I’ve been nominated for the Liebster Award by David Rawlings, an Australian Christian fiction author. David was a finalist in the 2016 Genesis Award for his contemporary novel, The God of Reality TV, and he’s a semi-finalist this year in the Short Novel category.
The Liebster Award
This is how the Liebster Award works: it is an award given by bloggers to fellow bloggers and aimed to encourage writers. The rules for the Liebster Award are as follows:
- Thank the person who has nominated you for the award and link to their blog
- Write some random facts about yourself
- Answer the 11 questions the person has asked you
- Nominate up to 11 people for the award (comment on their blog to let them know)
- Ask the people you have nominated 11 questions
I’m not exactly a new blogger, but this is a new(ish) website, and I haven’t participated before. So that counts, right?
First of All …
Thanks to David! (Click here to head over to his blog and subscribe.)
Some random facts about me:
- I was born in Wales, and my name is Welsh. It means “valued by the Lord”, which I think is pretty cool!
- I live in New Zealand, which makes me a Kiwi. As an aside, a Kiwi is a flightless bird, not a fruit. Though they’re both brown and furry.
- I lived on London for ten years, so my accent is a mix of Kiwi and London.
- “Iola” isn’t pronounced “eye-ola”, despite the spelling. The “I” sound is more like the “I” in Ian, which means it’s “ee-ola”. But most Kiwis say it “yo-la”.
- Which is why I used to get called Yoda in high school. (Thanks to my sister for reminding me of this.)
- I once spent a night in an igloo on Mt Ruapehu. Ruapehu is Maori for “two peaks”, and it’s an active volcano which starred in the Lord of the Rings movies as Mt Doom.
- I’ve visited more than twenty countries, and more than twenty US states. My husband loves airplanes, so if there’s an air museum near where you live, I’ve probably been there.
My 11 Questions to Answer
1. Who were your favourite authors as a child? Why?
Enid Blyton, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Arthur Ransome, and Anne Digby. I read a lot of Scholastic books which were from a range of American authors, but my favourites were the British writers (no doubt influenced by my British family). And I loved boarding school stories.
2. Is there a country you have always wanted to visit, and if so, where?
I’ve visited large portions of Europe and North America, and the populated parts of Australia. I’d like to visit some Asian countries, like China or Japan—because I love their food!
3. What is your favourite kind of weather?
Warm but not hot. My ideal day is clear and sunny, with a temperature in the mid 20’s Celsius—equivalent to the high 70’s in Fahrenheit.
4. Why do you blog?
I started blogging back in 2011 on Iola’s Christian Reads, after I discovered I could get free ebooks from my favourite publishers if I had a book blog and promised to post a book review. That lead into a new role as a freelance editor (www.christianediting.co.nz), and that lead into writing my own fiction … and this website.
Now I blog because I enjoy it, and because the discipline of blogging keeps me writing.
The downside is that same enjoyment and discipline. It’s much easier to blog than it is to actually work on what I should be working on … my books.
5. What started you writing?
I’ve always written, but most of my writing has been school projects, university assignments, work reports—things other people wanted me to write. Being introduced to the world of book blogging and reviews opened my eyes to the fact I could write for my own enjoyment.
But the thing that prompted me to begin writing fiction was an invitation from Dorothy Adamek to attend a Margie Lawson immersion course. Margie is a brilliant writing teacher, and I knew attending the course would give me more tools to help the authors I work with. But the entry prerequisite was a fiction manuscript to edit … so I started writing fiction. And I love the new challenge.
6. What are the challenges of being an author/writer?
With non-fiction, it’s knowing about the topic, and not being awed by the fact there are so many people who know more than me.
With fiction, my challenge is getting past editor-me and actually getting the writing done. I’m a planner and plotter by nature, but I’m currently buried in a plot hole. One part of my brain says “just write!”, while the other part knows that will be a waste of time if I don’t know what the characters should be doing, or why.
7. How do you keep yourself motivated?
I’m still working on this one …
The desire is there, but I need to be more disciplined about getting through the planning stages, and getting onto the writing.
8. If you could choose a place to write where would it be?
There are a couple of local cafes I enjoy visiting to write. I find the different location and atmosphere helps me concentrate. It’s ironic, as I’m an introvert who enjoys the solitude of working from home. Yet I can get a lot more done if I go out—even though I’m then surrounded by conversation.
9. What difference does it make being a Christian and an author?
That’s an unintentionally difficult question, because I don’t know what it would be like to be a not-Christian author!
I do believe that as a Christian author I’m able to bring God’s truth into my writing, in smaller or larger ways. I often read novels where I want to yell at the characters because the answer to their problems is Jesus, and they don’t see it.
10. What’s your work in progress?
I have three. This is why I have difficulty in prioritising!
I’m working on a non-fiction book about the various paths to publication.
I’ve also written an online training course teaching writers how to start building their author platform (website and social media). While I’m writing both for the Christian market, the information applies to any aspiring author.
And I’m working on a series of short novels. My planning process has shown that my first manuscript, Play On, Jordan, is actually the fifth book in a series. I’m currently working on a prequel novella and trying to edit the first book.
11. Who is your ideal audience?
My target reader is a Christian woman who is looking for fiction that reflects her Christian beliefs, and perhaps challenges them a little. She also would love to travel to New Zealand—if she can’t do that in real life, then she’ll substitute that for virtual travel via fiction!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this insight into my life and writing. My nominees to complete this challenge next are:
These ladies (along with Jebraun Clifford) set their blogs up recently through a challenge I ran on my editing website, Christian Editing Services. I’ll be running the challenge again soon—if you’d like to participate, click here to sign up for more information.