Interview with self-publised author Shalini Boland
As promised a taster and the link to Shalini’s new book (released today!) Outside.
A post-apocalyptic romance thriller. The world of the future is divided by Perimeters: high-security gated communities where life goes on as normal. If you’re inside you’re lucky. If you’re outside, life expectancy takes a nose dive. Riley is fortunate to have been born on the right…
I have always thought that Shalini Boland was one of the quality writers at the writers’ site Authonomy. Her work stood out because it was fresh, original, perfectly written and – most importantly – interesting. Her main target group is young adults but since Harry Potter, we all know that no age group is excluded when a book has a YA tag.
Shalini is the second author I interview here who has self-published her first book. It is the young adult paranormal romance called Hidden, which Sha introduces as follows: A romantic paranormal adventure that spans the centuries from modern England to 19th century Paris. It starts off in gritty urban reality but soon ramps up into historical adventure, archaeological digs, ancient legends and romance across
Where do you live (town, country)? Were you born and bred there?
I started out life in North London, moved to Gloucestershire when I was nine, but I’ve ended up in Dorset. My husband’s a surfer so we aren’t allowed to live more than ten minutes away from the sea.
What kind of food do you like? Are you a good cook? How important is food to you?
I love my food! When I was younger, food was a chore, but now it’s become a reward! I like to eat healthily though – lots of fresh fruit and veggies. My weakness is sweet stuff like chocolate and coffee cake *drool*.
How do your family/friends react to you being a writer? Have their opinions changed since you became a published author? Which remark from your surroundings has stuck most with you?
My friends and family are amazingly supportive and enthusiastic. I love them so much for believing in me and taking the time to read what I’ve written, even if it might not be their chosen genre.
Would you call yourself a social human being? Do you have time for going out and spending time away from the writing desk?
Sometimes I adore being sociable. I love dressing up, going out with friends and having a laugh. But other days I can be quite a hermit and am perfectly content in my own company.
Which character trait do you like best about yourself and why? Which trait would you rather do without?
I’m quite a sensitive person and I think this trait helps my creativity, especially my writing. But it can also be a bit of a curse as I tend to over-analyse and take things too much to heart.
Can you describe the place where you write + the view?
I write in the lounge, on a sofa next to a window that looks onto our little garden.
What genre(s) do you write in? How did that develop?
I write mainly young adult and children’s fiction. I’m pretty sure it’s because I still feel like a teenager. Sometimes I can’t actually believe I’m an adult with kids – I often
feel like I’m pretending to be a grown up. When I was fourteen, I thought that once I was, say, twenty five, I’d become all sensible and responsible, but that hasn’t happened yet and I’m forty one now.
At some point you decided to self-publish. Can you tell us how that process developed?
I was always so anti self-publishing. It was all caught up with the negative connotations of vanity publishing. But now things have changed with the advent of the kindle and the ease of print-on-demand services. It’s become so easy to do it yourself, you don’t need to pay anyone to do it for you. I did the whole ‘submitting to agents’ process and I landed an agent, but he was too busy with more
established clients to pay me any attention, so I figured I may as well try to
be proactive and get my books out there on my own. I’m so glad I did.
How do you feel about self-publishing now? What are the advantages,
disadvantages, pitfalls, etc.?
There’s so much work involved. From the writing, editing, cover design, layout and random technical nightmares. But it’s the promotional aspect of things that eats up the hours. I was torn between doing the process on my own and joining a small publisher because I knew that they would help a little with the promotion. But I decided to go it alone because of the creative freedom it offered and the ‘timescale
factor’. I hate being reliant on other people’s timeframes. I was in the music
industry before becoming a writer and it would drive me nuts, waiting for
producers, engineers and A&R people to get things moving. This way I’ve
only got myself to blame if things don’t happen quickly enough.
Are you in a network of Indie authors? How do you market your own
I’m not in an organised network, but I have a lot of wonderful indie author friends who I’ve met via various writers’ sites. We support each other whenever we can.
When was your first book released and how did that make you feel?
Hidden (Book 1 in The Marchwood Vampire Series) was released in March 2011 and I felt alternately terrified and euphoric. People were going to paying money for my book – what if they hated it? But maybe they’d love it!
Can you tell us some background information on the book? (How did
you get the idea, how long did it take you to write and edit it, is it part of
a sequel, how does the published book make you feel now?)
Hidden is a combination of my favourite types of book – gritty urban, historical romance, fantasy and epic adventure. It took me six months to write it and another six months to edit. It’s the first part in a trilogy, but it can stand alone. I had the best fun writing it. I fell in love with my characters and I’m so happy they’re out
there in the world.
What are your writing habits? (every day, number of words, etc.?)
I never have enough time. I don’t know what’s going on in my life, but I seem to be getting busier and busier doing nothing. I need to get back to a proper schedule. Once my youngest son starts school later this year, I should be able to devote my mornings to writing. At the moment, I just grab a few minutes here and there.
Who’s been your biggest inspiration and why? Since when?
My mother has always been a great reader and passed on her love of books and poetry to me.
Where do you see yourself in 5-years’ time?
I hope that, whatever I’m doing in 5-years’ time, I’ll be as happy as I am today.
THANK YOU SO MUCH, SHALINI!!
Would you like to read Shalini’s work or get in touch with her? Here are the links:
Hidden is available as an ebook and in paperback: