The following is an excerpt from The Story Behind the Book Cover, and their lovely interview of my writer self:
And now I have Ilana Waters here with me today to tell us a little about herself and her new middle-grade fantasy novel, The Adventures of Stanley Delacourt: Book I of Hartlandia. Hello Ilana, and thank you for visiting my blog.
1. Can you tell us a little bit more about your book and how you came up with the idea for it? What inspired you to write it?
I know you probably hear this a lot, but I got the idea for the book in a dream. The characters came to me in this dream too—the biggest ones introduced themselves by name! And the rest of it, well, I just made up as I went along.
2. I saw that this is Book 1. How many books do you plan to write in the series?
Thanks for your interest! Three books are planned, making this The Hartlandia Trilogy. I only have working titles for the others (not real titles), so it’s not quite time to share those yet. I’m writing the second book now. Without giving too much away, I can say it involves pirates, vampires, Vikings, witches . . . and a certain librarian named Stanley who may be lost at sea.
3. What are your favorite book and movie?
Favorite book: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith.
Favorite movie: Labyrinth. RIP, Jim Henson.
4. Is there a song or a playlist that you listened to while writing your book?
I don’t really have a set playlist, but I have been enjoying many different Pandora stations that you “create” yourself. I can’t listen to music with lyrics when I write (because they get confused with the words I’m trying to type. I recently learned that many writers have this problem!). So I listen to what I call “weird New Age music.” A lot of piano, guitar, and harp instrumentals. But for some of the fairy scenes, I did listen to Faun, which is a darkwave/pagan/folk band. So I’m not going to lie to you; there was some pretty freaky music going on.
5. Do you have a routine you follow whenever you prepare yourself to write? A special place where you write?
Ha-ha . . . whenever I prepare myself to write! I guess you could say the hallmark of my routine is procrastination, even though I love what I do. It usually starts with me making some notes, then being unable to stop and having the notes turn into scenes, chapters, etc. I have literarily written entire stories this way. I write in my bedroom where the PC is. I can’t say it’s the most special room in the world, but it’s special to me. To paraphrase Virginia Woolf, you can’t underestimate the importance of having a room of one’s own!
6. You are a self-published author. Is there some advice you’d like to give to all the young authors out there about how to get their work published?
That is a great question! My advice is actually the same regardless of whether the author is trying to break into traditional publishing, independent publishing, or a combination of the two (known as the “hybrid” model). My advice is: be flexible. Don’t get locked into one story, one business model, or even one idea. Try new things and see what works and what doesn’t. Also, be careful of how you present yourself online and offline. Reputation is everything, so always show the best side of yourself!
Thank you so much Ilana for visiting and for the interview. I hope to hear from you again soon. Good luck with you next book!
And thank you, Martina, for interviewing me. You have a great blog that is lots of fun for people to follow!
(top image by Martina)