Stella Wilkinson, Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I am a full time author with six books currently available, plus three anthologies that I collated and edited for a children’s hospital charity. The anthologies contain nearly 100 short stories donated by authors from all over the world. Look out for the Omnibus Edition in November 2014.
I love writing about young adults and devour paranormal romances, so it was inevitable that they would come together at some point. I’m best known for my Flirting Games Series, but have also recently started a Magic & Mayhem Series, soon to be followed by several other series.
I live in Pembrokeshire in Wales. Widely known as The Land of Dragons. I’m lucky enough to live by the beach, and when I’m not writing I’m generally either tipping sand out of my shoes or cleaning mud off my wellies (it also rains a lot in Wales). I’m an enthusiastic (if dreadful) cook, and love to bake chocolate brownies by the dozen. I also collect antique books and first editions of any genre at all, so my walls are filled with dusty smelly old books, on various boring subjects, that I treasure but my family hates
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
The last book I wrote was Werewolf Magic & Mayhem. It is the second in a series. I actually wrote the first book, Halloween Magic & Mayhem, just as a fun novella for Halloween, but I got such a lot of fan mail asking me if I was going to continue the story that I decided to write a full length novel for a sequel.
I’m still trying to decide whether to continue the series from there, I expect I will eventually.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I like listening to movie soundtracks to get me in the mood. Like if I’m writing teen romance then I listen to the soundtrack from teen movies like Clueless, Mean girls and American Pie.
I eat strawberry liquorice shoelaces to help me concentrate.
If I get really stuck then I go into World of Warcraft and try to complete a quest
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Is it considered a bit yesterday to say that I still love Harry Potter? My Flirting Games Series is set in an English Boarding School and I like to envision it as being a bit like Hogwarts but without the ghosts and the magic.
What are you working on now?
I’m always working on at least three books. Right now I’m trying to finish book four in The Flirting Games Series, called Good @ Games. I’m also writing another teen romance short novel called Notice Me, and I’ve started outlining a brand new series called ESP about a group of ordinary people with some special powers.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I think that interacting with readers is key to keeping up with what they want to read. So I read a lot of what they say on Goodreads, but I don’t post much. I don’t want people to think that I’m there to promote because I’m not, I’m there to learn. Basically the best method is to know what your readers want and to try to keep producing it.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Yes, lots. I actually get a lot of emails about this, so I wrote a whole blog post on the subject, check it out here: http://flirtinggames.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/want-to-be-writer-go-for-it-tips-and.html
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Write, publish, repeat.
Also never never release anything without a professional editor.
The journey of 1000 miles starts with a single step
Writing is a marathon, not a sprint
I have all of the above on post it notes over my desk
What are you reading now?
I’ve always got several books on the go.
I’m reading Wool by Hugh Howey. It’s not my usual type of book, but it’s so good that how could I not read it?
I’m also reading Juliet Blackwell’s latest release, called A Vision in Velvet. It’s book five in her Witchcraft Mysteries Series. A great series that combines witchcraft with a murder mystery and has some wonderful characters. She’s such a good writer that I’d read a paint tin if she’d written on it.
And I’ve just started A Fault in our Stars, because it is at heart a young adult romance, even if it is a very poignant and sad one, and I think it’s really important to keep up with the books in your own genre that are popular. So far I can totally see why everyone loves it so much.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Just to keep writing. Since I quit my day job to focus on writing full-time, I’ve never been happier than I am now. Poorer yes, but happy lol
I hope that one day my income will actually be enough to cover all my bills, I think I’d better stop buying so many books!
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
Ooh, good question.
First I would definitely take Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson. Just to remind me of home. You’ll end up snorting coffee out your nose, laughing at this book. I almost wet myself reading his chapter on British car-parks. Perhaps if I were American I might take The Lost Continent instead. Either way, he’s the funniest writer on the planet.
Riders by Jilly Cooper. I know, it’s totally 80′s, but never has a book been written that contains so much. Action, adventure, romance, hero’s, villains, and characters that you love and hate not to mention the horses and the dogs. It’s just got such a lot of stories all tied together that you couldn’t ever get bored of reading it, so it’s perfect for a desert island.
The Bible. I’m not religious, but this book is a tome and a half! It would keep me occupied for years. It literally contains hundreds of stories, and perhaps after a long time on the island, I might start to understand some of them…