Sunday, October 29, 2017

GUESTOPIA: Author Ewa Dodd


I'm back with another Guestopia interview to finish up October, and today my victim...guest is debut author Ewa Dodd whose first book is out next year!

The daughter of a bookseller, Ewa Dodd has been writing since she was young, starting small with short self-illustrated books for children. More recently, she has delved into novel-writing, and is particularly interested in literature based in Poland, where she is originally from. The Walls Came Down was shortlisted for the Virginia Prize for Fiction. Ewa lives in Highbury, north London with her husband.

Is this your first published book?

It is. I’m very excited about it.

What’s it called?

The Walls Came Down

Which genre?

Historical mystery

Which age group?

18-30 (New Adult), but I’m hoping it will also appeal to a broader audience.

Is it a series or standalone?

It’s a standalone story

Are you an agented author?


Which publisher snapped up your book?

Aurora Metro, an independent publisher based in Richmond.

How involved have you been in the whole publishing process of your book?

I’ve been predominantly involved in the editorial process, which has been very fascinating. It’s great to have an experienced editor asking questions about your book, which you may never have thought about. The book has definitely improved as a result of my editor Mary’s work on it. 

Do you have another job?

Yes, I’m a Marketing Manager in the education sector.

Did you receive many, if any, rejections prior?

Definitely. The road to publication is never an easy one, and I’ve received lots of rejections both from agents and publishers. The trick is always to persevere, and to get as much feedback as possible so that you can improve next time around. 

What created/what were you doing or watching when the first idea for this book sneaked up on you?

I was reading a newspaper article about a missing child, and it made me think about the long-term effect of that one moment of disappearance on the lives of those closest to them. This idea forms the premise of my book.

How long did you plot/plan until you started writing it?

I thought about it for a good few months before I started putting any words on paper. I tend not to create written plotlines. I have an idea, start writing, and see where it takes me.

Once you started, did the story flow naturally or did you have to step in and wrestle it into submission?

It seemed to come quite naturally, but I did end up making some significant changes to the structure later on.

How many drafts did you write before you let someone read it? Who was that someone?

I had a few close friends read it and received some really useful feedback from them, mainly to do with the characterisation of the three protagonists.

Did you employ an editor/proofreader or did you have a critique partner/beta readers before you started querying?

I didn’t employ a proof-reader, but I did ask my first readers to mark up any mistakes that they spotted as they read.

Roughly how many drafts did it take before you sent the manuscript off into the real world?

Three, but then I sent it off and felt that I hadn’t done enough!

How many drafts until it was published?

Another four.

Has the book changed dramatically since the first draft?

Yes, quite significantly, as one of the three main protagonists has changed, and there were
also a number of important structural developments along the way.

Are there any parts you’d like to change even now?

Definitely. Particularly when I re-read certain bits of dialogue and wonder whether that character could have said what they meant a bit differently… I also feel I could have further enhanced some of the detail of the historical setting.

What part of writing do you find the easiest?

I definitely find getting the story down on paper the easiest.

What part do you find hardest?

Editing is by far the hardest for me. I find that leaving a few weeks’ gap in between each edit definitely helps.

Do you push through writing barriers or walk away?

I try to push through, but it’s not always easy!

How many projects do you have on the go at the same time?

Usually no more than two. Any more than that and I think you’ll get really muddled.

Do you think you’re born with the talent to write or do you think it can be learned?

I think it can definitely be learned – you just need to have a good story in you.

How many future novels do you have planned?

I definitely have plans for another one. Beyond that, we’ll have to see! I’d like to think that new stories will keep coming to me.

Do you write other things, such as short stories, articles, blogs, etc?

I used to write short stories, but then I felt very restricted by the word count and found that that ultimately they didn’t really work for me.

What’s the highlight of being published so far?

Having a copy of your book to hold is a great feeling.

Give me one writing tip that work for you.

Writing everywhere where an idea comes to you, even if you only have a few minutes – I usually do it in the ‘Notes’ app of my phone and then send it to myself in an email at the end of the week.

And one that doesn't.

Meticulously planning your plot. Sometimes your story takes an unexpected turn and you’ll feel annoyed at yourself for not sticking to the plan.

Can you give us a clue or secret about the next book?

I can’t yet as it’s too early days, but I’m looking into middle grade fiction!

What question have you always wanted to be asked but never have? What would the answer be?

I think it’s probably about routes to being published. One very good one is via entering competitions, and I would definitely encourage unpublished writers to do so. I entered the Virginia Prize and got shortlisted, which was a great route to meeting an interested publisher.

Absolutely fantastic that you were able to join us today, Ewa, and from all of us here at YAtopia, we wish you so much luck with this book and all those that follow. 

If you would like to find out more about Ewa and her books, these links might just help! 

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