Q: What is one piece of advice you would give to aspiring authors?
A: I’ve spent most of my life thinking the great SF writer Robert Heinlein had three rules of writing, and I’ve tried to follow them. I remembered them as:
2. Put it on the market
3. Keep it on the market.
Recently I discovered he actually had two more – finish what you start, and don’t rewrite except to editorial order. I’m glad I didn’t know about that last one: I think rewriting is hard but important.
Q: If you could meet any author, dead or alive, who would you want to meet and why?
A: Raymond Chandler. His prose style is often imitated but, while it seems simple, it’s deceptively hard to do well. Although he lived in California, he went to school in south London, so we’d have things to talk about other than Philip Marlowe.
Maybe that should be Valentines’ day (apostrophe after the ‘S’) – because Wikipedia tells me that there was more than one St Valentine matryred in Roman times, and honoured these days with roses and heart-shaped chocolate.
Whatever, I confess I haven’t taken St Valentine’s Day too seriously in the past. Not since that time I booked a romantic meal for two and arrived with Laura at the restaurant to find they had hopelessly overbooked. (We bailed out and went home with a bottle of champagne and takeout fish and chips, all consumed in bed!)
But now – to my surprise – I have a romance novel, published only two days ago, so maybe I need to treat this festival with respect.
All right, I admit it’s a romance novel between a man born in 2010 and woman who dies in 1944. And there’s time travel, and flying bombs. But nevertheless, there’s a love triangle and romance in there!
It’s a been a strange and hectic couple of days since Fifty-One was published on Monday. And there’s no end in sight. As a writer, what I really want to do is hide away and write another book. But there are promotion duties to be done!
If you haven’t encountered Fifty-One yet – whether you’re seeking a Valentine’s treat or not – you can get it here:
It feels like it’s been a long road to get here, but Fifty-One is now published.
I looked back over my emails, and it’s almost exactly a year since Myra Fiacco at Filles Vertes Publishing sent me the publication contract, and we embarked on the publication journey, conducted largely by email and Skype (me in London, Myra in Idaho).
It was a lucky chance that brought us together. Myra liked a tweet I posted during a PitMad Twitter pitch party in December 2016, and – despite FVP not looking for science fiction – I sent her a query.
(The Tweet, by the way, was “He’s born in 2010, she will die in 1944. Stranded in wartime London, can he save her without wrecking the future?” Still a pretty accurate pitch for the book.)
After a year of editing, rewriting, cover design and back and forth over this and that, there’s now nothing more to do to change the book. It’s out there, and I need a good sleep (before I engage in an orgy of promotion activity, obviously!).
I’d love to know what you think of it. And I’ve got this idea for a sequel…
I was pitifully proud of this, and so pleased to get my first story in the UK’s premier SF magazine. It’s my ‘hardest’ SF story yet – with a bereaved astronaut trapped by a rockfall in a cave on Titan, encountering some fragile but peskily well-organised Titanian aliens. (But he’s helped out by a ghost, so it’s not that hard SF!)
It’s eligible for Hugo and WSFA awards (and BFS – but I’m not canvassing!)
You’ll have to search this out, but I was pleased to get a berth in an intriguing collection of ‘modern’ ghost stories, published by the small but enterprising Iron Press, from England’s chilly but beautiful north east. The story concerns a man who quite literally fades away from shame and guilt.
Eligible for Hugo and British Fantasy Award.
There you go. This time next year, I hope to be pestering people about my forthcoming novel, Fifty-One. But that’s not (quite) out yet!
Taking a break from obsessing about my own book, I’m really pleased to welcome a special guest to my blog. (It’s not all about me, as my mother always told me!). She is the very talented Zara Hoffman, author of The Belgrave Legacy. You should check out her work.
But first, I asked her about her current work in progress. Here’s Zara.
The inspiration for Unmoored, book 2 in The Belgrave Legacy trilogy, came to me as I was revising The Belgrave Legacy into a single book (I had planned on originally making the first book three books on its own). The first book is all about Fawn Belgrave and a dark angel named Caleb. This second book is all about her also magical twin brother Alec and her best friend Ivy, who is siren, unbeknownst to him.
A lot was cut from the middle section of The Belgrave Legacy when it became a single book. One of the main things to go was a significant subplot between Alec and Ivy as they struggled to help Fawn through her tumultuous relationship.
As a siren, Ivy, knows she is other than human and that makes her interactions with them, and other Supernaturals so interesting to explore. And the biggest difference between this one and the first book in the trilogy? She believes in soulmates and her own soulmate doesn’t.
Unlike for The Belgrave Legacy, the idea for this book didn’t come to me in a dream. It was a simultaneous cerebral and heartfelt urge to expand on the paranormal aspects of the world I hinted at in book 1. When I did a blog post all about Ivy, the idea became more pronounced. As did the idea for book 3, Taming the Alpha, when I talked more about Alec and Fawn’s old friend Dylan. Another thing I was dying to explore was the Supernatural world through the eyes of someone who was introduced to it from a young age, rather than Fawn and Alec who didn’t know until they got their magic at age sixteen.
About the Author
Zara Hoffman is a college student and has been writing since she was eight years old. She spends most of her time doing homework and writing new stories because if she didn’t, her head would likely explode. She writes young adult multi-genre fiction to share the crazy products of her imagination with the world and hopes that you find them as entertaining as she does. Her books are for young adults or the young at heart. After all, growing up is overrated.
When she isn’t wrapped up in projects, Zara listens to music or hangs out with friends. Connect with Zara below, and don’t forget to subscribe to her mailing list to receive The Belgrave Legacy for free: http://zarahoffman.com/subscribe.