and also writes middle grade, YA, humor essays, and adult fiction.

She received her master’s in American Culture from the University of Michigan-Flint.

She is originally from Michigan and has lived in South Dakota, Portugal, and currently resides in Southern Ohio where you can find her reading and writing when she’s not catching up on her favorite shows.

TRUE COLORS is her bestselling debut novel from Astraea Press.

Welcome Krysten…

ER   You have five published novels in the Pre-teen and Young Adult Genres. What attracted you to write for these age groups?

KLH   My preteen years were the years I was obsessed with reading. Books got me through my toughest times back then and I always thought being a writer for teens and preteens had to be the greatest job on earth. At the time I didn’t have the experience to know what a fulfilling career would be, but that’s exactly what being an author for teens and preteens is to me.

ER   Where do your ideas come from?

KLH   The ideas come from those what-if scenarios I mull over in my mind. Then I pepper the scenes with experiences from my own life. I might take an awkward moment I experienced with a friend last week and mix it up so instead of it being an adult misunderstanding at a fundraiser, it’s a cringe-y moment between two teens in a cafeteria over a boy.

My idea for my upcoming book, Dating the it Guy, came from reading an article about JFK Jr. and thinking, “What would it have been like to date this guy in high school?” A million ideas flooded my mind and I got my notebook out and Brendon was created.

ER   I’ve found that adults also like to read YA. Have you encountered this? Why do you think this is?

KLH   So true. I love reading YA and I have a lot of adult readers. I have gotten many messages from them saying that while reading my books they realized that some situation they were in where their friend (or friends) turned against them was not what they thought. One woman told me she assumed her friends dumped her back in middle school because she was, “a loser no one would want to be around,” but while reading about Landry, she saw herself in the books and realized her whole situation was not about her, but about her friends’ jealousy. It surprises me how many readers have shared situations like that and told me that a hurt that’s been festering for a long time was finally healed when they came to that realization. To hear you’re part of someone’s healing process is a huge thing.

ER   What’s the best thing about writing in these genres?

KLH   I love being able to approach situations I was once in with a fresh perspective. I can write a scene about friendship betrayal that hurt me to the core when I was that age, but now I can go back and see what that was really about. At the time I thought my friend just wanted to distance herself because of something I had done, but now I can see it was her insecurity about where she fit in with our other friends. At the time it never occurred to me that it might have more to do with how she was hurting in her own life. Now I can take my past pain and use it to help someone else who is going through that same situation.

ER   Do you have any favourite characters? I suspect Landry would be special to you.

KLH   Landry is very special to me and I love how she is so genuine with her friends and how she wears her heart on her sleeve. I also love my character, Pilar Ito, from Competing with the Star because we see her as a mean girl in the beginning of the book, then we find out what makes her tick and all she’s been through with a sick grandmother, and she turns out to be the most loyal friend to my main character, Hadley. I get a lot of reader reaction about the change in Pilar. They love seeing another side to her especially after she was such a mean girl in Next Door to a Star.  

ER   What authors inspire you?

KLH   For young adult books I love Rosie Rushton, Cathy Hopkins, and Judy Blume. I also read a ton of non-fiction and just finished Finding Your Brave.

ER   What are you working on now?

KLH   I’m working on a YA novel about a girl who gets to meet her pop star crush and also a new adult book.

ER   When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

KLH   I love watching movies, reading, and I’m a news junkie. I just watched “The Spectacular Now” and it was amazing. I tend to have the news on a lot at night in the background while I catch up on emails. I have a huge to-be-read pile of books and just finished a Rosie Rushton YA novel based on Northanger Abbey. I like exploring new areas, too, and window shopping.

 

Thank you so much for joining me today, Krysten. It’s been an absolute pleasure.

Connect with Krysten:

Website: http://www.krystenlindsay.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KrystenLindsayHagerAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KrystenLindsay

Instagram: http://instagram.com/krystenlindsay

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com

Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com

Amazon author profile: http://www.amazon.com/Krysten-Lindsay-Hager

Field of chamomile flowers in the sunshine, Spring background

 

 

An Interview with Beverley Lee

Bev headshot sm

I’ve been privileged to know Beverley Lee for only a short time but every day has been a pleasure.

Beverley is a freelance writer currently residing in the south east of England. In thrall to the written word from an early age, especially the darker side of fiction, she believes that the very best story is the one you have to tell. Supporting fellow authors is also her passion and she is actively involved in social media writers’ groups.

I am delighted to welcome Beverley to my blog today to discuss her debut novel                   The Making of Gabriel Davenport, which is released on Friday 8 April.

You can find out more about Beverley Lee by clicking on the links below:

Website

Twitter

IG

Goodreads

1   First of all, please tell us about The Making of Gabriel Davenport.                                              ‘One night. One secret.’   It has me already fascinated.

It’s a dark fantasy, set in the present day but with definite ties to the past. I find my inspiration in many places, but one is the indomitable human spirit of courage and hope in seemingly hopeless situations, and I think this applies incredibly well to this story. This is about a normal family and one twisted branch of fate that changes everything. And of course, it’s about secrets, and how one that was buried resurfaces and threatens to tear apart everything Gabriel holds close.

2   What inspired you to write this story?

A long time ago I watched a TV series (I don’t recall what it was!) set in an old house which was a base for a paranormal research organization. I’ve always loved the idea but had never found the right story to do it justice. I’ve played about with it before, but it was only with Gabriel that I found the flow, although snippets of my original do make an appearance.

3   What drew you to the paranormal fantasy genre?

I’ve always been drawn to the darker side of fiction and I like to weave the complexity of human emotions into this. I wanted to create something with layers that the reader could peel apart and step inside. I wanted them to *feel* the struggles all the characters go through, whilst delivering a fast paced, suspense driven story. All my characters have flaws. All my ‘good’ characters have bad points. All my ‘bad’ characters have light. It’s not a typical paranormal fantasy, I prefer to think of it as contemporary, but with supernatural elements.

4   Did you always write in this genre?

Yes. Although I have dabbled in others over the years. This is where I am comfortable, but if the right story came along and nipped at my heels that wasn’t in this genre, I would definitely run with it!

5   I love the book’s cover, especially the font. I know you do too. How did the developing of the cover unfold?

Thank you, Ellen. The wings on the cover were hand drawn by my best friend, who also happens to be a very talented, fine arts trained, illustrator. Originally, the wings were attached to a body, but this didn’t quite work, so this version was chosen, as a nod to the ‘fallen’ element which is apparent in the story. The illustration then went to my cover designer, who sent me numerous fonts to look at (at first I actually discounted this one!) I did a public ‘ask’ session in a café and everyone said they preferred this font. I wanted a cover that was simple yet striking and I believe I found it.

THE MAKING OF GABRIEL DAVENPORT

 

6   I believe you were nominated for the Liebster Award. Will you tell us something about it?

I was! I’m often nominated by lovely bloggers for these kinds of things, which astounds me as I’m probably the worst blogger out there. I have every intention of posting weekly and interacting, but something always seems to take precedence. It was fun to complete though, they always make me think slightly outside of the box, which is a very good place for a writer to be.

7   Where do your ideas come from?

Everything. An overheard snippet of conversation. A song lyric. The strange sense of deja vu in an historical place. The ocean. Starlight. I’m very much a pantster when it comes to writing. I have a beginning and usually a vague end, but the rest is an organic process. It always amazes me how it all fits together in the end.

8   What authors inspire you?

Oh, lots! Stephen King (always The Master), Neil Gaiman, Anne Rice (her older stories), George R R Martin, Maggie Stiefvater, Leigh Bardugo.

9   What’s the best thing about being a writer?

Apart from being able to work in your pj’s all day? 🙂 Creating a new world with new characters that didn’t exist before you gave them wings. It’s the closest thing to pure magic for me.

10   When did you first start to write? Was there one thing that made you realise you wanted to be a writer?

I wrote the most awful cliché ridden pony stories as a young child. My poor, long suffering English teacher would no doubt attest to this! Words were instilled in me from an early age. I was always a bookish girl. I think most of my formative years were spent in a library. Writing was something that I had to do, a calling, if you will. But I did fight it. In the years where my family grew up I hardly wrote at all, but it was always there niggling away in the background.

11   What are you working on now? I’m sure everyone will be hoping it’s a sequel.

It IS the sequel! At this point the draft is nearly ready to send out to my wonderful band of beta readers. Then comes the hard work of changes and moulding it into something good enough to send out to my editor. I’m hoping to make a start on the last book in the series soon too. I have little bits floating around my head all of the time. Later on this year, I also have a short story in an anthology about ‘doomed love’ with a global band of writers and artists that I’m excited about.

12   I know you are very supportive of other authors. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

It is very much a passion. I’ve been lucky enough to have been nurtured by some wonderful writers on my journey, and I wouldn’t be where I am now without them. I believe in ‘paying it forward’. I’m currently leading a writing challenge group on Twitter for the month – the group that took me by the hand last year at the very beginning. My advice would be to simply write. Don’t edit. Get that first draft down with all of its warts and hangups and then start playing about with it.

13   What is your writing process? How long were you working on The Making of Gabriel Davenport?

Gabriel started off as the first 3,000 words in a short story competition that I never entered. But something wasn’t quite right. I picked it up again in January 2015 and realized what was wrong. Originally, he was a girl, named Erin, and once I changed this, everything fell into place. I knocked out the first draft in three months. Then it went through two more before it went out to beta, and two more before my editor got it. As I said above, I’m an organic writer. I let my characters lead me. Sometimes they put me up against a brick wall but sometimes they give me gold.

14   Where is your novel available for purchase?

It’s available from Amazon as an eBook and Paperback.

15   When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

Is there such a thing as not writing? J I spend a lot of time on social media, as you well know, but I do love to read and to walk. It’s where I get a lot of ideas from. If I get the chance I love a good movie or box set I can binge through too.

16   Is there anything else you would like to say to your prospective readers?

I hope you enjoy the journey I’ve taken you on, and that my characters have made you think or have found their way into your heart. I appreciate you more than I can ever say.

I’d like to thank Beverley for joining me today. It’s been fantastic hearing about your debut novel and about you. I wish you all the best with The Making of Gabriel Davenport, and eagerly await your next novel.

 

 

 

INSTAGRAM INTERVIEW BY LEGENDARY WRITING

LW Campfire Conversations

I was invited by Legendary Writing on Instagram to do this interview.

legendarywriting.

  • – LW: What tips or tricks do you have for writing romance in a story?
  • – Ellen Read: The friendship and respect the characters feel for each other is the basis for good romance. Of course, there has to be attraction between them. The setting of the story can have a huge influence. Some locations just ooze romance. However, overall the romance comes from within the characters themselves
  • – LW: What mistakes do you think many writers make when it comes to writing romance and how do you think those mistakes can be fixed?
  • – Ellen Read: I don’t like to be melodramatic, which often happens with romance stories. I think a writer has to make certain you are completely inside the head of your character, so that they feel what you feel and you feel what they feel.
  • – LW: Where did you get the idea for this story and how did it evolve as you wrote it?
  • – Ellen Read: I was inspired by a poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson. I originally wrote ‘Love The Gift’ years ago as a short story set in England. I wanted it set in Australia. Sutton Forest felt just right. I could see Charlotte in her private garden in 1905. I wanted it over two eras – Charlotte’s and the present day. Mark is the protagonist. He’s an artist, and in touch with his feminine side. He visits his friend, Beth, who is Charlotte’s great great-niece and his journey to find his true love starts.
  • – LW: What challenges did you face writing this book and how did you overcome them?
  • – Ellen Read: The main challenge writing Love The Gift was having a male protagonist. Romances tend to have a female point of view. Although, once I started, getting into Mark’s head was easier than I thought. I overcame this challenge by making Mark an artist, with an artist’s soul. I needed him to love poetry and to see and feel the beauty in nature.
  • – LW: What lessons have you learned writing this book that you’ll carry with you into the rest of your writing career?
  • – Ellen Read: Because ‘Love The Gift’ had so many changes from the original short story, I learned to go where my characters led me. It’s no use persisting with an idea if it doesn’t work anymore.