Andrea Cefalo is the founder of Obelisk Historical Fiction Review and a blogger on the Middle Ages. She graduated with honors from Winthrop University in 2007 where she studied medieval art history, children’s literature, and education. She enjoys inspiring children of all ages to read and write through her workshops. The Fairytale Keeper, the first in The Fairytale Keeper series was a quarter-finalist in Amazon’s 2013 Breakthrough Novel Contest. The next three books in The Fairytale Keeper series –The Countess’s Captive, The Baseborn Lady, and The Traitor’s Target—will debut this year.
What inspires you to write?
Reading great books easily lends itself to inspired writing. Historical fiction authors–Philippa Gregory, Sharon Kay Penman, Alison Weir, Bernard Cornwell, to name a few–breath life into history in a way that nonfiction writers just can’t. And essentially, by portraying thirteenth century Germany through the eyes of a cobbler’s daughter, that’s what I am trying to do.
Research is also a great way to get inspired. I blog or tweet about the Middle Ages daily. I stumble across some pretty fascinating stuff. For example, midwives used pepper to incite sneezing fits in order to help women give birth. I just had to work that in.
Tell us about your writing process.
As this point, I have a general idea of where the next three books are going to go–so no outline needed. And since I have written four books in the series, I know my characters pretty well. They start having these little conversations in my mind, and that’s when I know it’s time to write.
There is a downside to this. I am a bit chained to my laptop. It goes everywhere I go–and it’s not lightweight.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I don’t talk to my characters. But they talk in my head–a lot. I love it though. When this happens, the writing isn’t forced so I can write quickly and be generally satisfied with a first draft.
What advice would you give other writers?
Read a lot. If you aren’t well-read, you won’t be a good writer.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
After doing a lot of research on the publishing industry, I decided to self-publish. I never sought a literary agent or a publisher. The author is stuck doing the marketing leg-work anyway, and it can take years to see a book on the shelf. I didn’t want to wait, and I don’t mind doing the marketing.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think brick and mortar stores will sell a blend of used books and new books. I have seen a lot of indies start to do this. A major chain in our area closed their store just to reopen under their used bookstore brand.
I don’t think print books will ever go away. Many people prefer to read this way and want to have their favorite authors’ books bound and on their shelves.
Ebooks are going to continue to sell. They are cheaper to produce and cheaper to buy, and most Americans have a device that would allow them to read an ebook whether it be a smart phone, tablet, or e-reader.
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?
Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Young Adult, New Adult
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print