TBU#36: Behind the scenes of Rowena’s novel — out now!

Episode 36 December 05, 2023 00:33:14
TBU#36: Behind the scenes of Rowena’s novel — out now!
Two Booked Up
TBU#36: Behind the scenes of Rowena’s novel — out now!

Dec 05 2023 | 00:33:14


Hosted By

Rowena Mabbott Shelley Tonkin Smith

Show Notes

Shelley and Rowena love talking about books, but this episode is rather special because they are not just talking about a book they’ve both read. 

They are talking about THE book Rowena has written! Rowena’s debut novel, Avoiding the Friend Zone, was published this week. It’s a perfect holiday read!

Shelley dons the interviewer hat and interviews Rowena, and together, they explore the joys and challenges of writing and publishing a book.

If you’ve thought about writing a book or are keen to learn about what goes into writing one, you’ll love this episode.

Join Shelley and Rowena as they celebrate the launch of Rowena’s novel.

Episode Links Mentioned

Book links

Resources Mentioned

The Creative Penn - Joanna Penn

Connect with us:

Find us online at twobookedup.com and keep in touch with Two Booked Up via email by signing up for the Two Booked Up Bookclub.

Connect with Rowena @rowenamabbott on IG and at rowenamabbott.com. You can also get Rowena’s FREE e-books, The A to Z of Career and Life Confidence and The Criteria List here.

Connect with Shelley on LinkedIn at Shelley Tonkin Smith. Her copywriting business is at shelleysmithcreative.com, and her writing and other musings are at shelleytonkinsmith.com.

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Episode Transcript

TBU Episode 36 [00:00:00] Shelley: Hello there friends, I'm Shelley Tonkin Smith, and you're listening to the Two Booked Up Podcast. As always, I'm joined by the lovely Rowena Mabbott, and as always, we're going to be talking about books. But this episode is rather special, because we're not just going to be talking about a book that we've both read, we're going to be talking about the book that Rowena has written, Avoiding the Friend Zone launched this week, and I want to know all about it, Rowena. [00:00:36] Rowena: Oh my goodness. Part of me cannot believe this day has come, but yes, Avoiding the Friend Zone, my debut novel, is out now. And I've got to tell you, I am so thrilled and also honestly quite relieved to see it available for purchase on all the ebook platforms and as a paperback too. [00:00:56] Shelley: Super exciting. And listen, I am so thrilled on your behalf. I'm sharing in the joy. And for our listeners, there'll be a link in the show notes if you want to check it out and buy yourself a copy. As a beta reader of Avoiding the FriendZone myself, I can tell you that it will be a super enjoyable summer read for those of you sweltering here in the Southern Hemisphere. And of course, those of you in the North, well, you can swap your cocktail for a cocoa and enjoy the read too. But now Rowena, I'm going to put on my interviewer's hat because I'd love to dive into your process of writing and publishing this book. We're all readers around here on Two Booked Up. But I think it's really fascinating to know what goes on behind the scenes of writing and publishing a book. And I reckon we may have a few listeners who might like to follow in your footsteps and write their own books. So how about it, Ro? Are you ready to take the hot seat? [00:01:57] Rowena: I think so. Okay, let's do it. [00:02:05] Shelley: This is the Two Booked Up Podcast, where we talk about books. [00:02:10] Rowena: The books that are challenging us to live more intentional lives [00:02:13] Shelley: The books that are equipping us on our business and professional journeys. [00:02:17] Rowena: and the books that delight and bring us joy. [00:02:20] Shelley: So, if you want to live life with more intention, and if you want to be doing work that brings you joy, then come and join the bookish conversation with me, Shelley Tonkin Smith. [00:02:30] Rowena: And me, Rowena Mabbott, here on Two Booked Up. [00:02:41] Shelley: Okay, so first up, Ro, can you give us the premise of Avoiding the Friend Zone? What's it about? [00:02:49] Rowena: So how to summarize 90 odd thousand words into a few sentences. That's tricky. No, no, technically it's a love story, but more than a romance novel, because a romance novel has specific key plot points, which I will share about in a minute, but it's pretty much a love story. So if I had to give you like the, the elevator pitch or the summary that's shared on the platforms. Two ambitious graduates, John and Kate, navigate their careers and an emerging romance in the bustling city of Sydney in a story that will have you cheering those characters on until the end. Now fresh out of university, John Williams moved from the country to Sydney for a coveted graduate sales role with a very large company. So there's a new city, he's got to adjust to housemates and a new job, and that's a pretty steep learning curve for John. When he attends a graduate orientation day, he meets Kate. And she is a girl he just can't stop thinking about. Now Kate or Catherine, Catherine Peterson is an ambitious, focused HR graduate in the same company and is, let's say, mostly happy with her boyfriend Jacques, who she's been with for more than three years. So now despite Kate's boyfriend, John decides that he can't be her friend because he wants to have a chance with her. So he decides that. If you become a friend with a girl, you'll never become a boyfriend. And so he therefore decides he can't be her friend. So that leads to some pretty crazy things that he does or doesn't do as a result. Now, 18 months later, Kate and John are working together and Kate is single. And interested in John. So a night of dancing proves to have a bit of chemistry, but the question is, will either of them be brave enough to overcome their previous relationship mistakes and actually make a move? Will avoiding the friend zone work for John? Will he have a chance with Kate? Or will he end up losing her forever? So now it's a sweet workplace romance. And what that means is that everything that happens is behind closed doors. You don't see or hear or get descriptions of any kind of explicit stuff. Uh, for those of you who might like, who might be, um, upset about swearing, there's a little bit of swearing in it. I'm just giving you a heads up. Uh, it is set at the turn of the century. Uh, that's the 2000 century. So it's happening around the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games and join John and Kate as they navigate work, friendships, family, other relationships and also the changing world of technology. So that's the synopsis, I guess. That's a pretty good summary. The other thing I'd say is it's, I think it's pretty easy to read. And most of the action happens in December and January. So we have Christmas and New Year and some time at the beach too, because it's set in Sydney. Um, so it's quite a good holiday read. It's got that kind of holiday vibe to it. [00:05:46] Shelley: Awesome. That's so cool. And actually, I love how you set up the synopsis and summary with those questions of like, what will he do? There's the sort of setup and then what will happen now with this strategy of avoiding the friend zone? It's a really great synopsis, Ro, and I agree, it will be a lovely beach read, and I think a lot of us will relate to, you know, if you're the same age as Rowena and I, you'll relate to that kind of time period. But for me, it was actually really fun going into Sydney and being taken to a different part of the world and experiencing Sydney What was happening at the turn of the century, um, in, in Sydney. So yeah, it's very, very cool. But now I'd love to know what made you to decide to write in the first place? And then I'd love to know as well, why did you choose this sort of romance novel or love story kind of genre? [00:06:42] Rowena: Okay. So Shelley, as you know, and as probably some of our listeners know, I'm a bit of a fan of having goals. That might be the life coach in me and Shelley, you and I work together on having goals and we do a lot of stuff around that [00:06:55] Shelley: oh, [00:06:55] Rowena: So one of my. do love my goal set. One of my goals for this year was to write a book or at least write an outline for a book. But I had in my mind that it would be a nonfiction book. So when I checked in with my goals in quarter two, so around, let's say late April, I remembered my goal to write a book. And so the following week, I didn't do anything about it. I just remembered it. The following week, I kept waking up at what my friend Helen calls stupid o'clock. Now she hasn't given me official time for stupid o'clock, but for me, it was 4am. So that is stupid o'clock because you really. There's nothing happening at 4am. You should be asleep. But I would be full of ideas and there were ideas for this story. So they just kept coming as like fully formed paragraphs or scenes. So the story wanted to be told and I found myself writing every day. So after four or five days of writing and having this stuff waking me up, I realized. Perhaps I should just embrace this and my upholder kicked in and I decided I needed to formalize it with a daily writing practice and of course popped a word count on it. Um, but that was mostly so I could get some sleep because then at least I knew I have a plan to write the next day. So I could, um, you know, go back to sleep cause I'm like, it's all right, you can, you can deal with that tomorrow [00:08:15] Shelley: I don't need to write this book in my sleep. I've got a plan to write it when I'm awake. [00:08:19] Rowena: Correct. I do love a plan. So I started capturing it and those moments turned into actually writing. And then this story kind of poured out of me. And interestingly, I didn't write it chronologically. I wrote it as scenes came to me, which meant that the first draft. Well, the very first lot of notes were all, it was all over the place. I Had a loose idea of where it needed to go, but one of the scenes I might've written first was one that happened, you know, a third of the way through the book. And then I might write a scene that happened at the very end of the book. Um, so it was all out of order mostly because whenever my inspiration, whatever scene came to me, I just wrote that next. Um, so that was quite [00:08:58] Shelley: That's an interesting method. I, and I [00:09:00] Rowena: yeah, I don't think it's the one that it should be. I don't think recommend it. Very messy. [00:09:06] Shelley: Well, [00:09:06] Rowena: Um, it was just, I didn't know any better. [00:09:08] Shelley: yeah, I, I feel like it gets you going and, maybe releases, you talked about having an outline and sometimes like that can be a little scary to go, oh, this feels too final, . But if you're just writing scenes, it could be almost like little short stories. Um, yeah. I like, I like the start small approach of that, uh, from, it's a lazy genius thing. [00:09:27] Rowena: Yeah, to correct. That's exactly what it was. It was very much that whole start small. And so at that point I knew it was a love story, but not. I didn't really plan for it to be a romance. It was only much, much later that I realized there were specific beats is what they call them, but I thought of them as like specific plot points that needed to be included for a story to be considered a romance. But I guess we're jumping ahead because that was part of my learning process, like way after I'd already written a fair chunk of the book. [00:09:56] Shelley: Okay. Yes. I want to, I want to ask you about that. And I also want to just say to the listeners, if they are unsure about what Rowena is talking about, when she says she's an upholder, uh, you can go back and listen to our first four episodes of Two Booked Up, where we went through Gretchen Rubin's book, The Four Tendencies. Uh, it is such a wonderful way of understanding yourself. But now I'd love for you to just take us through the timeline of those steps, because you said you now wrote these different scenes. Um, take us through the timeline of where you started. You started small, nice. But how did you get to today where that book is on the publishing platforms, ready to be bought? And specifically, you have self published this book. So, can you share a little bit more about that process ? [00:10:39] Rowena: So it started out as just something really fun. It was just a creative outlet. So I started, the first lot of words appeared on my computer on the 4th of May, so May the 4th, which is very funny because, you know, it's Star Wars Day. May [00:10:52] Shelley: So, yeah, may the fourth be with you. And it was with you. Yeah, yeah. [00:10:56] Rowena: But I kept it playful for a long time. As you know, Shelley, I talked about it with you. I just wanted to keep it lighthearted and fun. I didn't want to put any pressure on it. It was just super fun and I was loving it and it was making me feel good. So I just. I just did that. Um, and the daily writing practice, once I kind of put that, um, imposed that upon myself, actually helped build the skill of just practicing and doing it. So, as you know, I resisted the urge to publish or to do anything with the manuscript initially. I just didn't want to ruin the fun. Um, and I didn't want to put any big expectations on it. I didn't want it to go from being something that was just pure enjoyment into something that I had that there was kind of like, you should own it. That, that felt like it might suck the joy from it. But [00:11:41] Shelley: I jump in there quickly of just drawing out the, the playfulness and the practice that you had in the beginning. It's, it's, it's play, it's fun and, and it's two Ps and then a daily practice, like without too much expectation, but the expectation is just to show up each day and practice it. And I love the combination of play and practice. Just wanted to point that out there. [00:12:04] Rowena: you've got a whole episode about that. There is an episode in the Two Booked Up Podcast where Shelley talks very much about play and a good part of that is practice. So by the by. We didn't even plan that one. There's another P. So speaking of peas, I did resist the urge to publish or do anything with their manuscript initially. Um, but I did get to a point where it was something. And so I didn't really want to make it into anything too big, but I kind of wanted someone to read it. Um, and so I'd completed a rough draft. And again, it's another date of significance, July the 4th, which is not significant in Australia, but for our US listeners. 4th of July. And I was on holidays with my mum. It was winter here, and I was working away on my laptop and she was pestering me in the most loving motherly kind of way. And she's like, come on, I wanna read it. When are you done? Come on, when are you, come on. So she was, and so I said, fine, fine Mum, let me finish these edit. Like I just was doing a basic quick, rough spell check and then I sent it to her. So she was so. So keen. So thanks mom. [00:13:08] Shelley: Oh, I love it. I think it's what every top author does. You got to start with your mom or start with that, you know, that very special friend. Somebody's got to, got to be your first reader. [00:13:18] Rowena: yeah, absolutely. And it was, it felt appropriate because she was pretty familiar with what the story was going to be saying. Cause I hadn't really even done a proper spell check. I'd done a kind of first glance over it. And so then she gave me suggestions around just fixing up all that stuff that I'd missed because I hadn't really done it yet. And then my dad. Wanted to read it because he felt a bit left out that Mum had been allowed to read it and he hadn't. So, so then he read it and he also gave me some suggestions, less in the spelling, more in the, there were just little phrases or things that he said, Oh, I don't think that quite works. You might want to say it like this instead or whatever, which was terrific. Um, and then after I actually, those edits, I shared it with Shelley. [00:13:58] Shelley: Yes, yes. [00:13:59] Rowena: my beta reader, um, which was fabulous. And I also sent it to a friend who is a brilliant editor and who'd kindly offered to review and give editorial feedback on my first draft, which was very appreciated. So I did a lot of work on it before I sent it to her to make sure it was the best it could be as polished as it could be before I sent it to her. Um, and then I got her feedback and that took up until early September, September the sixth. Precisely. [00:14:26] Shelley: I'd love to know about the, the curly question, uh, or perhaps this is the million dollar question. Why did you choose to go the self publishing route? [00:14:35] Rowena: Yeah. It's really hard to answer that succinctly, Shelley, because I always suspected it would be a self publish. And even after like about a month of writing, I thought it was a big if at that point. I was like, if. I do anything with this book, I will self publish it. There's no point going through the, the traditional publishing path. However, after I completed the first rough draft, my husband He asked quite bossily, actually, wasn't, he didn't ask in a nice way. He was quite like indignant, um, why I wouldn't consider approaching traditional mainstream publishers. And so I kind of knew why I didn't want to, and also knew, but then I didn't, he is much more a questioner rebel. And so thinking about that foretendency, so he likes to have the detail. He doesn't like to do the detail. He just likes to know that someone else has done the detail. So I, I did the [00:15:30] Shelley: the questions. [00:15:31] Rowena: He wants to ask the questions, but he doesn't like having questions asked of him, which is classic questioner and very frustrating to an upholder. And I did quite a few weeks of very detailed research. And that's when actually my friend, Brianne, who is my editor, she, it was when I was doing that initially, she then said, well, I'll read it for you and let you know whether it would be likely to be picked up by traditional publishing. And whilst I'm reading it, I might as well, you know, give you some feedback. So it happened to be in that conversation that then turned into something fabulous. And I couldn't have done it without her excellent feedback. So she confirmed that no, in early September, when I got that feedback, she said, no, look, I don't think traditional publishers will pick this up, not without making substantial, massive changes, like to the point where it wouldn't be my story anymore. It would have had to be changed so much. Um, and it would have been basically rewriting, not even rewriting, would have just been writing a whole new, whole new book. Um, and I didn't really want to do that. So at that point, [00:16:30] Shelley: a story of your heart that you, you, that you wanted to tell. And, [00:16:33] Rowena: Yes. [00:16:34] Shelley: and, and I suppose in the traditional publishing world, you've gotta fit with the tropes and the, the plot points, and you've got to make sure you, you hit those beats, uh, so they can market it and publish it in a clear category, right? Mm-Hmm? [00:16:48] Rowena: correct. And the other, you're exactly right on that. It means that as an author, you don't have as much control with traditional publishing. They, if they want to make a change, then you just have to do it. Also, traditional publishing is slow, like seriously slow. Then they are also notorious for not responding to submissions. So an author friend of mine submitted his manuscript and after nine months, he still hadn't heard back. So in which time he could have done all the edits and probably publish. So you just left hanging, not knowing. So the main reason I was quite confident and happy to proceed with self publishing was exactly that. I retained total control of the story. I retained total control of the publishing process and the timeframe. Cause I was on a roll by this stage and I was like, I just want to keep the momentum going. And you remember Shelley, I was still like, okay, I've just going to keep going. [00:17:42] Shelley: yeah, it kind of flowed really easily from the outside. I think you did hit your, your snags. And I do think one of those little snags or challenges in the process was that editing process that you went through. I think that asked a lot of you. I know for myself, I, I find editing very difficult. Um, but yes, what, what did the editing process entail? So that if there are any would be authors in the audience, they know what to expect. [00:18:11] Rowena: So look, there are two things there. My editing process, I will just say was very complex and overwhelming because I just wrote the book without having done any research about what kind of, like without knowing how to write a book. Um, I just kind of wrote what was in my head and in my heart and I didn't. I didn't know what I didn't know. And so therefore my editing was much more complex and I will come to that in a minute. But the, if I have to, to answer your question more succinctly, Shelley, it's a lot of rereading and then reviewing all the notes that I received from you as a beta reader and from the editor. Rewriting sections. So scenes that were, that didn't, um, there's a show don't tell. And I, some of my scenes were too much telling and not enough showing. And so then, and you'll know this when you read, if you read books, you know, you know, this stuff, but writing it's quite different from reading it. And so I didn't really know about how to write what I liked to read. Um, deleting things, lots of deleting things, lots of moving. Yeah, that's okay. There are some things that need to be deleted. Um, And then there are other things that are quite hard. So that's that whole killing the darlings. Comments that I think is it Stephen King talks about, um, I moved sections around. So there was sections like paragraphs that needed to be moved to be earlier in, or later in the book, I added chapters, removed chapters. I had to flesh out certain characters. I had to reveal more of backstory in different parts and at different times. So it was actually quite complicated and took a lot of time and effort and felt. Oh, at times that's when I probably, that was a big snag. I felt overwhelming. There were times when it felt like this is all too hard. [00:19:52] Shelley: Mm [00:19:53] Rowena: And rereading multiple times to check for consistency. So if I've deleted things and then I reference it later, that's not consistent anymore, I need to check all that kind of stuff. And for editing, did I mention rereading so much, so much rereading. So a lot of times like. Turning it into a document that I could then read on my iPad, was a completely different experience from reading it on my laptop screen. And so I would notice different things and I'd see if it, if it flowed or not. Um, [00:20:23] Shelley: So weird, hey, it's so interesting that it will be, and I experienced the same thing myself, like I was on Kindle and then I was on a PDF on my computer and yeah, you notice different things. And I reckon it's different also in print, you know, when you read it in print. [00:20:37] Rowena: Yes. Yes. Completely different each time, which is fascinating, right? Because you don't think of that when you are a reader. [00:20:44] Shelley: No, yeah, you just get the perfectly finished product. [00:20:48] Rowena: that's right, exactly, exactly. [00:20:50] Shelley: Yes. Okay, so you've, you've hinted at a few challenges. It was not all plain sailing. It started off, you know, and I think it has continued with a lot of joy and a lot of delight. But it has not been without its challenges, this process. So yes, tell us about that. A few of the things that you'd warn others who might be considering going down this path, some things that they should maybe look out for, and I'll just preface this or just, um, qualify this, and then I know this has been a learning process for you. So it will always be a learning process for everybody. You can't. Tell everyone to, you know, you won't be able to remove all the obstacles in that way. But yes, tell me about some of those challenging things that you've had to get your head around. [00:21:37] Rowena: Okay, so the first thing is it's a process. And by that I mean the whole thing. Writing, you need to have a process. You need to have a practice. Um, editing and most definitely publishing. And by a process I mean you have to be fairly systematic about it. I wasn't initially with my writing because as I said, I just kind of jumped all over the place, which was fun. [00:21:58] Shelley: Yeah. That was your intention, I think. [00:22:00] Rowena: That was my intention. Yep. I was, I honoured my intention, definitely, but. Yeah I think if I was sharing kind of things that for others to pick up on, the two biggest challenges were learning about what I needed to do after I'd written the book and then needing to rewrite and change a lot. That was very time consuming and frustrating. It was excellent for learning, but it was very bad for efficiency. So for any listener who thought they might like to write a book, I would say, don't do that. [00:22:33] Shelley: So I can imagine your next novel is going to be a lot more efficient. Is there going to be a next one? [00:22:39] Rowena: Oh yeah, there were, yes, there will be, but it's interesting, again, on just on that, I still am just having little scenes drop in or phrases or little interchanges where characters are having a conversation and that just drops in by itself. And then I have to come back to it later on and think, okay, well, that was, that's an awesome little scene I've just written, but what the, what do I put around it? [00:23:03] Shelley: uh huh, [00:23:03] Rowena: it's that, I think that might just be my process. I don't know. That's, anyway, that's what's happening where it's not quite waking me up at 4am, but it has the last couple of weeks I've had moments where I've been awake still at midnight when I'm trying to go to sleep and I've got little scenes playing in my head, so the second thing that I said, there were two big challenges. The second thing was being a novice. So my novice status. So I mentioned this before, not knowing what I didn't know. And then when I was attempting to learn that the information was not always clear cut or easy to follow. So, for example, with publishing, there are lots of different ways of doing it, and what's required for every publisher, for every platform, and for each type of book is completely different. So... To publish a book on Amazon requires very different information from say, publishing a book on Apple Books. Types of book is different too. So an e book is very different from a paper or like a print book and they have very different requirements and it's all manageable. But it's just getting my head, getting my head all around that and even things like knowing, that you have to do pre publication registration with the National Archives in Australia, then submitting a legal document copy, just knowing you have to do those and then finding the correct spots to do that and knowing what kind of format the documents need to be in. It's just, it's a learning process. [00:24:25] Shelley: Yeah. And then, and, and knowing that you're approaching it as a novice and, and that's the next time you will be just that level up from novice. Are there any other tips that you can share for others who'd be keen to write a book? Maybe, and maybe any book, fiction or nonfiction? [00:24:41] Rowena: Yes, of course I'd love to. So the first thing is probably seek some help from others who've done it before or are going through it now, because one of those books, Shelley, you recommended books by Joanna Penn, who writes, The Creative Penn, and some of her books were very, very helpful. So I wasn't ready for them initially, but when I did feel ready for them, they were excellent. They're very simple. They're straightforward. They're written in a very plain English version, which I liked. And they were very practical, which I also liked. So that felt like I had, some support. I also reached out to some other authors and that helped as well. But I think the most important tip would be have a goal and make a plan. And yes, I know very life coach of me, but let me explain, I think. If you plan to write a book, decide in advance as much as possible why you want to write that book. So for example, like mine, is it for fun? Or is it to help promote or grow your business? Is it to position yourself as an expert in your field? Or as one author friend told me, Uh, he was completely motivated by ego and it was just a deep desire to say, I'm an author. That wasn't the only thing he cared about initially. Yep. And I'm like, that's awesome. And all of those, whatever reason you've got is perfectly legitimate and great, right? But it's important to know your why, because that will influence. The next part, which is your timeframe, because when you know why you're doing something, you'll then know what your timeframe is, because if you're just doing it for fun, maybe your timeframe doesn't matter, but if you want to do it for a business purpose, maybe you've got a different timeframe around that because the timeframe then. Provides the motivation. So if there's no, if there's no timeframe, it's just fun. It's a hobby. So a different author friend of mine says that, um, he's retired now and many of his friends play golf. And he says, I tinker with my novel. That's what he does. That's his hobby. Um, so he doesn't have that pressure of a timeframe. He's just doing it cause he really loves it and it's fun. So they say that's the first thing is to know why you're writing the book. And then the last thing is. Writers often divide themselves into plotters, which is plotting out their novels, and pantsers, writing it by the seat of their pants. And I think you can be a plotter or a pantser whether you're writing fiction or non fiction. Um, probably non fiction, depending on the style of it, lends itself more to plotting, but maybe if you're writing a memoir, you could still be a pantser. That's fine. But even if you think you're a pantser, like I am kind of leaning that way, I think there's an advantage to having at least a loose plan. If not for the plot, because that might feel too... restrictive, but for sure around learning what you need to know, familiarizing yourself with key elements of the genre or the style of writing that you plan to do, and having that bit of a plan. And that's where I think I would learn from my mistakes. So next time I'll make sure I actually decide in advance what type of book I'm writing, and then look at and do some research around. What's that book meant to look like? You know, are there, are there certain key things that it should include rather than having to, rather than doing what I did this time, which is to write a bunch of stuff and then have to go back and change everything, which was upsetting and frustrating and very, very time consuming. So yeah, that'd be my tips. [00:27:54] Shelley: Such interesting learnings that you've taken away for your own writing and wonderful to be able to share with, listeners. And I think this is whether you want to write a book or not. I think knowing what goes on behind the scenes of a book really helps to amp up the enjoyment of the book when you're reading the book. And that almost brings me to another point that we've talked about a lot is that when you're reading a book, whether it's fiction or nonfiction, but particularly here fiction, you can draw some pretty profound life lessons from fiction. We often think it's the nonfiction, it's the how to books that you kind of, you know, learn from and you draw these life lessons from. And I, I just wanted to say that in our last episode, in episode 35, I shared several of the scenes , from Avoiding the friend Zone helped influence my thinking and they particularly helped me make quite a big decision that we had to make as a family, from, you know, the interactions of people in the scene, that it was their motivations and their character traits and that kind of thing that I could draw on, to make a decision in my life. So I'd just like to know, Ro, because it's something we talk about a lot, did this kind of element influence you as you wrote the book or did you just write and, and then you were like, okay, I'll, others can fill in the gaps or were there some lessons that you wanted to bake into the book that you wanted people to, to learn? [00:29:22] Rowena: Um, it's such a great question, Shelley. And I think it's probably one of those book club kind of questions, you know, like in book club, they talk about, you know, what did the authors think? And I will say that I just wrote it. [00:29:34] Shelley: Yeah. There [00:29:38] Rowena: but, um, I'm, it's, I'm thrilled that you, you were able to find some life lessons in that's fabulous, but I do suspect I will say I just wrote it, but I do suspect that probably like with all writers, elements of ourselves come into our writing. And maybe that's the case with the scenes that you found helpful. Um, it was more, maybe they were akin to things that I was already thinking about, or I write about in my coaching business or whatever. Um, that said, I am starting to make some notes for a couple of other books that may have more of an intentional inclusion of life lessons. So more of that idea around what questions am I trying to answer and how will I weave that through the, through the book, which again is something that I've learned probably in the last month by attending some author talks where I've gone, Oh, that's how other people do it. That's quite a nice way to do it. I should maybe try that. You know, people actually think about this. They don't just like put some words on a page. But look, that's their initial ideas. Because once I write things often change. So we'll [00:30:40] Shelley: Yes, but I love the kind of the merging of your sort of nonfiction coaching writing, I think it could be very exciting to kind of build those, those things into characters motivations and the way the plot unfolds, their goals, that kind of thing so super exciting, Rowena. Well, Ro, that's where we're going to have to leave things off today. Thank you so much for sharing your process with us. It was just so fun to get that behind the scenes. And a reminder to everyone listening, That you can purchase your copy of Avoiding the Friend Zone. We are going to put a link in the show notes, or you can go to rowenamabbott.com/books and you'll find all the links to find it on all the platforms that, uh, it is available on. And yeah. Thank you so much Rowena, for sharing this process with us. Yes, [00:31:34] Rowena: It has been super fun to be interviewed by you and it is a thrill to be here wearing my author hat, [00:31:40] Shelley: it's definitely been a fun shift in format and I think some of these things I've journeyed with you, but a few things that you've shared today have been surprises to me. So it's been really, really fun. So with that, if you'd like to go and find out more about Two Booked Up and get the show notes for this episode and a transcript, you can go to twobookedup.com and you'll find everything that you need there. And you'll find those links in the show notes. And if you'd like to find more of my writing, that's at shelleytonkinsmith.com and you can also go and have a look at my copywriting business at shelleysmithcreative.com. Rowena, where can everyone find you online? [00:32:22] Rowena: Probably the best place right now is either Instagram or my website, and both of which are just Rowena Mabbott. So I'm at Rowena Mabbott on Instagram, and rowenamabbott. com is my website. And it has been refreshed and updated a little bit, so it's got lots of information about the books. You've been listening to Two Booked Up with me, Rowena Mabbott. [00:32:53] Shelley: And me, Shelley Tonkin Smith. Please subscribe or follow Two Booked Up in your podcast player, and if you've enjoyed this episode, we'd love it if you'd leave a positive review.

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