I always plot a new book in my head, even if I’m working on a different story.

If I’m not in the middle of a new project, editing my current book, or in the process of publishing a finished book on Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), Amazon’s independent publishing programme, I am constantly thinking about what I am going to work on next. I might pass a billboard or a poster and a new crazy idea starts forming in my head. I end up thinking about it all day, then have to outline the entire story and create characters immediately. My brain never shuts down.

Joanna Mazurkiewicz

Joanna Mazurkiewicz

I can blast the first draft in about two weeks and I don’t look over it all until it’s finished.

I developed over the years my own style of writing quickly and efficently. I just keep going until the book is done and I never stop to go over what I have written, otherwise I would get distracted. Then I begin the editing process; it usually takes another two weeks. By the time I’m done, my brain is seriously bleeding and I need a break–that’s when new ideas start coming in again. It’s a vicious creative cycle.

I’m also a sucker for romance.

Everything I write is somehow tied into two people falling madly in love with each other. I have always loved romantic comedies, romance novels and I spend most hours in the library looking for heart wrenching gems to pour over. I like seeing how the epic relationship of two people progresses, and I also try to figure out what kind of obstacle I can create to stand in their way. I write in a variety of different genres–contemporary, paranormal, fantasy, contemporary romance and erotic romance.

I have a pen name.

A few years ago, I wanted to write an erotic romance when everyone was obsessed with Fifty Shades of Grey. I decided to use a pen name to make sure that my readers wouldn’t get confused. I have three full length novels under the name of Josie Marks and one short novella in the same series. It’s very steamy and raw, definitely not for young readers.

I live on the coast.

When my partner and I bought an apartment in Hayes Point, we fell in love with the view and the enormous space. Every day, I can walk right outside the complex and I find myself on the beach with a spectacular view over the Bristol Channel. I enjoy walking around the grounds with my one year old daughter, and looking at the sea. It’s always relaxing and peaceful. I used the exact same setting in one of my pen name books, and readers often email me, saying how much they enjoyed the fictional world that I created.

English isn’t my first language.

I was born in Poland and came to the UK when I was nineteen. I have been studying English since I could remember, but in the beginning I struggled to adapt to reading and writing.. Even now, I make a lot of basic mistakes, and I would never show my first draft to anyone until it’s fully edited and tweaked. After I make sure that I have done what I can, I hand the manuscript to my editor or beta readers. They help me to polish it and pick up any inconsistencies or errors. Sometimes, it’s really hard to put my thoughts across because of the language barrier.

I started mentoring a newly published author after we met online.

I interact with all of my fans on Facebook, so after one reviewed several of my books and joined my street team, we began talking on a regular basis. She was already writing her first book, but needed a little push to actually finish it. I encouraged her to write every day and plot out the scenes so she could get the words out faster. A few weeks later, she not only finished the book, but also completed a prequel to her series. This way she could get people to sign up for her mailing list, and get her name out there as well.

I wrote a children's book when I was in high school.

I was never interested in children’s fiction, but after a few failed attempts of trying to write a good fantasy book, I sat down and wrote something different. It was a story about two little naughty girls–Karolcia and Margolcia –and the crazy adventures they had with their father. Recently, my teacher reminded me that she still had this book on her computer; it’s written in my native tongue, Polish.

When I was in school, I didn’t favour literature as a subject and my grades were always below average, despite spending all my free time in the library.

Then something changed when I went to college. I started to really enjoy reading books that were in the curriculum, becoming more interested in the lessons and I even signed up to write articles in the school paper.

I’m looking forward to having my books translated into Polish.

My friends and family keep asking me when they will be able to read my books in their native tongue and I never know what to say. In the past, and as a self-published author, I hadn’t even considered translations. I have done some research, and now I know that this can expensive and very time consuming. It may change in the future.

Joanna Mazurkiewicz’s book Wyvern Awakening is shortlisted for the UK Kindle Storyteller Award, a prize recognising newly published work across any genre. 

The winner will be announced at the end of July and will receive a £20,000 cash prize, a marketing campaign and the opportunity to have their book translated.