Friday 29 September 2017

Indie spotlight: Soulla Christodoulou

Indie spotlight is our monthly column on self-publishing. This month our regular columnist, Tim Gurung, chats to Soulla Christodoulou, author of the women’s fiction titles Broken Pieces of Tomorrow, and the forthcoming The Summer Will Come, about her experience of self-publishing.

Tell me something about yourself and how you started writing?
My writing began seriously when I joined a creative writing class in January 2015. Up until this point although I wrote the odd story, I never took my writing to the next level in terms of developing my style. The classes gave me the confidence and the tools to build my writing to a level where I felt I had something to say that others wanted to hear. 

What's your writing habit? How often do you write?
Once I’ve got going on a new novel, I write every day, even weekends, for six to eight hours a day. I am totally and utterly buried in the story, its characters and the next chapter. I sleep, eat and live the story. I become obsessed with it and nothing gets in my way. I am a highly organised person, with schedules and a determined, resilient work ethic. I count my words, I count my chapters and I count my blessings!

What have you learned through self-publishing?
I’ve learned I really enjoy publishing my books! I've learned not only about the process of publishing, but also about me as a person. I’m certainly a lot more tenacious and patient than I have always given myself credit for. 

How many books you have written so far and which one is of your favuorite, if any?
I have written two novels and a collection of poetry. The first novel is Broken Pieces of Tomorrow and the poetry collection is called Sunshine After Rain. My second novel, The Summer Will Come, is due to be released on Amazon in March 2018.

I suppose Broken Pieces of Tomorrow will always be special for me as it is a semi-biographical novel based around my own experience of marriage break-up and the new path I had to carve out for myself as I created a new life for me and my three young boys. It was at times painful to write and I would sit in front of the laptop with tears streaming down my face; not a pretty sight! Writing the book was therapeutic. 

I felt compelled to write The Summer Will Come for family reasons, and so it is my joint favourite because of this.  It is set in the historical landscape of 1950s Cyprus and is loosely based around my own parents’ families’ experiences of moving to London in the late 1950s to start a new life. 

What do you want to achieve through your writing?
Most of all I want to achieve a sense of personal actualisation. I want to feel free from all my thoughts and ideas and I want to be stronger for writing them down. I am a deep thinker, an analyser, a person who looks beyond the words and actions of the people around me. I want to get in deeper and this is what makes writing for me a continuous challenge and a source of fascination. I write from my heart and write to connect with people through everyday experiences. I write about love and sadness, betrayal and loyalty, relationships, sex and marriage and divorce, friendships and work, thoughts unsaid and actions taken.

How has Broken Pieces of Tomorrow been received?
There have been many 5* reviews which has been overwhelmingly exciting and emotional. To see how my writing has impacted on readers is an incredible feeling. 

What are you working on now?
I am finalising The Summer Will Come and have already sent it out to beta readers for final feedback. I have also been researching a new story idea for a third novel called Trust is a Big Word.

Do you find marketing hard?
No, I enjoy this part, but what I do find increasingly difficult is juggling the time I spend on promotion and on writing. Marketing is a difficult aspect to get right, on the one hand you don’t want to be shouting "buy my book" and "my book is the best" but at the same time all I want is for people to read my words. One reader recently said: “It’s really motivating to know about your journey.” That made me feel so happy.

Is there any advice you could offer to the new authors?
I would say learn as much as you can from others who have written and published their books before you. Everyone’s journey will be a different one and it’s important to take what you can to make your own dream come true. The writing community, especially across social media platforms, is incredibly supportive, nurturing and full of the most wonderfully friendly people you will come across. Ask questions, share news, support others in whatever way you can and this will bring you great pleasure and the success you deserve. 

Connect with Soulla: Click here for further details.