Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Writer Wednesday with Chele Cooke and Dead and Buryd

Chele Cook,
Author of Dead and Buryd
Happy Wednesday! Please welcome Chele Cooke, a fabulous new author to Writer Wednesday. Chele and I chatted recently about her new release, Dead and Buryd. I'm reading it now and I love it!! So pull up a listen:

What inspired you to write Dead and Buryd?
I'd had the idea for the Out of Orbit series for quite a while. I've been involved in the roleplay community for over a decade, and through a series of different websites I created, this story cemented itself into being. There was a lot of planning to do, and I decided not to write anything down until NaNoWriMo, but once I started, Dead and Buryd was one of the easiest things I've ever written a first draft of.

In what genre do you place Dead and Buryd?
It's a Sci-Fi mainly. I've been given advice to place it in the New Adult category, but from my responses from readers, it's had a good response from people of a variety of ages. I have a group of friends I made through cross stitching. They range from mid twenties to their sixties, and they all enjoyed it. I like to call Dead and Buryd 'accessible Sci-Fi' because you don't need to be a hardcore Sci-Fi fan to get into this story. It's much more involved with the characters than the technology.

Was there any specific research you did before writing this book?
Admittedly, there wasn't so much for Dead and Buryd. The research I did for the series in general is related more to the rest of the series than Dead and Buryd as a single book. Most of the research into military, technology, and the effects on a conquered nation will come into play later in the series. I wanted for readers to be more in touch with these characters before I threw the rest into the mix.

Tell us a little about your writing experience.
I was incredibly blessed with this story, it went very easily for the first draft. I started writing it for NaNoWriMo, and had twenty-one thousand words in three days. It was all in my head, it was just making my fingers move fast enough to get it out. I use a program called 'Write or Die' which is great, it really motivates you to block out the distractions and just write.

The hard part for me with this project was the editing. I'd never worked with a professional editor before, and while I was sure I had an amazing story, nothing prepares you for a professional edit the first time. It's like being punched in the stomach. At least now I know to go into the next one with a big bar of chocolate handy.

"Write or Die" sounds interesting - I'll have to check it out! But back to Dead and Buryd, you created an entire world complete with a history and names for the different cultures. Can you tell us something about your world building?
World building is one of my favourite parts, especially working in a Fantasy or Sci-fi setting. I find that if I ensure my world is set out properly, it makes the story much easier to write. Not only that, but elements of the world can enhance the plot. Dead and Buryd will not be the only time in this series where the oppressive weather will shape parts of the story.

And how did you come up with the names?
The names were an interesting one. I specifically went with Eastern European influences for the Adveni, and there were certain rules I made myself follow, like the i before e rule we're told as children in English. When you have those, you can predict a lot of the pattern of letters in a word. Admittedly, most of the names came from me writing down twenty or so variations and seeing which one I liked best.

What was your favorite part about writing Dead and Buryd?
Being surprised. I think that's always my favourite element about writing, when you're writing a story, you have everything planned, and then half way through a chapter, you realise that it's going in a different direction, one much better than the one you'd originally thought of. There are some elements in Dead and Buryd that I never expected to happen. Georgianna and Edtroka's relationship is one of them. I never intended for them to be funny together, but it just happened, and I think it has worked for the better.

What was your least favorite part about writing the book?
Rewriting, I think. It can be painful to be told you need to change things, especially when you're really happy with a story. I am sure many writers (and readers for that matter) can understand that a novel, especially the first, becomes like a child. You want to think that it’s perfect, and looking at it through someone else’s eyes can be difficult at first. Looking back, though, it’s definitely been the most worthwhile part, as I think it’s really improved the book.  

You chose to self-publish Dead and Buryd. What made you decide to go the self-publishing route?
I was planning on going the traditional route. I even submitted Dead and Buryd to a number of agents. I got some great, positive feedback on it, but it came down to them not being able to market it. In April, I was lucky enough to go to the London Book Fair and meet some fantastic self-published authors. Hearing from them, I realised that going Indie wasn’t something you either did with massive success, or spectacular failure. It’s a business, and if you can get all the elements lined up and done in a professional manner, you have a pretty good shot at reaching an audience. I had the writing part down, I just needed to learn the business side. Looking at it as a business really helped push me to make the leap, because I realised that it’s not as untouchable as a lot of people think it is.

What can we look forward to next from you, Chele?
I’m currently in the detailed planning stages for book two of Out of Orbit, that’s taking precedence right now, as I’d like to start writing for NaNoWriMo. I also have a number of short stories that will slot into the series. One of my favourite elements of fan fiction is when people write scenes  from another character’s view, or scenes that are mentioned but never explained fully. So, between releases of the books, I’ll also be releasing some of those little extras.

I am in the early planning stages of another series, which fans of Joss Whedon’s Firefly will love. It’s a Sci-Fi Circus with elements of the 1920s. So, kind of steampunk, but without the steam. Cirquepunk, I guess.

I’m also planning a collaboration with a very dear friend, Moa. She’s actually who Dead and Buryd is dedicated to. Basically, right now, I’m very very busy.

Okay, time for some silliness. Chocolate or vanilla?
Chocolate: I’m a massive chocolate fiend. Except in cake. For some reason, I’m not a massive fan of chocolate cake.

Coffee or tea?
Is Red Bull not an option? I like both, honestly, but living with four tea fanatics (we have an entire cupboard just for different types of tea, it’s terrifying,) I guess I’d have to say coffee just to see the looks on their faces.

Beach or mountains?
That’s a horrible question. Man, I have no idea. I guess I’d have to go with beach, but if I learn to ski on more than the bunny slope, that might change.

What three words describe Chele Cooke?
Ha ha! I bet my answers here would be different than if you asked people who know me.

Dork – I’m a massive dork… seriously huge. I get really obsessed with the things I like, whether they’re books/tv/films or places. I get really into things and can talk about them for hours.

Emotional – This relates back to ‘Dork’ somewhat, but I get really emotionally invested in things I like. I am a sap when it comes to fiction, and am often reduced to tears. I’m also a complete wuss, but that’s something different.

Spacey – Because ‘Mental Escape Artist’ isn’t a single word. I love travelling and seeing new places, not to mention that I spend about 50% of my day thinking about things that don’t exist. I think spacey works for both.

Thank you, Chele, for taking the time to stop by and chat. Readers, check out the blurb for Dead and Buryd:

A single life could liberate an entire race, but the life required may be hers.

Since the invasion of her home planet by the ruthless Adveni, Georgianna Lennox's life as a Veniche medic isn't as simple as it used to be. When a single infraction against the Adveni can lead to incarceration, slavery, or death, each life saved can bring harsh consequences.

A secret delivery into the infamous Lyndbury Prison Compound reveals that her friend Nyah has been sold into slavery, and Georgianna must decide how to weigh a single life against the risk to herself and others.

Caught between her duty as a medic, her family, and her promise to a friend, she puts her trust in a group of rebels, the Belsa. However, when the attempt to free Nyah uncovers a plan that could rid the Veniche of the Adveni for good, Georgianna struggles with the realisation that the people she trusted may have been using her for their own gain.

Unable to walk away, Georgianna finds herself pulled deep into a web of lies and cruelty that will either claim Nyah's life... or her own.

Barnes & Noble:
Chele is an English Sci-Fi and Fantasy writer currently living in London, UK. Slightly obsessive when it comes to the things she enjoys, Chele fell in love with the Harry Potter fandom which led to her writing fan fiction throughout her teen years. Moving on to original fiction, Chele completed a degree in Creative Writing, and has continued writing ever since. Dead and Buryd is the first book in Chele's "Out of Orbit" series.

CONNECT with Chele:


Twitter: @chelecooke


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  1. Thank you for having me, Natalie. What wonderful questions, I really enjoyed answering them! Well, except the 'beach or mountains' - That was just mean.

    1. LOL, go to Kauai, HI and you can have both :-)
      Thank you for being me guest

  2. I knew I had an excellent reason to go to Hawaii! Yey!


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