At what point in your life did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
June 9th 2001. I was eleven years old and had my first experience with finals. I didn’t want to study, but I also didn’t want to seem like I wasn’t. I had been forced by my parents to attend an afterschool study group, which was monitored by teachers as we studied in silence. I got bored really quickly. The subject was physics and it just did not appeal to me then. I had a very bad teacher for that course, I couldn’t for the life of me concentrate. I picked out a sheet of paper and started writing. That’s how I spent my day ‘studying’ physics. I ended with four pages of writing, and no progress on the study part. I spent the eve before panicking and then succeeding in being not completely disastrous at physics. I used this strategy to get out of studying subjects until the end of High-school. I’m rather embarrassed to admit, that most of my stories were thought out while procrastinating.
What hobbies do you actively pursue?
I love to go volunteering. Near my home there are several playgrounds that need supervisors for the children. I decided to go do this one summer, and never stopped. Currently I am the supervisor of the supervisors, making sure the playground runs well. I do this for less than minimum wage and sometimes even for free. I just enjoy helping children play, even when it is difficult for them. My playground specializes in special-needs children, and I mostly focus my spare time trying to improve myself for this task. I started following courses for people who deal with children with a handicap. I learned how to take care of them, and relayed this info to my co-workers. I even took several courses in sign-language, to learn how to communicate with children who are deaf. It is one of the most enjoyable ways to spend time.
How do you react to a bad review of your book?
Whenever I encounter a review I get truly excited and immediately want to read it. Of course bad reviews give me a bad feeling. It makes me feel failed in my task of entertaining that specific person. More than anger, I feel guilt for wasting that person’s time (and since self-publishing, money).
However, I had to learn to make the step of dealing with it. It’s not easy. When your confidence is low bad reviews hit hard and suddenly. I had to, and still have to, remind myself that what I’m writing isn’t going to appeal to everyone. A book without bad reviews is a book not properly critiqued. I try to learn from bad reviews. I try to pick up the things that keep coming back and do better next time. It’s struggle. In the end, getting a bad review won’t ruin a career. Giving up because of one, will.
Describe what it’s like to be an author in three words.
“Brain, stop dreaming.”
Do you have any suggestions for beginning writers? If so, what are they?
Most writers have this. The big dream! It’s a story you’ve been working on ever since you’ve known you’re a writer. It’s big, it’s going to take the world by storm and it’s going to be the best book you’ll ever write. Try and realize the following: you don’t have the skills, yet, to write this book. It’s going to take years, maybe decades, to get to that point. As a beginning writer I’d suggest you start writing other things. Explore genres, find what you are comfortable with. Maybe it isn’t the genre you expected. Then when you finally feel confident, and have finished several other project, you can start thinking about the big project. Trying to get my big project done, delayed me for several years.
What is the hardest part of writing your books?
For me, the hardest part is letting it go. At one point I have to accept that this story needs to be published. As soon as it is out of my hands, I think of a dozen things to change. It’s too late though. That’s why I painstakingly held onto many stories, without ever releasing them.
DOWNLOAD A FREE COPY OF SOFIA TODAY ONLY (January 25th)