There are very few British writers of Turkish Cypriot origin, if any, who write commercial fiction for the women’s market. I'm once such writer who is taking a leaf out of Stephen King’s books and selling my comedy novels online as ebooks.
Sales of ebooks are rapidly increasing. With the demand for new technology we have the Blackberrys, iPhones, iPods, laptops and ereaders, which all support ebook download technology. We even have big companies like Amazon introducing a whole new website for their Kindle ereader range. Now you don’t just have to be tied to your PC to read an ebook, with our busy lifestyles you can read them on the run. They are also environmentally friendly, saving tonnes of paper.
I’ve always wanted to write women’s fiction. As a little kid, I was always scribbling stories. In the UK I was too busy in the rat race, paying the mortgage, to have enough time to actually concentrate on writing. But when I moved to North Cyprus three years ago, I finally had the time, peace, and the beautiful scenery to give me the inspiration I needed.
My first novel, Fourteen Days Later, is a romantic comedy with a unique infusion of British and Turkish Cypriot culture. I wanted to have Turkish Cypriot characters so I could bring awareness to North Cyprus and let the world know that Turkish Cypriots do actually exist. Unfortunately, there are not enough Turkish Cypriots with the medium and opportunity to do that. Hopefully, this is a way to get the message out to a global audience.
Written in a similar style to Catherine Alliott and Marian Keyes, Fourteen Days Later is My Big Fat Greek Wedding meets P.S. I Love You. Everyone is aware of Greek characters from the successful film MBFGW, so why not promote Turkish Cypriots in the same way? I am planning to write a sequel set in North Cyprus. Fourteen Days Later was short listed for the Harry Bowling Prize 2008 and received a Highly Commended by the Yeovil Literary Prize 2009.
The Fashion Police is my second novel, and the ending is set up for a series of novels featuring insurance investigator, Amber Fox. I wanted a female character who was feisty and larger than life, yet, like many of us, was aware of her flaws. It is a screwball comedy-mystery, combining murder and mayhem with romance and chick-lit. Written in a similar style to Janet Evanovich, it is Myron Bolitar meets Bridget Jones.
Many ideas come to me while sitting outside my villa on a lovely, hot summer evening, enjoying the view with a glass of wine! The ideas are a mixture of real life events that people have told me about, films I've seen, books I've read, or personal experiences, but of course it's all topped off with a lot of imagination.
I've always loved making people laugh so it felt natural for me to write comedies. A wise piece of advice given to me was to write what you know, and that's very true. If you're interested in writing comedy, you won't be as passionate writing a serious literary novel about the war, for example. You have to write the genre that you love.
All my characters are mixtures of friends and family, people I've met, characters from films, even myself. Sometimes I take an element of one person’s character and mix it with someone else’s to form a whole new character. Inventing characters is one of my favourite parts of working out a new novel.
On average it takes about three months for me to write a novel. Fine tuning always take a bit longer until I'm happy with a final draft. With my first novel, I didn’t have a draft plot outline. Ideas just pinged out at me while I was writing. With my second novel I did draft a basic plot outline before I started writing. That makes it a lot easier to keep track of things like time lines, character development, and plot arcs, although a lot of the time I still don’t know what’s going to happen until it pops into my head. Creative or crazy? I’m not sure which!
My novels can be downloaded in paperback or various ebooks formats from: http://www.sibelhodge.com