Last week I reviewed True Calling by Siobhan Davis. She kindly agreed to answer some questions about her novel and her writing in general.
When did you start to write and why?
I have been writing fiction on and off for years, in between juggling a busy job and crazy family life. My fulltime job involves a lot of writing and editing/proof reading so I’m quite a prolific writer of corporate communications. I am a member of award-winning best-selling author Carmel Harrington’s writers group, ‘Imagine Write Inspire’ and we all encourage each other with our writing ambitions. I’ve been an avid reader for as long as I can remember and I had harbored a dream of writing a novel for years, because I was always dreaming up stories in my head. I actually wrote True Calling back in 2010 and then got distracted with work and life in general, and it sat gathering dust in a drawer. It was only this year that I felt the time was right to release it.
What were your inspirations for True Calling?
It all started with a dream. Just not my own! I got hooked on Twilight in 2009 and was fascinated to hear how Stephenie Meyer felt compelled to write the series on the basis of the now-infamous dream. Dreams have always captivated me and I started thinking a lot about their meaning and whether our dreams have the power to change our lives (not just metaphorically speaking).
I wondered a lot about her ‘meadow dream’; probably more than was normal. Who sent her that dream? And why? And did someone (or something) plant that seed knowing full well that it would lead her on a path to a significant life-altering experience? And what are dreams anyway? A malfunction of our brain? An unconscious message from our inner selves? A medium for receiving messages from others? My thoughts jumbled around like this for weeks, and my idea started to grow from this silent analysis and developed from there.
How long did True Calling take you to write?
The whole process took approximately a year, but I was writing it while I was working full-time so I only had a few hours a day to focus on it. If I’d been solely dedicated and focused on writing, I think it would have taken half that amount of time.
Do you have any plans for future novels?
Most definitely! After I’m done with the True Calling series there are three other stories in particular that are calling out to me. One is another sci-fi, the second is a contemporary drama/romance and the third is a historical fiction piece, based around Irish History that is something I have longed to write as I have a Degree in History and a love of the past.
What is your schedule like when you write?
As I mentioned previously I have to write around my fulltime job and in between ferrying my sons to various football matches, cleaning, shopping etc. I try to write two hours every night and squeeze in three or four hours on Saturdays and Sundays. I’m a very disciplined person in general so my issue is actually forcing myself to stop writing most of the time!
When I was writing True Calling I knew largely how the story was going to pan-out so I roughly plotted the book, chapter by chapter, and stuck to this 70% of the time. The other 30% was where the story took off in tangents I hadn’t expected and I just let it flow, to see where it would take me. I keep a notepad in my bag at all times so I can jot down ideas as they occur to me, often this can happen quite randomly – while I am in the supermarket queue, waiting at the doctors, standing freezing at the side of the football field and most frequently in the middle of the night when I’m asleep and have a light-bulb moment!
Which perspective did you enjoy writing more – Ariana’s or Zane’s?
(Caution – spoiler alert!)
That’s a difficult question to answer as I enjoyed writing both their perspectives, but for different reasons. I think as a female I found it easier to relate to Ariana’s POV and to really get inside her head to understand her thoughts and emotions. I wrote her parts first and then went back to fill-in Zane’s; I felt it was important to write it like this so I could ensure the timeline synced. When I came to write Zane’s part I was actually really excited because while writing Ariana’s story I constantly thought about him: what he was going through back on Earth and how he was reacting to the things he witnessed. So I absolutely adored Zane’s story and his voice was clearer and more consistent than I expected it to be. Consequently I have a real soft spot for Zane and that’s one of my favorite parts of the book.