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Thursday, 4 August 2011

Author Interview with Pandora Poikilos

Who is Pandora Poikilos?
I have received some "get to know you" questions. So, here's a peek at the questions that have been asked, and the random ones that no one asked but I felt like answering anyways, in no particular order. 
Most popular question, is Pandora Poikilos a real name? 
Now, if it's real or not, after having it broadcast all over the internet am I really going to tell one individual who asks me in a blog comment? Some pseudonyms I have used include, Marjorie Abraham and Andrea Nelson.  
What do you think was the most difficult part of growing up and why?
Not too sure if I'm all grown up (loads more to grow mentally) but I'd have to say the most difficult part is learning that people you trust can betray you for the smallest of returns. 
How old are you?
Old enough, 17 April 1976
What’s the ideal dream job for you?
What I have right now. To write. 

Hello Pandora, please tell us about you, as a writer.

For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to write. My first article was published in a local paper when I was 13. Not only did it feel like it was the best thing in the world, the only time when I feel right with myself is when I am writing.

Your book ‘Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped Out’ has been described as Women's Fiction; perhaps you’d you give us some insight into it in a few sentences.

The book deals with Anya's story which is woven into layers of misunderstandings, a rare neurological disorder and an issue that we all deal with, acceptance. More importantly the book deals with moving on. Life has a habit of handing us a pause button and sometimes we can't seem to move past it, this book doesn't show you how in a step by step way, it is proof that you can move past tragedy or loss.

How did you come to write this particular book?

I was diagnosed with IIH (Intracranial Hypertension) some years ago. Life has been difficult to say the least. I had a VP shunt surgery done last year. Writing a book was always a goal I had for myself and there's nothing like brain surgery to get you going and so the book was finished between pre-surgery jitters and post-surgery boredom.

Do you have a favourite character from the book? If so, who and why this particular one?

It would be the chapter and character known as "Calm Amidst the Storm" which talks about a friend who holds you up and takes you across the finish line when all you want to do is drop out of the race.

Where can people buy your books?

Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords for now. More sale venues will be coming soon.

What qualities does a writer need to be successful?

Resilience, Humility, Diligence.

What’s your working method?

I must have pen and paper. Traditional and old fashioned I know but my words will not come otherwise. Once it is written out, it is typed out, edited and so on. Also, I do set aside writing time which is uninterrupted time solely for working on my current book, short stories or my non-fiction pieces (also known as Dora's Essentials).

What’s the single biggest mistake made by beginner writers?

They give up too easily. They write to a few B-I-G publishing companies, get turned down and then they tell themselves it's not worth the effort. Imagine if Dickens believed everything people said about him.

To what extent are grammar and spelling important in writing?

I think it makes the difference between an easy read for the reader and a good writer who conveys his story. Neither can happen without good grammar and spelling. Understood, that all books cannot be perfect and errors can be found but when you find a spelling error in every sentence, what does that tell you of the writer and will the reader keep reading?

How much do you revise your MS before sending it off?

To the point that looking at it makes me want to throw up. I only send it off when I am sick of it. As long as I am turning the pages making changes, I'm not done with it and I'm not happy with it. And if I'm not happy about it how will my readers enjoy the book?

As a writer, to what extent do you think genre is useful in the publishing world?

I think it is very useful. It provides a sense of direction. You can't just write a book and say I wrote about 'everything'.

Many authors see marketing as a bind. What's your opinion on this, and how do you deal with it?

This a frequent and ongoing discussion isn't it? I think to a large extent the publishing industry has become a much wider circle than it used to be. But with this comes a large supply that may or may not have a demand for it. Hence, the process of coercing the supply towards the demand. I've had my moments when marketing has really got to me but utilising social media has been a wonderful tool in aiding my marketing efforts. But as with anything in life, social media marketing has to be consistent before successful results are seen.

What sort of displacement activities keep you from writing?

Noise. I get distracted easily with phones ringing, dogs barking. While this is not an activity it definitely flushes out ideas from my head.

What support, if any, do you receive from family and friends, or a writing group?

I have a few close friends I can go to and there is my partner (Peas as he is known to my readers) who becomes my virtual 'punching bag', critic and idea bag. I think it is important for any writer to have people like these around. It's one thing to have someone close to you read it and say, "that's a great piece" but it's completely another for them to say, "you can do better". Sometimes we become complacent and we need people close to us to nudge us along.

Is presentation of the MS as important as agents and publishers suggest?

I think it is. A well presented MS usually means effort. If the writer doesn't make an effort on his own MS, again, how will the reader be affected?

How long does it take you to write a novel?

About 3 months, it's the editing that takes me longer.

Who or what inspires your writing?

My partner, Peas. Call him a muse if you must but our conversations have sparked more than just one or two chapters of my work.

If there’s a single aspect of writing you find frustrating, what is it?

None that I can think of.

Is there a particular feature of writing that you really enjoy?

Reaching out to people. Nothing in the world tops the feeling of communicating with a reader who has something to say about your book.

Do you believe creative writing is a natural gift or an acquired skill?

I think it's a little of both, a pleasant mix if you must. It comes naturally then you tame it with some training and chances are, a masterpiece is born.

What are you writing now?

My second novel, Frequent Traveler, which will be released on November 6.

Do you have a website or blog where readers can visit?

Sure. My blog is - and
Contact info is as follows
twitter - pandorapoikilos
facebook -pandorapoikilos
google talk - pandorapoikilos

Given unlimited resources, where would you do your writing?

On a beautiful island with very few people, a comfortable house and Internet.

Where do you actually write?

Curled up on my sofa with my MP3 player in my ears.

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