Monday, 19 June 2017

How #Twilight Changed My Life & Why I'm Proud To Be A #Twihard (Part III)

In the previous instalment of this series, I was talking about settling for writing and publishing non-fiction in my job in the financial services sector and loosening my grip on the dream of becoming an author of fiction because of the writer's block I was suffering from for almost 10 years.

But the thing about settling for second best, and knowing you're settling, is that it never feels like enough. Doesn't bring you true happiness. Especially when the dream clings on to you even when you think you're letting go.


That Cover!

I excelled at my job and was progressing well, fast, but it wasn't what I had passion for. So it wasn't making me happy. Not as happy as when I used to spend hours writing my "novel". But I just couldn't write a single creative sentence, now. Plus, the cold and flu became my constant companion, thanks to the air-con in the office, blasting freezing air from the vents directily above my head all day, every day, all year ~ summer and winter ~ and it was getting me really depressed.

I was actually recovering from a cold when I went shopping with my best friend in the winter of 2009. I needed new winter work clothes (or maybe it was just an excuse to indulge in one of my favourite past-times, shopping?) and I also had a book token left over from years ago when I'd won a poetry competition and I wanted to spend it, buy some books to read over the coming Christmas break, get back into reading. I knew I was going to buy Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code but the rest... I'd see what caught my fancy in WHSmiths.

What caught my eye at the book shop was... yes, you've guessed it, the Twilight book cover. Gorgeous. So striking and eye-catching.

 

Now, confession time: I didn't know much about the Twilight Saga back then, had no idea how big the Twihard fandom was. Sure, I'd seen the Twilight film trailer on TV, and I even saw the film poster for New Moon (Twilight Saga, Book 2) that had/was coming out that winter at the book store, but that was it.

I couldn't resist not picking up Twilight, but the blurb didn't scream out "read me!" to me, so I put it back on the shelf. My friend approved of this action ~ she said she'd heard about the book and it wasn't all good. But the cover was so pretty... I can't remember the number of times I picked it up and how many times my friend urged me to put it back on the shelf.

Stephenie Meyer's The Host was on the same shelf and my friend said she'd heard good things about that book, and that I should get that one if I was determined to buy a Meyer book. Not Twilight. The blurb for The Host however, didn't appeal to me at all. Witches, vampires and fairies I was down with, but sci-fi and aliens? No. It wasn't my thing.

My friend couldn't convince me to buy The Host and I couldn't help picking up Twilight and putting it back on the shelf. After I decided on my other buys, I put Twilight in my basket, much to my friend's dismay. The cover was stunning and it would look great on my new book shelf!

Come Christmas, I was of course, in bed with flu. I'd so been looking forward to reading Dan Brown but I wanted to be 100% better before starting it, give it my full attention, so I opened up Twilight. I probably wouldn't like it, as my friend had warned, but I just needed to kill time until I shrugged off this annoying cold.

But.

But I loved it, from the very first sentence, the first page. I was addicted and it made me feel better, physically and mentally. It will sound strange, but something inside me changed as I read this book and got caught up in the romance and drama. I fell in love with Edward of course, and by the time I finished it, I had a huge grin on my face. I went back to the beginning and re-read it. Then, again. And again. It was a great feeling, and I had to go back for more.

I felt better about myself, my life, my job (even if it meant suffering under the air con vents in the office), and my depressive slump was over. I wanted to re-read the book again but I refrained, else I'd get fed up of it, bored. I didn't want to get fed up. I vowed to read it again next Christmas and a tradition began.

At this point, most readers in my position would order the rest of the series from Amazon, right? Not me. I just ordered book 2, New Moon. I knew that if I had the whole series at my fingertips, I'd finish it within days, and I didn't want to fly through them. I wanted the feeling I got from reading this series to last as long as possible.



This post will continue next Monday. I hope you enjoyed Part III. If you're interested in my novel, click the image below to learn more about it:
 


Like all my other books, it's also available on:
iBooks   |   B&N Nook   |   Kobo |   Smashwords 


Book Details

Length: 110,000 words
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Clean Romance / Diverse Romance / Interracial Romance / Romantic Drama / Women’s Fiction

Mood: Inspirational / Feel Good / Coming of Age / Dark
Content: Sexy but No explicit sex scenes / No erotica
Audience: New Adult & College / Adult / Female Readers

Recommended for: Readers that enjoy romance novels with serious issues and characters with depth. This is a story about life, love, friendship, family, music, art, destiny and soul mates.


And the first two books in my teen urban fantasy/YA paranormal romance series, the Poison Blood series, can be downloaded for free via:

Amazon USAmazon UK|   iBooks US & UK   |   B&N Nook Store   |   Smashwords




PB1 Book Details

Length: 29,000 words
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance / Teen Vampire Romance / Young Adult Paranormal Fantasy / Teen & YA Urban Fantasy / Young Adult Science Fiction & Fantasy / Supernatural Romance / Fantasy Romance
Mood: Dark / Humorous / Coming of age
Content: No violence / No explicit sex scenes / No erotica
Audience: Teen / Young Adult / New Adult / Adult
Recommended for: Readers that love all things vampires, slayers and witches!

Monday, 12 June 2017

How #Twilight Changed My Life and Why I'm Proud To Be A #Twihard (Part II)

In Part I, I told you that I'd written my first "novel" in my teens and could picture a whole series around the characters I'd created. I knew I wanted to become an author, and with my first "book" under my belt, I could continue my writing journey. Right?

Wrong.


The Writer's Block

My father passed away when I was 15 and writer's block set in. My writing is linked to my emotions, so of course, I couldn't write anything creative again.

Life got really hectic after high school. I went to college (A-Level Biology, Sociology, Psychology and AS-Level Chemistry) and then Uni (BSc Psychology at UCL) and reading and writing fiction felt like a thing of the past, the passion of a person that no longer existed.  
And that person kept changing, too. I was still very shy and introverted, but I'd made some good friends in college and Uni, and with them, I sort of came out of my shell. Well, a little bit. Sometimes. When I wasn't busy studying, cooped up in the little computer cubicles in our Psychology department.

Anyway.

In the summer of 2006, I got the results of my final exams at Uni. I was 2% away from a First Class degree in Psychology, at UCL, one of the best Universities in the world for that subject. I was gutted. I couldn't stop thinking about the difference a First ~ from UCL ~ would've made for me, as I started applying for jobs.

I didn't mope around for long, though. Just days later, my mum was diagnosed with cancer. It was heartbreaking, for all of us, but we were lucky that the cancer was detected in the early stages, when surgery would most likely be able to remove it all. Her operation was on the same day as my graduation ceremony so I missed it. Of course I was going to be there for my mum. If my writer's block had any inclination to break down, then my mother's condition strengthened the block. I have no regrets about that, though. I was glad to be there for my mum, taking care of her after the surgery.

Once she recovered, she urged me to start looking for jobs and get my career going. I loved the research aspect of my degree; I thought research was what I wanted to do for a living. If I had to choose. In all honesty, I didn't know what I wanted for a career ~ since I couldn't write anymore, being an author was not an option any more. I was good at most things, but didn't know what would be good for me in the long run.

Once I started my full-time job in the financial services sector, that replaced TV and studies as the thing that controlled/took over my life. I was extremely lucky that I got to write, edit, and publish articles, blog posts and books as part of my job, but it wasn't creative writing. It was analyses of financial data, fact and research-based, informative and impartial. The in-house style was strict and concise, but it was easy for me to adapt to it, as I had to write loads of essays and lab reports for my degree in a similar style.

The dream of becoming a fiction writer dimmed further ~ I can't say it faded away completely, because dreams like these never do ~ but I consoled myself by remembering that I was writing and publishing books, something I always wanted to do. It just wasn't fiction, that's all.

This post continues in Part III. I hope you enjoyed Part II. If you're interested in my novel, click the image below to learn more about it: 
 


Like all my other books, it's also available on:
iBooks   |   B&N Nook   |   Kobo |   Smashwords 


Book Details

Length: 110,000 words
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Clean Romance / Diverse Romance / Interracial Romance / Romantic Drama / Women’s Fiction

Mood: Inspirational / Feel Good / Coming of Age / Dark
Content: Sexy but No explicit sex scenes / No erotica
Audience: New Adult & College / Adult / Female Readers

Recommended for: Readers that enjoy romance novels with serious issues and characters with depth. This is a story about life, love, friendship, family, music, art, destiny and soul mates.


And the first two books in my teen urban fantasy/YA paranormal romance series, the Poison Blood series, can be downloaded for free via:

Amazon USAmazon UK|   iBooks US & UK   |   B&N Nook Store   |   Smashwords




PB1 Book Details

Length: 29,000 words
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance / Teen Vampire Romance / Young Adult Paranormal Fantasy / Teen & YA Urban Fantasy / Young Adult Science Fiction & Fantasy / Supernatural Romance / Fantasy Romance
Mood: Dark / Humorous / Coming of age
Content: No violence / No explicit sex scenes / No erotica
Audience: Teen / Young Adult / New Adult / Adult
Recommended for: Readers that love all things vampires, slayers and witches!

Monday, 5 June 2017

How #Twilight Changed My Life and Why I'm Proud To Be A #Twihard (Part I)

I feel as though this article needs a few 'disclaimers' due to the title of the post and the hype (both positive and negative) around Twilight. So...

Disclaimer 1: This post is really about what triggered the impulse to write again, and how I got from not writing anything creative for a whole decade to writing 4 books in the space of 2 years. Twilight played a big role in this and really did change my life.

And I'm not the only one who was influenced by this paranormal romance series by Stephenie Meyer ~ last year, when it was the 10th anniversary of Twilight, so many BookTubers shared how Twilight inspired them to read books again and blog/vlog about books in general.

Here's my favourite BookTuber, Christine from polandbananasBooks summing up what a lot of Twilight fans feel about the series: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spbt1IiI0Lo&app=desktop

Disclaimer 2: I love the Twilight Saga, but it's okay if you don't, or have no intentions of reading it if you've steered clear from it. This post isn't going to try to convince you to read/like it. The reason I feel like I have to say this out right is because of the look us Twihards sometimes get when we mention the series.

Here's Christine again, talking about her experience on the matter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_byiS1qYoIM&app=desktop

Right, with the disclaimers out of the way, let's get to my article. 


Starting Young

Us authors start off pretty young. From the moment we learn how to string together sentences into paragraphs, we're writing stories, sometimes even producing our own 'paperback' books in school ~ folding up stacks of A4-sized paper and stapling down the fold (or, the spine) so it looks like a book.

I started writing stories since the moment I learned how to read and write English. It's not my 'first language'. I was born in Bangladesh but have lived in the UK since I was 8 months old. However, because my family was always moving around in my early years, I only started primary school when I was 7-years-old, after we finally settled down in Bethnal Green, East London. It wasn't ideal, starting school so late and in the middle of the academic year, and I spent that whole year playing catch-up.

I had TV though, so I could speak and understand English well enough (when I bothered to speak; I was incredibly shy!), but it was in school that I discovered my love for books and reading, where I learned the basics of grammar and expanded my vocabulary. I'd always make up stories in my head, and as soon as I learned how to write them down, I did little else. When I learned that the people who wrote books were called authors and it was possible to become one, that's what I wanted to do when I grew up.

Oh, I was never short of ideas, always writing something, whether it was songs, poetry or short stories. All my 'works of fiction' had a supernatural element, though ~ witches, vampires, fairies and other make-believe creatures. These were the beings I loved reading about, so naturally, I'd spin stories around them, too. If I had Harry Potter back then, it would've been my favourite thing to read. And re-read (though I try to re-read this series whenever I can now, too!).

In secondary school, we didn't get to write stories as much as we did in primary school, but whenever I got the chance to write creatively, there would always be ~ where possible ~ a magical, fantasy, supernatural element to them.

Unfortunately, secondary school was also the time when I, like many others around me, stopped reading for leisure (though I loved it whenever we read anything for English class ~ from Shakespeare's Twelfth Night and Romeo & Juliet, to Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird, and how can we forget The Changeover, and of course Bridge to Terabithia) and TV took over my life (oops!). Not to mention homework. Thankfully, I remained determined to write when I had the chance. Writing wasn't something I gave up on.

Astonishingly, when I came to writing my first "novel" ~ I have to write the word novel in speech marks because I was only 13/14 when I started this "novel" and it was complete and utter rubbish ~ it was a contemporary. Yes, a contemporary! No magic, witches or vampires, just a simple story about a simple girl like the one I wished I was.

It took me a long while to finish the first draft ~ like I said, TV and homework had taken over my life ~ but I was proud to have accomplished that. I started planning a "sequel" ~ don't we all? ~ and even started writing the "prologue" for it. I could picture a whole series around these characters that I'd created and I seemed to have planted my feet firmly on the path to becoming a writer.

Continues in Part II. I hope you enjoyed Part I. If you're interested in my debut novel, click the image below to learn more about it:
 


Like all my other books, it's also available on:
iBooks   |   B&N Nook   |   Kobo |   Smashwords 


Book Details

Length: 110,000 words
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Clean Romance / Diverse Romance / Interracial Romance / Romantic Drama / Women’s Fiction

Mood: Inspirational / Feel Good / Coming of Age / Dark
Content: Sexy but No explicit sex scenes / No erotica
Audience: New Adult & College / Adult / Female Readers

Recommended for: Readers that enjoy romance novels with serious issues and characters with depth. This is a story about life, love, friendship, family, music, art, destiny and soul mates.


And the first two books in my teen urban fantasy/YA paranormal romance series, the Poison Blood series, can be downloaded for free via:

Amazon USAmazon UK|   iBooks US & UK   |   B&N Nook Store   |   Smashwords




PB1 Book Details

Length: 29,000 words
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance / Teen Vampire Romance / Young Adult Paranormal Fantasy / Teen & YA Urban Fantasy / Young Adult Science Fiction & Fantasy / Supernatural Romance / Fantasy Romance
Mood: Dark / Humorous / Coming of age
Content: No violence / No explicit sex scenes / No erotica
Audience: Teen / Young Adult / New Adult / Adult
Recommended for: Readers that love all things vampires, slayers and witches!