MY INTERVIEW WITH GABRIELLA MESSINA!
What’s your name and what genre would you consider your books to be?
My name is Gabriella Messina, and I’m a multi-genre author. Currently, I have published an urban fantasy series, a contemporary mystery series, and a historical fantasy releasing soon.
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
The Cold Ones was born a few years ago. I was raised a Catholic, with ties to Ireland through my grandmother, and Saint Patrick was always a beloved saint, the legends associated with him told over and over. And one of the more famous stories associated with him is that of him driving the snakes/ serpents from Ireland. We always read it as a metaphor for him bringing Christianity to the island, but I got to thinking what if the serpents being driven from Ireland weren’t metaphorical, and weren’t actual reptiles… but something else? And so the story was born.
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (historical novels, mysteries, sci-fi, children’s books, etc.)?
Mostly, I write what I like to read, the stories I want to see. That’s why I don’t lock myself into just one genre, because I have stories in my head that are kind of all over the place, or that blend genres.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
Research was mostly online, and I focused on information I could find that was consistent. There are a lot of stories about Saint Patrick, so sorting through “facts” from all over took a little time. The great thing is, because it’s ancient history and obscure, it gives you some leeway, some historical license that I gratefully embraced. Also, it’s fantasy, so that gives you even more room to move.
I spent a good bit of time reading up on folklore and myth as well… I didn’t want to simply retell stories that have already been told, and I wanted to be respectful of the established tales, too. Anchoring the story in what history, or plausible history, available, was the key for me, and I was able to find a lot of great information online… even down to what foods they grew in their gardens!
What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
Typical day starts out with plenty of coffee LOL… Sometimes I get an hour of writing in first thing in the morning, while my son eats his breakfast, but mostly I write in the afternoon, usually between 1-4. I try to get at least 1,000 words in every day, and I’ve found that setting that bar, and time limit, for doing it has really helped me focus more.
Do you have a new book in the making and if so, what’s the name of your upcoming book?
Well, after The Cold Ones comes out, I’ll be releasing the third book in my Bloodline Series, Wolfborn. And I’m starting in on my contemporary mystery series again with book 5 in the series, Razor’s Edge.
How important are character names to you in your books? Is there a special meaning to any of the names?
Character names, for the most part, are very organic for me. For most characters I write, from the old ones I’ve “played” with for nearly 20 years to the brand new ones, their names are just part of them. They may come from character and personality, or they may.
Where do your ideas come from?
Oh, everywhere! Music, art, documentary topics, quotations… Ideas can come to me anywhere.
Is there a genre that you’ve been wanting to experiment with?
I’m actually planning to try my hand at romance in the future… I have an idea for a story that I think will make a great story, unique and memorable, and I’m hoping to start work on that this fall.
I’m also going to be working on a detective noir this fall, with an eye toward a release in early 2019. It’s another story that started out a screenplay, sort of LA Confidential meets The Thin Man.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Just finding the time to write, and then getting to write as much as I’d like in that time. I have gotten really skilled at writing with distractions, like TV in the background, my son talking and playing LOL
What do you think of book trailers? Do you have a trailer, or do you intend to create one for your own book?
I think it’s amazing, the quality of some of the trailers and promotional materials you see now. I’d love to create trailers for my books at some point, absolutely.
What’s the best thing about being an author?
I think every part has its merits and positives, but, to me, the best thing is opening that box and holding a print copy of a book that you’ve written, with the cover you’ve chosen, you’re name on the front, and knowing other people are looking at it in the same way when they receive their copies… that is priceless, and makes everything, up and downs, all of it, worth it.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
That I have a nice catalogue of books to my name, and that some of my “babies” are finally making it to film or TV.
Have you always liked to write?
Honestly, I never thought about it. When I was a teenager, young adult, I was more focused on other things. When I started creating stories and writing screenplays, though, I felt like I’d come home.
What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Don’t worry about what everyone else says you should worry about. Write your stories, find your own style, and be as good a quality writer as you can be. People, and not just other writers, will try to bring you down, even if they have a smile on their face when they do. They’ll tell you it must be this way, you can’t do it that way, you must, you need, you must… and all of it is fluff and fuss. Write your stories… just write them.
If you didn’t like writing books, or weren’t any good at it, what would you like to do for a living?
Hmmm… if I couldn’t write… I’d want to find something in the business at-large to do, like say in design, or personal management. I’m not trained in business, but I have really good instincts for it, for what people want, image and all that.
Do you read reviews of your book(s)? Do you respond to them, good or bad? How do you deal with the bad?
I do read them, but I don’t respond. Good or bad, they are important feedback that helps you correct your process, become better.
What is your least favourite part of the writing / publishing process?
Least favorite? Waiting… whether it’s waiting for a piece for editing, or waiting for covers, or waiting for information, or… well, just waiting. It’s part of why I try to do everything I can for myself. It satisfies that need I have to get it done right now. LOL
What are you working on now?
I’ve started back in on my mystery series, Kate Gardener Mysteries… I’m currently working on books 5 and 6, and hope to get those released early this summer.
Why did you choose to write in your genre? If you write in more than one, how do you balance them?
It’s pretty great, going back and forth between genres. It gives me a chance to stretch, work other parts of my brain, my imagination. I think it helps improve the quality of whatever I’m working on.
Where did your love of books come from?
I was always read to growing up, and books were always such an important part of my life. I can’t remember exactly when I even started reading on my own… It feels like I always could LOL
Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
Conan Doyle and Christie for sure… Elizabeth George and P.D. James… Mysteries, of course. I’ve always enjoyed historical fiction… The Silver Chalice, Gone with the Wind… And Little Women will always hold a special place in my heart, too.
Of all the characters you have created, which is your favourite and why?
Hmmm… Right now, I’d have to say Kieran the Puca in The Cold Ones… He’s a fae creature, but there’s this charm and wisdom to him. He’s funny and smart and brave, and he’s this incredibly human character, even though he’s a horse for the majority of the book.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
It depends on what I’m writing. Action scenes can leave you really psyched up when you finish, while emotional scenes, deaths, heavy drama, can leave you pretty drained emotionally. Even those, though, can energize you, because you finish, and you have this great piece of writing to show for it and everything.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Stock image sites LOL… or Pinterest. I can get lost in images for hours.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I just write the story that I need to tell, whatever that entails.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I’ve met a lot of fantastic writers over the past two, three, years, and so many of them have contributed their support and let me tap into their skills to become better at writing, and at networking. I can be a very competitive person in many ways, so being challenged to become more is something I often fight tooth and nail, but, ultimately, I respond to it, and conquer it. The authors I’m friends with in communities like Facebook, many of them write in genres well removed from what I write, but having the opportunity to write with them live, and getting feedback from them on my own work, has driven me to face my own writing roadblocks and learn to overcome them.
If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
Where can your fans find you and follow??
The best place to find me and keep up with what’s going on is through my Facebook reader group, and through my website. I do a Weekly Update post in my reader group, Gaby’s Books & Muchness, and it’s also the place to see new teasers, cover debuts, takeovers and events. And my website is a central place for everything I write, books, short stories, poetry, as well as teasers and inspiration for books. There are also links on the site to purchase signed paperbacks.
Reader/ Fan Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/GabysBooksAndMuchness/
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amzn.to/2meiT2K
Thank you for taking your time to do this interview ❤️