My Sunshine Award!!

Sometimes good people are hard to find, and I’m so lucky to have found lots of good and kind people on the internet, since I started writing and blogging. Lord David Prosser is one of them. A great, warm guy, and an amazing writer. I love his blog, and he, being the gentleman he is, nominated me for a blog award last week!! The Sunshine Award.

I’m still in shock, thank you so much, David!! I hope my humble post doesn’t make you regret choosing me!! O.O

So, first, I answer some questions:

What inspired you to start blogging?

Well, I was told that every writer should have one, so, as a good girl, I obeyed! 🙂

How did you come up with the name of your blog?

Oh, there was a lot of brainstorming, huge creativity and…who am I kidding?? It’s just the usual… It’s about my fiction, so… Renata F. Barcelos’ fiction! 😀 But I like it, sounds good!

What is your favorite blog that you like to read?

I swear it’s not because he nominated for this blog award, but I truly love reading The Barsetshire Diaries, by my dear friend David Prosser. He has a gift with words, and can write compelling and funny stuff all at the same time, even when the subject is not easy. Really great!

There are others I enjoy, but as I’m sure I’ll forget someone, I’ll only mention David’s.

Tell about your dream job.

As every other author, I wished to be a full time writer, having a nice studio with an amazing view, from where I’d be writing as long as I wanted every day…

Is your glass half full or half empty?

Always half full. I’m so optimistic that sometimes even I find it enervating! 🙂

If you could go anywhere on a week’s vacation, where would you go?

New York, but actually, just for one week is not good enough… My goal is to live there in the future!

What food can you absolutely not eat?

Dead animals! I’m a vegetarian, so, actually, I don’t even consider it “food”!

Dark chocolate or milk chocolate?

I don’t really like chocolate, but if I have to choose… dark. At least it’s not sweet, which I absolutely dislike. (Yeah, I know… weiiiiird!!)

How much time do you spend blogging – in other words, are you one of those lucky people who can dash off a blog post in no time, or like me and take forever on one post to get it just right?

No lucky here, nope! Same thing… A blog post can take forever, and sometimes never be published because I simply don’t think it’s good enough… That’s why I don’t have a regular schedule for posts, but write just when the inspiration comes…

Do you watch TV – if so, what are some of your favorite shows?

If I watch TV? Are you kidding me?? Boy, TV is part of the family here! My daughter and I can’t live without it! Well, to be absolutely honest, I can’t live without it, my daughter might…

I love old TV shows and movies — black and white appeals so much to me!! I Love Lucy is our favorite of all times. For the new ones, we adore Once Upon a Time, The Big Bang Theory, Grey’s Anatomy, The Soup and The Middle.

And now, to my nominations:

www.battyforbooksandlovingit.blogspot.com

http://bevjoneswriting.wordpress.com/

http://qwiklit.com

http://katevsworld.com

http://hcelliston.co.uk/#/new-blog

http://acflory.wordpress.com

www.booksasportablepiecesofthought.blogspot.com

Have fun, guys!

 

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Spotlight on Scott Cairns – Interview with Author of ‘Silver’

Scott Cairns is a new author that was recommended by Yvvette Edwards when I interviewed her a while ago. This is a tremendous recommendation, let me tell you.

His debut novel, ‘Silver’ has made it through to the quarter finals (final 500 of 10000) of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award this week.

So, let’s learn more about him and his work!

Please, tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Scott CAuthor Shotairns and I am a self published author from Wokingham. I am married with one daughter. My first novel, ‘Silver’ was published with Createspace in August 2012 and has been shortlisted for the Historical Novel Society Award and is currently one of the quarter final entrants for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013.  I have also written some short stories for teenagers (‘Hogwash & Hooey’) and compiled two further anthologies of Drama Games and Seventeenth Century Comedy Plays.. The book has some high profile fans including Yvette Edwards, Booker Shortlisted author of ‘A Cupboard Full of Coats’. I chose to self publish after receiving some rather positive but narrow minded reviews from agents. ‘Silver’ centres on the story of a transgendered man (Avery Silver) in Victorian England and how, when his secret is revealed, it devastates but does not destroy his family and reputation. One or two agents where of the opinion that, having read ‘Trumper’ by Jackie Kay, there could not be room for another novel dealing with a transgendered character. By this token, is there no room for Andrea Levy’s ‘The Long Song’ because slavery has already been written about, if ‘Schindlers Ark’ is the pinnacle of Holocaust writing then why did John Boyne write ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas‘? At first, this feedback got me down and I shelved my manuscript but I decided to take the plunge last year and self publish because I really felt that the story of Avery is one that deserved an audience. Inspired by a true story of a Tammany Hall politician who, it was revealed on his death bed in 1901, had been ‘masquerading’ as a woman, the plot is tantalising and the era allows the reader some distance to really see a different side to what is a very contemporary issue.

How long have you been writing?

I have been writing since I can remember and always dreamed of being able to call myself a novelist. ‘Silver’ is my first completed novel but I have many projects on the go and am currently completing Book 2.

Do you remember the first story you wrote?

The very first story I recall writing was in my junior school for a lovely teacher called Mrs Hallett, it was a fantasy story about an island which had a gauntlet of exciting areas which needed to be surmounted before a glorious prize could be claimed. I was really pleased with it and she was too. It won an award and she tried to get me to send it off to someone but I never did. I was embarrassed about my illustrations!

Can you tell us two eccentricities about yourself?

Try as I might, I cannot write without a soft covered, lined, large Moleskine notebook. I have a collection of over fifty notebooks in various shapes, sizes, covers and papers but I just prefer a Moleskine. This is eccentric as I type all of my work but need a notepad to keep track of family trees, character notes and images I collect to inspire me.

What was the best thing you’ve ever heard (or read) from a reader?

I heard from a reader who chose ‘Silver’ as her Book Club read. The all-female group met in February this year and they all dressed as men to discuss the book. As well as enjoying the book and being very complementary about the writing, I was thrilled to hear that the book had sparked a debate about heritage, gender, sexuality and identity – all key themes from the book. I really felt as if they had got it.

Do you have a good Indie author to recommend?

To my chagrin, I haven’t read any independent authors recently. I have been chairing two book clubs and have been reading traditionally published novels. My favourite has been by ‘The Visitation’ by Jenny Erpenbeck, a german writer whose work has been translated recently so I am unsure of the publisher. The book’s central character is a house and the novel follows the lives of its various occupants whilst within the house’s four walls. Its a chilling and compelling piece of work that touches on the horror of Nazi germany from an entirely new angle. This was a book which I jealously admired and learned from.

Who inspired and/or supported you to become a writer?

I am a huge fan of Sarah Waters, Margarat Atwood and Alice Walker and they are a source of great inspiration to many writers. Most of my favourite novels are written by women. I don’t know why this is but they seem to feel more real somehow. My mum, my wife, my Nanna and my daughter are my own network of support and inspiration, all of whom are immensely proud of my modest achievements and encourage me daily to get on with the next project. I secretly think that they want ‘Silver’ to be made into a film so they can go to the premiere. Who would play Avery? Someone like Jude Law, I think.

Do you have a WIP (Work in progress)? If so, can you tell us a little about it?

I am working on a very contemporary novel at the moment. It is a thriller and that is a huge departure for me as I much prefer the historical novel; both  to read and to write. The central character is a hoarder and I have found it fascinating to research why people become compelled to hoard on such a scale that it becomes an obsession; a dangerous one for my character…!

What is your favorite of your books? Why?

That’s easy as I only have one novel so ‘Silver’ it is!

Silver_Cover_for_Kindle

What is your favorite of your characters? Why?

I have a huge soft spot for Elizabeth Greenwood. She is feisty, hedonistic and, in some ways, quite a charmless creature but she was the easiest character to write. Her dialogue crackles with a fiery quick wit that I am jealous of and she was a pleasure to write. I have often heard writers who say that sometimes characters write themselves or that they find their stories going in directions they had not imagined and I wondered how this could happen. Well, this happened to me every time I sat down to write Elizabeth.

Do you like to interact online? What’s your favorite social media?

 I love Facebook and find it hard to ‘disconnect’. It is a horrible distraction sometimes and one that writers can ill afford. I do tweet but find it hard to find the point to Twitter.

How do you feel about marketing your books?

This has been an uphill learning curve but an essential one. As a self-published author, there is no marketing department to do this part of the job for you. If you want your book  to be read, then you have to promote it. It’s not terribly British to place yourself on a platform and give people reasons why you think they should spend money on your work. It doesn’t come naturally to me but I am learning about the art of Self Promotion all the time.

Please, give us all your links – where can your readers find you and your books?

‘Silver’ is available from Amazon in Paperback or in eBook format for Kindle.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Silver-ebook/dp/B008X9P37A

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Silver-Scott-Cairns/dp/1479132284/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1363367303&sr=8-1

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Scott! Wishing you the best of luck with the Amazon Breakthrough Novel!!

And readers, don’t go anywhere! Stay tuned for the next interview.

  • If you’re an author and want to be in my spotlight, contact me!

No guilt, eh? That must be nice… :)

I was watching an episode of ‘The Middle’, one of my favorite TV shows, the other day. It was a rerun, where the family decided to give the mother a different Mother’s Day gift: left her alone to have an entire day just for her.

She wastes the whole day in ordinary tasks, while the family has a marvelous day without her. At the end, Frankie, the mother, says to Mike, the father, how being a mother is to be always feeling guilty. If she’s with the children and wants to be alone…guilty; if she’s alone, she wants to be with them, so…guilty!

I can understand that. As a mother, I have to be away from my daughter most of the day, to work and commute. The entire day I miss her. Then when I get home, there’s always a lot to do, and there’s writing related stuff too. So I try to stay with her in the middle of all that, but it never seems like enough time.

I’m sure all parents understand that, actually. Kids grow up so fast, every day they’re slipping through our fingers, and all we can do is try to capture every minute, the feeling in them (yes, I love ABBA! Do you know that song?)…

So…how can we live with all that guilty? If I’m so tired that all I can think of doing is to take a nap, but my baby wants to chat; or if I have got to promote my book for a while, but she wants to play something; or if I just want to stay quiet for a moment, because I have a headache, and she wants to show me the new stop motion video she made…?

You know what I think? There’s no way to win. It’s just like Frankie says; a mother is always feeling guilty. You’ll never believe you’re doing enough, you’re always thinking you should do more. Now, for example…I’m writing this, because I wanted to share my thoughts, while my daughter is by my side, finding new dolls she wants to have on the internet, and I’m thinking I should be doing something with her. 🙂

The funniest part of the show is that when Frankie says it, Mike, the husband, states that he doesn’t understand, because he never feels guilty. Her answer? ‘No guilt. That must be nice.’ It might be…but I think it’s part of the ‘fun’ of being a parent. I wouldn’t change it for the world!

Well, in my family things were quite the opposite. My father played the role of Frankie. He cared, and tried his best, so I’m sure he felt guilty a lot, J. How about you, fathers and mothers? How do you deal with that feeling? How do you arrange things to spend enough quality time with your children?

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