Sibel Hodge is the author of romantic comedies and comedy mystery novels. In her spare time she's Wonder Woman!
Can you sum up your book in no more than 25 words?
A comedy mystery that combines murder and mayhem with romance and chicklit.
What was your motivation for writing it?
Be Careful What You Wish For is the second Amber Fox mystery. Amber loves to talk so trying to shut her up would be useless!
How long did it take you to write?
Four weeks for the first draft. With all the editing and proofreading it was probably three months.
How much difference does an editor make?
A huge difference! I would recommend any author has their work professionally edited. They’re not just checking for grammar, spelling, syntax, etc, they’re also looking for any plot holes or strengths and weaknesses in your writing. I go through and edit mine about four or five times before it goes to my editor and I still miss things. You’re too close to see your own mistakes.
Who designed your cover?
I designed it from an iStock photo.
How much difference does a good cover make?
Most of my sales are online from ebooks so if readers are browsing for books, it’s the first thing they’ll probably notice. A good cover and blurb are essential to create that initial interest.
How important is a good title?
As a reader, some titles will stay with me for years. I like to see intriguing titles. For example, with Be Careful What You Wish For, I think it puts in the reader’s mind straight away that something is going to go wrong. What does Amber wish for and why should she be careful?
What's the best piece of craft advice you've been given?
Read, read, read. Write, write, write! Read so you recognize good writing, and write to hone your craft.
What's your favourite part of the writing process?
Creating characters. I love the fact that you can invent anyone you want. Even the perfect man!
What are your strengths and weaknesses as a writer?
I hate plotting. The dreaded P word sends shivers down my spine. Is there such a thing as plot-o-phobia? If I try and plot too much in advance I tend to lose my creativity. Most of the time I don’t have a clue what I’m going to write until it falls out of my head onto the page. Creative or crazy? I’m not sure which.
What aspects of marketing your book do you enjoy?
Interacting with other readers and authors. I’ve met some lovely people through it.
As a reader, how would you describe your taste in crime fiction?
I like pretty much all crime novels - humorous, serious, serial killers, police procedurals, cozy mysteries. Anything goes!
What was the last good eBook you read?
Take No More by Seb Kirby - a fab thriller!
Who's your favourite living writer?
Ooh, that’s sooo hard! Don’t make me choose! Janet Evanovich, Ian Rankin, John Connolly, Lee Child - I could go on and on.
What makes you keep reading a book?
Before I had my Kindle I would always religiously finish a book, even if I couldn’t get into it. But AK (After Kindle) I will just stop reading if I get bored. I like intrigue, suspense, action, humor, comedy, and great characters. I can forgive a poor plot if I can engage with the rest of it.
Ever tried your hand at screenwriting?
Several people have suggested that I rewrite my novels as screenplays because I write very visually and I think the comedy would transfer well to film. I tried to rewrite my romantic comedy Fourteen Days Later as a screenplay last year but it was so hard to condense an 85,000-word novel into a one and a half hour film. I will get to it one day, though, I won’t let it beat me!
How do you feel about the ease with which anyone can publish?
Yes, it’s true that it’s easy for authors to publish their work these days through platforms like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, but it doesn’t mean they will sell. At the end of the day, you still have to write a great book to gain readers and sales. Readers will soon weed out the poor quality books and leave reviews accordingly.
There are some fantastic and talented indie authors out there who have been unable to get their work out there through traditional publishing, and this is such a great opportunity for them. Now it’s time for the readers to decide what they want to read.
What was your favourite book as a child?
To Kill a Mockingbird. Still love it and re-read it now and then.
How do you feel about awards?
I love them! Here’s why…I was shortlisted for the Harry Bowling Prize 2008, Highly Commended by the Yeovil Literary Prize 2009, runner-up in the Chapter One Promotions Novel Competition 2010, and nominated Best novel with Romantic Elements 2010 by The Romance Reviews.
Be Careful What You Wish For by Sibel Hodge