Friday, 29 July 2011

One Author, Two Interviews: Stephanie Parker

I read The Green King by Stephanie Parker last year, and since then I had an idea. For the first time ever, I have decided to interview an author for both of my blogs, so here on Ramblings of A Rusty Writer we have an interview for adults, and over on my other blog, Rebecca Emin: Writing for Children and Teens, we have another interview and book giveaway of The Green King.  Enjoy!


Hello Stephanie, and welcome to my blog, Ramblings of a Rusty Writer!

How did you come up with the idea for The Green King?
I didn’t really, it found me.  I wanted to write a magical children’s book about moving house, originally; plus I wanted to bring into it some of my own childhood, in the Devon countryside, full of secrets and magic.  The story wrote itself, really.

I read on your blog that you wrote your book a long time ago. What made you decide to dust it down again and publish it? Did you have to do a lot of work on it at that point?
I was approached by an agent who asked if I’d written anything; so I sent her the book and she placed it immediately.  I did quite a bit of re-writing at that point but it was more like polishing than re-constructing...

Your blog makes it very obvious that you are a busy person. How do you find the time to write with everything else that you do?
I don’t really – my blog is suffering and I feel really stopped up with words, I keep having new book ideas and no time to write them, it’s debilitating.

What are your future writing plans?
More books, more books more books; more time?

Which authors have influenced you?
So many; this is actually quite a tough question...

What made you decide to write for children?
Shallowly, I thought it would be easier than writing for grownups; which is of course entirely untrue.

Have you received much feedback about your book from children who have read it?
Yes, I’ve had a pile of letters and some lovely quotes – they’ve responded really well.  I teach a story workshop in schools sometimes and have read the book to classes; there’s nothing like having kids tell you to stop because they’ve not read that far and don’t want you to spoil the story, to make you feel like you’ve written something that really resonates.

Thanks Stephanie!

If you enjoyed this interview and would like to read more, please click here to read the interview on my other blog and/or enter the book giveaway.

You can also buy the book at the following places:
Directly from the publisher, Grimoire Books.
Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.com
The Book Depository
Or you can ask any bookshop to order a copy in for you.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Troubled Teens, Edits and More

"I just can't believe he did that," she says to me.
"I know, I know."
"Help me, will you?"
"Not just yet... I have things to do first."
"But it's not fair. I need your help. I need it now."

And so she continues. The troubled teen won't let up, even though we all know it's school holiday time the schools are shut for the summer and I have three little ones to keep entertained.

It's no matter to her that I'm editing my second book, have plans for a third and she's only going to be at the top of the list after that. Yes, this teenager is the main character from what is fondly known as "Book 4" at present, and she will NOT be quiet! Aaagh!!

Anyway, it's good to have these clear voices. It's when they stop talking to me I'll really be complaining.

I have self-edited When Dreams Come True once so it's almost ready for my beta readers. I'm both excited and nervous to see what they say about it, especially knowing they have all read New Beginnings and how will it compare. While I brace myself to send it off, here's a wordle created from the manuscript itself.


How clever is that? (If you want to create one yourself, you can do so here on the Wordle website.)


Don't forget I am over on Emma Kerry's blog where you will find an interview as well as a book giveaway. Please do leave a comment to be in the hat!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Gone Visiting


Today I am visiting the lovely Emma Kerry on her blog Emma Kerry's Notebook. Emma has interviewed me and is also hosting a giveaway of a signed copy of New Beginnings, so please pop over and have a look.

You can also:
Follow Emma on Twitter.
Like Emma on Facebook.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

What I Love About #fridayflash

You may have heard of #fridayflash, but if not, it's a hashtag used on Twitter by people who post flash fiction on or before a Friday, for others to read and comment on. But it's much more than that. Founded by Jon Strother, it's a community, a network, and also an amazing way to feel a part of something great.

When I first realised that I actually enjoyed writing flash fiction, it was a mystery to me as I hadn't even really heard of the term "flash fiction" before the end of 2009. But when I discovered #fridayflash via Twitter, I started posting flash fiction on my blog as regularly as I could, and reading flashes by other people also as often as I could.

Now #fridayflash is always at the back of my mind. If I have something to post, I do, and if I don't, I have come to realise it's not a problem.  In summary, these are the things I love about #fridayflash:

  • The welcome for debut stories in the #fridayflash community is always there. I certainly didn't feel like The New Girl for very long.
  • You can dip in and out - there is no pressure to post every week. Even after a long absence, when you post again you still feel like a part of the community.
  • As long as you enter your details in The Fridayflash Collector, and link to it on Twitter, you will find you have a steady stream of readers for your flashes.
  • The community as a whole is very helpful and many of the writers who are involved will offer constructive criticism which will help you to improve your writing style.
  • Sometimes you will write a flash for #fridayflash and then later you can use it for something else, for example someone may post a call for submissions which allows previously blogged stories. This was how I had my first ever flash story published in 50 Stories for Pakistan.
If you are a writer of flash fiction, or even if you have never written any before and want to give it a try, I recommend joining in with #fridayflash. It has definitely had a massive impact on my writing, and that is all thanks to the lovely community of writers and readers that make #fridayflash the wonderful thing that it is today.


You can read my #fridayflash stories by clicking on the #fridayflash label in the panel on the right of my blog.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Friday Flash: Layers

My morning is spent at the table, Brasso in hand. I rub away layers of tarnish and regain a long forgotten shine.

Late afternoon I chop an onion. As I slice and dice, I wonder at the consistent perfection of the flesh, even as the aroma makes my eyes water.

After tea, my daughter laughs up at me as I peel an apple. I concentrate as I try to remove the skin in one piece. As always, I fail.


And what of us? Now our children sleep, I think of you. The meetings get later, the mornings still early.

I bite my own apple.
I eat as if famished.
I reach the core.
Breaking a pip between my teeth, a bitter taste fills my mouth.

Perhaps we have become like those pips. What would happen if we found some soil and buried them in the ground? Would they flourish, or would they wither away; becoming nothing but a memory?

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Things That Make Me Want To Cartwheel

New Beginnings in The Wallingford Bookshop
Hello everyone

Well it's been so much fun in the past few weeks, sending my book on its way to various friends and strangers around the world, getting my first few Amazon ratings which have all been very lovely so far, thinking about my first book signing event, which the local press have asked for more information about (eek!). The only thing missing from the preparation now is a large enough paper bag to fit right over my head, so I may just have to go without which is very, very scary.

Today I saw my Aunt and Uncle who have always been very supportive about my writing. They bought four copies (four!!) of New Beginnings, and a copy of Shambelurkling and Other Stories, which was very lovely of them. They also said they will be ordering Nothing But Flowers via Amazon. Bless them.
Nothing But Flowers in The Wallingford Bookshop

Straight after that I went to one of my favourite local independent book shops, The Wallingford Bookshop and discovered New Beginnings and Nothing But Flowers on display face-out, so of course I had to take some photos. Yes, the books were actually on display exactly as you can see, I didn't fiddle about with them or anything. Such a lovely morning!