Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Interview with Jolene Poole, Author of 'Star Crossed: Worlds Apart'

What are you writing at the moment?I’m working on two things. The first is a series called Wages of Sin that I’m writing with a friend. The second is a sequel to my first published book (under my pen name Laurencia Hoffman), Casting Stones.

What is your favourite genre to write in?I think Fantasy is my favorite. I feel I have so much more to work with. I can do anything. But with other genres I feel limited.

What is your history? Have you always been a writer?Yes. It started with song writing, and then it was little stories. After that it was role playing, and eventually I upgraded to writing books.

What is your favourite thing about writing?How the characters can completely surprise you. I’ll think I know where a story is going and then the characters will change direction. It’s always great to be surprised; it keeps things interesting. It also helps with character development.

Have you ever had a bad review? What's the best thing to do when you get one?Yes, I’ve had a few. I read them, take the criticism into consideration and move on. Sometimes they can be helpful; they let you know what you need to work on. But you also have to remember that your book won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Getting a bad review isn’t the end of the world!

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?I wanted to be a singer. That was before I figured out that I have stage fright. I don’t like to sing in front of family. I’d have a heck of a time singing in front of a crowd.

Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what?Absolutely! I listen to all kinds. I choose different songs depending on what scene I’m writing. But if it’s nothing too heavy then I just have a general playlist. I have at least three different playlists for each story I come up with, so there’s far too many songs to name. But instrumentals help when I’m writing a dramatic scene.

How often do you write?Every day. If I’m not writing then I do something else story related, whether it’s listening to the “theme song” on repeat, choosing faces for my characters or mulling over scenes in my head.

How would you describe your writing style?Well, I’m not good at describing things. That’s probably why I don’t do much of it in my stories. I focus more on what’s going on with the characters and less on their surroundings.

Is your goal to be traditionally published? If so, why?Yes, I would love that. I think a lot of writers imagine what it would be like to have a bestseller. I want to reach as many people as possible. It would be so nice to meet fans and connect with them. Having the opportunity to potentially touch so many readers with my stories would be phenomenal.

Find out more about Jolene and her books below!

Book Review: Star Crossed - World's Apart

Author: Jolene Poole
Available: Amazon
Published: 2013
My Rating: 2.5

Synopsis from Amazon:
Gwyn Farrow's disturbing claims of an alien abduction made her parents commit her to a mental institution. When she was released, she knew that she could only rely on herself. But she doesn't return to her normal life. She begins to spend time with a friendly alien named Kael, and although terrified of his species, she finds it in her heart to care for him. When his world declares war on hers, she is torn between defending her planet and the alien she has come to love.

My Review:The synopsis for this book intrigued me and the first chapter or so was gripping. Unfortunately, I had more and more issues with it as I continued reading. Firstly, this book really reminded me of Twilight in that the romance is centered on a normal human girl and a super-powered otherworldly being - not that this is a bad thing, its just been done already.

Secondly, character's motivations could seem contrived and often weren't delved into - for instance, Kael just instantly falls in love with Gwyn and Gwyn loves him back almost straight away, even though his people kidnapped all her brothers and sisters (who are briefly mentioned and she doesn't seem particularly upset about this anyway.) Rather than developing characters, characters instead take on familiar stereotypes.
And thirdly - and this was a big one for me - the entire country seems to believe instantly when Gwyn tells them that aliens are real. In reality, I would expect a lot more indecision and disbelief. Further in this regard, the sci-fi elements of the story weren't developed enough. The fun thing about sci-fi is making the reader believe in it, and in this case I didn't believe at all. Instead, this book is romance focused and as I was reading it more for the sci-fi side of it this didn't work for me.

Best of luck to the author with her other work, however, and I'm sorry this one wasn't for me :(

Monday, 13 October 2014

Five Things I'm Loving at the Moment

1. Tacocat. I've been listening to their albumn NVM obsessively and it is awesome. Bubble-gum pop meets feminist punk awesome. Also, Tacocat is a palindrome and, as I discovered whilst googling for images, a food cart in Adelaide.
2. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. The only other Wharton I have read was Ethan Frome and I didn't like it - obsessing over a cripple didn't do it for me. But this one I'm loving. It's not just a will-they-won't-they romance, it actually critiques the society and gender roles as well.

3. Men's shirts. Many women have realised this before me, but men's shirts are just better. Women's shirts are so confusing in terms of size (is it just my imagination, or do different stores have different sizes?), men's shirts actually fit me in all the right places and they're cheaper. I will no longer be a slave to overly clingy, expensive, weirdly sized shirts. Win for the win.

4. Ben and Jerry's. My boyfriend and I discovered a local shop that sells ALL THE FLAVOURS!!! (at least all the flavours that are available in Australia.) Chubby Hubby is our favourite so far, right after Half Baked. *Drools*

Just keep spinning, just keep spinning...
5. Spin class. I've started taking spin classes at the local gym and the instructor is excellent. He conjures up an actual bike ride up hills, down hills and on flat patches. The other day he yelled at us to JUST. KEEP. GOING. YOU'RE HERE TO TRAIN, MOVE IT. and I swear, I was powering up that metaphorical hill like nobodies business. And then he apologised for yelling, which was sweet.