A very warm welcome to you Teresa and thank you for visiting 'The Secret Writer' especially on the launch day of your debut novel, 'The Year of the Great Seventh'!
Hi, Calum. Thank you for having me on your literary blog. It is a pleasure to be here.
For the benefit of our International readers can you tell us a bit about the part of the world that you are currently resident in and why do you like living there?
At the moment, I live in London, England. I love this thriving city. It is a multicultural melting pot with plenty of opportunities to succeed. One of the best features of London is the many open green spaces that spread from East to West. Also, I have this thing with the rain that makes me happy. And this city provides plenty of it!
Can I ask what sort of books did you like reading as a child?
As a child I wasn't an avid reader; I got into it in my teens. I used to read, mostly, in Spanish and Valencian (my local language).One of my favourite authors when I was an adolescent was Lucia Etxebarria. I grew up in a small, conservative town, and through her, I discovered a more liberal approach towards life. I used to think of her as my “revolutionary godmother.” Unfortunately, I’m not sure if her work has been translated into English.
Do you think the books that you read as a child have influenced your writing in any way?
I’ll even take it as step further. I think the books I read as a child have influenced who I am as a person today. When growing up, I didn't get to travel much. (I guess that is not that rare.) I used books as a medium to “visit” places, even if it was through someone else’s eyes. Thankfully, I've been able to travel to those places as an adult.
Do you have a set routine when you are working on a novel?
I don’t have a routine, per se. I have a busy life so I try to squeeze in a few hours here and there. I guess one of my writing routines is that every couple of weeks, I get a huge sheet of paper and I write the plot on it. Then I connect the events with arrows, and write next to it what is happening to each character at each moment
Where do you do your writing best?
I have a fetish with public libraries. When I lived in New York, I used to rotate around the public libraries in the West Village. I find there’s something romantic about sitting amongst strangers and old books. My favourite library was the New York Public library on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street.
What helped you decide to actually write a Young Adult novel?
I think it is a genre that’s going through a “golden age.” There is so much more available to teens nowadays than when I was growing up. I decided to write a Young Adult novel because most people, like myself, feel the need to re-live their formative years. You’d be surprised to know how many grownups read Young Adult novels.
When you are writing, how do you place yourself into the time period that you are actually writing about?
I normally look at photos on the Internet and listen to music relating to that time period.
How do you go about imagining, developing and give real lives and personalities to the characters that we read about within in your book?
A technique I use is one that I learned at a writing course. The professor told us to know everything about each character whether it mattered to the story or not. For example, it helps to make the characters real if you know what music they listen to, what car they drive, where they grew up, what their favourite colour is, even if it is totally irrelevant to the story line.
Did you encounter any difficulties in getting your book accepted and published?
Mine was definitely a rocky road. It is such a competitive world! There are so many fantastic novels out there that, sadly, don’t get noticed. I think having lived in New York made a difference to the level of effort that I put into it. There is something called the “New York attitude” which, more or less, means never take no for an answer. If you approach someone and they think you aren't good enough, well, opinions can vary drastically from person to person, then approach someone else. If that doesn't work, then think of plan B, C, and D.
Did you have to undertake any research for your novel?
I read a lot about Ancient Egypt as I tried to use some facts for the plot. Additionally, I visited the Met, Central Park’s Cleopatra’s needle, the Cloisters, the Getty, and several other places where the novel takes place.
What is your favourite book and why?
My favourite book changes quite often. I normally rate books, not for how much I liked them, but for how long I think about them after I read them. ‘Me Before You’ by Jojo Moyes has been haunting me for a while. Also, ‘Snowdrops’ by AD Miller is a book that I had thought a lot about. Particularly, I liked the writing style.
Are you currently reading a book at the moment, and if so what is it?
‘The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones’ by Cassandra Clare. The movie is coming out soon, so I want to read it before it does.
Do you have any other hobbies or interests that you enjoy in order to give you a break from your normal routine and your writing?
I like riding the public bikes in Central London. It is a great way to see the city. I also enjoy going to the movies, as well as going to the park with friends. My favourite hobby is gymnastics. I've been doing it for a few years, even if I am terrible at it.
Can you give us a hint about any other books that you may have in the making at the moment?
I’m currently in the process of writing the sequel to 'The Year of the Great Seventh'.
Teresa, I have been absolutely delighted and very honoured that you agreed to be interviewed on my literary site. I would also like to thank-you again for taking the time to speak to us today.
Many thanks, Calum, for featuring me on your literary blog. It is truly an honour for me.
Sophie has always felt out of step-an outsider, even amongst friends in her high school with all the hype about celebrity culture. Her life in L.A. seems to have been already written for her, but when her junior year starts, it all takes a drastic turn. When she crosses paths with the school's heartthrob, Nate Werner, they fall for each other in a way neither can understand. What they don't know is that by giving in to their desires, they are unlocking an ancient Egyptian prophecy that threatens to return Earth to the dark ages. To undo the curse, Nate and Sophie embark on an adventure that takes them across the country. But their quest is not only to save the world as they know it. It is also a fight for their very survival. Behind the scenes, there are those that are counting on them to fail.
If you would like to find out more about Teresa Orts and her writing, the web hyperlink link to her website is given below: