Friday, 20 November 2015

AUTHOR INTERVIEW



Farah Oomerbhoy

Faraah Oomerbhoy is the author of The Last of the Firedrakes, Book One in The Chronicles of Avolonia.  The Last of the Firedrakes has been an enormous success on Wattpad, with over 1 million reads and over 63,000 votes.  It was published by Wise Ink Creative Publishing in August this year.

You can read my review here:  http://tracymjoyce.blogspot.com.au/2015/09/book-review-last-of-firedrakes.html

Please tell us a little about yourself?

Thank you so much for having me on your blog, it’s a real pleasure to be here.

I just turned 38 years old on the 13th of October. I was born and brought up in India, and live in Mumbai with my extended family. I’m a mother of three wonderful kids.

I love Nutella and coffee. And I write books.

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve dreamed of travelling to magical worlds and exploring fantastical places found only within the pages of a book. Almost all the literature I read as a child had some element of fantasy woven through it. Those were the stories that stuck with me and encouraged me to write fantasy.

As a mother, I have the added opportunity of exploring these wonderful books again. Right now my children and I are reading the Magic Faraway Tree series by Enid Blyton, my absolute favourite books.

What literature do believe has influenced your writing?
There have been many influences on my writing; from Enid Blyton's Magic Faraway Tree series and C. S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia series, to T. H. White’s A Once and Future King and Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series.

J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, Roald Dahl’s Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, Diana Wynne Jones’ magical worlds, Lewis Caroll’s Wonderland books, Ursula le Guin’s Earthsea Quartet and J.M Barrie’s Peter Pan, have all in some way contributed towards my love for magical adventures and fantasy worlds and inspired me to write fantasy for young people.

There are many others that have influenced my writing in this genre. David Eddings' Belgariad series and Terry Brooks’ Sword of Shannara books made me realize the true extent and scope of epic fantasy.

In addition, Tamora Pierce's Song of the Lioness Quartet was very instrumental in the creation of my main character Aurora. It made me better understand what fantasy looks like with a young girl as the hero. 

Are the use of the names Aurora, Morgana and Avalonia a tribute to stories you loved when you were younger? (Alternatively what influenced your choice of these names?)
Yes, absolutely. The legends of Arthur, Camelot, Morgan le Fay, and the Knights of the Round Table were one of the main legends that consumed much of my early reading.

Can you tell us a little about The Last of the Firedrakes?
Aurora is in essence a modern teenager. She has lived her whole life in this world with modern technology, so she is more relatable to the readers. She only enters the fantasy world of Avalonia after she turns 16. Everything is seen through Aurora’s eyes and the reader explores the world and finds out more about it along with her.

One of the main concepts of the story is that Aurora could be anyone; that at any point of time it could be you who could open a cupboard, enter a library, or step into a tapestry and be transported to a magical world.

It gives the reader a chance to go on a wondrous adventure and explore concepts that they could never do in real life, within the safe confines of the pages of a book.

This is book one in The Avalonia Chronicles –how many books will there be in the series?
The Avalonia Chronicles is planned as a three book series. But you never know. There could possibly be more books in this world.

When can readers expect the next instalment of Aurora’s adventures?
My readers have been so wonderful and I am so grateful for everyone’s support. I know many of my fans are waiting for book 2, and I have started writing the first draft. I am trying to get it ready as soon as I can, but, realistically I don’t think it will be ready for release until the end of 2016.

Do you have a writing routine and favourite spot to write?
Yes, I do have a routine and I try and stick to it as much as I can. It does tend to get difficult since I have three little children and it gets hard to write at a specific time. Usually, I prefer to write at night, after the children have gone to sleep and the house is quiet. But during the day I do research, read, and make notes about the book. Usually I prefer to write in my room, on the couch with my laptop, with a big cup of hot chocolate with a generous helping of marshmallows to keep me company.

What advice would you give young writers who ultimately want to be published
authors?

One thing I’ve learned through this whole saga of trying to get my first book published is that you should never send your manuscript out to agents or publishers until it’s absolutely ready. I would also advise working with an experienced editor in your genre to polish the manuscript before you send it to anyone.

For those of you who want input on your writing or just want people to read what you’ve written to gauge their response to your work, then Wattpad is a wonderful way to reach many readers and interact with them while they read your book. It is a great platform to meet other aspiring authors, make friends who love the same books, and get your book noticed. Many authors have gone on to get agents or major publishing deals after their books did really well on Wattpad.

But the most important thing to remember is to always keep on writing. Even if you never intend to use that chapter, just get the words on the page. You know what they say, “you can’t edit a blank page.”


Connect with Farah:








Purchase:

B&N | Apple | Kobo | Smashwords | txtr | Itasca Books


Add on Goodreads

Award-Winning Finalist in the Best Cover Design: Fiction category of the 2015 USA Best Book Awards
"...the narrative components echo the classics; the Academy of Magic at Evolon could be Hogwarts, while the Shadow Guards are reminiscent of Tolkien's Ring Wraiths or Rowling's Dementors...a beautifully drawn fantasy world." - Kirkus Reviews

"THE LAST OF THE FIREDRAKES is a magic-filled romp that carries you back to the fantasy stories of childhood...Oomerbhoy writes particularly mouthwateringly about the food in Avalonia: a breakfast of hot chocolate and cinnamon nut-bread with strawberry butter, anyone? Or what about a woodland picnic where meat pies and cheeses are spread on flower-strewn barrels and glass balls filled with juices hang from the trees? Lovers of classic fantasy will likewise gobble down Oomerbhoy's scrumptious story." - Dr Vic James, author of the SLAVEDAYS trilogy

"The world building is beautiful.....That really made the book more complex for me......it is the journey of discovery for Aurora and the reader that makes this an interesting story." - Janelle Fila for Readers' Favorite



Thursday, 12 November 2015

Book Review


Under the Empyrean Sky by Chuck Wendig

(Pub: Skyscape, 2013)

**I was provided with an ARC copy of this in exhange for an honest review**



Under the Empyrean Sky is dystopian sci-fi which transports the reader effortlessly into its world and carries them along in a fast paced story with just about everything you could want.  

Within the first two pages, the reader immediately knows what is at stake for the main character, Cael, and gets a good glimpse of the broader political and social constructs of this world – brilliant. (I wish I read more books that did this so quickly and so well.)

Cael McAvoy lives in the Heartland and the only crop the government allows the people to grow is a genetically modified strain of corn.  This corn is aggressive, wiping out other species and even trying to trap and consume people within its fields. It is also inedible. 

Heartland's citizens are malnourished and suffering from different forms of cancer. Cael and his friends are scavengers sailing their ship above the corn looking for anything of value to supplement their families’ incomes.  Meanwhile, the Empryean elite live in opulent sky flotillas.   The government brutally suppresses all rebellion and controls almost all aspects of the lives of those in the Heartland.  

Cael is sick of the injustices of his life…

Ok, so you know how this goes - our hero is going to become involved in a rebellion.

Despite the fact that at its heart this is an age old tale, Wendig executes it brilliantly and the reader is left wanting to read more.   There were no surprises for me in this book, yet I loved every minute of it.

Four Stars!








Friday, 6 November 2015

EDITOR INTERVIEW


Gillian Dite

Dr Gillian Dite, PhD (Epidemiology), PGrad Dip Arts (Editing & Communications) Freelance Editor, http://www.gilliandite.com.au/

Tell us a bit about yourself
I have a PhD in genetic epidemiology and have worked in cancer research for almost twenty years. I began freelance editing (http://www.gilliandite.com.au/) in 2013 and I love the flexibility and variety of the work.

With a background in science and research, what drew you to editing?
I’ve always enjoyed writing for fun as well as writing academic research papers. When I was thinking about a change in direction for my career, I knew that I’ve always enjoyed and excelled at working at a fine level of detail and I realised that I could help people with their writing. I completed a Postgraduate Diploma of Arts (Editing and Communications) at the University of Melbourne and loved it. The qualification gave me the knowledge and confidence that I needed to move into freelance editing.

What type of works do you normally edit?
I love working on anything to do with science. I often help academics with research manuscripts to be submitted to peer-reviewed journals for publication. With the top journals receiving far more submissions than they can publish, manuscripts need to be excellent to be considered for publication. Badly written papers don’t get very far and editing can dramatically increase the chances of being accepted for publication.

I also work a lot with students who are working on a master’s or PhD thesis. I particularly enjoy working with international students. It would be incredibly difficult to come to Australia and study in a foreign language and I have learned a lot from them.

What are the common problems you encounter with the work you edit?
While every job is different with its own quirks, people frequently have trouble with punctuation and I often have to fix problems with tense. An important part of an editor’s job is to ensure consistency throughout the work. This can include spelling, stylistic choices, and the use of statistics and units of measurement.

Any suggestions for people writing their thesis etc?
Students (and academics) should learn how to use EndNote to manage their references. All universities offer short courses on using EndNote and the librarians are always happy to help. I’ve worked on quite a few theses that would fail the examination because they had so many problems with the references. By using EndNote properly, students can avoid the added expense of paying their editor to also check the accuracy and formatting of references and in-text citations.

Any suggestions for people looking to engage an editor?  
First, you need to ensure that you are looking for the right service for your manuscript. There’s no point paying for someone to proofread the first draft of a novel; proofreading is the final step in the publication process. 

For a first draft, you should be looking for a manuscript assessment or structural editor – someone who can give you input into the big picture by focusing on the logic and flow of your manuscript and suggesting areas for rewriting, reorganisation and removal. 

Later, you should be looking for a copy editor who will edit the manuscript line by line to ensure consistency in style and identify and fix errors in punctuation, spelling and grammar. 

Lastly, a proofreader should look at the manuscript just before publication to identify and correct any small problems that remain.

Once you know what service you require, the process of finding an editor can be daunting. Don’t make the mistake of just looking for the cheapest quote or using someone who thinks it’s easy because they did well in English at school. Look for someone with experience and qualifications that are relevant to your manuscript. In my area, clients look for an editor with a strong scientific background and my extensive experience with statistical analysis is invaluable in my editing.

Societies such as Editors Victoria have online directories (http://www.editorsvictoria.org/find-an-editor/freelancers) of freelance editors.


Have you edited fiction works and does that interest you?
I’ve had a few people ask me to edit fiction. While I love reading, I know I’m not the best person to work with them and I will help them find a better match.