Audrey Gene

Do not waste your life waiting for wings.                                   

               Trust that you can already fly.  

The most enjoyable part of book signings and being in the public is meeting so many wonderful people. I am in awe every time a complete stranger wants to know more about me, my novel, or my experiences as a writer. What they don’t realize is that I am also learning about them. I’ve discovered when you spend time with someone you don’t know, you quickly learn how connected and similar we all truly are. Thank you to every person who’s taken the time to get to know me a little. Here are some questions I’ve been asked formally or just in passing, and how I typically answer them.

 

Is Of the Dragonfly your first novel? If so, do you plan to write more?

Yes, Of the Dragonfly is my debut novel. I have two other novels I am working on. The second is the sequel to Of the Dragonfly. I hadn’t intended on writing a sequel, but there has been such a demand for it, so I thought I’d better get on it. The other novel is not related, but will also be a paranormal adventure. I am excited to work on that one as well.

 

How did you come up with the story for Of the Dragonfly?

When I began writing Of the Dragonfly, I did not start with a story in mind. I never knew each day what would evolve. I honestly let myself be open to whatever the Universe wanted to bless me with. Each day that I wrote, the story unfolded. It amazed me that I could come up with a story this way. But I did. I currently have two other novels I'm working on. Both are being written the same way. I have no ideas for the story until I sit down to write. Some would say I'm winging it, and I guess I am, but I would say I’m just divinely receiving. Regardless, it is working for me and I am very thankful.

 

Have you always wanted to write a book?

As a young adult, I had always wondered about writing a book. Unfortunately, it was nothing I pursued because I didn't have much of a writing background. Growing up, I would secretly write journal entries, poems, and lyrics. In high school, I wrote only what was required in my English classes. I loved to write, but I suffered from a lack of confidence. Then in my early thirties, the itch to write a book intensified. Thank goodness it did or I may not be where I am today.

 

What is your favorite aspect of being a published author?

My favourite aspect is the people I get to meet and the events that I have been able to attend. I've been blessed to do many book signings and fundraisers, as well as I've been invited to be the guest of honour at book clubs and school presentations. I am very grateful for these opportunities.

 

What have you learned from this experience that you will take forward with you?

I have learned so much, but one thing I'll take forward is that we are not alone. Whether someone is an artist, writer, athlete, musician, or business owner, we all go through our own set of fears and doubts. We aren't that different from each other. We work hard, we dream big, we celebrate the successes, and we crumble at the failures. But the hard work and dedication is what gets us to where we need to be. At times when I feel the pressure, I look to others to find strength. I try to learn from them because there's a reason they're successful. And not only do I surround myself with positive, supportive people, I also strive to be that person for someone else. There's a world of people out there who can help us grow as individuals, and in knowing this, I feel anything is possible.

 

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received as a writer?

When you're writing your first draft, don't go back to edit or analyse. Just keep going. It's all about momentum and commitment.

 

Are there any words of advice you have for others wanting to do what you’ve done?

I am not an expert by any means, and I still have much to learn, but I would say to allow yourself to be human. Know when to stop and take a breath. As exciting as it is to have your hard work published, there will be times that will be tough. There is a lot of work that goes into this and there may be days when you wonder how much more you can take. I think this is normal. But there are many wonderful people out there that can help you. Be open to learning from other authors. They are your peers and know what you are going through. Be honest. Promote yourself with integrity and allow yourself to make mistakes. Writing can be tough, but it can be much worse if you don’t allow yourself to be human. Enjoy your accomplishments, accept your failures, and then put your feet up to breathe.

 

What’s the worst piece of advice you’ve ever received as a writer?

One time at a book signing, another author came over and told me that I shouldn’t talk to people so much because I was there to sell books. He said the goal was to sell as many books as possible. For some, this may be true. However, for me it is not all about the sales. Yes, sales are important, but when a person takes the time to come and speak with me and shows interest in my book, I feel very honoured. Especially considering my book is competing with thousands of other books in that store. People are busy, they don’t have to stop to meet me, but they do. And in all honesty, most times the conversation does lead to a sale. Regardless, my novel brings me a lot of joy—sales or no sales. If it’s viewed as bad business to take the time to speak with people because of the potential to slow down sales, then I think that’s the wrong way to look at it. People are the business, and I wouldn’t be where I am if it weren’t for them.

 

What’s it like to be called an author?

Surreal. I still look behind me sometimes when I’m addressed with that title!

 

Is there a particular book that inspired you to become a writer?

Yes, Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. I loved how it made me feel as though I were a young teenager again and it made me want to write something of my own. But who was I to consider attempting an onerous task such as this? I was not an author. I was a dreamer. Eventually though, I could not ignore the pull any longer. I decided to try, and 30 days later, I was holding the papers of my first manuscript. Writing Of the Dragonfly changed my life. I will be forever grateful.

 

Obviously as an author, you have the ability to inspire others. What is the most significant way you’ve inspired people?

I’ve always been honest about my journey, so the most common comments I receive in regards to inspiring people are how I had a dream and fought through self-doubt and fear to give it a shot. As someone with little writing experience, who was I to step out into the world of writing and publishing? It’s a harsh world out there and people can be cruel, so I knew I could be setting myself up for failure. But regardless, I was already failing. My fear of putting myself out there eventually became overshadowed by my fear of not trying—not knowing. I decided that if I failed, I could always get back up. But if I didn’t even try, I’d be the product of my own miserable destruction. I had struggled with stage fright, and in many ways I am an introvert, but the thought of becoming my own worst critic was worse than all the critics out there. I wanted to be able to look at myself in the mirror and know I had given it my best shot with purity and belief. I didn’t want to look in the mirror and know I had quit because I was scared. I’m still scared, but at least now I’m willing to own it. If I can continue to inspire people to try things—to find their joy—then all of this has come full circle for me. In finding my joy, I am also able to help others find their joy, regardless of the endeavour. I can’t tell you how often I am told that someone’s been inspired to step out past their fears and pursue their own dreams simply because of what I’ve done. I often joke that I am an expert at not being an expert, and for some reason that puts people at ease. But we all have to start somewhere, don’t we?

 

How can people relate to this story?

This is a story of a young woman caught in the realities of life: successful career, unfulfilled life. A struggle many people can relate to. As the she is led on a deadly adventure to a tropical island, it becomes more than a story of a courageous woman. It becomes a quest for purpose and personal integrity. It is the questioning of life to the point of fighting for more. Fighting for happiness, fighting for love. I believe most people have felt this on some level.

 

What was your favourite book when you were young?

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. This tragic love story haunted me as a young girl.

 

Do you have any superstitions when it comes to writing?

No. I don’t want to let anything have false control over my writing process.

 

Where do you write?

In my office at home. See the "Gallery" for pictures. It’s not fancy, but it works!

 

Do you believe in writer’s block?

Yes, but I believe it's just the Universe's way of telling you to take a break!

 

Have you ever experienced writer’s block?

Yes, but at some point I’ve experienced some kind of block in every area of my life, so I know that writer’s block is to be expected as well. As all things are in life, it too will pass.

 

What are your greatest fears and struggles as a writer?

Lack of confidence is sometimes a struggle for me. Mostly because I don’t have a background in writing and I know at times it is evident. I constantly want to learn and improve my writing skills, but I know I’ll always second guess myself. Especially considering there are so many opinions on grammar and the mechanics and styles of writing. It can be very overwhelming. On a good note though, one of my biggest fears was public speaking. I’ve never had an issue with people one-on-one, or in small groups, but anything more than that typically scared the cookies out of me. Now, after doing so many book signings and events, I can honestly say I have a handle on it. When I had my first public reading from my novel, I was terrified. I prayed I wouldn’t pass out. I didn’t, but I felt as though I were a fish out of water—gasping for air. Actually, it wasn’t that bad. I pulled it off quite well and now I’m not nearly as afraid.

 

In regards to your accomplishments, what person or thing has contributed to you coming this far?

My husband, Cam. He is the reason I’ve done what I’ve done. He’s been my number one supporter from the beginning. Whenever I’ve needed the confidence, strength, or faith to keep going, he’s been there cheering me on. When I’d let myself unravel to the point of giving up, he was right there breathing energy into me again. I can honestly say that I would not want any of this without him. I think everyone needs someone in their life that can offer this kind of support. No matter what the endeavour is, you need someone who you can be your true self with. Someone that loves and supports you regardless of the mess you’ve become. But also someone who can truly celebrate your successes. I know Cam will be there to share in all the good and bad times, and it’s not just because they were our wedding vows!

 

Is there one writer you would love to meet?

I would like to meet Stephenie Meyer to thank her for awakening the young, adventurous dreamer in me again.

 

What’s your favourite literary genre?

Paranormal Romance. I love anything that expands your imagination and makes you ache for more. Falling in love again and again is a great way to spend your time.

 

What’s your favourite movie?

The Notebook. Any movie that can produce that many emotions in one sitting wins my vote.

 

What made you decide to self-publish?

I decided to self-publish to learn as much as I could about the industry and to be completely involved in the creation of my novel. I imagined every step of the process and wanted to see it through. I also thought it would be a good way to ease into this new life of mine. It's been a great experience—though a challenging one—and I am proud to have come this far.

 

Would you consider traditional publishing?

Absolutely! In the beginning, I was intimidated by the thought of a large publishing house. Mostly because I wasn’t sure I was qualified to go down that road. Now, thanks to all of the wonderful feedback and experiences I’ve had since I released my book, I would feel very honoured and blessed to be a part of a traditional publishing family. I’m also at a point where I need the expertise and resources of a traditional publisher to help me with global distribution and marketing. I’ve quickly learned there is only so much I can do on my own!

 

Do you have a motto, and if so, what would it be?

Do not waste your life waiting for wings. Trust that you can already fly.

 

If you have a question you would like to ask me, please email me at audreygene@gmail.com. Thank you!