Monday, April 18, 2011

Review & Author Interview: Life was easier when boys where stupid by Sarah Billington

This is The Book Mystress's first Author interview, if you would like to see a Author interviewed, email me and i will do my best to get it done for you, keep in mind that authors are very busy people, thanks for stopping by!!

Life Was Easier When Boys Were Stupid
Ebook By Sarah Billington
Published: Apr. 10, 2011
Category: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Chick Lit
Only Availble on Ebook :

Ebook Description

Jess is at a party and girls and boys around her are locked together at the lips and hips. When did everyone grow up so fast? She's not sure she wants to, but her girl friend Carla points out a boy across the room with eyes only for Jess. Life Was Easier When Boys Were Stupid won the Gippsland Award in 2009's Fellowship of Australian Writers Awards. 

 My Review

Life was easier when boys where stupid. Is a very quick read, but I enjoyed it. It was kind of like a “Now you see it, now you don’t” type of thing, I love how familiar the story was, and to be honest, how Australian it was. Only an Australian author, knows when to use the word “Bloke.” Apart from the Australiana I felt from the short story I do think it is a story a lot of people can relate too,  The only problem I had? Just as I started getting into the story and drifting off into Jess’ world it ended! I was bummed.

About The Author

My PhotoIn Sarah’s own words:

I’ve had a multitude of publications—literary journals, magazines and local newspapers, I was commissioned to write a short film for Ponto Combo Productions which we filmed and everything (NOTE: When filming all day on a beach, wear sunscreen or be a painful lobster the next day and get laughed at), was a quarter finalist in the 2006 International PAGE Screenwriting Awards and had a highly successful  screenplay reading of my TV Pilot, Playing Grown Ups. You have no idea how cool it was to see actors reading my words and scenes and BEING those characters. It was aMAzing. I have feature articles, movie reviews, arts reviews and interviews published in newspapers and magazines and just recently had a series of articles written about me as a local girl out in the big wide world (I’m home now after 6 months in America and Europe) oh and I won the Gippsland Award in the 2010 Fellowship of Australian Writers Awards. How cool is that.

The Interview:
 is this short story based on personal experience?
Not my own experience, no. My high school girlfriends never pushed each other towards boys…mainly because there weren’t many around! I went to a Girls School and didn’t personally know many boys during high school. That’s all changed now. The story wasn’t based on my own experiences, but I’ve definitely succumbed to peer pressure in other areas, and that’s just what Jess did. And look how well that turned out!
Are any characters based on anybody you know?
Sorry to say, I didn’t channel anyone I know or knew for this one, I did try and channel the vibe though, the way it felt to be in out of your depth in a social situation. I’ve been there, we all have, right? There’s a certain feeling I get, and I hope I got it across.
On your blog you share of your love of animals, what types do you have and what are their names?
I adore dogs. I would be quite happy to turn into the crazy dog lady with a bazillion dogs one day. The bazillion dogs part I’m happy to do now, but I might leave the crazy part for later. I have a blue heeler called Tessa. I fostered her out from this great shelter here in Melbourne called the Save A Dog Scheme. They’re a pound who do not put animals down when they’ve had them too long. And instead of living in a cage all the time, they send animals to homes which helps them with domestication and trusting people again (some of them need some help in that area) and getting a new home! Tessa was my first foster dog…and my last. When people started becoming interested in her I realised I couldn’t give her up, I loved her too much. She now lives with my parents by the beach because I can’t have a dog where I live, but she’s happy there and has a doggie best friend and I get an enthusiastic greeting each time we’re reunited.
Best book you have read this year?
I just recently read Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson, and loved it. I have Scarlett Fever sitting next in line to be read. And wow, The Maze Runner by James Dashner. I just wish the sequel was out in Australia already! That book taught me so much about plotting and twisting expectations every time a reader gets too comfortable. Seriously great read.
Most bizarre question you have been asked as a writer?
I don’t know about bizarre, but a common one is along the lines of “have you been published yet/why’s it taking so long?”. People in the publishing industry understand that it’s a really slow process, but most people in my daily life aren’t publishing professionals. Everything about being a writer is slow. It takes a couple of months of dedicated work to write a first draft of a novel, then you put it aside for a couple of weeks so you can come back to it and forget all the awesome and see it as a regular reader, see it warts and all. Then you write your query letter to agents and send it off and wait and wait for it to reach the top of their inbox. Then they request to see your book and you wait and wait for them to read it (it’s a full NOVEL, people. It takes time.) and then they offer to represent you (yay! I’m repped with the Herman Agency) and then they give you revision notes so you take a couple of weeks to revise your book and send it back. Then she sends it off to some publishers (along with all of the other literary agents and writers in the world, so you can imagine what THEIR TBR pile looks like) and that can take months before they’ve reached your work. And then it takes time to read it. But they might not buy it. They might ask for some revisions so you do them and send them back in a couple of weeks/months and they might pass on it anyway and you start all over again.
Or a publisher wants to buy your book! It can take months of negotiation on the contract, then there are the editor’s notes and more revision, then the book’s sent to a copy editor who does their thang and sends it to you for revision, and then there’s the final proof reading revision (all of these editors are working on a bunch of books as well as yours so it all has to fit into their overworked schedule) and after about a year to eighteen months from the time the contract was signed (so not including all the time writing, finding an agent, revising, and the agent hunting down the perfect editor for you) a book comes out.
So um…it takes awhile. My agent is currently shopping a novel, I have another to revise and am writing a brand spanking new one. In the meantime though, I am publishing short stories through Amazon and Smashwords. 
What is your favorite type of music?
My favourite bands/musical acts change all the time, but at the moment are All Time Low, Bruno Mars, McFly and I’m surprising myself when I say Ke$ha. I listen to the Glee soundtracks a lot, especially the mashups cos they’re awesome. And Lady Gaga! She’s an interesting one, isn’t she? She sure knows how to market herself and stand out from a crowd. We may not love her um…fashion choices…but by God don’t we all take notice?
Whats next?
I’m formatting a thriller short story called The Runaway which I’ve started uploading to Smashwords and after that, to Amazon. It’s going to be a TOTALLY FREE download. I’m publishing it under the pen name Edwina Ray, as it’s darker and a bit bloodier and I don’t want to confuse fans of Sarah Billington who might expect something lighter. I have another short called I, Zombie, which is a first person zombie story that will be published under Edwina Ray as well. As for Sarah Billington, I’m writing the first draft of the first in a series of novellas called Orientating Olivia, about Olivia and her first year at University, the variety of personalities she meets and lives with, the parties she goes to, lectures she misses…the ex who wants to get back together but also the mysterious guy from the front corner seat in her lectures who she makes up this whole life for. This series is probably the most based on personal experience I’ve done, but it’s certainly not about me.
As for the traditional publishing route, we’ll see. That’s an annoying answer, I know. Unfortunately, when I started my own blog I wanted to write about the ups and downs of attempting to get published. But then when it all started becoming real, around the time I got an agent I realised that you need to be quite close-lipped about how you’re going. I didn’t want to be all: “This agent is perfect and they’re reading my book and OMG I hope they offer me representation!” Because when other agents I’d submitted to Googled me (and they DO), who would want to take me on if they were going to be second best? Same goes for editors. It’s like going for a job interview and telling them you want the job, but you REALLY want this other job. Am I completely off topic now? Yes? Moving on.
Advice for others? Don’t talk about your rejections on line! And be professional and courteous to others, because the internet really is forever, and you never know who is going to come across what you’ve written. Though there are millions of wannabe writers out there, the publishing industry is really small and with lay offs and the closure of bookstores around the world, it’s getting even smaller. Don’t burn your bridges, peeps. And keep writing! Do it. Seriously. You just keep learning more and getting better the more you work at it.
With the introduction of eBooks and eReaders, the publishing world is changing fast. Self-publishing authors are accepting $2 million dollar book deals with publishing houses at the same time as traditionally published authors are walking away from $500k deals in order to self-publish online. The stigma associated with self-publishing is eroding and if you’re willing to put in the work, you can make a name for yourself and a nice income from self-publishing ebooks through sites like Smashwords and Amazon’s Kindle Store. But you can’t put out trash. Just because you’re publishing it yourself doesn’t mean you can put in less effort. If you’re going to make it in the industry, you must always let your work speak for you. And make it speak well.
Any thing else to say?
Thanks for reading Life was easier when boys were stupid, Monique(The Book Mystress) and I’m glad you liked it. I actually take a bit of sadistic(meanie) pleasure in the fact that you were bummed it ended so abruptly. ‘Keep ‘em wanting more’, they say!
Thanks for having me, Monique(The Book Mystress). If any of your readers would like to contact me, I’d love to hear from you!

You can find me at :
Sarah on Twitter
Sarah on Facebook
Sarah on the Blog-O-Sphere.
And if you want to buy my eBooks, go to Smashwords or Amazon

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