Monday, October 17, 2011

Author Interview with Selina Fenech, October Indie AuthorRockstar!

I have had the pleasure of getting to know Selina over the past few weeks and am amazed at how much we have in common.  Here we are on opposite sides of the globe, but still there is a connection.  Sebrina was kind enough to let me interview her so that you know a little more about someone who may end up being one of your favorite new authors.  Let’s get on with it!

Selina, welcome to Writer of Ficiton, Painter of Life and Energy. Congratulations again on being one of the October IndieRockStars. That is very cool. Let's talk a little bit about how you became an author, your book, and you. First of all, I am curious as to what made you personally decide to write your first book, why you decided to go "indie", and when the first book went "live".
Thank you for inviting me to your blog. I was so excited to be voted an Indie Author Rockstar! My first book, Memory’s Wake, has been out since July 2011. I’m not sure why I first decided to write a book, but I can remember when I decided that I wanted to write a GOOD book. The story for Memory’s Wake has been floating around in my head since high school days, where I was really into comics. I was going to write the story as a comic book and then illustrate it myself, and wrote up a script of the story but never got past that point. The story stayed with me, and a few years later I fleshed out the script into a novella, so that I’d have something a little more finished. I didn’t do anything with it after that for a long time, and when I came back to it I had a much greater appreciation of the skills needed for good writing and storytelling, and frankly, the novella version was awful! That’s when I decided that I still loved the characters and basic story enough to write a novel based on them, and that I wanted to make it a good one. I started again from scratch, keeping just the few parts of the story that were special to me and creating a new, better story around them.

Once I had done that, I found myself to be a person with a novel, and not sure what to do about it! I decided I would try the traditional approach to publishing, and made the plan that I would dedicate all of 2011 to finding an agent and publisher for my book. I got married in February, and in March I fell pregnant. I decided then that the traditional approach was just going to take too long, and I wanted to share my story with the world before my baby came along. While I had been researching ways to get published, I had been reading a lot about modern self publishing and it seemed like a great path to take. I got Memory’s Wake released into the world by July, and I’m really enjoying the good response it’s getting. I didn’t think I’d be at this point, but I’m even hoping to have a second title released before the baby is born, but with just a couple of weeks left now it’s going to be close!

Congratulations on your upcoming new arrival! That has to be way more exciting than your first book. Do you know the sex? Do you have a name picked out?

It is exciting and daunting. I haven’t got much experience with babies so it’s hard to know what to expect. We’re waiting to find out the gender at the birth, so we’ve picked a girl’s name and a boy’s name. Keeping them quiet for now, but I can say they are both from Greek mythology.

Is your upcoming book going to be a continuation of Memory's Wake, making it into a series? Or are you branching out with a whole new story?
My new novella is something entirely different. It’s a modern paranormal/superhero style romance story that I wanted to write for some fun before getting into the much more complicated sequel for Memory’s Wake. I do have a book two and three planned for Memory’s Wake where the story really becomes epic, and will hopefully be writing and releasing both next year.

As a new author, what advice would you give other people who are thinking about writing their first book, but then that self doubt comes in?

The best advice is to just do it. Once you get started, if you’ve got friends, or even better a critique partner, that you can share the story with chapter by chapter as you write, they make great incentive to keep the writing momentum up and keep going until the end. They’ll want to know what happens and become your cheer squad!

What do you think are the five most important things a new author has to "take care of" to give them the best chance at success?

Quality, quality, quality… you get the picture. For every part of their writing, an author needs to strive for the best quality, whether it’s in the story itself, the painting of the characters, the voice, or technical stuff like punctuation, spelling and grammar (yes there are editors, but it’s also still an author’s responsibility). For those seeking traditional publishing, you’ve got to be at a level of quality up above the rest to be noticed. For those self publishing, quality is at least as important if not more, because every sale you make and how seriously you are taken depends on the quality of everything you do, from writing to presentation of the book and yourself as an author.

By the way, my African Grey parrot, Melanie and my White Capped Pionus Parrot, Kazoo were excited to learn that you are also owned by a parrot. They want to tell your Rainbox Lorikeet hello, and also tell it to have patience with you. Humans, they say, take a lot of training. They would like to know it's name. Melly thinks she would be a better writer than me, and with her voacabulary, I sometimes think she might be right. Does your lorikeet sit with you while you write?

Jed, (our Red-necked Lorikeet), doesn’t have quite the vocabulary that Melly has, but is always happy to give input anyway. His normal comment is “It’s OK, matey.” I’m not sure yet whether he’s being encouraging or condescending.

Selina, let's talk a little bit about you as a person now. Tell me, what about life never fails to make you laugh?

Funny cats on the internet (either LOLcats or videos). In fact, not just cats, but almost any humour site. Something I love about the internet is that no matter how I’m feeling I can find a website full of content that will soon have me laughing till I cry.

What has surprised you about life that you were not expecting that is good?

I’m going to be cheesy and say my husband. Like a lot of people I went through a long run of being single or having short, bad relationships and I reached that point where you think you’ll never find “the one”. And then I did, just like that. At a bar no less, we just saw each other, went up and talked to each other, and I think we both knew right away.

How about same thing, but bad?

I had a run in with cancer a couple of years ago, which was a surprise to everyone (breast cancer at 26, non smoker with no family or genetic history). Short story is it was caught early, treated with all the best treatments, and hopefully I’ll be all clear for life (assuming it was some wacky fluke). It certainly was a major life experience though, bad in lots of ways, but also good in some.

What do you enjoy doing besides writing?

I’m also a visual artist (you can see my artwork at http://www.selinafenech.com) and I love anything in the fantasy genres which is what I paint and write. My next biggest love is food. I can always get excited about food, whether it’s a humble cheeseburger, or a decadent degustation menu. I love cooking, and recently even took the step of purchasing an entire black truffle to cook with at home. Pricey, but I don’t regret the purchase one bit! One of my greatest joys in life is discovering and trying types of food I’ve never seen or eaten before.


Finally, let's play the old genie in a bottle game. You get 3 wishes. They can't be general wishes, like "peace on earth", or all disease cured. They are wishes for personal, material things. What three things would you wish for?

I’m not much into material things, but I can still make some self serving wishes! The first is a no brainer- a healthy, happy baby. Second, I’d wish to remain cancer free for the rest of my life. I’m expecting to, but like any cancer survivor, it’s always going to be a fear in the back of your mind. The third… now I’m running out of ideas. Maybe the metabolism of a teenager so I can keep eating whatever I wanted without always fighting back the weight gain!

Any last things you would like to tell people about you or your writing?

Just that I hope people will try out my book and enjoy it. The thing I love most about being a writer, and artist, is sharing my work with other people and hearing what they think.

Thank you Caddy for having me on your blog! I’ve enjoyed your questions, and can’t wait to read Melly’s first book!

Here is Selina’s contact information (places to buy her book are listed on her sites):

Twitter-http://twitter.com/selinafenech
Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/selinafenechart
Main website- http://www.selinafenech.com
Memory's Wake - Illustrated Fantasy Novel by Selina Fenech-http://www.memoryswake.com

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