We are back with a new interview! Apologies with the delay in getting out this latest one – been up to my eyeballs in work.
Today I bring you an interview with Billie Kowalewski, with her awesome YA entry Enlightened.
STARTING OFF WITH A BANG
Introduce yourself! An easy question to start off with. Who are you, what do you write?
I’m Billie Kowalewski and I like to write whatever is bouncing around in my imagination. My first book is a YA Fantasy Romance.
Is this your first time in SPFBO?
Yes it is.
What book did you enter into this year’s event?
I entered Enlightened which is the first book in a three-part series with the same title.
Does one of the main characters hold a special place in your heart? If so, why?
Harmony does. Next to having my children, being Harmony was the best thing I ever got to do. She’s the version of myself I didn’t know existed. I strive to be more like her every day. She makes me want to be better.
What was the inspiration for the story? What are your future project(s)?
A lifetime full of events contributed to the creation of the Enlightened series. I am working on a new book but I’m keeping it to myself for now. It’s still too early in its creation to be able to explain it yet.
What are the key themes and/or messages in the book?
That there is much more to life than meets the eye. Hopefully, after someone reads Enlightened, they’ll love their own life more.
What were the key challenges you faced when writing this book?
My father died shortly after I started writing it. Then, not long after I finished the first draft I got divorced. Went through an extremely hard time financially and spent a night in February with no heat or electricity. That was a tough night! Came pretty close to losing my house too. None of this is because of my book though. I was under employed for a while. I eventually fixed some of this and now have two jobs, I’m also self-employed with my books, and I also do a little uber too when needed.
What is the future for the characters? Will there be a sequel?
I do think about doing something with those characters again. I’m just not sure what it’ll be yet. Well…I do know, kind of. I have an idea for them. Hopefully my life will calm down a little so I can write more.
MORE RAMBLES ABOUT WRITING
What is your favorite book you’ve written?
That’s like asking me which child I love more. I love them all. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have written them.
Who are your favorite authors? Stephanie Meyer, Sandra J Jackson, Amy Plume, Sophie Kinsella, Lauren Kate. I have others too.
What makes a good villain?
A wiseass sense of humor and a smart mouth.
Do you have any writing blogs you recommend?
Not at the moment.
Do you have any writer friends you’d like to give a shoutout to? Sandra J Jackson. Great author and friend. Someday I will meet her, and we will have lunch or something. My treat.
Did you learn anything from writing your latest book? If so, what was it?
I discovered who I was always meant to be.
Are you a plotter or a pantser? A gardener or an architect?
I had to look up what these terms meant because I’ve never heard of them in regards to writing before. I am a pantser. I let my characters tell me their story and I help them along the way, so I’m also a gardener. I let them whisk me away into their world and I can be gone for a long time.
If you had to give up both snacks and drinks during writing sessions, or music, which would you find more difficult to say goodbye to?
Why would I have to say goodbye to any snacks or drinks? I need both of these things. I need to fidget, drink stuff like coffee, sodas and water. I need munchy snacks sometimes. Usually effortless stuff so I can get back to what I’m working on quickly.
Which is your favourite season to write in, and why?
Spring probably. I love writing on really rainy days. I love the sound it makes against the leaves.
It’s sometimes difficult to get into understanding the characters we write. How do you go about it?
I write backstories for each character I feel is important to the story. This is what I did for the characters in Enlightened. It helped me to become them better.
What is your writing process? Do you have one? What is your workspace like?
I need my laptop. I prefer my house to be empty. Of course, lately it never is. I have serval workspaces which include, my squishy recliner in my room, my livingroom couch, the chair and table out on my porch, and my wicker swing chair. I do have a desk, but I’ll never use it for writing. I need to curl up with my story just like a reader would with a book.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
Life mostly and my surroundings.
How many plot ideas are just waiting to be written? Can you tell us about one?
I have an idea involving mirrors. I had an obsession as a kid with mirrors. I was fascinated with how it worked and how much you could see in them. I’m not sure exactly what I’m going to do with this story, but it is what I’m working on.
Do you have any new series planned?
I had no idea I was writing a series until I was about halfway through writing the second draft of Enlightened. My point in saying this is that I won’t know that until I’m elbows deep in my next story.
MORE ABOUT YOU
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Spare time? Who has that? I love to go to the beach and swim in the ocean. I love swimming in pools too and roller skating.
If you couldn’t be an author, what ideal job would you like to do?
I want to be one of those people that gets to cuddle babies all day. I drive a school bus in the afternoon for my second job and I would love to just do that job plus my writing. Being with the kids makes me happy.
Coffee or Tea? Or (exult deep breath) what other drink do you prefer, if you like neither?
You can travel to anywhere in the universe. Where would you go, and why?
I want to visit the redwood trees. I always wanted to see them. I also want to go to Yellowstone. Forks Washington. The tar pits in California, no one even talks about those anymore. I’m planning on purchasing a camper in the near future and traveling all over this country. I also want to go to Hawaii and cruise through the Caribbean
Pick any three fiction characters. These are now your roadtrip crew. Where do you go and what do you do?
I would pick any three of the Cullens to go with me to see the Redwood trees. Then we can climb them!
What superpower would you most like?
I think I would like super strength and speed. Oh, the things I could do!
What are two of your favorite covers of all time? (Not your own.)
I love the cover of Fallen by Lauren Kate and the cover of Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins
If you could invite one person to dinner, who would it be and what would you cook?
Steven Tyler and the rest of the band Aerosmith. We would barbeque.
Share something your readers wouldn’t know about you.
I am double jointed in my left hand and my thumb does funky stuff. Sorry, this was the first thing that just popped into my head and then I said, why not?
It’s a very difficult time right now for the world. When quarantine and pandemic come to an end, what is the first thing you would like to do?
Take my kids to the amusement park. We were going to do that this summer. I suppose next year will be fine. I hope everyone stays safe and gets to do what they really want after it’s over.
Finally, what is your preferred method to have readers get in touch with or follow you (i.e., website, personal blog, Facebook page, here on Goodreads, etc.) and link(s)?
Social media links:
Links to where Enlightened can be purchased:
When Veronica lost the love of her life in a horrible accident, she was sure he was gone forever, and she would never love again. Then, five years later she meets her own tragic demise, leading her back to the man she loves, but with an unexpected twist…