Hello, Lisette and her readers―and thank you so much for stopping by on the blog tour for Hope!
Lisette gave me free rein on subject matter for this article … which always makes my mind go completely blank. Then, the other day, I found my topic quite by accident when a reader asked me this question: Where do you get your ideas from?
Writers are often asked this, by readers, or by new writers who are putting fingers to keys for the first time. I shy away when asked in person, as I was the other day, as I find talking about what I do quite difficult; I say something like, ‘I dunno, it just happens’. Writing about it, though, is so much easier.
The truth is that ideas come from all sorts of places. The easiest, for me, was The Devil You Know, which came from the title of another book: The Serial Killer’sWife. I saw it during an Amazon browse, and thought, wow―what it would be like to fear that the monster in the newspapers was your husband, or your son, or friend? The plot, and even the title and some of the main characters, appeared in my head, just like that.
It’s rarely that easy, though, and Hope was one of those that took me a long time to pull together in my mind.
A subject that interests me greatly is how the our thoughts are influenced by the media, especially what we see on social media sites, and how attitudes follow trends, and can be cyclical. One day, out of the blue, I began to wonder if there would ever be a backlash against the way that ‘fat-shaming’ is now such a no-no. Instead of the Dove cosmetics ethos of ‘everyone is beautiful in their own way’, which was maybe a reaction to the ‘size zero’ fad of the noughties, I considered how today’s young women would react if―as was the case when I was a teenager―fashion shops sold no size higher than a 14 (US size 10), and if even this size 14 was inches smaller than it is now.
Then I thought: what if fat-shaming became the norm? Would people be considered unemployable if they were ‘plus-size’? Could this prejudice be used as a tool by government and employers, in a world only a decade into the future when so many jobs will be lost through increased automation? If many people were unable to find work, for this reason and that of the downturn in employment opportunities, how would they live?
I had the beginning of a plot!
My books are always totally character driven, so I needed an observer who would watch all this coming to fruition―and, in my future UK, who better than a popular blogger and social media influencer? Lita Stone arrived in my head fully formed, with even her name attached; it happens like that, sometimes. Next, she would need what she saw in the online world to start affecting her personally―enter the ‘plus-size’ flatmate.
I had a great deal of trouble with the first draft of the book; I’d let it head off in directions that weren’t working, and I nearly scrapped it at 50K words in, but a discussion with my husband helped to streamline the plot. He asked me these two questions: Who is the bad guy? What is the struggle? It was only when I worked this out that the book fell back on track. I’m so glad we had that talk, because I believe Hope to be one of my best books.
If you’re at any stage of your writing career and are about to abandon a book because it’s not working, try discussing it with someone, because it really can help―and if you’re not a writer but a reader, believe me: those plots sometimes arrive out of nowhere, but, more often than not, they take a hell of a lot of mulling over before they hit the page!
Thank you, Lisette, for inviting me to your blog. 🙂
Terry Tyler’s nineteenth published work is a psychological thriller set in a dystopian near future – the UK, Year 2028.
Blogger Lita Stone and journalist Nick Freer live and work online, seeing life through soundbites, news TV and social media. Keeping the outside world at bay in their cozy flat, they observe the ruthless activities of the new PM and his celebrity fitness guru wife, Mona (#MoMo), with the mild outrage that can be quelled simply by writing another blog post.
Meanwhile, in the outside world, multinational conglomerate Nutricorp is busy buying up supermarket chains, controlling the media, and financing the new compounds for the homeless: the Hope Villages.
Lita and Nick suspect little of the danger that awaits the unfortunate, until the outside world catches up with them – and Lita is forced to discover a strength she never knew she possessed.
About the Author
Terry Tyler is the author of nineteen books available from Amazon, the latest being Hope, a dystopian psychological drama set in the UK, a decade into the future. She is currently at work on Blackthorn, a post-apocalyptic stand-alone story set in her fictional city of the same name. Proud to be independently published, Terry is an avid reader and book reviewer, and a member of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team.
Terry is a Walking Dead addict, and has a great interest in history, (particularly 14th-17th century), and sociological/cultural/anthropological stuff, generally. She loves South Park, Netflix, autumn and winter, and going for long walks in quiet places where there are lots of trees. She lives in the north east of England with her husband.
TweetCarlyle Labuschagne is a South African Debut Author working her way into the hearts of international readers with her First Young Adult Dystopian Novel The Broken Destiny. She is not only an author but works as a Sales Rep and Marketing Manager by day. She holds a diploma in creative writing through the writing school at Collage SA. Loves to swim, fights for the trees, food lover who is driven by her passion for life. Carlyle writes for IU e-magazine India, an inspirational non-profit magazine that aims at inspiring the world through words. The drive behind her author career is healing through words. Carlyle is also the founder of the first annual book drive – Help build a library in Africa project.
“My goal as an Author is to touch people’s lives and help others love their differences and one another.”
Time to chat with Carlyle!
What is your latest book?
Upcoming release this November is Evanescent ~ A Broken Novel – book two in the trilogy.
I hear you have some very exciting news! Can you share it with us?
I have so much news to share I don’t know where to begin.
Recently I made front page headlines of City Press in Johannesburg I also have a great interview double spread in Get It magazine September 13 Issue. But more exciting than that is my new release and me heading to UtopYA 2014 next year!!! USA here I come. 🙂 Yesterday I got to hang out with my favorite rockstars Prime Circle who each got a signed copy of the book. Prime Circle is quoted in both The Broken Destiny and in Evanescent. I posted pics on my fan page. This was by far one of the highlights of being an author!
What are the special challenges in writing a series?
Tying all the elements together, making sure you don’t leave too much out, but not reveal too much either. The middle book of a trilogy has to be compared the middle child – the in between. Overwhelmed by the first child growing up so fast, and overwhelmed by the fact that the last child still needs so much, yet trying not to neglect the middle baby.
If you were to advertise your book on a bumper sticker, what would it say?
My all-time favorite slogan – summing up the entire trilogy.
Her Destiny is to rise above the fall.
What else have you written?
I have started on a duolgy (two book set); this duo is more the supernatural genre.
I have plans for a Broken spin off – The Broken Diaries, from each characters point of view.
What do you think some of the greatest misconceptions about indie authors are?
That we are lazy! Really we have to do everything ourselves, and sometimes yes we might overlook a few things and get slaughtered for it.
How often do your characters surprise you by doing or saying something totally unexpected?
Umm, all the time! With my latest release coming up – Evanescent was written 6 times over with a full word count of 130K. I just could not force my main character to do what I wanted her to do. We have made piece now I had to let her be, no matter how much she annoyed me.
What part of writing a novel do you enjoy the most? The least?
The most would have to be the creating of scenes and stories. The least would have to be the stress that nothing is guaranteed and anything can go wrong, pre, post publishing there will always be ups and downs.
Some authors, like me, always write scenes in order. But I know some people write scenes out of order. How about you?
I start from word one and go until the draft is done – no planning – just go!
Is it important for you to know the ending of a book before you write it? The title?
The ending is just as a big surprise to my readers as to me – I have limited control. The title yes that is my first thing I need. I have no title, I have no theme to build around.
Some writers edit excessively as they write; others wait until a novel is finished to do the bulk of the editing. How about you?
I try to keep it as clean as possible, but the bulk gets done by working with a very great editor!
After working for a very long time on a novel, many authors get to a point where they lose their objectivity and feel unable to judge their own work. Has this ever happened to you? If so, what have you done about it?
Yes and no. I write what Id like to read, sometimes I am wow what a genius, others times I write thing I don’t want to, but is important to the book and I think “wow what nonsense is this?”
How important is the choosing of character names to you? Have you ever decided on a name and then changed it because it wasn’t right for the character?
Yes I have changed a name, but mostly it has to work for me from the beginning, or I will be haunted until it feels right.
Have you ever written characters that you truly despise?
I cannot answer that I might not live to see another day.
Do you have any advice for first-time authors?
Never give up. Always be true to who you are, there is no one worth impressing but yourself. Edit, edit, edit, edit, edit…
Don’t ever give up, take your time, let it flow and be happy 🙂
Get a website, build a biography, and start networking.
Can you tell us about your road to publication?
I decided to go through a company who assist in all the resources as an indie publisher. To keep my creative control. It hasn’t been easy, nor has it been very affordable, but I never quit – I make a plan, I push through all the times I wanted to break down and cry. Every author will find a fit.
Please, tell us about your experiences with social media. What are your favorite and least-favorite parts of it?
I have no least favorite parts – I am totally addicted and in awe of what it had given me. A means to reach everyone, a gift to connect with my fans/reads/friends all day every day. If not for them or social media I would not be where I am right now.
Do you have any grammatical pet peeves to share?
How much time do we have?
My first language is Afrikaans, so the English written word – I cannot begin to tell you, you should ask my editor – some words drive me insane! Affect and effect was one of them, but I got it – eventually!
What do you like best about the books you read? What do you like least?
I love fantasy, Dystopian novels. I love intensity, uncertainty, thrilling fast-paced action. I don’t like predictability. Girl meets boy, boy is a monster, blah blah blah.
How much research was involved in writing your book? How did you go about it?
Well I write about science, so some things I had to look up. I also write about Zulu Tribes and Ancient races – I use my friend Google! Sometimes it can take hours to get what I want, then I learn some pretty awesome things and I have to find a way to write it in, then I get mad because it takes away my story. And such is the life of a writer.
Do you allow others to read your work in progress, or do you keep it a secret until you’ve finished your first draft? Can you elaborate?
OOH no one but my editor reads it. Then it is published and then I wait for feedback. It works for me. I get too influenced by the thoughts and ideas of others. Perhaps I am too much of a control freak – MINE, She is all Mine! My precious.
Have you received reactions/feedback to your work that has surprised you? In what way?
Just about every review surprises me. Some will pick up things I had no idea I relayed, others are so intuitive it scares me. Some reviews make me feel sad. But I take all and make good with it! So thank you for each and every review and thought.
Do you write anything besides novels? Care to share?
I write for IUe magazine india – an inspirational magazine.
Were you “born to write” or did you discover your passion for writing later in life?
Born for it! I have been living in my head since a very young age. I know it used to bother my family and now it bugs my husband. LOL
Do you dread writing a synopsis for your novel as much as most writers do? Do you think writing a synopsis is inherently evil? Why?
So much to say so little space!
If you were to write a non-fiction book, what might it be about?
Do you have any advice to a new author if they asked you whether to pursue the traditional route to publishing or to start out as an independent writer?
Go where your heart takes you. Each has its good and bad points. Most importantly you will learn from both routes, more than you ever thought possible.
What have you done to market your novel and what did you find the most effective? The least effective?
Market everywhere you possibly can. Nothing goes unseen.
Do you feel your latest book is your personal favorite or one of your previous novels?
I really do love the new release I love it a lot.
Having our work out there to be judged by strangers is often daunting for writers. Do you have any tips on handling a negative review?
Get over it! It hurts I know this, but it’s something you can work with. Its critique, use it.
Many authors do giveaways; have you found them a successful way to promote your book?
One of the most effective ways yes!
Have you been involved with the Kindle Direct Program? If yes, do you believe it’s worthwhile?
I have not actually. I have really no time in my day right now to explore and this is why I had to go through a small press company. I work, have young kids, a husband and I really do love my sleep! But I am sure as I figure out the ins and outs of time management there will be plenty I need to still do, until then Lisette I will keep you on my have to contact list!
We all know the old saying; you can’t judge a book by its cover. This is true. However, how much importance do you place on your book cover design?
The most importance! We shouldn’t but we do judge by the cover and title. In today’s world with so many resources at a stroke of a key – there is no reason to neglect a gorgeous cover, we all deserve one.
Every day brings forth new changes and shifts in the world of publishing. Any predictions about the future?
There is nowhere but up from here!
Do you have complete control over your characters or do they ever control you?
I do not control them as much as I’d like to. Especially Ava, but I got a way around that in book two! *winks*
How would you define your style of writing?
Intense, poetic and risk taking.
Do you miss spending time with your characters when you finish writing them?
Not always. I have my family to keep me well balanced!
Have you ever wished that you could bring a character to life? If so, which one and why?
Do I really have to choose? All of them, not so much the Villain we don’t need more of those.
A lot of authors are frustrated by readers who don’t understand how important reviews are? What would you say to a reader who doesn’t think his or her review matters?
I t matter more than you think, its not about popularity. An author learns and grows from the readers opinion. It helps that it assists in some publicity and sales too. We would not be if not for our readers and reviewers.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, how do you get around it?
Yup. I simply walk away, take a drive. Go for a swim. If all else fails I take a day to just be without the clutter and it comes to me. If I am still stuck I force myself to get over it.
What genre have you never written in that you’d like to try?
I have not written romance, I’d like to try it out – someday.
Have you ever started out to write one book and ended up with something completely different?
All the time!
What do you know now that you wish you’d known five years ago?
More research. Before you choose a publisher, investigate the types of books, and their pricing. It all depends where you as an author wants to be.