I find it hard to pinpoint exactly when I realized I wanted to be an author. I remember writing paranormal stories on my old PC when I was at middle school, with (beautiful) covers illustrated on Paint. I wish I still had those stories, as it would be so much fun to go back and revisit old characters. Even still, I’ve always had a very vivid imagination, and I’ve never had any issues with coming up with quirky plots. But The Forest of Fallen Stars was a little different.
When I wrote The Forest Of Fallen Stars, I sort of fell into a writing frenzy. It was summer, and I had a lot of spare time around my work schedule. I would sit in my room for hours and hours, writing and scribbling down ideas. The plot just came to me. I wish there was some way to explain it, because I certainly can’t seem to replicate it! But I think it was the characters that truly made the story come alive for me.
Alura means so much to me, all of the characters do. Alura is shy, and full of self-doubt at the beginning of the book, but we get to see her learn about her gifts, and develop into a strong and confident young woman.
Kara is troubled and angry, but she has a kind heart and is always focused on doing the right thing.
Loria is also quite unsure of herself and the role she plays in her world, but she is strong-willed and determined.
Self-publishing has been a strange and very stressful experience. It’s taken a long time, and a lot of hard work. But I was incredibly lucky to get to work with an amazing friend of mine, Nicoletta, who formatted and designed everything inside my novel. She did an amazing job, and really helped me when I was struggling with the design.
Writing the Daughter of the Zel trilogy was hugely empowering for me. I’d always enjoyed writing and dreamt of having something published, but I never had the confidence to put my work out there.
Then, a few years ago, I was having a rather tough time personally, which led me to quit my job and move back home. Even with everything going on, I found myself with a load of free time I hadn’t ever had before.
As a distraction, I set myself the challenge of writing a novel in a month. I’d always wanted to do NaNoWriMo, but November was never convenient. Every day after work I’d sit down and type until my brain ran out of scenes. The rapid progress towards a final word count slowed towards the end, and I had to go back and carefully stitch together key scenes to make a complete story.
I had an idea for where the book was going and every time I wrote it felt like clearing space in my head. Making this mental room meant I’d get an idea for a new scene, usually when I was trying to get to sleep.
Now, like then, in the early days of a story, I get these rather annoying moments where I’m unable to go to sleep because of new phrases, places, people that pop into my head. There’s a process I’ve learned to follow by turning the bedside light on, writing the thought down in my notebook, and turning the light off again before immediately having another thought and repeating it. Eventually my brain lets me sleep.
I have found that the first draft is always shocking. I’ve come to terms with that. One of my betas recently said how she’d love to write a novel, but was worried it’d be awful. I explained the number of drafts my work passes through before she even sees a beta version. I hope this encourages her to get something down on paper. That’s the hardest bit.