Today, we have author Aurelia B. Rowl on the blog. Aurelia writes young adult, new adult, and contemporary romance. Thank you, Aurelia, for being here with us!
AN: What is a standard day for you like in terms of writing?
ABR: My standard writing day involves dropping my children—aged 7 and 5—at school, coming home and feeding the menagerie of pets—our 10 year-old dog and three house rabbits—then putting the kettle on before settling down at the kitchen table to write. I actually have a swanky office off the garage but I rarely use it, unless I’m up against a deadline and need to be somewhere that the wi-fi signal doesn’t reach. Ahem. Sometimes I even remember to stop for lunch and then it’s back to work until my alarm goes off, reminding me to go and collect the kids from school. I stay in ‘mum’ mode for a few hours until the kids go up to bed and will then often get back to work until my eyes refuse to stay open.
AN: What authors influenced you as a writer?
ABR: Oooh tricky one. I’m very much a reader turned writer, and never in a million years had I ever considered writing a book. Funny how things change. Throughout my late teens and early twenties, I regularly read Terry Pratchett and then practically inhaled the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling. Only when my youngest turned two did the reading bug return but it wasn’t until I started dabbling with books in the romance genre that my muse took over. On the 18th of October 2011, I decided to try my hand at writing and I haven’t looked back. By the end of 2014, I will have five books published with yet more under contract. Crazy! But anyway, back to the question…
One author that particularly springs to mind is Liz Fielding; one of the first romance authors that I read, she opened my eyes to the romance genre and showed me that it’s not all cringe-worthy purple prose. My kindle took a beating as I downloaded book after book; there was action, drama, suspense, paranormal, and more. Another author that helped to fire my imagination was Jude Deveraux, I love the supernatural thread she effortlessly weaves into her stories, but my biggest influence is probably Susan Elizabeth Phillips for making me laugh out loud. I should also give a nod to Joanna Wylde for being the first writer I came across that wrote a book predominantly in first person, with just a chapter or two from an alternate perspective in third person. I loved how this style worked and applied it to my own young adult/new adult series.
AN: How did you sign with your publisher? What was it like when you got “the call”?
ABR: Back in March 2013 I got word of Carina UK, a new British digital-first publisher about to open its virtual doors to submissions. The fact that it was a Harlequin imprint, accepting any length or genre excited me and I loved the idea of being able to write in British English, having had two books released in American English, so Carina immediately jumped to the top of my publisher wishlist. At around the same time, I got the idea for a young adult coming of age story. When the characters wouldn’t leave me alone I sat down and wrote the first three chapters—a grand total of 13K words—but then temptation got the better of me.
A fortnight before I jetted off on a family holiday, I thrashed out a synopsis and sent my proposal over to Carina. At best, I hoped for a request for a full but tried not to get my hopes up. I’d been home a few days when ‘the call’ came in offering me a two book deal, completely unreal, resulting in lots of giddy squeals and booty shaking once I’d got off the phone. The two book deal was closely followed by a further three book deal and I still have to pinch myself.
AN: Was the publishing process what you expected it to be? How did it differ from what you expected?
ABR: I was first signed by Breathless Press in September 2012 for a Christmas themed story having seen a submission call-out. With such a tight turnaround, I was thrown in at the deep end with content edits then line edits and last looks so it proved to be a steep learning curve. The biggest surprise was the amount of self-promotion and IT related work that I had to do, from creating a website to planning a blog tour and designing my own promotional material like snippets and shareables. Thankfully, I didn’t have a pre-conceived clue what to expect and I’m pretty IT savvy so I just got on with it.
AN: What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
ABR: The obvious advice is to read, then read some more, and to also try stepping out of your usual genre to see if it sparks your imagination or opens your eyes to a different style. It can also help you to discover your own voice, which brings me neatly to my next piece of advice: never try to imitate another writer—only YOU can write a story YOUR way—and also never compare your writing journey to another aspiring author. We each bring our own experiences and styles to the table, and we each have our own path to follow, so just keep going and you’ll get there one day. I’ve read words to this effect a few times now but it’s a message worth repeating: there is a word for an author who never gives up. Published.
AN: Can you tell us a little bit about your latest/upcoming release?
ABR: At the beginning of October, the second book in my young adult/new adult series came out. A Girl Called Malice picks up the story of Alice, the mean girl from Popping the Cherry hell-bent on destroying Lena. Alice’s story shows you what is going on in her world and the reason she acts the way she does. It was actually a difficult story to write, not least because Alice wouldn’t let me into her head so it was tremendously hard to connect with her but also because I had to try to redeem the bully while remaining true to her character. I am unbelievably proud of the finished story though, even if it did go way over deadline and tempted me to give up writing.
Coming up on December 1st, the new and improved version of Christmas is Cancelled, my original debut Christmas story, will be re-released by Carina UK. It’s been fun going back to my contemporary roots for a while so I’m now working on the sequel before I dive back into the world of Popping the Cherry to get stuck into book three..
Aurelia B. Rowl lives on the edge of the Peak District in the UK with her very understanding husband, their two fantastic children, and their mad rescue mutt who doesn’t mind being used as a sounding post and source of inspiration. She regularly wows them all with her curious, hastily thrown together meals when she gets too caught up with her latest writing project…or five!…and she has developed the fine art of ignoring the housework.
Aurelia writes young adult, new adult, and contemporary romance. To find out more about Aurelia, or check out her latest news, you can visit her website here.