Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Empowered Wednesday: Stefanie London

How's the Empowerment feeling lately bookworms! To be honest right now, I'm not feeling all energized and empowered, but I know it'll pas eventually! However, after reading this awesome author's answers to my questions, I knew that between meeting her in person and this, just makes her one amazing inspiration (and Aussie!) So with that, let's get started shall we?

Q: Can you tell our readers about yourself and what you do?
A: Hi, I’m Stefanie London. I’m a USA Today bestselling author of over twenty contemporary romances and romantic comedies. I was born in Melbourne, Australia but I moved to Toronto almost four years ago and I love it here! I’m a general creative person. Aside from writing (and reading, of course) I love to sew, play board games and try new restaurants.

Q: How did you first get into writing & creating and when did you decide to take the leap and go for it?
A: I’ve always been a writer in some form. In fact, my Mum still has the first book I ever wrote (and illustrated!) when I was about five years old. It was about cats, which I find funny now because I am more of a dog person. I then went through a stage of writing Sweet Valley High-inspired stories when I was eleven. After graduating university with a Bachelor of Business, I worked in the corporate world doing lots of writing-related tasks, such as creating training manuals, writing newsletters and job ads, creating presentations. Ultimately, corporate writing didn’t satisfy me because deep down I wanted to write fiction.
I finally took the plunge in late 2012 by signing up for National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo). *Which is starting soon, and I'm joining again this year!* It was my first time writing fiction as an adult and that very messy first draft eventually went on to become my debut novel, Only The Brave Try Ballet, which came out in July 2014.

Q: Who or what inspired you to do what you are doing now?
A: All the amazing authors I’ve read over the years. The first author whose stories I ever truly fell in love with was Agatha Christie and even though I don’t write mysteries, I still consider her a huge influence. She wrote so many novels and always managed to keep her readers guessing.

Q: What would be your ideal working environment?
A: Pretty much what I have now! An office to call my own, lots of sunlight, some flowers and plants to decorate my desk and big bookshelf full of books. I’ve also got a coffee machine not too far away, which helps immensely.

Q: How would you describe your style with writing?
A: I love books that make me forget about the real world, so that’s what I like to write. I try to mix the fantastical elements of the romance genre with the vulnerabilities of real people—so even though my stories might feature hunky 30-something CEOs (which might not always be the most realistic representation of CEOs) I try to make sure my characters have real, relatable problems. I love exploring family dynamics and personal growth, as well. Plus, I love my stories to have a fun, humorous element to them as well—so expect lots of banter, one-liners and moments to make you giggle behind your e-reader.

Q: What is one thing you wish you knew starting out with writing or something you could have told your past self?
A: Honestly, not much. I think my lack of knowledge about the publishing industry helped me to somewhat fearlessly jump in with both feet. Sometimes knowing too much can stunt progress, because we become frightened of the pitfalls and potential issues. I’m glad I went in a little green, because it allowed me to have a “let’s see what happens” attitude about it all.

Q: What do you do in your spare time?
A: I love to sew! I’m in the process of trying to achieve a 50% handmade wardrobe and I love shopping for fabrics and finding new patterns to inspire me. Plus, being able to whip up a new dress in a weekend is very handy! It refills my “creative well.”
I love to read, as most authors do. I also really enjoy playing games of all kinds (board games, card games and video games) with my husband, as well as exploring new restaurants with my girlfriends. We have a monthly “ladies supper club” where we all get dressed up and try somewhere new to eat, which is lots of fun.

Q: How do you motivate yourself to keep the novel going?
A: Deadlines? Just kidding…well, kind of. I write full time, so it’s now my job rather than a hobby and that means motivation is less of an important factor. For me, the daily routine of “fingers on keyboard” is what creates momentum (better than motivation, IMHO!) and setting deadlines helps to keep me focused. I’m also a pretty organized person, so having a schedule of everything that’s coming up helps me to stay on track. Plus, I love my job…so that definitely helps!

Q: What do you find the most frustrating and/or challenging aspect of writing?
A: All the other stuff I have to do that isn’t writing books! Being a career author comes with its own unique set of challenges and activities. I really hate bookkeeping and admin, but it’s a necessary part of the job. I also find the constant pressure to do marketing and advertising activities really exhausting, but again it’s necessary. In a perfect world, I would spend all my work time writing instead of doing those other things. But I do really enjoy engaging with readers online, so I use that to reward myself for getting all the boring admin bits done each week.

Q: How much time do you spend writing and is it a hobby or job?
A: So much time. It’s a job for me and I can’t count the hours. I usually work 6 days a week, but I’m trying to cut it back to 5. I love the flexibility of this job, however, so some days I work lots of hours and some days I only work a few. It depends how my deadlines are going!

Q: Can you name some of your favourite bloggers/authors/shops and explain why they’re your favourite?
A: There are so many! For romance I adore Roni Loren. She writes emotionally gripping books that are super sexy and give me all the warm and fuzzies.
Taryn Leigh Taylor writes fantastic hockey romances. Her books are also sexy, but she’s got these cracking one-liners that always make me laugh.
In terms of romance blogs I adore, Smut Matters  is one of my faves. She writes really insightful reviews and has a great blogging voice. Harlequin Junkie is another favourite, as I’ve been reading Sara’s blog for years now. She has a great review team and covers category romance as well as longer-books, which not many blogs do.

leaving rachel mcadams GIF by 20th Century Fox Home EntertainmentQ: What would be your go to meal, outing and Starbucks/Tim Horton’s Drink’

A: My go-to meal would be a comforting bowl of homemade bolognaise pasta (with a glass of red wine!) My outing would be a trip to a café with my husband and my Starbucks drink of choice is a Flat White because I still love my Aussie-style coffee.

Q: If you were stuck on an Island what would be the three things you would want with you?
A: An unlimited supply of sunscreen, a magical Kindle that never needed to be recharged and my husband.

Q: What sort of advice can you give to anyone out there that’s thinking about starting a novel?
A: Do it. Right now. Go to your keyboard and start typing. All joking aside, the best thing you can do it start writing and keep going until you have a finished story. I’ve met a lot of authors in my time who spin their wheels over “learning enough” to write a book. But writing is learning. There’s no qualification that’s required to write a book, and if you want to be an author then you will always be learning and improving your craft. It’s part of the job! So don’t let a lack of knowledge about publishing or storytelling stop you from getting some words down now. As the amazing Nora Roberts once said, “you can’t edit a blank page.”

Here's Where You Can Find Stefanie

That's all for this week's Empowered Wednesday's! I hope you enjoyed this new feature! Check back here next week where a brand new creator will be featured on the blog!!

So until the next time, Keep Reading!

Your Graduated Bookworm!! :)

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