Mymcbooks Interview Author Sibel Hodge
About the Author: Sibel Hodge has 8 cats and one husband. In her spare time, she’s Wonder Woman! When she’s not out saving the world from dastardly demons, she also writes books for adults.
Her other books include Fourteen Days Later, My Perfect Wedding, The Baby Trap, The Fashion Police (Amber Fox Mystery), Be Careful What You Wish For (Amber Fox Mystery), Voodoo Deadly (Amber Fox Mystery), A Gluten Free Taste of Turkey, and How to Dump Your Boyfriend in the Men’s Room (and other short stories). Her work has been shortlisted for the Harry Bowling Prize 2008, Highly Commended by the Yeovil Literary Prize 2009, Runner up in the Chapter One Promotions Novel Comp 2009, and nominated Best Novel with Romantic Elements in 2010 by The Romance Reviews. Her novella Trafficked: The Diary of a Sex Slave has been listed as one of the Top 40 Books About Human Rights by Accredited Online Colleges. It’s a Catastrophe is her first children’s book. http://www.sibelhodge.com/
I want to thank you for being my guest here on Mymcbooks Blog
Thanks so much for having me!
What is the last book you read?
Easy by Tamara Webber
What was your favorite book?
That’s so hard, but my favourite growing up was To Kill a Mockingbird. I’ve re-read it so many times.
What were your earliest memories of writing?
Ever since I was old enough to scrawl my first word, which was Halibaaaaa, I knew I wanted to write books. OK, so the word didn’t actually make sense, and it might take a little longer for me to string a whole sentence together, but that didn’t put me off. I was going to write a novel and no one would stop me. After discovering the wonderful world of books, I thought I’d have a go myself, and remember scribbling down stories whenever I had a spare moment. Shame I was only six, and there was no way anyone would publish a book with “I Want Big Girls’ Knickers” in the title.
Were you encouraged to write or was it something that came natural?
I was encouraged to read, and I think that’s where my love of writing came from. Being able to make stuff up and get paid for it is fantastic! Your imagination is a wonderful thing.
Do you generally get a story idea first or does the main character develop first?
I usually get an idea for a story first then my main characters develop around it.
What inspired you to write “It’s a Catastrophe”?
People often ask me where I get my ideas from for my books, and the truth is, they can come from anywhere – a snippet of conversation, a film, a book, a story someone told me, a news headline, or something that’s happened to a friend. Anything can get the “what if that happened” thought escalating into a plot for a book.
One night, I was sitting on my terrace with my hubby and my friend, and we made a random comment about wondering what cats say to each other when they meow. Then we proceeded to have fake conversations between my 8 rescue cats, which rapidly turned more and more stupid as the night wore on, but gave me an amazing light bulb moment. It’s a Catastrophe was born that night and developed into the story you’ve just read, so I’d like to say a big thanks to Brad and Becky for planting the seeds of ideas into my brain. The BBC’s A Walk on the Wildside also had a big influence on the book. If you haven’t seen any of them, look them up on YouTube – it’s hilarious!
I also wanted the cats to face problems that children (and adults) face in real life, such as dealing with differences, bullying, helping others, and overcoming fears.
Is “It’s a Catastrophe” story about your cats?
I have 8 rescue cats and some of the cats in the stories are based on their personalities and looks. All of them have individual, funny little quirks that I wanted to add in. I’m sure pet owners will know what I’m talking about! Now I can’t look at the book cover without seeing my cats. Now they’re famous, though, they’re getting a bit demanding, asking for smoked salmon and caviar for dindins!
Can you tell us a little about the cast Buster – Mog Father?
Buster is the leader of the Katz Crew bunch of cats belonging to Ma Katz. He’s seen hardship and had to live on the streets so he knows all about overcoming adversity. He’s a firm but fair leader who is so grateful to Ma for taking him in that he tries to keep the other cats in line when they misbehave. He tries to teach them valuable life lessons to help them get along with each other.
Are you working on a new book?
I’m working on ideas and research for a New Adult coming of age novel.
What is the most difficult part of writing?
Writing about something you know nothing about. I want the story and characters to be authentic so research takes time.
Do you write full time or do you still have a day job?
I’m lucky enough to write full time now.
How do you react to a bad review and have you ever suffered from writer’s block?
Chocolate definitely helps with a bad review.
Yes, there are times when I hit a brick wall and the best thing for me is to step away from the laptop and take a break. I swim, walk, or meditate, and stop thinking about it. Then I usually through ideas around with my hubby and I’ll get back on track.
What do you hope that readers will take away from your book?
Unfortunately life isn’t always fair, but I hope that readers will recognize positive messages that deal with bullying, compassion for each other and treating each other with fairness, and how everything we do has a knock-on effect to others.
Who are some of your favorite authors you would love to dine with?
I could go on forever!
What author inspires you the most and why?
There are so many fellow authors that I’ve had the pleasure to get to know online over the last five years, and they are all hard-working and so helpful. I believe in paying it forward in life, so helping each other out whenever we can, giving advice or bouncing ideas around, is great because writing can be a lonely profession.
What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.?
I’m very focused when I’m writing. Sometimes my hubby will ask me a question when I’ve got my head buried in the laptop and half an hour later, he’ll get a “Huh? Did you say something?” reply. I try and get the first draft done within a month, then editing and polishing will take a couple of months.
What advice you would give to new writers?
Read, read, read. Read to know what good writing is. Read everything you can, including different genres.
Write, write, write. Every word you write is a step to improving your craft.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Follow your dreams. Anything is possible if you just take a chance.
Thank you for this interview.
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My name is Ella Johnson. I started Mymcbooks to promote reading. As a former teacher, I know that making basic education fundamentals interesting to children can be challenging. Education can be fun, exciting and captivating for children with the right learning tools. So my goal is to “make learning interesting and fun” for the children while they learn, by introducing them to fun books with colorful and captivating illustrations.
In 2009, I start the giveaway program giving away free school supplies at random to 2 winners each year. I also started a monthly free giveaways for books and gifts.
August 2010, I extended the free school supplies from 2 to 5 winners at random on my blog and also give away 20 bags full of school supplies to familes in need at Chick-fil-A in Brandon, Florida during their family nights. And in 2012, I beat my that number and gave away a lot of school supplies to needy families. Hopefully, I can continue to do this each year.
In 2011, I started writing reviews on children’s books then giving these books away free on Mymcbooks Blog. I increase the number of books we giveaway free to help support parent. My goal is to give away as many as I can each year. This is also a great way to introduce parents to new books.
Mymcbooks blog is always looking for other ways to give kids free books. So I started Mymcbooks Birthday Library http://mymcbooksbirthdaylibrary.wordpress.com/
My goal is to giveaway at least 300 books to children each year.
Books Given in 2011: 315
Books Given in 2012: 380
Books Given in 2013: 330
Books Given in 2014: 257
Books Given in 2015: – 127
Read Interview about Ella Johnson, http://melangeofcultures.wordpress.com/2011/07/31/interview-with-ella-johnson-founder-of-memorable-children-books-gifts/ Interviewer: Nicole Weaver
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