Hi Guys and Gals,
I had the pleasure of doing a Q&A/Author Interview with the one and only Belinda Austin the author of Single and Looking: Daisy
I was super excited once again when Belinda agreed to participate in answering some of my questions, so a very big THANK YOU to her for taking some time out to answer them.
Questions & Answers:
Q. What made you become a writer and did you always want to be a writer?
“I write because I must. When I take a vacation from writing after I’ve finished a new book, two weeks later I can physically feel the draw, like a tugging in my heart, an ache, to get back to my computer and write. Writing to me is synonymous with breathing.”
Q. Do you ever share your book ideas with members of your family or friends to see if it is worth writing? If not why?
“I do share my book ideas with my daughter to see what she thinks. I tell my husband what I’m working on but don’t really pass ideas by him since he’s more of a nonfiction guy. Plus, the little fiction he has read, we have different tastes. My daughter and I are more in tune with each other with it comes to books.”
Q. Do you have set times for writing and working on book ideas? or do you just go with the flow as they say.
“I write most days. Ideally, I start at 10:00, break for a half-hour lunch and on Monday thru Friday I to go to the gym for an hour-long Zumba class. I write until 5:30 and then break for supper. I then write in the evening for about an hour or try to do some marketing at that time. I have a lot of future books planned, about 25. If I find myself not writing enough, I make out a table and keep track of my hours, which then motivates me to write more. Recently though for the first time I’ve set aside some time on Sundays and in the evenings to market or do admin or socialize which is marketing.
As far as book ideas, when I have an idea, I know the idea will turn into a book because for about a week the book just comes, the plot, the characters, dialogue, etc. I write up my notes on the book idea using OneNote. When I first have an idea that will become a book, my brain explodes for about the first week. When I go to bed, I keep having to get up and jot down stuff about the book.
I could have what I think would make a tremendous idea for a book, but if the idea just stops there and doesn’t form into a book, then I won’t even pursue it.
I don’t just sit around thinking about ideas for books, the ideas just pop into my head. Sometimes, the idea will come from a current book I’m working on, from research, and I don’t necessarily mean for a series. A series of books just morphs from the first book and expands.”
Q. Do you try to be original in your books or do you just try to deliver what you think your readers want?
“Absolutely. All of my current 9 books of fiction are totally unique in all aspects. I won’t write a book if the idea is not original. I’m not interested even remotely in rewriting some other author’s book. Nor are my fiction books ever based on my own life.”
Q. Are you friends with any other authors? If so who and how do they help you with your writing?
“I have only two friends who are writers. One of my friends lives in New York City and I met her through a writer’s conference. She hasn’t published anything yet and is still pursuing an agent. We bonded over wine. We send lengthy emails back and forth, making each other laugh. Laughter is good for the soul, right?
My other writing friend is my best friend. She lives in my gated community and has a series of essays out. Her name is Marilyn Cohen Shapiro. She, also, writes newspaper articles. I recently played the audition of my audio book for Single and Looking, Daisy for her to see what she thought.”
Q. What did you do with your first advance?
“Like most writers, I used the money to market the book.”
Q. How do you come up with the names of characters in your books?
“For Single and Looking, Daisy, I decided to use the names of liquor for her five blind dates so I searched for liquor that has a man’s name or partial name in it. For Daisy’s sisters, mother and aunt, I decided their names would all begin with D. Aunt Davina was easy since she is religious so divine. The other D names I went to one of those websites that list popular first names of girl babies for 2018. I then went through the D list and chose the names that fancied me. I chose the name Daisy for my main character because she is bubbly, naive, and sunny like a yellow daisy. The talking cat Shakespeare was named after my own cat Shakespeare. Dawn’s dog Brutus was named after my own boxer Brutus, whom I loved dearly. It was a way to keep his name alive.
The idea of naming the men after liquor came when I dedicated the book to my cats Shakespeare and Whiskey, who died 15 years ago. Putting Whiskey’s name and picture on the dedication page, well, I decided to have a liquor theme in the book.”
Q. How many unpublished or half written books do you have? What do you think the reason for this is?
“I have a fantasy that is unpublished. I need to move the book to present day instead of the Roaring 20’s because I think the book will sell better. And I don’t want this to be a series, like planned, so I’ve found a way to end the book.
I have a 3rdmemoir in my series Memoirs of a Bigamist’s Daughter which is partially written, but that book is a hard one due to the things that happened to me between the ages of 12 and 18.
I have the second book in my science fiction series Outcast, which is almost done.
I have another fiction book which is partially done. I keep writing this book as a thriller but I need to be sure and not lose the heart of the book. It’s, also, a tough one due to the Middle Eastern theme. It’s a series with two books so far and ideas for others.
I have a little bit written of another Science Fiction series which is 5 books.
I have a romance novella finished which needs a rewrite and I’ve since decided would be a 9-book series with each a standalone book. The novellas would need research so time consuming. One is an idea I once got excited about but never wrote. I’m still excited about the idea and now I have a series where it would fit in. Ditto for two other books in this series.
I have a series of four non-fiction books I want to write but only because I’m interested in the subjects.”
Q. What’s the best and worst book you’ve ever read?
“I’ve read many great books. Gone with the Wind is probably the best book I’ve read. It’s been years since I read the book, but I have read it two or three times.
The worst book I ever read was Les Misérables. It was about 1,000 pages long and the writing was the original (not in French though) so difficult to get through because of the cumbersome old-fashioned writing.”
Q. What format do you prefer when it comes to reading physical books, e-books or audiobooks and why?
“I’ll read a physical book if the book is for research. I prefer e-books otherwise because you can blow up the text. If the book is really funny with lots of outrageous characters, I love an audiobook.”
Q. Have you ever gotten reader’s block? If so how long did it last and how did you get out of it?
“I once read a book about a family of witches which was 1,000 pages long. I read about half the book and then there came about five pages of just the description of architecture. I was so frustrated that the most interesting characters, the aunts who are witches, were barely in the book. Then there was the mysterious ghost-like character that hung around rather useless. The story seemed to be going nowhere and I couldn’t sit through another 500 pages being frustrated by a book with so much potential.
There was another book that was all the rage and everyone raved about it. So, I read the book and it took me forever because the most interesting character immediately hooked you but then didn’t show up for another 200 pages. I stuck with this book though since there weren’t any pages and pages of descriptions of buildings in it.”
Q. If you weren’t a writer, what career would you have chosen and why?
“Before writing full time, I was a computer programmer / software engineer / web applications developer. I would not have chosen any differently since writing and designing software is, also, a creative process.”
Q. If you could turn back time, what would you change and why?
“I would have published sooner, when the Kindle first came out.”
Q. What’s the worst and best job you’ve ever had?
“The best job is writing my books. The worst job is I worked for a waitress for a day, for free helping my cousin. Well, not for free. I was allowed all the food I could eat so I ordered everything on the menu. The owners were away so I went with my cousin who was six years older than me. I was 16 at the time. Man, waitressing is hard work!”
Q. When being interviewed what question or questions do you absolutely hate being asked? Please be honest even if one of the questions is on here.
“What’s your greatest character strength?
I hate that question because it’s a bragging question.”
Q. Are you working on any new books?
“I’m currently working on two books. I have in the past tried to work on two at a time, but I usually drop one to concentrate on the other. So, we’ll see.
I’m writing the second book in my hilarious Secret Lives of Sisters Series. The book is entitled The Pickup Artist, Dawn.”
I’m, also, writing a memoir named My Life as a Computer Scientist, The Rise of Computers.
I’m trying to work three days a week on each book and hope to publish both this year.”
Q. Is there anything you would like to add for your readers?
“Just to follow their dreams and be happy. Laugh every day and smile. Wink at the person looking back at you in the mirror and really, really like yourself. Have confidence and faith in yourself.”
Thats the end of my questions and answers with Belinda Austin. Thank you for reading, hope you enjoyed it, and if you haven’t already read her book Single and Looking: Daisy, then you don’t know what your missing!! Also I can’t wait to read some of the new books when they’re published.
You can read my review of Single and Looking: Daisy here.
Also if you would like to know more about Belinda you can connect with her using the following links