Allow me to introduce author Sara Lunardi.
Sara Lunardi was born and raised in the beautiful seaside town of Genoa, Italy, where she studied for a degree in Italian, Spanish and English Literature, specializing in psychology and sociology. After spending a few years in Switzerland, she moved permanently to London, a city that she has made her home and which provides the setting for much of her writing.
Sara began writing at school, producing essays, articles, term papers on the humanities. She then continued with more technical writings in the fields of aesthetics and cosmetology, also taking care of the school programme for beautician internships.
However, the idea of writing ‘a real novel’ has always been on her mind. ‘Ecliptic’ is her true debut.
Q & A:
How did you get into writing? I began writing at university, producing essays, articles, term papers on the humanities (I have a degree in Italian, Spanish and English Literature and a specialization in psychology and sociology). When I started working as a beauty consultant, I then continued with more technical writings in the fields of aesthetics and cosmetology, also taking care of the school programme for beautician internships. However, the idea of writing ‘a real novel’ has always been on my mind.
What genre do you write? I write fantasy novels. I fell in love with the fantasy genre when I was a child, after a chance reading of the timeless classic ‘The Lord of the Rings’.
What is your target audience? I love writing for a challenging market as YA readers. I think the teenagers are growing more competent and curious.
What have you published to date? Do you write under a pseudonym? I published ‘Ecliptic’, a YA fantasy/sci-fi novel. It’s the first book of the‘Ecliptic Saga’. Sara Lunardi is my real name (my married name).
If you are self-published, what led to this choice? I decided to self-publish my book because I think that nowadays there are more possibilities and means to reach the readers. I believe – naively, I know – that writing is not just a matter of money, but a way to talk to people and express your own emotions.
How would you review your book for readers who might be considering it? I think ‘Ecliptic’ has 3 main strengths: the intriguing topic of the Zodiac seen as a way to explain what actually rules our apparently ordinary lives; the fast-paced action enhanced by enigma, epic battles and plot twists; the three-dimensional characters and their complex and fragile personality, challenging the reader to figure out the real nature hidden behind in the puzzle.
Are your books available as e-books? Any other formats? ‘Ecliptic’ is available on Amazon as e-book, and Createspace and Barnes & Noble as paperback.
Do you have a favorite book or character (that you’ve written)? No, I love them all, the villains as well.
If any of your books were to be made into films, who would you have as the lead actor(s)? Wow, it’d be a dream! I’ve never thought about that, but I love Natalie Portman and she’d be perfect as Izie, the protagonist.
Which author(s) would you say influence your writing? Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s perceptive language and streamlined descriptiveness are my model. He’s able to create a perfect blend between reality and imagination.
How did you choose the title / cover of your books? How important do you think title/cover is to the book? The idea of ‘Ecliptic’ came to me by pure chance when my husband and I were talking about the constellations; he is incredibly fond of astronomy and stargazing is one of his favorite hobbies.
In my opinion the cover is the best ‘calling card’ of the book, so the topic must be perfectly centred.
What are you working on at the moment? Are you planning on another book? I’m currently working on the second book of the Saga, ‘The seal of constellations’.
Do you manage to write every day? Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? I try to write at least a scene every day. The problem is the lack of time, not the writer’s block in my case.
Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it? I prepare the general outline of the book before starting it. Just a page, but very very important.
Do you have a method for creating your characters, their names, and what do you think makes them believable? ‘Ecliptic’ has a lot of characters (12 characters coming from 12 constellations plus the humans), and it was very difficult to remember all the details. So I wrote the features of each one of them on a distinct piece of paper, and I acted as the papers were real people. It’s easier if you perform the action in front of your eyes, but I’m aware it could sound crazy.
Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed? I revise my writing a lot, then I revise it again because every single word matters.
How much research do you do? Astronomy isn’t exactly my bread and butter, and the zodiac is a very delicate issue. I had to be careful about what I was writing. Even though it is fictitious, my aim was to lead the reader beyond the ends of the Earth, towards the stars and the greatness of the whole universe. For this reason, I needed to be exhaustive and detailed.
It was funny because I got back to school, reading books and scientific magazines, watching tv documentaries and doing some sort of homework.
What point of view do you usually write in: first person or third person? ‘Ecliptic’ is told by two different point of views (the female protagonist’s more intimate voice and an external narrator) so as to dig deeper into the story.
Do you write any poetry, non-fiction, or short stories? No, I don’t.
Do you have pieces you’ve written that you think should never see the light of day? Yes, I went through my first writing experiment when I was still at primary school, at the age of 10 years, but the result will stay locked in a drawer of my desk.
Have you had any rejections from publishing houses? If so, how do you deal with them? So far I haven’t sent my book to publishing houses yet.
Do you have an agent? Do you believe they are vital to an author’s success? I don’t have an agent, but my next step is to find one. Yes, I believe an agent is very important to launch an author in a too crowded market.
How much of the marketing do you do for your published works or for yourself as a ‘brand’? What types of marketing have you found to be the most successful? I think ‘word of mouth’ is the best way to marketing yourself. It’s a slow way, but it allows you to achieve firm-based results. I’m trying to contact people on social medias, blogs, websites and share my ideas. I must confess that do it all alone it’s very tough.
What is your favorite / least favorite aspect of your writing life? Has anything about your writing surprised you? I can just say that writing makes me happy, really happy. The least favorite aspect is the marketing part, as for me I’d like writing all day.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers? Never give up. It’s tough, but it’s worth the effort.
If you could invite three people from any era to dinner, who would you choose and why? What would you serve your guests or where would you dine? I’d certainly invite three writers: J.K. Rowling, JRR Tolkien and Shakespeare. Three different historical periods and different styles, but one thing in common: the creation of a fantasy world. And I’d definitely dine here in London, a city I consider inspiring and a place that was important in the life of these three authors as well.
If you had to choose a single day from your past to re-live over and over, what day would it be and why? I don’t like thinking about the past, I always try to look towards the future.
Do you have a favorite phrase or quote?
“I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book.” ― J.K. Rowling
Are you involved in anything else writing-related other than actual writing or marketing of your writing? Unfortunately no, I don’t have time. I’m still working as a beauty consultant and event manager for some companies.
Do you have any hobbies? How do you think they enhance your creativity? Besides reading, I love travelling. Visiting new places and confronting yourself with different people and cultures expand your personal perspective. More things you learn and experience, more stories you are able to write.
Are there any writing-related webistes and/or books that you ind useful? Goodreads is a very useful instrument to connect with other fellow writers and readers too. Before self-publishing, I also read a ton of books about the topic and I found all of them well written and supportive, but only the direct experience can teach you a method. Technically speaking, I find Grammarly very useful for grammar and typo errors.
Are you on any forums or networking sites? I’m on Goodreads and Librarything, but unfortunately I have very little time to participate in forums and networking sites.
What do you think the future holds for writers? Actually, I don’t know. The market is fluid and fast, and it’s growing more and more picky. A writer must try to follow the stream and catch up constantly.
“Have you ever wondered what the signs of the zodiac really are, and why they have influence on all human beings?” Alex asked us out of the blue.
Was he kidding? What did this question have to do with our situation?
My name is Elisabetta de Rossi, but everyone calls me Izie. I live in London, and I’m an ordinary teenager. I have a job and normal friends… Wait! My friends aren’t normal, they are heavenly creatures, known as Guardians, coming from the zodiac constellations and endowed with supernatural powers.
On the night of 13th June 2035, during an exceptional shower of shooting stars, a cruel countdown begins due to an ancient prophecy that marks the end of the Earth. My twin brother Sam and I are the only ones who can stop the prophecy and save the entire human race. No big deal! Some of the Guardians side with us, the others are fully committed to hindering us. Who will win the war? Will the destructive forces of the universe be unleashed?
Actually, besides fighting, completing my mission and trying to survive, I have another priority: not to fall in love with that handsome, hot and mysterious guy, Riley. Too late!