I’m Sybil Powell, wife, mother, friend, entrepreneur, traveler and now an author of books which reflect many of those life experiences.
I spent most of my childhood in a seaside resort town on the south coast of my native England. Eastbourne was a wonderful place to grow up, but sheltered just enough to make me want to go out and spread my wings and see what the rest of the world had to offer! That adventure started after I married a wonderful, young serviceman. After settling into life in the forces, we moved to Germany where we lived for a couple of years. On returning to England and civilian life, we settled in the north where I found work in the more heavily industrialized world of Yorkshire. Very different from the life I had known in a seaside resort!
I loved living in and learning about the lifestyles in different parts of England, but my education really expanded when we moved half the world away to Saudi Arabia. The contrast between the coastal mountain areas and the inland, desert cities along with the rich culture and traditions going back literally thousands of years, is something which has affected my life and my writing ever since.
Eventually we bid ‘Adieu’ to those exotic, arid lands and returned to the UK. Back home again, I started my own business—a secretarial agency which provided companies with the then-fledgling service of a virtual assistant.
We’ve now moved again and this time to Wales, where I’ve settled into my writing career, and very happily draw on my many experiences both at home and abroad. Because those experiences have been so diverse, my books tend to be very different from each other and stand on their own- in plot, characters, culture and background.
What inspires you to write?
It is very difficult to tie down the basic motive which causes me to write. My first book was written in the hope that it would help expatriates in Saudi Arabia understand the Saudies by presenting them in a family context so this provided the motive here. My next book was in the belief that there was room in the market for one more erotic book however it did still have underlying reason that of helping understand war damaged service men. My third book was inspired by nothing more than the joy of writing, it will be out a little later in the year and I believe it is my best so far.
Tell us about your writing process
My current writing process is simple, I start a story off with maybe two or three characters and it seems to dictate itself from there. I usually have a loose idea at the start of where I want it to go but it changes as things happen which dictate the future direction. It’s an exciting way of writing as new avenues open up to explore and sometimes reject as unlikely or unsuitable. In my current way of writing the story is constantly in flux as happened in my second book the end meant a rewrite of the beginning.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I am always in conversation with my characters as the story develops so do they, sometimes they have been known to take over. In fact they become members of the family where discussions over what they would do in certain situations is fairly common place. They way interact with me often is a rehearsal for speech in the book. To be able to act in your mind both sides of a conversation means that you have to know your characters well, even if they are entirely opposite types of people as with Pete and Judi in ‘The Seduction of Judi Sheriden’.
What advice would you give other writers?
As a new author myself it is difficult to give advice. All I can say from my own experience is that selling your book is far more difficult than writing it. My husband has taken on that task which gives me time to write. From the start we decided that anything we published would pay for itself as we had no money to throw at it. No doubt this has made it a far longer task than it would have otherwise been. The only way is keep going remember if you give up you’ve wasted all the effort you’ve put in.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I wrote ‘Inshallah’ while I was living in Saudi Arabia in 1978 virtually before computers, and tried very hard to interest publishers in it without success. I must have tried a 100 of them some were very kind and some of them were just damn rude, but none of them took my manuscript. So it lay on the shelf for over 30 years until my neighbor told me about self publishing which I did through Createspace and Kindle this I did in April 2012. I’d like to say I never looked back since but of course it doesn’t happen that way and we’re still working hard to hit the high spots.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I am sure that the future of publishing is in the self publishing, but then ti is the only way I know. Having had the experience of approaching publishers although it was a long time ago I certainly wouldn’t entertain trying again. My previous answer also covers this question.
What genres do you write?
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print