Hi J.S., thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background? J.S. Snow began her literary obsession at the tender age of eleven with the first voluntarily read book Dear God It’s Me Margaret by Judy Blum. Only a few years later her fascination with fictional offerings really took root as she stepped into the mind of one of her heroes Stephen King through his work, Christine.
Now seriously considering a twelve step program for her e-Reader addiction, she feeds her fascination for make believe with new literary offerings via said e-Reader, has a passion for dark chocolate, sweet tea and Heavy Metal music. She is the proud mother of a downright spectacular daughter (who was head banging in the belly) and lives with the belief that the mind where the imagination lives is a far more entertaining place than TV or movies ever will be.
J.S. Snow currently resides in Central Florida and has been in the administrative office field for thirty years.
Discuss your newest book. It’s the fourth full-length novel in the series and one book does lead into the other and needs to be read in order. That is Redemption, Resurrection and Reconciliation. There are also two stand-alone novellas in the series Trepidation and Attraction. Here is Temptation’s synopsis:
None of us are immune from a particular course of action in this lifetime, it surrounds us and is a constant presence. It all began with Eve in the garden and forever reminds us, it’s tough to resist.
Our choices in this lifetime define who we are and how we are to be remembered, and Alex’s journey continues with five tattooed, foul-mouthed, sexy and talented men comprising of the greatest Heavy-Metal band in the world. New surprises unfold with this gregarious bunch and even bigger choices now have to be made.
When it comes down to it, it’s a huge bite of the apple for some, but for Alex, could it be too much? Succumbing and giving in to the urge to do the opposite of what you believe in is the ultimate test and for most, the easy way out.
This continues to be Alex’s story, these continue to be her choices and now she comes face to face with…
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? I’m an avid reader and have always had it in the back of my mind to write. I guess it stems from wanting to read what I would find interesting but isn’t out there.
What are your current projects? In 2016, three works will be published. The aforementioned Temptation and after that will be the third novella in the series, Admiration due out this fall. Finally, the series will come to an end with the fifth and final novel, Isolation which is due out around Christmas. Keep an eye out!
What books have most influenced your life most? I wouldn’t say certain books, but writers who have shown individuality and out of the box thinking is okay. No one does this better than the King himself.
What inspired you to write your first book? Alex’s story had been in my head for over twenty-years by the time I went to put it down on paper. It was after reading a widely successful trilogy where I learned about character development that I decided to give this a shot. Wow, it’s good to let a story marinate before bringing it to life.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special? Thanks for the segue, I think the synopsis to my first book Redemption sums it up nicely:
How does a child musical prodigy who was left for dead by the mafia at the age of three in a cardboard box discarded next to a blue dumpster in a South Philadelphia neighborhood alley wind up becoming the lead guitarist for one of the world’s most successful Heavy Metal Bands… Hells Redemption?
The beginning of Alex’s young life was tragic and should have been the end, but a Nun and a Priest who ended up rescuing her then later raising her determined that surely a predetermined destiny wasn’t to be for Alex. Despite her conservative and secluded upbringing, Alex wants to prove herself to be anything but a foregone conclusion, especially when she strives to not only succeed, but dominate the music genre that she loves more than anything with her natural God given talent.
With dreams of becoming nothing but one of Heavy Metal’s Music’s most legendary guitarist’s of all time, and at the same time proving that a woman can indeed melt faces off just as well as any man, Alex is determined and focused to let nothing stand in her way, not even her past. Can Alex achieve her dream while keeping her anonymous wants while still maintaining her integrity and the values she was raised with?
We can choose to allow our pasts dictate who we are or who society decides we are destined to be, or we can embrace that we truly are only defined in this life by the choices we make now.
These are Alex’s choices, this is Alex’s story and in turn become’s Alex’s… Redemption Sounds very interesting!
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? Absolutely, forgiveness.
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book? Considering Alex’s young age, it would more than likely have to be an unknown actress. This role would catapult her career, that’s for sure. Certainly.
When did you decide to become a writer? As mentioned before, the story has been in my head for a very long time. It was after my daughter graduated High School and I had more time on my hands that I decided it was time to put down on paper what was running through my head.
Why do you write? It’s cathartic for me and allows me to express my individuality in a sane and rational way. I think most people will find that writers are introverts and tend to suffer a bit of anxiety. This is therapy for most of us in my opinion and saves money at the same time expensive doctor visits to tell us what we already know… we just on this side of nuts.
What made you decide to sit down and actually start something? It goes along with the inspiration question you asked earlier. Seeing how a character can be developed, taught me a lot. Not that she made it look easy, but she didn’t make it look all that hard either. I figured, what the hell, and out poured the words.
Do you write full-time or part-time? Part time, unfortunately, the bills have to be paid one way or another.
What is the hardest thing about writing? Not having enough time to do so and lacking the tremendous typing skills of Clark Kent to be able to churn out books faster to keep up with the ideas in my head.
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book? All of my books, even the novellas are rather long. Alex’s story is relatively complex, so higher word counts are norm. With my current one, I set a goal to keep the chapter lengths at a not to exceed word count and that has been challenging.
What is the easiest thing about writing? There’s actually something easy? Oh, do tell, I’m dying to know over here!
What book are you reading now? I just finished Lexxie Couper’s Heart of Fame series and have several on my Nook patiently waiting for me to get to, but when I’m in full-on writing mode with a deadline looming over me, I have to put reading off to the side and focus on the character’s world. I’ll take it back up when the book is done. J.R. Ward’s latest is taunting me mercilessly.
What is one random thing about you? All of me is random and just like my main character, I refuse to be a foregone conclusion. I don’t think anyone will ever figure me out.
What is your preferred medium of writing? Pen and paper or strictly tablet and computer? Tablet at lunchtime due to portability and laptop when I’m home.
What does your writing process look like? Extremely unglamorous and rather boring really. I write on my lunch breaks in a deserted parking lot next to my work and then at the coffee table when I’m home after work. First thing in the morning before the world awakens I’m on my bed in my bathrobe chugging away. You’re welcome for the visual. Thank you. The parking lot is a new one.
Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)? Just full on out loud conversations with my characters in the car as I’m heading to work. I just hope the other drivers think I’m talking on the phone or something as they watch me chit chat away and I’m the only one in the car.
How important are names to you in your books? Extremely, they have to be both derivative of my character and where they are from.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? Giving a voice to the many characters this series contains and not forgetting anyone.
Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future? I signed up for a few book promotional things via Twitter which never panned out.
What is your favorite motivational phrase? We can choose to allow our pasts dictate who we are or who society decides we are destined to be, or we can embrace that we truly are only defined in this life by the choices we make now.
What is your favorite book and why? The Stand, by Stephen King. Honestly, do I really to go into why? It’s pure genius! It’s on my to read list.
Do you have any advice for other writers? Quit sweating the small stuff and just write. Eventually, you’ll get it all figured out, but don’t let the little things stop you from being great.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing? I’m a big music fan, so wherever it is, I’m there.
From where do you gain your inspiration? Anything to a writer is fair game to their imaginations. We’re always looking at something and wondering if we could mold it into a story that would work.
What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around? I didn’t know any better at the beginning of this to be honest with you. Self-publishing was just the way, considering I had no clue how to get a publisher. For A-type personalities such as myself, it’s perfect though, full power and control. I don’t like being told what to do or how to go about it. However, as time has gone on, the stress of the constant self-promotion is grating on my last nerve. There’s a publisher interested in my series, and I’m looking forward to handing it off and letting them deal with it all. Good luck.
How do you market your books? The standard way I guess, I’ve become a self-proclaimed social media whore.
Would you or do you use a PR agency? I don’t, and probably wouldn’t.
Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books? Not really, because I have yet to figure it out for myself. Oh, other than, don’t buy followers or reviews. It’s unethical.
What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book? I utilize tools that take up very little of my time so I can write. I have to invest in roughly four hours a week in cueing up posts which will go out throughout the month.
What do you do to get book reviews? Pray whoever reads it will be kind enough to actually leave one.
How successful has your quest for reviews been so far? Not very, and from what I’ve learned so far, how others are getting their’s is not always on the up and up. I find it disconcerting that they can actually look at themselves in the mirror everyday and be okay with the fact they had to buy them versus gaining them based on the merit of the work they wrote.
Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers? No, and I’ll just stick to the eternal hope those who do read it will recommend it to others and they’ll read and review it.
What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews? It’s a report card. You get a lot of insight by what they have to say and can gauge logically how you are to proceed with future works. I hope that those who have left a review are honest and are not blowing sunshine up my ass. It serves nothing if what I wrote doesn’t work and I continue churning out bad stories.
What’s your views on social media for marketing? It’s really the only viable and free source for indie writers. We are tiny fish in an extremely big pond.
Which social network worked best for you? A toss up between Facebook and Twitter. Both have been highly lucrative for me.
Any tips on what to do and what not to do? Keep it short, simple and to the point.
Did you do a press release, Goodreads book launch or anything else to promote your work and did it work? No, I just talk about it a lot and trust in my loyal followers that they’ll continue to pimp me out. I do takeovers to assist with this and to hopefully gain new readers.
Which famous person, living or dead, would you like to meet and why? To be in the presence of any of the authors I model after would be a dream come true. I’d just suck in their aura’s and hope their magic, will come out in my own work.
If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why? No, the literary masterpieces were written by those who were supposed to. I’m not about to wish for a god given gift that doesn’t belong to me.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers? Yes, you are nuts. Yes, this is a bad idea. Yes, you are about to enter a world you can not even fathom how complicated it really is. Yes, you will suffer. Yes, you will second guess yourself. Yes, in the end, it’ll all be worth it, especially when you hold your book in your own hands. Not a lot of people can say they’ve written a book, but you’ll be able to.
How can readers discover more about you and your work? JS Snow is working hard on finishing her fourth full-length novel in the acclaimed Five Star Metal Prodigy Series, Temptation, due out May 31st. In the meantime, if you haven’t already checked her out, she invites you to hop on board her own crazy train at her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/jbstspbooks