INTERVIEW A FELLOW AUTHOR
Hello everyone. I hope you’ve all had a great week. This weeks Author Blog Challenge is Interview a Fellow Author and today, I’m pleased to have Theresa Smith on my blog answering fifteen questions. Please welcome Theresa.
Q. Whereabouts do you call home?
A. Mount Isa, Queensland
Q. How do you usually begin your day?
A. Very early! I have three children and a ‘day job’ so I get up at 5.30 each morning in order to get everything rolling. Starting so early also gives me a bit of quiet time before the rush and this is when I do my social media posts and any author admin that needs addressing.
Q. Tell us about your books
A. I have written Coastal/Rural Romance, New Adult Fiction and Women’s Fiction.
Q. How long does it take you to write a book?
A. Around about 9 months to a year from start to completely finished. This includes ‘rest’ time between drafts and edits so I can return to the manuscript fresh each time.
Q. When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?
A. Before the age of 10, can’t remember exactly. I used to write stories all the time and then turn them into books using manilla folders.
Q. Do you have a regular day job (or night) or write full time?
A. I do have a day job. I work for Education Queensland in secondary schooling as a Career Counsellor
Q. When do you usually write? And do you have any particular quirks?
A. I do most of my writing on the weekends in the afternoons. When I’m really into the manuscript and writing like a demon, this will extend to weekend nights and also weeknights, but this is hard to maintain with a family and a day job and it’s very easy to get burned out and over-tired, so as much as possible I try and stick to my weekend afternoons. I am a fairly quick writer once I’m in the zone and it’s usual for me to be able to write anything from 10k to 20k over those two afternoons. I drink copious amounts of tea while writing, sometimes I listen to music, but mostly I just sit and tune everything else out until I’ve reached my set target.
Q. Are you a plotter or a panster?
A. Both. I do a lot of plotting at the intial research stage and then pants my way around it, then plot again through the edits. With each round of edits, the plotting gets tighter. I am also tending to plot more with each new book I plan and write.
Q. What has been your favourite moment as an author?
A. Probably back when my first book was published and it got a five star rating and a lovely review from someone I didn’t know! One of those ‘first’ moments that are hard to replicate.
Q. How many books have you written? Which is your favourite? What inspired this story?
A. I have written 5 books now, four of them published and one in the works almost finished. My favourite is probably the one I’m currently working on. I feel as though with this one that I’ve ‘come home’. It’s a rural/remote coastal fiction and very Australian. I am hoping for it to be the start of a series and I really love the characters and who they’ve all evolved into. Rural fiction kind of takes on a life of it’s own as the place becomes a key player just as much as the characters. What inspired me to write this book was where I’m currently living. I’ve created a fictional town based on a real place in the far north Gulf of Carpentaria. The characters are based on people I’ve encountered here. I’ve always been drawn to small town, quirky stories, both as books and as TV shows, so it’s always been a goal of mine to write my own.
Q. What was your hardest scene to write?
A. The hardest scene I ever had to write was in my second novel, In the Arms of Sleep, when I jumped into the head of a character suffering from Bipolar Disorder trying to deal with the tragedy of his girlfriend being gravely injured. It was hard to write because it was so personal, and even harder to let go out into the public. That entire books remains to date my most gut wrenching.
Q. Any advice to budding authors?
A. Take your time. Over everything. The actual writing, deciding what you’re going to do with it once it’s written, who you chose to show it to, who you chose to submit it to. The whole lot. Just don’t try and hurry the process. And write what you know. What I mean by this is style and genre. Write what comes naturally, because if you have to force it, it will read like that no matter what you do to it. Market trends are just that: trends. Write what you love to read yourself.
Q. What do you think makes a good story? Do you have any particular tropes you love or hate reading?
A. Engaging characters and strong dialogue. I like reading a lot of different genres but my favourite books are always the ones that are character driven. Every time.
Q. Which do you prefer? Paperback or e-reader, and why?
A. I buy both, but of late I’ve gone back to enjoying a paperback more. I think it’s because I spend so much time on-screen as it is, at work, while I’m writing, using social media. I feel glued to my screen some days so it’s nice to put it away and pick up a physical book, no distractions, just pages to get lost in.
Q. What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?
A. Now that’s a tricky question! I read a lot and collect books. I used to scrapbook all the time but I don’t get much opportunity for that anymore, but I still consider it an interest and tend to do a bit of digital scrapbooking from time to time, traditional on paper when I get a chance during school holidays. Sometimes I just like to listen to music while doing nothing else at all!
Thank you, Theresa. Wishing you the best for the future. Loving the covers!
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