What genre do you write and why?
Science fiction. It seems I can’t write in any other genre. My new book, Across Spacetime is based on how I met my husband. The idea was to write a romance, but it soon morphed into a SF romance story.
I love science fiction because, to use Ray Bradbury’s words, it “is the most important literature in the history of the world because it’s the history of ideas, the history of our civilization birthing itself. … Science Fiction is central to everything we’ve ever done, and people who make fun of science fiction writers don’t know what they’re talking about.”
I would add that a good SF story always deals with very human problems, even if the characters are aliens or is set in a distant future. For example, in the film Avatar the indigenous people, the Na’vi, are blue, have a tail and live on a moon of Pandora. What they face, though, is what indigenous people all over the world have been facing throughout history: dispossession of their lands, ridicule, and subjugation.
Tell us about your latest book.
Across Spacetime is a science fiction romance novella, on sale from 31 March 2017.
It’s 2651. Humans have colonised most of the Solar System, and have a vast theoretical knowledge of the multiverse. The Martian Branch of the Earth History Institute decides to put that knowledge to use by offering a few lucky students the chance to spend a short while on a different point of the spacetime continuum for research purposes.
Samir, a young Terran, takes this opportunity to experience
in the ' London 90. A
few years later he happens upon another time traveller, Beatrice, a young
Progressive (human from the outer planetary systems). They fall in love despite
a very wide cultural gap and must decide whether to stay in the past, where
they feel free to be together but where they don’t belong, or go back to the
future, enjoy the comforts of their very advanced technology and face the
prejudice of their society.
This story is very dear to me because it’s based on how I met my husband and no, we’re not time travellers. We do come from very different cultural backgrounds though. This is both very attractive and difficult to handle at the same time.
What formats is the book available in?
Ebook and print.
What advice do you have for other writers?
The usual ones, because they are fundamental: read as much as you can of everything, get lots of feedback especially from other authors in your genre, work the social media and never stop writing.
What's your favourite quote about writing/for writers?
It’s one by Stephen King, from his book On Writing: “As with all other aspects of the narrative art, you will improve with time, but time will never make you perfect. Why should it? What fun would that be?”
It reminds me that writing for me is a passion, so fun is a big part of it., and that my manuscript will never be perfect. Once I feel it’s as good as can be, I must let it go and submit it for publication.
What's the best thing about being a writer?
It’s the creation part, it’s seeing new characters and worlds come to life. It’s being able to transform my personal experiences, especially the painful ones, into something beautiful that can help the readers to see their own lives from a different angle and therefore find answers and solutions to their problems, or only have some respite from their everyday struggles.
Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
They can find me here:
US Amazon: http://amzn.to/2mhQbkC
My website: http://www.angelaguidolinauthor.co.uk/
Who is your favourite character in your book and why?
My favourite character is Beatrice, the female main character. There’s a lot of me in her. Although my childhood has been a normal one, I was very sensitive and often felt disconnected from the people around me. Like Beatrice, I went to
when I was in my late twenties and it was a fantastic time in my life, full of
challenges and rewards. London
Why do you think readers are going to enjoy your book?
Well, to start with, Across Spacetime holds the fascination of time travel. Samir and Beatrice see life from the point of view of two outsiders and therefore readers will rediscover the little pleasures that make life worth living.
They also face tough choices and must find the courage to follow their dreams, even though it means to disappoint or defy their families. Readers who are going through a bad patch will enjoy some encouragement.
Last, but not least, Across Spacetime is ideal to read out with a partner, as it is written in the first person singular, and Samir and Beatrice tell the story from their point of view in alternate chapters.
Where can a reader purchase your book?
Across Spacetime can be preordered on Smashwords: http://bit.ly/2krdFDx or Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/2k6A3l7 for now.
My day-to-day routine is I write 500 words per day per project. So right now I have three active projects: the sequel to CURSE OF STARS, a vampire apocalypse novel called BEFORE I’M DEAD, and a Divergent fanfic called INSIDIOUS.
The sequel to CURSE OF STARS is my “real” writing work, meaning I’m taking that one the most seriously (is that a correct string of words? Most seriously? Most serious?). The draft is already written and that’s the first step in any of my “serious” writing ventures. I shotgun the first draft to get the idea out of my head. Once it’s out I let it sit and stew, allowing me to forget portions of it so I can get to editing it with fresher eyes.
I finished that earlier in 2016 so I got a good six months from seeing it and now I’m doing the first round of edits. This means I give the book an initial read and make in-line comments about characters, plot, pacing, all that good stuff. Since I ended up drastically changing story course and character development at the end of CURSE OF STARS after book two was already written, I have a lot of inconsistencies going on. And I don’t edit as I write the first draft. So right now I have a big ol’ mess on my hands and my comments read something like “WTF is this? Why did you do this?” or “This isn’t accurate to the character anymore.” I make good comments, usually about plot elements that I want to keep and develop or little character quirks. But right now I have a mess to clean up. And because this isn’t actually writing I work on a minimum of five pages per day. Once this is done I’ll edit and rewrite until my hand bleeds and then it goes to beta readers. And then more editing and rewriting before it’s finally public-worthy.
BEFORE I’M DEAD and INSIDIOUS each get 500 words per day. They’re my two stories up on Wattpad right now. BID is a draft because I’m pretty much writing as I go along and I felt like the plot and character development was getting a little jerky and it needed some serious smoothing. I don’t normally show first drafts to anyone, but BID is my little social experience that’s not doing too bad. The highest it’s reached on Wattpad’s Hot List so far is
the Vampire category, which is pretty awesome that it’s even ranked at all. I
do plan on making this a “serious” novel so once I finish it, I’ll let it stew,
and then it’ll go through the same editing process that something like the COS
sequel is going through.
INSIDIOUS is just a fun little fanfiction romp. This is just brain spooge for me to get it out of my head and allow my writing brain a little down time. Fanfiction is fun and I enjoy playing in other peoples’ worlds, especially when it comes to characters that really aren’t developed and I get to play around with them too. So much fun. I basically equate this to reading for fun, especially in school. You have required reading and then fun reading you need to do in order to purge the drudgery from your mind. That’s what fanfiction is for me.
On top of all of that I normally write at night and I still have a desktop (a Mac Mini) so I am sitting at a desk (although it’s a joke of a desk right now, more like a folding table, but I’ll be fixing that very soon). Writing is the biggest constant that I have in my life. It’s always there, regardless of what I’m doing. It’s nice to not do it every once in a while, to just veg out in front of Netflix for a while or something. But it only takes a day or two before I feel completely out the loop and I need to reset my routine. Writing’s in my blood. I can’t ever stop.
Donna has been writing since she was in the single digits when she first realized she needed to do something about all the thoughts in her head. After a stint with bad poetry she finally found her way to novels, mainly of the young adult fantasy variety. When she’s not cranking out more stories she works a regular 9 to 5, reads anywhere from 2 to 3 books a week, drinks copious amounts of tea, eats way too much, and makes her own beauty products because her skin turns into a sentient hive if she uses anything else. This is mostly because she lives in the desert where the air siphons water clean out of her. She lives with a man named Steve and several quadrupeds: three cats named Renfield, Sam, and Dean; and a MinPin named Malfoy.
Title: Nina is NOT OK
Author: Shappi Khorsandi
About the book:
Nina does not have a drinking problem. She likes a drink, sure. But what 17-year-old doesn’t?
Nina’s mum isn’t so sure. But she’s busy with her new husband and five year old Katie. And Nina’s almost an adult after all.
And if Nina sometimes wakes up with little memory of what happened the night before , then her friends are all too happy to fill in the blanks. Nina’s drunken exploits are the stuff of college legend.
But then one dark Sunday morning, even her friends can’t help piece together Saturday night. All Nina feels is a deep sense of shame, that something very bad has happened to her…
A dark and sometimes shocking - coming of age novel from one of the UK’s leading comedians. NINA IS NOT O.K. will appeal to fans of Caitlin Moran and Louise O'Neill.
Watch the video for my review:
Purchasing link: http://amzn.to/2lVs5eT
For many of us, writing is not our day job. That means, aside from holding down a job or two elsewhere, we might have other obligations as well – families, volunteer work, traveling, etc. It’s hard to find time to fit in writing anything, whether it be a novel or a simple 140-character tweet. So how do you fit in your love for writing among the many other chores of life? Just like an architect drawing up a blueprint for a new build, it all begins with planning.
For me, writing my first novel, Finding Paradise, took about six months from start to finish. I have a full-time job, a family, and other obligations outside of writing. If I had to estimate, I have about an hour or two per day to dedicate to writing. However, that’s if life doesn’t get in the way, which it always does inevitably. During a perfect week, I’d have anywhere from 10 to 12 hours per week to dedicate to writing. Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? It’s really not once you sit down and start writing a novel. Time flies and before you know it, you’re up until 2:00 a.m. on a single chapter when you have to go to work in five hours. Whoops!
The best way to build a writing routine is to first look at a typical week in your life and decide how many hours per day you can dedicate to writing. Don’t worry about if you can actually fit that time in or not. You’ll get there eventually. First, map out how many hours or even minutes you can utilize for writing. For example, my husband works late during certain days of the week, so I know I won’t get much writing time in on those days because I’ll be taking care of the house alone. But since my daughter has all her dance and swimming activities on Saturdays, I know I can get at least three to four hours of writing time while I wait for her. Sundays during football season are always a guaranteed four to five hours while I can possibly swing a few lunch hours during the week if I remember to bring my personal laptop to work.
Now, take those hours and make an appointment with yourself. Put in on your calendar, make yourself reminders on your phone, or do whatever you need to do to remember. But make sure you set that time aside specifically for writing. If you know that Thursday night is reserved for writing, you might be less likely to accept an invitation for happy hour rather than trying to fit in some writing time whenever you can. Make yourself and your writing a priority.
But if you do need to cancel that time with your writing, don’t be too hard on yourself. Life happens. If everything went to plan, I’d have pumped our four books by now, but the luck of the draw is that life doesn’t adhere to a schedule or any plan. If you are forced to cancel your writing time, dust yourself off and try again the next time. If you can make up those hours during your next set writing time, that’s fantastic! If not, don’t feel pressured to squeeze those hours in another time. If you do, you could turn your passion for writing into a chore and you wouldn’t want that.
Last, but not least, set goals for each writing session that you have planned. Perhaps 500 words per hour? Maybe a new scene each night? Or possibly a chapter each day? Tailor your writing goals to whatever you want the end result of your writing sessions to be. If you are writing a novel, perhaps focus on chapter or scene counts. If you are writing blogs or articles, focus on word counts. Whatever it is, strive to meet those goals during each writing session. Again, if you don’t meet those goals, don’t stress too hard. As long as you were working towards those 500 words or to complete that scene, it’s okay if it isn’t completely finished by the time you have to return to the real world. You got more done that you might have otherwise and that is a huge accomplishment in itself!
I have many more tips and anecdotes about writing and self-publishing my first novel on my website, www.vportiz.com/confessions. Confessions of a New Author is a blog series of my adventures in writing that I hope can calm some fears and maybe even inspire some aspiring writers to take the next step and publish their novels. I will be posting more content soon once I set new writing goals, which will include finalizing my next novel, Damaged Property, to be released this spring.
As authors we obviously want as many people as possible to read our books. One way of reaching a larger number of readers in the one go is via book clubs. Members also tend to be good at posting reviews of the books they've read ;) It makes sense, therefore, that you make it easy for book clubs to feature your book.
You will want to reach out to book clubs and maybe send them a free copy of your book for consideration. It's also a good idea to give them some prompts for discussing the book. This is why you should create a list of book club discussion questions for your book.
Here's an example of the book club discussion questions for my book The Pendant to give you an idea of the sort of things you might want to include.
Example book club discussion questions
Reading The Pendant with your book club? I've got you covered ;) Here's a few questions you might want to think about:
1) What does the following excerpt tell us about the relationship between Matt and his mum?
Matt was torn between wanting to let her hug him and wanting to run away. There was something about a mum hug that always felt so right. The safety, and warmth of her arms was so inviting. He wished he could stay there forever. Then he remembered all the reasons why he was upset and pushed her away. "What do you care anyway?" he said.
"That's not fair Matt" said his mum."Life's not fair" said Matt, slamming the dishwasher door. He leaned against the white, flat-level cabinets. Pushing his hands into his pockets, he narrowed his eyes at her.
2) Is Alex right? What small changes do you think Matt could make to make his life better?
"Well what do you want to change?""Everything" said Matt."Start smaller" said Alex smiling at him. "You need to change the little things first and then the big changes just kind of happen by themselves".
3) Should Matt have gone with Alex to help Andrew? Do you think he was a coward for not going? What would you have done in the same situation?
"Alex, don't" he said trying to grab his friend by his shirt sleeve but he was too late. Alex was already heading over to where Eric was pointing down at Andrew and laughing. This is not going to end well, thought Matt. He didn't know what to do. Sure he wanted to follow his friend and offer back up as they valiantly defended poor Andrew. He knew it would just mean more trouble in the long run though. Eric already had it in for him. The last thing he needed was to annoy the guy more. He felt like a coward, and knew that Alex would hate on him for not having his back, but fear made him stay where he was. Alex could hold his own when he wanted too. Oh God, please don't get beaten up, begged Matt as he watched the scene unfold.
Is your book club reading The Pendant? What questions did you discuss? Leave a comment below or drop me an email.
Ready to make your own Book Club Discussion Questions?
As you can see, it's basically a conversation starter.
Ideas for what to include:
- Think about your books theme(s)
- Think about the relationships between the characters.
- Are there key scenes that reveal a turning point in the story?
- Ask yourself what other options did the character have?
By providing a discuss sheet for your book you're making it easier for book clubs, and anyone else reading your book to talk about it.
It also makes a nice addition to your media kit, and can be used when doing book readings, or other author events.