My first interview!

I was interviewed this morning by OrangeBerry Book Tours on Twitter.

For the people who aren’t on Twitter, I thought I’d repeat the interview here and extend some of the answers. Twitter’s “140 characters” can be very limiting.
The hashtags used were: #TwitterView #OBRT #AmWriting #theouroboroskey

 

@PatriciaLeslieA Have you published in different languages?

  • @OBBookTours Not as yet, but I’m always open to opportunities.

I was originally going to answer that I only speak and write in English, but then realised that didn’t mean I couldn’t publish in a foreign language. A whole new world opened up! Just imagine seeing The Ouroboros Key published in France or Germany or The Netherlands!

@PatriciaLeslieA Do you have an agent? If no, would you like to?

  • @OBBookTours I don’t have an agent yet. It’s definitely something I would consider for the future though.

I have approached as many literary agents as publishers over the years and not been able to secure one. I came close a few years ago though with a lovely agent who, while she couldn’t sign me on, did give me some great advice and a publisher, unofficially, on my behalf.
At any rate, I have a publisher now with no agent and am doing quite fine for the present.

@PatriciaLeslieA Does a creative writing degree teach someone how to write?

  • @OBBookTours Writing is part learned skill, part talent & patience, & part bull-headedness. A degree is not required.

While I don’t think you particularly need a degree in creative writing, you do need some kind of learning in how to write. There are so many rules! Workshops and short courses (or longer ones) and lots of reading are definitely required to improve your skills.
Of course, I think a creative writing degree certainly doesn’t hurt and you would learn a lot, especially in technical areas and analysing of texts. If I was starting out as a young writing hopeful straight from school, I would definitely consider signing up for this kind of degree.

@PatriciaLeslieA How do you cope with writer’s block?

  • @OBBookTours Writer’s block is the perfect excuse to read more! I hit the books & do some research on whatever it is that’s not working….

I don’t have much of a problem with writer’s block. Mainly because I’m so busy when I get time to sit down and write I have scenes pretty well written in my head. Mind you, I also have a lot of half-written stories waiting for the creative urge to finish them off. I try not to worry about it too much. The words will come when they’re ready. Put yourself under great amounts of pressure to perform is not going to help your creativity.

@PatriciaLeslieA What was the hardest thing to cut from your manuscript?

  • @OBBookTours I had a scene early on that showed life in Ancient Mesopotamia. Wasn’t relative to the story as a whole so it had to go…

I loved researching and writing that scene too. I had the animals right, the geography right; great mood and atmosphere, but it just didn’t need to be there so it was cut.

@PatriciaLeslieA What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

  • @OBBookTours Read mostly. I also like gardening & art, but I’m usually too busy (or tired) to do those.

That about covers it; reading, gardening, drawing (when I can, I’m just getting back into it), going to art galleries, catching the train into the city for a spot of shopping or a show. Oh, and going out for a meal or just a coffee with my family. We often pile into the car and drive down the coast for breakfast or my husband and I will sneak out and drive somewhere nice for lunch.

@PatriciaLeslieA What defines a good story?

  • @OBBookTours A good story pulls you into its world at the start, spits you out at the end, & leaves a lasting impression on your psyche….

The best books are the ones where you reach the end and think, “What? Over already?” or the ones that you read so many times that the characters are almost like friends.

@PatriciaLeslieA What inspired the setting of your book?

  • @OBBookTours I wanted a “Snake River” & mountains, & found them in the Rockies between Colorado & Wyoming. Perfect!

And once I found the right river and mountains, I was able to bring the New Mexico scene in. It also helped that I had been to Colorado and was familiar with the area. I love mountains and caves, they can hide so much!

@PatriciaLeslieA What are the 5 most important things on your desk?

  • @OBBookTours My desk is a real mess but the important things are: computer, pens, notebooks, cup of tea, ipod

As the repository for all family paperwork, books, and various odds and ends, my desk really is bad. But I’m used to it and just clear a space when I need to write on my computer… or pull out my laptop and set myself up somewhere else.

I know I really should clean it up, but that cuts into my writing time…

 

Thanks for the Twitterview @OBBookTours #theouroboroskey #TwitterView #OBRT #AmWriting

 

 

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Chaco Canyon

An extract from The Ouroboros Key has been posted at Mommy Adventures with Ravina. Go read it. I’ll wait….

 

Chaco Canyon, New Mexico

Chaco Canyon, New Mexico

I was so glad to see that this was the scene used for the extract as it’s one part in the story (in fact, all of the New Mexico scenes) that I can directly put some photographs to and share with you. Even though it was written before I went on my research trip to New Mexico and Colorado, it was wonderful to arrive at Chaco Canyon and see first-hand the landscape I had visualised. I had poured over images, articles and books on New Mexico, joined online forums and pestered strangers with questions, but it was nothing compared to going to the locations and experiencing them.

Chaco Canyong

edge of wall and a cairn at Chaco Canyon

If you’re interested in the ancient Puebloans at all, you need to go to New Mexico. The Aztec Ruins, Chaco and Mesa Verde are fabulous! Chaco and Mesa Verde are vast areas where a person can easily feel quite small and lost. We were able to visit areas where there weren’t other tourists and just “feel” the landscape and its history. The ruins at Aztec allowed us to walk around, over and crawl through homes and religious buildings that had been restored (or copies built new) as well as buildings where all that remained was a ring of rocks.

Chaco Canyon

Just one of the many ruined pueblos in Chaco Canyon

While this ancient culture isn’t a major part of the story as a whole, it serves as a foundation for the theme around the tenuous link between reality and dream, and past, present and future.

Chaco

This cut in the rocks forms part of the walk to the top of the plateau at Chaco Canyon. It is very steep!

Chaco Canyon

The canyon walls were as inspiring as the ruins and views of the Canyon

Follow me on Facebook. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting photos of other areas in New Mexico, Utah, Colorado and Wyoming that I visited on my 2005 road-trip.

The next step on a debut novelist’s journey

Keep it simple

Keep it simple

This time a couple of weeks ago I anxiously awaited news that my novel had indeed arrived at my publisher’s office from the printer (it was a very tight schedule). Once that was ticked off my checklist, my anxiety moved to the release at the Blurred Lines Indie Publishing Fair (Canberra) over the weekend. What would I wear? What would I say? Would anyone actually purchase my book and request it signed?

The line, Keep it simple stupid, helped me through the whole weekend and my lovely friends, Michele, John and Madelaine ensured someone indeed purchased and requested my autograph (Four copies – above and beyond!).

Every day since then has been a new experience as the roll-out of availability, first Amazon and then the Book Depository took effect. I’ve had my first review (a good one, what a relief!), becoming an official Goodreads Author, and an upcoming blog tour (starts 17th April).

I’ve also started organising a book launch. Next, will be what on earth am I going to speak about…

Author talks keep being suggested. somewhat tentatively, by my friends. They all know I don’t like to speak in public and aren’t quite sure how I’m going to handle it. Again, I will keep it simple, and just not think about it until I have too.

I’m booking into a few talks and workshops at the Sydney Writer’s Festival at the end of May in order to look at how other authors present themselves, what they talk about, and to get ideas for presentations I can pitch to writer’s festivals. I’m taking this part a little slower in order to familiarise myself with talking in public first and to convince myself that I won’t make a complete hash of it (yes, I do have a confidence problem).

One appearance that I’m not worried about at all is a Twitter View with OB Book Tours on the 20th April. Twitter is one of my favourite toys!

 

@PatriciaLeslieA

Catch up on all the latest via Twitter (including the Twitter View). @PatriciaLeslieA