Living with vampires

Knowing Belinda Topan

Hello Wottareaders! today we are interviewing Belinda Topan! Her book, Living with Vampires, is an amazing fun story, a girl sharing a flat with 3 vampires! sounds cool uh? you can chek her book here:

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But before you start reading her book (which if you like vampires you definitely should by the way), let’s get to know her better shall we? let’s go:

The woman

Who is Belinda Topan, not the writer, the woman. What can you tell us about you?

Hmm, what can I say about myself that isn’t incriminating . . . I’m kidding. I am a bit of a joker, I like to use humour as my choice of weapon when meeting new people or just in a general sense – writing or Q&As. The other side of me is I am an introvert, animal lover and a tad cynical with the world, who loves to sit down, play videos or write, depending on how I am feeling and enjoy a good cup of coffee. I am a coffee addict. I am someone who loves the city life, so much is going on, so many different people, events, the nightlife is diverse but mysterious at the same time. I find it mesmerising, I can picture my vampires lurking in the shadows waiting for their next meal.

Where are you from? Has your Country influenced your stories somehow?

I am from Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. I’ve always read vampire, fantasy, supernatural stories based in either America and Europe but never here, and if they are based here, it’s usually in the sense of real-life stories or a fictional story based on the author’s life experience migrating to Aus. There was never a supernatural story – or a fantasy-like story I have seen that includes Aus. In terms of influence, our slangis a big one – we use words much differently here, and it confuses a lot of outsiders and swearing, apparently. Plus I want to break stereotypes, we don’t ride kangaroos hahaha. Dropbears though . . . well, I’ll let the readers figure that out.

If your wondering about Melbourne, I have visited the city three times and in those times the things I have written don’t do the city justice. It’s so big and the coffee capital of Australia, a place where the arts are more appreciated then up in Brisbane. But I’m not lying when we say four seasons in one day, seriously that city has bi-polar weather. Plus it’s cold – I don’t do cold weather.

Writers are such for different reasons, which was your thing that made you decide you wanted to become a professional writer?

In truth – I like the idea that I can create stories and share them with people and make this a full-time thing would be amazing. Cause the idea of having to work for someone or sit behind a desk, taking orders from someone is a living nightmare for me. I don’t consider that living, having to work for the man, full time, 38hrs a week – no thanks. It scares me, as I think my freedom would be taken, so I guess that’s another reason, I call the shots, no one else does. The third reason is, I’ve always had such an active imagination when I was young, a hero going to slay the big evil vampire, adored by many for their heroics but as I grew older and more cynical (lol), I started to sympathise with the vampires more, preferred them more than my own human characters.

Any non-book related hobbies you want to share with us?

Apart from video games . . . I am a muso lover – though I do get impatient when learning an instrument, I love listening to it and supporting Aussie bands and going to gigs. I do love going to comic con conventions and food markets and going to high teas (does that count as a hobby?) I am a foodie, I like to cook dishes that I haven’t tried before or re-make cause it was so lovely. I also garden a bit on the side, growing blueberry bushes and strawberries with a few indoor plants. Travelling is on the cards but at a much later date.

One book, one movie, one song, one food, one sport and one videogame?

Tough choice as there is so many . . . (cries for days):

VideoGame: Dragon Age Inquisition (Replayed it 4 times)
Song: Little less sixteen candles, a little more touch me – Fall Out Boy (I am a simple lady, I see a vampire-themed music video, I love it, but I am also a FOB fan).
Sport: I don’t do sports, so I’m gonna do anime.
Anime: One piece (Zoro is my favourite character).
Movie: Pride & prejudice (2005)
Book: Dracula (has to be Dracula).
Food: this is mean – but If I have to choose – roast chicken dinner can’t go wrong with that. *Drools*.

Aside from being an author, what is for you the perfect job ?

You think about how you would become a full-time writer no matter what – it fills you with determination. (Undertale reference, sorry).

But if it is not meant to be, I would be running my own business of sorts, calling the shots as someone else telling me what to do a is a big no. Like a café – with cats – a cat café as I adore them and coffee.

You love vampires, would you let Count Dracula bite you?

Hahaha, love that! But it’s a no for me, even if the main vampire in my series asked for a bite, I would say no. I’ve always stated if vampires were real, I would become a vampire hunter, I don’t want to be the helpless victim or be the girls who beg to bed rescued. I would be buffy with the stake.

If you had to define yourself just using one sentence of your novels, which one would be?

Oof one sentence. . . To best define me, I did write my own quirks in a scene in Living with Vampires, and it’s perfect for me, as it is me.

‘Neil admired how carefree she was then, loving the present moment, dancing out whatever scene was in her head.’

– Neil about Valeria (Living with Vampires).

I do like to dance.

The writer

I’d like to know about your first steps, the very first day you decided to become a professional writer, what made you do it?

It was high school, and with the active imagination I had, I thought it would be good to start a story. I tried writing many little stories, but none that were good. Some were similar to twilight (apparently), but it deviated from the main plot I always carried around in my head. I was scared to show the real parts of my imagination, and It was only till year 10 I decided to run with it, but still deviated quite a bit and mainly wrote to deal with the hard times that was highschool.

As I have graduated and been out of school for some time, I no longer write with the anger I once held and now focus on the main plot I had held back for some time. As to what made me do it, not sure, all I know is I have a story in my head, and I want to share it with the world.

Do you have any ritual for writing? Any kind of habit or goals to achieve every day?

Some rituals include me with a pair of headphones, a dramatic song or soundtrack and I go from there if I want a really emotional scene. Badass scenes are fighting songs and warrior soundtracks. Others are when I am in a quiet space, and I begin to think over what I have recently written – I begin to have a conversation with that character, and the scene continues on.

I do try to write every day, but as for a set goal, I don’t have one. I see it as if I write, even for only a little bit, I still have contributed something to keep moving forward with the story, even If it takes just a little bit longer than most days.

Do you take real people you know and put them in your stories?

*sweats*
No . . . .
*Laughs nervously*
Yeah . . . I do, sometimes I look at an individual and wonder what would they be like if they were some scary mob boss or how would they react to a situation. I also make it a fun challenge to anyone who can pick up the references I leave, usually with names (I give them different names but the meaning matching with the person’s personality) or specific characteristics – like hair colour.

What advice would you give new writers on how to delve into creative fiction?

Hmm, I say don’t fret what other writers are writing about, focus on your story and what you want to convey. It’s always good to read for reference but never think it has to be good as that book or be considered a piece of art when you first start. Take it slow, learn different writing styles and develop your own, get to know your characters, who are they, and why should the reader care about them as much as you do. Cause the most fun I have is to develop the world, it’s lore and how things work and tie in together. Knowing that is a huge help when starting to put together a story, so you don’t mix your facts up when laying the bare bones of the world down.

Which would you say was your best and your worst moment as a writer?

Best: People reading my works and genuinely liking them and getting involved and loving the charactersI have created. Oh and laughing at the funny scenes I wrote, I like to think I am funny.

Worst: finding motivation, sometimes life can be a tad cruel and take me out and bring me back to reality. (rude if you ask me.)

Let’s talk about procrastination, what is the most absurd thing you’ve been doing when you should be writing?

I think this whole COVID thing, I literally haven’t written since the pandemic. It is the greatest time and best opportunity to write and be creative but the motivation, just washes away, and I’ve been distracting myself with animal crossing and reading. Not the most absurd but is the biggest time I have gone off from writing. I don’t think there have been moments when I don’t write unless I am ready to do so. But I can happily say I am getting back on the horse, feels like I have gone through the seven stages of grief.

book

The Books

Your book, Living with Vampires, narrates the story of Valeria, a girl who shares a flat with 3 vampires, how did you come up with such a story?

Don’t laugh . . . but it was the sims. I just got number 4 with the vampire DLC and created three male vampires and a female human. Kinda thought how funny it would be if this was a story – well it didn’t start out as a story, more like scenarios of what it would be like to live with vampires – would they try to eat her, would they kill in front of her, would they make her life a living hell?

Would she have some of her food missing as they thought it would be interesting to try, or teach them how to use technology, argue with what the times are like now compared to a hundred years ago. Things like that, I did it for fun, just something to giggle at when I wrote it, I only developed a story as I wrote Brooklyn’s backstory, thinking it’s time to get a little more serious while keeping the humour alive or try too at least.

One Of A Kind is the first volume of a series, when will the next instalment be released?

Ah yes, One Of A Kind, It was bad hahaha, like really bad. So it’s under a re-write, and you can still read the first (bad version) for free. I do have the second; Anything but ordinary posted online, but that isn’t even finished as the re-write may change the second book. But the multi-verse stays, as it is fun to explore other worlds in the second book. But I can say this is all underway and will make a comeback soon.

What are you writing right now? Do you plan to write something not related with vampires someday?

Other than the re-write of One Of A Kind – I have written some backstories to two of my beloved characters and another backstory to the big bad vampire King. But something not related to vampires . . . well, I don’t know . . . I can’t really think of anything that doesn’t include them. It’s not in my nature to deviate, but if I would, it would be a romance . . . who I am kidding, vampires will be in that too, hahaha.

I was nice to have Belinda topan and know her better, thank you!

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