TweetLuciana Cavallaro taught in government and private schools and during this time studied Ancient History, attended writer’s workshops and concluded a course in proof reading and editing. She has travelled extensively and has revisited her favourite destinations—Greece and Italy— the inspiration for her stories. After working in high schools for many years she resigned to concentrate on writing.
Time to chat with Luciana!
I hear you have some very exciting news! Can you share it with us?
Yes! I have recently launched my book Accursed Women, a short story collection about five women from Ancient Greek mythology. The characters in the book have been vilified throughout history and I wanted to tell their side of the story. Were they as terrible as the legends say they were or were they a victim of circumstance?
What do you think some of the greatest misconceptions about indie authors are?
I believe people/readers think the quality and standard of books written by indie authors aren’t very good. It’s a matter of finding a diamond in the midst of the rubble. It is a stigma I feel will be around for a while till the playing field between indie authors and ‘traditional’ authors is even. Having said that, the industry of indie publishing has grown and we have access to excellent services to produce worthy books that rival the big publishing companies.
Is it important for you to know the ending of a book before you write it? The title?
Not really, I tend to let the flow of the story determine the ending. I don’t like to plan too much of the story, just outlines with key plot points. I find it allows me greater freedom to be more creative and allow the story to develop of its own accord.
I do like to have the title of the books in mind first. It helps steer the theme of the story. Much like my book Accursed Women, the title came to me after I had written the first story in the collection.
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?
Oh yes! Writers are generally perfectionists and I found it difficult to admit the story I was writing wasn’t working. I did believe it was good but when I started to submit the story to agents it was rejected. So I shelved the idea and stop submitting. I began writing the short stories instead, needed a fresh start with a completely different concept. It was the best decision I made. I had just finished the final short story when I had a ‘light-bulb’ moment. I pulled out my manuscript and now am rewriting the story.
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?
Choosing characters names is perhaps like choosing a name for your child, you got to live with it as they do. Names give a character a persona and like us all we grow into it and establish who we are.
I went to a writers’ workshop where the names of the characters I had given were critiqued. They found the names confusing as they were too famous and would confuse readers. I don’t personally believe that as readers are discerning and smart but as the workshop was led a famous fantasy author, I changed the names. It was hard as I got know the characters very well, lived and breathed their world. The new names work well and now the story has changed, it fits even better.
Can you tell us about your road to publication?
I did try the traditional route for a few years though the submissions were ad hoc until a few years back where I decided to be more persistent. That led nowhere and friends suggested self-publishing and eBooks. I wasn’t entirely convinced this was the best path for me, I mentioned earlier about the stigma attached to indie authors, and did resist the idea. Thought I dip my toes with short stories and well, I haven’t looked back since. I am so happy with my decision to follow the indie path and join the other great indie writers on this amazing journey into publishing and literature.
How much research was involved in writing your book? How did you go about it?
Research is an integral part of my stories, without it the book would not work. I wanted to propel readers into the past, make them feel as if they are there and a part of the story. It was important to me I got the descriptions of the clothing and time period as accurate as possible, but with a little creative licence 😀
For Accursed Women, I researched and read mythologies on each of the characters in the story. I wanted to get to know them, where they came from and how they lived, and made notes. With regards to the trilogy I’m writing, it is based on the Atlantis myth and set around 500 BCE. I have collated files on the various places and cultures of the time as well as names plus the books I have in my collection to help create a story readers’ can relate to.
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?
I believe a good polished book cover is very important. I know when I go into a bookstore the first thing that grabs my attention is the cover. I used to tell my students don’t judge a book by its cover but we are visual beings and what draws one’s attention is an attractive cover. Of course the cover is only as good as the content. The story must be polished so it sparkles.
Do you have complete control over your characters or do they ever control you?
No control over my characters whatsoever! They dictate the terms. When they play nice, the story flows when they dig their heels in, forget it!
Do you miss spending time with your characters when you finish writing them?
I don’t miss them really, they are always with me, chatting away or silently brooding. In fact, they’re like the bad house guests who don’t know when it’s time to leave.
Have you ever walked out of a movie? If so, what was it?
Came very close with two movies: 300, which I laughed all the way through and Limitless—that was a terrible movie!
What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?
A surprise birthday visit from my sister, brother-in-law and my nephew and niece. I wasn’t expecting anyone and the whole family turned up.
Where do you live now? If you had to move to another city/state/country, where might that be?
Perth, Western Australia. Hmm… a hard question as I think this is best place to live, not biased or anything ;D, but I’d like to live on one of the islands in Greece. Would be very inspirational too.
Thank you Lisette for having me on your Writers’ Chateau.
My extreme pleasure, Luciana! I really enjoyed getting to know you.
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