Welcome to the two hundred and forty-seventh of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with short story author of comedy, paranormal and thriller fiction Stella Deleuze. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Morgen: Hello, Stella. Please tell us something about yourself and how you came to be a writer.
Stella: I’m a German native living in London. Writing is my passion, editing my love and Zorro my pet iguana. Years ago I handed over an old-school, hand-written love letter to a man who took it home, read it and said, “You should write books, your style is brilliant.” Not exactly the answer I expected, but he’s the reason for my starting to write. That was back in Germany and I began with satirical short stories. Then took a long break from writing when I came over to the UK. One day – two years ago – I finished a series of books that kept me captivated all the way through. I picked up the phone and called my friend, telling her that I’m now going to write a book. Her answer, “Finally, I’ve been waiting for that day”. ‘No Wings Attached’ was published in June and has also captivated readers the same way.
Morgen: Ah, short stories… my first love. 🙂 What genre do you generally write?
Stella: I started with comedy, but I write paranormal, contemporary and literary fiction. Recently, I’ve started a thriller, a book to take revenge on my rather inconsiderate neighbours.
Morgen: I have one of those (“oh no, it’s not going up very high” = two houses-wide / three-storey high wacking great big extension but the front looks the same so the council let it happen – it featured in my story ‘Over’ (from Story A Day May)). What have you had published to-date?
Stella: A collection of short stories or better: humorous rants about people and situations, and a paranormal romantic comedy, book one and two in the Branded series.
Morgen: How much of the marketing do you do for your published works or indeed for yourself as a ‘brand’?
Stella: A lot. The blog, twitter, facebook, any other social media sites are for marketing. Though I certainly enjoy having a bit of a laugh with my twitter and facebook friends, they are serious marketing tools in addition to interviews and guest blogs. It’s a full-time job.
Morgen: Isn’t it just. I had hoped to have given up my day job by now (a bit of a blip staff-wise) so I’d have some time for writing and not let social media really be a full-time job but as you say it’s fun and very useful – I love being a writer with all this going on. 🙂 Have you won or been shortlisted in any competitions and do you think they help with a writer’s success?
Stella: I’ve won competitions (short stories and best scene), but it wasn’t on any official sites where talent spotters might lurk. I personally don’t think it will necessarily help, but it can’t do any harm either. If you enjoy writing, take part and then get spotted you’ve not lost anything.
Morgen: Exactly and if you’ve written especially for the competition but it’s not placed then you still have the piece to send elsewhere. Do you write under a pseudonym? Do you think they make a difference to an author’s profile?
Stella: Yes, Stella Deleuze is my pseudonym, at least the last name is. I go by Stella anyway. Does it make a difference? I think not so much to me, I just love the name and went with it. Since I don’t write anything that would clash with my private / professional life, it’s fine. I do understand though, when teachers want to be protected, or if people write for children and erotica, or even just because they enjoy their privacy.
Morgen: Or their birth name is too ordinary. 🙂 Do you have an agent? Do you think they’re vital to an author’s success?
Stella: I don’t have an agent and I’m quite happy without – at least for the books I’ve published so far. But I’m going to submit my literary fiction novel to agents. I just would love to see that book in the hands of a big publisher. Sadly, you won’t be able to submit directly, so yes, an agent and by that I mean a good agent is worth their weight in gold.
Morgen: They are, and as difficult to obtain. Are your books available as eBooks?
Stella: My books are only available as ebooks. I think it’s the easiest way to reach readers worldwide, though the marketing is hard work, it’s worth it. You can easily edit your book if there are errors in it and I think ebooks are the future.
Morgen: Me too. 🙂 Do you read eBooks?
Stella: I only read ebooks nowadays. Kindle is a great invention. But I’ve decided, once a book shoots up sales, I’ll publish it in paperback, too.
Morgen: Well, we’ll keep our fingers crossed for that. 🙂 What are you working on at the moment / next?
Stella: Since I’ve just finished the sequel in the paranormal romantic comedy series, I’m taking a break from writing and edit my literary fiction novel. But I’ve planned two books I’ll start in a month: a contemporary fiction piece about a piano player and the Thriller. There’s also a comedy book I’ll co-write.
Morgen: Variety works wonders for writers. Do you receive feedback from your readers? If so, anything memorable?
Stella: Oh the one that will stick with me forever is the one from Mary, an avid reader whom I met on the amazon forum. She told me No Wings Attached will be in her ten-most-favourite-books-ever list, to read over and over again. That’s what made all the hard work worth it. I get a lot of feedback, people saying they can’t put the book down or laughed their heads off. One actually said he wet himself, which I found too amusing.
Morgen: That’s hilarious. 🙂 What point of view do you find most to your liking: first person or third person? Have you ever tried second person?
Stella: Funny you should ask. My most favourite POV is second person. The short stories and the literary fiction novel are both in that POV. I’ve never written a book in third person, but the next two will be, though.
Morgen: Wow, another author whose favourite is second person… and short stories in it. Yay! <does a little dance> I always find it a shame if someone says they don’t like it or won’t try it. It’s not for everyone, fair enough but I’ve had authors I’ve interviewed try it and they’ve loved it. What’s your favourite / least favourite aspect of your writing life?
Stella: The challenge. Oh I love a challenge. I’m not a person with very much imagination and when a story suddenly appears in my head and doesn’t leave me alone, I have to give in and start the rough plotting. I hate the slow process, though. It takes me up to seven months to write a novel and that’s a long time for someone as impatient as me.
Morgen: It’s gone now (’til next November) but maybe NaNoWriMo would be your thing. Like you I started with short stories and didn’t want to spend a year writing a novel but then found out about NaNo and have done four now. I love the ‘having to do it’ deadline. If anything, what has been your biggest surprise about writing?
Stella: I think the writing itself. I never considered myself a writer and within two years I’ve become a published author with people telling me how much they enjoyed my books. It’s surreal, really.
Morgen: Thank you Stella, or should I say “Vielen Dank”. 🙂
Stella: No, Morgen, thank you; it was my pleasure.
Morgen: You can (do) come again. 🙂
I then invited Stella to include some of her writing and this is from ‘Defrosting You’ (opening literary fiction).
Click. The e-mail opens.
Now you have my email too.
You smile. She had expressed concerns that you would leave the site without the ability to stay in touch, so you wiped them away. She seems like a nice person, and you are pleased she wrote. It’s been a few weeks since you began exchanging information, jokes and conversation in general. More from her side, though, as you prefer to keep yourself private. It was never your intention, when you registered a couple of months ago, to form friendships with these people, to e-mail back and forth with them; the purpose was to get you feedback on your work. Novelsite, a platform for authors and readers, is a melting pot for all kind of Homosapiens, and from all over the world. Internet makes it possible.
The first time you became aware of her was a thread on the forum. She was funny, light and presented a good sense of humour. A fresh breeze so to speak. Not too bad on the eye, either. After watching her for a while, you responded positively and it seemed well received. Again, a tiny twitch plays your lips. Yes, she definitely flirted back. Hook, line and sinker. Not that you were the rare exception, she got and still gets quite a bit of attention due to her vibrant online personality, and maybe her looks as well. She’s not that flirty, just entertaining, all of it already observed by you.
Excuse me, where is the exit?
No Wings Attached
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