Bio: Milena Veen was born in Belgrade, Serbia. Her first piece of writing, a poem about a walking cherry, saw the light of the day when she was seven. She’s been writing ever since.
Milena graduated from University of Belgrade with a degree in psychology. She lives in a little European town with her husband and a mute cat. When she’s not writing, Milena spends her time reading, riding her bicycle, and listening to music. She prefers clouds to sunshine and coffee to tea.
What all have you written? Include everything:
I’m just beginning my journey as a writer. I published my first novel, ‘Just Like a Musical’, a couple of weeks ago.
Where can we buy or see them?:
My book is available on Amazon. Readers can also download a free excerpt from Goodreads.
Tell us a little bit about your main character:
Ruby is seventeen years old. She’s a dreamer, she loves music and old movies, and she’s a bit old-fashioned. Ruby’s trying to find her place in the world, and that’s not easy for her, especially if we take into account her overprotective mother. But she will find strength in her relationship with a charming old lady who lives across the street and a quirky boy who has family issues of his own.
What are you working on at the minute?:
Apart from promoting my first novel, I’m thinking about the next one. I haven’t started to write yet, but the characters are slowly forming in my head. It’s important for me to let them come to life and understand them before I put them on paper.
What is it about?:
I’m not sure yet, but I’ll tell you when I find out.
What genre are your books?:
I write contemporary fiction. Both adults and young readers can find something appealing in my book, but my main characters are in their teenage years.
What draws you to this genre?:
I’ve always enjoyed reading realistic fiction, and adolescence is a period which I think is the most important in one’s life. I try to create young, realistic characters and put them in situations that my readers would find familiar and relatable.
Do you have to do research for your books?:
I had done a lot of fact-checking while writing ‘Just Like a Musical’. Some things were easy to find, but some of them really gave me a headache. I even had to delete a couple of lines because I found so many contradicting information.
When did you decide to become a writer?:
It wasn’t really a decision. I’ve been writing in one way or another ever since I was little. As for my first novel, I just woke up one morning with that burning feeling in my chest, and all the words begging me to write them down. So I just had to do it, it was inevitable.
Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?:
I used to when I began to write, but I realized that it takes away from the quality of my writing, so I gave up. I guess it works for some writers, but definitely not for me.
Do you work on an outline or plot before you start writing?:
I scribbled down a very vague, undetailed outline before I started writing ‘Just Like a Musical’. I changed so many things along the way, however, that I would say it was more something like a general sentiment written down than an actual outline.
What is the hardest thing about writing?:
I have a day job, so the hardest part for me is to wait for eight hours before I get back home to write. I also find the post-publishing stuff pretty hard – marketing, promotion, finding your target audience.
What is the easiest thing about writing?:
Everything was easy for me as long as I had enough time for writing. I didn’t have writer’s block, I didn’t struggle to find the right word… But maybe it’s because this is my first book.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?:
It took me about nine months to write this one. We’ll see about the next.
Do you edit your book right after you finish or let it sit for awhile?:
I’m very impatient when it comes to editing. I know that I should let it sit for a while, and I do, but that doesn’t prevent me from peeking inside from time to time and thinking about all the things that should be changed.
Who edited your book and how did you select him/her?:
I hired Christie Stratos from Proof Positive to proofread my manuscript. I had read excerpts from the books she had worked on before I decided to hire her, and somehow I knew that she was the right person for me. I must say that she did an amazing job with my debut novel.
How are you publishing this book and why?:
I have decided to self-publish my book even before I started writing. It’s the path that seems frightening, but it’s also exciting. Everything is in your hands. You’re free to do whatever you want with your book, but you’re also the one who bears the responsibility.
How do you market your books?:
I try to reach out to book bloggers who are interested in contemporary YA. I’ve booked a book tour for late February / early March. I’m also trying out different book promotion sites like Story Cartel, Awesome Gang, etc.
What do you do to get book reviews?:
All of the above. And let me tell you, it’s a hard work, way harder that writing a book. I’ve been warned about this, though, so it isn’t a surprise.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?:
Hire a professional proofreader. No matter how good you are at grammar or punctuation, you need a professional to look over your writing. Also, be true to yourself. Don’t write what people expect you to just to please them. Write what you feel.
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Milena-Veen/e/B00HBRGGQ2
I would like to thank Milena for her time in completing the interview. Stay tuned for my review of Just Like A Musical coming in the near future.