Back in April I received an email from Cecilia London requesting a Review. At this point my blog had only been up and running for a couple months and I had never had someone ask for a request before…So I was beyond excited but also extremely nervous! What if I hated it?? I’m not a huge fan of dystopian books so I started to question whether I should accept this request! My excitement won out in the end and I decided to give Dissident a shot, after all she said it was a genre-bender and I was intrigued! What I didn’t know was that I was about to embark on this crazy roller-coaster! After reading books 1 (Dissident) and 2 (Conscience) of the Bellator Saga I can’t wait to see what happens in number 3 (Sojourn)! So for those of you waiting to get your hands on Sojourn here is my author interview with the talented genre-bending Cecilia London!
- When did you start writing? Did you always want to be an author?
True story: When I was eight years old I had two dreams. To be an author, and to be an attorney. I wrote a ton of stories when I was younger but it dropped off when I was in college (though I wrote loads of poetry) and all but disappeared in law school (when you’re forced to process your creativity in other ways…or destroy it entirely). Thankfully I regained my desire to write two years ago, when I started The Bellator Saga.
I’ve been very fortunate because with ten years as a licensed attorney and three books under my belt, I’ve lived both of my childhood dreams. Which is pretty damn cool.
- What was your biggest inspiration behind the Bellator Saga?
It was a little more than that, but some bad BBQ is what got the ball rolling. I’ve had many of the characters in the book in my head for years – starting with that period in law school when my creativity was stifled. These vivid, vibrant characters (particularly Jack, Caroline, and Christine) were in my mind with no vehicle for them. I had bits and pieces of plot (particularly the romance, LOL) but no firm concept behind a book. Then – boom – I came home sick from work one morning, had an illness-induced dream about Jack and Caroline as pseudo-dystopian freedom fighters, and the series was born! It was originally supposed to be a trilogy and many of the plotlines have evolved and changed but…you go where the writing takes you.
- On your website you state that “Cecilia” is not your real name? Why did you decide to use a pseudonym?
I have spent most of my career as a public servant. If you Googled my real name you’d see why I wanted to keep my identities separate. Many of my friends in real life know that I write romance novels, though, and they’ve been very supportive.
- Did you have the entire plot laid out before you began writing the Bellator Saga or did it come to you as you wrote?
Some of it was fleshed out ahead of time, but a lot of it wasn’t. Originally I planned on having Caroline wake up in the hospital in the beginning of Dissident, not the end, but a friend suggested that I approach the plot a different way. Which was good, since I ended up being able to do a lot more with the chronological flashbacks in both Dissident and Conscience. Much of Sojourn was plotted on the fly, and the major plotline in Phoenix (the fourth book, still a work in progress) developed as I started to realize that my heroine had to go on two very different personal and professional journeys, especially in terms of her physical and psychological recovery. The series is almost two different trilogies, a concept that readers will understand once they finish the first three books.
- Who are your greatest influences?
Wow, that’s hard to say. I loved author Ellen Emerson White when I was younger, and her style had tremendous influence on me when I did the bulk of my creative writing in high school. I still consider her one of my biggest inspirations, and am lucky enough to be Facebook friends with her, which is so cool to me. Check out her books – they’re almost all YA and they’re fantastically written.
I also love Margaret Atwood and JK Rowling. I’m not sure how much they’ve influenced me, but I’m sure Atwood’s dystopians and Rowling’s focus on the classic battle between good and evil have probably touched my work.
- What are you currently working on?
I’m finishing up The Bellator Saga. Phoenix, Rhapsody, and Triumph will all be released in 2016. After that I have plenty of ideas but I haven’t written them yet. We’ll see, eh?
- What has been the most difficult hurdle you’ve had to overcome while writing?
I have a lot of self-doubt. I’m sure most writers do. And I knew nothing before starting this process. I knew I had a product, I knew it was unique, but I had absolutely no concept of how difficult it would be to break in. I’ve had to remind myself quite frequently to be as patient as possible but…I’m a very impatient person! Every time I gain a new fan I squeal with joy, because I hope it’s another step toward finding a wider audience. I think this series deserves one. Don’t you? 😉
- Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Just keep swimming. Find writers like you and bloggers who will take a chance on you. Hold onto your devoted fans because they will be your biggest asset. Make sure you have honest beta readers. And get advice from as many people as possible. Different things work for different people. Above all, keep your head up. You’ll have good days and bad days but you have to remember that no matter what, you wrote a damn book. And that is a truly awesome thing.
- What is your all-time favourite book?
Ugh. You’re killing me! Just one?
I’ll go with The Handmaid’s Tale but I’ll list off half a dozen more if you ask me again. 😉
The Bellator Series: (how gorgeous are those covers!)
Where to Find Cecilia London: