Interview with Arena Julia

Published 2017-07-24.
What is your writing process?
My writing process is very intuitive. In the past, I have worked professionally as a Spiritual Intuitive. When I began that work, I channelled and recorded many of my dreams, visions and insights through writing. So this created a habit of recording the memories of my subconscious, and the insights of my super-conscious (or higher Self). I continue to use that written channelling now, when I am in the early phases of a new project, and also, throughout, when revising. So for me, the first draft of my writings has been less about thorough planning and more about letting the characters, incidents and words just come, from a level of consciousness other than my conscious mind. Of course, this is a skill available to any writer, or to anyone in any field. Musicians, artists, great sports people, mountain climbers - any endeavour which requires something more than the usual day to day Self - tends to be achieved from this space. It is often described as stream of consciousness, or being 'in the zone'. Daydreaming, meditation, recording dreams - these are ways to train the mind to do that for you. For me as a writer, this creative experience, where the conscious mind is put aside, and the other parts of my mind take over, is both a wonderfully surprising experience and an essential part of my process. I strongly believe that the conscious mind should not interfere, or try to plan and lead the writing, for it would overpower the individual psyches of the characters, inhibiting their unique path, and their evolving as they should. My characters have their own souls, their own motivations and lives. As a writer, I feel a need to honour that. So I take my rightful place as scribe, and my conscious mind takes its place, when the time is right, as editor. My subconscious nourishes the characters with the raw materials of life. My higher Self is the conduit through which the genuine soul of the story is channelled and filtered. This higher Self is also where that raw material is transmuted into transformations such as compassion, deep insight and selfless sacrifice - and so, the evolution of character.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Strangely, perhaps, as I write fiction, my favourite books are more in the field of esoteric non-fiction, self development, and neuro-psychology. But these subjects do relate to esoteric and spiritual practices, development and growth of character, and understanding inner processes, forming a groundwork in a way, for my writing. Deepak Chopra's 'Seven Spiritual Laws of Success', and his 'The Way of the Wizard', Wayne W. Dyer's, 'The Power of Intention' and 'Your Sacred Self', James Hillman's 'The Soul's Code', and a book entitled 'The Five Stages of the Soul' by Harry R. Moody, and David Carroll, all changed my life in some way, by changing my outlook, and my expectations about future possibilities. Now I clearly know that possibility is limitless, and intention and action are powerful tools for bringing those possibilities into reality. In some way, it all relates back to our soul's journey in this lifetime.
When did you first start writing?
When I was twelve years old I had to write an autobiography for a school assignment. Being an animal lover, and having a fascination with swans and the whole ugly duckling thing at the time - I was a bit of an ugly duckling myself, I guess - I wrote an autobiography of a swan. I don't know where that piece of writing is now. I think I received a reasonable mark for it. But that wasn't the significant thing about it. What was significant was the feeling I had as I wrote that story. I am sure it was the beginning of that intuitive channelling, which has remained with me since, for the story not only came from my heart, but some higher part of me that I really had no conscious understanding of until many years later. I just knew I loved that world, that zone I went into, and I loved what came out of my mind while there. I vowed to myself then that I would be a writer when I grew up, and in fact, when I first enrolled at University, I planned to be a poet and children's writer. But I backed out. Before the term even started, the voices of others, as well as my insecurities, convinced me to do something sensible with my life. So I spent the next thirty-five years doing mostly that - making a sensible living, dabbling a little in my writing, but allowing other preoccupations to take priority. So my heart's desire had many years to learn patience. Now though, writing has become a blessing and a joy, and certainly of the highest priority.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest books, ESOR, ELON and EVER, which form the coming of age fantasy, Amora Trilogy, emerged literally from the mists into my mind as I was hosing my front garden early one morning. (So yes, I was daydreaming!) Across the road from where I live, the foothills of the D'Aguilar Ranges sweep in a great curve from the East, into the North West. Some mornings those hills are coated in cloud, and the mists rise like chilled steam as the sun warms the day. That day, for some reason, I saw through those mists, as if a veil into another dimension had opened before me. I heard some of the characters speaking, I saw scenes like watching a movie, and I had an intense feeling that this was a story I needed to write. So, in a way, the enchanted Land of Amora and its surrounding regions, is just across the road from my home. The three stories, ESOR, ELON and EVER, are part of a world which reveals itself in early misty mornings from my front garden. It's truly magickal!
How do you approach cover design?
For me, cover design is a collaboration between the writer and the artist. I usually have a feeling, an essence, that I wish to portray, as well as some sort of visual in my head, and a Photoshopped, or sketched design. The artist also has a visualisation, but also, skill to portray in a professional visual format, so we work as a team. As the cover is the first impression to the world, it has to appeal. However, it also has other work to do, such as honestly represent the essence of the words inside, carry pertinent information clearly, such as author, title and blurb, and provide identity on bookshelves via its spine alone. Things like that. It's not just a matter of a pretty picture in high resolution. It is a wonderful feeling to see the final visual, and an even better feeling when there has been harmony and synchrony between writer and artist.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Becoming an Indie author was a choice I made out of efficiency and empowerment. The traditional route seemed such a long road of waiting, and being at the whim of publishers who were already struggling to make a living even from their A-listers. I sensed that I would lose too much time, and possibly opportunity, too, if I went the traditional path. I had waited long enough, and put this writing career on the back burner for too long already. Technology, societal attitude, and companies like Smashwords have given us as Indie authors the support we need to get our words out there. It's been a huge learning curve - so many roles and responsibilities, and new things to learn. But what a worthwhile ride it has been! It comes with such a sense of fulfilment, achievement, and in a way, awe, that one person with such limited resources can achieve so much. All Indy authors have done this, achieved this, just like me. A great message for life in general - limitless possibilities. But also, gratitude that there are people and companies (like Smashwords) who have stepped up to help us through, and given us this opportunity.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I have found that as an Indy author, it is very challenging to become accepted into the regular markets - major bookstores, but especially onto lists of the larger distributors. However, polite persistence can help in this regard to some extent. But for me, the most effective technique has been the personal touch. Approaching libraries and schools individually. Getting out into the public at markets and fairs, speaking to people, signing books in the bookstores, like Dymocks and Mary Ryan's, who very kindly and supportively have taken me on, and of course, donating or gifting to schools, libraries, and individuals. Another invaluable source of support are personal contacts - friends and family- and their willingness to share my work with their contacts. It is a slow build-up, so patience is certainly an asset, and meditation also, to keep that patience there. But as with all successful endeavours, just 'showing up' is the most important thing. No matter how small or humble an event, being there might change your life.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
As an Indy author, Smashwords has given me a place to share my words with the world. I appreciate that they honour the Indy author and their work. In this place we are not second class authors as we are sometimes prone to feel through other alliances. I am looking forward to learning more about their many systems and services and so make more of the opportunities offered. They are really one of the best things that have happened to writers everywhere.
What are you working on next?
At the moment I am completing another fantasy series, Orb Rider, which I began a few years ago, and have been working on intermittently. It will be an awesome read when it comes out. It's an urban fantasy set in modern times, loosely set in a bayside city, east of Brisbane, Australia. In fact, it is the same shire where Angelina Jolie directed scenes from Unbroken, and where scenes from the latest Pirates of the Carribean, Dead Men Tell No Tales, were filmed, (and where Johnny Depp autographed my sister's arm, because they were filming next door to where she lives. So jealous!) Obviously, though, Orb Rider is in good company, and well worth a read, so watch this space!
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author or publisher.

Books by This Author

Orb Rider: Angel of Shadows
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 111,070. Language: English. Published: February 21, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal, Fiction » Horror » Occult
A reluctant hero, a dark angel, a new love, a world on the brink of falling apart. Aurin's destiny looms like a spectre over his life. The Angel of Shadows has emerged, and Aurin isn't ready. In fact, he doesn't want to be ready! Even so, strange events are eating into his world with gruesome consequences. Like it or not, Aurin must become the Orb Rider he never wanted to be.
Amora Trilogy Boxed Set
Price: $8.99 USD. Words: 240,820. Language: English. Published: May 19, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy, Fiction » Coming of age
A coming of age, a black heart, a tenacious curse, and an evermore love - Amora Trilogy is a fast-paced, riveting, magickal, fantasy mystery, which entices adolescent and older readers alike. Enter a new enchanted world, where the deathly threat of the beast Esor looms in the belly of Shadow Valley, and even best friends can't trust each other. Esor, Book 1, Elon, Book 2, Ever, Book 3
Ever, Book 3, Amora Trilogy
Series: Amora Trilogy. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 91,530. Language: English. Published: September 19, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Adventure » General
Ever is a very long time for a promise. Amora is beset with madness and mayhem. Her borders are gone to disarray. Threat skulks ill-intentioned in Amora's shadows and sweeps Amora's skies. Moon is full with souls for feasting, held hostage by malevolence surely gone too far. Who can tame the evil of ELON, Emperor, Lord of Nether? A riveting, inspiring completion to the Amora Trilogy.
Elon, Book 2, Amora Trilogy
Series: Amora Trilogy. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 80,680. Language: English. Published: August 3, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Adventure, Fiction » Fantasy » General
Following the whim of the winds to an unknown land on her Windhorse, Naweeya, Mae must unravel the mystery of the Plight of Elon, before she becomes a beast akin to Esor. Elon is an intriguing, magickal, fast paced adventure, for t'weens, teens and the young of heart.
Esor, Book 1, Amora Trilogy
Series: Amora Trilogy. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 69,640. Language: Australian English. Published: May 15, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Adventure » General
It was a coming of age that would complete a prophecy or end Amora; that would settle a beast or release her rampant and rapacious; that would lead Mae and Brom on a potentially fatal collision course, not only with the beast ESOR, but also each other. ESOR, Book 1, Amora Trilogy, is a moving, magickal coming of age fantasy for t'weens, teens and the young of heart.