Would you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
A: I am an extroverted extrovert. I LOVE living life out loud. One of my favorite parts of going to signings is meeting new people.
However, I never thought I’d ever be an author at all. With dyslexia and extreme learning disabilities I was never strong at reading, writing or math (anything academic really). Though I was a hopeless daydreamer. I really thought that’s all my stories would ever amount to — hopeless daydreams.
Which project are you currently promoting?
A:Right now I am working on Blood Matters and super excited about it. It came available in Canada on March 15. It will be available in the US on April 15. It’s my fourth manuscript to be written, the third book I self published, AND my first book to be picked up by my amazing publisher: Edge Publishing.
Can you tell us what the book is about?
A:To be honest I sometimes struggle with the description for Blood Matters. I want to say its a vampire novel with a new spin. But its not really a true vampire novel. Its a novel with a parasite that aspires to make the host a vampire… Really, if I were to name the monster in my book it would be a Zampire — or a Vambie
It starts with Brittany finding her best friend impaled on a crowbar. Several weeks later she discovers why her friend killed herself only by then the infection has already taken a hold of Brittany.
After that every choice Brittany makes is a war between good and bad — life and death.
How did you come up with the title for this book?
A:The title was easy. When you think about it — Blood Matters to everyone. Only we rarely think about it because we can make enough for ourselves. When Brittany stops producing her own blood and has to rely on getting it from somewhere else — it really starts to matter on a daily (an hourly) basis.
What inspired you to write this book?
A:My first inspiration came from the idea of something close to what we consider a vampire — only something I could actually believe in.
Then, as I started to write the book I quickly fell in love with Brittany: the poor girl who has to choose between life and death at every meal. As well as EV the parasite whose lived longer than any human and yet has never really lived at all.
What made you decide to become a writer?
A:I always loved making up stories but I was terrified of people seeing how bad (I mean dreadfully atrocious) my spelling was (…no: IS). Once I got past the whole “I’m dyslexic — how could I possibly be a writer, ever?” it was kinda a no brainer… But actually what really made me decide to finally start writing was watching my daughter face her biggest challenge and not back down. I didn’t want to be a bad example to my kids. That’s when I realized I had to stop cowering from my fears.
What genre do you generally write?
A:Generally I write Young Adult. I love the kind of characters in YA books. They are so filled with life and possibilities and a strangely buoyant hope (or obliviousness) that older people type books tend to loose sight of.
Did you always wanted to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
A:Well, I never really thought I could be a writer — so I never entertained the notion. When I was younger I liked the idea of being an actor. I wanted to be one because actors get to live little pieces of several lives and I thought that would be fun. But after my sister was born all I really wanted to do with my life was be a mom.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
A:It took me a long time before I considered myself a writer. I’m pretty sure it was long after I’d published my first book “Safe”. I think it was when someone contacted me to book me into their event talking to people about being a writer.
Though, I think there was a small part of me that didn’t really believe I was an actual writer until “Blood Matters” was picked up by EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing.
What character out of your most recent work do you admire the most and why?
A:Brittany. She’s the main character of “Blood Matters”. I admire her because she’s a strong character who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to go after it. She loves her friends and family fiercely. And even though she’s been cast as the monster she still tries to make the best of it all.
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to the culmination?
A:Generally, if I don’t let myself get too distracted, I take 3-6 months for the first draft in entirety. But, of course, after that it’s not just my time schedule I have to accommodate for. With editors (being dyslexic I use several editors before I even try to submit to a publisher).
So, I tend to tell people it takes me roughly a year.
How do you deal with negative reviews?
A:Negative reviews — oh, the mighty pen doth cut deep. My amazing publisher once told me to never take reviews (negative or positive even) too personally… I’m not there yet. So my best defence is: keeping plenty of chocolate on hand.
What other projects are you currently working on?
A:I am so glad you asked! I’m so excited for my next book!!! It’s a little like StarWars
for this generation…only it has some bits that are closer to Anne McCaffrey “Dragon Ryders: Chronicles of Pern” mixed in.
It’s about a Solar System that’s in crisis and the only girl who can save it. Danay — a social outcast because she’s too thin, tall and blond on a planet that is covered in water making blubberfull girls more popular.
It’s going to be so great! I can’t wait for it to be published.
When you begin a new MS, does it start with an idea, concept, or both?
A:For my stories inspiration comes from all over. “Safe” was the idea of the girl who is being bullied (who’s given up and is going to kill herself) and the ghost who, after dying, has now realized how important living is.
But for “Blood Matters” it was trying to figure out a way for me to believe vampires could actually exist in our world. Then I came up with Brittany and she kinda haunted me until I finally wrote the story out.
Is there a message you’d like to get across through your story?
A:I never TRY to make points with my stories. I feel that if I were writing to make a point the actual story would be lost. However, I do find at the end points have been made. My personal values (of how important life is and the value I place on family and friendships) that point always seems to come through in the end.
Is there a genre you’d never consider writing? If so, why?
I will never say, “I will never…” The last time I said that I ended up writing a novel about vampires (or at least something close to it). Because the bottom line I wrote Blood Matters after I said, “I’ll never write a book about a vampire…”
What is your least favorite part about getting published?
A:My least favorite part about getting published has to be the deadlines. Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of having them — I just never seem to be ready when they come around.
Was the road to publication a long one for you?
A:I always considered my journey (to this point) like this: It’s my 20 year investment for becoming an overnight success. And yes, sometimes my journey has felt longer than others — but then again it has been shorter than some. And by no means is this the last period in the story of Aviva Bel’Harold. My life will continue to be lived — my journey has many more places it will take me. The rode continues to wined and stretch out ahead of me.
Do you use a pen name? If so, why?
A:I love my first name so much I could never leave it for something else. So, my first name is, has been, and will always be Aviva (isn’t it uniquely beautiful?). I love it.
However, when I was just about to publish my first book I was in turmoil over what name to put as my last. I could use the one I’d been born with. I could have also used my husbands. And finally I could adopt the name I created for my kids (which is an amalgam of both my and my husbands last name). My oldest daughter requested that I go with Bel’Harold, and that just made sense.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
A:Five years? Golly, I hope with at least three more books published — a few being sequels. I’d love to have a movie deal for one of my books (at least one). I’d also like to be able to boast that I’m a best seller — any kind of best seller will do!. And (no pressure
kids) I’d like to have at least one grand-baby around by then.
What is the best advice you can give to a new author?
A:Best advice: never stop writing. Second best advice (I’m stealing this from my publisher — it’s what he told me): treat your writing like a career, not a hobby. In order to make something of it you have to give it dedication, time, energy and resources. You have to put a lot in. What’s that saying? something about “it takes ten thousand hours to become and expert at something…”? Anyways, bottom line, if you want it then you will very likely have to prove it (time and again) in order to make it happen.
So — NEVER STOP WRITING!
Where can the readers find more information about you?
Blood Matters is a YA fusion novel about Brittany’s struggle to stay human after she’s infected by a parasite that’s attempting to turn her into a zompire...a curious blend of vampire and zombie. But what happens when it's the choices we make, not the creature inside, that proves the monster is in us all?