Bootcamp 109ers would like to welcome our first guest blogger/interviewee to our blog Eleni Konstantine.Hi Eleni, thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions on the Bootcamp 109 blog as part of your Eleni-fest month.
Thanks so much for having me on your blog Sandie & 109ers. And wow, I’m very much honoured to be your first guest blogger/interviewee!!
Q: Eleni-fest has really taken off, are you surprised by the response you received to your call for help?
Yes I am to be honest. Though I shouldn’t have been. RWAus members are so generous and come flooding to support another member. I have a fantastic line up of special guests and am visiting some very cool blogs (this one included of course *wink *)
I’ve also been blown away by everyone blogging about, tweeting about Eleni-fest. It’s great to know your writing buddies are out there helping you out. And of course there are those who have taken time out to comment. So it’s been a blast so far!
Q: What made you decide to join RWAustralia?
You know I can’t even recall how I stumbled across RWA. It was in the late 90s (I’m pretty sure it’s 1999). I was studying Creative Writing part-time via correspondence and found RWA (didn’t have the internet back then). I think it may have been in another Australian writing magazine or even a flyer. Since I enjoyed reading and writing romantic elements, I thought it might be a good association to be a part of. I joined and have been a member ever since. :) They just can’t get rid of me.
Q: You’re one of the original Bootcampers, what did you learn from doing the first bootcamp?
Bootcamp came at a fantastic time for me. I was slowly starting to get back into writing from having my CFS crash, had found my CP, and saw the Bootcamp ad in Hearts Talk. Two days over two weekends. Sounded like the kick start I needed. And it was. Our group clicked and for me that was the best possible outcome, and one that I didn’t expect. You know usually you do a course and then that’s it, no more contact or very limited, but not with this group. There was so much information – it was amazing. And it helped me enter the writing world once again – conflict, characters, chats with authors, OH&S (very important), but to me the biggest ‘aha’ moment came from the fabulous Denise Rossetti – ‘Protect Your Work!’ By that she meant that your writing is important and you have to escape the distractions that take you away from it. I have that note pined on my mirror as a reminder each morning to protect the work. I still struggle with that because of my energy levels but I’m getting there. So I’ve also got a saying of ‘Protect the Writer!’
Q: What impact has RWAus had on your writing?
Wow, I can’t believe how much it has helped. First of all there is the monthly member’s journal, Hearts Talk. It has always been a fantastic resource where I’ve learned about the craft, the business, the life of a writer. When I joined ROMUAS back in 2002, there was another resource of ‘talking’ to other writers. My goodness other people loved writing and talking about it. And since then it has just snowballed. Attending conferences (the last one being the first in a long 6 year draught!), helping with HT on and off again, Bootcamp, Roadshow, SARA, getting my CP through the CP Registry, entering competitions. I just feel all of these have helped me develop as a writer. My writing certainly has improved – I even came 3rd in the Great Expectations Contest in the Specialized category (run by the North Texas Romance Writers) earlier in the year. I have a couple of partials under submission. Fingers crossed :)) I also think the camaraderie helps in a big way too – I’m always so happy to see people do well and that good feeling flows when I’m writing.
Q: You write fantasy romance, what is it about the fantasy genre that appeals to you?
Actually I tend to write fantasy with romantic elements – which basically means while the romance is important it’s not what the story is centred around. Then again I am writing a paranormal romance which has a strong romance at it’s core. :)I’ve always been fascinated by magical creatures, mythological beings (grew up listening to Greek myths), and magical abilities. A sense of wonder arose from those first fairy tales and cartoons that I read and watched. This fascination continued throughout my life but I didn’t read too much fantasy (in high school, I tended to read a lot of mysteries and horror). It was Jennifer Roberson’s The Chronicles of the Cheysuli series that brought me back to the epic fantasy. I loved the complexity of her world, the characters, the plot and the pure escapism. I was hooked and even special ordered the books (having read book one from the library). I wanted to create my own worlds with my own rules. Abit of goddess complex, I think ;)) But I have a ball doing this.
Q: When not writing what do you do to relax?
Sleep! ;)) Seriously, watch tv, read books, hang out with family and friends, listen to music....and sleep ;)
Q: What are you working on now?
Well when Eleni-fest is over, I hope to go back working on the first draft of my Dragon story – another quest fantasy, and I also have a short paranormal romance that is at the second draft stage.
Q: If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
Seriously, just one place? Hmm that’s a toughie. I love Adelaide. It’s home. You know what - I’d love the ability to teleport then I could go to the Greek Isles or Venice often, or anywhere else for that matter! So the world would be my oyster...
Q: Where do you get your ideas for your novels?
All around me I believe. There are so many different inspirations – stories of bravery, a facial expression, a piece of conversation that falls on my ears as I walk through shopping centres or the Mall (that’s Rundle Mall to non-Adelaide folk), other books, movies, tv, myths, legends, art.... You get my drift. Everywhere, anything! Years ago I was doing a WEA course on Medieval Europe and I gazed at a painting hanging on the wall and suddenly an idea for a short story came to mind involving a paining. This story – Enchanted – went on to come second in the KSP Fantasy and Science Fiction award in 1999. It’s currently under submission so fingers crossed it will finally get to be published ;))
Q: What do you think is the main ingredient needed to make a good novel great?
Oh I wish I knew! I’d be published then. Hmmm....for me it’s about the characters. They have to speak to me and make me want to care about them. I have read books that are technically have those elements that we are told as writers not to have (adverbs, long monologues, flashbacks) but the characters have swept me away and I’ve barely noticed these features. And if my internal editor gets shut down, then I know it’s won me over.
Q: What do you think makes a great hero/heroine?
They have to ring ‘true’ to me. Their motivations, conflicts, reactions all have to resonate. It may be a vampire trying to redeem themselves for the lives they have taken. So what I mean by ‘true’ is not about being set in the real world but it’s the action in the story that has to be believable. I mean if the hero or heroine are gung-ho normally but freeze at one point - I want there to be a good reason. Are they being faced by a nightmare from their past? Has someone bespelled them so they can’t react? I also like strong but vulnerable characters be they the hero or heroine, who grow and learn throughout the course of the story. Basically in the end they will do the right thing for the situation. But hey that’s just me!
Q: What inspires you to write each day?
I wish I did write every day. My problem is having energy. Once Eleni-fest is over though, I hope to have a more balanced schedule and then I aim to write every day. Even if it’s just a few words. As long as it’s every day. Having this month long celebration has made me itch to get back to my own writing and that’s a good thing :)
Eleni, thank you for chatting with us today, we hope the rest of Eleni-fest is a great success.
Thank you so much. It’s been fun chatting as always and a real pleasure. You know how much I love the 109 gals.
As part of being a guest on your blog, I have a mini-pack to giveaway to one lucky commenter. Comments open until Friday 23th October 2009