Hi Harper, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background? Hi there! I’ve been writing for myself off and on since I was young but, only within the last couple of years did I consider writing a book for mass consumption. I am a stay at home mom and mother of two, and a rather convoluted mixture of heritages. That just makes things more fun, doesn’t it? Yes it does!
Discuss your newest book. “The Spirit” is actually my first book. It’s loosely based on superstitions that permeated my father’s hometown in Appalachian Ohio. It’s very rural, very undeveloped and nearly a ghost town left by a mine out coal industry that happened to occupy land used by Native American tribes that pre-date the European colonization. Add in a family story about a local witch/healer, and I had myself a romance.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? It actually started out in fan fiction and role play. That’s where the bug really caught me and I left those to pursue my own stories.
What are your current projects? I am actually already writing the sequel to “The Spirit”. “The Holler” is set in the same Appalachian town but in contemporary time. I have plotted The Tribe Novels to run 8 books and a novella, as well as the short story “The Blanket” which have already published. Legends don’t just burn out, it seems. Apparently, wow.
What books have most influenced your life most? There are so many. Probably two by Anne Rice. “Memnoch the Devil” and “Cry to Heaven”.
What inspired you to write your first book? My father, actually. Listening to his homesick stories just made me curious about the people I came from. Once I started digging, I couldn’t stop. Daddy’s are great, aren’t they?
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special? Weshemoneto is a loose interpretation of the Native American Great Spirit figure, prevalent in many Native nations. He appears human but, as guardian of the collective Tribe, he’s imbued with old magic and shares his spirit with the embodiment of the animal aspect of the world as a whole.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? That just because love doesn’t go according to your plan, doesn’t mean it isn’t according to someone else’s.
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book? Oh wow. I really couldn’t even guess. There are so few widely recognized Native American actors.. Zahn McClarnon maybe?
When did you decide to become a writer? When I realized these ideas about the mountain legends weren’t going to leave me alone.
Why do you write? For the love of it. I love making new worlds and living there for a little while. It’s an escape.
What made you decide to sit down and actually start something? I was pressed by my husband, actually. He’d seen me writing for fun and for others and suggested I actually do something with it.
Do you write full-time or part-time? Part-Time. My kids take up a good amount of my time.
What is the hardest thing about writing? Getting started. Sometimes you wake up and your head is just not in it.
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book? The research. Most definitely.
What is the easiest thing about writing? When someone answers this question, you’ll have to tell me. Ha! Lol
What book are you reading now? The 3rd Night Huntress book, I believe. I just discovered them.
What is one random thing about you? I am a chronic insomniac with night terrors.
What is your preferred medium of writing? Pen and paper or strictly tablet and computer? Computer. My writing just isn’t fast enough to catch the thoughts as they come out.
What does your writing process look like? It looks a lot like I’m staring into space. But, once I get started, my husband tells me I look like Peanuts’ Schroeder at his piano, leaned in and clacking away without any idea what’s going on around me.
Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)? I argue with my characters. Out loud. I’ll worry about that when they answer. Not to worry you, but they are answering back. 🙂
How important are names to you in your books? Very, actually. Particularly with this series, I spend a lot of time researching names.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? How easily I let it get away from me. It was actually meant to be just two books, “The Holler” And “The River”. I began doing background notes for the first and those notes spun into “The Spirit”. Even my plotting takes on a life of its own.
Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future? Since this is my first time out, I’ll have to let you know.
What is your favorite motivational phrase? “Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway.” I’m a huge John Wayne fan. The Duke was a good man.
What is your favorite book and why? That’s like asking me to choose my favorite child. I can’t do it. But “Memnoch the Devil” is WAY up on that list.
Do you have any advice for other writers? Don’t stop. Finish a WIP. Get it out there. Put yourself out there and maybe amazing things will happen.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing? I read, I run and I fangirl obsessively.
From where do you gain your inspiration? Mostly from the past. There was just so much more to life before technology complicated everything.
What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around? I have no way to compare the two, really. But, I much prefer the control of self-publishing. As a friend put it so well earlier, my success or my failure is entirely up to me.
How do you market your books? Social media is really my only avenue.
Why did you choose this route? It wasn’t so much a choice as a given as an independent author.
Would you or do you use a PR agency? Maybe, one day.
Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books? Brand yourself and put it on EVERYTHING.
What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book? None of it. Only when my goal for the day is done do I market.
What do you do to get book reviews? Since I’m not there yet, my plan is to politely ask. lol
How successful has your quest for reviews been so far? I have yet to start.
Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers? Does praying count? I believe so.
What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews? As long as they have valid points, they are equally valuable.
Any amusing story about marketing books that happened to you? Not yet but, the day is young.
What’s your views on social media for marketing? Given I’m publishing for the first time through a boutique publisher, it’s indispensable.
Which social network worked best for you? Facebook. Though I use Twitter and Instagram as well but, not as successfully.
Any tips on what to do and what not to do? Just be careful what you post. Keep it to your work or interaction with colleagues, readers and potential readers. Keep it clean. Keep it upbeat and keep your negative opinions to yourself. I learned that the hard way.
Did you do a press release, Goodreads book launch or anything else to promote your work and did it work? I will be doing one. Just wait until June. KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR IT!!
Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why? I would like to meet the witch who inspired my heroine. She’s long gone now.
If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why? Interview with a Vampire. It really began a whole new genre, didn’t it? The romanticize villain.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers? Don’t. Give. Up.
How can readers discover more about you and you work? They can follow me on Facebook, twitter, Instagram or check out my website and blog. The links are below.