I’m thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for A.L Michael’s new book “Cocktails and Dreams” today and I have a fantastic guest post for you where Andi talks about all the things she’s learnt since being published. I also have a giveaway for you at the bottom of the post to win a cocktail making kit and a copy of the book! Ready? Let’s go…
Links: Amazon | Kobo
Blurb: A heart-warming novel with characters you’ll love, don’t miss this first in a new series for romance, laugh-out-loud comedy and a feel-good ending. Perfect for fans of Mhairi McFarlane and Lindsey Kelk.
I was seven years old when I realized my mother was not a great person…
Since Savvy was abandoned by her rockstar mother, she has craved a normal life. But after years of financing her boyfriend’s lacklustre career, he leaves her when he hits the bigtime.
Savvy’s friends at the burlesque club where she serves elaborate cocktails encourage her to make bold changes in her life. She soon meets handsome bartender Milo, and begins to plan a future she can be excited about.
But when Savvy’s estranged mother crashes back into her life, her newfound happiness is under threat… will Savvy have the courage to pursue her dreams?
Five Things I’ve Learned Since Being Published
My first book was published in 2013, with my contract with HQ being not far behind. I thought, as I suspect many authors do, that this was my ‘Big Break’. This was it for me, I’d made it.
But as most of those authors will now tell you, being published is just the beginning of the story, and there’s so much more learning and adapting and growth that goes on.
So here are the five things that have changed for me:
My feelings about self publishing
I am ashamed to admit, I was a bit snobbish about self publishing before. I saw it as something you did if you couldn’t get a traditional deal. I needed the validation of someone else in a position of power telling me I was good enough, that I was talented. Now I no longer need that validation, and I’ve been listening to podcasts and reading articles about self published authors, I’ve realised – they’re working even harder and they know their job. They work on their marketing, branding, promotion, cover, edits, the timings of releases – they’re incredible. I’m so impressed by what self publishing can achieve, and I’m excited to dip my toe into that pool soon.
Sticking to one genre
If you’d have asked me what I wanted to write when I was 19, I would have said contemporary literary fiction. To me, that meant writing pretty prose about sad people doing drugs and being sarcastic, with some sort of gorgeous, but heavy handed, symbolism. If you asked me at 25, I would say I could write women’s fiction forever, because I like reading it and there’s so many stories. This last year, I remembered how I used to write at 11 and 13, and 17. I wrote everything. I wrote stories about secret agents stopping attacks, and twins with psychic powers who fought crime, mystical worlds where wolves were royals and ice was currency, poems and short stories and flash fiction and romances and anything I could imagine. I wrote without limitation or fear or feeling like it said something about me. So now, I’m expanding. I’m writing a magical realism book, a grown up, emotional women’s fiction book, three snappy novellas, three rom coms with depth and a psychological thriller under a different name. And I am SO excited about all of them.
Working one book at a time
The downside of deciding you want to do these things is that they’re all jostling for attention. Before, they would line up neatly in order of importance. I would write the one with the nearest deadline, and then one day, maybe I would write those other books. Nope, now they all want to be done, so I’m writing about three books at once, and planning the others. It’s a new way to work for me, but I’m finding it invigorating.
We return to the story lines we love
Sometimes, I think I’m writing a completely new book, and then I look back and realise the themes are so similar to other books I’ve written. I will always return to the woman in need of power and self esteem, the couple who originally hate each other, the sparky best friends and the problematic families. There are things we feel comfortable writing, and it’s when I notice those things, when I can’t tell the differences between the character I’m writing now and the character I’ve written before, that I start to push out of my comfort zone. In order to write new things, we’ve got to experience them.
The ethics of owning a story
I am a bit of sponge. You might have said something three years ago that I thought was cool, wrote it down and it’s ended up in something, completely out of context. Sometimes I’m inspired by surroundings or people I know. The thing is, we own our stories and our experiences in life. But we don’t own other people’s. Sometimes, our books might have an impact on others, in how they’re seen, how their words are taken or any number of ways. We have power as writers to cause change, to represent and paint a picture. But it’s also a responsibility that has to be taken seriously.
About A.L Michael: A.L. Michael is hurtling towards the end of her twenties a little too quickly. She is the author of nine novels. Her most recent collection of books, The Martini Club Series, will start with Cocktails and Dreams, released 24th July 2017. She likes to write about sassy females who follow their dreams, and don’t take no for an answer. She is a Creative Therapeutic Facilitator, currently researching the power of creative writing to be helpful in recovering from eating disorders, and believes in the power of writing to heal.