Meet Fantasy Author @KamVerdee #Fantasy #YA

I love finding new authors, especially when they write YA fantasy which is my favourite genre. Imagine my delight when I discovered YA author, Kam Verdee, and then found out she was a fellow Birmingham lass.

Kam Virdee Publicity Photo

After a small amount of stalking (on my part!) I managed to convince Kam to join me on my blog for a chat about her writing, love of fantasy dramas, and her latest book, Heera Watson and the Rise of the Dark King. Over to Kam.

The Fun Stuff:

What part of the world do you come from?

Yes, I’m a fellow Brummie! I’ve lived in Great Barr, Birmingham all my life, and in the same house would you believe for the past thirty four years, and I have no plans as yet to move out of the city.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be many things to be honest. For the most part in secondary school, I had my heart set out on manufacturing and designing my own cosmetic brand. I used to call it being a Make-up Scientist (of course that profession doesn’t exist) but I was going to show all my friends what a great Make-up brand I would be able to create. Funny enough, when we were given work experience placements from school for a day, I was sent to HSBC bank, and I didn’t like it one bit. BUT, little did I know, I’d end up building a career in the banking industry years later. It’s funny how things can work out.

List three words to describe yourself.

Ambitious, Loyal, Hardworking

Who would play you in a film about your life?

I’d love Helena Bonham Carter to play me because not only is she a talented actress, but she’s different, and there’s something very dark and mystical in the way she acts in movies. When she played Bellatrix in the Harry Potter franchise, I was probably the only one rooting for her! (Nope, I was a secret Bellatrix fan too, Kam!) 😉

What’s your favourite snack food when writing?

I don’t tend to snack when I’m writing, but I am rarely seen without a big mug of either coffee or lemon green tea.

If you had a super power, what would it be?

I’d love to have the ability to travel anywhere in the world just by thinking of a particular destination. When I want a bit of me time, I’d think of a deserted, tropical island, and with a click of the fingers… tada… I’d be there.

Heera Watson full cover 3

The Sensible Side:

Tell us a little about yourself. (How did you get started writing?  What do you do when you’re not writing?)

I began to write as a way of escape really when things weren’t going so well in my life. I suffered with depression for a long time, and I knew I had to divert my mind somewhere else. I’d go up to bed early and put pen to paper and began to write about a young girl who had to face her own challenges, and the more I wrote about the girl, who ultimately would become Heera, the better I was coping with keeping my anxiety at bay.

When I’m not writing, I’m always either watching some sort of American fantasy drama or film or spending time with my family and friends. I also love to listen to music, and I pick the genre depending on my mood so it varies from Rock, RNB to Hip Hop. If I didn’t have any of these things in my life, I wouldn’t know what to do.

Where did the inspiration for Heera Watson and the Rise of the Dark King come from?

I’d have to say from the Harry Potter books. When I found myself feeling low, the Harry Potter books transported me to a magical world, where Kam’s problems simply vanished for a short space of time. And when things became really bad, I wanted to relive that magic again but from my own perspective, so I created a character, gave her a name, and described how she feels, where she lives and what challenges she must face. Like the Harry Potter books, I wanted to write a book which helped me to escape to another world and fall in love with all of the different characters you meet along the way… even the baddies too.

What do you like the most about writing young adult fantasy?

I love the fact that there is no limit to your imagination when writing about the different types of creatures, characters or plots in this genre. I also like to highlight issues of what young adults are facing at the moment such as bullying, low self-esteem and the constant pressure to fit in with the ‘in’ crowd, and just because it’s a fantasy book, doesn’t mean you can’t talk about these topics.

Just like me, you’re a fan of fantasy dramas. Which one is your favourite? Do you draw inspiration from these kind of shows?

As you probably know by now I love all things fantasy and supernatural, and my favourite TV series is called, wait for it… Supernatural, where you can see two brothers, Sam and Dean Winchester (they’re very easy on the eye so that helps) hunt monsters, ghouls and other mystical creatures. I do find inspiration from these types of shows because the writers and producers also bring humour, love, family dynamics and romance into the episodes, keeping the viewers on their toes, and this is something I bring into my writing as well. In that way, there is a little bit of something for everyone in my book, and the reader won’t want to put the book down as the plot twists are revealed from chapter to chapter.

 

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DEFINITELY easy on the eye, Kam!!

 

Heera is a great protagonist. Where did your character inspiration come from?

I feel there is a lot of pressure on youngsters these days to look, dress and act in certain ways, especially when it comes to following celebrities on social media like Facebook and Instagram. I use both these platforms, and images of celebrities looking flawless are constantly put on display and it’s hard to ignore this. With Heera, I wanted a character who was faced with this type of pressure to look and act a certain way, but she doesn’t follow the crowd. She just wants to be herself, and in saying that, I wanted Heera to be a bit like me. Being a British Asian woman, you are expected to have certain beliefs, act a certain way, but I have never conformed to pressure and I refuse to let anyone change who I am. Heera is like any normal teenager, and when she knows what she can achieve, she becomes strong, independent and a great role model for young adults.

Can you give us a brief excerpt from Heera Watson and the Rise of the Dark King?

‘NO! That’s not Mrs Mead… something’s wrong with her. Look at her eyes!’ How could he not see the scarlet eyes transfixed on me? I tried to pull away from him so I could run out of the office, and it was only then I saw his eyes flash red. ‘You’re quite right, Heera. Mrs Mead is not really here, and I am not actually Mr Powers… he is somewhat indisposed,’ he grinned. He grabbed my hand and wouldn’t let me go, while his other hand was placed firmly over my mouth. I could feel him pushing me towards Mrs Mead, who was now leering at me.

Within seconds, I felt a cold rush of air surrounding me, and in the next moment, I dropped to the floor with the sheer force of something hitting me. I slid away from Mr Powers, who lay knocked out cold on the office floor. Lena and Kal were standing over him. Lena was holding a wand. It was dark brown, carved and appeared to be smooth, and the tip, although blunt, was drawing smoke. Could it have been a spell that hit me? It couldn’t be… I mean what was I thinking?

Kal helped me up. I blinked several times trying to fathom out what was going on because I had only seen wands in movies and read about them in books, and I knew what I was seeing couldn’t be real. I had to be dreaming.

What can we expect from you in the future? 

I am currently writing my second book in the series. Heera Watson will definitely have to face more challenges, and I’ll let readers know when it’s due for release. I have many other book ideas I’d like to pursue as well, but my main focus is writing this second book before I can think of another project to delve into.

How can we contact you or find out more about your books?

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/KamVerdee/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KamVerdee/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33551593-heera-watson-and-the-rise-of-the-dark-king/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/miss.kammy/

BUY a copy of Heera Watson and the Rise of the Dark King today –

Amazon UK

Waterstones

Amazon US

KAm - HW book and phone

Blurb:

Heera Watson is like any ordinary fifteen-year-old girl…not! Torn between the British way of life and her Indian heritage, she’s the target of catty comments at school in Birmingham from Laura Foster, the ‘It’ girl at St Claire’s, and her gang. Heera is constantly pressured at school to look and dress in certain ways, but all she has ever wanted is to be herself. Her journey to becoming the person she really wants to be starts when she finds three sacred crystals in a safe at home. This discovery puts thousands of lives in danger, and catapults Heera into a mind-blowing quest through the magical kingdom of Fallowmere. There, forging new friendships with people and creatures she never imagined could exist, Heera bravely confronts deadly challenges to save her loved ones from the devious Dark King, who will stop at nothing to carry out his evil schemes. Heera Watson and the Rise of the Dark King is a wonderfully imaginative tale of courage, friendship, battle and what it means to face your true destiny.

Author Bio:

Kam Verdee was born in 1983 and currently works and lives in Birmingham with her family. Kam has always had a passion to write, and after establishing a successful career in banking, Kam began to write her debut novel, Heera Watson and the Rise of the Dark King, which she worked on for three years. Besides writing, Kam’s life revolves around her family, listening to music, and enjoying British and American fantasy TV dramas.

Thanks for visiting my blog, I hope you enjoyed this post. Want more? Connect with me here:  Twitter @ShelleyWilson72, Instagram or check out my Facebook pages http://www.facebook.com/FantasyAuthorSLWilson and http://www.facebook.com/MotivateMeBlog. You can also find me on Pinterest

Interview with Actress, Natalie Edwards PLUS #WritingCompetition

Recently I shared a post about the Enter.Stage.Write 2017 writing competition. You can read that post HERE. Today, I’m delighted to introduce the founder of this event, and glamorous New York actress, Natalie Edwards, who has agreed to pop over for a chat about her career, Transition Stage Company, and supporting aspiring screen writers. Over to Natalie.

 Natalie

The Fun Stuff:

What part of the world do you come from?

Birmingham

What did you want to be when you grew up?  

I always wanted to be an actor, but didn’t have the confidence to commit until I was 27, so I worked as a model, but did many jobs such as event planning and even personal training

List three words to describe yourself.

Driven, scatty, glamorous

Who would play you in a film about your life?

Dorothy Dandridge (if she was alive) Catherine Deneuve in younger years

If you had a super power, what would it be?

Telepathic reading minds …. I feel like have this already very good at reading human behaviour and energy Acting gives you a fantastic emotional intelligence

The Sensible Side:

Tell us a little about yourself. (How did you get started in your acting career?  What do you do when you’re not performing?)

When I am not performing I know it sounds cliché … I will be in the gym, working in promotion, event planning job and most importantly working in my new start up production called Transition Stage company

Where did the inspiration for Enter.Stage.Write come from? 

I was sick of going to Networking events in Birmingham and also being invited to think tank events asking how we can help BAME and Minority actors, I found these events patronising and a waste of time. I don’t really like to be labelled. I suddenly realised the only way to create equality of opportunity is through opening up to writers! The writers are the most important component

Your business, Transition Stage Company, began in New York City to provide a platform through theatre, cinema, and events. What do you love most about working with visual artists?

I am like a child, I don’t ever want to lose the art of play, so I get really turned on organising and creating events and incorporating the arts! that’s my thing! I love bringing people together and the fruition of projects and ideas that come from making those connections, I like to see myself as an innovator and that’s the legacy I want leave in this world.

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Can you tell us a bit about studying for your MA at the Birmingham School of Acting?

It was absolutely brutal I will be honest, I think I was a nervous wreck for a year combining intense theory and 10 hour days of rehearsal and preparation of particle work. However, the training is of elite quality! It was like running a 100 miles an hour for 12 months, but after that I can do anything and I am mentally prepared for anything. It was not the best experience but the school is very good at what it does and I am proud to be part of that institution.

You have a guest panel of judges made up of industry experts and business and community leaders for the Enter.Stage.Write competition. What are they looking for from the entries?

To be honest I cannot really answer that, as I am not a writer, and I would never judge as it’s not my forte.  But I guess every story has to be captivating and a good pace.  But remember to follow guidelines of script as mentioned on website!

What can we expect from you in the future? 

This Competition is going to get bigger and bigger.  It has real potential to grow.  The plan is to bring it to Cardiff and back to New York and possibly Chicago … but one step at a time.

At the core of this I am an actor and I hope to be working more on my personal acting. I’ve been in the UK for a few years and finally landing shows on BBC – it takes time and if I can give anyone a leg up through my events I would love it!

How can we contact you or find out more about Transition Stage Company and Enter.Stage? Write?

If you have any reservations about anything please contact me or please go to http://www.transitionstagecompany.com/index.html

Listen to Natalie chatting with Radio hosts Sunny and Shay at BBC WM 95.6 (forward to 1:44:00) *listen for the next twenty days*

Thanks for visiting my blog, I hope you enjoyed this post. Want more? Connect with me here:  Twitter @ShelleyWilson72, Instagram or check out my Facebook pages http://www.facebook.com/FantasyAuthorSLWilson and http://www.facebook.com/MotivateMeBlog. You can also find me on Pinterest

Enter.Stage.Write #wwwBlogs #WritingCompetition #writingwestmids

I’m delighted to share news about the Enter.Stage.Write 2017 regional writing competition.

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Aspiring screen, theatre and movie writers are given the chance to take centre stage with a regional writing competition!

ENTER.STAGE.WRITE 2017

Budding screen and stage writers are being encouraged to enter a writing competition which launches in the Midlands this month aiming to give them the opportunity to see their work performed published and perhaps even commissioned.

The Transition Stage Company launched on July 1 with the competition called Enter.Stage.Write, designed to give aspiring screen and stage writers across England and the West Midlands the chance to see their work brought to life. Continue reading “Enter.Stage.Write #wwwBlogs #WritingCompetition #writingwestmids”

Meet Author Sacha Black @sacha_black #WritingTips

It’s an absolute delight to introduce my next guest to the blog today as she is a popular figure in the blogging community, ‘Boss Lady’ of the Annual Bloggers Bash Awards, and recently published author of the brilliant 13 Steps to Evil writing craft book (you can read my review of the book HERE).

So, without any more waffle, allow me to introduce the very lovely, Sacha Black.

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The Fun Stuff:

What part of the world do you come from?

I was born in London. But spent most of my youth growing up in the countryside a couple of hours north. I went to university in Hertfordshire, and have stayed here ever since. That was 12 years ago, and now Hertfordshire feels like home.

What did you want to be when you grew up? Continue reading “Meet Author Sacha Black @sacha_black #WritingTips”

My Route to Publication by Lizzie Lamb @lizzie_lamb #TuesdayBookBlog

I’ve met my next guest on a couple of occasions, once at the Book Connectors meet up in Birmingham, and then again in Leicester just before Christmas. She is always so supportive of others, a delight to chat with, and an inspiration to all writers’. I am, therefore, over the moon to invite the lovely Lizzie Lamb to join me today to talk about her route to publication. Over to Lizzie…

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My Work Desk

Many thanks to Shelley for inviting me onto her fabulous blog to talk about my route to publication. For those who don’t know me, I am in indie author and have just published my latest Scottish-themed contemporary romance, GIRL IN THE CASTLE. So, how did I manage to publish four novels in under five years and work collaboratively on two others? Read on – Continue reading “My Route to Publication by Lizzie Lamb @lizzie_lamb #TuesdayBookBlog”

Why I Love the #BloggersBash and Why You Should Attend

On a beautiful sunny day in June, Westminster was invaded by a gaggle of bloggers (or should that be a brace of bloggers??).

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A room full of introverts shrugged off their fears and embraced the nature of the Bloggers Bash with fun, frolics, and cake-a-plenty!

As I stuffed my face with a full English breakfast in my hotel on Sunday morning, I noticed an influx of blog posts from attendees and the nominees/winners of awards arriving in my notifications. Fast work guys! I loved reading their thoughts on the event and the positive moments they took from the day. Bloggers from across the globe got involved with live streaming, and posts of gratitude. Suzanne from Global Housesitter scooped the runner-up prize for Best Newcomer Blog, and she posted her thoughts HERE.

The lovely Ellen Best won the prize for her ‘Connections’ story submitted for the short story competition which you can read HERE.

The beautiful and bubbly Ritu, from But I Smile Anyway grabbed the coveted prize of Best Overall Blog and summed up the entire event perfectly in her post which you can read HERE.

(Images: Ellen Best receiving her award from Hugh. Ritu from But I Smile Anyway).

Please pop over to Twitter and follow the hashtag #BloggersBash2017 where you can catch up on some of the wonderful posts and photographs as well as watch the videos from the day. Continue reading “Why I Love the #BloggersBash and Why You Should Attend”

Have I Stumbled into Writing Horror? #Writing #NewRelease #YA

Have I Stumbled into Writing Horror?

When my publisher added my new release to their catalogue, I noticed they listed it under horror. I was about to correct them when I glanced at the extract I’d added to a guest post and realised there was a lot of blood mentioned!

Once I’d completed my Guardians trilogy and nestled it comfortably in the fantasy genre, I began to pen Oath Breaker, a werewolf novel, always thinking I was sticking to the fantasy theme albeit with a more urban feel.

Oath Breaker

With a recent battle against depression still hanging over me, I realise that my writers’ voice has taken on a much darker tone. The third book in my trilogy, Guardians of the Lost Lands was a little more disturbing than its predecessors. However, has my voice changed so much that I’m now crossing from fantasy to horror? Continue reading “Have I Stumbled into Writing Horror? #Writing #NewRelease #YA”