I recently posted a Call to Writers, asking those of you who write to allow me to interview you for a guest spot in my blog. I was overwhelmed by the response (and if any of you still want to participate, please contact me for details). I asked thirty-five questions and gave the interviewee the freedom to answer only what they wanted. My friend and fellow-author, Audrina Lane, had some great responses which I’m sure you will find as interesting as I did. When you’re done reading the interview, please hop on over to Audrina’s website and check her out. So without further ado, heeeere’s Audrina…
1. Please tell us your name (or pen name) and a little bit about yourself:
My pen name is Audrina Lane. I chose the name in memory of my Nan who started my love of books from an early age when she used to read the classics to me. Her name was Ena Lane. One of my Dad’s sisters was called Aurine so I put the two names together and came up with Audrina. I have only seen the name used once before in the title of a Virginia Andrews book “My Sweet Audrina” and yes I did read the book when I was at school. I’m 40 years old and live in Herefordshire with my partner and my 2 black Labradors. I currently work for the Herefordshire Library service.
2. Please provide the link to your blog (and website, Facebook fan page, Twitter, etc.):
Twitter: @AudrinaLane https://twitter.com/AudrinaLane
3 .How many books have you written?
Currently just the one “Where did your Heart go?” but working on the sequel to this at present and already over half way through “Un-break my Heart”
4. Has any of your work been published yet? If so, please share the link(s) to purchase it:
I briefly self-published Where did your Heart go? On Kindle for Amazon for 6 months but recently withdrew it to be part of Britain’s Next Bestseller.
5. If you have been published, did you self-publish or use traditional publishing? Why? If you have not been published yet, what are your plans for the future?
6. How old were you when you started writing? When did you know you wanted to be an author?
I used to write short storied when I was a teenager and read them to my younger sisters. The one that sticks in my mind was called “The return of Mr Tibbs” about a cat that died and came back as a ghost to tell his owners where his body was so that they could bury him properly. Then I wrote the original basis for Where did your Heart go? When I was 19 years old, it was then called Take my Breath away. It was a teenage romance novel then but I was too afraid of rejection to send it off anywhere so I filed it away.
7. What would you say motivates you to keep writing?
Telling the character’s story motivates me. They are all currently residing in my head and telling me to keep going (weird!!) I just can’t seem to turn their voices off so I just keep writing.
8. Who are some of your favorite authors? What are you currently reading (or what is the last book you read)?
Favourite authors are Stephen King, Margaret Mitchell, Paullina Simmons, Anita Shreve or anything that kind of takes my fancy if the blurb sounds good or the title stands out. Last book I read was Doctor Sleep by Stephen King (sequel to the Shining) and a great read; he never disappoints. I am currently reading “Divergent” by Veronica Roth which is gripping. I have enjoyed lots of Indie authors too Sarah Michelle Lynch, Tori de Clare, Louise Scoular and Valda deDieu.
9. What is your preferred reading method? (i.e., Kindle, Nook, paperback, hardback, etc.) Why?
My preferred would be hard or paperback but I enjoy the versatility of the kindle when I am travelling around so that’s what is currently in my handbag!!
10. Do you write in first or third person, past or present tense, and why?
Currently writing in the first person, but other characters in the book tell their story so that’s in third person. My book is in the present tense but travels back in time in diary extracts. I find it easier to write in first person but I have another book that I have provisionally started and that is in third so I guess it just depends on the subject.
11. Do you “always read” or do you take breaks between reading books?
I am always reading, sometimes I have a couple of books on the go at once e.g. a hardback at home and my kindle on the move.
12. How many books would you say you read in a year? How many at any one time?
Generally I would say around 20/30 books a year, it depends if I get chance to go on holiday when I can read non-stop. I travelled to India in 2008 and in 3 weeks I read 7 books!!
ABOUT YOUR CURRENT BOOK::
13. What is the title of your current work in progress of the most recent manuscript you’ve completed?
Most recent manuscript is “Where did your Heart go?” Currently writing the sequel “Un-break my Heart”
14. What is your novel’s genre? Would you say there is a sub-genre? What makes yours different than other books in the same genre?
My novel is a Chick-lit romance but with a few serious edges to it. I have tried to no only give it a local Herefordshire setting but have included a look back at some of the songs, films and fashion of the late 1980’s. Also I have included some current topical issues such as shortages in local government funding especially to leisure and culture (Libraries in particular).
15. What inspired the current or most recent story you’ve completed?
Scenes from my past and my first relationship have helped to inspire my writing as well as current issues being faced in Herefordshire.
16. What is your target audience’s age, gender, etc.?
Target audience – generally women aged from 16 years and over. No upper age limit as after all I hope everyone has been in love once in their life!! The main character is 40 but her daughter is 16 years old.
17. Do you want to tell us a little bit about your story?
The story is set in Herefordshire in 2012 but goes back in time to 1988 in the diary extracts that the main character Stephanie Eden shares with her daughter Charlotte. The diaries tell the story of Stephanie’s first love James Cooke from beginning to end, a love that Stephanie has been unable to get over during the last 24 years; she bears the scars that remind her. Charlotte has just split up with her first boyfriend and the diaries help her to realise that true love is worth waiting for. The two characters are close as Charlotte’s Dad died only 3 months after her birth in a mysterious stabbing incident that has never been solved. When Charlotte meets Mitchell and shares her Mum’s story with him they realise that they might be able to help her. I can’t say anymore as it will spoil the plot.
ABOUT HOW YOU WRITE::
18. How often do you write?
I try to write a little every day, but mostly at weekends and in the evenings if I’m not too tired.
19. Approximately how many words do you write at each sitting?
I try to write at least a paragraph or two in evenings but it just depends if it’s flowing or not.
20. Do you do your own editing or send it to someone else?
I have done my own editing as unfortunately I can’t afford to pay someone to do this for me.
21. What is your method of writing? (i.e., Do you write the entire manuscript, then go back and make changes? Do you plan chapters as you go along or write the story then go back and add chapters? Do you re-read as you go along or after you are done with the first draft?)
I generally have the idea for the full story in my head. Sometimes I plan certain chapters if they contain explosive plot twists etc. Otherwise I just let it all flow and then keep going back and re-reading as I go along.
22. Do you have a muse? If so, please elaborate. If not, what inspires you?
Working in the Library inspires me as I see the shelves of all the authors who have already made writing work for them. I would just love to see my book on the shelves and spreading happiness amongst readers.
23. How long does it take you to write a full manuscript?
My first novel “Where did your Heart go?” took me 6 months to write, I was very driven to complete it. The sequel is taking longer as it takes time to promote the first book to get sales and my work load has recently got quite heavy. I will continue to write and hope to see it finished by the summer of 2014.
24. Do you give yourself a word limit for each day or a time limit to finish your novel? If so, please elaborate.
No word or time limits really. Just aware that those who have read the first book and enjoyed it are eagerly waiting for the 2nd and then the 3rd. Trust me to decide to write a trilogy!!
25. How do you come up with your character names and geographic location / business names?
I use names that I have liked in the past, also names of friends (first names only). I will let you into a secret that the name of my main male character James was the actual name of my 1st boyfriend. Charlotte and Mitchell came about because of the book links to the film Top Gun – Charlotte is the name of the female instructor and Mitchell is the surname of the Tom Cruise character. I also have a black Labrador in the book that is called Jester, the call name of one of the pilots in the film too.
26. How long (or how detailed) are the notes you take before you start writing?
My notes were quite short for the book – it was all in my head. However I did start to write down significant dates, names and relationships for the following sequels.
27. Do you have any “must haves” to help you write? (i.e., a full cup of coffee, a view of the ocean, etc.)
My only must have is the radio or music playing – I did enjoy writing in the garden last year when the sun was shining. I am waiting for my own writing room to materialise in our current house renovations!!
28. Do you only write during a certain time of day or in a certain location? If so, do you make yourself stop after a certain time?
I can write anywhere as long as I have my laptop available or my memory stick. Over the winter I enjoyed the chair closest to the wood burner but looking forward to warmer weather and returning to my patio.
29. Does your real life ever neglected because of your writing? If so, how do you feel about that?
I wish my real life got neglected for my writing. Sadly have to fit writing in around my real life!! My partner Steve wonders why I drift off sometimes mid conversation as I have a sudden spark of inspiration for a certain scene or part of the story.
30.What is the quirkiest thing you do or have ever done when writing?
Currently trying to fit in some burlesque dancing into the sequel and have always wanted to have a go at that myself. I am waiting for the next class to start up and then I’m sure my writing will resonate with personal information. Anyway it will definitely be a giggle to try!!
ABOUT YOUR WORK::
31. If you have written more than one novel, which is your favorite and why?
No answer as still writing the 2nd.
32. If you could be one of your own characters for a day, who would it be and why?
I would be my main character Stephanie Eden for the day but back in 1988 when she was 17 years old. Would love to go back and experience my first kiss and love all over again!!
33. If one of your books became a movie, who would you choose for the “perfect cast” of main characters?
I have had a few thoughts on this subject. For the lead female it would possibly be Renee Zelwegger, for my lead man it would be a tough choice between Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman. I haven’t really thought about the younger characters yet. I’m sure my readers would be able to make some suggestions as both would need to be extremely good dancers!!
34. What is the oddest thing you have ever researched for one of your books?
No odd research required for these novels. However I am planning one that will be more historical and centred around a building in Hereford city.
35. What is the most difficult thing you have ever researched for one your books and why?
Will be doing some further research into Dementia for the final book in the trilogy. My Nan had it and sadly passed away before I even started to write this trilogy so feel the need to highlight the issues faced by families when this happens.
I hope that you can pick some bits out of this. It was great fun doing the interview and I have managed to answer all the questions!!
Thank you, Audrina, for allowing me to interview you. I hope everyone else has enjoyed learning about you and your work as much as I have. Best wishes for your writing success!