I picked up O.N.Stefen's new book, Sleep then my Princess, today. O.N. Stefen is as elusive and mysterious as the books she writes. I am happy I was able to convince her to give me a photo (which may or may not be her) but the interview, I do know is from her.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I was asked to join a writing group to make up numbers. I went along not knowing what went on and was surprised to find that I loved it. I was hooked from that day on.
How long does it take you to write a book?
Writing a novel is a process of drafts, editing, proofreading and it can take from six to ten months.
What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I snatch moments to write whenever I can. I’ve written in cafes, pubs and with grandchildren running around me.
I don’t have a typical writing day as I write where ever I can. I take my laptop when I go on short holidays but not when I go overseas as that’s too cumbersome and I wouldn’t get enough time to write. I do like to get 1000 words down, however, I have produced 10,000 words in a day at times. Other times I’m lucky to produce 300 words. So it does vary.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
I get ideas from newspapers, TV news reports and sometimes, from an overheard conversation. The seed for my latest thriller, Sleep then my Princess, grew from an overheard conversation when I was a child.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
When I’m not writing, I could be gardening, or cooking or catching the latest movie or shopping.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
I guess you think deeper about emotions surrounding incidents in your life and try to analyse how other people would feel about their trials and tribulations.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I've written five books, one a romance, two thrillers, two fantasy stories and another thriller is currently in first draft stage. I don't have a current favorite.
Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
Writing conferences and courses are immensely helpful. I have always gone to these with an open mind hoping to take away at the very least one new skill. Also, I find writing blogs on the web a mine of useful information. Other than these, the only way anyone can become better at their craft is to write and take note of any helpful suggestions from other writers and editors.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
When I hear from readers, it’s usually to say that they have enjoyed my book. Some have asked how I come up with the ideas for the story they have read.
I always read my reviews and am delighted if a reader has enjoyed my story. If it’s a constructive review, then I keep this in mind as something to tone down or improve in my next book.
What do you think makes a good story?
The essentials of a good story is one that captures the reader's imagination.