Written by JJ Barnes
I am delighted to bring you my interview with author Andreia Nobre about her book, The Grumpy Guide To Radical Feminism. She talks about her writing experiences, the reasons she wrote this book, and offers writing advice to support and encourage others.
Tell me a bit about who you are.
My name is Andreia Nobre. I am a Brazilian Journalist, from Rio de Janeiro, who lives abroad since 2004, when I moved to Portugal. I have now lived in the UK, in Spain and in France. I am passionate about human rights and anthropology. In recent years, I became more confident about writing humour, even though my first attempts to write stories were dark/mystery/dystopian tales.
When did you first WANT to write a book?
That would have been in my teenage years. As soon as I learned to read, I started reading one book after the other. Many people said to me that, if you read a lot, you always end up wanting to write, too. That’s definitely what happened to me.
I started writing poetry at a very young age, and my big sister compiled my poems into a file that could be printed later as a book when I was 19 years old.
When did you take a step to start writing?
By 10, I started writing poetry, which was my favourite reading style at the time. My essays at school were greatly praised and teachers would suggest I entered writing competitions, and I would indeed be always among the five first winners, from age 11 to 17.
At 14, I decided that I wanted to become a Journalist, especially because I was discouraged by many people around me about becoming a writer. Too tough, they would say. Besides, I had to be very good at writing. I thought that becoming a Journalist would give me the chance to write, and It was something that most people around me didn’t object that I could learn how to write news pieces.
But at 15, I started writing short tales, almost in secret. I have a troubling relationship with the “pen”, as writers say in Brazil about their work. Me and the pen were inseparable, yet I felt I was constantly pushed against it. Told, as a woman, that I should instead be a model on a catwalk or for photo shootings. But the pen kept calling me…
How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?
My first published book is called The Grumpy Guide to Quit Smoking. From the moment I started writing it until self-publishing, it took about a month. I got inspired to quit smoking with friends I have made online, who had asked me for tips to kick the habit. After talking for hours, I decided to quit, too. Only… that made me quite grumpy. Literally grumpy.
I started talking about it on social media, telling how I felt about the many tips out there in the most ironic way I could muster, to provoke laughter – maybe even to get more incentive. The result is a guide full of mockery about those tips, leading the reader to think about what methods to quit smoking would help them.
How long did it take you to complete your latest book from the first idea to release?
My second book was also self-published, and it took me another month from having the first idea to its publication. A month after publishing the Grumpy Guide to Quit Smoking, friends who enjoyed the humour in it were telling me they would love to read my take on the feminist theory – or radical feminism, as it is also known. I took that as a challenge, and started working on it straight away. Even though the second book is much longer and way more elaborated, I had the experience of the first book to speed things up.
Focusing on your latest release. What made you want to write The Grumpy Guide To Radical Feminism?
My latest release is called The Grumpy Guide to Radical Feminism. This time, I talk about the feminist movement, joking around the misconceptions around feminism. I try to dismantle some of the myths around it – like “feminists are men-haters” or that radical feminists are an extremist group, dropping quotes from some of the main proponents of the feminist theory to support my claims. All done in funny takes and a lot of ranting, to provoke critical thinking about the mainstream narratives that are carefully spread to silence women’s voices.
What were your biggest challenges with writing The Grumpy Guide To Radical Feminism?
For my first book, the main challenge was to talk about quitting a bad habit – smoking cigarettes – in a light way tone, without judging the reader or shaming them. The goal was to tell the reader that yes, quitting smoking can be difficult, nail-biting, so if they want to give it a try, a bit of humour could go a long way!
But my second book, The Grumpy Guide to Radical Feminism, was more a serious matter. We’re talking about a movement that has ensured a huge improvement to women’s lives all over the world, and yet there is still a lot to be done in order to end female oppression. It’s no joke to be a woman in a patriarchal system.
Yet… we should be able to mock men’s misconceptions about feminism. Humour can be a powerful tool to heal, but also to raise awareness of issues. So the challenge was to get the right tone, to make the reader smile, while informing them by laying out the foundations of the feminist theory.
What was your research process for The Grumpy Guide To Radical Feminism?
I have read many books written by radical feminists at that point, but I don’t have all those books here with me. Where it was relevant, while writing, I would remember a quote by a radical feminist, from a book I read, so I would search for them online (especially with the libraries closed during lockdowns) to get their exact words for a quote, instead of attempting to rephrase what they said with my own words.
How did you plan the structure of The Grumpy Guide To Radical Feminism?
First, I came up with the topics I wanted to cover, like the feminist theory, radical feminism, women’s oppression, compulsory motherhood, and so. Then, I would write about those topics under each subject. After I finished writing about all the topics I deemed important to be covered, I organized them in chapters, sometimes merging topics that seemed to go together, other times making new chapters, or moving them around so they would make sense for the reader.
Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did The Grumpy Guide To Radical Feminism need?
This was my second attempt to self-publish a book, so I did everything by myself. I found an online tool to help me to bring the book’s pages neatly organized into chapters, with illustrations and a feature that allows you to download the files you need for publishing your book in places like Amazon.
What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a book?
First, budding writers should think about jotting down their ideas. Put it down on a notepad, or a digital file. Even if it just “a story about a woman/man/child/dog/place etc that…” Write the whole sentence somewhere. Think of what you want to tell. Think of the way you have ever told a story to someone. What would you tell them? What do you think it can make them interested in your story?
Write everything down, like you were telling them about something you heard about. After that, you can started developing the topic. You have to be able to describe a moment, a person, a place. Then, put it to test! Choose a few friends and ask them to read, see what they can tell you about the topic and how the story was told. You can get great insight to make it into a page turner!
Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?
At the moment, I am working on the third book of the series, which I’m calling the Grumpy Guide to Motherhood. Apart from that, I felt the need to go back to my dark tales, so I’m expanding one them into a wider story, hopefully to be a short novel into a dystopian world.
And, finally, are your proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?
To finally become a writer, after so many people in the past tried to discourage it, it is indeed a huge source of pride for me. It gave me the confidence I need to trust my writing skills and my ability to improve them. Me and the pen, as I said before, have a relationship that I ignored for too long, and I have no intention of letting that side of me go dormant again!
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