It's another month and another author spotlight! This month I have the lovely Rebecca Ahlen on the blog!
I got to meet Rebecca while out for dinner before the Ages of Pages book signing in Hamilton earlier in the year. It was so lovely to meet her and many others that night, and I look forward to coming back and seeing them all again at the next one!
So, without further ado, I bring you Rebecca Ahlen!
“The Colour of the Sari” A journey to India in paperback format This is Rebecca Ahlen's first novel in one sentence But how is a novel created? Who are authors? For me, authors have always been the others. People who have studied literature, perhaps worked for years as a journalist, are well read, with extensive knowledge of politics, history, philosophy and know all the ways how a person can be murdered. Authors produce one bestseller after another, because they sit for hours in an untidy office and polish their stories. I definitely did not count myself among them. But 3 published books later I have a new image of authors and I think it changed at the Frankfurt Book Fair: I was still a student and, like most students, I needed money. So every year I worked for a big newspaper at the Frankfurt Book Fair, assisting authors before their reading who had already sold several thousand copies of their books. The more well-known authors I met, the more I noticed that they also only made their tea with water. The difference was simply that authors chose to spend their time writing. That was the first time I pictured writing a book myself. But it was not the right time. I was really busy with university. So my own book had to wait. I would wait until the muse kissed me someday. But the muse did not come. So the years went by and I became absorbed in my profession as a civil engineer, until I kept running into a problem. There was a lack of a reference book in an area I was always dealing with. So what to do? For years I collected information from different books and videos. Why hadn't anyone written a book on this topic yet? But instead of waiting for someone else to write this book, the inspiration came to me. Before I wait for others, just do it myself. At the book fair I already found the proof that it could not be so difficult to write a book. I sat down at my desk and got started. Within a few weeks, 500 pages were written on my computer. But it felt strange. The book had no common thread and seemed more like a patchwork quilt than a technical book I would like to read myself. I was desperate. All that work and I didn't have a bestseller in front of me. I was frustrated. But how would I get to my goal? I decided to join a writing group. I wanted to learn how to build a story and then write a book. For weeks and months I wrote short stories to go along with the writing exercises we were given in the course. We read our stories and got feedback from the group. As the months went by, I got better and better and I understood more and more what a good story needed. It was time to tackle the subject of books again. But it wasn't going to be the engineering book for the new start. I wanted a book project without research work, without technical words and without illustrations; a project in which I could concentrate on writing and write about what I knew. Immediately an idea came to me. I wanted to write a story set in India. I had lived and worked in India only a few years before and I wanted to put my experiences into a novel and add a love story to it. That's how "The Colour of the Sari" was born. My passion caught fire and I wanted to write more. I quit my job as an engineer and went on a world trip to write on new book projects. During this time the funny story "For Devils sake" came to life. I published it in German in the anthology "Dazwischengeschichten" and soon it will be published in English. During my world trip I passed by New Zealand and I decided to stay here. I got a job as an engineer, but writing stayed with me. I want to write more books about traveling and different values. A novel, a novella, and then eventually the technical book. I always have to grin when I introduce myself as an author. Because what I do today is so different from what I imagined an author spends his time with. I write books alongside my job. And most of my time I spent doing marketing for my published books. I thought writing the story would be the best bit as an author, but I explored I like revising my stories most. My role as an author is not to produce bestsellers, then to collect stories and turn them into informative and entertaining books.
About Rebecca Ahlen
Rebecca Ahlen is 39 years old and grew up in Germany. Early in life she was drawn to faraway places and lived near New York City and in Barcelona, among others. While working in India she came up with the idea for her first novel.
Currently she is working as an engineer in Hamilton, New Zealand, and spends her free time with her family and writing books.
More information about Rebecca Ahlen's travels and other book projects can be found on her homepage: www.kultur-flieger.de