Writing Advice from the Authors of Summer Crush

summer crush

In honour of the blog tour for Summer Crush, the three authors agreed to share with me – and you – some writing advice. The question I asked them was the following one: What advice do you have for aspiring writers? And here are their answers!

Tara Frejas, who wrote Almost There

“I’ve come across a lot of helpful writing advice when I started independently publishing my books (and even before that), but I think one of the most important is to write a book that YOU would want to read. Don’t obsess about being read by a million people yet, just write a book that appeals to you. Write about something you are passionate about, something that inspires you. That story you’ve been keeping in your head (your heart) for god-knows-how-long because you’re afraid no one will like it? Write that. The process of getting picked up and read by someone may come slow and frustrating, but someone will find your story someday and love it the way you do, and they will tell you in a bunch of ways how much your story has touched them. And it will be worth it.”

Six de los Reyes, who wrote Ocean Eyes

“My advice is plain and simple, as it was told to me when I first started writing.

Read more, write more, live more, and don’t give up. Writing is hard work, like any other endeavor. Unless you write, nothing gets written. Do good in school, keep working, be mindful of your surroundings, and always be aware of what’s going on. Everything can be used in a book. Make mistakes, learn from them, and finish that book.

Hope that helps!”

Jay E. Tria, who wrote Summer Crush

“Write from the heart. Sounds cheesy but this is true. Write something not because you feel like you have to write about it, maybe not even to prove something, but because the story fills you up and makes you kilig, and spending time with the words and the people in your head makes you happy. For me, that’s the only way you’re sure to never run out of stories to tell!”

Thank you so much to all three of them for sharing these amazing words ♥

I talk about Summer Crush some more in this post, and I will post my full review by the end of the blog tour!


Release Day Interview with Freedom Matthews


Hi guys! Today is the release day for Inherited by Freedom Matthews! Inherited is the story of a cursed ship, with pirates and faerys, and I loved it. You can check out my review here if you want to read more about it!

In honour of the release, I’m sharing with you guys some questions that Freedom agreed to answer for me! (And don’t forget to follow her on twitter…)


How did you get the idea for your series Curse of the VIII?

I wish I had a really exciting story to share, but unfortunately its pretty uneventful. I was at work and a letter from a desperate mother to her son drifted into my head. I continued to write and the ship, the crew and the curse all fell into place. From that day, until I completed it, I was taking down notes, scenes and even chapters at work (shhh…dont tell anyone 😉 )

What is your favourite book?

I can NEVER answer this question. They are like choosing children, all of them?!

What made you want to write books?

I have always conjured stories. Even before I wrote them down, Id make believe as a child and become the character and act out what they were doing, or make it up in my head – telling myself the story. I think it started by being the only child in a house full of adults. only had myself to play with and it just evolved from there.

When my beloved Grandfather passed away, I began writing things down to help with the grieving process. Once Id written all I needed to, in verse, I turned to prose. I was about 15 when I began my first novel

Where do you find your inspiration?

In my family, their history. A walk in the park, a really great song. Inspiration comes to me from anywhere and everywhere.

Which fictional character(s) would be your best friend(s)?

I LOVE this question! This may be a loooooooooooooooooong list:

Ron, Neville, Luna and Hermione – HP
Anya & Stef – Mist & Whispers
Elizabeth Bennett – Pride and Prejudice
Tessa, Will & Jem – The Infernal Devices
Myrnin – Morganville Vampires
Patrick – Perks of Being a Wallflower
Jo March – Little Women
Suzanna Kayson – Girl Interrupted
Meggie & Dustfinger – Ink Trilogy

I think Id better stop there, or this interview will just be a list of amazing characters!

Whats the best part of writing a book?

Making new friends, visiting new worlds and creating the joy, happiness and sorrow for them to work with.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

Kyoto, Japan and the Tennessee (USA)

I have always been fascinated by the flower and willow world of Kyoto and would like to experience it for myself. Tennessee holds SO many places of interest: Graceland, Music Row, Dollywood, I could go on. Id love to visit many places in the US, but if had to pick one, it would be Tennessee.

Could you share some advice for aspiring writers and authors?

Write. Get the words down. You cant look for a publisher or agent or any of that without having a story to show them. Write terribly, write brilliantly, just write!


Thank you so much Freedom for answering my questions!


Amazon UK:
Into the Forest     Inherited
Amazon US:
Into the Forest     Inherited
Amazon FR:
Into the Forest     Inherited


And last but not least, I’m also talking about it on my YouTube channel if you’d like to check the video!

Interview with Rachel Smith

Hi guys! I’m here today with another interview! I discovered the Records of the Ohanzee series through NetGalley, and I really loved it. I have reviewed both books here and here.

Rachel was kind enough to answer my questions, and I’m sharing her amazing answers here on the blog. Go check out her books, they are amazing!

My questions will be in bold, and her answers in italics.

Rachel R. Smith

How did you get the idea for your series Records of the Ohanzee?

The story and characters from Records of the Ohanzee have been rolling around in my head for so long that I’ve honestly forgotten what first sparked the idea. Most likely, it was a combination of many influences. I used to do a lot of driving between college and home, and it was during that time I remember seeing the first scenes in my head. Ironically, those initial scenes are of characters that won’t come into the story until the third story arc! But, if you’re paying close attention, there are already references to them in the first book.

For sure, there are songs, quotes, and places that remind me of certain scenes or characters. Sometimes I come across them after I’ve finished writing a scene, while others spark a mood or vision that inspires me. I’ve shared a bit about songs that inspire me or remind me of certain characters on my blog (http://recordsoftheohanzee.com/2015/09/04/that-song-reminds-me-of/) and about places I’ve visited that have inspired settings (http://recordsoftheohanzee.com/2015/12/09/beware-of-the-spirit-that-guards-the-book-in-the-cave/ )

What are your writing habits? (Where/when do you write, do you listen to music?)

Let me start out by saying, I am not a morning person. I work best in the late afternoons and very late at night. I’ll usually run errands and do chores before lunch, while my imagination is still dozing, then settle in to write around 1pm. I’ll write all afternoon and into the evening, then break for dinner and time with my husband. When I’m deeply involved with a manuscript, I’ll usually pick back up after he goes to bed and write until 2-3am. I’ve tried writing in many different places to see what works for me. Oddly, I’ve found that I work best sitting on the couch in the living room with the TV on. My favorite situation is to write while hubby plays video games. Video game soundtracks can be amazingly beautiful, and I find them fantastic for getting me focused.

Do you like travelling, and if so, what are your favourite places?

I love to travel! When I worked as a materials scientist, I traveled a lot for my job. Sometimes I would have to go on trips with only a few hours’ notice, so I always kept a bag packed with the essentials that I could just toss some clothes into and go. While very little of it was foreign travel, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to visit 28 of the 50 states, including Hawaii (it really is just as beautiful as everyone says).

My favorite place that I’ve been is Japan. I was sent to Kyoto to attend a conference for work in 2007. I’ve had a fascination with Japan and Japanese culture for many, many years, so going there was a dream come true. My mom warned me before leaving that my expectations were too high, and to be prepared to be disappointed because reality rarely is as good as you think. I’m happy to say that my mom was wrong in this case. And I had the opportunity to show her just how wrong she was when we returned to Kyoto for vacation together a few years later. More than anything I love to visit the various shrines and temples, because each of those places has such a long, rich history associated with it. Since Kyoto is the historical capital, and is one of the best-preserved cities in Japan, it really is my ideal place to travel to. I hope to go back again soon, but, no matter how many times I visit, it will never be often enough.

What is your favourite book?

I couldn’t possibly pick just one! I’m a big fan of the fantasy genre, and I tend to read series over one-shot books. I like to get invested in plots and characters, so the longer the series, the better. I’m a huge fan of The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan, and I’ve read each of those books multiple times.

My book shelves are also literally overflowing with manga. A few of my favorite series are: Skip Beat!, W Juliet, Kindaichi Case Files, and Full Metal Alchemist.

For single books, two of my favorites are Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden and The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo.

I also enjoy mysteries and cozy mysteries, especially those by Agatha Christie and the Her Royal Spyness series by Rhys Bowen.

For YA books, a few more recent ones that I’ve read are: The Winner’s Curse Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski (patiently waiting for book 3), the Malediction Trilogy by Danielle L. Jensen (also patiently waiting for book 3), and The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer.

Where do you get your inspiration?

Inspiration can come from anything and everything. There’s a saying that I often see online that goes something like: “Be careful, or I’ll put you in my novel.” It really is true! While the characters and events of a story are completely a product of my imagination, there are bits and pieces of reality woven in for many of them. For instance, Nerissa’s mentor, Tao, was inspired by my high school chemistry teacher—a woman who was a very influential mentor to me, and a person I still admire today.

The concept for storing information within a crystal was inspired by concepts and technologies that exist in reality. Crystal data storage is a cutting-edge technology that has been in development for many years. While it isn’t refined yet, and definitely isn’t commercially available today, it has the potential to store more information, for a far longer time, than our current technologies. So, while much of how the crystals are used and interacted within the Records of the Ohanzee is complete fantasy, the concept of storing information inside the crystals is only a few steps outside of reality. I’m actually planning to write an in-depth blog post about the facts and fantasy behind crystal data storage in my books, so check back in a few weeks if you’re interested in learning more!

What is the best part of writing a book?

My favorite part of writing is being able to work little hints and symbols into the layers of the story. It’s not something that I can do a lot because it can become obvious and is distracting if it interrupts the natural flow of the story. But, every now and then, an opportunity presents itself to slip a double meaning into dialogue or a hint of things to come. Then I chuckle to myself maniacally and keep writing. There are at least three specific instances of this in book 2: one that comes out by the end of the book, one that won’t come to light until book 3, and one that will be revealed in book 4. (Insert maniacal laughter here…)

Could you share advice for aspiring writers and authors?

I would say that you need to know writing a book is only the first step in the process. Once your book is published, you will have to spend a lot of time and effort building a network and spreading the word. It’s not an easy task, especially if you are naturally a more introverted type of person. But, no one can read your book if they don’t know it exists. It takes time, but if you keep at it, little by little, you’ll see results.

Likewise, to readers and book bloggers, know that your efforts are deeply appreciated by the authors whose books you read. Every time you share your thoughts and opinions on a book, you’re helping that author to spread the word too. So when you find a book or author that you like, the biggest thing you can do to help support them is to write a review, recommend their books to a friend, tweet a link to their blog or book, or like/follow their Goodreads/Facebook/Blog/etc. You may not realize it, but doing so can make a huge difference. For sure, you’ll make an author smile.

It was really lovely to talk with her, and I hope you enjoy her answers as much as I did!

Interview with Tyrolin Puxty


Tyrolin Puxty’s second book Broken Dolls was released in December (you can read my review here) and I was lucky enough to interview her through email! She was very kind, and I can’t wait to read more of her books!

Here are my questions, her answers are in italics… Enjoy!

How did you get the idea for your book Broken Dolls?
Honestly, it just smacked me in the face. I woke up one morning, stared at the corner of my room and thought: “How weird would it be if I were a doll?” I wrote the first chapter not thinking much of it and had no intention of continuing until my editor said it was something special.

When and why did you start writing?
Precocious 3 year old me toddled up to Mum and said: “I want to write books, will you please teach me to read?’ From 4 onwards, I wrote books about birds and strange creatures. The weird side of me is convinced it’s reincarnation, but the practical side tells me my family’s love of reading and writing is the influence. It just makes me so indescribably happy!

Where do you get your inspiration when you write?
It just…comes! In the shower, at work, dreams, conversations…I guess the secret is I’m always writing.

I saw on Goodreads that you have done a lot of things with your life, could you talk about that a bit?

Haha which parts? Acting in films is boring and repetitive, but theatre is exhilarating and rewarding. Starting my own performing arts school has been the most fulfilling experience; making people happy and giving them confidence! Working as a paralegal was fun, but I didn’t mesh well with the environment or the concept of helping bad people, so that was a sordid experience. Walking the red carpet for my song nomination was HUGE. I’d never felt so flattered as it’s always been a hobby, not a career choice.  Basically, I do a lot without doing much. I make a living out of doing something I love and I’m blessed. I plan to start a charity organisation in my 30’s to give back to the world that gave me so much. 

Do you listen to music when you write, and if so, what kind of music?
Absolutely! I can’t work in silence and I try to avoid songs with lyrics while writing. I enjoy Taylor Davies, Jem, Sia, Kerli, Cat Jahnke and movie soundtracks. 

Could you share some advice for aspiring writers and authors?
Your work is not your baby. It’s not perfect and it’s not special. It’s flawed, so get an editor to brutally tear it apart so you can become detached and see your work in a new light. When you accept that your work can always improve, write ten hours a week (at least). Finish your work, polish it and NEVER give up; especially if it brings you happiness. I talk about that on my YouTube channel! http://youtu.be/1a3xXHZumwE then, submit away!! 

I found her answers really inspiring and motivating, and I hope you did too! Do check her Youtube channel as well, it’s absolutely worth it!