Please welcome to my blog author Julia Fellner. Her book, To Be a Hero, was released last October.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hello, my name is Julia Fellner. I wrote my first novel, Revealed, when I was sixteen. It was published two years later by Rogue Phoenix Press. For my second novel, To be a Hero, I decided to self-publish. This has also led to me blogging about publishing and what I call authorpreneurship. Authorpreneurship means as an author you have to be an entrepreneur as well because even if you don’t self-publish, marketing is mostly the author’s responsibility.
Do you write full-time? If so, what is your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Rather than being a full-time writer, I consider myself a full-time storyteller. I also work as a brand and digital marketing consultant. Tasks like telling an organizational brand story or producing an advertisement video all require a heavy amount of storytelling.
Admittedly, time to write fiction rather than texts for social media or another form of copywriting can be tough. Therefore, fiction writing time is my reward for ticking off the other tasks on my to do list. However, what has also worked for me is that during school time I would get up an hour early to get some writing done because afterwards I would be too tired.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Like, I think, many people I first started referring to myself as a writer in front of other people when I got the publishing deal for my debut novel. However looking back, being a writer is something I identified with for the longest time before that, ever since I started taking writing seriously and doing it regularly.
Now I consider myself more of a storyteller as I’m branching out into producing and brand marketing. These may sound like completely different professions but storytelling is still essential to them.
What fuels you as an author to continue to write?
Writing may be hard work but for me the writing itself is the reward. Of course some days when I don’t feel motivated to work I have to force myself to do it. But once I get into the flow of writing I’m always happy I sat down to write.
Do you outline your books or just start writing?
I always write a vague outline of a story, before I start writing the first scene. The outline doesn’t need to be fully filled in because I look at my outline as a suggestion rather than a fixed plan.
While outlining my story beforehand does help me revise the plot and avoid potential plot holes from the start, I think you also need to be prepared to give your story the option of developing in a different direction than you originally planned. It’s a natural progression of writing that the book always changes as you work on it. You might have set out to write one book and end up writing one, which is completely different, albeit with similar characters and themes.
What inspired you to write To be a Hero?
When I first had the idea for To be a Hero, super hero films just started going into fashion. My friends and I talked a lot about them, so I started wondering about how a nerdy girl would react if a self-proclaimed hero showed up in her town. Can there be heroes in real life?
Did the story turn out the way you planned from the beginning? If not, what change happened that you didn’t expect?
The story didn’t turn out like I expected at all. I set out to defy Joseph Campbell’s monomyth and the typical hero’s journey. However what I ended up doing was replicating it. Between the first and second draft I also cut 35 000 words and rewrote them. Sometimes if the way the plot develops doesn’t work, you have to simply go back to page one, find out where it went wrong and start anew from there. It’s a difficult decision to just cut so much of your work but sometimes it’s necessary.
What is the best and worst advice you ever received?
The worst writing advice, which I see being given by many people, is “Write what you know”. For some people this piece of advice might work. However, often I think people see it as limiting. If you want to write about dragons or fairies or write crime, don’t rely on getting to know a dragon, so you can write about them. Don’t limit your imagination like that.
The best writing advice I believe is “Keep writing”. It sounds simple but seriously keep writing, even when you don’t feel like it. Writing can be though and it can take time until you start seeing progress. But I promise you the more you write and the more you make it a habit, the easier it will come to you.
What is the best thing about being a writer? The worst?
For me personally, the best part about being a writer is the actual writing. While the writing process might be really frustrating at times, it is also the most creative part.
The worst part would probably have to be the editing. In my case it is the stage when all the insecurities creep in because you have to be very critical of your own writing to make it the best it can be.
Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your next book?
Since my newest book, the Marketing Handbook for writers, which you can download for free, is out now, I’m focusing on fiction again. I’m currently putting together a small short story collection called Lesbian Adventures through Time. These stories all have strong queer women as protagonists, while also having very action-centered plots since these are stories my friends and I are struggling to find on a mainstream book market.
Valerie has loved stories about heroes ever since she was a child. Now it’s her chance to become one herself.
When a masked, self-proclaimed hero called Shadow appears in her hometown, she decides to team up with him and become a hero herself. Valerie is an unlikely adventurer. She can’t run fast and she is a little insecure. But she is passionate about turning her life into an interesting story.
However, soon she has to learn that living a story is not as easy as she had thought. In a small town with no big adventures, the person underneath Shadow’s mask is the only mystery worth exploring. When Shadow’s secrets pile up, she has to learn to face problems without her mask.
In a world that believes it no longer needs heroes, can Valerie and Shadow prove it wrong?
About the Author
I wrote my debut novel, Revealed, at the age of sixteen. After this first experience with the publishing industry I wanted to become more entrepreneurial than just writing.
Therefore, I self-published my second novel, To be a Hero and a short story collection, Adventure Stories of Pirates, Robots and Coconuts, also very much enjoying the management side of the process. Based on my experiences as an authorpreneur, I have also released two free eBooks, the Self-Publishing Handbook and the Writers’ Handbook to Marketing.
I graduated from Vienna University with a Bachelor in English linguistics, literature and cultural studies and completed a Master degree in Management in the Creative Economy at Kingston University London. Currently, I live in Austria, where I am working on exciting new projects.
You can find out more about Julia on her website. Or you can follow Julia on Twitter or Facebook.
You can buy To Be a Hero on Amazon.
You can download her Self-publishing Handbook for free from Smashwords.