Friday, June 15, 2012

A Housewife With A Half-Life!

It's a great pleasure to be part of Alison's blog hop!
She has just released her novel "Housewife With A Half-Life", the very funny account of Susan and her adventures in other worlds.
To be QUITE honest: Alison had the same idea I had. A while ago I outlined a possible science fiction story to my publisher, but I can save myself the effort of ever writing it: Alison has done it already! 

So here, today, I've put some tough questions to the author A.B.Wells. 

         When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?

Probably when I was about ten! I’ve been writing all my life. When I was a teenager I thought I would be a journalist. I submitted my first manuscript – a children’s story – when I was eighteen and received a lovely handwritten reply of encouragement. In college I studied both Communication Studies and later Psychology, allowing me to explore both writing and the human mind. Eventually I worked as a writer of scripts for computer based training courses but it’s only in the last few years that I’ve written continuously and tried to make a career of writing. 

Is “Housewife” the first book you attempted? What gave you the idea for the story?

No it’s not my first attempt. I have two mainstream novels in the proverbial drawer which I see as practice runs. In 2010 I had an idea for a literary novel and the idea for the sci-fi comedy that became Housewife with a Half-Life. I was about to embark on the writing challenge Nanowrimo (where you write 50,000 words in a month) and was at a phase of life when I needed to work on something lighter. I came to the story through a series of notes rather than one significant idea, the characters of Susan Strong and Fairly Dave stood out. It was when I began writing the book that more and more situations and characters emerged. 

        You have chosen Science Fiction to start out your writing career. Will you stick to this    genre? What do you think of “genre-hopping”, or of the rule to stick to one?

It’s important to publishers to identify a genre so that they focus their marketing efforts but there are many examples of cross-genre books in the public eye. One example is Audrey Niffenegger, her books have a very strong sci-fi element although they are marketed as general women’s fiction. While my book is termed a sci-fi comedy, it’s also got a wide appeal, particularly to women and mothers. The science and the tone of the book is light. So while it is important to choose a genre, I think it’s equally important for variety and creativity for there to be flexibility in combining genres. The way publishers and readers handle this is by create subgenres eg urban fantasy. 

 “Housewife” is self-published. What made you decide to go this way? Did you attempt to find an agent or publisher before deciding to self-publish?

There are several reasons. I did first attempt to get Housewife with a Half-Life traditionally published but only tried two publishers. They saw positives but did not know where it would fit with their catalogues. At the same time I was associated online with many indie authors and admired their energy and artistic freedom. I felt that self-publishing was an optimistic step I would like to take. However I don’t think I would have taken the plunge until I chatted with my editor and other respected writing professionals who thought that Housewife with a Half-Life would be a good candidate for trying as a self-published venture. 
I am still actively trying to get an agent and have a literary novel on submission. 

 Do you have help with the “publishing” side of being a self-published writer?

Self-publishing is a huge learning curve and it’s true to say that organizing all the elements is massively time consuming, particularly the marketing side. However I have had assistance from a variety of professionals. Sarah Franklin edited the book and other friends and associates proofread it. Andrew Brown of DesignforWriters worked on the eye-catching cover. My technically minded husband was of enormous practical help for the upload and formatting for files for ebook and paperback. I’m also about to sign up to join the wonderful Alliance of Independent Authors who provide structured support services to authors going it alone. Finally, I’ve been really lucky that a local bookshop of the Irish Hughes & Hughes chain have offered to stock the book and hold a launch and book signing. They are working hard on promotion and it really makes a difference to have a third party working on your behalf. 

 Are you working on a new project yet? 

Yes, I’ve just completed a literary novel called The Book of Remembered Possibilities and it’s about to be submitted after a final read over. It has very similar themes to Housewife with a Half-Life in a way – search for identity, the alternative lives we might have lived – although it has a more serious tone? I’m also on the first draft of a novel based on one of my short stories called The Exhibit of Held Breaths. It’s about an unusual exhibit which strongly affects the exhibit’s curator and the town’s inhabitiants. I’m very excited to have received a place on a writing retreat for eight days to work on it. 

What’s the best part of being a writer for you, and what the worst?

The best and worst bits of being a writer are the same – the writing and how you feel about it! You either feel that you are crafting something fantastic or that what you have written is rubbish and there’s no way of knowing when your internal critic will strike! But like most writers I can’t give it up, I have to continue writing, the compulsion will never go away! 

Housewife with a Half-Life is available as a paperback
On Amazon
On Amazon
and Amazon
The ebook is available on Kindle 
More information about A.B. Wells
A.B.Wells is the mother of four children under twelve. She lives in Bray, Co. Wicklow, Ireland. As Alison Wells her more literary writing has been shortlisted in the Bridport, Fish and Hennessy Awards and she’s been published or is about to be in a wide variety of anthologies and e-zines, including the Higgs Boson Anthology by Year Zero, Metazen, The View from Here, Voices of Angels by Bridgehouse and National Flash Fiction day’s Jawbreakers. She recently won the fiction category of the Big Book of Hope ebook with a flash fiction medley and has a  novel The Book of Remembered Possibilities on submission. She blogs for the popular writing website, and on her own blog about writing and life

The blog hop goes on on June 18th at 18th June Writing on a Wet Rock