Monday, December 17, 2012

Interview with Natalie Ward

So this is awesome! I got to interview Natalie Ward, the author of I Love You To Death. I just so happen to love the hell out of this book. I instantly was hooked within the prologue. I read this book in one day and was blown away by its epicness. Natalie has a gift, a way with words and she's an amazing person as well. She's a lot like me and just expresses her thoughts and doesn't care what people think. Life is too short to give a damn about what others think. If they like you, great-if they hate something about you, well whatever. I'm not on this earth to impress everyone, so I could care less. Now, I love people and I love it when people do like me, but I won't go through the trouble of trying to convince them to. And that is what Natalie seems to be like and her and I get along and she's a great person. I was so happy to get the opportunity to ask her some questions. She answered them honestly. Everyone needs to read her book!!! So here is my interview with her, enjoy!

About Natalie

So what can I tell you about me. Well I was born and currently live in Australia, but I’ve also lived in England and the US. You’ll probably notice that I tend to use “Australian” spelling because I'm just not used to “American” my computer defaults to it.

I'm a seriously avid reader and have been known to read all night and go to work the next day with no sleep because I just can’t put a book down. I probably get a little too invested in stories and characters sometimes and should work on that. It’s hard to say how long I’ve been writing for, most of it was done in secret and there are a tonne of files on my computer that will never see the light of day – but that’s a good thing, as most of them are crap.

I Love You to Death was the first thing I wrote that I actually seriously committed to. It was born out of two incidents, the first being a random thought that struck me on my way to buy lunch. That thought became Sam’s letter to Ash and it got me thinking about people dying and what it would do to you if you thought it was all your fault. Imagine having to go through the stages of grief over and over again. The second thing was making a friend a mixed tape. This was around the time of Adele and Christina Perri and their amazing power ballads about having your heart ripped out by some guy. My friend made the comment that no songs like this are ever written by men. I disagreed and proceeded to make her a mixed tape to prove it. Oh boy, did that create trouble! Well actually, it created Luke and when it did, he just would not leave me alone. That man occupied my head for months and months and because of him, I got to thinking all about the stages of love instead. But it also created some inspiration for the story (ie: the sexy rock star) and a playlist too which features some of my most favourite songs and artists. So, ta dah – that was how it got started!

How did it get finished? Well, that was a lot harder! Firstly there was the “just finish something” comments that I kept getting from the few people who knew I was doing this. Then there was the writers block and trying to get over that. Then there were the sleepless nights as this story kept waking me up with answers to missing parts or plot changes. Then there were the “when can I read it” questions I got, followed by me needing to overcome the fear of actually showing it to anybody. Then, well then I just got over it, took a massive gamble and went for it. Ta dah – that’s how it got finished!

Now it's finally finished, I'm working on my next book, actually I have two on the go at once and I'm trying to decide which one to focus on. There are other stories too, but at the moment, these two are the ones waking me up at night. Guess now I get to go through the process all over again!

Anyway, that’s all I can think of for now. Drop me a line if there’s something you’re really dying to know about me and I’ll see if I can give you an answer. In the meantime, here are ten completely random and probably very useless facts instead!

1.       My favourite colour is black – I even got married in it. But don’t worry it wasn’t a bride of Frankenstein type dress, it was much classier than that!

2.       I really hate wasabi and I hate it even more when they disguise it as avocado in my sushi.

3.       My two biggest fears in life are plane crashes and shark attacks. Naturally a combination of the two would be my worst nightmare.

4.       I have a very good memory for useless information which makes me great for quiz nights but is fairly pointless in all other situations.

5.       I absolutely love shopping, seriously. And I can really go hard at it. I miss living in America because of all the great shopping.

6.       I am definitely a night owl. I hate getting up in the mornings.

7.       I spent 8 years studying at university – none of it was related to writing or English!

8.       I watch a lot of TV. I love it, movies too.

9.       I really wish I could sing. Unfortunately I can’t and this shows when I do karaoke, although that’s probably not helped by the alcohol I’ve had to consume in order to get up there. I like Singstar on playstation too, that’s so much fun.

10.   I never read instruction manuals, preferring to just work it out as I go. This often leads to trouble.

Interview with Natalie Ward
1.       When did you first realize you wanted to be an author?
LOL, I don’t think I ever realized I did! I still don’t consider myself to be one now. I just like to write and I have a crazy arse imagination. Putting the two together just seemed like a logical thing to do!

                           2.       How long did it take you to write I Love You To Death and did you see yourself actually publishing it?
From the day I wrote Sam’s letter, to the day it was published was exactly 1 year, but there was a 2-3 month gap where I wrote absolutely nothing because I was so stuck. When I first started, I never thought about it being published, I wrote it because it was in my head. But towards the end, I started to think about actually trying to publish it, even though the idea of it being out there kinda scared me. The whole process taught me a lot about myself, that’s for sure.

                   3.       Are any of your characters based on actual people you know?
Directly no, but there are definitely elements of people I know in some of the characters. It scares me to admit, but there’s a lot of me in this book as well, a lot. Many of Ash’s thoughts are my thoughts.

4.       What is your writing style like?
Epic fucking chaos. I’m not kidding, nothing I write ever progresses in any kind of logical way. I can’t outline, plot or plan, I’ve tried, but it all just turns to shit. I can be writing one scene that’s from the middle of the book and suddenly the ending comes to me and I have to go and write that. I’ll get hit with a scene that I have no idea where it goes or what it means, but I just have to write it down and hope I work it out later. It’s crazy and it means for a long time I have no idea about exactly what is going to happen. I’ve tried being more organized, but it never works, so now I just go for it and hope it will eventually all make sense.

5.       Where is your favorite place to write?
Anywhere, wherever I have my laptop. Probably the most writing gets done on the couch in front of the TV, glass of wine close by.

                            6.       What is the biggest challenge you have faced while writing? Did you ever get stuck or have writers block?
Time! Unfortunately I also work a full time job, so finding the time to write is hard. Usually I give up sleep to write which means I probably look like shit most days. As for getting stuck, absolutely. With ILYTD I got stuck badly around 65,000 words. I just couldn’t write anything, nothing was coming to me. It took almost 3 months and then coffee with a friend to make it all start flowing again. Now, with Luke’s book, I’m kinda finding myself in the exact same situation…with him it’s a bit different, I know what he’s telling me, but it just isn’t translating into words yet. Hopefully we’ll get it sorted.

                             7.       Do you ever plan to write outside of the current genre or are you set on Romance?
I never even thought about writing in the Romance genre! To be honest, I have about 15 books started on my computer and they cover everything, from supernatural, crime, mystery, romance and good old smut. So I don’t see myself as being set on this genre and actually, at the moment I’m writing something else that is far from it.

8.       Who are your inspirations?
I have no specific people as inspirations – I don’t know if that’s a bad thing?!! But I am easily inspired by loads of stuff around me; a conversation, a text message, eavesdropping, people watching etc.

                             9.       What is the one thing you love most about writing? What is the least you love about it?
The thing I love most – telling a story that feels so real inside my head. The thing I love least – writer’s block!

10.   Do you find publishing a book to be easy?
In general, yes, surprisingly so. I was scared about all the formatting for the ebooks because I am super impatient and formatting does my head in, but it was all smooth sailing. The hardest and scariest part about publishing for me was telling friends and family that I’d actually written a book and then knowing they were reading it.

                       11.   What goes into writing a book and how do you ensure that it is complete?
The best piece of advice I ever got was to just write, because it’s much easier to edit crap, than edit nothing at all. So that’s what I tried to do, write. I’d like to say I did it everyday, but I didn’t. On the days when I was stuck, I would just read over stuff that was already done and try and improve it. As for knowing when it’s done, possibly a harder question to answer. I knew the story I wanted to tell, but having other people read it, see it with fresh eyes and tell me where the gaps were, that definitely helped. You could probably re-work a story forever, but I eventually reached a point where I had to let it go and so I did.

                 12.   What is one piece of advice you would give to new authors who are trying to self-publish?
Stop worrying about your story and what other people are going to think about it and just write. Oh and finish it before you do anything else!

13.   What do you like to do in your spare time?
Read, listen to music, watch TV and hang out drinking wine with my hubby and friends. A combination of all this is my perfect day.

14.   What is your biggest fear?
Plane crashes and shark attacks and thanks to my hubby coming up with a nice scenario of my plane crashing into shark-infested waters, a combination of the two is my worst fucking nightmare.

15.   What is your favorite genre to read?
Hard to say, my reading is mood driven, so that can cover many genres. I love romance, mystery/crime, contemporary fiction, books that are outside the box, biographies, anything. I just want a book that makes me think or feel.

                        16.   What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your characters?
How much I grew to love them and how much I learnt about their lives. I feel like I know them all personally and they live in this little world inside my head. Either that or I’m just going crazy.

                       17.   To any reader who hasn't read your book, how would you persuade them to give I Love You To Death a try?
Down on my knees begging and saying “pretty, pretty please?” Either that or “please just go in with an open mind.”

18.   Where did you get the inspiration from this story?
I have no idea! I was walking down the street to buy lunch and Sam’s letter just popped into my head. When I got back to work, I wrote it out, literally as it appears in the book and then just kept writing…by the end of the day I had close to 6,000 words and a lot of Ash and Sam’s relationship written. I still don’t know why it came to me, but once it did, the story never left.

                               19.   In I Love You to Death, there is a lot of music that seemed to inspire, what were your favorite bands growing up?
Growing up, shit do I want to admit that! As a kid I loved Culture Club…yes, I know…but I loved them, I still do! My music tastes are super eclectic and I would never discard any band or song until I’ve listened to them, because I’ve been introduced to so many amazing bands purely on recommendations. Right now though, while there are many bands and artists that I love, I cannot go past 30 Seconds to Mars….I love them and I love them hard.

20.   What did you want to be as a kid?
I still don’t know what I want to be now and I’m supposed to be an adult!! But, I did and still do, want to be a chef. I love to cook and would love to have my own restaurant…yes, I live this vicariously through Luke now J

21.   Where can your readers stalk you?
Facebook, Goodreads and my blog, I have no time for Twitter. And please stalk away, I love hearing from people who have read the book!
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. It’s been a pleasure and I wish you the best of luck in your writing and I know you will go very far!!! This is just the beginning! J Looking forward to Luke’s book!!! So excited!

When Ash loses her boyfriend, she is consumed by grief, loneliness and an overwhelming sense of guilt for her role in not only his death, but the deaths of everyone she has ever loved. Refusing to let anyone in for fear of losing them too, she becomes withdrawn, spending her days reliving the nightmares from her past. 

Until she meets Luke. 

Initially scared by his intensity and interest in her, Ash tries to push him away. But as Luke slowly starts to chip away at the walls she’s built, Ash finds herself doing the one thing she swore she’d never do again — falling in love. 

When the familiar feelings Ash had hoped were long buried with her past begin to resurface, she is forced to ask herself if falling in love again is really worth the risk.

Luke Taylor 


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