What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
Hi there, my name is Celia Stander and I was born in South Africa. My family and I have since lived in Singapore and now we’re in Beijing, China.
Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I’ve always wanted to be a writer, with intermittent goals of being a circus troupe member, ballerina, jockey and rock star. Which is weird since I am extremely clumsy and can’t play a musical instrument.
Did it take a long time to get your first book published?
No, I decided to self-publish after researching the options available. I did a blog post about it and you can read more here, This Publishing Thing: Choices.
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
Guardians of the Akasha took two years to write, with a lot of interruptions. I am giving myself six months to finish the second novel.
Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
I am working on a second novel, which can be read as a stand-alone, or as a follow up to Guardians. Think ‘The Avengers’, where each main character has her own story and they all come together in the end to fight the ultimate evil.
What genre would you place your books into?
Contemporary or urban fantasy.
What made you decide to write that genre of book?
I love to read fantasy and feel most comfortable writing it as well. I love the way the genre links magic to our every day existence.
If you had to choose to be one of your characters in your book which would you be and why?
I’d have to say Keira, the main character, because she can communicate with animals and that is something I’d really love to be able to do!
(I have a friend whose daughter is called Kiera and I think its a beautiful, unique and unusual name)
Do you have a certain routine for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
Not really, but I tend to work better at my desk, early in the morning. I can’t listen to music with lyrics because it distracts me (rock star dreams!), so it is usually something instrumental. I also have a CD called ‘Sounds of the African Bush’, which has some bird sounds, lions roaring etc. on it. This is great to listen to when I get homesick and for anyone who is a nature person.
Would you ever ask a reviewer to change their review if it was not all positive about your book/books?
No, I wouldn’t. It wouldn’t be a happy read, but everyone has different tastes and has a right to their opinion.
Who designed the Cover of your books?
The cover was designed by Stephanie Mooney at MooneyDesigns. I had a vague idea of the feeling I wanted to capture with the cover, also that I wanted a girl and a horse on it. But Stephanie did the rest and I couldn’t be happier.
Do you basic plot/plan for your book, before you actually begin writing it out? Or do you let the writing flow and see where it takes the story?
With Guardians, I mostly ‘pantsed’ my way through it. With the second novel I have a clearer framework which I build on and for me, it definitely leads to faster writing.
What do you think makes a book a really good/bestseller ?
People love a good story, no matter the genre.
(So true, I have found some brilliant books in genres I thought I would never read or enjoy)
Which format of book do you prefer, ebook, hardback, or paperback?
I don’t mind, as long as I have something to read. My husband though, has grumbled loudly about the amount of books we had to pack with our last move, so the kindle app on my ipad has come in handy. He doesn’t know how many books I have on there! Also, English bookstores in Beijing are few and far between.
Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books?
No, I don’t think so. People will always buy print, but they’ll be more selective about what they buy in that format.
Is there a book you know you will never read? Or one you tried to read but just couldn't finish?
I don’t read anything in which children or animals get hurt or die. I’m also not a fan of books trying to make some sort of statement through not so subtle messages. Reading, for me, is about relaxation and enjoyment.
Are there any New Authors you are interested in for us to watch out for? and Why should we watch out for them?
I recently discovered Wynne Channing, who wrote What Kills Me. It is a fresh submission in the vampire genre, which is always nice.
I also love Lindsay Buroker’s The Emperor’s Edge series. She is a very talented writer and her cast of characters are always entertaining.
What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
Don’t give up and get ready for the long haul. Also, whether you self-publish or follow the traditional route, you have to have a basic understanding of the business side of publishing.
Do you or would you ever use a pen name?
I would use a pen name if I wrote in another genre.
If you could invite three favourite writers to dinner, who would you invite and enjoy chatting with?
I’d invite Stephen King, Terry Brooks and Paulo Coelho. Then I’d ply them with good food, good wine and just sit back, listen and bask in their presence.
Where can readers follow you?
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