IndieBook

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INDIE BOOK CLUB

I am a book lover. As a writer, I know how hard it is to put work out there and to have a reach and make it seen. So with this amazing plateforme that I have, I decided to create a book club.

In this book club you'll only find books from indie authors. Each month a book, an interview with the author, interactions, podcast episode and more!

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HELLO! IF YOU HAVE A BOOK THEN YOU CAN SUBMIT YOUR WORK! I AM ACCEPTING SUBMISSIONS EVERYWHERE — TWITTER, INSTAGRAM, EMAIL ETC...I JUST NEED A LINK TO YOUR BOOK AND THE REST I WILL DO IT! 

AT FIRST I SAID I WAS ACCEPTING BOOKS THE WHOLE YEAR BUT WE'VE ALREADY REACHED OVER 200 SUBMISSIONS. I WILL CLOSE SUBMISSIONS AT 300 SO THERE IS NOT MUCH PLACES LEFT. YOU WILL SEE A COUNTDOWN OF HOW MANY SUBMISSIONS THERE IS RIGHT UNDER HERE TO KEEP YOURSELF UPDATED!

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March Pick

"HEAVENWARD (Book 1)" by OLGA GIBBS

if you are like me and love anything epic and including heaven and hell battles — you will love the first book of this series just as much as i loved it. and psst...i have a good news for you: all of the books of the series are out!

Listen to the interview of our July's pick: Kaylee Rose!

Or read a blurb of "For the love of us"!

About the author

"HEAVENWARD (Book 1)' by OLGA GIBBS

Olga Gibbs is a mental health expert who has experience of working with disturbance in adolescents and young people. Using her Masters in Creative Writing, she explores taboo topics such as borderline personality and social effective disorder, effects of abuse and insecure attachment in young people and the inner world which is so rarely spoken about.
Olga Gibbs is also a creative writing coach and mentor.

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Interview with Olga Gibbs

Hi! Thank you so much for allowing me to use your book as a book pick for the book club! I loved the book SO much! I am a sucker when it comes to stories with heaven and hell battles, I just find them so epic and you did an amazing job at bringing the epicness in the book! What was the original inspiration for this book? Did you always wanted this story to be four books?

The story began with girls I worked with. One day, I thought that these girls are not given voice and not represented enough in media or in books. Every fiction book that is written about mental health struggle of features mental health sufferer is a contemporary story. And I decided to take my character, Ariel, who was a composite character of the girls I worked with, into the fantasy world. I have written this story for those girls, and knowing that nobody, who survived a similar abuse to Ariel, would want to relive it, so I placed the story into the realm of angels.


It all started with Ariel and my need to give her the power. A realistic book was out of the question, so I settled on fantasy. But then I was thinking who to make her into.

Vampires?  Too bloody, I would’ve ended up with a Stephen King’s blood bath there.

Aliens? Not feeling it.

Werewolves? Didn’t want her pretty face covered in fur, even if it’s once in a blue moon (pun intended)

Fairy? Too fairy-ish. Her delicate wings wouldn’t have managed to carry her and all the ammo I was planning to give her.

F

airies have wings.. wings.. wings.. angel wings.. Let’s make her an angel!

And it had slotted perfectly with apocalyptic vibes I was going for, and the Bible’s Book of Revelation was a perfect starting point. So a few months later, after the daily relentless research into Jewish and Christian eschatology, Jewish beliefs, Christian doctrines and old Sumerian beliefs and language, and a few angelic and celestial thesis books later, I arrived to my characters and the story.

Each character, apart from Ariel, is an angel in Christian mythology, some fallen, some not.

And four books? It could’ve been five, I had enough volume, as the final book is 120K words, but I’ve used up all my imagination for the covers.

 

I just bought the second book of the series, and the covers are so pretty! Did you design them yourself?

 

Thank you. I did come up with a concept, original idea and collected the images I wanted to see within the covers, to reflect each step of the Ariel’s journey, but for the execution of my vision I went to a professional. I’m not that good with computer software. But the concept and idea are all mine. So, can I claim brownie points for that? 

 

I was fooled during the whole book of who was on the good side and on the bad side and when it was revealed who was good I was so shocked! I actually felt the same way reading A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas and I closed the book and went "oh my god, I got played again!" And it just...it made it such a page turner!

Thank you! I’m very happy to hear that. Most of readers, who read through the first book or through the series, commented on unexpected twists and turns in my story, how blind-sided they felt at each one, of the gasps of disbelief that left them as they read books, and I’m pleased to hear it. In fact, I strive to deliver unexpected stories and stories that keep you at the edge of your seat. I wanted my story to be unpredictable. I personally loathe the stories, where from the first minute, you, as a reader,  can tell who is a “baddie” and who is good. I love grey characters and I love mercurial characters, and here, I flipped the story on its head, not following the expected notion of “heaven” = “good” and “hell” = “bad”. At the large, I kept to the rules of the genre, but I wanted the story to come through as fresh, but above all, unpredictable. I wanted a reader to experience what Ariel felt. I wanted to replicate the bedlam that was in her mind and around her, that feeling of being thrown into a millennia-long battle between the factions, of which we, or my character in particular, would know nothing about, if not for the hidden Qal. I wanted readers to feel Ariel’s confusion, and I’m glad to hear that I’ve achieved it.

 

How long did it take you to write this story?

The entire series of all four books was written in three years. I find that for me the initial concept, idea development, particular challenging, as I like to develop not only characters and the main story line, but each character’s backstory, their personal goals and experiences, which in turn, would influence their decision, behaviour, their response to certain triggers, or in fact, would allow me to present those triggers to them, which would prompt their reaction, thus moving the story forward. I spend time to get intimately acquainted with my characters. I chat to them, understand them.  I feel that the better I understand them, the more multi-dimensional they become under my fingers, and that in return, will give better experience to readers. I think this development is important in order to bring life and genuineness to the story. None of us are black and white in real life. We are confusing, sometimes even to ourselves – to the ones, who spent the most time with us. We all have our traumas and our past, experiences that make us who we are. And I try to achieve just that: genuine characters with genuine reactions, or at least, reactions appropriate to them, and my work experience helps me a lot.


Then, in this story, I’ve spent hours upon hours, researching Jewish and Christian eschatology, Jewish beliefs, Christian doctrines, and to make it harder for myself, and more immersive to readers, I’ve added the old Sumerian beliefs and language into the story. I didn’t want the language of angels to be English. It would’ve been too… cheap and lazy. So they were given the dead language of Sumer, and in the book two I have introduced a glossary of the language and a page with used in the story angelic profanities. All the above was done in my quest to make the story and characters multi-dimensional, yet real. High, epic fantasy that feels real – that what I was working to achieve.


But once the preparatory work was done, the rest flowed easier.

To the people that did not read your book yet, what would you tell them to describe it?

Don’t be fooled by a girl as a main character. This story is an epic fantasy, full of fighting, battles, intrigue and betrayal, and some dark themes. This page-turner could be a great introduction into a high fantasy genre for novice and interesting, twisted take for a veteran-reader of a fantasy genre. 

 

Has your work as a mental health expert made it easier to write your main character?

Of course. In fact, my work was the reason why I’ve written Ariel the way I’ve written her. Through her I wanted to give a voice to the girls I worked with, to give them a chance to be an archangel with the world-destroying power. Often, while working with those girls, looking at them, I wondered, what would they do to the ones who wronged them? If they were given the ultimate power, what would they do? Would they forgive, or would they take revenge?
Ariel struggles with schizophrenia, PTSD and I have written her honestly, I’ve written her how I know the people of those conditions behave, respond to challenges, how those illnesses affect them, and I know that some “main-stream” readers have called my Ariel “annoying”, but I know that she’s anything but. I know that she’s strong, incredibly strong, and I know that above all, she is genuine. And remember how above I said that I want to read and write genuine characters? Well, that was it. I know that when writing her behaviour and responses, I didn’t write a lie. I know that I’ve written how these girls behave and interact with the world, and I’m happy with it. And a little cherry on a cake, a reader, schizoaffective himself, wrote to me to thank for the genuine portrayal of her internal battles, and a psychotherapist, a friend of mine, was gushing about the Ariel’s character: the honesty of portrayal of her inner demons and the beauty and precision, with which Ariel’s internal emotions were described. These two comments proved to me that I’ve done a good job by giving the girls like Ariel a voice. And that was the reason why I’ve written the book in the 1st POV.

 

Can you tell us a bit more about your work as a mental health expert?

To say that I am an expert is easier than to list all of my training and experience in the field of mental health. I have a degree in Adolescent Mental Health; I was a foster carer, worked as SENCO in schools, worked with Looked After Children in therapeutic residential settings, worked with charities, who supported the children with difficult family situations. I worked with girls, who suffered domestic, emotional and sexual abuse, who were involved in gangs or other criminal activities, who abused drugs, with ones who were victims of human trafficking, refugees, etc, etc. The list is endless. I have worked with the most levels of the severity of their mental health needs. I have almost ten years of these challenging and different experiences under my belt. The work in this field is always demanding, sometimes comes with a threat of bodily harm, but almost every time, it comes with mental health strain on a professional. I know many people, who burnt out after doing years of that work, but I’m still holding on, and I hope to hold on for a bit longer, as positive outcomes of my work can be unparalleled: to see those young people to strive, under the challenging start to their lives, to watch them to progress with their lives, coming into their own, and then to hear “thank you” or “I would’ve not done it without you” – these words and these moments are what makes my own heartache all worth it.

From my training and work experiences the “100 days of gratitude” journal was created (https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08LH9BPFZ ),as well as “Anxiety Journal: Record, Analyse, Manage.” (https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08L86QJ66 ) Both are the result of the decade of the experience in the mental health field and both are practical tools in managing mild mental health conditions.

 

What does creative writing coach and mentor consists of exactly?

With my Masters in Creative Writing and experience in publishing, I offer assistance in writing and producing a book. Authors very often find themselves “stuck” in their manuscript, unsure where to go, how to begin or how to bring their vision and story to life, and that’s where a writing mentor can be useful. Whereas an editor deals with the final product, by assessing and evaluating it, a mentor can take a writer to that point, of writing “the end”. A mentor is like a guide, who can take you from “A” to “B”.


We can work on plot, pace, narrative time and arc, character development, as well as on technical aspects of writing such as style, dialogue, sense of place, point of view (how or which to use), flashback, use of tenses, etc., while keeping author’s own writing voice. And of course, due to my experience within mental health field, I can assist in development of genuine and multi-dimensional characters, especially if someone’s writing a character, which might be suffering from a mental health illness, or simply writing a psychological thriller.


I provide an honest feedback, encouragement and support throughout the process. I believe that there is no substitute for an “experienced ear” and advice of an author to make your writing dream happen.

 

Are you working on something else? If so can you tell us a bit about it?

At the end of the last year I’ve finished “NO CHILD OF MINE”. It’s a speculative fiction, a dystopian political thriller set in the UK, 200 years from now.
In tone with “1984” and drawing on my personal experience of growing up in Soviet Russia, this is a story of a father’s journey to save his child from a totalitarian regime, who is in order to bury the truth prepared to exterminate an entire generation. But this story is not black and white. Like with everything else I write, it’s not about the Soviet regime. In fact, it’s a satire on today’s Britain, and is written as my observations of the UK.

57th Year of the true leadership of The Ordained Liberating Party; or Year 2273 by the old calendar.
The Collapse took millions of lives and most of the country’s farming lands, bringing the surviving population to the brink of starvation. Out of the aftermath of the chaos of anarchy, a new state had emerged, known as The Federation Britannia, run by the single and unopposed Ordained Liberating Party.
The division of the country’s orphanages for children of “the true citizens” and children of “the enemies of the state” began the clearance of the “questionable element”, and bloody years of the Age of Cleansing finished the purge, leaving behind a perfectly obedient electorate that marched every year in the Liberation Day parades, praising the Party’s leadership and following the Party’s every directive.

The rule of the Party is absolute, its tool of compliance, the State Security Unit, feared.
But Tom isn’t a frightened follower, he is a true believer. Tom loves the Party with all his heart. He trusts in the Party’s wisdom. The Party had raised him, rewarding his devotion and love with a lucrative engineering job, and after the approval for the Procreation licence, it also granted him a family.

But the unexpected midnight visit by the State Security to his flat, questions asked and blood samples collected, unsettles Tom more than he likes to admit, and the following day, whilst investigating the “black uniforms” interest, Tom witnesses the State Security troops, led by the familiar officer, marshalling the children from his daughter’s nursery, packing them into trucks and taking them into the unknown.

At that moment, Tom is forced to make a decision: either to follow the Party directive and to surrender his child into its plenary care or to protect what he loves and run.
But there’s nowhere to run. There’s no escape from the island or from the complete control of the Ordained Liberating Party.

The book is due for release on 21/10/2021 and is currently available for pre-order: https://books2read.com/u/4A7Exd

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