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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Radley

The Debut Novel | Q&A Tag

This is my very first, but hopefully not my last, author tag post. Suggested by the lovely Niamh Murphy, author of Escape to Pirate Island, I’m starting with a question and answer session on the subject of my debut novel.

If you’re an author and you’d like to get involved, check out the end of the article for instructions on how to participate!

What is the title and genre of your debut novel?

My debut novel was strangely enough called Flight SQA016. It’s a story about a rich businesswoman who meets a flight attendant during her weekly commute from New York to London.

The book title refers to the number of the fictional flight they travel on, at least during the outbound leg of their trip. It’s an ex-fanfiction piece and so the number contains a reference to that fandom, as well as a reference to my own honeymoon flight.

What gave you the idea to start writing it?

As with most of my favourite stories, Flight just came to me one day with no explanation as to why or where it came from. I know that’s not very helpful for budding authors but sometimes an idea just pops into your head. I’m a bit of a day-dreamer so I come up with different scenarios in my mind and let them sit and see what happens.

The heart of the matter was that I pictured a professional business woman in a first class seat, looking across the aisle and wondering why a five year old boy was staring back at her. From there, Flight was born.

How long did it take you to finish?

Not long! As I said above, I originally write Flight as a fanfiction piece. I was updating the story almost every day and it easily got over 100,000 words within a couple of months. The real pain came later when I had to professionally edit it. But more about that later.

What was the biggest challenge you had when writing it?

I felt that I couldn’t write quickly enough! I had the idea in my head but I had little time to get it out. The first online version was published very quickly and was full of mistakes. The majority of Flight was, somewhat ironically, written on a train. I used to commute two hours each way to London, three times a week. I would be on the 6 am train and quickly opening my laptop and hammering out the next chapter before I got to my stop, or worse, the train became busy with commuters who wanted to look over my shoulder at what I was typing.

How did you get it published, Indie or Trad?

I was contacted by the Managing Director of Ylva Publishing and asked if I would like to have Flight published. At first, I thought it was a joke or some kind of vanity press deal. But I looked up Ylva Publishing and saw they were a real publishing house. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do it, I had a busy day job and I’d never had a desire to be a published author. But I spoke with Ylva and decided to go ahead, if I didn’t enjoy the process then I wouldn’t have to do it again – and at the end of the day, it was an adventure!

What was the most important thing you learnt from the process?

It’s hard to pick one single thing that I learnt from the process because I learnt so much. Firstly, I learnt how to be a better writer. I also learnt a lot about the editing process. But I suppose the main thing I learnt is that I enjoyed publishing and I wanted to be a hybrid author, someone who partly publishes through traditional publishing presses and partly as an Indie. Each has its place in the publishing world and I’m loving how much I learn about craft and business by being a hybrid author.

What are you working on right now?

light 3! Flight SQA016 was so long that it had to be chopped into two books. And doing this gave me the opportunity to give something back to the fans who had enjoyed the fanfiction version of the story. I turned the second book, Grounded, into a mostly original story, I took the skills I had lernt from publishing the first book to make the second book better than what happened in the fanfiction version.

I had intended to stop at those two books. I even published two other books after Grounded, a cozy mystery called Huntress and an office-romance called Mergers and Acquisitions. But people wanted more and an idea came to me and I had to write Flight 3, which as you can tell is still unnamed.

So, there you have it! My first author tag Q&A. If you have any other questions about my writing, or publishing, then ask me in the comments and I’ll try to answer. 

If you’re an author, why not play tag?

Cut and paste these questions into your own blog with a link back to me, and provide your own answers to the questions. Then drop me a comment below with the link to your own blog.

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