Interviewing Kat Colmer

We’ve been interviewing each other here at AO&R so you can get to know us a bit better. The final instalment in this series, I get to interview Kat Calmer.

You write across a few categories, tell us a bit about what it’s like to shift between them.

I never set out to write across several categories. I simply wrote the stories that wanted to be written at the time. I’ve dipped my pen into middle grade, young adult, new adult and adult ink pots across both the contemporary and paranormal genres. The common thread running throughout all my writing, however, is a voice that leans towards humour and a desire to infuse an underlying message of hope even when touching on serious topics.
You have a MG story that’s close to home, what was it like to write something so personally inspired?

Change of Heart was inspired by my firstborn child’s emergency cardiac surgery. Now almost fifteen years old, my son was born with a heart condition requiring him to have open heart surgery at birth, followed by a second surgery at age ten. Stressful times, the first surgery in particular as it entailed a three-month emotional rollercoaster ride in paediatric intensive care.

Unlike the first surgery, the second was planned and therefore a little easier (just) for everyone involved to cope with. It was sitting by my son’s hospital bed, inhaling the unique scent of hospital bleach mixed with hand sanitizer, all the beeps and dings of medication pumps providing my daily soundtrack as they kept my child alive, that inspired me to write a middle grade tale of a cardiac kid. Writing something so personal was both difficult as well as cathartic. The story was published by the New South Wales School magazine ‘Touchdown’ in 2015, and I honestly think it was the emotion unlocked by the underlying experience that saw it picked up for print.
You got a book coming out with Entangled Teen soon(ish). *leans in close* Tell us more!

My YA paranormal romance is about eighteen-year-old ‘master of the meaningless hook-up’ Jonas Leander who discovers he is cursed to endure a test of true love or forever be alone. At first he figures it’s a revenge prank by a disgruntled ex (he’s got enough of them), but when an impulsive kiss between him and long-time friend, Cora, makes her the target of Old Testament demons hell-sent to prevent Jonas from finding true love, the curse becomes dangerously real.

Set against the backdrop of Sydney’s North Shore and Ku-ring-gai National Park, the novel is a fast-paced YA romp involving taekwondo, swinging sickle swords, some award winning kissing, and a Siamese fighting fish called Mr Miyagi. So if you like your YA romance with a touch of the supernatural, a sprinkle of snarky humour and a good dose of action, this novel might just be for you. The release date is August 2017!

What advice would you have for Aussie authors trying to make it with US publishers like Entangled?

For Aussies who might think a story with an Aussie flavour will be too parochial for a US publisher, DON’T! I almost didn’t submit to Entangled for this very reason. I’ve since learnt if the overall story has a wide-reaching appeal, an Australian setting isn’t going to stop it being picked up by a US publisher. And as with any publisher—Australian or otherwise—professionalism as well as a good story are key. Always follow submission guidelines and polish that query letter until it blinds you with its shine.
What are you working on at the moment?

In between edits for my debut, I’m working on the sequel to my YA paranormal. Book 2 is about Jonas’ friend, Leo. Already on the demon hit list because of something he’s done in book 1, things get worse for him when he causes Jonas to be kidnapped by the very hellhounds who are after him, and he agrees to help Beth (Jonas’ sister) plan and execute a rescue.

Rapid fire questions

Plotter or Panster?

Plantser, as in I like to know where I start and where I’m heading as well as the key turning points in between, but everything else is up for grabs.

Unicorns, Griffins or Phoenix?

Unicorns … but this type:

Bad Unicorn

Coffee or Tea?

Coffee. Definitely coffee. Preferably a Katachino. What’s that you ask? A cross between a long black and a cappuccino. I’m a long black fan at heart but love me a bit of chocolaty froth on my coffee. Best of both worlds!

Physical book, eBook or audio?

Physical and eBook depending on my reading environment. Love snuggling up on the couch with a paper book but dig the convenience of an eBook when standing in line somewhere or travelling. Not a fan of audio; I like to dictate my reading pace.

Notepad, typewriter or laptop?

Laptop at home and notepad when out and about. Unless I’m stuck, then I turn for the pen and paper. Something about the feel of a pen moving across the page helps unlock the words.

BioKat Colmer headshot

Kat Colmer is a Young and New Adult author and high-school teacher librarian who writes coming-of-age stories with humour and heart. She lives with her husband and two children in Sydney, Australia. She also sings (occasionally) and speaks German (almost fluently). Her hope is to one day read one of her novels in Deutsch.

Find her on the web|Facebook|Twitter|Instagram

 

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Sharon M. Johnston is a YA and NA author from the Sunny Queensland (except for when there’s weather events like Cyclone Debbie). She’s a Pitch Wars mentor and delivers the live Pitch Wars Road Show workshop at writerly events in Australia (and once in Las Vegas). Her Open Heart series is out now with City Owl Press.

Interviewing Stacey Nash

This month here on the blog we’re celebrating having two fabulous new members with a series of interviews and today I’m super lucky to be chatting to Stacey Nash.

Stacey Nash

You’ve written both sci-fi (can I say I adored the Collective books!!) and contemporary – which is your favourite to write and why?

Aww, thanks! The Collective series in many ways was the story of my heart. But, I do love writing both genres and I can’t say that I prefer one over the other. I tend to switch back and forth between the two, depending on whichever takes my fancy.

 

Similarly, do you prefer YA like your sci-fi or NA like the Oxley College series?

There actually isn’t a lot of difference between my NA and my YA. That’s because I write to a sweet heat level (no shown sex scenes) and my young adult characters are in the upper age bracket and my new adult characters are in the lower age bracket. This makes the categories blur and become quite similar.

It’s great to find those sweet stories with characters a bit older and thinking about post-school type issues. 
You’re from the gorgeous Hunter Valley region – how important is where you come from to your writing?

I do love my local area, but I have actually never set a story here. Most of my stories are set or based loosely around other places I’ve lived. I would be lost without the beauty of my surrounds though. It inspires me daily.

I’d love to travel there one day. My only trip was a whirlwind science conference which didn’t give me much time to appreciate scenery.

I got to know you through RWA (Romance Writers of Australia) – how important is the balance of romance in your stories?

RWA has connected me with so many wonderful people. Thanks RWA! Umm, as far as balance goes it’s very important to get right. Too little it doesn’t have the power to pull the reader through the story. Too much and it becomes a yawn-fest of ‘are these characters going to doing anything else but make eyes at other?’ That’s purely my opinion though. As both a reader and as a writer I prefer the romance to be a strong subplot. I always need something a little more adventurous to keep me entertained, but I do need a little love thrown in to make me swoon.

I love a meaty plot too!
What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve received?

The first draft is for telling yourself the story. Subsequent drafts are for perfecting it.

Favourite childhood story?

I’m going to complicate this because it depends on what age we’re talking about. During my early years it would have been the BFG, but by the time I was 10 it had changed to Anne of Green Gables (the entire series) and stayed at that until I was around 14 when I discovered Tomorrow When the War Began (again, the entire series).

We seem to have similar tastes. I think TWTWB was a huge influence for me too.
What are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on a few things at the moment. I’m rewriting a YA sci-fi that once again blurs the magic/tech boundaries and I’ve just finished editing another NA contemp with a rural setting.

I can’t wait to read them!
Fast five questions:

Pantser or plotter? Both

Vanilla or chocolate? Vanilla

Novella or full-length? Full length

Series or standalone? Series

Day writing or Night? Day

 

BIO:

Writing for the young and new adult market, Stacey’s books are all adventure filled stories with a lot of adventure, a good dose of danger, a smattering of romance, and plenty of KISSING! Hailing from the Hunter Valley in New South Wales, she loves nothing more than immersing herself in the beauty and culture of the local area.

Her debut novel, FORGET ME NOT was released as a three book series (Collective Series) through HarperCollins Australia during 2014 / 2015. And her Oxley College Saga is out now.

Twitter / Facebook / Website

🙂

Beck

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I always wanted to write. I’ve worked as a lab assistant, a pizza delivery driver and a high school teacher but I always pursued my first dream of creating stories. Now, I live with my family near Adelaide, halfway between the city and the sea, and am lucky to spend my days (and nights) writing young adult fiction.

 

 

Getting to know Lauren McKellar all over again!

It’s my turn in the interview-go-round, and I hit the jackpot in getting to interview the multi-talented, multi-busy Ms Lauren McKellar. And why not! As one of the creators of this blog, and a genuinely gorgeous person, she’s already a star, but she’s also an author of amazing fiction, an editor  and a new mum of the cutest and most determined distraction ever created – her gorgeous new baby boy.

Mind boggling, right?    That’s exactly what I thought, and though I felt guilty adding to her pressures, I couldn’t wait to see what kept her going. Let’s have a look at what she had to say…Lauren 1

Lauren, you’re a such a busy lady and yet a very prolific author – what drives you each day to keep your career on track?

I just love writing! I always have, ever since I begged my parents to buy me blank lined notebooks when I was seven so I could write my stories down.

Now, with a three-month-old bub, writing time is a little harder to come by, but I find doing something, even just five minutes a day, actually helps keep me sane. It reminds me I’m still me, not just this totally consumed and in love mama!

Welcome to the MamaLove Club! It’s the Never-ending-story! But there’s another love we know about as well. You not only won the cover lottery – aren’t they the coolest covers!! – but your love for YA and NA shows in your beautiful stories . How you would describe the books you write. Is there a common denominator? Conscious or subconscious.

There definitely is! My little tagline is “Romance reads that make you feel”, but to be more specific, I think I write issue-driven pieces. When I was eighteen, my father passed away from cancer, and growing up, I’d always suffered from anxiety and low self-esteem. I think that’s why all my books deal with issues like that that many teens deal with.

Lauren 2

Isn’t it wonderful that, from your own adversities,  you can give faith to others through your books.  And speaking of those books:  Do you have a typical working day? Or a typical process for completing each novel?

My typical process is write the novel, delete it, and write it again. Or that’s how it feels sometimes! I definitely write best when I’m sticking to a daily goal. If I stop writing for a few weeks, I find it harder to get back into.

superwomanWith that in mind – and maybe this is a version of the next-pretty-thing syndrome – but what’s your writing kryptonite? What’s the one thing you avoid when creating? Or that you know might send you off the rails?

I’m pretty cruisy. I don’t know if I have a kryptonite as such—I used to find it hard to write if I was reading a similar genre, but since I’m an editor as well as an author, I often don’t have much choice in what I read! I’ve got to say that if I’m really tired, I find it hard to create—but if I’m really, really tired, I end up writing some pretty okay stuff. Aside from that, my newborn child is kind of like my kryptonite, because keeping him alive requires a lot of work!

What do you consider to be the most difficult part of your artistic process?

Definitely the self-doubt. Constantly questioning yourself and wondering if you’re good enough and if people hate your work.

I saw this question somewhere else and it intrigued me – so I’m posing it to you: What’s the best money you’ve spent as an author? What’s been your most valuable investment?

What a great question! I’m going to say my membership in the RWA. I say this because not only of the inspirational conference sessions I’ve attended, but also the fabulous authors I’ve met and networked with.

Oh, and my laptop. Because der.

Ha! Der indeed. 😉 So, the ugly ‘P’ word. How much time do you set aside to promo and what’s your best advice?

Gosh, promo is hard! I never set aside enough time, and each release I promise myself I’ll do more! In an ideal world I’d do an hour a week. My best advice is to learn from others and find something that works for you. There are so  many free courses out there, and great podcasts and seminars—Self-Publishing Formula 101, to give an example—and I think you can get a lot from those about how to achieve maximum reach for your spend.

Lauren 3

The Talented Lauren McKellar – what does the future hold? Are there other things you secretly want to write? Other genres that call you in the night?  I guess if it wasn’t YA/NA what would it be?

I’ve recently written some adult books, and I’ve really enjoyed my venture into being a grown-up! I can’t see myself ever straying from contemporary though—I have so much respect for everyone who writes spec fic, and historical, but it’s just not for me.

The Private Lauren McKellar – share with us something no one else knows about you? My kidneys are in the wrong place for example. How about you? ☺

Oh, really? That’s very cool! If we’re talking medical anomalies, I have an extra vertebrae in my neck and my elbows hyper-extend. It’s not really a secret, though. I’m pretty open. Secrets aren’t really my thing.

Finally as authors we are also avid readers. You’re stuck on an island with one book – indefinitely. You’ll have to read it over and over. What would you wish it to be?

It’s not YA or NA, but Anybody Out There by Marian Keyes is a book that will always make me laugh and cry—so I figure it’d be a good choice to give me a full spectrum of emotions.

Thank you so much Lauren! It was indeed a pleasure and my only regret is that we don’t have more time and space. I could have chatted for hours!

You can catch all the extra news at:

http://www.laurenkmckellar.com

http://www.laurenkmckellar.com/blog

kaz-profiles-022Kaz Delaney has published 72 novels for kids, teens & adults over a 20 year period, many of them  published in several languages. Thirteen are YA novels and every one features a romance. Her latest is The Reluctant Jillaroo, Allen & Unwin, 2016 .  She is repped by JDM Management.

Review: Into the Mists – Book One of the Into the Mists Trilogy by Serene Conneeley

Enter the swirling mists of an enchanted land, and open your heart to the mystery…

Carlie has the perfect life. A wonderful family and a best friend she adores. A house by the beach so she can go surfing after school. A clever, rational mind and big dreams of becoming a lawyer. A future she’s excited about and can’t wait to begin.

But in a split second her perfect life shatters, and she is sent to the other side of the world to live with a stranger. In this mystical, mist-drenched new land, she is faced with a mystery that will make her question everything she’s ever known about her parents, her life and her very self. A dark secret that made her mother run away from home as a teenager. An old family friend who is not what he seems. A woman in blue who she’s not convinced is real. A shadowy black cat that she’d swear is reading her mind. A deserted old cottage she can’t always find. And a circle of wild-haired witches who want her to join their ranks.

Will she have the courage to journey into the mists, and into her own heart, to discover the truth? And can she somehow weave together a life that she’ll want to live – or will she give up and allow despair to sweep her away from the world forever?

A Melodic tale of loss and a magical journey of self-discovery and acceptance.

This beautiful story follows Carlie as she tries to come to grips with the loss of her parents and the sudden upheaval of her life. Serene has written the tale to include quite detailed descriptions of casts and rituals Carlie and her mother perform. You could easily complete such rituals yourself following the descriptions in the story. The story inspires the reader to look at their own life as the main character Carlie does hers.

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Gabrielle Baker narrates the audio book. Her beautifully calming voice tells the story in a tranquil tone, switching between a few voices slightly with each characters dialogue. She does well with the mix of Australian and English accents, only once or twice did I giggle at her pronunciation of an Aussie word. I listened to the story at 1.3x speed. As a faster reader myself, I felt the original a little slow for me, but the story allows for the increase without feeling rushed.

I loved the backwards and forwards timeline that Serene used to intertwine Carlie and Violet (her mother) stories. Flashbacks, diary entries and dreams are each employed in telling this magical captivating tale.

tenor

When Carlie began to read from the book her mother had owned as a teen, I did not at first realize it was Carlie reading. When reading a physical book you would see the change in script or a detail to show that the character is reading a letter or diary entry of sorts, but when listening to an audio book, the transition wasn’t as easy to keep on top of. This of course did not take away from the story or my enjoyment of the novel as a whole.

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I look forward to reading more of the Into the Mists Trilogy, and if you have not tried an audio book before, click HERE and you can get your first book free. Why not give Into the Mists a chance to captivate you the way it has me.

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Rebecca Bosevski is the author of Enchanting The Fey, a fairy tale for grown-ups. She lives on the sunny coast of Australia with her husband and three children. When not writing she will often be found with her nose in a book.

Author Interview: Beck Nicholas

This month we’re celebrating the arrival of two new bloggers with round-robin interviews so Aussie Owned and Read readers can get to know us, both old and new, better. Today we have YA author Beck Nicholas providing answers to some burning questions. Welcome Beck! Make yourself comfortable and we’ll get started.

  1. You’re the author of four YA novels, two sci-fi and two contemporary, and have a fifth due for release at the end of this year titled LAST DAYS OF US. What is this story about and what sparked you to write it?

Last Days is the story of grieving Zoey who drove her life off the rails when her big brother was killed. She’s determined to pull herself back together and sets out on a road trip to see Gray, the singer/songwriter whose music got her through the worst times. On the trip are her ex, her best friend and her ex’s cousins. It’s the road trip of a lifetime!

2. What’s a song or piece of music that in some way relates to LAST DAYS OF US?

Last Days revolves heavily around music and music is very important to Zoey, my main character. The most important song (apart from some Little Mermaid references – Ariel is Zoey’s fave princess by far) is Forever Young by Youth Group but if I tell you too much about why it will spoil the story *evil grin*.

3. Out of all the characters you’ve written, which would you most like to have over for dinner? Why?

Ooh, great question. I have such strong feelings for all of my characters (some of those being complicated) but for a dinner invite it’s probably Jolie. She’s the little cousin of her ex on the road trip with Zoey and was the most fun to write ever with such a sparkly way of looking at the world.

4. Does writing energize or exhaust you or both? How? Why?

Probably both. Being in the world of a story gives me drive and purpose but if I have a great day I do feel drained at the end of it. Like my brain has turned to mush and stringing a sentence together becomes difficult.

5. What are you working on now? Would you share a couple of lines?

Right now I’m working on a story about a girl with hearing loss who makes a big mistake in an attempt to fit in, called ‘Smart Girls Don’t’.

This is the opening:

‘Smart girls don’t let a picture of their breasts end up all over the internet.’

One hundred and sixty kilometres, give or take, into her journey to exile and Paige Miller-Jones’ ears still rang with her dad’s statement. In fact, the words filled every available space in the packed car, leaving room for nothing else to be said.

When she was seven and first fitted with hearing aids, she would have turned them off before he’d finished the sentence. But ten years and an improvement in her ‘good’ ear had both matured her and diluted her ability to block out what she didn’t want to hear.

6. You’re published in both Australia and the US. Do you feel Oz authors have to work harder to carve a name for themselves in the book world than US based authors?

I think the US is a huge place and discoverability can be a problem. However thanks to the internet it’s more open than ever before. It does make me super appreciative of our Aussie publishers and market though where Aussie voices can perhaps be heard more easily.

Now for some Fast 5:

  • Plotter or pantser? A poor amalgamation of the two
  • Daytime or nighttime writing? Better in the day time – first thing but that rarely works out
  • Short story or full length fiction? Short is HARD (much credit to you on your recent success), I’ll stick with longer
  • Pen or keyboard? Both!
  • One project at a time or multi tasking? One at a time in stretches but timelines mean I have to be flexible

You can read more about Beck on her website or connect with her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

 

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Kat Colmer is a Young and New Adult author and high-school teacher librarian who writes coming-of-age stories with humour and heart. She lives with her husband and two children in Sydney, Australia. She also sings (occasionally) and speaks German (almost fluently). Her hope is to one day read one of her novels in Deutsch.

 

Get to know Heather

In celebration of our two new bloggers we’re using March to reintroduce you to the AO&R team. I had the pleasure of chatting with our fabulous reviewer / contributor Heather. Here’s what she had to say.

Thanks for joining us today, Heather. We see your fabulous reviews on the blog, but our readers would like to know a little more about you. Fill us in!

I live in Newcastle, Australia which is such a pretty, underrated city. I’m seriously outnumbered by my three boys, so I make sure to fill our house with Disney movies and musical soundtracks to balance them out. I write ferociously, read addictively, and spend far too much time dancing to the Wiggles. Sarcasm and dry wit are basically what I live for.

Ha! Maybe your boys will grow up loving Disney. How do you balance work, writing, and a young family?

Badly. Haha is that an answer? I’m on maternity leave right now, which means I get two or three hours during nap time where I frantically pump out words that generally turn out to be no good, but at least its something. When I’m at work, I have to get up an hour and a half before everyone else so I have time to make a coffee and have a quick sprint. There are a lot of to-do lists in the mix also, because I always manage to over commit myself with beta reads, writing goals, and Life.

So, what type of stories do you write?

Speculative YA with flawed MCs and dark themes. Though I am currently plotting a contemporary which is meant to be happy (it won’t be).

Sounds fun! Your most recent big writing news is that you’re repped by Carrie Howland. How did you land an agent?

It took a looooong time. I finished Illusion of a Majesty back in either 2010 or 2011. It was seriously no good. There were rough little gems throughout but that first draft has been 99% reworked and rewritten. It has gone through so many versions I have notebooks FILLED with info to try and keep track of it all. I entered some of the later versions into writing comps on twitter and they generally did okay but nothing came of it. I did a huge edit and decided to try my luck one more time before shelving (traditional querying wasn’t fun for me). Thankfully this comp was the one. Kate Angelella (editor magician) chose IoaM to work on out of over 2000 entries. We spent two months getting it perfect and in the agent round Carrie Howland asked to see the full. The day I got her email offering to work with me didn’t feel real. I expected the usual ‘this is great but not quite for me’ response, so when I actually read it, I couldn’t take it in. I made my husband read it to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating. I still go back to it sometimes to remind myself I’m not alone in having hope for my stories.

Naw, that’s beautiful. But I’ve read that story and can vouch for it’s awesomeness. Speaking of other rad authors, who’s your all time favourite?

My standard response used to be Richelle Mead (I love her!), until I read The Lunar Chronicles. I am such a Marissa Meyer fangirl it’s embarrassing. I will read anything she releases. When it comes to women’s fiction, I can’t go past Paige Toon.

Oh my gosh. I just finished reading The Lunar Chronicles and I adore all four of those books. Back to you now though, what’s one thing you can’t live without when you are writing?

My bestie (AKA Rebecca Bosevski). Poor thing has to suffer through my snapchats, my word count goals, and my constant whining that the story is no good and I need to delete everything. The amount of times she’s picked me up from an overemotional puddle on the floor is ridiculous and I wouldn’t have finished a story without her.

And one more question, who/what inspired you to be a writer?

I’ve always remembered writing. When I was in primary school I would have a different notebook for each story and create my own overs to go with them. They weren’t great, and even now I wouldn’t be able to make a cover worth a damn. I cowrote stories with friends in high school that never made it past a few chapters, and then a few years went by where I didn’t write anything. Funnily enough a character came to me sometime in my twenties who I couldn’t get out of my head. From there, my first book eventuated.

Fast Five!

Morning person or Night Owl – Morning. Though probably not by choice.
Tea or Coffee – Both. But I can’t function without coffee in the morning.
Harry Potter or Percy Jackson – Harry Potter for sure. Haven’t read PJ.
Writing or reading – Both equally. They compliment each other.
First person or third person (POV) – First.

Heather is rep’d by Carrie Howland of Donadio and Olsen

Heather lives in a little city in Australia with far too many voices in her head. She’s an escapist reader and writer and loves any story with ‘real’ characters who drive the plot. At the moment Heather is author assistant to the wonderful Sharon M. Johnston. Heather has teamed up with her awesome agent Carrie Howland and is currently shopping her most recent WIP (a YA fantasy), working full time, and eating far too much chocolate (haha, like that’s even a thing).

You can find her on Twitter or at Story Queens of Aus.

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This interview was conducted by Stacey Nash, who happens to think Heather is fabulous! Maybe it’s our joint love of YA. To find out more about Stacey’s books or to connect with her on social media (where she tries to be engaging), check out these places: www.stacey-nash.com, instagram, twitter, facebook.

 

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Author Interview: Cassandra Page

This month on Aussie Owned and Read we’re celebrating the arrival of two new bloggers with round-robin interviews, and today I have the pleasure of interviewing the oh-so-talented, Cassandra Page.

 

  1. Let’s start off simple. Can you tell us a random, little-known fact about you?

Cassandra PageI’m left-handed. It’s not exactly a secret, but it’s not something I mention much on social media either. The way my mother tells it, I was showing signs of being ambidextrous until I broke my right arm when I was in kindergarten. I can’t write with my right hand, but I do a lot of other things with it, such as using a mouse and brushing my teeth. I can put mascara on with either hand.

Handy! :p

  1. You always seem to be working on something. What can you tell us about your newest project?

LD_CoverEbook_Fina_smllCurrently I’m editing False Awakening, the sequel to my adult urban fantasy, Lucid Dreaming. The goal is to have it ready for publication in the middle of the year. I’m also shopping a fantasy manuscript I describe as “Beauty and the Beast meets Ancient Greece”, and am about to start work on a stand-alone steampunk novel. Probably. There’s also a YA sci-fi kicking around in my noodle and I am notoriously fickle until the point where I start writing … so anything is possible.

  1. As a single working mum, who published FOUR books in six months, can you tell us mere mortals: how do you do it?!

The four books thing sounds much more impressive than it is — I didn’t actually write all four books in that time! I had signed my trilogy with a small press but, not long after the third one came out, the press closed. The rights were returned to me straight away, thankfully, and I decided to self-publish the trilogy as soon as possible rather than trying to find another publisher. Of course, I had already booked in the Lucid Dreaming release date for just a month later…

I was fortunate that my cover and interior designer, the lovely Kim Last, was able to fit me into her schedule. I couldn’t have managed that kind of turn-around without her help. Still, it was very stressful and I hope to never have to do it again!

More generally, my writing style can best be described as “slow and steady wins the race”. It took me about a year to complete a first draft of False Awakening. Then comes the inevitable revision. I am usually too mentally fatigued to write on a weeknight, so I’ve been cramming in several hours over the course of the weekend; I am for 2000 words a week. It does mean my son gets more screen time in that period than is recommended, but I tell myself it’s good for him to see his mum pursue her own dreams.

Plus he wants to be a writer when he grows up, too, so I call that a win!

  1. What is your favourite thing about writing?

I’m a plotter, though I don’t go crazy about it: I have a rough sketch of the plot but don’t go down to the chapter or scene breakdown level. Still, there are always particular scenes that I have in my head from very early on. Quite often, I conceptualise those scenes (often the finale) in great detail and work backwards from there to create the rest of the story.

So, to answer your question, I love writing those scenes. I refuse to write my books out of order, because those scenes are the carrot on a stick that keeps me going when the writing gets tough. They always flow easily from my fingertips because I’ve spent so much time thinking about them that I know them inside out. That effortless writing is rare and I treasure it when it happens.

Quick Qs:

Favourite holiday (Christmas, etc):

Because I’m a single mother, I only have my son every other Christmas. So even though I love it one year out of two (despite being agnostic), the other year is pretty hard! Instead I’ll say “summer holidays at the coast with my boy”. I cherish my childhood memories of time away, and I want my son to have similar memories of jumping waves and exploring rocks.

Favourite beverage:

Coffee. Coffeecoffeecoffee.

Favourite animal:

Dragons. They do too count as an animal!

Favourite thing to do in your down-time (other than write):

Read. I also like taking photos of books (I have a bookstagram account on Instagram) and playing Minecraft. I’m a proper grown up, me!

Favourite book or author:

I can barely even choose my favourite genre — though I can narrow it down to speculative fiction (and possibly to urban fantasy). That being said, one of my favourite reads from 2016 was YA contemporary: The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melissa Keil. It’s the kind of geeky fiction I wish I’d had as a teenager.

 

BIO

Cassandra Page is a mother, author, editor and geek. She lives in Canberra, Australia’s bush capital, with her son and two Cairn Terriers. She has a serious coffee addiction and a tattoo of a cat — despite being allergic to cats. She has loved to read since primary school, when the library was her refuge, and loves many genres — although urban fantasy is her favourite. When she’s not reading or writing, she engages in geekery, from Doctor Who to AD&D. Because who said you need to grow up?

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Heather is rep’d by Carrie Howland of Empire Literary, and eats more chocolate than one person reasonably should.