The Author's Code... with Iuliana Cosmina
Apress author Iuliana Cosmina talks about her experience writing books and how she makes it work (*spoiler alert* she makes a bout with insomnia productive). After writing Java 17 for Absolute Beginners, Pro Spring 5, and a study guide for the Pivotal Certified Professional Core Spring 5 Developer Exam, we’re glad to hear that she enjoys writing and has at least 4 more books in her!
Q. How would you describe the experience of writing your book? Was it easier or harder than expected?
It was easier than I expected. The Java 9+ ecosystem is more stable then when I wrote the first edition, so this helped a lot.
Q. What was your schedule like when you wrote your book?
I don’t have a fixed schedule. I work when I can, mostly at night, and depending on my mood and other things happening in my life, sometimes I write too much, sometimes not at all. I don’t make a schedule and deadlines for myself because honestly that has never worked for me, I either postpone or deliver really early, rarely I can respect a deadline.
Q. Are there things you would do differently if you were to write another book?
I am always looking to improve my tooling; I’ve already replaced LaTeX with AsciiDocs so I could validate the code snippets in the text. Of course, I would love to be better at respecting deadlines, but I’m not sure there is an app for that. ;)
Q. Most tech authors write their books alongside work/life responsibilities—how did you find the time to complete your book?
I am an insomniac, so I guess writing books is how I try to turn the time when I can’t sleep, into something productive. I have a day job, and sometimes when I feel like I am behind, I take vacation days to focus on my writing. I am lucky to be working for a company that tolerates my grumpiness when I don’t sleep because I have a book to write.
Q. What was your main reason/inspiration for writing this book?
I wrote the first edition of this book for younger me, that was just learning Java and struggling with it. I don’t want others to struggle the way I did and dismiss Java because it seems complicated or hard to learn. I wrote the second edition because I wanted to keep track of the evolution of the Java Language and the JVM.
Q. Will you write another book?
I always like to say that I will stop after I write 10 technical books and then switch genres to literature, but I really like software engineering and writing books gives me the opportunity to use technology my way without pressure from product owners or managers. I have written 6 books; there are still 4 more to write. I guess I'll decide after that.
Q. How did you get your start on your career path?
Which one: author or software engineering? As a software engineer, I was admitted to the university, graduated, got a job in technology and became financially independent. That felt good and so I kept at it. I became an author, because I always wanted to be a writer, life just pushed me to engineering. Writing technical books gives me the opportunity to get the best of both worlds, by evolving my writing and coding skills.
Q. Did you have writer’s block while working on your book? If so, how did you overcome it?
Whenever I write a book, I have a period when I can’t write. It might be caused by my mental health, fatigue, or other factors out of my control. It might be at the beginning when I am postponing the actual start of the book, in the middle when I get stuck on something, or at the end, when I am just tired from the lack of sleep and feel like the book will never end. There is no single recipe for overcoming writer’s block that works every time, you have to get to the heart of what is causing it.
Q. What is your favorite book?
On the technical side, I would have to say "Reactive Spring," by Josh Long. Josh has a talent of reducing the complexity of the things he is explaining, and making you feel like they are simple and easy to understand. On the literature side I would have to say "Adam and Eve," by Liviu Rebreanu, it is a tragic story about love across multiple lifespans.
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