Café Cala welcomes Brenda Cheers

Hi Brenda, welcome to Café Cala,

BrendaCheersAuthorImage

I’m delighted to have you visit Café Cala. I love your writing. I’ve been making a cranberry and coconut loaf this morning. Would you like tea or coffee with yours?

Ooh, my favourite loaf–thank you so much. The view here is gorgeous. I’d love a green tea–sencha if you have it.

No problem.

 

1 Where did you get the idea for Requiem for Titus and indeed the whole Strange Worlds series?

This is a funny story. I was writing the first in the series (In Strange Worlds), as a stand-alone novel. The first draft was progressing beautifully and I knew where the story was headed. Then the plot took an unexpected turn. I was surprised and a little in awe of it. It was breathtaking. The problem was that it left the ending open-ended.

Strange Worlds Series 4 novels medAfter several more drafts and final edits, In Strange Worlds grew wings and flew. It became very popular, particularly in the USA. I began receiving emails and Facebook messages, asking me what happened to Meg (the protagonist) next. I wanted to know too, so I sat down and wrote the sequel, called “In a Time Where They Belong”. I sent this out into the world thinking it would satisfy my fans. Then I began receiving more messages—would there be a third? The same thing happened the next time. That is how this became a four-part series.

Requiem for Titus was drafted with the intent of finishing the series, once and for all!

The series is set in a dystopian world. Meg wakes in hospital from a labour gone wrong to find that everyone else in the world has died. Or so it seems. The reader follows her fight for survival through the four novels. To tell you the story of ‘Requiem for Titus’ would contain spoilers for those just discovering the series.

2 What have you found most rewarding about your writing?

Oh, so much! The things my characters get up to, the unexpected actions they take, the satisfaction of seeing my stories so well received—it is all exciting and wonderful. When I receive generous praise from a stranger, I want to cry.

3 How did you start writing?

I’ve always written stories, books, journals, letters, etc. It is just what I do, part of my DNA. When my two daughters became independent, I studied Creative Writing and became an author. ‘Requiem for Titus’ is my eighth published novel.

4 What would you say has helped you most?

Social media helps me to stay in touch, not only with fans, but fellow authors. My demanding day job makes socialising difficult, so Facebook and Twitter are a blessing.

5 What are you working on at the moment?

I drafted a new novel last June while overseas on holidays. I am very excited about it. The working title is ‘What Kayla Said’ and it is the deepest I have written in terms of emotion and complexity. My beta readers say it is my best work by far. Now I just need to find time to develop it.

6 What advice would you offer aspiring writers?

That’s easy:

  • Park your bottom on a chair and write everyday. Without fail. Without excuses. Make it a priority.
  • Learn your craft.
  • Edit, edit, edit.

7 Which authors do you enjoy reading?

That is such a big question! I read across all genres, but prefer literary fiction. The story needs to take me to another place and time, so that reading it is like a meditation. My tastes range from the classics to contemporary fiction. When I’m not in the process of writing my own novels, I devour those of others. I recently read Hanya Yanagihara’s debut novel ‘A Little Life’, which has been a worldwide success, but wasn’t without flaws. ‘The Waiting Room’ by Australian author Leah Kaminsky (also a debut novel) is breathtaking.

You’ll be pleased to know I have ‘Broken Threads’ in my reading pile and, after enjoying ‘Band of Gold’, have a great sense of anticipation.

I love this coconut and cranberry loaf. Can I take some away with me? Please?

Of course!

You can find Brenda on:

Facebook

Website

Twitter:

Amazon

 

Café Cala welcomes Sara Foster

Hi Sara, welcome to Café Cala,

Sara Foster Image 1 (2016)I’m delighted to have you visit Café Cala. I really enjoyed your books and am looking forward to this next one. I’ve been making a raspberry muffins this morning. Would you like tea or coffee with yours?

Thank you for inviting me! Your raspberry muffins sound delicious. Can I have camomile tea please? I’m one of those awkward people who don’t drink regular tea or coffee!

Camomile tea it is. I  always have a good selection of herbal teas.

1 Where did you get the idea for All That is Lost Between Us?

 My stories usually start with one image or scenario that inspires me, and this book was no different. So I had the idea of a teenage girl, Georgia, who is struggling to cope with a dark secret that she cannot share with anyone. I’m sure this came from certain news events at the time, which made me think about what the young people involved were going through, and the impact on their families. The whole novel grew from this seed, and ended up being told from the perspectives of all four members of Georgia’s family.

 2 What have you found most rewarding about your writing?

It’s very rewarding to be in a profession that values taking time for daily contemplation and creativity. I love grappling with ideas that seem too big to pin down, and working out how to get them into an exciting story.

 3 How did you start writing?

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t making up stories – it began as soon as I could write, and continued as I was growing up. I always harboured ambitions to be an author, and I was often starting stories but they didn’t get finished. In my mid twenties I plucked up the courage to try to complete a novel and get it published – and that novel was Come Back to Me.

 4 What would you say has helped you most?

In terms of seeking publication, I worked for HarperCollins in the UK for two years so I knew about the publishing business before getting published myself, which was definitely an advantage. For writing the novels, if I need outside inspiration or encouragement then books like Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird or Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic are great for refocusing the mind and clearing away any clutter.

5 What are you working on at the moment?

I’m in the process of finishing another suspense thriller, which is set in London, and I’m also having a go at a YA dystopia as part of my doctoral studies. It’s a busy time!

6 What advice would you offer aspiring writers?

Listen to advice and read widely, then use everything you have absorbed to help you find your own authentic voice. Stay humble, ignore your fears and be brave.

7 Which authors do you enjoy reading?

Maggie O’Farrell, Heather Gudenkauf, Alice Walker, Sara Gruen, Liane Moriarty, Kate Morton and Elizabeth Gilbert, to name just a few!

Sara F They hold one another's gaze. As usual, Georgia can see her mother tryi

All That is Lost Between Us is available at all good bookshops and online, and all Sara’s books are available via her online store: http://www.sarafoster.com.au/shop/

Website: www.sarafoster.com.au

Twitter: www.twitter.com/sarajfoster

FaceBook: www.facebook.com/sarafosterauthor

Instagram: www.instagram.com/sarafoz