Archive for April, 2012

Hello again,

I’m fighting a sore hip and a bad stomach to bring you this but I couldn’t wait.

In the early hours of the 7th March I was ecstatic when I won a free kindle copy of Rebecca Hamilton’s¬†“The Forever Girl”. I quickly set to and uploaded it onto my trusty iPhone 3GS and started to read.

Reading away I was instantly pulled into a world where pagans are misunderstood (nothing new there) and some, not all, vampires are good. A strange world with strange rules.

Okay, a bit of info on the book. The book is about the life of Sophia who is the pagan daughter of an over zealous Christian mother in a small Christian town and throughout the book she is pulled deeper into the strange world of mythical creatures. The deeper she is pulled  in the more she finds things out about herself and more importantly, for her, the reason for the constant buzzing in her head.  A good book. Go and read it. You will be hooked.

I have been lucky to speak to the author on several occasions via email and twitter and she is the nicest, sweetest and kindest woman I have ever meet and when I asked her if I could interview her, she was more than happy to oblige.

She is an excellent writer and¬†she ¬†you into her made up world, Sophia’s world, and you feel the questions, fear and power coming from the well written¬†words. Her book, the one I won a copy of, has sold exceptionally well in both the US, her home ground, and the UK, my home ground, and book two will, hopefully, be released later this year.

Her kind nature is evidenced even more by her love of her autistic sons whom she cares for when she is not writing or copy editing or working on her numberous other projects including raising money for Autistic Advocacy.

So here is the responses to the 16, yes 16, questions I put to her:

1/ Where did the inspiration for¬† “The Forever Girl” come from?
 
~I know this is clich√© to say, but it just “came to me”. I had two idea: where the story started, and what the main event would be. The characters changed the direction, though, so what was initially the main event is now something that happens in book 4.
 
2/ Why did you make the main character pagan? Especially one with a strict Christian mother!
 
~The theme of the novel is “acceptance” and I find that Wicca is one of the least accepted (or understood, for that matter) religions. I’ve even gotten some reviews warning people away from reading my evil book because the character is Wiccan LOL But I think there’s a good message there.
 
3/ How long did book one take you to write?
 
~About 4 years, all together.
 
4/ How many proof reads did it go through?
 
~HUNDREDS of rewrites and revisions, at least a dozen or two edits, and probably over a dozen proof reads by the time all was said and done.
 
5/ How did you approach publication and how did TZLA help you?
 
~ I was contacted by several major publishers with interest to my work, but those deals never went through. I did receive some wonderful feedback which I used to rework my novel, and then I self published. A couple months¬†later, TZLA¬†contacted me. Currently they are putting together a proposal and shopping my book around the Italian market. Most importantly, though, they’ve given me their support and their faith. Rossano¬†Trentin, my agent with TZLA, has inspired me in so many ways. Not just with my writing, either. I’m very lucky he discovered me.
 
6/ How many agent did you approach before you found the right one?
 
~I think it was close to a hundred. About a dozen or two it was close calls with, and there are a handful that I still think of fondly as people I would have gotten along with especially well. I think, based on some feedback I received, that my main character being Wiccan and portrayed in a positive light made my book seem like a hard sell in America. I have more faith in my country than that, though, and I just looked to other books that did the same and still did well. We don’t need to make Paganism some dark, evil thing to make it marketable.
 
7/ I’ve read you have an autistic son. How do you deal with the stigma of invisible illnesses.
 
~My oldest has autism and my youngest has PDDNOS. It’s very hard, especially now that my oldest is high functioning, because many people just assume he’s a bad kid or he’s spoiled, etc. Not everyone realizes how he used to be or all we went through just to get him talking and trying to socialize and everything else. He still has sensory issues that affect his behavior and that is the hardest to overcome. How do I deal with the stigma, though? Well, I don’t really know. He’s my kid. I love him. I know what an amazing person he is and the great love he is capable of. He offers something in my life that no one else can. So when it comes to the stigmas … yeah, it hurts sometimes, but I just remember that the people who judge us aren’t as lucky as we are to see the whole truth.
 
8/ Do you think people with dyslexia (like me) can become in print writers?
 
~Sure! I struggle with that sometimes, too. If you slow down though, that can help. So can having a computer program read your work to you, or having someone proofread for you.
 
9/ There is another author with the same name who does non-fiction and is a journalist how do you work around that?
 
~I have given that some thought before. I think what helps is that websites such as Amazon separate our work. We have “author” pages and you can find which works each of us wrote.
 
10/ “The Forever Girl” includes all the in fashion elements, vampires and shape shifter’s, yet with a different twist. How do you feel about the recent re-writing of the myth?
 
~I had fun with it. I wanted to go back to the roots a bit, and studied the legends more in-depth, based more on origins. I built my twists from those legends. I really like to ask what if, and I wanted to bring plausibility to the while idea of their existence.
 
11/ Would you entertain writing a ghost or zombie story? (one of my readers is a huge fan of zombie fiction)
 
~Ghosts, absolutely. Zombies? There are writers better suited for that than me out there, but I wouldn’t rule it out.
 
12/ Your book has had success in both the US and the UK, would you release it anywhere else?
 
~Currently working on releasing it in other countries and languages, yes ūüôā That is where the lovely Rossano¬†Trentin¬†of TZLA steps in!
 
13/ As a pagan I thank you for paint us in a good light. How do you feel about the common negative misconceptions surrounding the pagan religion?
 
~You’re welcome, and it was my pleasure! I thank pagans for being good people who are easy to write about in an honest and positive light. I absolutely dislike the negative ideas surrounding the pagan religion. The ideas often presented in mainstream fiction and film are more about making a Hollywood blockbuster and less about being sincere and realistic. I understand that to an extent, but there’s a misfortune in it all because too many people end up thinking that is what Paganism is really about. I’d like to see more entertainment media that stays true to what Paganism is really about.
 
14/ Where do you get most of your inspiration from?
 
~My son! He inspires me to write characters who think in unusual ways. Characters who do things that other people wouldn’t do. Then I take that and get to explore why, in their mind, that was the most sensible thing to do. It’s the same with my son’s autism. He does things sometimes that would make no sense to most people. I think that is why most people assume those who have autism aren’t as intelligent as others. But that’s not true. They can be extremely intelligent; their way of thinking is just different. So, that really inspires how I write my characters.
 
15/ How do you visualise your characters?
 
~I don’t really try. They just pop up in my head ūüôā
 
16/ Lastly, any advice for any budding writers like myself?
 
~Never give up. Be persistent. Fight for your dreams. If no one wants to give you a chance, give yourself a chance. If you want to prove yourself to the world, you have to make a believer out of yourself first. And that is the HARDEST part. But you can do it. We all can.
 
Thanks for interviewing me and for the fun, thoughtful questions! ~ Her thank you note.
 
I envy her success and appreciate her candor and honesty.
 
I have inserted several links for you to check out her blog, her charity’s website and a bit of information about us pagans. We’re nice people, really.
 
Here is a few other links:
 
My twitter handle: @simmy202069
Rebecca Hamilton’s twitter handle: @InkMuse
“The Forever Girl” Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn#!/TheForeverGirl
¬†¬†¬† Hover over the text to find the links to the author’s blog, the book web page, agency webpage and much more.
 
Autism is something close to me as are several other ‘invisible’ illnesses. I have two cousins with aspergers, another one with Ehlers¬†Danlos Syndrome¬†and there is a chance¬†I have it to, my mother and I both have dyslexia¬†and then there is the fact that several people I know, including myself, that have suffered from mental ill-health. Just because someone look ‘fine’ on the outside there is something deeper going on, on¬†the inside.
 
Feel free, as always, to comment.
 
If you have any questions for Rebecca please let me know and I will put them to her or follow her on twitter and she will, more than likely, answer you.
 
Happy writing
 
Simone
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Hello my fellow writers.

I hope you have all had a fruitful weekend. I have had an odd one. What, with the move my writing stuff is spread over two houses and I currently have no desk and my mind, as jumbled as it is, keeps coming up with ideas. Strange ideas.

For example last night I had the strangest of dreams which is slowly turning into a work of fiction a story that may grow. A tale in which something is most definitely not what it seams an involves a strange mythical beast that can manipulate the human mind.

Writing is one of the best things I have in my life and I have missed it while I haven’t been able to write as I normally would. This is mainly due to the majority of my stuff still being packed.

I have also been back to college and though my tutor Julie has moved onto another project we are getting another, equally good, teacher. They both like my creativity and are helping with the commas and such. We have discovered punctuation is my biggest problem, along with spelling, I always hated spelling.

Once I get the office sorted I’ll post pictures up. We are looking forward to having it sorted, my other half is without computer, which is not ideal, he’s a writer too. He doesn’t blog.

I get inspiration from just about everywhere. Where do you get your? What is the strangest place you have got inspiration from? What is the strangest result of your inspiration?

Will keep you informed with what’s going on and any developments.

I apologise for any errors made in this blog post.

Happy writing.

Simone

Getting there

Posted: April 21, 2012 by Simone Young in Agents and publishers, Disability and depression
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Hello fellow blogers

I have been quiet for a while, I am sorry. It’s mainly due to the move. As of last friday my baby and I ventured out into the big bad world and moved into our own house.

It has been a hectic two weeks of moving things and such and it’s not over yet. I have yet to sort out our office.

I have managed to get back to writing. I am so happy about it. I am back at college too. I have done a bit of work on a story called Legacy, which strongly involves the misconceptions surrounding the Pagan religion when a Bible belt town is plagued by a series of strange deaths.

I have been working on Troubled Child at college. It is a tale about a child that can read minds and is trying to protect her mother. It’s part of a trilogy and could possibly grow to more. This is entirely possible knowing me.

I am not feeling so good at the moment. I’m Feeling a bit under the weather, I think it’s just the move and were still getting used to everything.

I will keep you informed.

Happy writing

Simone

Update

Posted: April 8, 2012 by Simone Young in Current and Active Works
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Hello writers.

We are getting the keys on tuesday so we are really busy with packing and such. Not looking forward to packing the writing stuff. Its good to facilitate a sort out of folders and files can’t wait just busy. Feel bad for nnot updating but will do it once were sorted and setttled. we can’t wait but sorting it all out is knackering.

Happy writing.

Simone

Hi

Moving and the job interview I had today have taken over my life. I am scared to pack my writing stuff but know I have to at some stage.

I am looking forward to writing in my own house.

I am quiet purely because of the move, nothing else.

Happy writing

Will check in soon.

Simone