TCWT: "Which fictional world would you most like to be a part of, and what role do you think you would fulfill within it?"
ZH: I would probably want to be at Hogwarts and friends with Harry Potter (even though he's kind of like Typhoid Mary) and would be in Dumbledore's Army. It's dangerous, but I'd be fighting for a good cause and I'd have magic.
My fellow teen author, Emily Rachelle, is hosting a blog party through December 12-January 15. A bunch of our author friends are contributing, and I agreed to do an interview. She posted it on her blog, but I'm also going to have it below.
Tell us a little about yourself first.
My name is Zara Hoffman. I’m sixteen going on seventeen, a junior in high school, and self-published by debut novel on November 13, 2013. It’s a fantasy romance novel, and the first in The Belgrave Legacy Trilogy.
I would like to give a BIG shoutout and thanks to my fellow author friend, Emily Rachelle, who posted about OneWord365, an amazing initiative that inspires people all over the world, 365 days a year.
When I heard about this, I was so intrigued. I read OneWord365's post about choosing a word, but was still baffled by what word I could possibly want. Now, I have my word (but it's a secret that won't be revealed until New Year's Day).
Starting today, I will be brainstorming creative ways to show and embody my word for the upcoming year. Stay tuned for more information on that!
As some of you know, I fractured a bone in my foot yesterday, the eve of my being a published author for a whole MONTH! See the tweet below announcing the unfortunate event, and attempting to use pity to get more purchases (it worked for at least one person, because I checked).
The GOOD news is that while the whole crutches, and now BOOT (new addition as of today), is a pain in—well, everywhere (bad foot, good leg, and arms)—to deal with on a constant basis, I can use this experience in one of my upcoming books (won't tell which one, because it would be too big a spoiler).
AND, in that one month of being published, I've made 30 sales on my debut novel and $74.27 in royalties. Want to make me happy? Buy a copy now. Already have one? Why not get a copy for a friend?
Some of my self-published author friends and I decided to contribute to a massive giveaway for the holiday season, and the time has finally come to share it with the world! Enter below, and have fun.
So, my dream has come true. Idina Menzel and other Broadway actors (Jonathan Groff and Santino Fontana), and Kristin Bell and Josh Gad all voiced characters in Disney's most recent animated film Frozen which is loosely based on The Snow Queen. Anyway, the songs and art were amazing, especially Idina's power ballad ("Let It Go"), which also serves as the main theme for the movie. Demi Lovato also does a pop cover of it. Watch the movie clip below and enjoy! It's of Elsa finally unleashing her powers after years of hiding them. Very much like Elphaba from Wicked: The Musical, also played by Idina Menzel. The two characters have a lot in common, and their stories are very empowering and are what inspired me to become an author. Anyway, now I'll let you watch.
It's bound to happen some time. Receiving bad reviews are part of being a published author. Even before a book goes out into the public, harsh criticism is probably met during the drafting stages. The important (and sometimes the hard part) is taking it in stride, not letting it discourage you too much, and definitely not responding badly through defensive statements and explaining why everything said in the review is wrong.
That comes off as childish and unprofessional. No author wants to be viewed as such, I know I don't, so I will simply continue to promote my book, hope for more positive reviews than bad ones, and keep writing.
If you're a published author, do you have a way to blow off steam or other unsavory emotions after you read a bad review of your book? If you're not yet published, but have received similar negative feedback on a WIP (work in progress), what do you do to cope?
Sound off in the comments below.
Mia and Roxanne have always been the best of friends, supported each other through everything, and always been happy for one another… but that’s when things were simple. Fast forward to their teenage years, and life is now full of complications… but only for Mia. Everything seems to happen to Mia, whereas Roxanne seems to have quite the sweet life– literally. She has the family, her bakery, and the love of her life– everything that Mia wants. But one day something terrible happens, and Ryan- her boyfriend- is nowhere to be seen, and people go missing and bodies are found. Creatures appear in your bathroom, down your streets and inside your bakery, and along with them they bring blood, action and hunger– a hunger for souls. SOULLESS will raise questions about each character and humanity as a whole, whilst being packed with action, guns, cakes, blood, kisses, and romance. Because the question is: Who is the villain after all? Maybe it just isn’t who you think it is…
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Interview with the Author
Celebrating the release of his YA debut novel, Soulless, is Joshua Johnson!
1) How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, ever since I was a child. When I young, I used to ask my grandparents to name me a list of random things, and I used to spin a story out of them. Whenever I was writing a story, as soon as I would finish I would writing another one. Also, at one point during my childhood, I used to write a daily ‘family newspaper’ and get my relatives to buy copies of it! It wasn’t until 2011/2012 I truly decided I would like to try and write a book for it to be released to the public. In the first half of 2012 I worked on a few things, including a children’s series that I never finished, and a YA fantasy book that I got quite far into, but it wasn’t very good! It was whilst working on that I got the idea for BONES ON THE SURFACE, which would be my first published book!
2) How much research do you usually put into your books?
I tend to do quite a lot of research for the books, and— most of the time— a lot of it doesn’t even make it into the final pages. However, since I mostly write fantasy for teens and up, I can often put my own spin on things, and so not much research is always needed. However, I recently finished drafting my first contemporary novel that is very different to my other books, and is aimed at an older audience, and this involved so, so, so much research on many different things. Out of the ten months I worked on it for, a good third of that must have been just pure researching, plotting, and outlining. I still need to do edits and revisions on this book, but it’ll be revealed shortly. It’s due for release sometime in Spring 2014.
3) Do you base events or people in your books off of your life, or your friend’ and family’s lives?
Not massively, if I'm being honest. Most of the time, when I read back through my work, I discover things that I can relate to that sub-consciously made their way into the book, but I never base events or people on things on purpose. Although sometimes I do steal what people say and slide the speech into scenes! My January 2014 book, though, THEIR TIME TO GO, is an exception— it has many personal references in, and some aspects of the book are based on past experiences. I don’t think readers would much of it up unless I told them, but I think close friends may, and some of my family members definitely will.
4) What do you do when you’re not writing?
I spend a lot of time writing, but when I’m not you can usually find me watching How To Train Your Dragon whilst drinking milk shake, or watching some other random documentary on the television. Reading other books (I’m currently reading ACROSS THE UNIVERSE by Beth Revis!), going to the cinema (I really want to see FROZEN by Disney at the moment!), or with my friends at the milk shake store (an entire store, dedicated entirely to milk shake!).
5) What was the biggest obstacle in getting published for the first tie, and how did you overcome it?
Getting noticed was a big hurdle. The industry can be really difficult to break into, whichever method of publishing you enter it within, and getting your story right can be hard. Constantly researching, sending your writing out there, trying to build a presence, and asking others writers for advice are all things I recommend. Whenever I get asked writing-related/publishing-related questions, I always try my best to give as much advice and guidance as possible!
6) What is your writing process? Do you write regularly at certain times or just when inspiration hits?
I write every single day, although occasionally I allow the odd day off, but it’s quite rare! I outline throughly, and this helps the first draft to flow. After the first draft is written, I read through it from start to finish and highlight places where major changes need to take place. After this, its onto re-reading the book once again, and then making more changes. I continue repeating until I’m happy, and then I move onto line edits— this is where you literally edit your book line by line, making sure that you’re happy with everything. Copy edits and pass pages happen then— which is usually the final time you get to read your book— and then the next time I see it, it’ll be all Book-Shaped and Finished!
7) What keeps you motivated?
Sharing my stories with readers is a big one, but mostly I write because I enjoy getting lost in a story that takes place in my own world. Also, the knowledge that the book will ended up as an actual book is very motivating, but I must say that my biggest motivation of all is because I’m determined to make my new story even better than the last one, and to get better as a writer, over and over again.
8) Are there any books you wish you’d written?
THE ARCHIVED by Victoria Schwab, but it’s such a lovely book with perfect prose and it gives you just so many feels. Also, THE FAULT IN OUR STARTS by John Green because… well, because it’s THE FAULT IN OUR STARS. It was so perfect from start to finish.
9) Was there anything in particular that was special or unique about the process of writing this book that you’d like to share?
Writing SOULLESS was one of my best writing experiences, and so that makes it quite special to me. It was my first book set in America, it features creatures and scary things, scenes that are quite dark, and so it was all out of comfort zone. It’s a book that I had the idea for a long, long time before I wrote it, but I kept putting it off because I didn’t think I would ever be able to tell the story. In the end, I did lots of research on the state/city it’s set in, I fully fleshed out the characters, mapped the novel, and talked to lots of different people who knew information about different things—in the end, I had a lot of information, and the book went really well. It has so many elements to it, and it asks so many questions, to. It’s a book that I’m very proud of, and I hope readers enjoy reading the book just as much as I did writing it.
10) Is there anything that you learned during the process of writing and publishing?
That it’s hard, but it’s worth it. Every time I write a book— and I’m currently writing my sixth book for publication!— I still think it’ll never get finished and it’ll never be any good, but I learned that books really do take time, to have patience, and to just keep on with it, because once it’s done there’s nothing better than being able to share your book with the world.
11) What are a few interesting things you’ve studied/research for your latest novel?
The latest book I’ve finished was my contemporary novel I mentioned earlier. It’s set in Russia, and so I did a lot of research on Russia. Also— and I don’t to say too much as it’ll give things away and the book hasn’t been revealed yet— due to the genre of the book, I had to do a lot of research on other things. For example, legal battles between countries and autopsies, just to name a couple of things!
12) If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?
If I couldn’t be an author, I would be happy as an English teacher. I adore books and words and language, and what it’s possible to do with a string of sentences, and so captivating children’s interest and discussing other pieces of literature and delving into stories with them would make me happy. However, I really hope that I can continue being an author and releasing books— I love every part of it.
I'm a self-published author— because being a college student wasn't hard enough! I write YA multi-genre fiction for young adults or the young at heart. I love This Is Us, NCIS, BBC's Sherlock,
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