Welcome and thanks to author Diana Rozevskis for this interview
What is your day job or are you lucky enough to write for a living?
I’m only working part-time at the moment as the kids keep me rather busy, as any parent will no doubt know. My jobs: beauty therapist and a bit of cleaning.
What books have you written so far?
Crystal Waters – It Began in Europe is my very first book to be published.
What works in progress do you have?
I’m working on book number two, Crystal Waters – And on to North America, at the moment in this series of seven.
How long did it take you to write your book/s?
I initially started book one six years ago, when I was pregnant with my second child. I only started it as a bit of a hobby and for my eyes only, but over the years I became braver and started to show it to people, including the writing group I had joined. It was not until I came second in a writing competition that I thought I had better finish it and get it out there for everyone to read.
Do you write linear, or jump back and forth? Do you plan or write by the seat of your pants?
I think it all depends on the chapter I’m writing and how much detail I need to insert into the story. For instance, the journeys in my books have specific routes along the countries’ rivers, lochs and seas, which need researching. Not only for the waterway names, but cross-referenced with the era as they go back in time. I’m a real stickler to try and be as authentic as I can, so my story becomes quite believable in the reader’s mind. Then, when all the planning has been done, I just type away.
Why do you write?
I absolutely love it and I have so many ideas jumping around my head most of the time that I think it would be a shame not to share them, don’t you think?
How long have you been writing?
I have always written stories since as far back as I can remember. It’s just a shame I didn’t recognise what I really wanted to be, a writer, a lot sooner in life. But I guess it’s never too late to start.
Where and when do you write? Do you have set times?
At the moment I write in my dining room when the kids are at school or in bed. But I’m soon to get a garage converted into a room and I’m definitely claiming that as my den. This move will be great for my writing schedule as it is rather sparse at present. I think once I get my den/office sorted, it will feel like I’m off to do some real work and I will feel more disciplined, which I so desperately need.
Which character from your books do you like most / are most like?
I think there is a little of me in most of my characters. Yes, even Ceber, my purple dog! :)
What / who inspired you to write and still inspires you?
I am mostly inspired by my children. Although at times they can drive me crazy, they never cease to amaze, fill me with pride, capture my heart and crack me up in their quirky funny little ways. I’m a real people studier, so friends and family be warned – you may just find yourselves in one of my books one of these days.
What do you think is the ideal recipe for a good novel or story?
A good plot line, interesting characters and, above all, knowing your audience; what they like.
Have you ever based a character on someone from real life? And did you tell them?
When I think of a fictitious character for my book, I always find real traits in the people around me. Of course, this means most of my characters are a mixed bag of real people and not a specific one in particular.
If you had to pick some actors/actresses to play the characters in your book, who would you hire?
I must admit that I love to have an image in my mind when I’m writing about a character and, of course, actors/actresses are usually my first choice. Here are a few I thought about when developing my characters:
Fave things: animal? food? drink? film? colour? band? song? place? item of clothing?
This is a hard one; so many to mention, but if I have to choose one, here are my favourites:
Food – chicken korma
Drink – Dr Pepper
Film – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Band – Evanescence
Song – Good Enough by Evanescence
Place – by the sea
Item of clothing – black jeans with studded belt.
When you were a kid, what did you want to do / who did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was really young I wanted to be an air hostess or a pop singer. Of course, not being gifted with languages or singing, I had to have a back-up plan. J
Would you say that your dreams have come true or are you still working on them?
I think it’s still a dream in progress, but I’m definitely getting there.
You’re walking in the forest and you bump into an alien librarian from Mars. He wants five book recommendations from you…
The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
Twilight by Stephenie Myers
Northern Lights by Phillip Pullman
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
Who is your favourite character from any book and why?
I think my favourite character has to be Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen. I just find her character determined and intelligent with a spirit and wit that can only be admired.
Who is your hero / heroine?
Apart from soldiers of war, I’m a little like Dumbledore with his view that “personally, I never have had much time for heroes”. Of course, the real heroes of life are usually the ones that go unrecognised: a parent’s unconditional love for their child; a young child suffering in terrible conditions, but bravery overcomes; the loss of someone dear and being able to carry on. These, to me, are true heroic actions.
Which book do you wish you had written?
Definitely the Harry Potter series.
Which three authors would you like to take to the pub?
J.K. Rowling, Phillip Pullman and Terry Pratchet.
Are you published or self-published? What is your experience?
I tried numerous times to go down the traditional route, but, like many others, I received many rejection letters to tell me I was unsuccessful. I even, at one point, came second in a new author competition with the promise of publication. This was, of course, before the company announced they were going into liquidation and could not fulfil their obligations. That was when I decided to take matters into my own hands and self-publish. I have a story to tell and I don’t want to waste any more time. I just want to get it out there for people to read.
How do you find the marketing experience?
It’s probably too early to say at this point, as I’m just getting started. I think I have a lot to learn still.
What advice would you give other writers just starting out?
If you have a passion for writing and have a story to tell that you think people will want to hear, get it down on paper and get it out there. But, above all, believe in yourself and I’m sure you will one day have the success you deserve.
Do you have a blog? What do you blog about?
Yes, my blog is at diana-rozevskis.blogspot.co.uk/ I usually use it like a diary about my writing experiences and where I get inspiration from. In the future it will be used to show events, where to buy my books and competitions.
What other hobbies do you have?
I like studying crystals and I’m fascinated by the art of crystal healing.
What would you like to achieve in the next five years?
I hope to have all seven books written and published. I hope that everyone enjoys reading them as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them.
If you won the Lotto or a major publishing contract, what would you do with that dosh?
I would love to set up a company that helps new, up-coming authors. I know how difficult it is to just get the first foot on the ladder.
Complete one of these stories in 100 words or less…
There was once a wee worm called Fred (story option 1)
Who went to his friend and said
You have something to tell
A great story as well
So go follow your dream now instead.
What question do you wish I’d asked and, of course, what is the answer?
What is your book about?
Crystal Waters - It Began in Europe.
It’s an adventure story, with a bit of ancient legends of the world mixed in. This first Crystal Waters book takes two sisters, Emma and Grace, back in time to ancient Crete, after they discover their gran’s magic crystal and a secret doorway in her cellar. They have a quest: to save the Gi-fyli tribe (Earth tribe) from the hideous monsters that terrorize and force them to live in the underworld caves.
There are some well-known legendary beasts and some that are quite new, but there is never a dull moment for Emma, Grace, Robert, Herman (the gardener) and his purple dog, Ceber. Along the way, they make friends with the Mer-people and the Fyli-thentro (tree tribe) who help them with certain tasks, which they have to conquer, before they can move on. They must find and destroy Gran’s hairbrush, which she had left behind many years ago, thus creating the monsters. Emma and Grace, having similar DNA to their gran, are the only ones who can do this. So, the search is on to seek it out and rid the land of these creatures, once and for all.