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Author Q&A

Q&A with My Big Geek Adventure

My Big Geek AdventureEarlier in the year I discovered My Big Geek Adventure, created by author L-J Clements, who has been travelling around the United Kingdom and beyond to tick off as many items as she can from her geeky bucket list.

Her first book, My Big Geek Adventure, talks about the start of the List, and the journey that followed.  Her sequel, which shares the next part of her adventure, has been released today (check out the links at the bottom of this page for more info).  

I was lucky enough to ask her some questions about her brand new book, The Road to Nerdvana, and her experiences in writing and following her geeky dreams.


1.) For those unfamiliar with My Big Geek Adventure, can you tell us a bit about what it is all about?

My Big Geek Adventure is a project that I started in September 2012. I was bored one day and wrote down a list of all the geeky things I wanted to achieve, the people I wanted to meet and places I wanted to visit. I’ve been a massive geek since I was a kid (Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The X-Files were my gateway drugs). I just felt that life was passing me by and all the cool stuff I wanted to do that was linked with my fandoms was not being explored. I wanted to change that, so the List was born!

2.) You say in your book that you had a ‘lifelong ambition to be a writer’ – how does it feel to have your first book published?

Pressing upload for the very first time was the most nerve wracking experience of my life. Writing a book is very personal as you put your heart and soul into it, by putting it out into the world you are really exposing yourself. Luckily the feedback has been very positive and then really helped me grow in confidence and continue with the second book, The Road to Nerdvana.The Road to Nerdvana

3.) Your first book saw you tackling new experiences and even flying all the way to Canada for one of your adventures!  How has doing things on the list changed you?

I used to look at events online and think ‘that looks cool, I wish I could go’. Now I look at events and think ‘that looks cool, how do I get there’? It’s about changing your mindset. No one else is going to make your life fun. If you want to do things, you have to get up and do them yourself. Once you start saying yes to things it’s hard to stop!

4.) What has been your most exciting adventure since you started the List?

Well, you mentioned Canada, which was a huge deal for me. I didn’t think for a second when I wrote on the List ‘Visit the town of Vulcan’ that I would be standing in it a year later. Meeting Joss Whedon was amazing as it was in Glasgow and he has probably had the most creative influence on me (through Buffy and Firefly).

5.) Do you have any advice for fellow geeks hoping to create their own bucket list?

Think big! I know most people would say ‘just put a few things down and see how you get on’ NO! If you want to do one hundred things, put one hundred things on the list! Just by writing them down you are making your interest in them more concrete and that helps you work towards achieving them.  Just think how proud you will be when you cross the first item off your list.

6.) Your second book is coming out soon – where is the List taking you this time?

I am so excited and nervous about the second book. It’s called The Road to Nerdvana and it’s a continuation of the adventure. This time around it focuses on road trips and we travel around the UK discovering geeky treasures.  So as well as crossing items of the list it poses important questions like ‘who would be the best road trip companion’?

7.) Do you think the List will ever be completed or will it always be an ongoing adventure? 

The List has a life of it’s own. As I change and my tastes change and the world changes, so does the List.  It will never be completed and I am 100% OK with that. I never want the adventure to end really!


I’d like to say a huge thank you to L-J Clements for finding the time to answer my questions amidst the mayhem of releasing a new book!

You can find out more about My Big Geek Adventure (and view the List) by checking out her website: https://mybiggeekadventure.co.uk

Or, pick up a copy of one of her books below:

My Big Geek AdventureAmazon

The Road to Nerdvana: Amazon

Happy reading!

Emma

Follow me on: Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram

August 12, 2016
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Q&A with Rebecca Raisin

To celebrate our Christmas read for December’s Book Club, I am thrilled to share with you my recent Q&A with Rebecca Raisin.  In addition to The Little Bookshop on the Seine, Rebecca is the author of a number of contemporary romance novels, including The Gingerbread Cafe series.  For more information about the author, find her on her website, or connect with her on Twitter, Goodreads and Facebook.

I’d also like to say a big thank you to fellow Book Club members Emily from The Geek Undergraduate and Jess from The Teacup Library, for your interview questions to Rebecca!


1.) We chose The Little Bookshop on the Seine because it seemed perfect to read on the run-up to Christmas.  What can we expect from the book?

Thank you for choosing it! It’s a book about finding yourself when you step out from your comfort zone. I tried to encapsulate how reading is more than a pastime it’s like a friend whose always there for you. And also that love comes in many forms, not just the love of a person, but with a place…

2.) The books in The Little Paris Collection series are all set in France’s beautiful capital – what is it that made you choose to write about the city?

I’m a Francophile! I’ve always been drawn to Paris, and have been lucky enough to visit the city of love twice. There’s something so magical and romantic about the place from the cobblestoned streets, the architecture, the glorious food. You can be one person in a sea of people, the chatter of French accents drifting lazily over your head as you amble down an avenue looking for adventure, each day stumbling upon something new. It’s one of those places where you can reinvent yourself, or find yourself, and fall in love…I did with a little bookshop on the bank of the Seine!

3.) What first inspired you to become a writer?

I’ve always been a voracious reader, and it was a dream of mine to ‘one day’ write a book. I thought I’ll just write one, and see what happens. But instead, I took some creative writing classes at night time, and was hooked! I started with short stories, and subbed them to writing competitions. I did well, getting chosen for anthologies, and it sparked a passion that had been dormant for years. After a few years I thought I could probably tackle longer work, and then I found my place at Carina UK (Harper Collins) and have been very happy there.

4.) Do you have any writing traditions when sitting down to start a new story?

I’m turning into a plotter, my editor and I plot and really nut out the story together now to make sure we agree and to save time deleting scenes that are redundant. But before that I was a panster, and I did love the freedom of envisioning a character, and letting them drive the story. They still do that to a degree, even when I plot, things will veer off as the heroine steers me along. I always find the first few chapters flow very well, and then it gets harder after that! But I do like every stage of the process so that’s lucky I guess!

5.) Is there anything you want people to take away from reading your books?

I hope they feel like they’ve made some new friends. It sounds completely batty but to me my characters become so real after I’ve spent months fleshing them out, and having one-way conversations with them, that I hope the reader feels as though they stepped into their lives for a while too. And that maybe I’ve (hopefully!) taken them on a journey, and they’ve found someone they relate to and learned something new about themselves too.

6.) Some of your books are available in both paperback form and as e-books.  From your experiences, how would you compare the two publication routes?

A Gingerbread Cafe Christmas

The Gingerbread Series is available to buy from The Book Depository.

The paperback version of the Gingerbread series, A Gingerbread Café Christmas has just hit stores these last few weeks, so I’m not sure how that side of things is going as yet. It’s been a dream come true to have the girls (see, I am batty) from the Gingerbread Café in print, and to find their way into people’s homes this Christmas, because I know there’s still a lot of readers who only read paperback, so it’s wonderful to have that opportunity. However e-books are so quick and convenient, and the turnaround from finished manuscript to hitting the online stores is much quicker, so to have both routes is great.

7.) Fitting comfortably into the chick lit genre, your books tend to focus around love and relationships.  Do you think there is anything that sets your books aside from other romance books on the market?

Great question. I hope my books shine a light on love and the turmoil that it sometimes creates, and about the power of friendship, and having those people in your life that make you smile, or lift you up when you most need it. I hope they read more lifelike, and realistically, as though you’re reading a book about the girl up the road, and you can relate to her struggles, and her successes. I tend to get carried away with food, so there’s always a ‘foodie’ element to my books, or a book-ish element, because they’re my two favourite past times!

8.) Do you have any advice for budding writers?

I was told once finish what you start, and I think that’s a great piece of advice. It’s almost too easy to give up when you get stuck, and begin another story, but what if you push past the hard part, and keep going? For me, there’s always a point in the story where it gets hard, and I cradle my head and moan, but I pull myself up and keep going, knowing that I can edit later, that if I type past the hard part it will become clearer again.

9.) Do you currently have any writing projects underway at the moment?

I’m currently writing The Little Antique Shop under the Eiffel Tower and having so much fun with it. The main character Anouk is quirky and funny and utterly French, and Tristan the rouge American who turns up really pushes her buttons. They’ve got great chemistry and a range of issues they’re hiding from each other that’s making this story fast paced and a joy to write!


Thank you so much to Rebecca for taking the time to answer our questions!  The Little Bookshop on the Seine is available to buy as an eBook on Amazon.

Happy reading!

Emma

Follow me on: Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram

December 5, 2015
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Q&A with Christina Crook

I was really excited to be given the opportunity to ask author Christina Crook a few questions about her writing and experiences in self-publishing.

Christina is the author of YA fantasy adventure novel The Poisonwood Shadows and The Modern Writer’s Bucket List, a guide for aspiring writers which includes ideas to prompt creativity and promotional advice.

You can find out more on her website, or follow her on Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest or Goodreads.


  1. When did you first get an interest in writing?
    I have always been interested in writing, since I was really young. I used to love to plan out my own book series when I was about nine and always planned on being an author. I wrote a lot of short stories and there were many uncompleted writing projects over the years! The dream got a little bit lost in my teens and early twenties (I thought I wanted to act!), but I found an old piece of school work describing how I’d be a writer when I grew up and it clicked that that’s what I wanted to do, so I slowly started writing again. It took a while to get back into it, but it’s been great to figure out how to write over the last few years.
  1. What inspired you to write your first novel, The Poisonwood Shadows?
    It came to me in a dream (which sounds weird, but I have very strange, vivid dreams!).There was a mysterious ‘shadowy’ character (very handsome!) on a rooftop in a city watching a girl in her room. Not in a creepy way though, more in a protective sort of way! It developed from there and somehow once I began writing the story seemed to find its own way. There are a lot of things I took inspiration from, various songs and films and pictures. I tried to pin all the different imagery I had in my head onto a board on Pinterest!
  1. I don’t want to spoil the ending for potential readers, but I’d love to know what happens next in the story. Do you have any plans to write a sequel?
    I wasn’t originally planning to write another one, as I enjoy books that are standalone novels. The Poisonwood Shadows is very self-contained, however quite a few people have asked me that question (even demanded a sequel at a recent event I did!). I have had an idea for another novel set in the ‘Realm’, but it would be set in the city of Stormcroft this time. I really hope to write this out eventually. I would definitely include some Poisonwood characters in there as well!
  1. Scarlett is a brave and independent protagonist, and is a positive role model for young women. Where did the idea for her character come from?
    I got a bit annoyed after reading novels where the female characters are aimless and only really looking for a man. There have been lots of great novels recently with amazing female protagonists, so obviously I’m not the only one who was irritated by this trend! Many female characters seem more than willing to ditch their dreams, their friends, families and careers in order to win their man and it’s a ridiculous and unrealistic message to be distributing to young women! I really wanted to write a character who goes on her own journey and is so determined to be strong and do her own thing, even around those who are trying to shoot her down. It happens to many of us every day in small and large ways, and the message is to always keep fighting in our own quietly indomitable way.

  1. What made you decide to go down the self-publishing route?
    At the time it seemed like a bit of an impossible task to get an agent or publisher (back in 2012), though since then the entire industry appears to have changed a lot. I was a bit impatient and didn’t really try sending the book out to agents. I read a lot about self-publishing and thought it sounded like the way forward as I liked the challenge of doing everything myself. I love to be creative, so being able to do the cover myself and come up with various marketing ideas was fun!
  1. Is there any advice you could offer people thinking about self-publishing their own writing?
    Make sure it’s polished and edited before you even think about publishing! I published mine before I was happy with it because I was eager to get it out there, and I feel like this was quite a big mistake. Have others read it and give their feedback too. Also, ensure you have a good cover and blurb and be prepared to harass the entire world to give you a review! It’s tough and requires a lot of hard work, so be sure to put a plan in place and ensure you cover all the bases. (Still an ongoing process for me!)
  1. Do you currently have any writing projects underway at the moment?
    I do. I have just finished the first draft of my second novel, which is a dystopian adventure/action/romance novel. I loved writing it and am so excited to complete all the edits. I’m attempting to send this one out to agents first so hopefully this will end up published eventually. I’m also working on a third novel, which seems to be a bit of a young adult horror, but it exists more on scraps of tiny paper than anywhere else.

The Poisonwood Shadows is available to buy in paperback and as an eBook:

The Modern Writer’s Bucket List is available as an eBook.


Emma

Follow me on: Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram

August 20, 2015
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