Friday, 20 November 2015

Author Interview : Esther Dalseno


Hye Esther! Thank you for aggreing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
Well, I’m an Australian who currently lives in Germany.  I love travelling so I decided to leave my country almost 10 years ago - it was meant to be for only one year - but I still haven’t returned to Australia, except for a visit here and there!  I have loved all the places I’ve lived in, and hope to keep travelling and experiencing more (which leads to more inspiration to write, of course).

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
When I was very small.  My parents have boxes full of plays and stories I wrote.  They encouraged me to write as much as I can, even sending my work to magazines to be published (I was published several times in a writer’s magazine just for kids) and even pushed me to send my first novel (which was terrible) to a publishing house when I was in the 7th grade.  I did, and of course they did not publish it, but the feedback I got from the editors was truly sweet and encouraging.  I bet they were thinking: “Awwww, look at this cute little kid trying to get this book, which is basically plagiarised Star Wars, published by us!"

What inspired you to write your book " Drown “ ?
“The Little Mermaid” is my favourite fairy tale of all time and I was desperately waiting for someone else to write a retelling of it, because I really wanted to read it!  When no one did, I stepped up to the plate!

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
There are so many.  But the one I’ll mention here regards a certain character who is going through a period of deep depression throughout this novel.  Despite the desperation and despair he is going through, the narrator frequently gives the reader sudden glorious and beautiful flashes into the future of the character.  I wanted my readers to know that if they are going through this, it’s not forever.  You will rise out of it and into greatness.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I get bored and distracted easily.  When I wrote Drown, I was temporarily living in the wonderful little third world country of Laos.  I had no internet, didn’t know many people, and pretty much had only my little black dog (who appears in Drown) as company.  I think this helped me write the entire book in only 5 months!

How did you come up with the title?
It’s from “The Mermaid”, the famous William Butler Yeats’ poem.  The last line “even lovers drown”, summarises the entire novel in three words, actually.

What book are you reading now?
I just started The Young Elites by Marie Lu and I can’t wait to get into it!

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Oh, so many!  More than I can say.  I think, as an author, you’ve got to read, read, read as much as you can!  I am constantly inspired by new authors - I support them by buying their books, recommending them, following them on social media and reading their blogs - and I find that it’s so incredibly rewarding.  I have met some writers who consider other authors, especially those who write within the same genre, as competition.  But that’s rubbish, as far as I’m concerned.  Does a reader only read one book in their lives?  Authors shouldn’t compete for attention or shelf-space, and should always support each other.  That and mentor aspiring authors, because it’s so difficult to have your work in print and seen!

What are your current projects?
I am currently writing the sequel to my next novel, Gabriel and the Swallows.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your book?
I’m the kind of writer who has to research information heavily using personal experience rather than simply Googling for information...and I think readers can tell the difference.  For Drown, I used all my scuba diving experience to describe the underwater world - the way light moves, the way wildlife behaves, even pacing the narrative so that it flows like deep, still water at the very bottom of the ocean.  For my next novel Gabriel and the Swallows, I took two research trips to the town in Italy where it is based - and conducted several interviews as well as tours of landmarks and the underground city.  I am worried now - because Gabriel’s sequel is currently being written and takes place in Paris and Istanbul - the Paris research is complete but with a brand new baby girl, I wonder when I’ll have the time to research and conduct interviews in Turkey!

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I love exercising.  I love to run and work out.  It keeps me sane (and after you have a baby, a necessity!)  I also enjoy cooking exotic meals and online shopping.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
That you can draft and plan a character all you want - but as you write a novel, the characters tend to walk into scenes where they are not required, say things that are out of character, and do things you never quite expect!  All my characters have lives of their own.  I’m convinced they are alive and live in my bedside drawer, and come out once they are sure I’m asleep.

Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
For you?  Well, I think you are doing all the right things: you talk to authors and you read, read, read.  Keep on reading, keep on learning, and never give up.

How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Through my website, or follow my Facebook fan page or Twitter @EstherDalseno.

Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
Yes, and I love it!  I want to hear from more of them!  Well, at the moment, I’m getting a lot of “my heart is breaking after finishing Drown”…evil me that was sorted into Slytherin house loves to hear that!

Do you like to create books for adults?
Yes, I do.  I love Young Adult but I write both.  I am halfway through writing an epic adult fantasy and have been playing around with an idea for contemporary women’s romance.

What do you think makes a good story?

Good characters, a fresh plot, but mostly love.  If the author loves their characters and their journeys (and most do), it really shines through and completely absorbs the reader, leaving something magical behind.

Thanks for having me. You are such a great blogger and bookstagrammer - I love your account and your interview with Gabriella LePore recently was wonderful.  You make me want to buy some of the books you have reviewed! Good job to you!  *claps hands*
Thanks for this opportunity, it’s been an honour being interviewed by you!
All the very best