A Q&A with Margarita!

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A Q&A with Margarita!

Post  H.B.I.C. on Wed Jan 18, 2012 5:17 pm

Q: Hello. Please tell us something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer?A: I live in Cardiff. For all its modernisation, there are still remnants of old Victorian Cardiff. I love the castle in the centre of the city and the fact that you have the sea on one side and the mountains on the other side of Cardiff. I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. I’ve always loved to write. My teachers at school used to limit me to no more than ten pages. I wrote short stories for magazines, it paid my way through college.

Q: What genre do you generally write and have you considered other genres? A: Supernatural stories, they are fun and you can let your imagination run riot. I wrote a romantic story once as a screenplay. I might re-write it as a novel one day, I liked the story.

Q: What have you had published to-date? Do you have a favourite of your books or characters?A: My first novel Judgement of Souls has just been published as an eBook by www.bookstogonow.com and is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Goodreads. I love Rachel, my main character – she’s strong and independent, but I do admit to having a soft spot for Daniel, the club owner. I had a few short stories published in a few women’s magazines some years ago. I didn’t keep copies of the magazines but I do have the stories saved. I re-wrote one of them recently and sent it to BTGN as a short story.

Q: Have you had any rejections? If so, how do you deal with them? A: Before I met Jenni at Bookstogonow, I sent the novel off to several agents in the UK and US. Rejection is all part of the profession, it’s tough each time you get a letter, but you have to put up with it because one day, you’ll get accepted. What isn’t easy is getting a rejection from a publisher who couldn’t be bothered to write you a letter back, just scribbled no thanks at the bottom of your letter! That’s harsh.

Q: Have you won or been shortlisted in any competitions and do you think they help with a writer’s success? A: They do inspire confidence. I did come runner-up in a script writing competition, but nothing came from it. But at least I’d been noticed!

Q: Do you have an agent? Do you think they’re vital to an author’s success?
A: I don’t have an agent; I am signed up at an eBook agency which is just as good. Agents do promote your work which means you don’t have to. I’ve just realised how tough it is to promote your story, there are a lot of new writers out there! Trouble is that agents are a bit selective right now so new writers don’t get a look in which is a shame. I remember reading that JK Rowlings was rejected time and time again. I bet those agents are kicking themselves now eh?

Q: Are your books available as eBooks? Were you involved in that process at all? Do you have any plan to write any eBook-only stories? And do you read eBooks? A: Yes my novel is available, but only as an eBook. For now I’m happy with that, it reaches a lot more people and eBooks are the way forward. That doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t love to see my story as a paperback some day, but for now I’m happy with this. I didn’t have much to do with the epublishing process, I left the whole process to BTGN, they knew what to do and I thought I just might mess it up. I did a lot of editing before we agreed with the finished product, I deleted almost ten thousand words, but the story flows so much better and I couldn’t be happier. I do read eBooks. The last one I read was Journey in Time by Chris Karlsen. I’m downloading her other two stories in the series in the next few days.

Q: How much of the marketing do you do for your published works or indeed for yourself as a ‘brand’? A: I’ve designed this website. It’s only temporary; I’m having another made which should be ready soon. I needed to have one that people could link to my book with and I’m going to start making a book promo. I’m not used to promoting myself so it’s difficult, but I work for a marketing department and I’ve picked up a few tips.

Q: Do you write under a pseudonym? Do you think they make a difference to an author’s profile? A: No, I write under my own name. For now that is. I think to each its own, if the writer wants to work under a different name then that’s fine, confusing at times, but up to them.

Q: If any of your books were made into films, who would you have as the leading actor/s? A: Well I have to admit that I did have pictures of who I would love as my leads to help me write them better. For Max I used Jared Leto, something about his eyes that just matched how I imagined Max’s are perfectly. For Rachel, perhaps someone who looks a little like Juliet Landau, I saw a picture she posted on my Facebook page and she looked different to the character she played in Buffy. And Daniel, well I used Aidan Turner. The people I write about at the club are actual people! The club is real, albeit named different, it has a credit at the start of the book, take a look. I used these actors to help me get a perspective on my characters, but I haven’t a clue to who I would really use. I’ve not thought of my novel going that far. But now you mention it….

Q: Did you have any say in the title / covers of your book(s)? How important do you think they are? A: Very important. I loved the cover the moment I saw it. I did have another idea but I think that will fit nicely in book two. I chose the title myself and didn’t want it changed.
Funnily enough each book will be called Judgement of Souls. But it will have a smaller title after it… The next is called Judgement of Souls: The Call of the Righteous.

Q: What are you working on at the moment / next? Do you manage to write every day? A: I’m writing on book two of the Judgement of Souls franchise. I’d like to write everyday but it’s not always possible. I carry a Dictaphone so that if I get ideas I can record them for later.

Q: What is your opinion of writer’s block? Do you ever suffer from it? A: Sometimes you do get to a point when there’s too much in your head and nothing makes sense. I listen to music - that inspires me with some ideas. And if not, I leave everything alone for at least a week and then re-read what I’ve already written, it helps.

Q: Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it? A: I plot step by step. Each page has a sub-line of what is meant to go on that page and then I just write that section when I think about it. I have the beginning written in the next novel, then a few blank pages, then more writing etc etc. I even have what I’d like for the end!

Q: Do you have a method for creating your characters, their names and what do you think makes them believable? A: I form my characters on people I see almost everyday. With a twist. The names, well I try not to make them too romantic and unbelievable, I like names that are old but still used today. But I have made up a few.

Q: Do you write any non-fiction, poetry or short stories? A: Fiction. Most short stories are around seven thousand words long; I’ve written that in just the intro to the next novel. But I will be doing a few shorts very soon.

Q: Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
A: I edit constantly. It’s a real pain because I never think its good enough and I think the reason it takes me longer to finish the book. I should just write and let the editor do her job.

Q: Do you have to do much research?
A: Oh yes. I like to use real places so I need to know exactly where they are. And as I write about supernatural beings, I like to get their history correct. In Book 2 there’s a chapter set in Malta. My best friend has just moved over there, so I went over and took a look around. I even joined a Facebook group that told me which streets were around in the 16th century so it now sounds very authentic.

Q: Some writers like quiet, others the noise of a coffee shop etc., do you listen to music or have noise around you when you write or do you need silence? A: I write better at home and usually at night. I have the TV on or I listen to music, I need background noise.

Q: What point of view do you find most to your liking: first person or third person? Have you ever tried second person? A: I write in the third person. Mind you, sometimes I get it mixed up so my editor corrects me.

Q: Do you have pieces of work that you think will never see light of day?
A: I have at least ten stories that are still buried in my PC for another day. Some will be written again and sent to BTGN in time.

Q: What’s your favourite / least favourite aspect of your writing life? Has anything surprised you?
A: How hard it is. It’s not just sitting down and writing. I had a hard hitting editor who returned my first draft and made it look like a bloodbath! It was a surprise. But the end result is something you can’t possible imagine, you’ve brought these people to life and you control their lives. I love it.
And I think the worse is having that great idea and by the time you get to write it down, forgetting it! And marketing. I’ve never contacted so many people, websites and groups since the book became LIVE on the 27th December 2011.

Q: What advice would you give aspiring writers?
A: Carry a Dictaphone or a notebook and pen! Don’t give up even though you may get rejection letters. If everyone thought like that there’d be no books, no films. Keep writing, even if its dribble! Then read, re-read and edit. Try and write a little each day. One hundred words a day is seven hundred a week, twenty-eight hundred a month and one hundred words a day is so simple!

Q: What do you like to read?
A: Anything supernatural. It has to grip me in the first few pages, my time is precious and I don’t like to waste it, I’m picky about what I read. If you write about a certain object and take five pages to describe it, I’ll just close the book and not pick it up again.

Q: If you could invite three people from any era to dinner, who would you choose and what would you cook (or invite three people, hiding the takeaway containers)? A: I would definitely invite Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker and Anne Rice. Can you imagine what kind of conversation we would have around the table? I’d be frightened to go to sleep that night I can tell you. But I bet I’d get a great story from it all. I love seafood and pasta, so perhaps that and maybe some Sushi.

Q: Is there a word, phrase or quote you like? A: It’s a wrap. And perhaps, that was your final edit! I did write a funny section in Judgement of Souls. I howled because I thought it was funny – but my editor decided it didn’t suit the mood and cut the section out!

Q: What do you do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies or party tricks? Smile
A: I love taking pictures. When I’m not doing that I also have three dogs and playtime is a twenty-four hour job.

Q: Are there any writing-related websites and/or books that you find useful?
A: I’ve bought so many books about writing. The best test is just to write because each book has a different opinion on what to do. I gave up reading them after a while –I just wrote. I would recommend The Artist and Writers Yearbook, if you need to look for Agents etc that’s your book.

Q: Are you on any forums or networking sites? If so, how valuable do you find them? A: I’m a Facebook addict. I’ve targeted every Gothic / Vampire / Writers page on there, plus a few external Vampire/Gothic websites that would be interested in the genre. I’m going to look up a few Romantic websites and see if they’re interested in doing a Vampire Romance review. I’ve signed on to Twitter (@felicm60) but haven’t come to grips with it yet. I’m following around 107 people on it and I have around 40 followers. I will get around to doing a lot more on it soon, but right now I’m a Facebooker!

Q: What do you think the future holds for a writer?
A: I believe we’ll be more popular, we always need new stories. I believe eBooks will soon take a bigger market that traditional publishing.

Q: Where can we find out about you and your work? A: At the moment you can contact me via www.bookstogonow.com
I’m in the middle of having a website made for me and I’m getting a Book Promo done.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to mention? A: This is a series of 3 books. I started at the end. There isn’t anyone who will be able to tell me why I did that. When these three are finished, I’d like to write some shorter stories about Daniel and Rachel and maybe their quest to find supernatural occult items and somehow tie them in to working for The Righteous. That should be interesting!

Q: Why did you decide to write a trilogy and not a stand-alone novel?A: It wasn't my idea at the start. But as I got further into the story I realised that readers may want some background knowledge of my characters. So I think that book two will reflect the time from Rachel leaving the safety of the vampire colony up until the start of the already written book 3 that should span over 300 years. Then I will go back further, to the lives of her parents, the Crusades, how her parents met, finding the Book of Cain, the birth of Rachel and then Max's arrival and stealing the Book.

Q: What was the easiest part of writing Judgement of Souls?A: The club sections, because I already attend a club that is very similar. I just went along and observed everyone and got the atmosphere I needed to portray in the novel

Q: Do you have any advice for other writers?A: Don't give up. If you have a story that is dying to be told, then work hard to tell it. But make sure you are doing your best work and you get an editor that can help you make the most of your manuscript.
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