First off, thank you so much for having me on your blog today!
1. When did you know you wanted to be a writer? What were some of your first steps toward making your dream a reality? How would you say most of your stories are conceived? Dreams? Research? Experience?
I knew I wanted to be a writer when I was twelve years old. My first major step toward making my dream a reality was doing research on the publishing industry in 2005-2006, before deciding to commit the next six years of my life to writing a novel or two, and trying to land a traditional publishing deal. My second major step was making the decision to self-publish last year, which was again preceded by a period of research.
As I’m currently writing a supernatural thriller series, experience is definitely not part of how the stories were conceived. I don’t think anyone wants a gun-toting and sword-wielding Pediatrician to look after their kid! *laughs*
A lot of my ideas come from dreams. Some come from a startling image I might see or a conversation that I might overhear.
I had to do extensive research while plotting Soul Meaning, as well as the next book in the series, King’s Crusade. I think most authors who write in this genre do.
2. In addition to being a pediatrician, what 3 things would you like readers to know about you?
I’m a bit of a geek. Given a choice between shopping for clothes and shopping for gadgets, I will go for gadgets every single time!
I love reading mangas and watching animes. They have inspired the blade weapons and fight scenes in the novel.
Very much like my main protagonist in Soul Meaning, I also like nice cars.
3. Tell us about your books. Genre, titles, any favorite characters? What can we look forward to from you in the near future? WIP’s, upcoming releases? Tell us a bit about your wolf hybrids. In your opinion do you need special skills to raise them? Any were or shifter stories on the horizon?
Soul Meaning is the first novel in the supernatural thriller series Seventeen. King’s Crusade, the second novel will be out late April-early May 2013. I’ve started the third novel and it’s scheduled for release Spring/Summer 2014.
4. Is there a common thread in your books? How do your values show up in your writing? Jungian philosophy? What do you want readers to take from your writing?
The books will form part of the supernatural thriller series Seventeen. As such, they will be set in the same world where two immortal races, the Crovirs and the Bastians, coexist with humans. The other common thread will be the influence of a sacred religious text on the development of the series as a whole. The values that show up in my writing are along the lines of friendship, sacrifice, and the importance of family.
I want my readers to have fun. I want to take them on a wild ride and entertain them. I want them to close my book and think ‘This was good! I’ll have to recommend it to my friends.’ And I want them to ask for more! Some of the readers of Soul Meaning have been impatiently waiting for King’s Crusade release and ask me about it at least once a month!
5. What do you look for in a good book? In what ways would you say your books exhibit these qualities?
I want something that will hook me with the blurb and then deliver in the first few pages. I am a bit of a cover snob, so a nicely designed and eye-catching cover always gets my interest. I want to keep turning the pages. I want to forget to eat, sleep, even go to the toilet. I want to forget about the real world for a day or so. I like characters who behave in a consistent fashion. Not in a predictable way, but not so wildly different from their usual norm that I think ‘Wo! There’s no way this character would say this or do that!’
I know several readers of Soul Meaning who have admonished me for making them lose sleep over the book. Some of the reviews mention that the book is a page turner. My protagonists appear to be well-liked and I don’t think any of them behave out of character.
6. What are some of the best social media, marketing, and publicity tips you’ve come across?
Don’t spend more time on social media and marketing than on your writing! You need to write first, write second, and write last!
7. Now for the biggest question – how do you manage to balance your medical career and writing? Any tips for other authors?
I’m lucky in that I am locuming at the moment, which means that I do agency work and get to choose my shifts. Occasionally, I just have to take what’s available. Being paid by the hour means earning more in less time, which is why I can afford to take about 4 months off a year to write: this time off is taken as short breaks throughout the year. My working hours are very unpredictable and there is no pattern or routine to my week, which does make it tough to do other activities regularly. I could be on nights next week, free one weekend, work 70-90 hours the week after, then have two weeks off.
When I do have time off to write, I try to have a strict routine. I don’t adhere to it religiously but I do my best to make sure I get my target word count in and meet my personal deadlines.
My advice to other authors:
1. If this is your passion, you WILL make the necessary sacrifices. That might mean less sleep, less time socializing, definitely less TV, and less time for hobbies. It won’t be easy but if you find truly yourself resenting the amount of time writing takes from your life, then rethink whether this is for you. Despite the fact that I spend 95% of my time when I’m not working at the hospital writing or doing other writing-associated activities, I have never thought ‘I resent this and I’d rather be doing something else.’ Sure, there are times when you’re going to want a break from the computer and social media for a few days; that’s normal and healthy. You can’t be at this 24/7, 52 weeks a year; you’ll burn out!
2. Cultivate the ability to be able to write anywhere and anytime. I have written on trains, on airplanes, in train stations, in airports, in my kitchen, my living room, the garden, on the beach while on holiday, even on nightshifts if I had a spare hour for a break! Do not be precious about ‘it’s gotta be the right place, right time, right desk positioned in a strict east-west orientation, right phase of the moon, sharpened pencils of all colors of the rainbow, lucky underpants, purple bandanna’ etc, etc. I need a computer and my music, and I’m ready to go.
3. Have realistic targets. Don’t overreach and then get depressed if you can’t achieve the impossible. And remember, life will get in the way at times. Just roll with it. Tomorrow is another day.
4. Social media and research can be time sinks. They are both activities I truly enjoy but I can get distracted into spending hours on each of these rather than the actual writing. Try to be strict. Don’t research something for two hours if it’s going to take one sentence in the book. Don’t spend four hours on social media and two hours writing. Try different things to curb bad habits. There are some useful apps you can download that can restrict your browsing time and block internet sites at scheduled times.
Seventeen Series Book One
Genre: Supernatural thriller
Number of pages: 420
Word Count: 108,187
Cover Artist: Streetlight Graphics
A half breed immortal. An international manhunt. A race against time to stop a terrifying plot that threatens to kill millions. The gripping, action-packed debut novel by AD Starrling and the first in the supernatural thriller series Seventeen.
‘My name is Lucas Soul.
Today, I died again.
This is my fifteenth death in the last four hundred and fifty years.’
The Crovirs and the Bastians. Two races of immortals who have lived side by side with humans for millennia and been engaged in a bloody war since the very dawn of their existence. With the capacity to survive up to sixteen deaths, it was not until the late fourteenth century that they reached an uneasy truce, following a deadly plague that wiped out more than half of their numbers and made the majority of survivors infertile.
Soul is an outcast of both immortal societies. Born of a Bastian mother and a Crovir father, a half breed whose very existence is abhorred by the two races, he spends the first three hundred and fifty years of his life being chased and killed by the Hunters.
One fall night in Boston, the Hunt starts again, resulting in Soul’s fifteenth death and triggering a chain of events that sends him on the run with Reid Hasley, a former US Marine and his human business partner of ten years. When a lead takes them to Washington DC and a biotechnology company with affiliations to the Crovirs, they cross the Atlantic to Europe, on the trail of a French scientist whose research seems intrinsically linked to the reason why the Hunters are after Soul again.
From Paris to Prague, their search for answers will lead them deep into the immortal societies and bring them face to face with someone from Soul’s past. Shocking secrets are uncovered and fresh allies come to the fore as they attempt to put a stop to a new and terrifying threat to both immortals and humans.
Time is running out for Soul. Can he get to the truth before his seventeenth death, protect the ones he loves and prevent another immortal war?
About the Author:
AD Starrling was born on the small island nation of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean and came to the UK at the age of twenty to study medicine. After five years of hard graft earning her MD and another five years working all of God’s hours as a Paediatrician, she decided it was time for a change and returned to her first love, writing.
Soul Meaning is her debut novel and the first in a supernatural thriller series entitled Seventeen. She currently lives in Warwickshire in the West Midlands, where she is busy writing the second novel in the series while drinking gallons of tea.
She still practises medicine. AD Starrling is her pen name.
Tour Wide Giveaway
8 prize packs containing a paperback, postcard and bookmark
2 prize packs with postcard and bookmark plus an ebook
10 ebooks and bookmarks