If you have self-love and confidence in yourself, you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. Sure, you’ll have down days where you question and doubt yourself, but all days come to an end. Start afresh tomorrow, be grateful you have found something you are passionate about, and keep smiling, keep reading and keep writing.

 

NLK: Gina’s Diaries was your first novel, what made you start writing?

MD: About seven years ago, I finished reading a best-selling series and thought quite naively, I could write a book. I bought myself a notebook and began writing what would become Gina’s Diaries during my daughter’s dance lessons.

It took me six years of self-doubt, then self-belief, not knowing what to write, having the words just flow, working part time, being a mum to four kids and everything that comes with that! But I got there in the end and although it was a long process, I wouldn’t change a thing.

 

NLK: Have you always written?                 

MD: Do shopping lists count??!!

Not really, but I kept diaries as a teenager and rediscovered them when I began writing Gina’s Diaries. Reading them gave me the confidence to give writing the book a serious go as I found my entries descriptive and entertaining. Plus, I had nothing but my very limited ‘me’ time to lose.

 

NLK: What have you learned from self-publishing?

MD: Self-publishing. Bloody hell! You need to be disciplined with your time for one. Stick to a date to have your book finished or it could take you six years and then handball everything else to willing parties!

A friend of mine, also a member of my writer’s group, is an IT expert and was keen to learn how to self-publish so she used Gina’s Diaries as her guinea pig. She put me in contact with an editor, did all the formatting for both the e-book and print versions, organised the book cover, the ISBNs and even uploaded and published Gina’s Diaries to Amazon. She did an amazing job and I’m so very grateful for her help.

 

NLK: What advice would you give to new writers?

MD: I don’t see myself as someone who is knowledgeable enough to give advice, however, I would suggest joining a writers group where you can seek advice and help from like-minded people and share your work.

If you have self-love and confidence in yourself, you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. Sure, you’ll have down days where you question and doubt yourself, but all days come to an end. Start afresh tomorrow, be grateful you have found something you are passionate about, and keep smiling, keep reading and keep writing.

 

NLK: Tell me about your creative process?

MD: My creative process. Hmm…I start with a notebook (I love my notebooks!) where I jot down ideas. For example, genre, a rough outline of the story and I build from there. Chapter outlines (which change as I begin writing!), character bios, as this helps me remember eye and hair colour, weight, height, character traits, personalities, dress sense, hobbies, etc. Once I’ve nutted that out, I begin writing. 

I prefer to write in a notebook first. When I finish a chapter, which I consider my first draft, I’ll type it up on my laptop, editing as I go. I email the chapter to my sister and a friend and await their comments. I find sending them chapter by chapter hurries me up to get the next one started and finished, as they can be impatient!! By the time I’ve completed writing my book, I’ve actually done the first edit and received feedback.

 

NLK: What are you currently working on?

MD: I’m trying my hand at a New Adult novel, with a working title of ‘Emerald’. I wanted to write a different genre from Gina’s Diaries, which is contemporary fiction. I read a few of my daughter’s young adult novels and was disappointed by the message the female authors were sending to their young readers; in order to feel ‘complete’ or ‘whole’, you needed to find your ‘soulmate’. The stories seemed to centre around a young female protagonist, waiting for her knight in shining armour to ride in and save the day.

I’m writing a book that I would love my daughter and nieces to read – one where the female characters are strong, independent, and confident in themselves and not in a rush to find their life partner.

Emerald is a twenty-year-old jeweler who works in the family ‘new age’ shop, Into The Mystic, with her mother and grandmother, all of whom have special abilities. She embarks on a trip of self-discovery with her best friend Britt, which takes them to England and then to Italy. But unbeknown to her, there are dark forces at play! Will Emerald’s abilities protect her from the hovering evil waiting to engulf her? To find out more you’ll have to read the book, which is due for release in April next year.

 

NLK: What advice would you give to your 12-year-old self?

MD: Believe in yourself always. Stay true to yourself and your beliefs. Stay positive. Everyone is different and on their own path, so don’t compare yourself and your journey. Travel lots. Read different genres and keep writing in your diaries. And when you meet a boy in high school who has beautiful blue-grey eyes and a mop of curly blonde hair, and you start going out with him, do not let him distract you from your year 12 studies. There will be plenty of time for that because you end up marrying him (FYI- I did pass year 12- barely.)

 

About Melinda Devine

Melinda Devine lives on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, Australia with her husband & their four children. When not writing or running around after their kids, she loves to read, get active in boot camp & Pilates, and binge watches TV series on Netflix. Basically, she enjoys anything that will get her out of doing housework.

Gina’s Diaries is her debut novel. If you wish to purchase a print copy, please email melindadevinebooks@gmail.com

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