About Ali O’Donovan:
Ali O’Donovan has previously worked in media education and is an award winning producer. She now lives in the south of France with her “certain someone” and young daughter.
She has lived all over the world but is firmly of the opinion that Kerry in the south of Ireland is, despite the rain, a little bit of heaven.
What inspires you to write?
I have always written. But what directly inspires me is the desire to tell a story. A character sparks into life and I take the character for a walk. We can only live one life in our one body. But our imaginations can transport us to different worlds.
Landscape and nature is also a major inspiration. I think of a character in a specific place and that provides their world.
The character of Annie was directly inspired by a picture of a primary school teacher I saw in a magazine when I was visiting friends in Kerry. It was taken on the first day of school and she literally bursting with life. It mentioned she had previously worked in England. And I began to think about what might have brought this woman to that place. The story soon took on a life of its own. But that was the seed.
I also wanted to write about the astonishing landscape and beauty of Kerry. It is an ancient healing place of resonance and myth. I felt a woman in crisis in her thirties would find this a place of dreams and adventure.
Tell us about your writing process.
I normally just start writing to find the voice of the character. In the case of Annie, the voice came very quickly. Her head was teeming with thoughts. Then I sketched out the plot in a notebook. It changed a bit when the characters took over.
I write best when I enjoy the journey. So I wrote the first draft for fun. Then I went back to revise and re-write. I showed it to an editor friend who was very supportive and loved the character.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
all the time! I like living with them in my head.
If I get stuck, I try to imagine them in a different place. This often frees up the blockage.
What advice would you give other writers?
Buy a notebook and write Chapter 1. Don’t edit the first draft. Just keep your hand flowing. Stick at it. Show up at the page.
Then when you have a first draft, knock it into shape. Don’t try to edit when you are creating. It might block and inhibit you. It doesn’t matter if its garbled or uneven. The editing will sort that out.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I am an established author with a publisher in another genre. But I wanted to spread my wings. This book was loved by a couple of editors at a major publishers but the marketing department sat on it. Then another publisher was interested but they decided to move out of that genre. So out of frustration, I decided to take fate into my hands and self-publish.
The book has been read by a few editors who loved it. So I had confidence in the book. This is an adventure for me. I’m just discovering the kindle universe. Its a bit scary!
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Hmm. I worry that authors will get lost in the massive marketplace that is the internet. But its good that traditional publishers have had their butts kicked. There are too many gatekeepers like agents and publishers who just want to make money. Potentially publishing going online puts power in the hands of the authors.
But no author now can ignore marketing. That’s a personal challenge for a lot of authors.
What do you use?: Professional Editor
What genres do you write?: contemporary fiction, romantic comedy, romance
What formats are your books in?: eBook, Print
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All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit, to allow you, the reader, to hear the author in their own voice.