Author Interview: Fantasy/Romance Co-Authors Lydia and Santina Casablanca @TDawsons

Lydia and Santina Casablanca are twin sisters who were born in Brisbane, Queensland Australia. They grew up mostly in New South Wales, moving around all the time and never staying in one place for more than three years. Growing up, Lydia and Santina were left at home a lot with nothing to do while their mother worked to provide for them. The twins had wild imaginations and would often play make believe where they lived in this world where only the supernatural inhabited it. They made up all kinds of characters and story lines, and in doing so they did not realize that they were creating magic.

When Lydia and Santina were 14 years old they noticed they were starting to forget the stories, the characters and the families they had made up and they didn’t want to forget, they wanted to always remember the adventures they went on when they played, pretending they were witches who lived in a magical place. The twins decided to put down all their adventures they had had, all the characters and the families they had made up on paper so they would always remember them.

While writing their book they were suddenly aware that they had a passion for it, and realized they didn’t want their stories to be hidden, to just be shared between themselves. They wanted to share the families they had created, the adventures, the characters with the world. The twins wanted to share their love of writing, their magic and write for a living.

Lydia and Santina worked on their first novel (The Dawsons) for ten years, adding to the story, maturing and professionalizing it, editing it and trying their best to make it as perfect as a manuscript can be before they approached the self-publishing company Xlibris in October 2016. The twins knew that self-publishing a book is not cheap so they saved up for years, working at Gloss Cosmetics, Coles, etc. to earn the money that would help them to publish their first novel.

Lydia and Santina’s book The Dawsons was finally self-published with Xlibris Publishing in April 2017. The twins went through a crazy, exhilarating ride making their book a reality, and haven’t regretted taking all the nerve-racking risks in the hopes of being successful. They have been trying to get as many people as possible to know about their book, contacting radio and television stations, bookstores, newspapers and social media in the hopes that their dreams will come true.
The twins are now 24 years old and are living on the Central Coast, New South Wales. Lydia is currently working on the second installment to The Dawsons. She is also working on the first novel by contacting anyone she can to popularize their book. Santina helps Lydia with the marketing of The Dawsons whenever she can.



Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  When did you come up with the idea to write your book?

When Santina and I were children we were left at home a lot with nothing to do while our mother worked to provide for us. We had wild imaginations and would often play make believe where we lived in this world where only the supernatural inhabited it. We would pretend that we were witches who lived in a magical place. When we were 14 we decided to put down all the adventures we had had, all the characters and the families we had made up on paper so that we wouldn’t forget them, and in doing so we realised that we had a passion for writing.

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

It wasn’t that difficult at first because it wasn’t a serious venture. It wasn’t something that we were going to show anyone. We knew how we wanted The Dawsons to start and we knew how we wanted it to end, so the writing part of it was a breeze. Though when we realized that we loved writing and that our story was too awesome to keep to ourselves it became serious and more difficult. We wanted our book to be perfect, from spelling to grammar to a never boring moment. We wanted it to be that perfect that we spent 10 years on it before approaching a publisher. When writing The Dawsons it never seemed to be good enough. It could always be better. We would write and rewrite, and rewrite again until we were satisfied with our work. That was the hard part, and so … frustrating. But of course it was all worth it in the end.
For the writers out there who are reading this, our advice to you in writing a book would be to set goals. Type out or write down the plans you have for your book. Be organized. Know where you’re going with your story. Another really good tip would be to pick someone who is dead honest and knows how to spell very well and knows their grammar and punctuation. Get them to read your book when it’s finished, before you publish it so you can take on their criticism and fix the errors that might be found. And then of course get a professional editor. Really important. You want your work to be as perfect as humanely possible.

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

We self-published with Xlibris. Our best friend Kara saw an advertisement from Xlibris on Facebook. She knew we were in the works of finishing The Dawsons­ so she tagged us in it. We filled out a form after being directed to Xlibris’ website and they contacted us the next day.

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

Not really. We did our research. It was after we published that we had a few surprises. Marketing our book has been very expensive so if you are a writer reading this and are thinking of self-publishing I would keep that in mind. That is if you want to go the whole way and it is your dream to be successful in a writing career. Yes, you have the rights to all of your work (depending who you self-publish with) but you have to do mostly everything, even if you pay to have your book marketed. You need to sell your book and yourself to get it out there. You have to do the hard work too. And it’s a constant thing.

Q: What other books are you working on and when will they be published?

At the moment we are working on the second installment to The Dawsons, currently called No Turning Back. We’re hoping to have it published within the next 2 years.

Q: What’s one fact about your book that would surprise people?

We wrote our book when we were 14. A lot of people seem to be surprised by that.

Q: Finally, what message are you trying to get across with your book?

Well, as Alfred Lord Tennyson put it – ‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?
Thank you for choosing us to interview. Readers, if you’re a fan of The Dawsons and are dying to find out what happens next you can follow us on our Facebook page (The Dawsons) to get the latest.

 About the Book:

Author: Lydia and Santina Casablanca
Publisher: Xlibris
Pages: 432
Genre: Fantasy/Romance

Witnessing the horrific demise of everyone he knew and loved has made Derrick Dawson strong, but it has also made him cold and broken. Tormented by his past and fears for the future, Derrick drowns himself in alcohol and drugs to dull the pain he can’t seem to escape. When Rose, the granddaughter of his sworn enemy, suddenly appears in his life, his world turns upside down. The wall he has built to protect his heart is crumbling. Will Derrick ignore what he feels or will he let the wall fall?
Francesco has felt alone and miserable all his life. The loss of his family and the harshness he receives from his constantly intoxicated older brother has left a void inside him that he thought he would never fill. Until a young princess named Rosa stumbles into him and changes his life forever. There’s only one thing that stands in his way—King Antonio has forbidden Rosa to have anything to do with a Dawson.


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