I definitely don’t consider myself to be a speed writer. I started writing my first book, The Rhapta Key, during the month of August 2017—it took forty-five days. This seems to be the average time I take on any of my books. Because The Rhapta Key was the first book I had ever written, the writing came quickly and easily, mainly because I had no idea of the rules of writing. I just wrote.
I have a natural affinity towards anything mysterious and suspenseful. As a child I loved reading Nancy Drew books. Eventually that evolved into murder mysteries and eventually suspense fiction. These elements naturally made it into my writing. In my personal reading I want to be gripped from the first page, be left guessing all the way through while I hold my breath on the edge of my seat. This is what I aim to write as well.
Prior to finishing your Alex Hunt series, your bio says you had a spiritual awakening, and you now write with a purpose. Both your Alex Hunt and Adam Cross series are suspense/thrillers. What exactly changed in the storylines other than characters and setting?
Even though I have been a devout Christian for nearly twenty years, I was, at the time of releasing The Rhapta Key, clueless on how to make my faith part of my writing journey. It is perhaps also important to mention at this point, that I never set out to be a writer. It was never my ambition in life. I wrote The Rhapta Key on a whim, a challenge to myself. It was merely something I wanted to scratch off my bucket list. I never in a million years thought I would sell even one copy.
Did you earlier readers embrace your new writing style or did they walk away?
To answer this question I need to divide my answer in two parts. There is the part that involves the physical writing process, and the part that entails the business side of being a writer. I’ll start with the first part. The hardest part for me is to structure my brain. I oftentimes have so many story threads/ideas flooding my mind that I easily become sidetracked.
The second part of this question is where the real challenge comes in for me. There are so many balls to juggle, so many hats to wear in the life of a self-published author that it becomes overwhelming. I do everything myself. The marketing, advertising, designing (not the covers just the media), admin, social media, accounting, everything. It is daunting but I am extremely blessed to have an amazing husband who has become my sounding board, my advisor, my website designer, and biggest supporter. When I feel overwhelmed and stressed out, he steps in with a good measure of logical thinking that refocuses my priorities and encourages me to push on.
What does your editor remind you to do most often?
Oh, hands down my tenses! When I am in my head feeling my way through a scene I tend to get caught up in the present tense so I easily muddle my present and past tenses. She is amazing though and very patient with me.
What’s the best encouragement you’ve had in your writing?
My readers! I do not write for fame or fortune. They are a constant encouragement to me. So many of them have gone and continue to go through difficult circumstances, yet they choose to read my books. What a blessing! I have the most amazing group of readers who send me encouraging emails and pray for me daily. They are right there beside me as I push through my sciatica or most recent bout of shingles, cheering me on, supporting me when my books come out. As Christians we are already bound together in faith, and for that bond to extend to our mutual passion for books as well, is beyond encouraging.
We have all experienced rejection. Give me an example of how you learned to write past it.
Rejection comes in many forms in a writer’s life, and most often rears its ugly head by means of bad reviews or a book rejection if you’ve submitted your work to a publisher. Thankfully, I’ve only experienced bad reviews. That always hurts. But it is important to find the positive in those bad reviews. Don’t take it personally. Pick out a few, identify if there are any threads pointing to the same issues with your books, and correct it.
frustrated you the most in writing/publishing?
What do you know now about writing you wished you had known sooner?
I wish I had found my writing style much sooner. There is so much advice on what you should and shouldn’t write if you want to make it in this industry that I was too focused on writing what the industry decided would sell instead of writing what brought me joy. It is an extremely competitive industry that can single-handedly break you down if you aren’t careful, so it is vital you stay true to yourself.
What is the best writing advice you’ve received or could give?
Do not compare your writing journey with anyone else’s. Your journey is your own. It is very easy to get affected and despondent when you see a Facebook post of an established author’s journey. I am naturally quite determined and I sometimes forget that I have only been at it for four years. Comparing myself to a ‘competitor' author who has been at it for ten or fifteen years (or who doesn’t have a busy family to tend to) is only setting me up for failure. It is a trap so many of us fall into and ‘comparitinitus’ is brutal and can leave you feeling insecure and inadequate. Don’t measure yourself against others.
Writing isn’t for the faint-hearted, but if you stay true to your passion, your purpose, or whatever you wish to call it, you can do it. Become determined in your writing, never stop learning, never stop aiming higher, and never stop believing.
What is the next book coming out? Can you give me a short synopsis?
A brand new Christian Suspense Thriller series is underway with book one releasing very soon. I have not revealed anything to my readers yet, so my lips remain sealed at this stage. But what I can say is that there is lots of mystery, suspense and an explosive ending you didn’t see coming! I am thoroughly enjoying writing this book and am super excited to reveal my stunning cover!
That's all for today's interview. If you'd like to learn more about Urcelia's writing, here are some links to get you started.