Hi Cree, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background? I’m a mother of two amazing sons and a grandmother of six great kids. I started writing when I was about eight or nine. I’ve always loved the written word – and have been a voracious reader since I was fourteen.
I’m an only child that was brought up by both parents – who by the way picked out my name when they were only twelve years old. Yep – sitting in church watching my Mom sing in the youth choir – my Dad fell in love. The third night of the revival they said they’d grow up and get married and have a little girl. They were married when they were 20 and I was born when they were 21. They’re both gone now – but left with me memories of an amazing childhood and the knowledge I was loved. I’m sorry for your loss. That is a sweet story though.
Discuss your newest book.
My debut book came out in March – Texas Heat a Stone Brothers Series (Malakai).
Malakai was forced to leave town when he was seventeen for a crime he didn’t do, given the choice of prison or the military he chose the military. Leaving his home and his girl he was gone for five years. He came home – claimed his girl – and brought down the man responsible for all the wrongs done against him and many others. Sounds action-packed!
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? As I said, I’ve always loved the written word and wanted to be the one writing. In my tenth grade year I wrote a thesis on The Ancient History of Rome – my history teacher loved it and continued to use it for many years with her students. I wrote my first full length story with the working title of Big Girls Don’t Cry – and it’s packed away in a box somewhere. Last year with the encouragement (and some hard pushing) by a good friend Author Liberty Parker I wrote Malakai’s story.
What are your current projects? I am currently working on the second book in the series “Tucker”. I’m also working on getting an Anthology of my Poetry out.
What books have most influenced your life most? Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell; The Last of the Mohicans by James Fennimore Cooper.
What inspired you to write your first book? I wanted to tell a story, a fiction, that brought in the element of Human Trafficking which is the second highest money making industry in the world today.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special? Malakai is the youngest of seven brothers, with a passionate heart and unconditional love for his family and his love – Liberty Rawlins. He will stop at nothing to claim her, and take down the man responsible for hurting her.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? Yes there is – never give up and be true to yourself.
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book? Malakai should be played by Channing Tatum and Liberty Rawlins by Jennifer Lawrence
When did you decide to become a writer? When I was sixteen.
Why do you write? To breathe.
What made you decide to sit down and actually start something? My sons are grown, I’m a retired Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Counselor.
Do you write full-time or part-time? I am now writing full time.
What is the hardest thing about writing? Telling the voices of the characters to wait their turn.
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book? Writing a story is like being a parent – you carry the baby then give birth and nurture the child and watch it grow – and then all of a sudden you’re forced to let it go.
What is the easiest thing about writing? Knowing that I’m claiming my dream and allowing these stories that are within me to come out.
What book are you reading now? Royal Savage by Victoria Ashley
What is one random thing about you? I like to eat spicy pickles and popcorn and drink Dr Pepper
What is your preferred medium of writing? Pen and paper or strictly tablet and computer? That’s a difficult answer to give. I write scenes out long hand – then on the computer. I keep a notebook and pencil beside me at all times, even in the car – I often have to pull over and write a thought down when it comes to me.
What does your writing process look like? Oh my gosh – I’d never have to worry about anyone stealing my story – because they’d have to have a code. There are post it notes everywhere, notes on my phone, and on index cards.
Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)? Not so strange actually. I write whenever – alone or listening to music, watching TV, or listening to my grandkids. My youngest comes to me at least ten times an hour and says, “Whatcha doin’ Ninny”. Answer is always the same – “I’m writing.”
How important are names to you in your books? Very important. The name is the heart of the story for me.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? Yes – having to stop and eat, or take a pottie break. Or sleep!!! Sleep is the enemy! lol
Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future? I learned that I need to engage more with the readers. And that even though I have to write the story alone – I cannot do it alone – I’ve got to have a support team and I do now.
What is your favorite motivational phrase? Don’t sacrifice the permanent on the altar of the immediate.
What is your favorite book and why? “Hard to Hold” by Stephanie Tyler. Her lead male character is the most amazing alpha male I’ve ever read. “Getting Rowdy” by Lori Foster is a close second.
Do you have any advice for other writers? Don’t get upset when someone points out your errors and never ever give up your dream.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Think about writing. Or reading a good book. I just finished reading R.b. O’Brien’s book “Thorne: Rose’s Dark Contract” and let me tell you I fell hard for Thorne.
From where do you gain your inspiration? Life experiences.
What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around? I tried to go the other way – and have the dozens and dozens of rejection letters to prove it. Self- Publishing is just the best way for me.
How do you market your books? Through social media. ie: Facebook, Twitter, WordPress. I have a great support group with a dedicated PA.
Why did you choose this route? Like I said it was my best option.
Would you or do you use a PR agency? I do not use a PR agency and I seriously doubt I will be using one ever in the future.
Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books? Find yourself a support group, and a good PA.
What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book? About two hours every day.
What do you do to get book reviews? That’s not as easy as it should be. I’ve had offers to review but then they just sort of fade away. It’s sad that that happens too often.
How successful has your quest for reviews been so far? Not successful at all.
Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers? Yes I do. I’m approaching the members of my support group. I’ve found they respond better than family.
What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews? One of my best attributes is I take corrective criticism very well. Good reviews are awesome. Bad reviews, if done in a helpful manner and are honest will make me strive to do better.
Any amusing story about marketing books that happened to you? Not really. As I’ve said I’ve only got the one book out.
What’s your views on social media for marketing? I think the advantages we have to utilize the social media is one of the best things a self-published author has.
Which social network worked best for you? Facebook.
Any tips on what to do and what not to do? It’s your book – your story – don’t let anyone keep you from telling it.
Did you do a press release, Goodreads book launch or anything else to promote your work and did it work? I promoted on Facebook with the help of my support group and PA’s.
Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why? Never really thought about it. I suppose it would be Donald Rumsfeld – I just think he is a person I would love to have a conversation with. George Patton – he never gave up.
If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why? To be truthful – there’s no book out there that could claim this spot for me.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers? Holdfast to your dream. Do your homework, and as much research as possible.
How can readers discover more about you and you work?