“Why did you…Why didn’t you…” Alana Woods tackles her readers’ tough questions
Today, here to answer tough questions is Alana Woods. Over to you, Alana.
Among the feedback and reviews I’ve had on my two novels AUTOMATON and IMBROGLIO there are four comments/queries that have stayed in my head.
Q: The first I’ll tackle came very obviously from an Australian reader and concerns the location in which I set AUTOMATON, a legal intrigue/thriller/suspense novel that won the Fast Books Prize for best Australian self-published fiction in 2003. The question was: Why did you set AUTOMATON in Canberra? I almost didn’t buy it when I saw that.
A: For overseas readers of Jade’s page let me explain. Canberra is Australia’s national capital. It’s where our Federal Parliament sits. As such, whenever the media discuss federal politics they use the shorthand term of ‘Canberra’. Therefore everyone living outside Canberra pretty well abhors the place because they generally loath the pollies.
Those few who live here (because it’s a small city of around about 350,000 people) mostly love it. Why?
—It’s picturesque, situated as it is in a long valley surrounded by hills. Where I live I can see the snow-capped Snowy Mountains in winter—the first think I do when I get up in the morning is open the curtains to look at the mountains.
—Canberra has four distinct seasons; autumn is the favourite of many because the weather has tempered by then, the foliage colours are turning and the air is so … well, sweet, as we have no industrial pollution.
—It’s a terrific place to raise children as it’s very family oriented. Bike paths criss-cross the entire city.
—Where else are you going to get kangaroos munching and pooping on your lawn and peering over the fence at your vegetable garden?
I could continue but I think I’m teetering on the edge of boring.
To finish, I used Canberra as my location because I love the place and wanted to show everyone else how lovely it is.
Q: Why did you use the name David Cameron for your main male character in IMBROGLIO?
A: Short answer coming up here. I live in Australia so UK politics is not top of mind for me. And I actually wrote the draft before UK David Cameron became PM, so before he started to receive any Australian attention. But even after he became PM would you believe that it just didn’t occur to me that my principal male had the same name. Duh, I know. It was a reviewer after the book was published who posed the question. A head slapping moment for me, I can tell you.
Q: Why did you have to spoil a terrific book by including a love story? I was giving AUTOMATON 9.5 until that reared its head.
A: Can you tell it was a male asking that? Although it’s a comment/question that’s stayed with me it hasn’t given me too much angst, except inasmuch as he thought I had been clichéd. That’s what made the impression. Hate to be thought of as hackneyed.
But so many thrillers/suspense etc novels include some elements of a love story, even if its nature is lust, desire or sexual frustration. And much of them are written by men. Without even trying I can think of half a dozen I’ve read recently.
It isn’t necessary for a good story of course. But often the characters dictate where the story goes by giving you a nudge and a nod towards that other person to indicate their interest. And what author in their ‘write’ mind is going to ignore what their characters are telling them?
Q: Last but not least is a recent question. Why haven’t you written a sequel to IMBROGLIO? If any female lead in a novel I’ve read deserves a series it’s Noel Valentine.
A: The answer is an easy ‘Because I’m not interested in writing a series’. When I finish a novel I say ‘Goodbye, good luck’ to my characters.
Mind you, the one I’m writing at the moment ends on a cliff hanger. Personally I wouldn’t mind leaving readers to fantasize about what happens next, but if any book of mine has a sequel it will be this one. And I think it has something to do with the fact that I have no idea which way the main character jumps after the story closes. It would be good to see where she leads me.
Thank you, Alana. If you’d like to connect with her, you can find her here: Website / Facebook / Twitter. Check out her award-winning books on Amazon.