Friday, August 11, 2017

#authorinterview on The Kronicles of Korthlundia

Enjoy another author interview, also part of my Goddess Fish Promotions virtual book tour, originally posted on The Kronicles of Korthlundia: A Window into Fantasy, and take another glimpse into my life.

Tell us a little about yourself?

Married with two young sons, I spend most of my time focused on family. We have a lot of fun together, reading, watching superhero movies, playing board games and Lego, and taking nature hikes. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, writing, going to rock concerts and live theatre. I wish I was a better cook, but I enjoy baking. I also enjoy my morning coffee… and my afternoon coffee… and a sweet or two or three.

Tell us something about how you write? i.e. are you a plotter or a pantser? Do you have any weird or necessary writing habits or rituals?

I am a total pantser. Every other facet of my life is so organized and scheduled, as much as a family with young children can be. I write sporadically. I don’t plot. When a story idea pops into my head, the characters emerge as well and I follow their lead. In the past I have tried to outline, but it felt forced and stalled my creativity so I ended up abandoning the idea.

Could you tell us a bit about your most recent book?

A Vampire’s Tale is a full-length paranormal romance novel. The heroine Marisa Clements is a struggling author. She writes genre fiction – paranormal romance novels about vampires – to pay her bills. But she doesn’t believe in vampires. The hero Corgan Halton is an ancient vampire with a finite mission. He wants to tell the world his story and then end his unnatural existence. He sees Marisa playing an important role in his future and selects her to author his tale. Corgan’s presence places Marisa in danger from his enemies cascading them into a journey filled with danger, venomous vampires, and a wizard or two.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

I find the most difficulty in revising my work. At the editing stage, my editor recommended I omit several scenes involving insignificant, secondary characters. I took her advice, but deleting these scenes resulted in revisions in a number of other scenes which referenced those characters. Any revision is difficult because you are invested in your work. Rewriting, essentially, a portion of A Vampire’s Tale was very time-consuming and emotionally draining for me. I was very pleased with the end result which was a definite improvement to the previous version.

What is your favorite writing tip or quote?

I enjoy reading the #writetip posts on Twitter. As writers, we are adept observers of life. There is much wisdom and insight to be found in simple observations like the one below.

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” – Maya Angelou

Friday, August 4, 2017

#authorinterview on Two Ends of the Pen

I really enjoy giving author interviews. So much of my writing is, intentionally or not, personal and reflective of my own life and experiences so I think that if readers find me interesting, then they may also enjoy my books. In fact, a friend told me a few months ago that she could actually hear my voice when she read A Vampire's Tale.

This author interview was originally posted as part of my Goddess Fish Promotions virtual book tour on Two Ends of the Pen.

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?

A Vampire’s Tale is a standalone, paranormal romance novel. My heroine, Marisa Clements, is a paranormal skeptic who writes vampire stories. She doesn’t believe in vampires… until she meets one. The vampire in question is my hero, Corgan Halton, whose supernatural talents range from clairvoyance to telekinesis. His ability to see the future, and Marisa’s role in it, lead him to seeking her out in order to accomplish his goal. He wants to tell his story and end his unnatural existence. Involving Marisa, though, puts her in a danger so grave that he alone cannot protect her. He enlists help from his maker and their wizard friends to keep Marisa safe.

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?

Yes, absolutely, I have published two books using traditional publishers. As a novice author, I never considered self-publishing. The support and guidance of a publishing house appealed to me.

For my first book, Dream Hunter, I researched which publishers were accepting unsolicited queries and their submission requirements. Then I sent query letters to the ones I deemed a good fit. My third query letter resulted in a contract offer.

For A Vampire’s Tale, my second book, I initially followed the same process of researching and sending query letters. Social media offered me alternative routes to gain access to publishers. I participated in pitch parties on Facebook and Twitter. A June 2016 #PitMad tweet caught the attention of Tirgearr Publishing. They “favorited” my tweet, meaning they were interested in my work.

If you used a graphic designer/publisher’s designer, how involved were you during the creative process for your cover?

The book covers for both my books were created by publisher’s designers. I had significant input into both, though, by providing the designer with a comprehensive amount of details about the book and its characters. I also noted covers I liked, ideas I had, and specific things I didn’t want included. The designer took this information and created the cover art. Then the publisher provided draft book covers for my comment.

Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?

In 2010, I “met” an online group of budding authors. The group’s name is UCW (Up and Coming Writers) and we connect via a private Facebook group and email. Many members live in the UK and they have real meet-ups as well. We are an eclectic bunch, writing in a number of genres, and many of us have published work. I think belonging to a writing group, UCW is more than a critique group, is great for support. We’ve all been there – rejection letters, horrible reviews, editing headaches – so whatever we need – encouragement for our life or our craft – a friend is just a post/email away. And we also critique/promote each other’s work. Their feedback is invaluable and has definitely helped improve my work.

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?

I would be the first to confess I don’t write using an outline. Although, I do keep some semi-unorganized notes to keep me on track. Details like eye color and characteristics, and spelling and formatting choices need to be consistent throughout. I guess you could say I follow my muse, but leave bread crumbs along the way so I can make it home safely.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?

I rely on my writing group and their eagle eyes to spot any glaring errors before I send out query requests. We use the track-changes function in Word to suggest changes and make comments. As avid readers and experienced authors, we have a unique perspective to share with each other.

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?

My first book Dream Hunter is also sold on Just Ink Press’ website and Barnes & Noble.

My second book A Vampire’s Tale is also available through Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble.

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?

Finally, my business degree is coming in handy! <<laughs>> Marketing and promotion are two different, but related, processes. Marketing covers price, product, place, and promotion. Promotion, part of marketing, covers the modes of communication used to create awareness and provide information about the product.

My author website is my platform and includes information about me, my books, and current events.

I track my promotional activities, including review requests, social media interactions, and promotion requests, in a spreadsheet. As a new author, obtaining reviews is especially important. I have sent out nearly 300 review requests for A Vampire’s Tale, resulting in 3 completed reviews and over 30 pending reviews (as of mid-March). I target book reviewers and bloggers interested in paranormal romance and send personalized review requests. Blogging is a great way to promote new content, I also visit other blogs for book spotlights, author interviews and guest posts. An organized Facebook or Twitter party or a virtual book tour is an effective way to release a new title. I have a virtual book tour with Goddess Fish Promotions running from March 22 to May 10 visiting several amazing blogs, including this one. Regular posts and interactions on social media, especially promoting other authors and new, relevant content, is another great tool. There are many companies which offer promotional services, but I research my options, for best value and potential results, before I make a purchase. Whatever your approach, be consistent and mindful.

Besides writing, do you have any other passions?

Reading… <<goofy grin>> With the advent of the ebook, I can bring, literally, hundreds of books with me at all times on my phone. I still read a print book, there’s nothing like the feel or smell of a book in your hands, but ebooks are so convenient… and light to travel with. I also enjoy music – going to rock concerts and musical theatre. I love to sing and I play the piano, although not often. Other passions include Disney, coffee, and eating but not cooking. My husband, the absolute love of my life, is the cook in our house and, thankfully, his meals are a crowd-pleaser for our particular children.

What’s next for you?

Dynamic dedication to completing my next novel… perhaps a sequel to A Vampire’s Tale… and living life to the fullest with my husband and two young sons!