The Writing Life of: Angela Kecojevic
This week I am thrilled to be interviewing author Angela Kecojevic, who will be sharing with us details of her writing life, telling us all about her new book ‘Train‘ which was released on 13th May 2022 and answering a few fun questions. This post contains affiliate links.
Angela Kecojevic has written for the Oxford Reading Tree programme and is also the author behind award-winning adventure park Hobbledown. She is a member of the Climate Writers Fiction League, a group of international authors who use climate issues in their work.
Angela is a Senior Librarian and lives in Oxford with her family.
1) Did you enjoy writing when you were a child?
I found writing easier than most subjects, especially Maths! Writing stories had no set format, no rules, something I enjoyed.
2) Which author shaped your childhood?
I was a huge Enid Blyton fan. I absorbed every book, read them a dozen times, and fell in love with her magical characters. Her books introduced me to the wonderful world of make believe.
3) What motivated you to begin your first novel?
I started writing quite late in life. I wrote a fantasy story and entered it for a writing competition. It didn’t win but it was amongst a ‘mentioned’ selection. This highly motivated me to take my writing more seriously. My husband bought me my very first typewriter, and that was all I needed to get going!
4) Do you plot your book, or are you a pantser?
I used to be a pantster until my first literary agent asked me for a detailed chapter breakdown. I remember that day well! The sheer panic that I didn’t have the details planned was terrifying. It made me rethink the whole writing process and take a little more care with plot planning. It’s now part of my usual routine, and I definitely believe it helps.
5) What is your average writing day?
I ’m a school librarian, so I do spend most of my days somehow involved with books. I like to write in the morning (I’m more of a lark than an owl) and carry on until I make too many mistakes. Coffee, biscuits and music from Imagine Dragons help enormously!
6) What is the best thing about being an author?
That first spark is everything. I love it. Having an idea leap into the mind and then bug the heck out of you is an extraordinary feeling. Next comes the first sentence, the first page. And it’s a glorious feeling to finally see that spark take some kind of shape.
Publisher – Aelurus Publishing
Pages – 350
Release Date – 13th May 2022
ISBN 13 – 978-1912775859
Format – paperback
The earth is dead. A sphere of ice, unmoving, shrouded in fog. A third of the population gone.
With no power and wolves prowling the surrounding dead forests, the inhabitants of the small village of Milton are losing hope. But then a mysterious train arrives. A train with a one-way ticket for Flint. Why her? Where is it going? No-one knows. But she needs answers so she climbs aboard.
Taken to a secret location, she’s placed with other talented teenagers from around the world and they begin their training. What for? They know they’re being lied to, but discovering the truth is more dangerous than Flint can imagine.
They’ll have to board another train. But this journey might just be their last.
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7) How did you go about researching the content for your book?
Train features abseiling and ice climbing, skills I know very little about. I visited my local climbing centre and signed up. It was a shock to find that I really enjoyed it, even though I didn’t scale the wall that quickly! I also spent time at Didcot Railway Centre. The staff were amazing and willing to answer all of my (many!) questions.
8) How long did it take to go from the ideas stage to writing the last word?
It seems like a long time ago now, but I like to get the first draft down as quickly as possible. Train took about six months to complete the first draft. However, there were several rounds of revisions before it was ready – and even now, as every writer knows, we still look at parts and wish we’d written them better.
9) What made you choose the genre you write in?
I’m a huge fan of YA books like Divergent, the Hunger Games, and the 100. It’s a genre I love, and I was desperate to try and write something to fit in. I’ve written for younger children and middle grade. I wanted to give this a try, and it’s now racing alongside my love for middle grade.
10) How did you come up with the name(s) for your lead character(s)?
Flint is my female protagonist. There are references in the book to a periodic table of chemical elements. Flint was cool and tough. The name seemed to suit her!
11) Can you give us an insight into your characters?
Putting together a group of teenagers from around the world was the hardest aspect of writing Train. There were so many characters, so many different personalities, and you have to juggle ‘screen’ time. Even now, I wish some of my characters had found time to take centre stage a little more. When a third of the population mysteriously vanishes, Flint feels like her life is slipping away. Add in a dying planet, and you really want to see something positive happen for her. The same thing happens to all the passengers. They all lost someone – they all received tickets for the train.
12) How did you feel when you had completed your book?
It’s such an amazing feeling to finish a book, especially one that really tested my writing skills. I’ve never written climate fiction or science fiction before – it wasn’t easy! I sat back and looked at it, knowing it wasn’t perfect – that it might never be perfect – and yet, feeling an enormous sense of achievement.
1) Do you have a favourite quote?
“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.” – J. M. Barrie, Peter Pan.
2) Do you have any pets?
Sadly, not. Does the imaginary kind count? If so, it would be a dragon called Rodney.
3) What are you currently reading?
Carnival of the Lost by Kieran Larwood, and the Bewitching of Aveline Jones by Phil Hickes.
4) Your book has been made into a movie, you’ve been offered a cameo role, what will you be doing?
Driving the train! Ha, no, I would like to be one of the passengers chosen for the mission. Earth exploration would be super cool.
5) If you could travel to a fictional world from any book for the day, which would you choose?
Neverland. Peter Pan is my all-time favourite character and book. Fighting with pirates and swimming in mermaid lagoons would be the dream holiday.
6) There’s a penguin sitting in your chair, what’s the first thing he says to you?
‘Need an action hero for your next book?’
A big thank you to Angela Kecojevic for sharing her writing life with us and for a wonderful interview.