Monday, August 3, 2009

Interview with children's writer and artist Iliana Metallinou


1. Writers are told to write daily and find their voice. Do you feel you have more than one voice in your writing?

Yes, I do, as I enjoy writing a variety of mss from a different angle and mood, depending on my own personal attitude at the time of writing a piece. I believe that a ‘voice’ should develop and expand into many ‘voices’ over the time, as the outcome will be more appealing to the reader.

2. When did your passion for writing begin?

It dates back to school time, primary school actually, when I was writing the lyrics for my own songs. I even created illustrated short stories for the English class I was attending, a sort of a diary. I was also fascinated by comics and tried to write my own stories then.

3. What inspired you to keep writing while getting rejection letters or struggling with writers block?

I think I have got that ‘bug’ that cannot go away whatever happens! I used to get very upset at the beginning when I received rejection letters, but later on I realized that each rejection was a step forward to success, and I just did not allow myself to stop writing. Writing is a way of feeling alive for me, and I will never give it up because I just …love it!

4. How do you come up with ideas for your writings and why do you feel you choose some over others?

Ideas come at any time, usually by observing things and people around, but sometimes come when I relax or I am ready to sleep. This is most annoying as I have to write down a couple of notes to make sure I remember them the next morning. I usually choose the ones that seem feasible for me to realize, after some thought, but I always pick up those that will make me feel good and happy with!

5. Are you a daily disciplined writer? Do you find it difficult to stick to your schedule? Do you have certain tricks you use so that you don't stray from your writing?

Sometimes I have to follow a schedule, depending on my day time job. I try to write every day so as not to lose track of my thoughts. I also don’t mind the noise of the background or some music. I can perform quite well in front of the TV! Some distracters make me concentrate more on my work. I always keep a note pad so that I know what I have to do every day. For example, I write down ‘Interview to Dallas’, so that I know that next time I sit down to write, this will be my first task to complete.

6. How much time do you devote to marketing your book/s and what kind of marketing do you recommend?

I wish I had more time to market my books, so I’m afraid I don’t do much about it. I only use my websites at http://lianametal.tripod.com and at http://liamet.tripod.com, and my blogs http://lianastories.blogspot.com and http://lianaskerkyra.blogspot.com where the readers can find my books, and the sites they can purchase them at www.lulu.com or www.amazon.com.

From time to time I write articles for newsletters and I send reviews of other writers’ books to a variety of sites so that I can have free promotion. I think this is the best way to promote your work online. Just make sure you add your site address and your email at the bottom of each piece.

7. How do you prepare for a writing idea for fiction? Do you outline the characters, setting, plot, etc. before you begin writing? If you only write non fiction books, how do you prepare for your book idea?

For Fiction, first come the characters as it is important for me to know who will be the basic person in the story and which is h/her relationship with the rest of the characters. So, an outline is essential. Then come the setting and the plot, as these two elements can be often modified during the course of the story. For non fiction books it is best to write an outline of the contents of the book first, so as to see what you can add or omit beforehand.

8. How many rewrites do you usually write before submitting it to a publisher?

One or two, but it all depends on the kind of work.

9. Have you had any bad experiences in working with a publisher/agent or failed publication/payment of writings done? If so, how did you handle it?

I had once found a publisher who, after a very long waiting time, was still unwilling to decide whether he wanted my mss or not. So, I had to give him a deadline, but this ended the deal. Regarding agents, the only time I contacted an agent was last year and I must admit I almost fell into the trap of a fake agent. While at first everything seemed fine and legal, then he sent me a contract that demanded a ‘disguised’ fee for their work. Of course that made me stop the deal, but, till today, I am not sure if they have used my e book which was sent to them beforehand. Therefore, I prefer publishing my books myself.

10. Who are your favourite authors, and why do they inspire you?

Life inspires me, but still, some authors’ stories can ‘touch’ me and influence my thought. I am an avid reader and I review a lot of books every year, so I believe that each author has got their own unique style. But it depends on the readers to decide if and how much they get affected by the story.

11. Tell us about yourself!

I am a Language teacher (MA in Ed.), artist, reviewer and writer living in Greece. As a mother of two, I have spent most of my time raising a family and working full time at my own Language School, while painting and writing in my free time. When my kids grew up I decided it was high time I followed my dream to become a writer. I have self published several e books and several print books for my students, and a great number of my articles have been published both in print and online magazines. I started my career by writing children’s stories and educational material, and then created e books of both fiction and non fiction. My articles, reviews and books can be found at http://lianametal.tripod.com, at http://liamet.tripod.com, and at my blogs http://lianastories.blogspot.com and http://lianaskerkyra.blogspot.com.

I am a member of the authors’ group at OU University, UK, and many writers’ groups online. You can contact me at lianametal@yahoo.com .

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9 comments:

Mayra Calvani said...

Thanks for visiting my blog, Iliana! Your book looks very cute!

Dorothy Massey said...

Great interview, Mayra. I often get ideas for writing when I wake up on a morning and am stll half asleep! Dorothy Massey www.kidsbooksuk.blogspot.com

Stephen Tremp said...

I always like to read if an author is a discpilined writer. I can relate to background noise. Me, I write in an open loft with wifey, the kids, and a dog all making noise. But its where I write best, so the noise doesn't bother me.

Stephen Tremp
Author: Breakthrough
http://www.stephentremp.blogspot.com/

Nancy Famolari said...

Very interesting interview. I know what Liana means, characters seem to come out of your observation of life.

Gayle said...

Terrific post!

Karen and Robyn - Writing for Children said...

The book cover is so cute. Kids getting pets, that's always something children will enjoy reading about.

My grandson got his first pet last week, a black bunny.

Karen

Dianne G. Sagan said...

Iliana,
I really enjoyed learning more about you and your comment about using different voices depending on your mood. This is really interesting. I like to know how other writers think.
Thanks.

Linda Asato said...

I learned a lot just by reading this posting. Nice to meet the author.
Linda Asato

Liana said...

Mayra,
Thank you so much for the wonderful post!

Dorothy, Stephen, Nancy, Gayle,Karen, Dianne and Linda,
thank you all for visiting!

Good luck to everyone,
Liana