Jen: This weekend we are happy to have Rania Sarri as our guest at Romancing the Book. Rania, will you please share a short bio with us?
Rania: I come from a seaside town in southern Greece where I live with my husband and my two teenage sons. I’ve studied English language and literature in the University of Athens and I’ve got an Msc in TESOL from Aston University, UK. I’m currently doing my PhD research. Other than that, I’m a typical working mum; I’ve worked as a teacher of English in State schools for the last twenty years. I love working with teenagers! It’s helped me keep the child in me alive.
Jen: Tell us about Gate Deadlock and where it’s available.
Rania: Gate Deadlock is a self-published, Young Adult (or Forever-Young Adult ) romance with time-travel elements. It’s the story of a forbidden love, a love that purifies the soul and rectifies the past. You can find it on Amazon or from Lulu Publications. It’s also available by Barnes and Noble and all the major wholesalers.
Jen: At what age did you discover writing and when were you first published? Tell us your call story.
Rania: I’d say it was emotional overload that drove me there. You see, I’m the kind of person who needs to communicate my feelings with other people. Suppressing emotion is incredibly torturing for me. I wrote my first story in English a few years ago, when I was going through a very hard time after the loss of a beloved person. Writing was incredibly healing for me. After that, I knew my life had changed. I had created my own refuge in a world of fantasy. Gate Deadlock is my first book; it was published last winter. It’s still very fresh, but I’m already working on the sequel.
Jen: Are there any other writers, published or not, in your family?
Rania: Both my sisters can write, but they’re not published yet.
Jen: How do you approach your writing? Do you plot or go with the flow?
Rania: The plot is the canvas I work on but often my characters choose their own destiny; they evolve with the flow and quite often manage to surprise me.
Jen: What kind of research did you do for this book?
Rania: I read a lot about time travel and the wormhole theory. It’s a fascinating issue!
Jen: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Easiest?
Rania: I’d say it’s exposure. Once you reveal your thoughts to the public you know your family, your friends and generally the people who know you, will never think of you the same. As for the easiest, well, I don’t think there’s anything easy about writing. I’d stick to challenging. A very challenging procedure altogether; from the first sentence you type until struggling to approach you audience. But a very rewarding one, at the same time.
Jen: What’s the most rewarding aspect?
Rania: Sharing. Sharing the emotion you’ve put in those words with your readers and discovering there are other people out there who feel the same; who find something in your story that applies to them, comforts them or even helps them view life from a different perspective.
Jen: How do you pick the character’s names?
Rania: I have a list of favorite names. They have to mean something or carry a special connotation; like the names of my favorite literature characters. In Gate Deadlock the heroine’s name is Emma, the name of another romantic character of the classic masterpiece.
Jen: Is there a genre that you’d like to write? Is there a genre you’ll probably stay away from and why?
Rania: I’d like to write crime fiction. I’m a big fan of whodunit books. However, I’d stay away from real-life stories. Reality can be more haunting than the best thriller. As I said, for me writing is exactly that: an escape from reality.
Jen: What five authors or people, from the past or present, have been important to you as an author? What question or comment have you always wanted to say to them?
Rania: They’re certainly more than five! As far as it concerns the authors, I have a very mixed taste in books; from Gabriel Garcia Markes and Paulo Coehlio to Stephen King, P.D. James and Patricia Cornwell . But it was my students who got me to love fantasy books and to them I’m grateful for opening that new door in my life.
Jen: What did you do to celebrate your first book?
Rania: Just a few glasses of wine with my husband in front of the fireplace. You’ve got to have romance in your life too. As I say, “live” the fairy tale!
Jen: What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your book?
Rania: It came from my very first reader actually. She told me she couldn’t put the book down and go to bed until she finished the story. It was the first comment I got and it brought tears to my eyes.
Jen: What’s next for you?
Rania: As I said, I’m working on the sequel right now. After that, I’ll try to be selective. There are so many stories in my head waiting to come out. It’s all so overwhelming that I get confused at times. But I hope eventually I’ll work it out .
Jen: Where can you be found on the web?
Rania: My blog, “Urania’s distractions” is fairly new. You are all welcome to follow on http://uraniasarri.blogspot.com/ You can also find out about me and my book on my website: http://uraniasarri.webs.com/ Once you’re there, sign the guestbook or sign in as members. There are many surprises for the members on the way.
Jen: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Rania: Well, yes. I’m wondering if they expected to find more futuristic or sci-fi elements in the story as far as it concerns time-travel. I chose not to exaggerate this aspect but stay on the romance genre instead.
Jen: Readers, Rania is giving away a copy of Gate Deadlock to a random commenter. She would like for you to name of author of “Emma”, after whom I’ve named her heroine. To enter the contest, leave your answer, as well as a comment or question for Rania… along with your email address. The contest is open to everyone and the winner will be chosen on Sunday, September 12.