When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I never had this epiphany moment where you go, 'oh, yes, a writer, that's what I want to be.' I used to write short stories as a kid and poems in my teenage years. It was just something I did without really thinking about it.
I put it all aside one day when I realized it was all childish, immature bullshit and that if I wanted to write something worth reading, I needed to live first, learn about the world, try to understand people.
I went back to writing at thirty, after a dozen different jobs and my first kid. It was a pretty conscious decision. I had spent quite some time with a certain character in my head at that point, and suddenly I had a story for him, and I knew I was ready to write it down.
I didn't think I'd ever have it in me to write more than that one story, but, well, things often turn out differently to one's expectations.
How long does it take you to write a book?
Oh, writing a book doesn't take long. I've just finished the first draft of my current work in progress after around four weeks of pure, focused writing time. Only...the first of those four weeks was in July last year, and I was completely blocked and busy with other things until January...and now it's only a first quick draft, means there's one huge re-write waiting for me, then I'll ask my trusted beta readers to tear it apart for me, then I'll have to re-write it again...edit...polish...proofread...
Truth be told, anything from a few months to a few years is possible.
What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I write, period. Everything else can go to hell.
Okay, not quite.
I have kids after all, and a husband and two cats and a dog and a day job.
I work from home, though, and as a freelancer, so I can be pretty flexible. When the writing bug bites me, I use all my home alone time for writing, and push the paid work to late in the evening, when the kids are asleep.
FRIENDS FOREVER - furry kids in action
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Pretty much everywhere. Basically, all you need to do is keep your eyes and ears open, because inspiration can hit you where you least expect it.
I always carry a pen and notebook, just in case. I've been seen bursting out laughing at the bus stop, or blocking the supermarket checkout because I needed to quickly write some random idea down right now.
One of my books is based on a walk in the park and a spelling mistake, another on a Jim Steinman song.
What does your family think of your writing?
They take it pretty well. I guess it beats having a serial killer or a drug dealer in the family.
My mom is very sweet. She doesn't speak much English, but she reads all my books with a dictionary close by, and later calls me to ask if she got it right.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I have written four novels (five, if I count the one I'm working on), two novellas, and I've organized and contributed to two anthologies by the Cake & Quill collective. That's an international group of authors who write themed collections of short stories, flash fiction and poetry for charity projects.
My favorite is always the last one I've published, so currently that would be My Name is Not Alice, a YA fantasy book about a girl who attracts Trouble. The capital T is not a typo.
What do you think makes a good story?
Characters. You can't have a good story without characters willing to completely mess it up for you.
When I re-read the first draft, I realized that I had one of the characters do something he'd never willingly have done. He forced me to re-write half the book, but it turned out better because of it.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I wanted to be McGyver. Seriously. Or an undercover agent. Then I realized that I'm too selfish to die for someone else's cause.
Now, I still don't know what I want to be when I've grown up. I'm not sure it's going to happen anyway.
Angelika Rust is a member of the Cake & Quill Publishing arm of the charity collection of stories. As of this writing they have two collections published. Here is the link to the trailer for Hearts & Other Dead Things and this collection monies will go to a charity for rescued maids. More on that later in the week when a review appears on Paul and Paula's books for Angelika Rust's books.