Author Interview Questions
1: Hi, and thanks for joining today. In your own words tell us about yourself, not you the author, but just you!
A: Hi, and thanks for having me J I’m a language nerd and a gamer, a cat mom, wife, teacher, student, and a spoonie. I love music, I play computer games and pen & paper RPGs, I drink too much coffee (and sometimes fall asleep because of it—yeah, I’m weird like that) and love chocolate. And pizza. And sushi. But enough about food, I’m making myself hungry writing this XD
2: Why did you decide to become an author and what’s the best part? Yeah, it’s a double-whammy of a question. So unexpected!
A: The decision to become a writer was actually made in kindergarten. Like, right the moment I was able to read. As to the best part of being an author? I don’t have to get the voices in my head to shut up, I just have to get them to speak one after another instead of all at the same time. And I have to keep up writing down the stuff they tell me.
3: So, tell us about your work. Sell us on it! Why should we read it and why it will capture us?
A: If you’re a five-year-old and absolutely love dragons, then Miro the Dragon is a must-have for you. Like, really, I’ve got feedback from quite a few parents telling me that after they read the book to their kids, every dragon became Miro to them. Because he’s awesome, and he makes new friends, and he overcomes his fears, and all that is pretty great stuff for a tiny dragon.
Then there’s my A Rogue’s Tale series, which was greatly inspired by both Enid Blyton and Agatha Christie. The series contains three stand-alone mysteries set in a fantasy world, with the overall story progression tying them together. I got a one-star review on Amazon for the first book stating that it’s a great pre-teen mystery, so there you have it. You can’t get a better recommendation than that. But honestly, the series is geared towards middle grade readers but I’ve got feedback from a lot of readers who enjoyed the series as adults as well, so if you’re looking for a quick and fun read and you like mysteries, pick them up.
4: Why did you choose the genre you write in over others to start your publishing career? Did others appeal to you more and you chose this? Was there a bit of choice weighing or was it rather simple?
A: I started out writing fantasy and then kind of slid into mystery because I love Agatha Christie’s mysteries so much, so I just combined elements from both genres for A Rogue’s Tale. Writing for a younger audience wasn’t initially planned but I really enjoy it, and I enjoy the honest reactions you get from children. Reading for a bunch of five-year-old kindergartners is still one of my fondest memories as an author. Plus, I just naturally tend to write short-ish stories, and most adult readers like their books to be longer, so writing for children and middle graders seems like a good way to turn this into a strength instead of it being a weakness.
5: So far, what would you say has been the hardest part of being an author?
A: Marketing myself. Flat out, no need to consider my answer, sir. I have no problem helping other authors promote their books by sharing or recommending them, but I always feel kind of guilty and salesman-like sharing or recommending my own books.
6: Now for the ever-so-shocking follow-up question. What’s the best/easiest part, if there is one?
A: Also a no-brainer: I live my childhood dream. Back in kindergarten, I had exactly two things I wanted to be/know when I grow up: Be an author, and know how to play the guitar. I’ve been playing the guitar since I was twelve, and I’ve published my first book at age 21, I think.
7: Tell us about what your experiences in the author life have been like. I don’t mean the writing aspects. I mean the daily human life. Tell us what it’s like to live the day life you do and be an author at the same time. What’s it like when people in your life and, the people you come across, find out you’re an author?
A: Most people seem to be surprised, in a positive way, when they learn I’m an author. I still remember one of my professors at university jokingly mentioning something about writing fiction books in a lecture, and when I sent in my summary a week later, she saw my email signature with links to my published books, and told me later that that really made her laugh, like, realizing she actually had a published fiction author in her class (she went on to be one of the profs grading my BA thesis, and we kept in contact afterwards because we can talk for an hour over coffee and be sad that the time went so fast).
I’ve recently had to quit teaching due to my chronic illness so I’m back home most of the time, which gives me more time to write again. I’m also a full-time student of linguistics and will go on studying after I finish my BA in linguistics because I love learning so much, so for my next project, I’m actually combining my knowledge about ancient cultures that I gained through historical linguistics with the conlang I created for my BA thesis (yes, I found two professors who allowed me to create a conlang and write a grammar for it as my BA thesis^^).
8: Writing is a hard craft and a harder career. What are the things that keep you going, both in improving the craft and enduring the downs/lows of the career?
A: I’ll be honest, sometimes it’s hard to motivate myself since my sales are really low most of the time. But I love writing and I’m proud of the books that I’ve published. The biggest motivation, however, are probably the memories of happy children, like the one girl who was super excited and pretty shy once she learnt I was the author of Miro, and immediately begged her grandma to allow her to buy the second book (which is only out in German, I’m afraid). My books are touching lives, they inspire children, and they make children smile. And that’s what keeps me going.
9: What do you love about the genre/s you write and what others appeal to you?
A: I love that in fantasy, almost anything goes. I can dream up the most fantastic stuff and make it seem totally normal, and play with it. With mysteries, I love the guesswork along the way. I love planting clues that will make sense in the end, and that may allow a good detective to figure out the mystery before it’s finally solved. And I love hiding life lessons inside my stories that might inspire children to be better people.
10: Tell us about the plans for your series and body of work.
A: Like I mentioned earlier, my newest project combines my conlang and my knowledge on ancient cultures. It will be a time-travel adventure featuring two young gnomes who are too curious and excitable for their own good. The first book will bring them to the ancient Hittite kingdom in Asia Minor, which is pretty fascinating and deserves to be more widely known.
11: The writing and publishing world has changed a lot. Self-publishing, small to medium presses popping up, and things like becoming a hybrid between indie pubbing and traditional. What are your thoughts on that? Any predictions on what the future might hold? What would you like to see, both as an author yourself, and, as a consumer/reader?
A: I’m afraid my crystal ball needs cleaning so no predictions from me, but what I would like to see is a newfound respect and valuing of artists. Art may be fun to create, but it’s also hard work, and this mentality that art should be free, or that everything that’s online is free to take for everyone, is hurting us artists big time. An ebook may have no physical cost to multiply, but the work and money that went into creating the final file that is being multiplied is overlooked by many of those who complain that ebooks are too expensive. I’ll gladly pay four or five dollars for an ebook if I expect to enjoy reading it, and I think they’re well worth the money.
12: The always done and asked question. Who are your favorite authors? What are you favorite books? What are you reading now? Tell us. Tell us!
A: This is a very hard question. Two of my all-time favourite authors are Agatha Christie and Enid Blyton, both of who have influenced my own writing a great deal. I’m a proud potterhead (Ravenclaw, in case you were wondering), and I love Trudi Canavan’s and Licia Troisi’s work. I like Julia Beylouny’s books (paranormal romance), I adore Jane Austen’s stories, and I’ve read quite a few great indie books in the past couple of years.
Right now, I’m mostly reading academic books (partly research out of interest, part for university). I want to read the Epic of Gilgamesh soon, the oldest epic we have written records of, some 4,000 years old.
13: I’ve got to know…what’s your favorite word to use. Every author has one. What’s the word you catch yourself using a lot? We’ve all got those as well. What’s your favorite word just to say? Something where you like the way it sounds. What’s your favorite curse worse, if you’ve got one and or use them?
A: I think I use “so” a lot to start sentences, which is a habit I need to keep an eye out for. I also catch myself using “really” a lot. As to my favourite word, I wouldn’t be able to name any one word. I love languages, and now and then, a specific word may catch my interest or tickle my funny bone, but not in a way that I would say this or that word is my absolute favourite. Also, it would kind of mean playing favourites with languages 😉
14: Tell us about your latest release. Or, when can we expect your next one? What are we in store for?!
A: You’re in store for a funny middle grade adventure featuring gnomes and a time machine, and lots of things that go wrong, naturally. I can’t yet say when it will be ready for publishing since I’m typically a rather slow writer so if you don’t want to wait for it, why don’t you start with A Rogue’s Tale to kill the time?
15: Lastly, where can we find you? Facebook? Twitter? Website? Links to your material. Go on, don’t be shy. Share!
A: Yes, yes, and yes. My Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/SaoirseOMaraTheresaBerg/, my Twitter handle is @saoirseomara, my website is https://iamnotperfect2016.wordpress.com/, and my books can be found on Amazon: A Rogue’s Tale https://www.amazon.com/Saoirse-OMara/e/B0088MVZQA/ and Miro the Dragon https://www.amazon.com/Theresa-Berg/e/B0088MWM58/. I’m also on Patreon, where I kind of blog about my life with a chronic illness and may share short stories and poems with my patrons: https://www.patreon.com/FibroWarrior. And since that’s not enough, I have a Redbubble store with nerdy and geeky and teacher-y stuff: http://www.redbubble.com/de/people/languagenerd?asc=u. So yeah, I think that’s it.
Thanks for having me as a guest.