Greetings, Inklings! I hope you’ve had a wonderful week of writing, re-writing, editing, reading, and brightening the world with your literary light!
I am so excited to have fellow author and blogger Nadia King on the blog today! I connected with her on social media (how else does an introverted writer like me connect with other authors??) and was instantly enchanted by her inspirational photos, informative posts, and unmistakable love for the writing community. We also share a favorite fruit (apples), so there’s that …
Today Nadia and I talk about what inspired her YA novel about bullying, the easiest and toughest parts about writing it, her writing process, productivity and marketing tips, which authors she most admires, and what she does to refill her creative well. Now grab some coffee, get cozy, and enjoy the interview!
Have you always been a professional writer? If not, when/why did you transition to becoming one?
A couple of years ago, I found myself floundering. I was beginning to feel the twitch of itchy fingers but didn’t have a clue how to soothe the itch. One night on a rooftop bar overlooking the city, I had the good fortune to meet a New York playwright. I plied him for advice. He looked at me very seriously over his Scotch and said with exasperation to go home and bloody well write. I didn’t need to read books or attend courses, what I most needed to do was to get some words on the page. The playwright’s advice let forth an avalanche and now I’m not certain I could stop writing even if I tried.
What do you like most about writing for a tween/teen audience? Do you find older readers enjoy your YA books as well? If so, why do you think that is?
I like to think that writing for a YA or children’s audience gives authors an opportunity to change the world. My debut book, Jenna’s Truth, hopefully sends the message that teens can create their own truth and should discover their own identity rather than letting someone else define their identity for them.
Older readers have also enjoyed reading Jenna’s Truth as it gives them (especially parents) the opportunity to rediscover the world of teens and the challenges they are facing.
Can you tell us about your first novel (Jenna’s Truth) and what inspired you to write it?
Jenna’s Truth was born from the tragic, true story of Canadian teen Amanda Todd who committed suicide after suffering from bullying and cyberbullying for several years. Her video on YouTube broke my heart. I was horrified to see we had lost a bright and vibrant young girl because she made one mistake on social media.
The teen in my book isn’t super smart, super talented or super attractive. She’s just an ordinary girl who, like Amanda Todd, made a mistake. Her mistake has a snowball effect and she finds herself making a life-or-death decision based on what others think her life is worth.
What were the easiest and most difficult parts of writing it?
The easiest part of writing Jenna’s Truth was discovering the story world. The most difficult part centred around the technical aspects of writing. How could I fit a whole story into a very short piece of work? I needed to keep the story short so that reading would easily fit into one lesson. Jenna’s Truth is very much designed to be used in the classroom and it was these constraints that made the writing difficult. For example, how do you write a realistic attempted suicide without educating your readers on the how-to’s of such an act?
In general, what is your least favorite part of the writing process and why?
I find it hard to rewrite. Editing isn’t as difficult but cutting more than half your work and finding out how to make the story come alive can be challenging. I’ve recently come to the realisation that writing isn’t a solitary exercise; we need input from other writers and readers if we are truly to make a mark on the world.
Are you a “plotter” or a “pantser,” or perhaps a blend of both? Have you tried writing both ways?
Aargh! Plotting kills me. Seriously. I have tried and it just hasn’t worked for me. Saying that, I am attending a plotting masterclass tomorrow so maybe I will change my mind. For my latest WIP, I spent a lot of time outlining, and when it came to the story, all that plotting just went out the window. My characters are very opinionated and I’ve found it easier to follow them through the story rather than forcing them into an outline. Saying that, I usually have a general idea of where I want my characters to go but I let them choose how to get there.
Do you have any writing tricks or tips for productivity?
If you can manage it, write every day. And read. Read copiously. Together, these will lead to productivity.
Where do you go for inspiration when you feel your creativity well is running dry?
If I’m stuck in a story I tend to head out into the real world. I may work at a cafe or at my health club. Just being out in the world makes me want to be productive. Once I’ve got my notebook out, the world disappears and I am free to live in my head again. So far, this has never failed me.
Which contemporary authors do you admire most, and why?
There are so many authors I admire. A particular favourite is Japanese author, Haruki Murakami. I love the way he sucks me into his worlds. He puts in ordinary details but writes them like poetry. Other favourite authors include Australian author, Favel Parrett, Hanya Yanagihara, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sylvia Plath and of course, Jane Austen.
What’s your all-time favorite work of fiction and why?
I love, love, love Norwegian Wood by Murakami. It gave me the biggest book hangover. I’m particularly drawn to loss and Murakami explores it exceptionally well in this novel. Writing that has a haunting lyricism also draws me, so that’s why I love this novel so much.
Do you have any marketing tricks or tips for authors who are new to publishing?
I don’t think there’s any magic shortcuts or tricks with book marketing. My word of advice is to focus on author branding rather than book marketing. One day, you will hopefully have many books to sell so don’t focus on just one book, focus on branding yourself as an author. Some tools you can use to help include establishing an author website, regular blogging, building an email list, using Mailchimp to distribute your newsletters, establishing your author page on Goodreads, etc., delving into social media to maximise your online presence, local promotion, joining professional associations, connecting with other authors and most importantly, having fun with your branding.
Australian author, Nadia L. King, was born in Dublin, Ireland. She has a background in journalism and media relations, and has written for magazines in Europe and the US. She reads voraciously and enthusiastically and inhales books the same way her Labrador inhales her dog biscuits. Nadia is an overexcited person who adores words, loves writing short stories and keeps a blog at nadialking.wordpress.com. Her writing has been described as “raw, real and heart-wrenching.” Her first book, Jenna’s Truth, is published by Aulexic and is a powerful tool to arm teens against bullying. Nadia lives near the Swan River in Western Australia.
Inspired by Amanda Todd’s tragic story of bullying, Jenna’s Truth is more than just teen short story. It’s a lesson in empathy, self-awareness, and speaking out about what matters, especially bullying. Jenna’s Truth, written by Nadia L. King is a gripping story, which explores the themes of cyberbullying, teen drinking, sex, and suicide. Life isn’t black and white, and sometimes teens can be the most insensitive people.
What happens when the very group of teens you crave to belong to, end up being responsible for one of the most painful and humiliating events in your life?
Published by Aulexic, a publisher specialising in books for children with language and literacy difficulties, Jenna’s Truth is dyslexia-friendly and contains features that aid in comprehension and developing vocabulary. The story is kept short, at just 6,000 words and includes curriculum connections, discussion questions, and recommended activities, making it an ideal tool for use in the classroom in grades nine and ten (15-16yos). It’s length also makes it an ideal quick-read read at home or during transit.
If you’re against cyberbullying, want to help someone who might be a victim of bullying, or you’re experiencing bullying in your life right now, read Jenna’s Truth today!