Tag Archives: Eva Blaskovic

Author Interview Eva Blaskovic


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  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Traditionally, it energizes me, but not because it’s easy. Transcribing from images and feelings to the right words takes blood and sweat, no matter how well I know my story.

I’ve worked under schedules that have exhausted me, though.

  1. What is your writing Kryptonite?

Kryptonite weakens Superman, brings him to his knees, makes him unable to go on. For me, that has always been my work hours, which have not only been odd, keeping me out of writing groups and events, but also long. Determined to find a way to improve my writing skills and become part of a writing community, I connected with writing instructors and industry experts through international online courses since 2006. It was a community I could interact with by leaving messages in the middle of the night when no sane local person was awake. It has taken superhuman effort to write my first novel during many upheavals in my life and three jobs at a time, but I was determined to do it.

The second Kryptonite would be my fiction writing speed, which is much slower than my non-fiction speed. Taking part in NaNoWriMo means committing several hours a day to make the 1,667-word daily quota, plus writing about 12 hours on Sunday. I ultimately “won” NaNoWriMo in 2014 with over 50,000 words in 30 days while working six days a week.

  1. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

I’ve looked into why some authors do it. Sometimes it’s because what they write conflicts with their job or image. Others simply want a name that sounds good and is more likely to sell than their real name. Still others want to cover their gender to prevent publisher or reader bias.

Using my real name just makes sense to me, even if it doesn’t have the eloquence and appeal of a best-selling author name. Or I could be Klára Dvořák.

  1. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

My first author connections were international, mostly from the US and UK. As a single mom, I was working through all the local author meetings and event times. I couldn’t be anywhere in person unless it was in the wee hours of the night. Thanks to the Internet, I had an extensive online community before I ever became involved locally. Even now, I miss all weeknight meetings, and I’m lucky if I can make a Saturday event. Fortunately, I know a small number of local authors (Edmonton, Sherwood Park, St. Albert, Morinville) with whom I meet in person several times a year. I wish I could meet with the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County (WFSC) a lot more often.

More recently, my daughter, Leslie Hodgins, has published her first book, Rebel Destiny. It has been wonderful talking “shop” with her.

Author friends and instructors have helped with feedback on my writing, with knowledge of publishing, graphics, promotion, and events. But mostly, it just feels good to be in the company of other writers and be able to talk about writing or read their work. Special mentions go to Mandy Eve-Barnett and Linda J. Pedley.

  1. Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

Right now, I have a published novel that could stand alone, although I have started writing a companion novel/sequel to expand on some of the situations mentioned in the first book.

The two other books in progress are stand-alones.

  1. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

The absolute best money I ever spent was on writing courses in 2006 to 2012, which gave me access to professional critiques, editing, and communication with instructors who had worked as acquisition editors in publishing houses, instructed Fine Arts programs at universities, wrote for well-known magazines or publishers, and/or traditionally published their own books. These courses and individuals helped me hone my craft. After that, the best money I spent was to Dream Write Publishing.

What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

When I was very young and said something stupid that couldn’t be taken back with an apology.

Later, in school, I couldn’t impress anyone with my writing or verbal presentations—neither teachers nor students. A few teachers gave me credit for my mechanics, though, especially in writing dialogue.

Only once ever, in the final year of high school when I answered a child development/perspective question during a discussion period, did the class, much to my amazement, clap. (I was a nobody in school, so that was kind of a big deal.) I guess that’s the one time I can actually say I had insight beyond my years and an ability to get into the developing brains of children and youth, and actually advocate for them. That ability later became the foundation to my job, my parenting, and my writing, but the credit for it goes to my mother.

  1. What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

I can’t even begin to say.

  1. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

Interesting question. I never thought about it and can’t answer this question even after months of pondering it.

  1. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Three fiction books and a parenting/educator handbook.

  1. What does literary success look like to you?

VJ Gage (January 2018) described it like this: “It would be that many thousands of people have read and enjoyed my books. I would want them to say they could not put my books down and that my plots are unique and clever, and that I have a great imagination.  Then I would like to make lots of money.”

Writing a book is a heck of a lot of work, and prepping it for publication is a heck of a lot of work on top of that. With that in mind, it would be nice if my book had some traction, both in terms of readership, literary credibility, and sales. That’s just the reality of life. Anyone can write for the joy of it, but to make a book and keep making them needs some form of return.

  1. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

It depends on what kind of book it is. For my first book, the events, relationships, interviews, and readings from my whole life, distilled, were my research. When I needed more, there was the Internet. I researched the psychology of grief in real life as well as through literature.

For my fantasy and supernatural books, the process was different, since the decision to write each was sudden. But I did research locations, clothing, tools, mineshafts, etc.

Research can be done at different stages: before writing, at the beginning of writing when you come across something you need to know, and toward the end to verify or adjust information.

With non-fiction, though, the brunt of the research and organization comes up front.

  1. How many hours a day/week do you write?

When I do get to write, it’s a marathon. I’ll write until it’s done (an article or short story), or until I drop. In the past, I had written for 17-20 hours a day for many days straight when writing novels. Unfortunately, this kind of time was rare and usually took long weekends and holidays.

I often can’t go near a novel (first draft or revision) unless I’m guaranteed an uninterrupted three to four hours at a stretch.

I do not get distracted by social media or anything else during these times. It’s very intense focus.

  1. How do you select the names of your characters?

*Evil grin* I steal and collect names. I’ve had some sort of protagonist for as long as I can remember. He—yes, always he, though not the same one over my lifespan—often came with a family and a community of friends. These people needed names, so I was always writing down and saving names I liked. Nowadays, I search baby name lists as well.

It’s a little more difficult with last names. I have to be more careful.

  1. What was your hardest scene to write?

One of the oldest yet hardest scenes to write was the first climax in my published novel. I grappled with it for over five years. It has been rewritten more times than any other scene in the book.

Beyond the Precipice

  1. Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?

I’ve always written a form of reality fiction or literary fiction. My novel took on a psychological theme because I guess that’s what I know best.

As a child, I watched sci-fi, but I wrote adventures and was particularly interested in outdoor survival stories—for which I had no hands-on experience, and Internet research was still a good twenty years away. The nifty thing about living life is that you gain experience whether you want to or not. One day, I was finally in a position to write a book, but it was about a different kind of survival—more internal, more cerebral.

I wrote a fantasy adventure for NaNoWriMo 2014 because I could make that form of writing go much faster.

Each genre and book is so different that it’s hard to mix anything up because what belongs in one story doesn’t belong in another.

Random ideas for any story can be written down at any time. However, in order to complete a book properly and give it the best continuity of style, foreshadow, and character, it’s best for me to immerse myself in one book during the processes of revision and preparation for publication.

  1. How long have you been writing?

Since before I could form letters. Then, during my childhood and right through university. I took a hiatus after marriage and while the kids were small. Writing was difficult to justify because I couldn’t produce anything worthwhile. I was alone with my passion until the age of the Internet, when I could seek help from people outside of my immediate geographical location. In 2006, online writing courses made it possible for me to connect with writing experts who taught me how to write novels (and articles) properly. Over the next decade, I began to find books and articles with valuable information for the professional writer. I educated myself as much as I could, conferred with my writing mentors, and practiced, practiced, practiced.

  1. What inspires you?

Anything in life, real or fictional, can be an inspiration or become a part of a story. Authors see potential stories and character traits everywhere.

  1. How do you find or make time to write?

There has only ever been one way, and it is not healthy: sleep less.

  1. What projects are you working on at the present?

I began working on Beyond the Music (companion/sequel to Beyond the Precipice), Druyan (fantasy adventure), Ironclad (supernatural adventure), and a parenting/educator handbook. However, they are on hold indefinitely.

  1. What do your plans for future projects include?

I would have to finish the above projects first, unless I got an incredibly hot new idea that pretty much wrote itself.

  1. Share a link to your author website.

My website link is https://evablaskovic.com/.

Thank you, Mandy, for this interview.

Eva

 

 

 

Upcoming Writing Events- Add Yours for your Location…


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This week began with Canada Day and the extra special Canada 150 celebrations on 1st July. My ‘new’ country is so young compared to my ‘old’ country, England. It is unique to see the excitement and pride my fellow Canadians take in their country.

road trip

I am away with my dear friend, Linda in Red Deer for the next three days, enjoying the scenery, wildlife, and relaxing in writing companionship. It has been sometime since we have been able to ‘escape’ and it is certainly appreciated by us both. 

I will miss our writing group’s monthly meeting on Tuesday but as it seldom happens I think I’m forgiven. Someone else can take the reins on my behalf.

Saturday will be my joint author signing with Eva Blaskovic at Audreys Bookstore in Edmonton. We are hoping to draw a crowd to buy books and ask us questions. Preparations have been made, a draw basket created and advertising blasted.

New and Improved Author Signing-page-0

On Sunday 9th July I will be once again attending an annual event for Strathcona County- Savor Strathcona. It celebrates the best independent food and art in our area. I will be doing double duty as Secretary of the Writers Foundation and President of the Arts & Culture Council, luckily the tables are together! 

Savor Strathcona

What are you up to this week?

Other events:

Hylke Speerstra, Meet & Greet

hylke

Hylke Speerstra will be presenting ‘The Comfort Bird’, his new book in English translation.

Monday at 11:00–14:00 at Dutch Delicious – 13232-118th Ave, Edmonton, Alberta T5L4N4

And Author Reading and Book Signing 4 July at 11:00–14:00 at The King’s University 9125 -50 Street, Edmonton, Alberta T6B 2H3

Toys, Bikes and Books Swap
Hosted by Edmonton Chinatown Chinese Library – 9 July at 13:00–17:00 at 9540 – 102 Ave. Edmonton

china

Recycle Book Sale

book sale

8 July at 11:00–15:00
The Village at Pigeon Lake
6b Village Dr RR#2, Westerose T0C 2V0

Upcoming & Past Writing Events- Add Yours for your Location…


events

Our author reading on Saturday was amazing – eight readers and a great audience. Social Grounds Coffeehouse did us proud with allowing us once again to utilize their beautiful premises.

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On Sunday I attended a friend’s book launch – Carla Howatt has written an emotional and powerful book about her experience after her son’s suicide. 

http://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca/retail/books/bearing-witness

Last week I also attended a grant presentation for my writers group, Writers Foundation of Strathcona County. This grant will assist us in publishing our Canada 150 book, which tells stories of Canada, whether it is memories, wildlife, landscape, seasons or any other ‘Canadian’ theme. County Clothesline are always so generous with their grants to local non-profits and organizations. http://wfscsherwoodpark.com/wfsc-canada-150-book-project

This week is less eventful (pardon the pun) so writing is my goal.

Other upcoming events:

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30 June at 19:00 to 2 July at 17:00
The Bennett Center, 9703-94 Street, Edmonton, Alberta T6C 3W1

https://www.facebook.com/BennettCentreYEG/”https://www.facebook.com/events

  • wordplay

 

The children’s festival WordPlay takes place in conjunction with the grand opening of Sheree Fitch’s dreamy new venture, Mabel Murple’s Book Shoppe and Dreamery, on July 3 in River John, NS, with Alan Syliboy, Marie-Louise Gay, and plenty of celebration.

 

Why not add you local events here – promotion is never a bad thing!

Author Book Signing – 8th July 2017…


I’m too excited to wait so I’m posting this event now! My fellow author pal, Eva Blaskovic and I are having a joint book signing on 8th July at Audrey’s Books, Jasper Avenue, Edmonton 12:00 – 1:00 pm. Everyone is welcome!

Come and see our new and improved novels, get your book signed and ask us questions on the stories or our writing process.

New and Improved Author Signing-page-0

Upcoming Writing Events- Add Yours for your Location…


events

I just have to share a few photos of the Authors for Indies event I attended on Saturday at the Sherwood Park Bookworm. We had a great time sharing our books, sharing experiences of the writing life with a new writer and talking everything books. Fellow authors Eva Blaskovic, Beth Rowe and Marty Chan joined me for the day. I even got to read from Ockleberries to the Rescue, which was fun!

AFI 2017

 

 

 

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On Monday I have an evening hosted by our local library, Books, Bites & Bubbly.  Looking forward to it.

books bites bubbly

Tuesday will be my writers group, the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County’s monthly sharing meeting. We share our current work for constructive critique, discussions and writing exercises and fellowship.

Writers Foundation Strathcona County

What are you up to this week?

Other locations:

The 1000 Islands Writers Festival runs May 5–7 in Gananoque, ON, featuring Cathy-Marie Buchanan, Iain Reid, Lindy Mechefske, Marni Jackson, and others.

reading by the river

The next-best thing to a new lit fest is a new lit fest that’s coming back for its second year. After an incredible debut in 2016, The Festival of Literary Diversity returns to Brampton, ON, running May 4–7 with another stellar lineup.

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Vancouver Island’s Children’s Book Festival is scheduled for May 6 in Nanaimo, BC, featuring (as usual) some of Canada’s best children’s authors.

Bookfest-2017web