Author Guest Post :: Natasha Ngan & Giveaway

13 September 2013

Today, I have the lovely Natasha Ngan on the blog, to tell us all about her journey to publication with her debut novel, The Elites, which has just been released into the wild! (if you've not read it yet then FEEL MY WRATH!!)
I've always wanted to be a writer. Ever since I knew what a book was and how to read them, being an author has been my only dream. Ok, so I had a few other silly ones when I was young, like become a famous actress or get headhunted by the MI5, but writing books - that's been the one true dream I've always had. I was always scribbling away as a child, creating fantastical worlds and extravagant stories, often dubiously similar to things I'd recently read. But the urge to write and tell stories was there, and I've always felt comfortable with words.
 The Elites first came to me as a single line of text - 'There is a rumour that the Elites don't bleed.' If you've read the book or the preview on my publisher's website, you'll know that that it's still the first line! In fact, the prologue, which is the first thing I wrote of the novel, is still pretty much the same. It sums up the whole idea I first had for the book - a futuristic city where people would be streamed at birth according to their DNA into different jobs and class levels, and would be implanted with something called a birth-chip, a tracker that allowed - and prohibited - them access to certain areas of the city depending on their jobs, and would keep a record of their movements throughout their lives. 
I guess I've always been interested in dystopian narratives. If you think about societies across the globe, nearly all have dystopian elements, and governments have many ways of controlling and coercing us, whether we are aware of them or not. This linked with my interest in DNA and human nature - the nature/nurture debate - and The Elites was born. The focus on racial prejudice in the book is also something I've always been interested in, especially coming from a mixed ethnic background and growing up in two different cultures. It's an issue very close to my heart. 
The Elites took me around four or five months to finish, doing a chapter a day, working about four days out of a week. With a job and a fashion blog (Girl in the Lens) taking up most of my time, and a health condition that means I can't always work as much as I'd like, I had to squeeze in writing wherever I could. Luckily, I can get a 2,000 word chapter done in two hours or so if I'm concentrating, so it didn't take too long. As The Elites was the first novel I'd ever written, I didn't know if any of what I was doing was 'right', but I just followed my instincts and wrote a story I'd like to read. I think that, despite the tonnes of writing advice and schedules out there, that's all you really can do. And if you write a story you love, it'll shine through in every sentence. 
My road to publication was surprisingly quick once I'd sent off queries to agents. I even had an offer of publication the very next day after I sent out fifteen or so queries! Then after meeting with a few agents I decided on the very lovely and talented Nicola Barr at Greene and Heaton. The whole process took just under a month. Then Nicola and I worked on some edits, she submitted to a few publishers, and a few days later the wonderful Hot Key Books made us an offer! To be honest, I was still getting over the shock of having a literary agent, so it took a very long time for it to sink in that I now had a publisher too (it still baffles me!). 
With less than a month until The Elites hits bookstores across the world now, I'm still trying to get my head around the fact that my book is soon to be a published novel. It's dizzying to think about. But dizzying in a good way. So if you're a writer too, I can only encourage you to do what I did and follow those dreams! Write that novel you've been cradling in your heart all these years. Work day and night and every minute you can to get your story out. It's hard, and it's draining, and sometimes you'll feel like what on earth is the point and garhhhh how can a few little words be just so damn difficult to write?! But all I can say is it really is the best feeling ever to see even just one reader saying they loved your book - I'm talking about you, Hawwa!
Ahh thank you Natasha. :) So now - for all of you who haven't read her amazing book yet *evil glare*, I am giving away a copy for one of you to win..and best of all, it's International! So get entering! :D But first, here's a picture of the lovely cover *strokes own copy* and a synopsis.

Series: Standalone. (do i hear a cry of joy? YES!)
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Published: September 5th 2013
Pages: 368
Genre: Young Adult (YA), Fantasy, Science Fiction
Author's Website: http://natashangan.com/
'There is a rumour that the Elites don't bleed.'
Hundreds of years into the future, wars, riots, resource crises and rising sea-levels have destroyed the old civilizations. Only one city has survived: Neo-Babel, a city full of cultures - and racial tension. 
Fifteen-year-old Silver is an Elite, a citizen of Neo-Babel chosen to guard the city due to her superior DNA. She'd never dream of leaving - but then she fails to prevent the assassination of Neo Babel's president, setting off a chain of events more shocking and devastating than she could ever have imagined. Forced to flee the city with her best friend Butterfly (a boy with genetically-enhanced wings), Silver will have to fight to find her family, uncover the truth about Neo-Babel and come to terms with her complicated feelings for Butterfly.
Packed full of adventure, romance, exoticism and the power of friendship, THE ELITES is a highly compelling and beautifully written novel from a supremely talented debut author.
the rules.
- Fill in the Rafflecopter below - please don't leave personal details in the comments section (for your own safety)
- This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL
- You must be 13 or older to enter.
- Nor, I, or the publishers are responsible for books lost or damaged in the post
- Aside from the mandatory entries  all others are optional but completing them could give you a better chance of winning :)
- Giveaway ends on 31st October 2013 at 12am.
- I will email the winner who must reply within 48 hours, otherwise the prize will go to someone else :(
- I'm going with the whole 'surprise!' element, so one of the mandatory entries is that you have to fill in your full address. This is because i can then just send your prize straight off so you will have a nice little package in the post if you win!..But don't worry...I'm not going to stalk you! *waggles eyebrows*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

18 comments:

  1. Wow, it's so incredible to hear how quickly Natasha managed to get both an agent and publisher on board. It makes me all the more eager to check out her book! I actually plan to pick it up very soon now. ;) Great interview!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know!!
      SAM YOU MEAN YOU HAVEN'T READ IT YET?
      I'm disappointed in you..;p

      Delete
  2. I love this guest post. Natasha, your publishing journey is amazing, and you totally deserve it. I have a proof of The Elites which I should be starting very soon! I like the surprise element, Hawwa ;) Whoever wins, congrats! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha thank you Jack AND YOU MUST READ IT SOON. why haven't you already?! :((
      Of course she deserves it. ;D

      Delete
    2. I will read it soon, I promise. Please don't shout at me! D:

      Delete
  3. I'm still waiting to be recruited by MI5... Or be picked up by a unicorn. Or suddenly sprout wings. Or be attacked by a demon so some hot guy tells me that I'm really a Shadowhunter.

    But, alas, I'll just have to settle for a writer too! ;)

    Great guest post - I've yet to read your book but I'm excited! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OH THAT LAST ONE RACHEL. #sotrue
      But yes you may have to..unless i come and pick you up, seeing as I'm a unicorn and all..;)
      Thanks and AAAGGGGGGHH ANOTHER PERSON WHO HASN'T READ IT!! *goes into a corner to cry*

      Delete
    2. YOU'RE A UNICORN?! ALL MY PROBLEMS HAVE BEEN ANSWERED!!! ;D

      *blushes* I really must get on to it soon! :O

      Delete
    3. I AM. and a sloth, and a cabbage (long story)

      *raises eyebrow* you better.. -_^

      Delete
  4. I haven't read The Elites yet but I'm desperate to! Awesome guest post Natasha, and awesome giveaway! :)

    Good luck everyone and congrats to whoever wins! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks and eeeepp...WHY MUST THERE BE SO MANY DISAPPOINTING PEOPLE IN THE WORLD RIGHT NOW? ;)

      Delete
  5. Natasha is lovely and it's all really inspiring. I'm currently reading a proof copy of The Elites and it's so the type of book I love and I'm really enjoying it even at early stages. Great guest post and good luck to whomever may win.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She is isn't she. :)

      OMG. *happy dance*

      O.M.G

      FINALLY.

      SOMEONE WHO IS ACTUALLY READING IT.

      YAAAAAAY YOU LIKE IT.

      COME FANGIRL WITH ME WHEN YOU'RE DONE.

      Thanks for stopping by. :)

      Delete
  6. So I'm not actually reading this at the moment, because my sister stole my copy before I could get round to it. (I just asked her if she was enjoying it and, because she is has her head buried in it, she just grunted at me. But I'm pretty certain it was a positive grunt.) However, I've been looking forward to reading it since FOREVER and every review has just hyped me up even more - I don't think I've seen a single negative review! Anyway, LOVED the post, and thanks for the giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The cheek of it! ;) But i'm glad that was a positive grunt! My brother tried to do that to me when i got Geek Girl and the second, Geek Girl: Model Misfit BUT I DIDN'T LET HIM *evil laugh*

      LOL. But aaaggghh try to read it soon and thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  7. Yay, this post actually made my day. I have also been filling journals since I was, like, 9 years old. It's reassuring to know that there is a glimmer of hope of us aspiring authors. Haha so thank you

    I also really love your blog design by the way. I shall be coming back here! :P

    http://smartestthingsheeversaid.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete

+ thank you so much for commenting, I really appreciate it
+ recheck, I always try to reply [honest!]