Here are some of the questions I’m commonly asked. I’ll add more to the list as time goes by!
Q. How long have you been writing and why did you start?
I took off with the intention to enjoy an overseas gap year in 2010 after finishing uni, but it ended up being a disaster since I contracted the zombie plague (not really) on day five. After six weeks of valiantly backpacking onwards while personifying the living dead (not really), I realised I was kidding myself and decided to return home to recover. I then spent the next six months coughing up my lungs (not really) and couldn’t do much during that time except read. Once I started to gain strength and ran out of books I was enjoying, I decided to try my hand at writing something. It was one of those spur of the moment decisions that happened to have a lasting effect, since AKARNAE was the first novel I attempted and it has led me to where I am today. It took me maybe 3-ish months to complete a (very) rough draft, a number of months to edit, and then about 3 years of submissions to agents and publishers before I was offered a contract in January 2014.
Q. How do you actually pronounce “AKARNAE”?
I pronounce it like “Ah-kar-nay”, and since I’m Australian, the “Ah” part sounds more like “Uh”. Another way is to think of the soft sound of the letter “a” from the alphabet (as in, “uh“), then “car” (as in, the vehicle) and then “neigh” (as in, like a horse). Uh-car-neigh.
… But at the end of the day, everyone reads and hears things differently (just think of Hermione from Harry Potter—I don’t know anyone who knew how to pronounce her name until J.K. Rowling helped Victor Krum learn how to say it in the fourth book!).
Q. How did you come up with the name?
“Akarnae” was actually the name of a girl I worked with once upon a time. She spelled it differently (and it was so long ago that I can’t remember how she spelled it) but I always loved the sound of it and it stayed with me. It sounds mysterious, edgy, and very fitting for a fantasy novel.
Q. How many books are in The Medoran Chronicles?
There are five books in total (plus We Three Heroes, which is book #4.5 — three novellas from Jordan, Bear and D.C.’s perspectives), with the potential for some offshoot surprises down the track.
Q. Will your books ever become movies?
I sure hope so—that would certainly be a dream come true! But as a writer I have very little control about something as amazing as that happening. The film/television rights for The Medoran Chronicles are managed by Katy McEwan, so if you are in the movie industry and want to chat about possibilities, please contact her at email@example.com. For my other books (Whisper, The Prison Healer, etc.), please contact my agent, Danielle Burby: firstname.lastname@example.org
Q. Can you read my manuscript and tell me what you think?
I feel so honoured every time someone asks me to read their manuscript because I know how precious our book babies are. But unfortunately, for a number of legal and time-constricting reasons, I have to have a unyielding ‘no’ answer to this question. I’m truly flattered that you value my opinion so highly, but reading your work would keep me from doing what I really need to be doing—and that’s writing the next book in my series!
Q. Can you recommend me to your publishers?
Without reading your manuscript (see previous answer), I wouldn’t really be able to say much by way of a recommendation, so unfortunately I can’t help with this. But I did write up a post entitled “How Do I Get My Book Published?“, so perhaps something there will offer you encouragement.
Q. How do you deal with writer’s block?
You can find my answer by clicking here.
Q. Help! I need writing advice!
Step One: Breathe—you’ve got this!
Step Two: Head on over to my page entitled “Writing Advice” and hopefully you’ll find something to help!
Step Three: Go forth and conquer those words! (And if in doubt, refer back to Step One!)
Q. Can I send you some questions? (For a school/uni project, or just in general?)
I hold semi-frequent Q&As using my social media pages (especially Instagram Stories) where you can ask questions and I’ll answer things publicly, but unfortunately I can’t answer any questions on a one-on-one basis (via email, DM, message, etc.) due to time restraints.