Hye Joanna! Thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
Hi Umairah. Benchmark is my first book. I'm 38, I have two teenage sons and I live in Reading, England. I'm a dance teacher by day and a writer by night. I grew up in London but moved to Reading when I was 21.
What authors do you like to read? What book or books have had a strong influence on you or your writing?
I actually really love reading Personal Development books and believe they have really helped me to aspire to follow my dreams and become a more determined and happy person. My favourite is 'How to be brilliant' by Michael Heppell. Other authors that have had a strong influence on me are Elizabeth Gilbert 'Eat Pray Love', Danny Wallace 'Yes Man' and David Nicholls 'One Day'.
Which writers inspire you?
Elizabeth Gilbert inspires me. Her FB page is always very positive and thought provoking. She is a brilliant human being trying to help others find their path in life.
So, what have you written?
I have written my first book called 'Benchmark'. I always wanted to write ever since I was a little girl but I became busy being a Mum at a young age and running my own dance school. Eventually in Jan 2012 I decided to start writing and have written a story very close to my own heart drawing from personal experiences and emotions. It is the journey of a young woman over ten years and her struggles to come to terms with loving a man she feels is 'out of her league'.
Where can we buy or see them?
Benchmark is available to buy worldwide on Amazon in either Paperback or Kindle.
What genre are is your book " Benchmark "?
It's Contemporary Romance but it has other themes of friendship and a journey of self discovery too.
What draws you to this genre?
I wanted to draw from experience and had a story to tell.
Do you write full-time or part-time?
I write part-time. It took me three and a half years to write alongside my full time dance teaching job.
Do you have special time to write or how is your day structured?
I write at night mostly between 9.30pm-11pm. I try to write at least 30 minutes a day to keep up the momentum. In the school holidays I write more.
When did you decide to become a writer?
I had a goal to be a writer for a long time. It was Jan 2012 that I decided to really go for it.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
The hardest thing for me is finding the time but when I'm writing I just find it flows. I enjoy every process from first draft to last edit.
Who edited your book and how did you select him/her?
12 friends helped me to edit it along with my Mum. Between all of us we found most of the errors! Although there might still be the odd one!
How are you publishing your books and why?
I decided to Self-publish through Create space (Amazon's Self Publishing Company) as I didn't want a traditional publisher to change the story or the illustrations in any way. I had no idea what I was doing as far as Self Publishing was concerned. It scared me. However I found loads of very useful YouTube videos and tutorials to help and I managed to work it out in the end!
Do you have any other advice to other authors on how to market their books?
I had a book launch here in Reading with over 160 people. I gave out snippets of paragraphs on my Facebook page before the launch and this got everyone in my local community talking. I've sold 400 copies in 3 months but my target is to sell 1000 in the first year. I've had a photo campaign where people have taken my book on holiday and taken a picture of it in different countries around the world. Benchmark has now been snapped in 25 locations including New York, Seychelles, Hollywood, Jamaica, Hungary, Egypt, France, Ireland, Barbados, Portugal, Spain, Thailand and now with you in Malaysia! I'm still having fun marketing the book. It's all a big adventure.
How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Readers can follow me on Instagram @joannalouisewright , join my Facebook Community at Joanna Louise Wright (Author) or contact me through my Website www.jlwbenchmark.com I'm currently writing the sequel to Benchmark and developing a Doodle Book. I hope you enjoyed Benchmark. Many thanks and lovely to feature on your great blog. Keep up the great work.