I have had a lot of interesting talks with Devika Fernando, an acclaimed author of Saved in Sri Lanka, When I See Your Face: A Second Chance at Love, Kaleidoscope of Hopes: A Second Chance Workplace Romance, and Forbidden, which she has authored with Mike Wells. In the past week, I managed to interview this wonderful author on writing, publishing, and her books. And to her readers and mine, I present this transcript. Hope she is a great motivator to you all as she has been to me.
1. Tell us about yourself.
I’m a German citizen, but my mother is from Sri Lanka. While I was born here on this fascinating, tiny island in the Indian Ocean, I spent the first 19 years of my life in Germany and consider it my home. I think my European and Asian sides have influenced not only my character but also my writing. Want to know what makes me tick? I love reading, writing, animals, learning languages and communicating with people from all around the globe. I hate spiders, injustice, and ignorance.
2. When did the writing bug bite you? And how far do you think you have come from when you started?
It bit me at the tender age of 8 when I wrote my first short story. Throughout the years, I kept to short stories (childhood) and then poems (teen years). The idea to really write my first novel hit me in 2013. I think I’ve come pretty far since then, having published 5 books and polished my skills. But the learning will of course never stop.
3. Tell us about your books.
I write contemporary and paranormal romance novels. They’re sensual and sweet rather than explicit. My debut was “When I See Your Face”, which went on to become an Amazon bestseller and is currently available as a free download. Then followed another romance novel titled “Kaleidoscope of Hopes”, which is all about second chances. I have also published “Saved in Sri Lanka”, a multicultural island romance set in Sri Lanka. “Playing with Fire” is Book 1 of the FIRE Trilogy and a paranormal romance. Book 2 and Book 3 will be released next month. Something I’m particularly proud of is coauthoring the romantic thriller “Forbidden” with bestselling American author Mike Wells.
4. Why do you think you write?
Because I can’t not write. It’s in my blood. And probably because I love reading so much.
5. I see that you have published many books, most of them belonging to romance and paranormal, romance being the key component. Do you think you will be able to write something without a romantic element?
I think I could, but I don’t want to. Even if I fulfil my dream and write a science-fiction / dystopian or YA novel, I’ll still include a romantic element.
6. Why did you choose self-publishing? Why not traditional?
I love the freedom and flexibility of it, and fair payment doesn’t hurt either.
7. Other than writing, what constitute your other passions?
Books, books and books. Oh, did I mention books? And my mini zoo currently consisting of 4 dogs, 2 cats and a tank with ornamental fishes.
8. What advice do you have for young and aspiring writers?
Read, read, read – because you’ll gain a vast knowledge about all kinds of things, not least about writing. And write, write, write – because practice makes perfect.
9. I see that you have co-authored a few books. Can you tell us how your experience was? What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?
It was a challenge indeed, but also lots of fun. Mike initiated the project and was in charge of it. We made sure to communicate regularly and clearly all throughout, and to have a common framework to build on. Even though his style and mine differ and it was sometimes challenging to adapt to or work with what the other had written, we met in the middle. It was a learning experience, and I’d love to do it again.
10. Do you believe in writer’s block? Do you have them?
No. Mostly it’s just excuses, the author dealing with (suppressed) problems, or life getting in the way. If I ever do get stuck or my heart is not into it, I just plough on resolutely. Sometimes it helps to write something else or to read what I’ve already written or to look at pictures for visual inspiration.
Almost as soon as Devika Fernando could write, she imagined stories and poems. After finishing her education in Germany and returning to her roots in Sri Lanka, she got a chance to turn her passion into her profession. Having lived in Germany and in Sri Lanka with her husband has made her experience the best (and the worst) of two totally different worlds – something that influences her writing. Her trademark is writing sweet, yet deeply emotional romance stories where the characters actually fall in love instead of merely falling in lust.
What she loves most about being an author is the chance to create new worlds and send her protagonists on a journey full of ups and downs that will leave them changed. She draws inspiration from everyone and everything in life. Besides being a romance novelist, she works as a self-employed German web content writer, as a translator, and as a faithful servant to all the cats, dogs, fish and birds in her home. When she’s not writing, she’s reading or thinking about writing.