27 blogging tips I'd give my fifteen-year-old self

Saturday, September 13, 2014

I had an awesome time at the #LoveYA festival talking about blogging last weekend. I've been blogging for five-and-a-half years now, which is over a quarter of my life, and it's amazing how quickly the time has gone. I'm not a blogging expert by any means or an internet-famous person (and I don't I really want to be) but the early days of my blogging played a big role in my becoming a published writer and it's been a pretty awesome part of my life - there are so many amazing people I know as a result of blogging, and a whole lot of fantastic experiences I might otherwise not have had.

Some of the great things that happened as a result of my first year of blogging:

  • Being invited to the NSW Writers Centre Kids & YA Literature Festival (by the wonderful, wonderful kids' author Susanne Gervay)
  • Being asked to write for the Queensland Writers Centre magazine
  • Being invited onto triple j to talk internet negativity on Hack
  • “Networking” / being part of a writing community despite being geographically isolated
  • Review copies of newly released novels! ARCs! Getting to interview  my favourite writers!
  • Publishers already being aware of me when my novel was submitted to them & viewing my commitment to YA positively
  • Getting feedback on my work and advice from other writers I wouldn't have known otherwise
  • Having a voice! Being able to express my ideas! Developing as a writer! Making friends!

So, clearly I think blogs are awesome. I thought I'd share some of the things I spoke about, lots and lots of tips and ideas and things I've gathered over the past five years. Things I think are helpful to remember, and advice I'd give to my early blogging self. So, here we go:
  1. Blogging is at its core about connecting with people, and I think the same is true of novels.
  2. There's a certain amount of bravery in putting yourself and your opinions out there. It's a risky thing to be vulnerable on the internet. 
  3. People in the 'real world' making reference to things you put on your blog is something you have to be prepared for (it's utterly bizarre). 
  4. Know what you want to achieve, and what you will regard as success: If you want to earn money from your blog, you're going to set out in a different way entirely to wanting to have a hobby that you spend a couple of hours a week on. Maybe you need a disciplined schedule to reach your goal of monetising, or maybe it's pure fun for you. 
  5. The keys to a well-read blog: regular posts that are entertaining and/or interesting, and ensuring that the people who'd want to read your blog know that you're writing it.
  6. Don't obsess over statistics – focus on genuinely connecting with people. (The same applies to being an author: Don't obsess over book sales. You will always be disappointed.) What's amazing about blogging and the internet and books and all other things is human connection, is making friends, is touching affecting the lives of others. One hundred thousand anonymous hits only counts for more than a hundred genuine connections if your focus is on monetising your blog. 
  7. Aim to connect: An amazing and wonderful thing about the internet is the way in which we can communicate with people all across the world. The best way to build a readership for a blog and the way in which you're going to get the most out of blogging is by being social. 
  8. Blogs written explicitly as a self-promotional activity (as some author blogs can be) or to earn money are not going to be especially engaging
  9. Goodreads is a really great platform for book reviewers and Twitter and Facebook are terrific for 'networking' (a.k.a. Procrastinating) but it's only worth using social media platforms to promote your blog or to interact with people if you enjoy using those platforms.
  10. Know your niche: You're going to find an audience and a community with people who write about the things you write about – in my case, that was YA book blogging. There's an even bigger community now of Australia YA book bloggers and that's awesome. 
  11. Balance self-promotion with supporting others – that community is your life force. It's not enjoyable to read things that are blatantly self-involved all the time; you also want to celebrate others, and share things that are interesting and entertaining. 
  12. Keep your uniqueness. Don't feel as if you have to conform to what everyone else in your genre of blogging is doing. You should have fun.
  13. Deciding before you start blogging what you will blog (i.e. YA book reviews, interviews, writing updates) and writing about that consistently means readers know what to expect of you. If you want to branch out and it's very drastically different you might want to start a separate blog if you've already built up a readership.
  14. Know what you want to share: I think there's a desire for self-revelation in all of us, and this is a time in which we have plenty of chances to overshare. I think setting limitations on what you will and won't share is always a good idea, so you're less likely to publish something you might regret. (Nothing is ever really deleted.) 
  15. I think a certain amount of self-revelation helps you to connect with people reading your blog, so that they can relate to you. There are a lot of people I originally knew online who are now physical-realm friends and in some ways you're more able to be yourself online without self-consciousness. 
  16. Things I like to think about before I share something: Would I be comfortable with my nan reading this? (She probably will, anyway.) Would I be comfortable with strangers reading this? (They will. Who knows how many.) How will this affect how people view me?
  17. You won't always get it exactly right. You might even look silly. And that's okay. Everyone has put something stupid on the internet in their youth.
  18. Avoiding burn-out: I think writing novels and blogging are similar in that passion and enthusiasm are only going to take you so far, and it's pretty easy to get overwhelmed and tired of it all. 
  19. It's really important to create balance in your life. When I was fifteen blogging was a huge part of my life on a daily basis and I got sick of it when I was sixteen. You don't want to spend too much time in online worlds.
  20. If it stops being fun, don't feel obligated to keep blogging. Take a break. Give yourself an opportunity to recall what's enjoyable about blogging (for me, the social aspect) and refocus on putting time into that. 
  21. Don't compare yourself to other bloggers. Don't compare yourself to other writers. Don't compare yourself to other people. (Compare yourself to crustaceans! You're a terrible arthropod.) In all seriousness – it doesn't matter what anyone else is doing. You don't have to be them. You have to be you. Focus on what you enjoy.
  22. Dealing with negativity: Negative comments are an unfortunate side effect of the internet. Certain subjects are going to attract more than others – if you want to write about feminism, for instance, you're going to have to brace yourself for a lot of mean and stupid comments. 
  23. Never react publicly. Don't put anything in writing. If you want to talk about how ridiculous comments are, talk to a friend or family member about it. Make sure they don't respond, either.
  24. Try to avoid the comments to begin with – on my blog and Facebook and Twitter I get almost entirely positive comments. When I write something for another website or people write about me, I'm more likely to get negativity. It's just not worth the energy of reading the comments. (The most entertaining negative things written about me on the internet: that I was 'probably taught French proverbs in the womb', that I am 'overrated' - I didn't know I rated at all!, that I don't live in the 'real world' - I was in a fake world all this time!, etc, etc.)
  25. Research blog platforms before you commit to one so that it suits your purposes and skill level. Blogger is great for being simple and straightforward. I hear Wordpress is great in terms of customisation.
  26. Choose a blog title that you're not going to think is silly in five minutes, or be embarrassed by people saying it in the real world. You want it to indicate something about the nature of your blog and to intrigue people. It's not of huge importance but I think being memorable is key.
  27. The most important things in terms of blog design are that your blog is readable, easy to navigate and not visually overwhelming.
Oh and, by the way, I really appreciate you taking the time to read my ramblings on the internet. You're terrific.

Team Human by Sarah Rees Brennan and Justine Larbalestier

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Mel and Cathy and Anna have passed vampires on the street, and sat near them in cinemas, but they don't know any. Vampires stick to their own kind, and Mel and her friends hang out with other humans - until a vampire boy in a bizarre sun-proof suit shows up at school and captures Cathy's heart.

Mel is horrified. Can she convince Cathy that life with a vampire is no life at all? Should she? And then all her assumptions about vampires are turned on their head when she meets Kit, a boy who makes her laugh - a boy with a very unusual family history.

Will Mel's staunch anti-vampire stance jeopardise her closest friendships? And where does Kit fit in? In the end, who will choose...Team Human?

This novel was published in 2012, and I initially read it last year, but never wrote up my thoughts on it. I don't read a ton of paranormal romance these days (and it hasn't really appealed to me as a genre since I was thirteen or fourteen), but when I revisited Team Human I thought it was such an excellent example of YA paranormal romance done right that I wanted to share my rambly, rambly thoughts on it.

What I loved about Team Human was that it functioned both as a satirical take on the entire young adult vampire fiction phenomenon/subgenre and as a really enjoyable and immensely readable novel about vampires, that was as humorous as it was thought-provoking. I am not a fan of vampire romance, love triangles, or angsty, angsty undead old guys who look like young men. If you aren't either, Team Human is well worth reading - I think it'll appeal to paranormal romance fans and non-paranormal romance fans alike. It's much more about friendship than it is about romance, and that's something I really appreciated. Despite the fact that Mel and Cathy live in a place where vampires exist among them, there's a real authenticity and realism to their lives - their parents are actually around and interested in them, they don't have unlimited money or cars, they go to a public school and do their homework and are otherwise pretty normal teenagers, making them a lot easier to relate to.

Mel is an at times unsympathetic protagonist - she is so vehemently opposed to vampires she can be pretty nasty - but who grows a great deal over the course of the novel and loses at least some of her prejudice. The cover is less-than-stellar, and the US cover uses the same models, and possibly is even worse. I think it's awesome that all the central characters aren't super-white - Mel is Chinese-American - and that that's represented on the cover, but the guy in the background is... creepy. So, ignore the cover. Unless you like it! I'm a big fan of the tagline, though, and it sums up pretty accurately what the book is about - friends not letting friends date vampires.

There's no alternating point-of-view one might expect in a co-written novel; the narration is seamless, and it's an easy read. Plus: there's zombies. You know how much I love zombies. If you don't: I love zombies. A lot. Not in real life. Please, never in real life. But in stories, yes. Every film, TV show and novel could be improved by the addition of zombies. I'm really hoping that a sequel to Team Human eventually shows up, because I'd love to find out what happens after the ending, and I'd love to see how Cathy's story in particular continues.

Team Human on the publisher's website.

Guest Post: Georgia Clark's Five Favourite Adventure Novels

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Georgia Clark is the author of futuristic fantasy novel Parched, a story of robots, renewable resources, and romance. After the death of her scientist mother, sixteen-year-old Tessendra decides to join a rebel group and risk her life to bring justice to the people living outside the utopian city of Eden.

Georgia is also a teen and lifestyle journalist who's written for Cosmo, CLEO, Daily Life, Sunday Life, Girlfriend and more, and an Australian who is now based in New York. She's a travel enthusiast (having visited fourteen countries) and studies improvisational comedy. Pretty cool, right?

I'm thrilled to be hosting her today on the blog to talk about her favourite and most compellingly page-turning adventure novels!


The Hobbit, by JR Tolkien
This was one of the first ‘adult’ books I read as a young girl. I remember being thoroughly enchanted by the cover, which promised otherworldly adventure, and the size of the sturdy little paperback: at four inches thick, this would be no small feat! The Hobbit is simply marvellous: a true adventure novel in every sense of the word: entirely unique with breath-taking action, high stakes, unforgettable characters and lore that has stood the test of time. One ring to rule them all… Wonderful!

The Dark is Rising series, by Susan Cooper
Another beloved staple of my childhood, consumed when my imagination was such a ripe and fertile thing that it really felt like I was there, alongside the Drew family, searching for the legendary Holy Grail in the windswept hills of Cornwall. I have vivid memories of the Greenwitch, Will Stanton, the Things of Power; the mix of myth, magic and memory that all good fantasy-adventure stories possess. Being an Aussie, I was raised with equal parts American and British culture, and thus feel quite fond of UK classis such as The Five Children and It, the Narnia chronicles and the Famous Five. But The Dark is Rising was always my favorite, kicking off a lifetime love of action and adventure!

The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
They could have called this The Hunger Game-CHANGER because that’s what it was. Never have I turned pages so quickly as when Katniss first enters the arena, waiting during the countdown for the bloodbath to start…. Argh! And even though our heroine isn’t on a literal quest, she does embark on a harrowing journey through changing landscapes, so I think we can call this adventure. I’ve read HG multiple times, and used it as something of a handbook when writing the action sequences of Parched (Hint: keep your sentences short and sharp. Invoking a sense of smell or taste also puts a reader in the hot seat)

Jurassic Park, by Michael Chricton
I bought Jurassic Park when I received a book voucher for coming first in something in Grade 10 (English? I can’t remember), and was so excited to buy the just-released, much-hyped Jurassic Park. Funnily enough, by the next year I’d come to see this purchase as embarrassingly popular and not in line with my growing love for clever, wordy intelligent art: Grade 11’s voucher was used to purchase a biography of Woody Allen. Now, taste (and my concern with how its perceived by others) has come full circle, and I am happy to say: this is a fantastic book, made into one of my all-time favorite Spielberg rollercoasters. If you liked the movie, try the book!

Glamorama, by Bret Easton Ellis
Okay, now I’m rrreeeaaaallly stretching the definition of ‘adventure’, but it’s worth it and here’s why. Glamorama is a monster of a book. A snarling, terrifying, truly impressive monster. Definitely NOT YA, definitely NSFW. This brutal, startling novel is Bret in full control of his literary ability, flexing like a jungle cat looking to intimidate his prey. The story follows achingly hip, intensely vacuous Victor Ward, who accepts a mysterious offer to leave New York for London to track down a college friend, Jamie Fields, and return her to America. This plan quickly goes awry, and Victor’s shallow, simple life of parties, paparazzi and posing nosedives into something much more serious and threatening. Equal parts satire, thriller and post-modern exploration, this very funny, very dark story is one of my all-time faves. High recommended!


Thanks, Georgia! For more info about Parched and Georgia Clark, check out www.georgiaclark.com.

The Summer of Kicks by Dave Hackett

Thursday, September 4, 2014

An accidental band. A record store. A pair of shoes and two perfect girls. This is going to be one hell of a summer.

Starrphyre is your average dorky 16-year-old, although with one difference. He has a very weird girly name, thanks to his hippy parents – a live-to-air radio sex therapist mum and a bass player dad from a tragic one-hit-wonder 80s metal band.

A long hot summer stretches ahead of Starrphyre and all he wants is one date with his dream girl, Candace McAllister. But how can he get her to notice him when she’s the star of every other high-school guys’ fantasies? Perhaps starting a band with his video-game obsessed pals will do the trick …

I found Summer of Kicks reminiscent of King Dork by Frank Portman and Don't Call Me Ishmael by Michael Gerard Bauer. The narration is quick-paced, loaded with jokes and one-liners, and Starrphyre is an endearingly dorky protagonist (who at times behaves terribly, if realistically, which is frustrating - I think that's a difficult balance to find, constructing a character who is realistically flawed but remains likeable, and I think the more you can relate to Starrphyre's profound awkwardness/struggle to figure girls/life/anything out, the more you'll enjoy this novel).

I think it's a novel you're going to love if you like a bit of absurdity - an extraordinary amount of coincidence, and some unbelievably out-there characters (a sex therapist mum who talks about her son's love life on the radio, a seemingly-intelligent older sister who for some reason tolerates the most horrifically awful boyfriend of all time - The Tool is hysterical in his awfulness) - and I think the novel's strengths lie in the ludicrous and the hilarious. The scenes involving the band - which never really comes to fruition (which reminded me of all of my aspirations as a kid of wanting to be a rockstar and forming bands for a week with friends, until we disbanded upon us realising none of us really played any instruments) - were some of the funniest, centred around the very important task of deciding on a band name (my favourite was Bingo Death Cage. That, or Empire of Gandalf). Starrphyre becoming an accidental YouTube sensation was also very amusing, and a super-condensed and disaster-laden performance of the musical Grease. Other characters who were highlights: record-store owner Sean-pronounced-Scene, the aforementioned Tool, Starrphyre's psychic nan and former rockstar dad and hilarious/terrible mum, and Polar Fleece Reece. Who has a terrific name.

I think this novel is very strong comically and is charmingly romantic and captures the awkwardness of being sixteen really well, but we also get a bit of more serious subject matter/weighty issues Starrphyre has to confront. It felt like there wasn't a lot of room for that to be fully explored in this novel (a lot of terrible things happen all at once), but I think there's a real multi-dimensionality (don't know if that's a word, let's pretend it is) there, so I'm looking forward to what Hackett's future novels have in store.

The Summer of Kicks is silly and fun and romantic, and a novel I think a lot of young teenage readers of all genders will enjoy - it captures the terror/euphoria of youth very authentically.

The Summer of Kicks on the publisher's website

I'll be at the Love YA Festival at Brisbane Square Library on September 6th!

Monday, September 1, 2014

This Saturday, September 6, I'll be at Brisbane Square Library as part of their Love YA festival!

At 2pm, I'll be speaking about blogging, becoming an author and other writerly things (and likely referencing The Very Hungry Caterpillar a lot - the greatest book of all time)!

At 3pm, I'll be appearing on a panel with bloggers Nyla Jade (Style Creeper), Kerry Heany (Eat Drink and Be Kerry), Jeann Wong (Happy Indulgence Books) and AJ (Pepper Passport), talking about blogging!

Brisbane Square Library is at 266 George Street Brisbane, and it's free to attend the Love YA festival (just call the library to let them know you're coming! Here's the event listing on the library website) - there are lots of awesome authors who'll be appearing from 12pm until 5pm.

I'd love to see you there, and if you do come along, say hi! I'm sure it'll be a lovely afternoon. If you get the train up from the Gold Coast we will probably run into each other. If you want, yell out 'STEPH BOWE? STEPH BOWE THE NOVELIST?' Only not in the quiet carriage. Just shout-whisper.

For more details about the Love YA festival and the other sessions, check out the Brisbane Writers Festival website. Here's the blurb:
'Love Young Adult Fiction? So do we! We’ve lined up some of the best YA authors for panels, signings and a chance to pitch your YA book to a publisher. A whole afternoon of book love for teens and YA fans! LAINI TAYLOR, Dreams of Gods and Monsters, AMIE KAUFMAN, These Broken Stars, A.J. BETTS, Zac & Mia , SEAN WILLIAMS, Jump , DIANA SWEENEY, The Minnow, KIRILEE BARKER, The Book of Days, ANANDA BRAXTON-SMITH, Secrets of Carrick. Plus book signings, cosplay and more!'

I'M EXCITED. ARE YOU EXCITED? To sum up: All those awesome folks. This Saturday, September 6. Brisbane Square Library. 12-5pm. Free. See me make a lot of silly jokes from 2pm! Free hugs and/or high-fives!

Head of the River by Pip Harry

Friday, August 29, 2014

Tall, gifted and the offspring of Olympians, superstar siblings Leni and Cristian Popescu are set to row Harley Grammar to victory in the Head of the River.

With six months until the big race, the twins can't lose. Or can they?

When Cristian is seduced by the easy route of performance-enhancing drugs, and Leni is suffocated with self-doubt, their bright futures start to fade. Juggling family, high expectations, study, break-ups, new relationships and wild parties, the pressure starts to build.

As the final moments tick down to the big race, who’ll make it to the start line? And who'll plummet from grace?

I would like to preface this review by saying that I ordinarily actively avoid books-about-sports because I don't really understand sports. The only sport I follow is AFL because my family would not tolerate it if I paid no attention whatsoever to who's going to make the eight. The extent of my involvement in actual sports involving me was playing Aussie Rules in primary school, and only making the team because my school needed to make up the numbers. I took a chest mark and kicked it out of bounds on the full and that was the extent of it (I still got a medal). I swam a bit as a kid but I didn't like swimming competitively. I'm not known for my coordination. I'm a thinking, brainy, sitting-at-home-and-pondering-the-universe person. I'm not a person who can judge distance or move at speed with grace while simultaneously not dropping the ball or participate effectively in a team without getting distracted by an interesting looking tree.

That said, Head of the River is a novel about rowing, so it's a sportsy novel, and despite my non-sportsy nature, I loved it. I really enjoyed Pip Harry's debut novel I'll Tell You Mine, but I felt her sophomore novel even more authentic, engaging and compelling. The technical detail added to the realism, a strong sense of what it's really like to row competitively and have such a ridiculous amount of expectation placed on you.

Doping in sports is very relevant, and the motivations of the characters well-drawn - despite both Leni and Cristian making some less-than-stellar choices, they remained characters with whom I could empathise and I wanted things to work out well for them. I can't relate to the performance-enhancing drugs bit because there aren't any performance-enhancing drugs you can take to make you a better writer (I think there's a movie about this? I wouldn't take them even if they did exist. I'm a bit funny about taking panadol), but I could relate to their ambition and, to some degree, the pressure they experienced.

I probably have an unconscious bias towards thinking Australian contemporary YA is awesome (it's probably not unconscious if I'm conscious of it), but I think this is really fabulous. I think this is a novel relevant enough to be taught in schools, covering a whole lot of themes very well - drugs in sports, self-esteem and body-image, leadership and team dynamics, expectations and pressure. A novel well worth reading even if you're not sportsy - it's well-characterised and honest and engrossing.

Head of the River on the publisher's website.

Interview with Rebecca Lim, author of The Astrologer's Daughter

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Rebecca Lim is the Melbourne-based author of sixteen novels(!), most well-known for her phenomenal paranormal series, Mercy. I met her a few years back at the Somerset Celebration of Literature (2011, I think), and she's both a lovely person and an amazing writer - so it's a pleasure to have the chance to interview her about writing her latest novel, The Astrologer's Daugher, her writing process and inspirations!


Rebecca: Hi Steph!

Thanks so much for inviting me onto your blog, I’m really honoured.

Steph: The Astrologer's Daughter is set in Melbourne, and so I'm wondering how you managed to evoke that setting so beautifully and what you drew on - personal experience, research? Did you have any specific process for developing that setting and using it to amp up the atmosphere?

I’ve been fortunate enough to live in Melbourne for most of my life and I’ve lived in suburbs all over the metropolitan map, so I had a lot of personal history to draw on. My extended family also has a long history with Chinatown and I’m lucky to have been able to see behind the fa├žade of a working restaurant from time to time, so all that helped.

I’m also a huge walker. I always make sure I look up and check out all the detail of the buildings and of the city, so all that factored into the atmosphere and “look” of The Astrologer’s Daughter.

I also just love Melbourne, daggy but true. Any chance I can get to set a story in my hometown, I’ll do it.

The astrology included in The Astrologer's Daughter seems incredibly detailed and realistic, and lends a great deal of authenticity to the characters of Avicenna and her mother - why inspired you to use astrology so centrally to the plot, and what sort of research was involved?

I was actually seated next to a stranger at a wedding a few years ago who made his living from astrology. Like a complete idiot I kept saying things like, “Oh, it must be great to be working with the latest telescopes” and he finally had to gently point out that I was talking about astronomy (the science of star-taking) versus astrology (the “occult science” of star-taking). He told me he had plenty of clients who wouldn’t make an important move in their lives without having a star-chart done first, and it got me thinking about fate versus free will and how dangerous it might be to place all your trust in the outcome of your life in a stranger’s hands. My personal belief (like Avicenna’s in the novel) is that these things can become self-fulfilling if you let them.

I read many background texts on astrology in which there were case study after case study of astrologer’s predicting their own deaths or astrologer’s correlating key points in their client’s lives with particular conjunctions of stars. I don’t profess to have a view whether what I read was true or not-true, but the character of Joanne believes in it and Avicenna comes to respect her mother’s viewpoint a great deal more by the end of the novel.

Readers of some of my other novels might remember that I usually have some kind of paranormal thing going on as well. If you’ve read Exile, Muse and Fury, you’ll see that one of the recurring characters from those books appears in The Astrologer’s Daughter. I’m not done with him yet. We’re going to see more of him, hopefully.

The Astrologer's Daughter seems a very tightly-plotted novel, so I'm wondering what your writing process is like - do you have a clear plan before you begin writing? Do plots come naturally to you or do you have to work it out once you're writing the story?

I try and set up a strong first chapter. I also like to have the ending worked out before I start — sometimes it’s nothing more than the final line, or the final “event”. All the main players have to be rock solid from the start, too. I always ask myself questions like: What happened to this person to make them the way they are? What is the defining incident in their life that kicks off the story? How do they deal with pressure?

But I like to go “off road” with the middle of a novel. I’m a great believer in the universe just throwing things in your path. Current news stories are always great fodder for building the atmosphere or events in a novel. The things people do to each other in real life are mental. You can’t make some of that stuff up.

And crime and mystery novels have their own internal rhythm, their own urgency. The genres themselves demand tightness, complexity, thrills and chills. I’ve read a lot of crime, thriller and mystery fiction in the past, as you can probably tell.

Genre-wise the novel is covering a lot of ground: there's mystery and there's suspense and it's contemporary with a paranormal edge. What were your inspirations for this novel? Did you set out to write a story like this?

I read as widely as I can across the genre spectrum and draw on a lot of real world events for inspiration, so I’m kind of conditioned to writing things you can’t neatly box up. It drives some readers mad that I do books “with the lot” and I don’t like the neat ending, but life isn’t tied up in lovely bows. It’s dark and complex and chaotic and, sadly for most of us, not replete with multiple love triangles of hot boys.

You've written both series (the Mercy series) and standalone novels. I imagine there are different challenges in writing each - does your process differ when writing a series as compared to a standalone? Do you prefer one over the other? (Is there any possibility of a sequel to The Astrologer's Daughter?)

There is definitely a possibility! But I’ve got at least 3 things lined up to go before any sequel might appear and maybe no one will be interested in it by then.

My process for a series is kind of like this: What is the meta-mystery/story arc? What is the central mystery/story arc for the individual novel in the series? Which makes the process not so different between writing a series and writing a stand-alone. But with a series there is obviously a bigger universe of characters and settings to play with. And not everyone will be happy with what you have in store for the characters or how you “end” things so, as a writer, you need to be prepared for that. I don’t think I was.

I tend to have a lot of storylines on the go, in my head, so stand-alone novels give me the illusion that I can get onto the next book sooner rather than later. But I’d be happy to write both series fiction and stand-alone fiction. In the brave new world of publishing, you’re just over-the-moon if someone wants to read your work and give you a gig, quite honestly.

(And because this is my favourite question to ask everybody...) Imagining you could travel back in time and give advice to your younger self without the space-time continuum collapsing in on itself, would you share any advice about writing and/or life? What would you say?

About writing: It’s a far stranger beast than you thought it would be, that’s for sure. About life: You know that time you did a piano recital in front of hundreds of people and completely stuffed up? That was nothing. You’ll survive.

Thanks for having me on the blog, Steph, and happy reading to all.


Here's my review of The Astrologer's Daughter, and of Mercy. For more info about Rebecca and her novels, here she is on Goodreads.
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