eyE[before]Adina West

AdinaWest300dpiThis week’s eyE is on the talented Adina West. I had the pleasure of seeing Adina speak in a panel at ‘Forest for the Trees’ as part of the Sydney Writer’s Festival last fortnight. Adina is an up-and-coming author who’s debut novel, ‘Dark Child’ is being released in a revolutionary serialised format by Momentum Books (a digital branch of Pan Macmillan). The episodic release of Adina’s exciting new paranormal fantasy series (which reached #1 in the iTunes book store in Australia and NZ on May 1st) has the potential to change the face of e-publishing as we know it. Luckily for us, Adina has been gracious enough to grace us with her presence.

An interview no independent or mainstream author should miss; the lovely, lively, and lexicological Adina West.

What first made you want to become a writer?

“I was bitten by the bug when I was too young to remember or pinpoint a reason. I’ve dallied with writing since I was in primary school, and I think I still have a hand-typed draft, with pictures, of a children’s book I wrote called ‘Maura goes shopping’. Yummy afternoon teas seemed to be a focus in my writing at that age. Very Enid Blyton!

“More to the point is what first made me finally make the mental leap to thinking seriously about seeking publication. And I can certainly identify that! It came from me reading Stephenie Meyer’s website, which at the time contained, and perhaps still does, a long account of the process she went through in writing Twilight in only a few months, and then sending it to a publisher on the urging of her sister. She mentioned fitting writing in around normal mothering duties like taking her kids to swimming lessons, and as I’d recently had my first child and was both sleep deprived and time poor, her story really resonated. It’s not a unique scenario by any means, but it came at the right time and spurred me on to take the next step. Self belief and persistence are enormously important to writers. I realised all sorts of things are possible if you want them badly enough.”

Your paranormal fantasy novel, ‘Dark Child’, has recently been released in a serialised format. Do you believe that serialisation of e-books and novels could become a standardised, or even more commonplace, form of release for e-books?

“It’s hard to say whether it’s a trend that will endure. It’s certainly very popular at the moment, particularly for self-published erotic fiction. It allows a first instalment to be offered cheaply or for free, and the ‘loss leader’ idea is a great marketing strategy in this electronic age when discoverability of product has become the single biggest sales barrier. Perhaps when the marketplace is flooded with serialised fiction this choice by authors and publishers will drop in popularity as it’ll no longer be a point of difference.

“But right now we’re seeing a resurgence not just of serialised e-books, where each instalment is often 20,000 words or less, but also anything written in a series. Series certainly aren’t new, particularly in fantasy where for years it’s probably fair to say they’ve been the dominant form. But in YA and NA fiction, and in both contemporary and traditional romance, it’s becoming more and more common to see authors writing books that are interlinked. One of the very newest trends I’ve noticed is where an author writes an interlinked pair of books, with both covering the same events but from opposing viewpoints (usually male and female protagonists). A recent example is author Jamie McGuire’s Beautiful Disaster/Walking Disaster duology.”

How do you envision the evolution of the paranormal fantasy genre in a ‘post-Twilight’ world?

“I’m not sure that should be phrased as a speculative question on what the future will hold because I think we’ve already seen very significant evolution in this genre since Twilight. An entire generation of teenagers has had their reading experience informed by its presence. The single biggest contribution Twilight’s success made was to move paranormal and urban fantasy fiction out of the shadowy realms of genre niche and into the mainstream market. Literally millions of new readers tried Twilight as their first ever foray into the genre, and have since become fans of paranormal fiction. YA fiction is certainly rife with paranormal offerings!

“With a vast increase in potential readership for the genre, so much more experimentation and genre blending is possible, and certainly people have realised the huge amount the genre offers to readers who love romance! Pre-Twilight, mainstream readers hadn’t heard of PNR (paranormal romance) at all, and the word ‘vampire’ would make them instantly anticipate a story steeped in horror and gothic elements. Times – and reader expectations – have certainly changed.”

As a writer of paranormal urban fantasy, how do you feel the advent of e-books, the internet, and the inevitability of globalisation have affected the narrative mechanics of the genre, particularly in regards to world culture?

“I think the directness of an author’s response to these changes is commensurate with their understanding and acceptance of such realities. The world can change all it wants, but some writers, and their readers, will continue on much as they always have. There are, and will always be, traditionalists. But within the genre as a whole, I think we’re already seeing big shifts, particularly from writers outside the U.S.. Hmmm, wonder why that is?

“Distribution of fiction has become international and I personally think the opportunity to cater for a much more diverse audience than ever before is a wonderful challenge. I think one author who is doing some very interesting things in this regard is New Zealand PNR/UF author Nalini Singh, who sets her work in a fictionalised near-future. She has stories that span the globe and include characters of every ethnicity and skin hue imaginable.

“Personally, I’m a bit of a magpie in this regard, and I’ve always liked the possibility of being able to pick and choose elements I’d like to include from as broad a range of options as possible! An international canvas suits me just fine. That said, I have my traditional leanings too. Having grown up with a vampire mythology rooted in Eastern Europe (where my mother was born, incidentally!) I have found it hard to discount this. But immortal or near immortal beings with plenty of time on their hands would logically have travelled the world, and there’s plenty of scope for narrative diversity in that.”

A dyslexic vampyre-slayer, a syphilitic succubus, and a werebadger with alopecia engage in violent combat to see who gets the last slice of birthday cake. Who is the obvious winner, and why?

“I don’t want to be the one to tell him, but that balding werebadger should see his GP ASAP. Alopecia is a symptom of second stage syphilis, so him and the succubus? Well, I don’t want to point fingers…but when she finds out what he’s ‘passed on’ (and a succubus always finds out – they’ll suck the answers right out of your mind at a moment of weakness) the two of them will be too busy fighting to notice the vampyre-slayer nipping in and scoffing that cake…”

DarkChild_OMNIBUS_Adina_WestAdina’s premiere paranormal fantasy book ‘Dark Child’ is out now. Episode 1 can be purchased here, or it can be bought as a collected Omnibus edition here. Also, be sure to check out Adina’s website – AdinaWest.com



question-markIt’s been nearly a week since I’ve written a love letter to the world.

Honestly, it’s been something of a relief. Though I started this blog with the intent of keeping it going as much as possible, I have no idea how some of you bloggers out there manage one (or more) posts every day. Of course, I have been busy trying to finish BaCwS, as well as tending to the demands of my real life.

That’s right. I’m sure it may come as a shock to many of you, especially since I don’t talk about it much, but there is indeed a real human being on the other side of the information stream, his digits clicking away amidst the press of plastic alpha-numeric equivalencies. I don’t tend to talk about my real life much, mostly because I’m very big on compartmentalisation, but also because I’m a firm believer in the power of enigmaticism. There is a mystic quality to any mystery, of that there is no mistake. When knowledge is withheld, it excites the innate storyteller in all of us. In the presence of a vacuum of information, our consciousnesses will rush in to fill the void, imagining anything and everything, possible and impossible, in our desire to stem the looming tide of fearful unknowing.

Tell a person something about yourself and they’ll try to know you.

Don’t tell them anything, and they’ll try to understand you.

And I’d much rather be sparingly understood than widely known, I fear.

Now, I have been nominated for a few peer awards upon starting this blog which I am very thankful for, but have largely ignored up until now. Mostly because, as flattered as I am (and I am very flattered), these don’t seem to be awards so much as chain letters.

However, it has been pointed out to me that the peer awards are good as an excuse for networking and showcasing the talents of fellow bloggers, and I do love showcasing the greater blogging community. So, instead of accepting the awards formally, I have instead decided to simply give a few honourable mentions to a few blogs that I think deserve it. 🙂

leclownA Clown On Fire – I’m certain many of you are familiar with Le Clown’s work. For anyone unfamiliar with him, Le Clown’s irreverant writing style and backhanded observations are well worth checking out.  Do yourself a favour.

coppersloane 29 – The blog of the one Copper Sloane Levy. Copper’s intelligent, factually-informed opinion blog appeals to the knowledge-hound in me. Well informed, witty, and, above all, always interesting. Bad-ass work, Copper.

stephanierogersShe Said What? – A random collection of thoughts, stories and topics from the talented Stephanie Rogers. Somehow Stephanie always manages to make me smile, which makes her blog a priceless commodity in mine eyE.

chrisjensenthisoldtoad – Chris Jensen’s blog journals his life on the streets of Vancouver. His POV photography and reflections on urban travels really sparks something inside me and speaks to a societal wound. Great work.

amelthaltblinksdazedandconfused – Poetic, dark, and definitely 18+, Amelthalt Blinks has captured something candid and erotic in a scene heavily saturated with mediocre erotica. Unapologetic and well-written. Standing ovation.

ioniamartinReadful Things Blog – Ionia Martin is a treasure to the blogging and independant writing community. Whether writing poetry, book reviews or opinions articles, Ionia’s posts are always engaging. You’re a peach, I.M..

Let me just say that there are so many awesome blogs out there that I follow that it was hard to pick just a few for a mention. I will try to make a regular habbit of giving more of you guys the props you so obviously deserve.

In the meantime, I’ve got plans on the horizon for an ongoing series of posts designed to draw out the enigmatic story-tellers in all of us. Just when you thought I couldn’t make any more bad puns on the title of this blog…

Coming soon – eyE[potheticals] 🙂