I’m pleased to introduce Farida Mestek, author of Almendra: A Fairy-Tale. How long have you been writing? Have you always wanted to be a writer?
I’ve been writing as long as I could and I always knew that I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to tell stories and share them with people since I was a child. I used to imagine things and entertain my family with my impersonations when I still couldn’t write. It was quite funny — I was good at comedy at the time :)) Though when I started writing, I became more inclined towards melodrama.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
I would advise them to read and write as much as possible. To try different genres, styles and techniques in order to find their own voice and develop their writing skills — writing fanfics is a good way of practicing I found. And, of course, not to give up once they’ve started, because writing and especially getting your book out there can be really tough.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Well, to find time for writing is challenging enough. And then I have a very flighty muse who doesn’t stay around for more than a fortnight. So I have to make sure that I write as much as I can during her presence, because in her absence I often can’t write a thing. I also have trouble with focusing on one story, because of the number of different ideas that I have. I used to force myself to work on one story at a time and forbid myself to think about other stories. However, this time around I decided to try another approach and work on several stories at the same time.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I have two favourite authors I practically worship. Jane Austen. I think she was a genius of subtlety, irony, morals and manners. She portrayed very specific types of people that we all meet at some point in our lives as well as situations that never get old and that we can find ourselves in. And J.K. Rowling. I think she is a genius, because she created this rich, many-layered magic world and even supplied it with textbooks and fairy-tales for her fans’ pleasure; not to mention a mystery that remained locked until the very final book.
What are the main themes of your latest book? What was it inspired by?
The main themes of «Almendra: A Fairy-Tale» are loneliness, fear of what the future holds, friendship, the search of love and mother/daughter relationship. It was inspired by my own experiences and fears and, in a way, if you take the fantasy and the magic away, it is quite autobiographical.
How long does it take you to write a book?
It definitely takes me a while to write a book. I can plot it out in my mind in a matter of hours — it never takes me more than a day — but the writing process can drag on for a long time, because there are so many things that I want to do and that I actually have to do (like my day job!) that I have very little time left for writing. However, when my muse pays me a visit, I am quite unstoppable.
Do you ever base physical appearance of your characters on people you know, portraits or actors? Any examples or images that you’d like to share?
I often base physical appearance of my characters on people I know. I take their most prominent features and redouble them for further effect; seeing their faces or figures or recalling their mannerism helps me create interesting characters. Sometimes, I look at the pictures of different actors and actresses and it strikes me that they look just like I imagine my characters should look.
Introduce the main characters from your latest book. Who are they? What would they like to say?
My latest books is «Almendra: A Fairy-Tale» and I think it only right to let Almendra speak. Here she is:
My name is Almendra and I am the High Lady of The Upper Kingdom. It used to be the most powerful and the most prosperous kingdom in our land, but due to the curse of unhappiness, loneliness and gloom that has been hanging over it for many years now, it lost all prominence and is now quite shrunk and forgotten by the rest of the world. And it is my sacred duty as its High Lady to get rid of the curse and to bring my kingdom back to the top. In order to accomplish it, I have decided to go to The Land of Men where I am determined to find love that will get rid of the curse. Here is the fate line, written by my mother, to prove that I’m doing the right thing: «Once Love Is Settled On This Earth And Vow Is Sealed By Kiss The Queen Will Be Again A Rose Her Country Will Find Peace.» Joannah Nibbler-Pincher — a traveller and a very fine singer — agreed to take me, Nan and Woo there. We have become very good friends, but she still won’t tell me why she travels so much, wears a thick black choker around her pretty neck and what exactly is hidden in that bag of hers. Naturally, I am determined to find out.
Blurb for “Almendra: A Fairy-Tale”
Almendra, the High Lady of The Upper Kingdom, is doomed. Many years ago, in a fit of rage and broken heart, her mother banished all the men from the country and plunged it into unhappiness, loneliness and gloom. For many years Almendra’s only companions were her old Nanny and her faithful friend Woo, the wolf. Now Almendra faces a daunting task of going to The Land of Men and getting rid of the curse. But she doesn’t know the way and she has never seen a man in her life.
In comes Joannah Nibbler-Pincher, a girl with a tambourine, a bag of sad songs and a thick black choker that hides the mystery of her painful past. She and Almendra become best friends and Joannah takes it upon herself to take the High Lady and her unconventional family to The Land of Men, where Almendra intends to find love that, according to a fate line left by her mother, will have the power to restore The Upper Kingdom to all its former glory. But it’s a long way to The Land of Men and the outcome of the journey will change Almendra forever.
My “The Upper Kingdom” blog: http://the-upper-kingdom.blogspot.com/
Where to buy “Almendra: A Fairy-Tale”: http://girlebooks.com/ebook-catalog/farida-mestek/almendra/