rene Edwards is a retired teacher who now writes fantasy fiction for children. As an educator, she taught Primary level in many parts of the UK; London, Essex, Coventry, Midlands, Cardiff, Port Talbot, Swansea and Carmarthenshire. She then qualified as a Teacher of the Deaf at The Lady Spencer Churchill College, Oxford, working at first within unit settings and later moving to peripatetic, for schools and clinics. Knowing how important literature and language was to the structure of speech and language development, on retirement she began to research into the imaginary minds of children and their world of literature and writing.
To find out more – https://cgofwales.co.uk/
What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book(s), but nobody has? Write it out here, and then answer it.
Would you recommend a publisher?
This can be a catch area. Many new writers need to look at this part of the process carefully before deciding where to submit their work. Read up and get your homework right on this. It will make or break the writer.
What is your writing process? Do you follow a regular routine or do you have any weird, funny, or unusual habits while writing and what are they?
Weird, possibly, because I prefer to understand my forward path, before I sit down to compose. In other words, a small wrinkle of inspiration can give me some spontaneous thought by day or night. I think a lot, wait for that idea to emerge and know I can begin to be creative.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
Ah! I walk away from my work, and stay away until my thinking becomes clearer, then I usually ditch previous scripts to recompose again, possibly from an alternative angle. Again…I wait for an inspirational thought or mood to happen.
What is the single most important piece of advice for aspiring authors?
Join a writing club. Get to know other’s opinions and methods, and learn a lot. When ready, write and ask other writers for their opinions and advice.
What are your current/future projects?
I have a novel on half at the moment and am working at it when the mood takes me in its direction. Not yet completed but almost there.
Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?
I was a teacher, so probably felt I was more comfortable with that familiar genre. I never write two or more books at the same time.
What do you think is the future for independent authors and do you think it will continue to be easy for anyone to be a published author?
Never easy. One can only be good if one is able to advertise on social media, market to the public, and sell yourself to your readers.
Are you traditional or self-published, and what process did you go through to get your book published?
Published in both ways. Traditional…this was when a stranger needed proof and some convincing that my work was worth his interest and any investment made. Self-publishing…simpler but only worked in ways of bringing immediate exposure to the books. There was no waiting process here, no one to convince in the composition of the writing, just a deliverance to the public eye.
Have you ever changed a title, book cover, or even the content of your book after it was published? What was that process like?
Yes. Yes. Yes…to all. Easy when self-publishing
What opportunities have being an author presented you with and share those memories? (i.e. travel, friends, events, speaking, etc
Not a lot. I hit Covid lockdowns and abnormal times.
What are your marketing, advertising, promotion strategies and which one(s) have worked the best for you? If you had to share your most valuable promotion tip, what would that be?
There are choices. Some are useful. Most social media portals will build up a following to your
writings/books, and will promote. Try as many as you are able and network with others of similar interests. Try and find an expert in the digital field who will be able to make it all point to exposure of your works and understand how to create banners and adverts. Have someone build up your web site for you too.
If you are a self-published author, which platform do you prefer? (Amazon, Smashwords, Lulu, Author House, or something not mentioned), and why?
Not sure on this one yet.
What field or genre would you classify your book(s) and what attracted you to write in that field or genre?
Children’s. Having taught and been a mother, it just seemed the right way to go for me.
What do you do if inspiration strikes in an inconvenient place like (car, restaurant, bathroom/shower, etc..) and how do you capture that moment before it gets away from you?
More difficult. I just try to carry my thoughts with me until I sit back at my computer. If I have access to pen/paper it becomes simpler to write down the pattern of events as you believe they should be.
Do you have a target amount of words/pages for each of your books or do you just know when enough is enough?
The end arrives when the time says it is right. It is never right to prolong a story for the sake of it
How do you think you have evolved as a person/author because of your writing and do you believe your writing has helped others, how/why?
My writing has helped some teachers for resources…that kind of thing.
How much influence do you believe a title, cover, content, page numbers have in purchasing decisions of potential buyers/readers?
Very important. If executed by an expert the work can be made to sing and dance, or so I’ve been told.
Do you believe there is value in a Press Release, have you used any press release service, and what have your experiences been?
None used. The press releases are wonderful at all times.
Do you believe there is value in a review? Do you believe they are under rated, overrated, or don’t matter at all?
Pending whether the reviews are sensible, polite and realistic, it is always a welcoming factor to get readers onboard.
What are your thoughts on authors doing review swaps, paying for reviews, or reviews that just don’t seem right for the book?
Never bothered with this side of it. Usually, people only leave their thoughts if they feel it is important that they do so.
Do you believe there are competitors or general readers out to sabotage authors with bad reviews and what are your experiences with this?
Never been bothered by this.
Have you ever had an interesting, funny, or even bad experience during a live interview, reading, event, or autograph session?
Possibly, caught out on an interview from the USA once when still in my nightdress as it was late night here in UK
With self publishing being so easy these days, do you believe there is an over abundance of books out there and how do you sort through all the hype or copycats?
It’s great to have choices and opportunities. Yes, the market is loaded full of works… but why not encourage all. Writing is a creative art and needs to freely express itself. I like innovation and open minds. Good luck to all who write. Some will win.
What is your biggest fear about having a book published?
The publisher. Always looking for a trustworthy firm. Some will scam. So, take care.
If you have multiple books published what do you feel is your greatest work, why?
N/A in my case.
What is the intended audience for your book?
Give us a fun fact about your book(s)?
I write light reading fantasy/ fun books… there will be humour interwoven into the events as the fantasy unfolds allowing for all types of magical improbabilities
If you had the chance to get one message out there to reach readers all over the world, what would that message be?
Keep reading. Keep seeking. Keep learning. Keep writing.
Do you find it easier to connect with your readers with the advances in technology we have today like social media? What platform do you prefer, and why?
Facebook is a closely knit subject orientated world if you begin to search for books/publications/writers and it’s easy to connect with others for daily exposure. I like Twitter and Linkedin for professionalism. There are many more such as Instagram, yes even Lulu.
What makes a good story, why?
A good beginning, a capturing middle, a satisfying ending and conclusion.
The interest is three-fold in a book/ novel. Start…it must hold the reader right at the start. Middle…many books get boring at this point, but a page turner is wonderful to read, even in an eventful middle section. End…one must be able to finally put the book down with the feeling of wellness and a wish to re- read it again someday.
How important are names to you in your books?
Names are fun items. They should fit in with the story form. For historical books, appropriately chosen and dated accordingly. Modern day stories can have trendy named characters. Magical stories can have mysterious character names. Nursery books usually gather easy to say simple familiar character names, and so on. Geographically, quite often pending on country of origin or setting, tradition will dictate character names.
Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?
If I like the sound of the name, I’ll use it. Simple. No, I don’t always use classified resources for names unless stuck, or unless something needs background study or research.
Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?
Yes, I do read reviews. I don’t always respond either. Tricky to give advice on the matter of bad comments.
What are some events you have attended or participated in that has been a positive experience/influence on/for your writing?
Some Book Fairs and Book Festivals are my favourite. A few Book Award evenings were lovely too.
What is the easiest/hardest scene for you to write, why? (Love, action, fight, death, racy, controversial, etc…)
No scene is easy unless it flows well and creates the perfect atmosphere. I write for children who enjoy magical adventures.
What would you like to write about that you have never written about before?
Life, love and drama or historical drama.
Have you ever had a book idea or characters come to you in a dream? What did you do about it afterwards?
Yes often, and it works if one can wake up and write it down within the next split second.
Do you have any characters you would like to introduce in other books or a combination of characters from multiple books you would like to write about in one book?
Stefan’s adventures would be interesting. But I wouldn’t want to keep recreating the same character continually.
Were your characters based on real life people/events or did you make it all up?
Nothing was based on real life…it couldn’t be, as it was based on magical fictional happenings that only mirrored with reality. In my books ecofiction was the key to understanding rubbish/ recycling measures, or a global warming disaster.
The books have been dedicated to Stefan, but that’s purely a dedication.
What are the most important elements of good writing? According to you, what tools are must-haves for writers?
Writing friends are an useful tool for; appraisals, sharing of works, advice, critiques, suggestions and trends…often discovered as a bond at writing circles or classes.
An expert to guide the novice is the second throttle in the game…it’s important to listen to the advice given through the words of experience and know how, and who can connect every loose end for the work in hand.
Techniques, researches, imagination, patience, tolerance, work habits, desires, enthusiasm…I could go on…but it all adds up to a final product.
Understanding that novel writing has format, cliff hanging chapters, bridge chapters, a pattern of events, all of which contributes to planning of final drafting.
An understanding of the genre at hand, the age or interest range too.
It’s all like a witch’s brewing pot…one is trying to cast a spell upon the reader and draw the reader further and further into the book.
What book(s), author(s), or significant life event(s) have had a positive or negative influence in your life that inspired you to begin writing?
All Authors fascinate me. Obviously, the classics are the best written, but often only flavour that of their era. Moving forward…have you read Peter May, C.J.Sandsom, Cookson, Gower, Tope, Bryson, Potter…so many, yet so good. Too many to mention but many were really inspirational.
What are your thoughts about eBooks vs. print books?
I used to have an ebook publication and need to have another. They’re useful for those who don’t want their homes cluttered with books. Me…I also love paperbacks and hardbacks too.
Do you view writing as a career, labor of love, hobby, creative outlet, therapy, or something else?
Most of the above, really. It can start at one point in time and end in another. So, it can be a hobby or therapy and end as a career. Who knows? I think it’s pending how far the writer wants to go.
Were there any challenges (research, literary, psychological, or logistical) in bringing your book to life?
Magical Fantasy genre offers minimal opportunity for in-depth research, but having said that all can play its part… even in Fantasy.
Do you proofread/edit your own books or do you send them off to an editor? If you send them off to an editor, who/what have you had the best experience with?
Bit of both. Every novel once completed requires as many edits as possible. The editor needs to be up to his job to meet his fee.
What are the advantages/disadvantages of self or traditional publishing
Traditional Publishing is difficult to secure. It pays royalties, circulates books to catalogues and shops. I have a preference towards their professional approach, but otherwise self- publishing requires the writer to be the marketeer and force behind the writings as a total singular entity. A fair task which many writers flop at.
Do you have a subject/genre you would never write about, why?
Could be politics. Too changeable a notion.
What motivates you to write and where does your inspiration come from?
Having the time is the biggest motivator. Unless one can fit your life around your creativity, one can be snookered. Time is a factor. What shall I do for the next few hours? Inspiration is another huge factor…Does one want to sit and write for the next few hours and what thoughts have been
conjured up? A few good ideas have sprung to mind. Good. And so, let’s write about it then.
What makes your book stand out from the crowd?
Why should it have to stand out from the crowd?
Do you design your own cover? If not who does, why?
I always pay a cover designer for the cover design and we just share ideas before the work begins.
What is your most/least favorite part of the writing process, why?
I approach my writing when I feel I want to express something, or plan something crucial. Or even when I know I am ready to add or contribute to the story. With this attitude in mind, I’m happy to spend my hours in solitude, especially if I’m in the mood to dive into my writing. My least favourite part of the process would be having continuous interruptions, or someone hammering at the door and breaking me away from my thought processes. But that’s life!