How did you know you wanted to be an author? As far as I can remember, I’ve had stories finding me and pursuing me, wanting to be told. I was an early reader, and on Sundays my grandma used to take me to visit her elderly friends and read newspapers to them. I used to write my own little stories, sew them up into booklets, and offer to read them.
Later, I discovered Margaret Atwood’s first poetry book, Double Persephone, which she had produced herself”she had her poems photocopied and hand-sewn into booklets that sold at Yorkville stores for fifty cents each in the early sixties. Encouraged by Atwood’s perseverance, I decided not to give up on writing. In Stone Woman, my protagonist Blossom finds courage in Atwood’s poems and in the memory of her mother reading them to her.
Over the years, as a working mom, I wrote stories, poems, and beginnings of novels, and stashed them into a drawer. Only after I put teaching aside and my children got older, did I have a manuscript published. Now, I am a full-time writer. It’s a dream come true.
What is your advice for aspiring authors? Don’t get discouraged by the blank page. Imagine someone to whom you would like to tell your story. Then tell your story. Don’t expect it to be perfect the first time, nor second, nor third. Revise, revise, and revise again. When you feel that your story is done and you’re satisfied with it, put it aside for about six months, and don’t look at it. Then pull it out and read it as if it’s someone else’s story. This is where your editing work gets serious. Now you’re really ready to revise it.
You do need to be well prepared for the task. Read across genres”fiction, nonfiction, critical essays¦ Read novels, stories, poetry, literary theses, book reviews, newspapers, history books… Study other writers’ styles. Note how they tell their stories.
Don’t get discouraged. Writing is not an easy task”but the rewards of seeing your story complete are exhilarating, and certainly worth the journey. And always, follow your heart. If you really want to tell that story, don’t give up. Happy writing!
Do you have any writing rituals or practices?My writing day starts with freshly-ground organic coffee”a very large one. I have an assortment of china mugs with wildflower designs; mugs with works of art”Emily Carr’s paintings, Vincent van Gogh’s paintings. The cup is as important as the coffee”it inspires me, makes me think of art. My best writing time is in the morning, but I can write anywhere any time”especially if I have a deadline.
When I get visited by the ominous writers’ block, I take long, fast walks”the rain and the wind do not deter me, and I love the sound of the waves. I envision the scenes from my work-in-progress, transcend into characters. At times, I picture those extra brain cells we all have that remain unused, and I imagine putting them to work and finding answers. Funny”it often works. When nothing works, I put the project aside and move on to another one, then go back to it when it comes back to me.
What message to you want readers to remember?A reader is a philosopher of Life. Read for the joy, and you will not only discover stories about other people and places and human relations, you will also unearth a wealth of knowledge about yourself and those you love. Even more importantly, you might even find answers to your own challenges and obstacles. And always”read for the delight of the written word! Read what you love!
I love the act of writing”transcending into my characters and losing myself in the story. I love living vicariously the life I invented for them, feeling what they feel, seeing what they see, journeying imaginatively where they journey.
One of the highlights of being a writer is connecting with my readers and hearing what they thought of my story. Whether it’s about the setting for my novel, the characters’ triumphs and heartbreaks, or how the story brings to life elements from one’s own, interacting with my readers always offers new insight into my writing journey.
After writing the first draft”be it a novel or a collection of stories or a book of poetry”the many edits follow. Finally, the book is published. And as I hold it in my hands, I am often saddened. I miss my characters. I worry about them. I let them out into the world! What will happen to them now? Will they thrive? I wonder whether I decided well”introduced the story to draw the reader in, structured the plot to keep the reader engaged, developed the characters and allowed them to think and breathe”to love, and hate, and mourn, and suffer the consequences of their actions”to be alive!
And the conclusion is always a challenge. Did it disappoint? Did I give away the plot too soon? Did I leave too many crumbs along the path? Too many hints? Or too few? Did I tie up all the loose ends? Was it just a satisfactory read? Or a thrilling one?
Did my book inform, entertain, engage and excite the readers? Will they be interested in reading my other works?
Why is this so important to me? Because as my character Amelia in the story Night Walk in my collection, Bridge in the Rain, hints in her conversation with the kind and tragic Mr. Stavinsky, her school librarian,”the characters live only as long as they are read, remembered, thought about. It is the readers, always the readers, who give the characters life.
I love having my work reviewed and analysed and given back to me from the readers’ perspective. Making these connections with readers is magical! It makes the writing journey worthwhile.
How can fans get in contact with you?My website is www.biancalakoseljac.ca
I am on Goodreads–look for Bianca Lakoseljac, author.
I have a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/bianca.lakoseljac.3
I am on Linkedin
I am on Twitter, handle: @bqueed and it’s under Bianca Lakoseljac
My website is the best and quickest way to contact me.