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Saturday, 10 December 2011
AUTHOR INTERVIEW - MAGDA M OLCHAWSKA
1. What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
I’m Magda M. Olchawska. I was born in Wroclaw, Poland. At the moment I partly live in London & Wroclaw.
2. Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I always wanted to tell stories in one way or another. So I started my storyteller path as a filmmaker.
3. When did you first consider yourself as a "writer"?
I think in May 2011 at the film festival where I had to introduce myself & tell people what I do.
4. Did it take a long time to get your first book published?
Last year I put my first book online for free as a pdf file. During the same time I started looking for a publisher but all in vain. I had the story written for my second book for two years before I started getting everything together to self-publish. So I would say 2,5 years, in total.
5. Do you work another job as well as your writing work?
I’m a full time writer & filmmaker & I run a website for filmmakers on daily basis.
6. What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
“Mikolay & Julia In The Attic” is a magical children story about two wizards who manage to help other children escape horrible fate.
7. Who is your publisher? or do you self publish?
8. How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
It varies depending on the length of the book. But usually I work intensively on a book for 3 or 4 months. Then I walk away for a while & come back to do some more re-writes. I rewrite a lot ☺
9. Which of your books were easier/harder to write than the others?
For me the easiest is to write children books. At the moment I’m finding quite hard to write women’s fiction.
10. What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
More books about Mikolay & Julia’s adventures. I have a specific number in mind so I hope I’ll be able to come up with enough stories. Currently I’m working on: “My Mom Is A Superhero” which is going to be a series of 2 – 4 stories about how different family members are seen by other family members. “Pooh Gets a Beating” is an illustrated book based on my son’s naughty behavior towards his best friend Pooh. And “Maggie Lee” what is a more grown-up short novel about a 30’s single mom who is a super warrior from a super secret society.
11. Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
I have another seven stories written for “Mikolay & Julia Adventures” & seven ideas for Mikolay & Julia stories.
12. What genre would you place your books into?
Children fantasy books.
13. Do you have a favourite out of the books you have written? If so why is it your favourite?
For the moment Mikolay & Julia are my favourite characters. But it could change next year when, hopefully, I publish more books.
14. Do you have a favourite character from your books? and why are they your favourite?
I think it’s Julia ‘cos she is smart & always tries to be reasonable. However being a good friend she never lets Mikolay down and always saves him from getting into loads of troubles.
15. How long have you been writing? And who or what inspired you to write?
I’ve been writing screenplays for 10 years and short stories/ books for about 4 years. At the moment my son is my inspiration.
16. Where do you get your book plot ideas from?
For me ideas come from all over the place. Often it starts with one word or a phrase, image, illustration, sometimes a dream. I just start with what if…
17. Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you officially release them? Yes, quite a few people.
18. Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?
Yes & I do giveaways too.
19. Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
At the moment, I do.
20. What was the toughest/best review you have ever had?
My hubby is always pretty tough on me & tells me what is wrong with my stories. The best reviews though are always from kids.
21. How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books? Who designed the Cover of your books?
My illustrator does the book covers. With illustrated books for children it’s much easier ‘cos all the images are right there. ☺
Thankyou for taking the time to take part in this interview Magda!
22. How do you market/promote your books? I’m just starting to market my book. The first one “Mikolay & Julia Meet The Fairies” was always free of charge so I didn’t do that much marketing. But this is what I do & have been doing lately:
- I tweet a lot
- I use goodreads.com for both, my books & reviewing other authors’ books.
- I ask people/authors if they would like to review my book. However, I do have established relationship with everyone before.
- I’m trying to organize blog tour but don’t know how well that will go yet ☺
- I’m going to have a banner advert on a children book site.
I think this is it for now. But if I come across anything else, I will let you know.
23. What do you think makes a book a really good/bestseller ? I have no idea. So many different books become bestsellers that it is hard to find the magic formula I would say. A really good book for me is a book with interesting characters & the story, that teaches the reader something.
24. Have you ever suffered from a "writer's block"? What did you do to get past the "block"? I usually suffer from “writer’s block” over the summer ‘cos it’s too hot for me to write. I just wait for the summer to be over & get back to writing.
25. What do you do to unwind and relax? I go to the cinema or play with my son.
26. Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you? Often I build my characters on the people I know. Especially when I write screenplays. Events, not that often.
27. Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..") “Mikolay & Julia Meet The Fairies’ teaches children about environment & recycling.“Mikolay & Julia In the Attic” warns children against stranger-danger.
28. Which format of book do you prefer, ebook, hardback, or paperback? I like e-books & paperback.
29. What is your favourite book and Why? Have you read it more than once? “The Trial”, “1984”, “The Plague”, “Northern Lights”.
30. Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favourite/worst book to movie transfer? Not all books transfer well to movies & some shouldn’t be transferred at all. The movies based on books I liked were: “Harry Potter” & “The Lord of The Rings”
31. What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it?(ebook, hardback or paperback) I’m reading a bunch of books: “The Tiger Princess” by Sarah Renee, “Rascals Sing at the Opera House” by Patricia Puddle, “The Nameless World” by Heather Payer-Smith & “Selling Your Film Without Selling Your Soul” by Jon Reiss & Sheri Candler. All are e-books.
32. Do you think eBooks will ever totally replace printed books? No, I don’t think so. I still love the smell & touch of the printed books and I guess loads of other people like it too. However e-books give the readers amazing opportunities to discover new writers & stories.
33. Do you think children at schools these days are encouraged enough to read? and/or do Imaginative writing? I think it’s very challenging for teachers nowadays ‘cos their resources are extremely limited & they have to fight to gain child’s attention with TV, reality TV, games, computers, etc. I think parents should take active interest in developing love for books in children from very early age.
34. Is there a book you know you will never read? Or one you tried to read but just couldn't finish? I tired to read Ziemianski’s work but now I know I’ll never read it. He is one of those authors you either love or hate.
35. Are there any New Authors you are interested in for us to watch out for? and Why should we watch out for them? Patricia Puddle, Heather Payer-Smith, Mandi Tillotson Williams, Claude Nougat, Sandra Westendorf-Coelho & Emmy Swain.
36. Is there anything in your book/books you would change now if you could and what would it be? I don’t think I would. I’m happy exactly with what they are.
37. What do you think about book trailers? I like book trailers as long as they are well done. Some of the trailers are unwatchable. I think writers should think about the trailers as visual representation of their book. So if the trailer isn’t good people would think that the book isn’t good either. I don’t mean spending loads of money on making your trailer. But think about writing a script for your trailer & use images/photographs, which are really good quality.
38. What piece of advice would you give to a new writer? Don’t give up keep on writing & get used to the idea that self-publishing is the new way of publishing books. Unless you are a celebrity ☺
39. Do you or would you ever use a pen name? Maybe in the past. But now I’m comfortable with using my real name.
40. Where can readers follow you?
a) Your blog details?
b) Your Facebook page?
c) Your Goodreads author page?
d) Your Twitter details?