Interview with Asta Idonea
What does your writing process look like?
I’m not a big planner; however, at the start of each short story, I have a notebook where I jot down character notes and a basic plot arc. With novellas and novels, I write longer character profiles and any key plot points, including “rules” if I’m using ghosts, vampires etc.
The first draft, I just write. As an editor, it’s hard to switch off that part of my brain, but I do my best. Once I have a full first draft, I go through various rounds of edits (usually about two for a short story and three or four for a novel/novella). Since I am essentially plotting as I go with the first draft, the initial round of edits tends to be pretty solid, fixing any plot holes or character discrepancies that have emerged during the organic writing process (not usually too many, luckily), with subsequent edits being more about prose style. Then it’s a final proofread prior to submission.
What book do you wish you could have written?
The Harry Potter series if we’re talking of monetary success, but in terms of literary merit, probably something by Milan Kundera or Haruki Murakami.
Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?
The two guys I just mentioned. Also writers like Chelsea Quinn Yarbro and Jane Austen.
How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?
Very important. I always aim to give my characters names that reflect either an aspect of their personality or their role in the story. My favourite resource for that is Behind the Name. They have sites for both first names and surnames with decent search functions.
Were you already a great writer? Have you always liked to write?
I’ve wanted to write since I was a child! In my late teens/early twenties I started posting fan fiction, and by my late twenties I was writing and publishing original works.
If you didn’t like writing books, what would you do for a living?
My other dream was always to be in musical theatre. But in reality I’d probably be working a desk job somewhere or doing something with my foreign languages.
Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?
In general, yes, and I still can’t decide if that’s a good thing or not! I rarely respond, regardless of the rating, unless it’s to thank someone for taking part in a blog tour, because I think it’s better for readers not to feel that the author is interfering with reviews, even in a positive light. If I wanted to reach out to someone who’d written something particularly nice, I’d do so privately. As to bad reviews, it’s best never to get into a debate. Of course a bad review is upsetting, but you just have to dust yourself off and get back to work. After all, not everyone can like the same things, and if you got a bad review today, you may well get a good one tomorrow. You have to be philosophical about it.
What are you working on now? What is your next project?
I am currently working on the third draft of what will, I hope, be my first novel-length MM work if I can find a publisher for it later in the year. I am also commencing a new mainstream urban fantasy story. Not sure yet if that will be a novella or a full-length novel as I’m only one Chapter One.
What literary character is most like you?
Ha, I’d like to say Jane Eyre, but I think that might be more aspiration than reality. I am very like my own character, Cassandra, in The Ragnarök Chronicles. A little of myself slips into all my works, but in that one it was really apparent. My mother commented on it when she was only four chapters in!
What secret talents do you have?
Languages. I love learning foreign languages and speak several to varying degrees of proficiency.
Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?
There are loads, but if I had to pick one from near the top of the list, it would be Vienna, to see all the stuff about Sissi.
If you were an animal in a zoo, what would you be?
An owl. That’s my symbol in the Native American zodiac.
If you could have any accent from anywhere in the world, what would you choose?
Iceland. It’s awesome! I started learning Icelandic recently.
Quickly, give us the title and genre of your book and a 30-word or less tagline:
Wish You Were Here – Contemporary/Paranormal
Oakley and his family are grieving his sister’s death, but he finds new hope when he meets local boy Bobby while on vacation.
Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?
This one isn’t explicit, so it’s suitable for YA and adult readers who are looking for a contemporary tale with a paranormal twist that looks at the psychology of grief but ends on a hopeful note. I would like to think that readers will turn the final page feeling uplifted, but with plenty of food for thought.
How did you come up with the title of your book or series?
This title came to me as soon as I started writing. It combines the sense of grief over the loss of Oakley’s sister with the idea of holidays and those old-style postcards with the words “wish you were here”.
Wish You Were Here
8 February 2017
Heat Rating: 1
The death of Oakley’s sister has left his family broken and buried beneath their grief. In an attempt to get out from underneath their pain, they rent an isolated cottage in the Cotswolds. For Oakley, it’s an exercise in futility. He doesn’t see much hope for things to get back to the way they used to be, and he’s bored and restless as he waits out the time until he can return to the city and university. All of that changes when he meets local boy Bobby, and the connection between them is instant. Within a few days, Oakley is ready to walk away from everything to stay with Bobby. However, Bobby has problems of his own, and they might be more than the budding romance can survive. But they might also give Oakley a new perspective on his own situation.
Prize: 1 x e-copy of my MM Sci-Fi novella Fire Up My Heart
Author Bio & Links
Asta Idonea (aka Nicki J Markus) was born in England but now lives in Adelaide, South Australia. She has loved both reading and writing from a young age and is also a keen linguist, having studied several foreign languages.
Asta launched her writing career in 2011 and divides her efforts not only between MM and mainstream works but also between traditional and indie publishing. Her works span the genres, from paranormal to historical and from contemporary to fantasy. It just depends what story and which characters spring into her mind!
As a day job, Asta works as a freelance editor and proofreader, and in her spare time she enjoys music, theatre, cinema, photography, and sketching. She also loves history, folklore and mythology, pen-palling, and travel, all of which have provided plenty of inspiration for her writing.
Amazon Author US: http://www.amazon.com/Asta-Idonea/e/B00RMGGVYO
Amazon Author UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Asta-Idonea/e/B00RMGGVYO