Who's Your Literary Inspiration?

Literary inspiration is all around us - we find it sweeping through the night sky, hiding behind secret doors, and prancing through autumnal fields... Each of these influences are then characterised and developed in our personal writing style by the authors that we hold as our own inspiration.

But who did these authors who influence us so heavily rely on for inspiration themselves? And do you, in being influenced by one author, subliminally become influenced by their influencer?
Circles of Influence

An Interview with WEbook's October Challenge Winner - ZanneP

In October we set our WEbook members a writing challenge to celebrate Hallowe'en.  This was the first challenge where we offered an iPad mini to our winning author... unsurprisingly, the submission response was overwhelming! 

We had such a diverse variety of brilliant entires, which made it incredibly difficult to choose a winner - not to mention the fact that our judges were suffering with such vivid nightmares from reading all your spooky tales, that it was hard to get them to recount the best to us without falling into a gibbering heap! - But, after much deliberation it was clear to everyone that one entry stood above the rest. 

Not only did it fill the challenge brief perfectly, but it wowed us with it's unique and transfixing style of prose - this month's winner was:

Our winner - ZanneP

Zanne was kind enough to have a chat with us about the story, her inspiration behind it and the process she goes through as a writer...

WEbook: Congratulations on being selected as the winner of our October challenge Zanne! Could you tell us about what inspired you to write your winning submission, Luna's Reaper?

Zanne: First of all, a huge thank you for choosing my story to be the winning submission. There were many other fabulous entries and it’s amazing – not to mention a great honour – to have been considered up there amongst them. So having still not quite got over the shock of winning, I can tell you I have absolutely no idea at all where it came from. It just kind of evolved.  That image of the moon reflected in the water was the starting point, the same as in the story. I love how light has this utterly magical effect on even the most hideous pile, but it was only on reaching the end that the fracturing of the souls part stared me in the face and was a bit of a eureka moment. Keeping the writing in the style of the opening, or at least close enough for it not to be too jarring for the reader also got me in the groove.

WB: Do you think that this is part of a story that you would like to continue writing into a full-length book?

ZP: Not really, because I think what differentiates a short story from a scene from something longer is that it is complete in itself. My intention was to tell a ‘complete’ story.

WB: Luna's Reaper is told from the point of view of the Reaper's victim - could you give us more of an insight into the background of the characters?

ZP: That’s an interesting question. The characters are deliberately nameless and by the same token almost without individuality. It’s more about the taking of something important by someone who is all-powerful from someone who has no power to prevent it. The relationship between them is vague and ambiguous, and also turns the tables by having a woman overpowering a man to take something valuable from him.

WB: The way in which you describe and set the scene for Luna's Reaper is absolutely stunning and encapsulating for the reader. How do you approach the construction of your scenes when sitting down to write? Do you take inspiration from things you see around you or is it constructed from images within your mind?

ZP: Both I think – the images in my mind are basically things I’ve seen because my background is in Fine Art so I’m always looking at stuff. When starting to write something, the scene is vividly clear in my head, but my aim is to suggest a scene rather than describe it absolutely. The interpretation by the reader plays the most important part.

WB: How long have you been writing for?

ZP: Well...as a child, my sister owned a book written and illustrated by a 10 year old. We would rubbish the thing, although I was secretly rather impressed. Anyway, my sister pronounced that even I – meaning my six-year-old self – would be able to do better. That was a challenge not to be ignored so I’ve been trying on and off ever since to emulate the success of that particular 10 year old by getting something what-I-wrote published. And I continue to try...

WB: What is your favourite genre to write in?

ZP: Normally teen fiction, but so far, I’ve not submitted any for the challenges as they're meant to be a challenge, aren't they?

WB: How long have you been a member of WEbook and what is your favourite aspect of the site?

ZP: I joined WEbook way back in 2008 when it was a completely different place. My favourite aspect has to be the people. Not everyone will agree with my entry winning but people have been unbelievably gracious to me since and I’m very grateful for that, as there can be a tendency to forget that there’s a real person behind the avatar sometimes. Having said that, I value honest crit. There’s a special relationship between a writer and his or her inner editor. In my case, I’ve learned to respect my inner editor, but it hasn’t always been so as the former used to definitely overpower the latter. It’s only because reviewers have had the courage and the insight to offer honest crit, effectively helping me understand what my inner editor is.

Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us Zanne - and congratulations again on being our October Challenge winner! 

If you think you could be our next winner, submit your Challenge entry into our November Challenge - this month it's in honour of NaNoWriMo and it's up to you to wow us with your best beginning or ending chapter.... If you are good enough to become our November winner, not only could you win an iPad Mini, but you could also have the opportunity to become our next WEbook Author! 

The WEbook Team

The First WEbooks Have Been Printed!!

WEbook has come a long way in recent months…

Not only have we completely re-designed and re-launched the site itself, but we’ve also taken a bold step into uncharted territories… we are doing what many members always thought we should – we are making the publication of WEbook books a reality.

We are now proud to be able to say that we are a publisher. We publish and we print real WEbooks, by real WEbook members, for the world to buy through our WEbook store!

Not only are we now a publisher, but we’ve got a simply brilliant range of titles on the way – Broken by Kimberley Reeves, The Shadow Spy by Robert Lance, House of Thistles by Lanette Kauten, Camp 417 by FinneanNilsen Projects, Lifelights by AlinaVoyce, Dasvidaniya Rodina by D.S.Loren, Chaos Unleashed by AlecSillifant, Moonfall by Vanessa Morton and last, but certainly not least, Skunge by Jeff Barr.

‘“On the way?” haven’t they been saying that for ages?’

Well yes we have, but there’s a good reason for that – we’ve been trying to find the best way that we can supply WEbook titles to the store, to our customers and to our authors. We went through a lot of different options, but because the last thing that we wanted to do was compromise on quality we decided that the best way to print our titles was to find a POD printer that outshone all the others. 

We searched high and low before deciding upon CPI’s Antony Rowe. Not only is Antony Rowe perhaps the happiest factory we have ever come across - think Santa’s elves but without the silly hats and operating much heavier machinery - but it’s also a place where we know that the quality of our WEbooks is assured.

 But what’s POD?

We’re glad you asked – POD is short for ‘Print on Demand’ – this means that we are able to print our titles only when someone wants to have one. Not only is this great for the environment, but it’s also nice on everyone’s pockets - including the customers’. When someone makes a purchase from the wonderful new WEbook store, a very complicated piece of code sends a message to Anthony Rowe.

Their machines whirr into action; the book is printed, bound, packaged, and sent out directly to the customer!

Easy as ABC… or is it?

This week, we took a trip down to Eastbourne where Antony Rowe is based to see our very first WEbook title come hot off the press!

The Factory Floor at Antony Rowe

The Making of the Very First WEbook Book

To make any book, there are a number of important stages that the book-to-be (or paper) has to go through before it’s ready to be shipped off and delivered to its eagerly 
awaiting reader. Each book is made specifically for each individual order, so when you order a WEbook think about it going through this process - especially for you!

To begin with, the inside of the book is printed onto individual A3 sheets of paper, prepared as blocks. The blocks of paper you can see in the picture were fed into the machine, and all of the wonderful words written by our WEbook authors printed onto the paper - which then became the pages of our very first WEbook!

Cleverly, and thanks to some seriously snazzy technology, every sheet of paper is given its own individual barcode, which is scanned at each stage of production – so there is never a chance of anything getting lost...

So, now that all the pages were printed, it's on to the cover!

To make the cover, Anthony Rowe use a really special piece of kit called an iGen 3 – this printer is so special that it’s kept locked away in a sealed room - and only a select few are allowed inside… (The WEbook team were lucky enough to be some of those people for the day!)

The iGen 3 then printed out the cover for our book, which was then laminated as we’d requested – clever!

(If you look closely at the picture below you can see some of those barcodes we mentioned before!)
Now that we had the two most crucial elements of the book – the pages and the cover – we were ready to bind…

Binding is a different process for paperback and hardback books, at Antony Rowe, the hardback binding is done by hand (more on this later!), but as we were creating paperbacks to begin with we took a closer look at how this happened first.

The pages are fed by hand into the machine by the nice gentleman in the picture on the right (we cannot guarantee that this exact gentleman will make your book, but we can guarantee that someone else equally as nice will be the one to do it).

Then the binding machine did its magic and out popped… the uncut bound book!

Now that we were almost there, the excitement was getting to us a little and the only thing left to do was to trim the book down to size.

So, we took the book into the cutting room where lots of people sit with giant pairs of scissors and cut the books to size by hand… um, no, not really. Actually there’s another fantastic machine that did this automatically for us back out on the factory floor…

The cutting machine was operated by another lovely gentleman, who kindly explained to us that it was best to keep our fingers clear while it was doing its cutting…

The machine knows exactly how small (or big) to cut each individual book because those clever barcodes keep all of the information that’s needed for this on them. There’s no opportunity for error here!

Once the book has been cut down to size… well, that’s it! 
We’ve got a finished book:

So there you have it, the first ever WEbook, printed by Antony Rowe!
Once we’d jumped around for joy for a while, we were directed over to the hardback binding area to see how this process is done…

As we mentioned before, each hardback book is made by hand - in the image below you’ll be able to see one of the Antony Rowe workers measuring up the hardback cover for another client’s book.

When we start to make hardback WEbooks available to buy, which we will be doing very soon, this is exactly how your copies will be made too!

Once the process of sizing up the cover was complete, the book was fed into the casebound cover machine and the hardback binding was done, ready to be fed through the binder and then into the cutting machine - simple really.

So, that’s how WEbooks are made! Every time you order a WEbook title from the store, you can envisage your individual order being created especially for you by the wonderful team at Antony Rowe…

We’d also like to take this moment to thank the team at Antony Rowe for helping us to make this possible and for completely bowling us over with the fantastic operation that they run.

The WEbook Team

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