Saturday, March 2, 2013

Author interview - Lexa Wright's Dating Sights By Rebeccah Giltrow

Where were you born and where do you call home? 
I was born in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England.  My home is Lowestoft, Suffolk, England, a small town on the east coast.  It's not a particularly nice place, but I do like living by the beach.

What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 30 or less words, what would you say?
My book is called Lexa Wright's Dating Sights.  It's a chic lit romcom with a bit of mystery, written in the first person, present tense, so the reader gets to live the story along with Lexa.  That doesn't sound very enticing, but it's difficult to reduce a 120,000 word book into 30 words!

If you gave one of your characters an opportunity to speak for themselves, what would they say?
Lexa is looking for love, so she would no doubt say to me, "Stop wasting my time and find me a decent man."

Do you have plans for a new book?   Is this book part of a series?
I have plans for a sequel.  I don't know if it will turn into a series, but I know I definitely want to write a second book.  We'll see once I've written the second book if I want to write a third.

What books have influenced your writing?
There are too many to list here, so I'll just name a few; The Book of Bachelors by Philip Terry, Exercises in Style by Raymond Queneau, Fatso by Lars Ramslie, dot.homme by Jane Moore, Species of Spaces and other Pieces by Georges Perec, Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas.

Is there an Author that you would really like to meet?
I would have loved to have met Georges Perec, but as he's dead I think that's an impossible dream!

Do you prefer ebooks, paperbacks or hardcover?
I don't have an e-reader, and I'm not interested in owning one.  I love books, the turning of the pages, the feel of the paper, the smell.  I prefer hardcover books as there's something strong and solid about them.  But most of my book collection is made up of paperbacks.

Where do you prefer to buy your books?
I love second hand book shops, because you can find some lovely little gems there.  Unfortunately, there aren't many shops like that where I live so I do a lot of my book shopping online.

Are you a self published (Indie) Author?
I have self published two books through Createspace for Amazon.

What book would you like to read again?
I'd like to read Forrest Gump by Winston Groom again.  I read it about 15 years ago and absolutely loved it, so it's definitely worth a second look.

Is there a particular movie that you preferred over the book version?
The only film that I've seen that was better than the book was Tim Burton's vision of 'Big Fish' by Daniel Wallace.  

What book are you currently reading and in what format (ebook/paperback/hardcover)?
I am currently reading a few paperbacks; The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths, 253 by Geoff Ryman, Teen Angst? Naaah... by Ned Vizzini.

Are there any Authors that have grasped your interest recently and why?
Chris Killen's The Bird Room and Lars Ramslie's Fatso are brilliant books.  There's just something amazing about the authors' straightforward writing styles.  They're blunt and to the point, and that gives their stories a lovely charm.  And both novels are written in the first person, so the reader gets right inside the heads of the protagonists.

Who designed the cover of your book?
I designed the cover with the services provided on Createspace.  It's not an amazing cover, but it'll do for now.  I just need to do some research into cover designers and what they can offer.

Do you buy a book by the cover?
I know someone somewhere said that you can't judge a book by its cover, but I am drawn to books with interesting covers.  However, it doesn't always mean that the inside will be as interesting as the outside.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
I've always got advice, but I can't say that I practise what I preach.  It's important to keep writing.  There will be times when you want to give up because you don't think you're good enough, or you have an extended bout of writers' block, or you don't think you have the time.  But you have to fight through the negativity that your mind creates.  Also, writing is a craft.  It needs to be worked at.  We all may have a story in our heads, but unless we have the right tools to put it on to paper it'll just end up a jumbled mess.  Brush up on your grammar, spelling, syntax, punctuation, and vocabulary.  Invest in a good thesaurus, dictionary, rhyming dictionary, and any other book that may help on your writing journey.  Read and learn.  It's the only way you'll get better.  And finally, don't forget to edit and rewrite.  The last thing you wrote is never the best thing you wrote.

Do you write under a pen name?
I've often thought about it, but I have no idea what it would be.  I have a tough enough time trying to come up with names for my characters, let alone trying to rename myself!

What date were you born? - you can leave off the year if you like. 
26th January 1982
Do you have a nickname? 
My friends call me Becka.  I'm not sure if it's a nickname though.
Did you have a favorite toy as a child?
Do you ever write in your PJ’s?
Pretty much all the time.  I have to be comfortable when I write, and what's more comfortable than pyjamas?!  
What are your pet peeves? 
Oh my goodness, I have so many!  I think rudeness is the main one.  There's no need for it.  It just puts other people in bad moods, which then puts more people in bad moods.  When it comes to writing, my main pet peeve is the apostrophe catastrophe!

Any pets that you would like to tell us about, share a pic?
I have a dog, Lily.  She's a cross between a Jack Russel and a Lhasa Apso.  I don't think there's an official term for this cross-breed, so I call her a Lhasa Jackso. (see attached photo)

White wine or red?
I'm not a wine drinker.  I think it all smells like mould!

Coffee or tea?
Tea, with lots of milk and sugar.  I know it's not particularly healthy, but I don't care!

So you like to cook?  Do you have a favorite food?
I don't really like to cook, even though I can.  I prefer to bake.  My weakness is cake.  I could eat cake until I exploded.  Recently I made a batch of mince pie cupcakes for Christmas, and they went down very well.  But my favourite cake to make is pineapple upside down cake.  It's very retro, very 70s, but it's very tasty! (see attached photo)

My favourite food would have to be sushi.  I could also eat that until I exploded!  I went to Japan a couple of years ago and I didn't want to leave; the food was delicious. (see attached photo)

Vanilla or chocolate ice-cream?
Vanilla covered with sauces and sprinkles and toppings!

What do you normally eat for breakfast, of do you skip it and get straight to work?
I have to eat breakfast, otherwise I get very grumpy and very hungry during the morning.  I tend to just have cereal with lots of milk, but that does me.

What are 4 things you never leave home without (apart from keys, money and phone)?A pen and a notebook (I count those as one item, as one is pretty much redundant without the other), dog poo-bags (just in case Lily gets caught short), sunglasses (to hide from the paparazzi), bottle of water.
Sleep in or get up early?
Sleep in.  Even if I wanted to get up early, I couldn't.  I have a very strict body clock that doesn't like to be tampered with!

Laptop or desktop for writing?
I prefer my desktop computer when I'm seriously getting down to writing.  I can shut myself away and focus on what needs to get done.  

Your favorite gadget - 
I don't know if it's a gadget, but I like my rotary whisk

Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
I work better at night.  There are too many distractions during the day.

Your thoughts on receiving book reviews - the good and the bad - 
I'm terrified about receiving bad reviews.  I know not everyone will like what you write, but it's a scary prospect to have someone write something negative about your work.  I've had a few good reviews for one of my books, and it is a nice feeling to know that people have enjoyed what you've written.

If you were deserted on an island, who are 3 famous people you would want with you?
Russell Brand, Heston Blumenthal, and Bear Grylls.

Where is one place in the world that you would really love to visit someday?
I really want to go to South Africa.  I'd love to see the animals in their natural habitat rather than behind bars in a zoo.

One of your favorite quotes -
"So many books, so little time." - Frank Zappa

List 3 books you just recently read and would recommend?
The Bird Room by Chris Killen
Fatso by Lars Ramslie
When She Woke by Hillary Jordan.

List 3 of your favorite movies?
Aladdin (the Disney version)

What is a movie or TV show that you watched just recently and really enjoyed?Toy Story 3.  I loved Toy Story, but wasn't too keen on Toy Story 2, so I was a bit wary of the 3rd one.  However, it was brilliant (although it did make me feel guilty about all the toys I've given/thrown away).

Where can your readers stalk you?

My Goodreads author page:

Is your book in Print, ebook or both?
Publishing through Createspace means that my book is published in both formats.

About the Author
Rebeccah is a writer by trade, with skills of varying degrees in knitting, baking, EFL teaching, performing, photography, dog-walking, sleeping, painting, and procrastinating. She always carries a red pen with her, in order to correct punctuation, spelling, and grammatical errors that she finds on her travels.
Rebeccah has been a writer since she can remember, but after graduation from University of Essex in 2005 with B.A. (hons) English Language & Literature, and again in 2008 with M.A. Literature: Creative Writing, she decided to take the craft more seriously.
As well as writing, she regularly performs at the 'New Words, Fresh Voices' open mic night at The Seagull Theatre in Lowestoft, where she reads her poetry and short stories.
Rebeccah is an active member of Lowestoft Library Book Group and Lowestoft Library Writing Group.

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