Saturday 31 May 2014

Interview with Georgia Walters: The Bibliomaniac Book Blog!

I have a very exciting blog post for you today: an interview with awesome teen blogger Georgia Walters, from The Bibliomaniac Book Blog! We met last month at Emily Murdoch's afternoon tea, and since then I have been an avid reader of her amazing blog and an appreciator of her tweets! She stopped by to answer some questions about book blogging, why new technologies are to thank for the explosion of book bloggers and booktubers, and what items she would take with her to a desert island... Oh, and did I mention? She has been blogging since she was eleven. Gob. Smacked.

Hi Georgia! So when did you first start blogging?

Hi Alix!!:D I first started blogging with a few reviews on my dad's blog, which was called Books and Writers. After ages of nagging him to let me blog more, he set up a blog just for me, which we called Books and Writers JNR. Though, since then, my dad moved to a self-titled site and I change my blog name to the bibliomaniac! :)

Do you like writing creatively as well as posting interviews/reviews, and if so, how do you balance writing both?

I used to write so, so much. When I started blogging I stopped writing regularly, though now I've taken to trying to write creatively more again. I always take part in NaNoWriMo, and generally abandon my blog a little in November because of it!

I don't really have much of a balance, though I really should! I write blog posts much more than I write, though what I'm hoping to start doing is schedule my blog posts, so I have more time to write. 

What was your favourite book when you were younger, and what is your favourite book now?

Definitely the first Harry Potter, which I read when I was five. Then it was Inkheart by Cornelian Funke, which I must've read at around... Seven? :) It's too hard to choose a current favourite book! I think the best book I've read this year is either Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira or Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone. 

Which items would you take with you to a desert island?

I'm going to technically cheat with this first one :D
1) A bookcase full of books to read
2) A camera, because if the desert island is pretty, I'll want to take pictures!;)

What would you like to do when you are older?

I want to work in any kind of bookish job! I would love to work for a publishing company; either in publicity and marketing, or in designing book covers and illustrating. I'd like to do something artistic; What I'm also interested in is comics, and I'd love to illustrate or write scripts for them. I couldn't pick one job out of all of the above, though! Too hard xD

Do you think, with the development of new technologies, teenagers are reading more or less?

This is a really hard one. I think more, though I could argue and say less, too. If you look at it from one perspective, teenagers are reading a lot less because some are more into video games and social networking. However, I think new technology definitely gets more teenagers to read, as books are more accessible now, with things like Kindle apps that can access books with the click of a button!:)

There has been an explosion of book bloggers and booktubers in recent years. Why do you think this is?

I think this kind of links in to the above question! New technology. I've heard a lot of older teenagers and adults say that blogging wasn't even on their radar at my age. Now, with phones and iPads and laptops, it's so much easier to share opinions on things.

If you could meet any author, which one would it be?

I would love love love to meet John Green! There are so many US authors that I'll probably never get a chance to meet, though. 

Paperback, hardback or Kindle?

TEAM PAPERBACK :D Simply because they're the most suitable for school. But of course, hardback books are so pretty...

What advice would you give to bloggers who are just starting out?

Social media is your friend!:D It feels weird to give this advice as I'm definitely not the most successful blogger xD However, I was completely isolated from the blogosphere until the start of 2013. I had no twitter, tumblr, bloglovin', Goodreads, anything. I got a Goodreads account in Jan 2013 and I met a group of bloggers through that. Then I moved into Twitter, and my blog stats started increasing a bit as it was so much easier to meet new people.
Also, tweaking your blog to make it personal and fun really helps. Mine is all amateurish looking, but if you make a blog look eye catching and unique, you will definitely find some readers. :D

Thank you so much, Georgia, for allowing me to interview you! I would seriously suggest everyone reading this to check out Georgia's stuff, she is an amazing blogger and reviewer, not to mention a lovely person!

Follow her on Twitter:

Follow her on Bloglovin:

Friday 30 May 2014

Inspiration for Frozen Sea: Duckpool

Here is the final instalment in this mini blog series, which shares where I got my inspiration to write my novel-in-progress, Frozen Sea. In this post I will be sharing perhaps the most pivotal setting in the novel, which is Duckpool beach. Duckpool is probably the setting that features most regularly, and is where most of the prominent events occur. For example, it is where Scarlet and Carter first meet, it is where the fateful barbecue takes place, and it is place where one of the central characters meet their death (I'm not giving anyone spoilers!). It is also the setting where Scarlet and Connor fall in love. However, it is also where the novel starts (and where it will end), the current title revolves around it, and also, it links Scarlet with her seeking of danger and passion, which is surfing. 

Surfing has been a hobby of mine for about five years, so all of the surfing experiences in the novel are real. I only surf on Duckpool Beach (which is it's name in real life), and so I can easily picture Scarlet, Carter or Isaac zooming through the waves as I write.

It wasn't his fault that he couldn't understand why I spent endless hours just aimlessly walking by the ocean. To my dad, the sea was a bottomless crater where countless sailors and fishermen went to die, but to me, the sea was a place of escape. 

It was late. The mist entwined my ankles and I shivered, not from the cold but the prospect of entering the arctic ocean that lay right before my eyes. It had been months since I had been surfing.

At the time it seemed purely coincidental when, that evening, Carter magically appeared at the beach bonfire held once a fortnight with me and my classmates at Duckpool beach...
We talked about life, of death, of Cornwall, and of surfing. I'd admitted that although I had lived here since I was ten I had never learned, however wanted to. To Carter, that was unfathomable. Knowing how to surf was as critical as being able to breathe. 

The sand felt cold between my toes as we made our way down to the water's edge. The sea was quiet, almost motionless; the small crests lapping up the sand by our feet soundlessly. The ragged cliff face that stood majestically on either side of the water was black as an oil slick and just as shiny. 

Isaac grinned at me. Held out my gloves. I returned a watery smile and pulled them on, letting my hair fly backwards in the biting wind. We grabbed our boards, began jogging towards the frothing surf, the early morning sun glinting off the water like tiny pearls in a giant green-blue oyster.

*EDIT* If you can see the black rock in the middle of the sea, that's Deadman's Head. If you have read Frozen Sea, you will know why it is significant ;)

The first time I surfed after Carter left me, my dad thought I had been on a suicide mission. I caught a blue. I caught it and never stood up. The water had engulfed me for so long that I no longer struggled, just remained tangled in my leash in the gloomy, sunless water until Isaac finally realised and pulled me out, spluttering and gasping for air, my ribcage aching from the effort.

I thought back to that disastrous evening back in late July. The way the sea had felt like ice. The moon, casting eerie shadows over the water. The image of Carter resounding lucidly in my head like a highway billboard...

The first thing I noticed as Connor pulled up to the gravel lot later that evening, once the sun was enjoying it's last few moments of light and the sky had turned a beautiful marbled pink, was the twirling ribbons of smoke unfurling from the bonfire in the centre of the beach.

Laughing hysterically, our thin, cotton clothes billowing out behind us in the breeze, we ran towards the sea. Our feet kicked up sprays of cool, Cornish sea. Connor's arms hanging loosely around my neck, my hands gently tracing the small of his back, we kissed, our mouths working slowly, intimately. The sun now gone, the pearly light of the moon lay dappled at our toes, reflecting shiny rays on the sea, turning it a beautiful, milky white. 

I hope you have enjoyed this last post about my inspiration for Frozen Sea! I have really enjoyed writing these, and look forward to writing more posts about Cornwall in the future, as it is a big part of my writing.

Want to read Frozen Sea? You can on Movellas:

Please leave a comment with your thoughts :) Lots of exciting posts coming your way!

Thursday 29 May 2014

Inspiration for Frozen Sea: The Forest

As promised, here is another glimpse into my inspiration for Frozen Sea. Today I am going to show you the forest that I get inspiration for a lot of my stories from; it is a truly special and magical place that is in the heart of the Cornish countryside. Unlike a lot of areas nowadays, it is completely unspoiled by anything, which makes it unique too. 

The forest doesn't feature a lot in Frozen Sea, but I try to use it as a setting for when I want my characters to appear completely isolated, rejected and alone. It also highlights the need for an attachment with nature, as just as Scarlet thinks she can trust nobody and nothing else, she realises that places like the forest can become a place of respite and calm. The forest I go to doesn't have a name, however I call the one in Frozen Sea Edgewood.

Here are some pictures of the forest, along with some extracts from Frozen Sea for you to enjoy :) You won't be pestered with annoying text like yesterday haha, because the pictures (I hope) are pretty self-explanatory.

Pedalling hard, the rain running down my face in thin, cold rivers, I cycled furiously down the end of the highway, my tyres squealing as I made a sharp turn onto the forest path
In my life, the forest had always been synonymous with forgetting, or at least distraction. My dad had used it when I was younger during the many episodes I had of missing my mum, but as I grew, the forest had become my own place of respite and calm.

...perhaps I was mental enough to believe that the trees would- but it was still worth a shot.

The word had echoed distantly in my head from that moment until now, where in the quiet of the forest it had stopped. Silence.
It was unnerving. Birdsong tittered above my head but it was no longer soothing- it sounded like a death-call.

The million dollar question. I closed my eyes. "The forest."
Anyone else would have been exasperated at this answer, there were about a hundred forests in Cornwall, but Connor just sighed. "Right," he said. "Well. I'll come and find you. Stay where you are."

My knees were covered with flecks of dirt and oil grease- effects inevitable with taking a bike ride on a wet summer afternoon.

My hair was damp, hanging in wet matted strands down by the side of my eyes; I shook them away as I saw the thick green woodland finally appear into view.

I stumbled for a moment until I found a fairly clear patch of grass. My body collapsed and, ignoring the dewiness seeping into my shorts, I pulled out my mobile.
I hope that you have enjoyed this next instalment of where I get inspiration to write Frozen Sea. Tomorrow you will be introduced to Duckpool Beach, where the main bulk of the drama happens!

Again, if you are intrigued to read Frozen Sea for yourself, here is the link:

Please leave a comment with your thoughts :)

Wednesday 28 May 2014

Inspiration for Frozen Sea: The Bush Inn

Hello there, people of the blogosphere! Exams are all over and done with, and now (as the geniuses of the world agree) it is time for reading and blogging :)

I am kicking off this madness of new blogs that is to come with a mini series about where I get inspiration to write my current novel-in-progress: Frozen Sea. Yes, I am thinking about a new name. I am just really bad at coming up with new names for anything (let's hope that I get better by the time I have kids!) 

Frozen Sea is set in North Cornwall, England, in a fictional town called Seaview. Seaview is based on the Bude/Morwenstow/Stibb area, so if you are familiar to Cornwall, you will probably know which areas I am on about. Even though I created Seaview out of my own imagination, the places in the book are actually real, even though the characters aren't. I do get a bit freaked out, however, when I am strolling across Duckpool Beach, and I see a girl who looks exactly like Scarlet, or a boy who looks the spitting image of Isaac or Connor. It takes a lot of self-control to stop myself going up to them and asking for a picture.

I have been going to the same area in Cornwall since I was about five years old, and I go every single holiday. It almost feels like a second home. Because I visit Cornwall so regularly, when I write Frozen Sea, it feels so real. Therefore, I thought that I would visit some of my favourite places, which feature in the book, so they are as real to you as they are to me.

First up, is The Bush Inn. This is where Isaac works, and also where Scarlet is employed at the beginning of the summer. It is also the setting where Scarlet and Connor meet for the first time. It is an extremely atmospheric country pub, where I made many happy memories with family and friends. It is perfect for a cool drink after a long day surfing at the beach, or for a delicious evening meal in the restaurant. It is also the place where I first got inspiration for Frozen Sea, after being served by a girl at the bar who is the spitting image of who I would later base Scarlet on. With the pictures I have also included a little snippet of Frozen Sea where I have mentioned The Bush.

This is the outside look of the pub. Looks like nothing special in this picture, but if you could see more, you would be treated to a beautiful green landscape behind the pub! I didn't want to take a picture because of kids playing in the playground in the garden, so yeah.

My job at the Bush was beginning to get slightly more bearable as the days went by. I was busy, and that was good; being busy stopped me thinking about all the things I didn't want to think about right now.

This is just a little corner of loveliness. The special thing about The Bush is the fact that in every nook and cranny you are certain to find authentic vintage pieces that have probably been in the pub since it opened. It seems to make the whole experience a lot more real, and interesting.

The Bush Inn was just as I remembered it to be. Warm, homely, old; with slow droning music and delicious smells leaking from the kitchen.

This is a look at what the main bar section looks like. The flooring does make it look cold, but what you can't see is the huge furnace roaring further right!

"By the way, what's the job?"
"The Bush. Bush Inn. It's a really lovely place, you know."
I nodded, remembering. "Mmm. Wasn't that the place we went for my fourteenth?"
"Probably. That place is great for occasions. Isaac said there's a great atmosphere there in the evenings, and the staff are really friendly..."

Just another corner to appreciate. You're welcome :)

It was dark and gloomy but somehow not threatening; the lack of light just made the pub seem even more welcoming.

Here is the furnace I was talking about, just behind the table. Nothing better than the heat that comes from that thing, let me tell you.

The warm, familiar, slightly sweaty air hit me in the face as per usual as I entered the Bush one Thursday evening in mid August, the cool sea-salt wind from the car park disappearing just as quickly as my dignity as Isaac's face peeked out from behind the bar.

A little bit of the bar for you to see. Obviously I couldn't take a picture of the whole thing, as the woman was busy getting our drinks, and I'm pretty sure she wouldn't appreciate me taking a picture of her to be on the internet.

I looked down at the labels of the pumps. Sure enough, there was HSD. I grabbed a glass from the driftwood shelf over my head and quickly filled it up to the brim. The guy, about fifty or so and smelling faintly of car oil and detergent winked at me. "Thanks." He slid a fiver over the counter.

The entrance, which I think looks a bit like something out of the London Dungeons. I do love a good cobble.

My eyes wandered over to the crowd of families and couples enjoying a warm, late August evening in Seaview's best bar, chatting amicably and unaware of the broken life of the young waiter who, just last month, had been here laughing and smiling and... free.

Just an example of one of the many beautiful views you can expect from this part of Cornwall. Simply stunning.

Isaac would have loved this. He always liked the weekend rush, the busy, late summer evenings.

I hope that you have enjoyed this post. It's a little different :) Intrigued to discover Frozen Sea? Read it on Movellas:

Tomorrow there will be another blog post on another setting that inspired me to write Frozen Sea :) Please do come back and check it out!