I recently had a chance to interview an aspiring author, Rebecca L Dobbie. She was so much fun to get to know and I am sure that you will enjoy her wit and overall charming nature.
Liz: Why don’t you tell us a little bit about you?
Rebecca: I come from sunny Brisbane in Australia. I am lucky enough to have found a job that allows me to stay home and write. I am a foster care giver which gives me the opportunity to work with children but the freedom to write which full time employment didn’t allow. I am a single mother to an 11 year old boy.
I am on my first novel. I have 115,000 words written and half the book ready for publication. Currently working on editing the last half and aiming to submit to publishers no later than November 2011.
Liz: That is a big goal, but from everything you have told me, I know you’ll it there. Would you mind telling us a little more about it?
The Novel is called The Daxis. It is a supernatural fantasy for young adults but sure the big people will like it too. It follows the story of a young boy named Aidan who is in foster care. Feeling rejected and like a freak he battles a life constantly on the move from home to home. This is only half of his worries when he discovers demonic monsters are after him.
Liz: I am always curious to know where people get their ideas? Would you mind giving us some insight?
I am a very emotional writer. I can only write when I feel it. I get a feeling before an idea. If I see a good movie or tv show I get a feeling which sparks the idea. I feel for the characters and it goes from there. I get the ideas from dreams, movies, books and general life around me.
Liz: So did you always know that this is what you wanted to be when you grew up?
Rebecca: My first memory of writing was when I was about 8. I wrote a little story and read it to my parents. I also remember my grade 5 teacher telling me I should become a writer when I grew up. But it wasn’t until I was in my early twenties when I thought, hang on, why not be a writer and I have been writing constantly since.
Liz: You are a busy woman! How do you find the time to play in your fantasy worlds?
Rebecca: With a house full of kids I find music is a must to write with. I find music with minimal lyrics (so I don’t get distracted and start singing along). I am an organizer so I have certain places for equipment writing etc and no one is allowed to touch that space. I plan my day, my house and other responsibilities down to the minute but not when it comes to the actual writing. I do a rough plot outline but I find the story writes better without planning. I keep notes as I write to keep things in order. I have notebooks full of details about characters that I create as I write the story.
Liz: Do you write in tiny stretches throughout your day or do you set aside blocks of time?
Rebecca: Both. Depends on what kids are staying with us and their ages etc. I carry a notebook with me or the chapter I am working on so the ten minutes waiting at the school or before a meeting can be used effectively.
Liz: How many backups do you have? Have you ever lost any of your words or stories?
Rebecca: I was an old school writer and used to write on a typewriter or on paper. I didn’t get my first computer until my late twenties. I had everything stored in boxes which were lost when I moved. So I have lost all my work, notes, outlines from before 2001. I also had a hard drive crash a few years ago so both were valuable lessons to back up back up and back up again. I have numerous copies on USB and printed.
Liz: I don’t know one author who hasn’t lost some of their words. Back ups are a MUST! In talking with you I found your take on characters and their development in what I am sure will be your future success. How do you bring your characters to life?
Rebecca: My characters are very real to me. I have a clear idea in my head who these people are. I think of them as real people in my life and find it very difficult to write something bad happening to them. I do not understand how anyone can kill off a main character…it would be like losing a very good friend. I do not have long sheets or notes on each character. I have notes on little information that may get missed if I don’t jot it down such as main character now has a bandage on his head etc.
Liz: Do you have any particular character’s that remind you of yourself?
Rebecca: None. I separate myself from my characters as they are people too.
Liz: Do you gather inspiration for any of your characters from your friends and family?
Rebecca: No. Aidan resembles my son in parts but he developed into his own person just like my son has. I am very visual so I have images of my characters in my head that might resemble actors or singers etc. I find Aidan’s mentor looks a lot like Colin Farrell.
Liz: Do you characters like to listen to you, their creator, or do they like to pull all the strings and write you into corners?
Rebecca: My characters seem to think they are boss. They can be very defiant and bossy when they want to be.
Liz: Ah yes, fickle characters! They can be so much fun. Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?
Rebecca: It has taken me years to work this out but I find that writing from start to finish with no editing actually works best. Write the story without worrying about anything but the story. Do not edit, do not stress about over use of a word etc. Just write it then go back and fix it up.
Liz: What are you doing to get ready to sell your book to a publisher?
I have started the process by making sure I have some recent publishing credits to my name. I have three short stories accepted into anthologies this year and I am working on a forth. I have started my blog and created a website. I am getting my name out there so when the book is being looked at I can add these facts into a query letter. If a publisher sees you have an audience already it can help, or so I he:ar.
Liz: Do you have any wisdom to impart to us on the dreaded query?
Rebecca: List a short synopsis which is simple yet catchy. Add a few publishing credits and links to your website/blog.
Liz: What strengths do you have that make you the next great author?
Rebecca: Not sure about the next great author but dedication and commitment will hopefully make me an author. Oh, stubborn might be a useful strength too.
Liz: What weaknesses do have that make you human? (Yes, we all know that we know you are superman, but no one would appreciate him if kryptonite wouldn’t bring him down to size)
Rebecca: Procrastination, self doubt, most days I think I suck as a writer.
If you interview is any indication, I highly doubt it. Goals are tricky business but I find that they give me something to aim for. Where do you see yourself in a year?
Looking at my book sitting on the shelves in a book shop.
That would be lovely! How about in 5 years?
Maybe a second and third novel out.
I hope that you make every single one of your goals and when you do I hope you come back and tell us. It has been so great getting to know you and now why don’t you tell us where we can keep tabs on you?
Twitter : @rebeccaldobbie
Facebook : Rebecca L Dobbie
Blog: www. rebeccaldobbie.com/blog
If you would like to be the next aspiring author interviewed by yours truly please send and email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will take it from there. Don’t forget to show some love by leaving your comments!
These are the comments that were lost:
Thu, 12 May 2011 1:04:46 pm
I really enjoyed that interview, Rebecca.
Thu, 12 May 2011 2:22:58 pm
Great interview! We are both writing about kids in foster care, that’s awesome! 🙂
Thu, 12 May 2011 6:20:49 pm
Thanks, Liz for the interview, and best of luck, Rebecca! Good on you for being a foster mom and writing your passion.
Sat, 14 May 2011 11:22:51 am
That was a great interview, thanks for sharing! It’s always nice to hear other writer’s journeys that are similar to my own (makes me feel a little less of “the crazy” 😉
Sat, 14 May 2011 1:28:51 pm
Great interview, ladies! Wow, Rebecca, you are a busy woman! Writing takes dedication and you’ve got it, obviously 😉
Tue, 17 May 2011 9:12:56 am
Good luck with getting your novel published!
Sat, 21 May 2011 9:24:10 am
Very nice interview, Liz. Rebecca, I wish you all the success in the world. It sounds like you have the discipline to make your dreams come true. I also write YA fantasy (epic/traditional) and have decided to go the Indie e-published route. Good luck with your career.
Sun, 22 May 2011 11:55:13 am
It is great that you write about children in foster care. An incredibly sensitive and therefore interesting subject.