Author Interview: Andrea Ulibarrena, Author of One Wish
Hey y’all! Today I’m back with something a bit different—I’m interviewing my friend Andrea Ulibarrena about her novella One Wish. I beta read this book back in 2019 and cried over it, and Andrea self-published it in 2020, so now all of y’all can read it and cry too. I cannot recommend this novella enough, it’s just so sweet and fun!!
One Wish is the story of aspiring playwright Isamae Allickson, and her life as she falls for her friend Nahlia, grows up, and chases her dreams. You should read it if any of the following appeal to you:
🌈 – soft sapphic girls (a distinguished lesbian + a chaotic disaster lesbian)
🎭 – theatre (the lovely descriptions of which warmed my theatre kid heart)
🧙♀️ – a girl who make potions
⭐️ – a girl who feels like an outsider
🌷 – coming of age stories
🦋 – absolutely gorgeous writing
⏱ – a story spanning years
💕 – a romance that transcends time
Hi Andrea! Happy to have you here for an interview about your amazing novella! To start us off, can you tell us what One Wish is about in five words or less?
Hey! It’s such an honour to be here, thanks for inviting me onto your blog!
Oof, that’s a hard question… I’m going to go with “magic, romance, writing, wishes, growth” 🙂
Love that! Can you tell me what inspires you as an author? Either specifically in regards to One Wish, or in regards what generally speaking inspires you to write?
I write because if I didn’t, the stories in my head would probably drive me insane! My mind is full of stories and I guess it’s a natural drive to want to share them with the world. I write principally for myself (since most of my first drafts go unfinished), so really I just write for the fun of it – for the absolute pleasure of seeing a vague, blurry idea in my head that I love with all my heart turn into words on a page, something tangible and whole and real. Finishing a first draft and realising I’ve made it is the best feeling in the world.
I’m not entirely sure where my ideas come from – I could be doing anything, just minding my own business, and suddenly the hint of an idea will surface in my mind, making me go, “Oh, I could do something with this…” In general, reading books and watching movies or TV shows inspires me. Some books absolutely capture my heart and soul and give me all kinds of feels, and it makes me think, “damn, one day I want my books to make someone feel this way too…”
That feeling of creating something truly is magical! Now I was wondering if you relate more to Isamae or to Nahlia?
I really relate to both of them! I added a LOT of me to both of them, both consciously and subconsciously – I like to think they’re based on different aspects of who I am. I relate to Isamae’s creative spirit and desire to make her mark on the world, as well as her self-doubt and awkwardness (not to mention her dumbass lesbian-ness). I relate to Nahlia’s optimistic attitude and ability to look at the bigger picture – she’s definitely the kind of person I want to be someday: calm, confident, certain that everything she does is the right thing. I’m not quite there yet, but I hope to be someday!
What elements/tropes/themes/etc do you find that you come back to time and time again in your writing? (Or are there any?)
There definitely are! The first I can think of is probably f/f romance – literally everything I write these days centres around two women in love in some way or another. I like to set my stories in fantasy worlds, but in general, I write very character-driven stories – I like writing about people: their thoughts, their emotions, the way they react to certain events, their relationships with each other. The way that people cope and move on from past trauma is definitely something that tends to crop up in my writing time and again.
I also love exploring questions of morality, most of my characters are extremely morally-grey (not so much in One Wish, but definitely in the novel I just finished drafting) and aahh it’s my favourite thing! I love writing clever, powerful, hardened, morally-ambiguous-as-hell women; I feel like there aren’t enough of them in literature and they’re amazing XD
Oooooh yes! I happen to know you’ve just finished writing a new novel–do you have any plans to pursue publication with it? (Or with any future books?) I would love to see more books from you :))
Aww, that makes me so happy! I definitely want to pursue traditional publishing at some point in the future, but I don’t have any solid plans yet – it seems pretty scary lol.
As for my new novel, I’m not really sure what I’m going to do with it if I’m honest. So far it’s still a VERY messy first draft; I have a load of editing to do before it’s even readable. After that, who knows? I might try and get it published! I love these characters and their story and I feel like I’m definitely going to want to share it with the world at some point.
What are your favourite and least favourite parts of the writing process?
This is probably an unpopular opinion, but my favourite part is editing! It means I’ve finished the first draft, I’ve managed to put the whole story down on paper without giving up, and even if it’s an absolute mess all I have to do now is whip it into shape – the hardest part is over. My least favourite part is probably when I’m halfway through a first draft, the end is still nowhere in sight, and my passion and enthusiasm for it is starting to drain away. I ditch a lot of projects at this stage, so it’s just a constant struggle between wanting to start another story and forcing myself to stick with the current one.
As someone who is terrible at editing, I admire that! And now to finish us off: How long have you been writing, and what are the biggest differences and/or similarities between your earliest writing and what you write now?
Well, the biggest difference is that my early writing was terrible and now it’s all right I guess…
In all seriousness, I’ve been ‘writing’ since I was about six (I’d make little booklets with drawings and a few lines of writing), so it’s always been a massive part of my life. I guess I was twelve or thirteen when I started writing ‘seriously’, and…. Yeah… It wasn’t great…. I suppose the biggest difference was that I absolutely hated romance back then and refused to have even a hint of it in my writing – I write mainly romance now!
But in a way, a lot of the characters I wrote at that age have been ‘recycled’ over the years; they crop up in my writing every now and again with different names, characteristics, and backgrounds, but similar personalities and relationships with the people around them. (Three characters in the novel I just finished are somewhat similar to characters in a story I started when I was thirteen, and in another I wrote when I was fifteen, despite all of them being completely different genres.)