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Author, Avid Tweeter & Blogger, Lover of books, Teacher of Maths & Swimming, Mother, Speaks Spanish, Friend to many...

Sunday, 30 June 2013

LIVE INTERVIEW & INDIE IT PRESS

LIVE INTERVIEW via Lydia's Literary Lowdown with Lydia Aswolf

Okay, so first of all I got interviewed LIVE by the lovely Lydia (follow her on Twitter www.twitter.com/lydiaaswolf)

You can hear the interview by clicking here... BLOGTALK RADIO...

The feedback so far has been great from those who have listened to my rambling... (I did say a lot of uh huh, and yes, and blah blah... it was great FUN!)

Honestly, I am still in shock about the fact Lydia loves my writing so much... Maybe, just maybe, people aren't just being nice after all?!?!

Favourite quote... "You are hiding your light under a bushel"

FEATURED ON INDIE IT PRESS

My Writing Journey

After Lydia asked me to be interviewed, I was asked to write an article for INDIE IT PRESS... and it was accepted.

This is what I wrote (pictures added by Indie It Press)

http://indieitpress.com/indie-author-vanessa-westers-journey-tiny-dancer-to-titanic/

I am really happy with the feature, and am very grateful to Leisa Greene for featuring me (follow her on Twitter www.twitter.com/indieitgal)

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Interview with Jill Edmondson

Guest Blogger Vanessa Wester on: Ideas, Ideas and More Ideas!

Over the years, I have come up with many creative story ideas which I jotted down on the computer or paper.  Truth, I never saw them as anything other than silly scribbles.  When I watched an author interview back in 2010 a switch flicked in my brain.  I had permission to write – I was not being silly if I wrote.  Lots of people write, why not me?

My first novel was a chick flick type story, which I bravely posted on Booksie and then shared with a few friends.  To my shock and surprise they liked it!  I had a lot to learn though.  It took another year before I joined The Word Cloud and learnt about critique, prose, and the right things to do!

I wrote my debut novel, HYBRID, next.  It went from under 70,000 words to over 100,000 in a
few months and I published it in March 2012 via Smashwords (mainly to share it with friends).  I moved to Amazon in May, after demands from Kindle users.   

I published the second book COMPLICATIONS in November 2012.  The reason it only took 6 months was that whilst I edited Hybrid, I wrote Complications.

I joined Twitter and created a blog in the summer 2012, and realised I should have thought of that earlier… saying that, social networking is addictive and time consuming so I was relieved it took me so long to hook up.


I also started to publish short story anthologies, in aid of charity, from October 2012.  I have made friends and connected with many authors through this and I welcome new submissions.

I find it hard to believe that I have only been in the writing game for over 3 years.  I can’t imagine my life without it now.  My aim?  To share stories in the hope that some of you take something away from them.  A thought, a smile, a tear… an emotion!


I hope you all enjoy THE EVOLUTION TRILOGY, which will be completed this year (I am getting closer), and perhaps, go through some of the emotional journey I have experienced whilst writing it.


Smiles and best wishes,
Vanessa xx
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Interview with Jason Bourne

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How long have you been writing?
If you are referring to my taking writing more seriously, I started writing my first novel in February 2010, so a little more than three years. But, I have been writing since I was little! Ha! Ha!

Has writing always been something you wanted to do?
I always loved making up stories and have always been creative. I wanted to be an author when I was at school, but once my aptitude for science was discovered I forgot about writing for fun.

What books or stories have you written? Published?
I have written and published the first two books of my Evolution Trilogy, Hybrid and Complications, and four short stories (three under a collective group aiming to raise money for charity). I have also written a romantic chick lit-type novel, which might get published one day. I have started LOTS of other ones.

Can you tell us a little about your books? What are they about?

HYBRID front cover
Hybrid
University. Land of opportunity? For Steven Thorn, it’s the start of a new life. Just not the one he anticipated. As his resolve is put to the test, he ends up losing everything. For who could live a normal life as a Hybrid?

Steven Thorn has no trouble settling in at university, until Caitlin Chance catches him off guard. She’s the first girl he has ever felt an instant attraction towards and the more he gets to know, the more he likes. When Caitlin leaves university after a suspicious suicide the romance grinds to a halt. Now Steven is alone, Ingrid gets her chance, and it doesn’t take long for her to discover that Steven is a Hybrid.

However, when his estranged mother, Emily, convinces Ingrid to lie about Steven he obtains a short reprieve. Unfortunately, Ingrid does not intend to let Steven remain in the dark for long. She has other plans. The wheels are set in motion for his radical upheaval.  Steven will become a stranger to everyone. He will be forced to embark on the adventure of a lifetime. He will come face to face with his past and future.

Now they know he exists, they will come to get him. Everything will change…

COMPLICATIONS front coverComplications

A community within the Amazon jungle: A safe haven? Not for Steven Thorn, he wants his old life back. He wants his girl back. He does not intend to let his hybrid nature dictate who he is. Everything is possible in the quest for love.
A new type of humanity lurks within the Amazon jungle. The community holds many mysteries. Steven Thorn is not in awe of the community or his recent change, he is eager to leave it all behind. As luck would have it an injury makes it possible. With his grandparents, Jeff and Judith, and his mother, Emily, he rejoins normal civilization.

Now they are back things take a turn.

Steven is NOT normal, but he is convinced he can control his animal instinct – he does not want to kill. Emily has no desire to control her hunger. And Jeff and Judith are willing to try, but do not know if they can succeed. Fate has a way of steering you in a direction sometimes. People find it hard to break the habits of a lifetime.

When Emily decides to break free, Jeff and Judith use their judgement and agree to take Steven back to England. All Steven can think about is his girl, Caitlin, and when he finds her all is not as he expected. He might have to influence her, he might have to tell her who he is, and he might have to delve in the past.

And when he does, will Caitlin like what she sees…it’s a risk Steven is happy to take.

How did you get inspiration for the characters/books?
I think many of my characters have been inspired by real people and real experiences.  But, I did not write with a grand plan, I just wrote for fun. The plot, characters and ideas developed as I went, they still do.

Are the books based on personal experiences?
As I said above a lot of the ideas are based on real experiences, but not all. I am not saying which are which…

Is there any advice you have been given that you could give to a young up-and-coming writer?
Never give up, and finish the book – procrastination never helped anyone.

Can you talk a little about the benefits of getting your work professionally edited?
I have not had my work professionally edited. At the moment, the cost does not make sense to me. I have had some fantastic readers who read my book in advance and spotted a load of errors, grammatical issues and plot inconsistencies. I think the more people you can find to help you the better. I found that all of my readers spotted different things.

I do think a professional edit is a great idea, if you can justify the expense. I can not justify it at this point in my writing career.

Some readers have commented on the fact that they saw a few things, but on the whole it does not seem to detract from the story. They also thought that my characters speech was too formal, but actually that is how I want them to speak. I try not to use any profanity or slang in my language. If I do not speak like that, why should my characters?

What are some of the hardest things you’ve had to overcome as a writer, in order to be published?
Figuring it all out…How to edit, proofread, take constructive criticism, change plot inconsistencies, and prepare a document for e-book and paperback publication. While bearing in mind that Amazon, Createspace and Smashwords do things differently. There is a lot of help online. For feedback and help I would recommend The Writers Workshop free online writing community. I also think that Mark Cokers advice via his free style guide is fantastic.
I self-published because people wanted to read my story, I only share because people seem to like what I write (strange, but true).

How did you find time to write your books?
I started to write to relieve boredom. I was at home with my one-year-old baby and my brain was desperate to think (I had at that point been a stay-at-home mum for seven years). I decided to go from being a reader to a writer. It was a challenge. I never dreamed of the possibilities available and I never took myself seriously, only recently have I decided to tell people I am a writer.

Do you think writing has any benefits, and if so what would they be?
The salvation of my sanity! Seriously, writing has changed my life, and yet sometimes I wonder if I am too lost in my creative world. I am so eager to write that at times I find it hard to focus on my “day job.” I also tutor math, teach and coach swimming, do accounts voluntarily (I used to be an accountant). My cup is full – too full at times. Writing helps me escape; to find a place I can call my own. The problem is sometimes I want to be there all the time. Ha! Ha!

Several of my guests have often said writing is therapeutic and relaxes them. Can you talk a little about how writing relaxes you? Any specific examples you can share?
Like I said, while I was looking after my daughter and she slept, it was great to escape into my own world. I am also an emotional person and have found some of the things I write have touched me immensely. Writing about things I care about or think are important helps me to overcome them. For example, I have always found it hard to come to terms with death. Through my books, I talk about it being a natural process; this has helped me deal with loss in many ways.
Recently, I find a lot of my time is taken up with marketing and being on social media sites. Even though I enjoy the social interaction it does take me away from my escape. I am on a mission to try to write more and chat less (easier said than done).

Can you also talk a little about how writing your book was therapeutic? What do you mean?
I think I have covered this…

Has writing made you a better person?
Not necessarily a better person, a different person. I have my own life back now, my own identity. I am not just a teacher, wife or mother – I can escape into my imagination and write about a range of things to suit my mood.

Do you like to read? If so, what are your favourite genres and why?
I read a lot of different genres depending on my mood. I have read romance, historical fiction, young adult, thrillers, crime, murder mysteries and erotica.
I find that I am curious about all writing and am willing to give anything a go. Usually, I’ll know pretty quickly if it’s for me or not, and that might change from one week to another. I like a good story, the writing is not as important. I have read books with beautiful prose which were very boring.

Can you talk about how important reviews are to writers?
You know, I have no idea…If I see a book with bad reviews I’ll still check it out with the “look inside” feature is the story interests me. It’s all about the story, the new ideas. I find reviews exciting as an author, but I have no idea if they help or not.

Have you ever received a bad review? If so how did it make you feel?
I have received “interesting” reviews, not bad per se. The readers did not connect with my story. You know what…I was relieved. I don’t enjoy every story, so I can’t seriously expect everyone else to like mine.

Vanessa Wester

About Vanessa Wester

Vanessa Wester is bilingual in English and Spanish, since she was born and raised in Gibraltar. She first moved to England to further her education and obtained a degree in Accounting and Law from the University of Southampton, in England, United Kingdom. Initially, she embarked on a career in Chartered Accountancy. After a couple of years it became obvious she was not cut out to work in an office.
A change in vocation led her to become a secondary school mathematics teacher, which she loved. For many years, she has been a stay-at-home mum and gives up a lot of her time towards voluntary organizations. She still teaches math as a private tutor and has many hobbies which include swimming, walking, reading, singing and acting. She is also a qualified A.S.A. Swimming Teacher and volunteers on weekends at her local swimming club.
Writing is her passion. The day she decided to start writing was the day she found an outlet for her imagination. It is the best way she can think of to express herself and escape from everyday life.
Her debut novel, Hybrid (The Evolution Trilogy) was released in March 2012 via Smashwords and May 2012 on Amazon. Since then she has published Complications, the second book in the Trilogy, and has also released another short story called First Date, which is based on her true story. In addition, she co-founded the Seasonal Short Stories Group, and publishes the collections to aid charity.
She now lives on the Isle of Wight, UK.

Check out Vanessa’s blogs and social media channels

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Interview with James Smith

http://jamessm1th.wordpress.com/author-interviews/

I am delighted that Vanessa Wester agreed to share her thoughts with me in my first ever interview. I hope you find it as enlightening as I did.

Hello Vanessa and welcome to my blog. Thank you for agreeing to be my interview test subject. Nervous?

NO! Do I have any reason to be nervous?

Haha I hope not. Anyway on with the interview. I have read a lot about you (not as creepy as it sounds!) and you make no secret of the fact that Twilight inspired you to write your first novel ‘Hybrid’. Obviously there are lots of comparisons that could be made between the two stories, but I was wondering about your inspiration for the ‘change’ the species go through, it has a comic book feel to it. Could you explain your thought process?

Truth, I am a Sci-fi geek and used (not any more, okay…) to read a LOT of comics. I never read many Marvel ones (I think when I was growing up it was the done thing to give me Bunty, Judy & Mandy – female stereotype) but I watched Spiderman, Spidergirl, Wonder Woman, Superman, Supergirl, and Batman on TV… I particularly loved Spiderman/girl. SciFi series have always appealed to me. Oh, and I’m a big fan of Scooby Doo haha

Get the picture? Yep, I love the idea of humans being superhuman… and I find the science behind their change particularly interesting. That’s the only thing about vampires that always annoys me… What do you mean they have always been like that? I wanted to know why, to explore how a human could become a vampire… And so the Evolution Trilogy was born! Spiderman meets Batman meets vampires.

I did enjoy the fact you explained where this new ‘species’ had come from, but its not really science (I have a degree in Genetics so be careful haha), I actually thought that your method of transformation took the story away from ‘vampires’ and into a ‘superhero’ territory, which made it more appealing to me. What super power would you have?

Well, in my books… When a species changes by a freak accident or through a process of Evolution it is Science! Ha ha Anyway, tough one… I think it would have to be (drum rolls…) to never age – I would love to see the world over a longer period of time, to always be fit and healthy, and not have to worry about how I am going to die! Morbid, I know.

Well that’s me told. So you’re not bothered about the whole ‘watching everyone you love grow old and die’ aspect of immortality?

That is a valid point… I guess in reality it would be tough (I bawled my eyes out in Highlander when ‘she’ dies…). I would just love to see the world change over a period of time, and laugh at the repeated mistakes after having actually lived them, rather than because I assume that’s what happened. Facts have a way of changing via Chinese whisper, and even with the advent of TV nothing is ever exactly as it appears. That’s my view anyway. Hybrid opens in Southampton, where you were a student, but ends in the Amazon. Have you visited the rainforests? No, I haven’t, but I did spend a fair amount of time researching about it, which is why I posted links at the end of the book. I know I have used my creative licence but I hope I have done the location justice. I have to admit that it was fun to work out the flight times. Although my favourite discovery was the “meeting of the waters” – such a cool phenomenon I found out about courtesy of some great websites.

Did you research the area then write or research as and when needed? Did you enjoy doing the research?

I researched as I wrote, it was a “I wonder if this is possible?” … “Oh, it is! Excellent” kind of writing. The location of Los Alamos was one of my particular favourites, the more I dug, the more I found I could use. The choice of Pacu fish was from a visit to Amazon World on the Isle of Wight – kids’ trips are educational. I absolutely love doing the research… I need to dig my teeth into the next book and find some new things to write about. So inspiration from everywhere. How much research went into the Amazon accommodation of the Hybrids? That was all my imagination actually… Although I did have to look up electric cabling to know what to call it… Conduit! Nice… Ha ha By the way, Steven is the only Hybrid. The rest are evolved humans.

Apologies – I have read it (honest). One thing that kept me reading was your ability to raise key questions and gradually answer them. How did you keep track of the plot lines and characters?

You ask some pretty big questions… I have many ways to keep track. I printed out the original manuscript then had lots of charts with information to help me remember who was where, and I wrote all over it! I also had some amazing friends & family who read it, spotted things and helped me improve it. For example, when they leave the community and have to go through the jungle I had them go by car, my brother in law spotted the fact that with no roads this was near enough impossible – he gave me the dug out idea. For the last book I have had to prepare overviews on PowerPoint for each important character, as well as chart the other characters named. It gets tricky since they are a lot of people (I liken this book to a TV series… People come, people go – there are just lots of them at times!)

Are you confident you’ll tie up all of the loose ends by the end of the third book or is there potential for spin off books (to borrow your TV series analogy)?

I have actually started a spin off story already, but have not looked at it in months. I will tie up as much as possible, but yes the plan is to leave some possibilities open (besides I love stories that leave you thinking…). That is the plan anyway. So do you have multiple projects on the go or do you focus on one at a time? Multiple projects on the go… (or more like, lots of ideas written down and started but with no time to be finished yet!)

Your first solo short story is based on truth – how much of Caitlin is based on you?

This is a difficult question to answer. When I started writing ’Hybrid’ I had a clear idea of Steven in my mind. Caitlin was the girl to almost torment him, to compel him to do anything to be with her. The power of love at first sight. I do believe in love at first sight, I did fall for my husband as soon as I saw him. The fact he also fell for me was short of miraculous (yes, I was insecure just like Caitlin and did have my fair share of male friends before love came along). Being a hopeless romantic, I like a story where two characters are instantly drawn to each other, but I am also curious about the forces that then make relationships stay together or fall apart. And this is what I try to explore with my characters. After all, Ingrid (the one who finds Steven) is rejected by Steven on numerous ocassions (and she also fell in love at first sight, but it was not reciprocated). So, to answer your question… yes, Caitlin has elements of me, but she is not me.

I would not make the choices she makes in ‘Complications’, or the ones she is due to make in ’Return’. But yes, I did study at the University of Southampton, I am a swimmer and have played water polo, I do have red hair and I love sharks. I did lose at pool against my husband when I first played against him (yes, he did humiliate me – I have rectified the situation since then). And I do speak Spanish since I am from Gibraltar. Other than that, Caitlin is a free spirit, she goes where I tell her to. That’s the fun part of being a writer, you can make your characters do things you would never imagine doing yourself.

So who is Steven based on?

I have been asked this question before and I had a few contenders before I realised that (at least visually) he is based on David Boreanaz (who played angel in the Buffy the Vampire TV Series). As for characteristics, he is in my head. I have taken some real scenes and situations and used them, but honestly they are from many different men/ teenage boys I have known in my time… So who would play your main characters in a movie? Hmmm… nice one! For Steven, I would have David Boreanaz (of course), but seeing as he is older now (as am I – sighs…) I would now chose Kenny Wormald. For Caitlin, I would go for Julianne Hough. I thought they both had great chemistry on the new Footloose Movie… it would work! Julianne would have to have highlights in her hair though to make her a redhead! Isla Fisher would have been my original choice, but again she is too old… born the same year as me.

I have only heard of Isla Fisher – never mind. JK Rowling always said the ending to the Harry Potter series was written well in advance of reaching that point, whilst other authors say that the characters take on their own personalities and so the ending cannot be predicted. Which type of author are you?

I am the type of author who lets the characters take on their own personalities. I can not predict the ending, but I have a reasonably good idea about where it is going. Saying that, I have a lot to consider for my Trilogy finale… I would say that I recently spoke to bestselling author Jojo Moyes about her ending to “Me Before You” and was pleased to discover that in an ideal world she would have have two endings for her book. But, she had to choose one even though it brought her to tears.

One final question, apart from the obvious ‘be a reader’ what advice would you give to other writers?

I think a passion for words is really important to be a good writer. However, as with judging art it is difficult to give advice. What one writer will consider great, another will not. just go to Goodreads or read many Amazon reviews and you’ll see what I mean. As a writer you can not please everyone, it is impossible. Saying that, you should listen to what a reader actually thinks of your writing. I learnt my hardest lessons by allowing myself to be critiqued when I joined The Word Cloud ( www.thewordcloud.org ). Now, I am not telling you that anyone with an opinion should be listened to, in fact they shouldn’t. Some writers can be very harsh, and at times not actually know what they’re talking about. But, they are in the minority. Most writers/ readers give fantastic feedback. For a new writer I would recommend posting on Booksie or Wattpad (I used Booksie). Once you are more established and confident with your prose then guard your writing and copyright it. When I started I just wanted someone to read my work, I never even considered anyone would want to use my ideas. In fact, I never even imagined I would ever publish a book… Little did I know!

Vanessa Wester, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me.

Thanks for interviewing me, this has been fun.

Vanessa is an avid tweeter ( http://www.twitter.com/vanessa_wester )

and her author blog can be found here: http://vanessawesterwriter.blogspot.co.uk/  

and the Evolution blog is here: http://www.theevolutiontrilogy.blogspot.co.uk/  

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Interview with Skelat

01/19/2013
 
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Vanessa Wester, thank you for participating in this interview. Throughout this interview we will ask questions relating to you that our readers will be interested in. For those of you who don't know, Vanessa is a short story and novel writer, who's works include The Evolution Trilogy, where a boy named Steven Thorn finds himself as a the next generation of human, a hybrid; Half human and half new breed. We meet love, hate and truth, which bring Complications upon Steven and his family. He finds that his mother is the reason the new species cannot live in peace with the humans. In Return, a further twist of events makes this thrilling trilogy reach its climax. Read more about Hybrid, Complications and Return by clicking here.

Now you know a little bit about Vanessa, let’s begin with the questions!

Vanessa, what inspiration did you have to write your first book?

The idea for 'Hybrid' came a few months after my obsession with Twilight. I realised that the reason I loved Twilight was because I loved Roswell and Buffy (both TV series). I wanted to explore the idea of characters in a series. It is now a Trilogy because it works better that way, but originally I saw it as I would a TV program. I saw Steven clearly, and Caitlin came into it as I developed the plot.

What was the hardest part about writing it?

Writing it was not the problem, making it work was. I changed the plot around, deleted scenes, discussed issues with some close friends, then edited, and edited again. I listened to advice and had to get over myself and make the changes. I also joined a Writers group (The Word Cloud) and started to get advice. I started to see myself as a writer, not just an aspiring one.

How did you come up with the title?

At first I called it "New Beginnings" but then it did not sit right, so I thought of Hybrid. It seemed unique at the time (although I have seen others use the name since then). I think I was thinking of a Hybrid car... A more economical, efficient and eco friendly version!

If you had to choose one writer, who would you consider your mentor?

Agatha Christie, she is without a doubt, the mistress of intrigue and suspense.

If you had the chance to start again, would you change anything in your books?

What I want to change I have changed already. This is the beauty of self publishing; I am not bound by any rules. I can amend the story and download a new version whenever I want. To be honest, even though the story is the same, Hybrid is much more polished now than it was when it was first published in May 2012. The latest version was only just tweaked in December.

Should you judge a book by its cover?

I try not to, but it gives you an idea. I am not sure what people think of when they see my covers... I just think horizons are amazing, and I came up with the swirls.

Can you share your most meaningful extract from your books and tell us why it's important?

The moment Steven finds out about his past and the reason why he can not live life like everyone else in Hybrid.

‘How long have we been in existence for?’

‘Since 1942, I was born in 1932.’  Ian kept a straight face as he took a sip.

Steven wanted to laugh, ‘Really?’  It felt like he was having a drink with friends at the local pub.  It was anything but.  What they were saying changed everything

‘Yes, really,’ Ian took a deep breath.  ‘The year was 1942 and my father, Jeff, was a member of the exclusive team of scientists secretly conducting nuclear tests in Los Alamos, New Mexico – that’s in America.’

‘I know where New Mexico is,’ Steven snapped.

‘Good, glad they still teach Geography.  Anyway, the fate of the Second World War hang in the balance, and his team was designing the ultimate weapon.’

‘The atom bomb,’ Steven interrupted again.

‘Correct again, do you want to tell the story?’ Ian grinned.

‘No, you carry on,’ Steven replied.

‘As I was saying, the atom bomb; the most powerful weapon ever made by man.  As history showed it did change things a lot.  They perfected a deadly weapon with lasting consequences.’

Steven nodded.

‘This is going to sound crazy, but trust me – it wasn’t.  I have never been so scared in my life.  I was only ten years old after all,’ Ian paused.

Steven did not care if he had still been a baby.  ‘Get to the point.’

‘I told you this was not the right time to tell you.’  There was a trace of irritation in Ian’s reply.

The moment Caitlin realises that she is not a virgin, and may know someone called Steven after all in Complications.

In a dazed state, Caitlin noticed Daniel freeze.

Daniel frowned, rolled off her and stared up at the ceiling.  ‘Who’s Steven?’

‘What?’ she asked, just as confused.

‘Steven, you just said Steven,’ he repeated, anger starting to seep into his tone.

‘I don’t know why I said that.  It-it just popped out of my mouth.  I swear I don’t know anyone called that.  I don’t know why I just said that.’  Her thoughts were in disarray.

Daniel barely moved a muscle.  ‘Can you turn the light on?’

The moment was gone.  He was not buying it.  She thought she remembered Steven, but there was no way she’d admit her bizarre dreams.

‘Sure,’ she replied.  She reached out whilst holding the covers over herself.

As the light came on, they momentarily squinted and an awkward silence ensued.

‘Can I ask you something?’ Daniel asked, bitter.  ‘Have you slept with someone before?’

Caitlin could not believe she was hearing right.  ‘What do you mean? As in, have I done it before?’

Daniel sat up and folded his arms.  ‘Yes.’

‘No, of course not, you’re the first.’  Now it was her turn to get angry.  She could not believe what he was insinuating.

‘The thing is,’ he started.  He sounded suspicious.  ‘It did not feel like that was your first time.  Trust me I have been with someone who was a virgin and you are not.  It sounded like this Steven was the guy who popped your cherry.’

‘What are you saying?  Are you calling me a liar?’  She sat up, appalled.  She could feel the constriction on her throat as the tears welled up.

He turned away from her and put his feet on the floor.  ‘You say you haven’t been with anyone when it’s pretty obvious you have.’

‘How is it obvious?’ she retorted, angry now.

Do you have any advice for new writers?
Be prepared to work hard, I have never ever worked so hard in my life.

Is there anything specific you would like to tell our readers?
The first two books of the Trilogy are out; Return will be out this year (fingers crossed). I also write short stories. I am in this for the long run, please follow me and see how my writing journey continues.

Twitter

http://twitter.com/vanessa_wester/

Main Blog

http://vanessawesterwriter.blogspot.co.uk/

http://vanessawesterwriter.wordpress.com/

The Evolution Trilogy Blog

http://theevolutiontrilogy.blogspot.co.uk/

Facebook

http://www.facebook.com/TheEvolutionSeries

A Reader’s Perspective

http://vanessawester.blogspot.co.uk/

Diary of the Festival of Writing, York, UK, 2012

http://festivalofwriting2012.blogspot.co.uk/

Short Stories Group

http://shortstoriesgroup.blogspot.co.uk/

Goodreads

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6421055.Vanessa_Wester

The Writer’s Workshop

http://writing-community.writersworkshop.co.uk/members/profile/4791/Vanessa

http://writing-community.writersworkshop.co.uk/groups/profile/4874

Finally, the question we ask all of our authors, where do you see yourself in ten years time?

Reading, writing, I imagine I will be back at work as a school teacher. My youngest will be 14 then, a whole different world.

Thank you very much for taking part in this interview.
Read more: http://www.skelat.com/46/post/2013/01/vanessa-wester-author-interview.html#ixzz2IYgbjxrl

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Interview with David Njoku

Interview with Vanessa Wester, author of The Evolution Trilogy

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Tell us about The Evolution Trilogy
The Evolution Trilogy charts the journey taken by Steven Thorn when he discovers he is a member of the next evolutionary stage of mankind. The difference being that he is a Hybrid – half new breed, half human.
Throughout the Trilogy we meet and find out about this new community of individuals.  These special people have vampiric tendencies and are exceptional in many ways.  They are a family, they look out for each other, they keep to themselves, and they care for one another.  Generally, they stay away from humanity, but this is all set to change.
The next stage of evolution is complete, and the new members of humanity will come face to face with their ancestors.
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In Hybrid, Caitlin Chance and Steven Thorn meet at University and fall in love at first sight. However, when Steven is discovered they are forced to separate. Steven is taken to the community and his fate is sealed. He is not normal and his choices are restricted. An accident will change this, his life is about to get complicated…
In Complications , Steven gets to know his grandparents and comes face to face with the reality of his mother’s internal struggle. His mum, Emily, has a dark side that once exposed reveals her true nature. It turn out she is the main reason they can not live amongst humanity. However, when Steven manages to convince his grandparents to return to England, he is reunited with Caitlin, and then events take a further twist. It makes the return to the community imminent…
In Return (to be published in 2013) the future for the community, Caitlin and Steven is revealed…
What genre is it?
It is science fiction, subcategorised under paranormal romance, romantic suspense or utopian.
What kind of readers will it appeal to?
This is an interesting question. It is supposed to be aimed at young adults, but in reality it is aimed at adults. The main feedback I have obtained is that the readers never thought they would enjoy it and then found they could not put it down… It has been read by women and men of all ages. I would say that it could appeal to many, many readers.
Complete this sentence for us: If you like ___________, you’ll love The Evolution trilogy.
Again, difficult to answer… I would have to go with TWILIGHT, but it really is very different. It is NOT just the story of Caitlin and Steven (compared to Bella and Edward), it is the story of a new species of humanity and how Steven ultimately changes it. Honestly, I don’t think I would have so many male readers if it was a Twilight rewrite.
Tell us again, what exactly is a hybrid?
Steven Thorn’s mother, Emily is a new type of human formed after a freak accident during the Second World War.  A group of humans evolved into a new species of mankind after being bitten by radioactive bats. Emily conceived Steven with a normal human.
Steven has vampiric traits, but still retains a strong sense of humanity. The truth is this new species is relatively young and they have still not completely discovered their full potential and possibilities.
Tell us a bit more about the next book in the series. What did you say it was called?
In Complications, Steven is confronted with a lot of facts about himself that make him a threat to humanity. Regardless, he is drawn back to Caitlin and another series of events result to further change the course of the community in the Amazon.
The last book in the Trilogy is called Return; it should be released in 2013. All will be revealed…
Can’t wait. We read somewhere that you are bilingual. Do you write in Spanish? Does having knowledge of a second language help you see and use the English language in ways that those of us who are monolingual do not?
I did use some of my Spanish knowledge in Hybrid, and I will use it again in Return. There was not a lot of interaction with the Spanish characters in Complications.
I also used to live in Holland for a few years, and my sister in law is German. In Gibraltar, I grew up surrounded by people from all walks of life. People of Spanish, Italian, British and Moroccan descent live in relative harmony. All religions are practised on the Rock (although the main religion is Catholicism). I think an awareness of different cultures and habits does help in this type of story. Every culture is rich and full of different types of food (I love good cuisine), humour and traditions.
Tell us a bit more about yourself.
I was born and raised in Gibraltar.  I first moved to England to further my education and obtained a degree in Accounting and Law from the University of Southampton, in England, United Kingdom.  Initially, I embarked on a career in Chartered Accountancy.  After a couple of years it became obvious I was not cut out to work in an office.
A change in vocation led me to become a Secondary School Mathematics Teacher, which I loved.  For many years, I have been a stay at home mum and give up a lot of my time towards voluntary organisations.  I still teach maths as a private tutor and have many hobbies which include swimming, walking, reading, singing and acting.  I am also a qualified A.S.A. Swimming Teacher and volunteer on weekends at my local swimming club.
I am married, have three children and live on the Isle of Wight.
The Isle of Wight? We’ve been to the Isle of Wight once. It rained non-stop. You do not have to apologise, but it would make us feel better!
The Isle of Wight is in England… Need I say more? It is sunny every now and again. But, the weather in England is irrational. All I can do is say that it is a lovely place, with fantastic people – surely the weather is irrelevant?
Have you got a website or a blog where readers can keep up with your work?
MY MAIN BLOG: http://vanessawesterwriter.blogspot.co.uk
MY READER BLOG: http://vanessawester.blogspot.co.uk
THE EVOLUTION TRILOGY: http://theevolutiontrilogy.blogspot.co.uk
MY WRITER’S FESTIVAL DIARY: http://festivalofwriting2012.blogspot.co.uk
SHORT STORIES GROUP: http://shortstoriesgroup.blogspot.co.uk
MY NEW BLOG: www.vanessawesterwriter.wordpress.com
Where can we buy the Evolution Trilogy?
AMAZON ( US, UK), SMASHWORDS, APPLE, KOBO, BARNES & NOBLE, eDIESEL.
What’s next?
I have several ideas for stories.  I have started many… I come up with new ideas all the time.  I do intend to write a one off story next though, a Trilogy is a beast!  Something futuristic, maybe?  The short stories will continue – the next collection is out for Valentine’s.
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Interview with Carol Hedges

Saturday, 29 December 2012

The PINK SOFA welcomes Vanessa Wester

Vanessa Wester is one of the many lovely writers I met on Twitter. Not only is she a prolific writer, a mum of 3 and a witty Tweeter, she is also a great cook and makes lovely cakes and cupcakes, frequently posting luscious pictures on line to prove it. I asked Vanessa to share her writing journey with us. This is what she said:

''I used to write all the time as a child and then a teenager, but as with many things, I lost confidence and became convinced I was no good. It was in 2010, after I watched an interview with Stephanie Meyer that a switch flicked in my brain. I had permission to write - I was not being silly if I wrote. Lots of people did, why not me? I still sometimes revert to my old way of thinking, but I'm glad that a lot of people seem to disagree...

I usually write in our small study on my ancient (but hanging on) computer. Although I have to admit that I started with a notepad as I looked after my one year old, and then transferred it to my PC or laptop. I watched TV and wrote too. Recently, I used a notepad again for a short story. I have to admit that even though it takes longer, the ideas flow naturally, no distraction.


I self-published via Smashwords as I got fed up with wasting time and money posting manuscripts to agents. I got a lot of feedback from self-publishing, which was great, and prepared me for publishing on Amazon two months later, and Createspace a month after that. I actually feel like a publisher now! Recently, I've compiled a book of short stories with 7 other writers; it's called Out of Darkness. Proceeds will go to charity, and we intend to publish collections of seasonal shorts throughout the year. (The PINK SOFA likes the sound of this!) 

The best thing about writing is the complete and utter escapism that comes with it. Creating a new habitat and species (for The Evolution Trilogy) was great fun; it still is. The worst thing about writing (since I am self-published) is the EDITING. So, so hard ....
I stick to a word count of about 2,000 words per chapter, aiming for about 50 chapters, or a total length of 100,000. This was what I was told when I started asking for advice and I have to say it works for me.

The Evolution Trilogy is a SciFi romantic suspense trilogy that charts the way a university student, Steven Thorn finds out he is a Hybrid, and how his attempts to live a normal life and the decisions he makes affect the ones he loves. It started as a series, but I decided to stop after 3 books, with the option to continue in the future. The first book, HYBRID is available from Amazon and Smashwords (Barnes & Noble, Kobo etc). It is also on Smashwords. 

The second book, COMPLICATIONS, follows Steven to a community in the Amazon jungle, where he thinks he has found a safe haven. Steven does not intend to let his hybrid nature dictate who he is, but soon realises he wants his own life and his girl back. The book is just out on Amazon and Smashwords.''

Connect with Vanessa via: Twitter @vanessa_wester. 
Blog: www.vanessawesterwriter.blogspot.com.    http://shortstoriesgroup.blogspot.co.uk.
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6421055.Vanessa_Wester

Thanks Vanessa. And a special thank you for bringing a lovely selection of tempting home made cakes and mince pies with you. I'm sure visitors to the writing garret are going to enjoy those! Vanessa is staying around to chat, so please join her on the PINK SOFA and find out more about her books.

Interview with Mike Lambson


Author Interview: Vanessa Wester

Blogg: http://www.vanessawesterwriter.blogspot.co.uk/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/vanessa_wester
BIO:Vanessa Wester is bilingual in English and Spanish, since she was born and raised in Gibraltar. She first moved to England to further her education and obtained a degree in Accounting and Law from the University of Southampton, United Kingdom. Initially, she embarked on a career in Chartered Accountancy. After a couple of years it became obvious she was not cut out to work in an office. A change in vocation led her to become a Secondary School Teacher of Mathematics, which she loved. For many years, she has been a stay at home mum and gives up a lot of her time towards voluntary organisations. She still teaches math as a private tutor and has many hobbies which include swimming, walking, reading, singing and acting.  She is also a qualified A.S.A. Swimming Teacher and volunteers on weekends at her local swimming club. Writing is her passion. The day she decided to start writing was the day she found an outlet for her imagination. It is the best way she can think of to express herself and escape from everyday life.

INTERVIEW:

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
An avid Tweeter & blogger, Teacher of Math & Swimming, Mother of three, Friend to many…
What is your genre, and why did you choose it?
My favourite genre is romantic suspense with a paranormal twist. I think I am one of these new age authors going into the realm of a new category known as ‘NEW ADULTS.’ Yes, I was a Harry Potter fan. Yes, I was a Twilight fan. Yes, I now read anything under the sun…but my heart belongs to novels with some romantic aspect. I have a feeling I will write the genre that suits me… I am still dabbling; I only started writing under three years ago! I would love to be the next Agatha Christie, but I have a feeling I like romance too much…
When did you realize you wanted to become a writer?
I always wanted to be a writer (& song writer) when I was a child. At school I lost confidence, I was convinced I didn’t have what it took.
Life took over and the writing was abandoned. Well, I did start ideas on the computer, but I felt foolish… who was I to think I could write a book? I have admitted this in the past and I will again, I watched an interview with Stephenie Meyer where she explained that she was a stay at home mum with 3 kids and found her release in writing. I decided to give it a go and I have never looked back.
Thank you Stephenie…
It’s hard to come to terms with what I’ve achieved now. I may not be famous, but I have written 2 full length novels (3 if you take into account my first attempt) – I think I have a lot to be proud of. A writer is not just defined by their success, but by what they get out of their “art.” It’s the same for every other profession where people judge your work.
What do you do when you are not writing?
I used to be a competitive swimmer and have recently taken it up again, it’s a great release. I also love to walk and lose myself in a great book. When I’m brain dead any good movie will do, especially comedies. I love to laugh to de-stress.
Do you have a day job as well?
I am a stay at home mum…now what does that mean? Basically, I never stop working – EVER.
You mentioned song writing. What kind of music do you write/wish to write?
I used to write love songs mainly, or songs about deep and meaningful stuff. I wrote them in my teenage years so very much about teenage angst…lol! I should try to write some again, when I find time!
How did you choose the genre you write in?
I wrote a romance novel first. The idea for The Evolution Trilogy came from years of addiction to Vampires, SciFi, and TV series. I was influenced by Twilight but only to the extent of the girl meets vampire type thing, which really is more about Buffy than Twilight! I do think that Steven is very different to Edward, more akin to Angel. And Caitlin is nothing like Bella, but not as crazy as Buffy… Maybe? Lol
Where do you get your ideas?
That is an amazing question. I really don’t have an answer. When I start to write I go into a zone… The story tells itself, I’m just the writer… My head is a mysterious place!
Do you ever experience writer’s block?
No. If I have something to write it flows…but then I have never had to write something for someone else. If I was given a story to write I might struggle…who knows?
Do you work with an outline, or did you just write? I.E. Seat-of-the-pants, planner, or a hybrid? (pun)
Hybrid…lol! To start with I did not plan, but as the story developed and became a trilogy I had to have an idea of where I was heading and what I wanted to achieve. I did have to scribble a fair bit and think about all my characters, their development etc… I also had to research the Internet to check the viability of my ideas…lol
How long does it take you to write a book?
To write the story… Not very long! Hybrid was written in a few months… BUT it has changed a lot since I first wrote it! The same for Complications, the sequel. I put the bare bones down first, then develop to add muscle, skin and extra details!
As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
Funnily enough… I wanted to be a writer! The next Agatha Christie to be precise…lol
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
I tried to get an agent at first, but I found out about Self Publishing via David Gaughan, who blogged on The Word Cloud and I thought I’d give it a go. I only did this when the agents sent me a very nice rejection letter saying it was not their genre. I decided that finding an agent was too hard!
After this I published on smashwords…Excellent advice via Mark Coker. Then had issues with formatting, correcting grammar, etc… And I got frustrated with smashwords – limited sales. So I moved to Amazon and Hybrid started to sell!
If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your book or getting it published that you would change?
I would have joined twitter 2 years ago, I would have created a blog sooner… But then I would not have written as much for sure! Lol… Social media is very distracting!
Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get
published?
I am currently editing my first book with the help of another author. We plan to publish it together someday… His perspective is helping my male character come to life.
Have you considered branching into another genre? Which one?
I think I am a romantic suspense writer… I have tried horror and children’s books but my heart does not seem to be in it! Whether it has a paranormal element is not a given. It’s too early in my writing career for me to know what direction I will go.
Do you find writing from the male perspective difficult?
I don’t find the male POV hard at all. Whether I get it right is another matter…lol. I try to put myself in the shoes of a lot of men I have known. Although I have to be honest, I have used some real experiences for inspiration. For example, in Hybrid, when Steven thrashed Caitlin at pool, that was me, beaten to humiliation by my husband on one of our first dates. I resented him for weeks. I thought I was a good player until then.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
I have received a lot of critique, mainly from my family (believe it or not). I will not mention names, but I was told that they could understand why a publisher would not want it – OUCH! I have to admit that I bawled my eyes out and had a real low moment – they did say other stuff! But in the end – no pain, no gain, I listened to the advice.
Make my characters come to life – describe them. Watch out for inconsistencies – I have had to do several flow charts to help with this! Don’t repeat the same phrase or comment – these are hard to spot. Watch out for typo’s and grammar – my biggest problem since at the moment I mainly self edit (although I have had many, many eyes helping me to spot problems, especially in Complications – the second book of the Evolution Trilogy). Describe places, research if possible, make it real…
What has been the best compliment?
I have had many that have made me smile from ear to ear…the main one that always amuses me if when I get the… ‘I didn’t think I would enjoy this, it’s not my usual read…but I couldn’t put it down.’ My ultimate ambition is to entertain, to make the reader lose themselves in the story. Without a good story, you have nothing – that’s my opinion. You can be the best writer in the world, but without a good story…well, need I say more.
If you had to summarize, what one main thing has your life experience taught you?
Don’t let your circumstances define who you are. It’s easy to complain, to say you can’t. It’s harder to fight for what you believe in, to put in the extra effort.
For example, I am now inundated with work. Updating my blogs, editing my new book, sorting out a compilation book with other authors for Christmas, finishing the Trilogy, keeping up with Twitter, etc… On top of organising a Christmas Fair for Pre-school and doing the accounts for several voluntary organisations… as well as tutoring 3 times a week and looking after my young family! And what financial reward do I get? Well, not much – I can tell you that. I am now in the red, since I gave away loads of paperback for free. But, I only published this year and I’m in this for the long run, so I know it’s not about the money.
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Don’t write for financial reward! Join groups like The Word Cloud, talk to other writers online, read lots of books, read the advice out there… most of it is free! Research if you intend to self publish. I found Make Coker’s The Style Guide invaluable.
Did you use anyone in particular, as a base for your main characters?
This makes me laugh. Anyone who knows me at all knows there is a lot of me in Caitlin. I am a swimmer, attended the University of Southampton, come from Gibraltar, LOVE sharks…etc. BUT…Caitlin is more…she can do all the other stuff I did not do! Steven embodies the man I would fall love with, but not necessarily end up with. He has so much of lots of men I have known or know. He probably does have traits of the first man I ever fell in love with (not my husband…ha ha). The other characters are inspired by different people or traits I know well, but I’m not saying who…
Be honest, have you ever cried or wanted to cry while writing a specific scene?
YES. I have bawled my eyes out several times over scenes I have written. Actually, the Christmas Short I will be releasing soon, made me cry like a baby.
Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Thank you for reading! You have no idea what it means to have people read and like my work. As for fans…what fans? Ha ha ha…