Hello everyone! Welcome to another Meet The Author Moment! Today we’re featuring Zara Stoneley. Read on to learn more about Zara.
[ZS]: Full length books, like the Tippermere series I’m writing at the moment, take me around 4 months. I did manage to complete one book in around 6 weeks, but my stories seem to have a lot more pages in them these days!
[AC]: Do you ever get writer’s block?
[ZS]: I certainly get to a stage in (nearly) every story I write where the words don’t flow as easily – sticky middles are not nice! If writing is a hobby then that’s fine, but if it’s your job, your career, on the line then you can’t afford to just stop working when you have deadlines to meet. That’s why I try and think of it as a sticky patch rather than an insurmountable block.
[AC]: Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
[ZS]: Keep working is my main tip! A writer has to be a tough boss, once you stop writing and get out of the habit it can get progressively harder each day to get back into it. Writing is a job and you really can’t just lay down tools when the going gets tough.
If a particular aspect of a story is causing problems I’d advise you to skip it and move on to the next chapter, or even further on. My manuscripts are littered with comments in red saying things like ‘come back to this later’, or ‘what happens next?’ (and even more cryptic comments that make no sense to me at all when I revisit them!).
If the problem is bigger then going back to your plan can help – examining the goals, motivations and conflicts of the story as a whole, or of the main character can really focus your mind. If I do this I often get a ‘eureka moment’ when I realise where things have gone wrong, and even a simple tweak can set the ball rolling again. Understanding your characters really is the key factor to being able develop a story.
If all else fails then a change of scene (for you, not the characters) can help – whether it’s a long walk, a gym session or housework it’s surprising what can kick start the little grey cells. Food for a writer (apart from chocolate!) is observing what’s around us, listening, watching, reading; inspiration springs from the most unlikely sources.
[AC]: What are your thoughts on writing a book series.
[ZS]: I’ve written two series now, but I really believe you should only write linked books when the story demands it. There is nothing worse, to my mind, than turning what is essentially one good stand-alone book into a series purely as a marketing ploy.
I am currently part way through my ‘Tippermere’ series (the first being ‘Stable Mates’, the second ‘Country Affairs’, the third due out next Spring – and with a free bonus Christmas novella ‘A Very Country Christmas’, out now). By the time I’d planned the first book it was obvious that the story I wanted to develop was far too big to cover in one novel. The feedback from readers has been amazing, with people really wanting to know what happens next in the lives of the characters – and many getting to know the fictional setting of Tippermere so well they’ve been asking where it is so they can visit (I can understand what they mean – I don’t ever want to leave Tippermere)!
From a writing point of view a series involves a lot more planning, with continuity and timelines needing close attention, but it is well worth the effort. And sometimes the whole story just has to be told!
[AC]: Who is your favorite author and why?
[ZS]: It’s impossible for me to single out just one author. I’ve always read a wide variety of authors spanning different genres and it really does depend what mood I’m in to what I reach for. The wonderful thing about books is that there’s one out there to suit every occasion and stage of your life.
What To Read Next…
Looking for another new author?
Click HERE to learn more about Linn B. Halton!
Welcome to another Meet The Author Moment! Let’s catch up with Sheryl Browne!
[SB]: Shy! Really. I came from a large family and didn’t feel I really excelled at anything. It took a while for the teachers to prise me out of my shell, encouraging me to take part in team sport. Amazingly, I discovered I could catch and hit a mean Rounders ball and I was pretty good at getting the ball through the net in Netball too. As for academic work, I was definitely always the arty sort. I tended to draw in private though, until one of my teachers found my stash of drawings. Suddenly, I was really good at something and was promoted to class artist. That was a huge day for a seven year old, who came to school in hand-me-downs.
[AC]: Were you good at English?
[SB]: Apparently, yes. Chosen to attend at art school at age eleven, English, along with Art and Ceramics, soon became one of my favourite subjects. Again, I didn’t think I was particularly good at it though. And then the English tutor there, a tall, foreboding, quietly spoken man who commanded respect simply by walking in the room, gave me 22/20 for an essay. Now, he’d already stated he never, ever awarded a mark above 19. Still, I was too shy to put up my hand and say, Sir, I think you’ve made a mistake. He just looked at me, I remember, as my cheeks grew hotter and hotter. And then he smiled. Another huge day for me.
[AC]: What are your ambitions for your writing career?
[SB]: I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’d love a huge bestseller someday. Currently, though, having my recent book, The Rest of My Life, recommended to Choc Lit by the WH Smith Travel Fiction buyer and then reaching the dizzy heights of #2 on the Amazon Top 100 Paid Women’s Romance Fiction Best Seller List, is my dream come true. I now have another two contracts with Choc Lit, My ambition therefore is to keep writing, where I never thought I would be able to justify it, and to produce the best work that I can, hopefully providing the reader a wonderful reading experience.
[AC]: Which writers inspire you?
[SB]: I write in two genres, contemporary romance and psychological thriller. In regard to my romance writing, Marian Keyes is a huge inspiration for me. Water Melon was the first book I read by this author and I’ve been addicted ever since. I adore Marian’s writing. Her books tend to deal with modern ailments, but are always written with the compassion and humour I so admire. For my psychological thrills I turn to Martina Cole, whose ability to write gritty, believable characters I’m in awe of. For me, the magic of Martina Cole’s books is her fabulously unique way of leading us seamlessly into the heads of her characters: real flesh and blood people we can identify with and get to know. Fabulous stuff.
[AC]: Give us an insight into your favorite main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
[SB]: Hmm? A difficult one. If I’m choosing from my own characters, it would have to be PC Paul Davis from Warrant for Love. Disillusioned in life and love, Paul is moody, broody and not great relationship material. He comes from a broken home, his wife is divorcing him, he’s got no place to live, he’s losing custody of his son, and his sergeant, who’s sleeping with his wife, is a bully who constantly baits him. It’s a tough road with many potholes along the way, but Paul does eventually turn his life around, learning to trust and love again, above all to love himself a little. His biggest achievement, though, is in realising that if he truly loves his son and wants the best possible life for him, then he has to let him go.
Thanks so much for featuring me The LLm Author’s café!
And thanks so much for joining us, Sheryl! Check out more about Sheryl on her author page!
Today’s giveaway is brought to you by Zara Stonely! Click HERE to learn more about Zara and her books.
Hey, I told you we were mixing thing up this month! We’ve got two move members to share with you. Say hello to Zara Stoneley and Julie Ryan. Read on to learn more about these two new authors!
I live in deepest Cheshire surrounded by horses, dogs, cats and amazing countryside. When I’m not visiting wine bars, artisan markets or admiring the scenery in sexy high heels or green wellies, I can be found in flip flops on the beach in Barcelona, or more likely sampling the tapas! I write hot romance and bonkbusters.
My most recent releases, Stable Mates and Country Affairs, are fun romps through the Cheshire countryside and combine some of my greatest loves: horses, dogs, hot men and strong women (and not forgetting champagne and fast cars)!
You can find out more about me, and all my contact details at www.ZaraStoneley.com.
Zara’s Featured Book:
Julie Ryan was born in a small mining village in South Yorkshire. Not venturing too far from home, she studied French Language and Literature at Hull University, where she also trained as a teacher. Then the wanderlust kicked in and she lived and worked in France, Poland, Thailand and Greece. This broadening of the mind has had an enormous impact on her writing. She now lives in rural Gloucestershire with her husband, son and dippy cat with half a tail.
‘Jenna’s Journey’ is her first novel and is set in Greece, a country to which she has a strong attachment. It was never her intention to write a series but the beautiful location and strong characters wouldn’t leave her alone. As a result, ‘Sophia’s Secret’, a story of love, hatred and revenge was born, closely followed by ‘Pandora’s Prophecy’, a paranormal mystery thriller.
Julie’s Featured Book:
Check out Julie’s Greek Island Mysteries on Facebook!