#ASI: Kathleen Kelly

Hi Kathleen, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?I’m married to a wonderful man. We have no children but two of the furry kind 🙂 two cats, Grace and Jack.We recently moved to Toowoomba in Queensland to be closer to family. I worked for many years in retail until another well known Author, told me I needed to put my overactive imagination to work for myself. I had previously helped her with her first few books.

Discuss your newest book. Savage Lover is my newest book it is number four in my Savage Angels Series. It is not a stand alone and you will need to read the others first. Yes ma’am!

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Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? I’ve always loved to read and another Author asked me to help her with her books and the rest is history.

What are your current projects? Right now I’m working on Savage Sacrifice, it’s number five in my series, it will be out on 31st of May.
After that I’m part of an Anthology which is filled with the most amazing Authors, it was an honour to be asked! It’s called A Tale Well Travelled.

What books have most influenced your life most? Not sure about influenced, there are many that have stuck with me over time.
The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
Hopeless by Colleen Hoover
Anita Blake the Vampire Hunter Series by Laurell K Hamilton

What inspired you to write your first book? The story was already in my head asking to be written. The first book, Savage Stalker was the easiest to write.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special? Dane is loyal to those around him, he’s strong and when he falls in love, he does it completely and forever.
Kat is wild, headstrong and a little confused. Like me she doesn’t tolerate disloyalty or people who treat her badly. She’s capable of cutting them out of her life, no matter how much it hurts and moving on.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? Loyalty above all else. Betray those you love and suffer the consequences.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
In Savage Lover I have the model Alex Atanasov in my head for Kade Cantrill but with longer hair 🙂
For Destiny Bennett, Ashley Greene – she’s absolutely beautiful. Love guys with long hair.

When did you decide to become a writer? July 2014, and I released Savage Stalker in December 2014.

Why do you write? The easiest answer is because I love it. Because just as I’m about to go to sleep a character will speak to me and I have to get up and write it down. The more you do the easier it gets and the more enjoyable.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something? A very good friend had released a few books and was having some success with it. She encouraged me.

Do you write full-time or part-time?  I write full-time and this year I hope to get more books out. Good luck!

What is the hardest thing about writing? Making myself do it and the isolation. I’m a social creature, that’s why I can often be found in cafes. My favourite cafe, now that I’ve moved in The Barn and Scotty’s Garage. Great food and great people.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book? If I don’t have the story completely plotted, my mind is working in overdrive and it keeps me awake at night.

What is the easiest thing about writing? Not sure that anything is easy. There’s a lot of decisions to make, like the Title, it can’t be something that’s too popular on Amazon or it will get lost. I wanted to call Savage Lover, Savage Heart but there are far too many on Amazon.
Then you have to design a cover, I’m lucky to have the women at Romantic Book Affairs to help me.
Then the blurb for the back of the book – I suck at this! Thankfully I have a PA Maci Dillon who often does these for me.
Then you write the story. For me if it’s plotted, it flows, it it’s not it becomes disjointed and I can’t get myself to sit in a chair and write.
Then you finish the book.
You have to find an editor and I’m lucky to have Susan Child. Then the re-writes begin.
You send it to Betas, that you can trust, and the re-writes begin.
Now, it’s finished and you have to hire a promotions company to help get your name out there, again I’m lucky I have Kylie Give Me Books and I can’t recommend her enough.
Then there’s the Cover Release and I’m lucky as LLEP, Love Lust and Erotic Pleasures handles all my Facebook parties including the release day launch.
Now, let’s not forget the bloggers, readers and fans,who help me promote my books, without them I would be lost.
And then there’s all the self promotion, that is endless.
The easiest part of all this is interacting with the fans. They make it all worth while.

What book are you reading now? I’m re-reading a book by Christine Feehan called Dark Prince. A friend recommended it to me and I purchased it only to realise I’d already read it. LOL. But I can’t remember the ending so I’m continuing with it.

What is one random thing about you?  My favourite colour is Yellow

What is your preferred medium of writing? Pen and paper or strictly tablet and computer?
I plot on pad and paper but I write on a laptop, a very old, heavy, and it needs replacing laptop.

What does your writing process look like?
I have to have my notes next to me even though I know what’s going to happen. I can’t write if I can’t find them. I must have some kind of beverage, I’m trying to cut back on coffee so water or tea are often the best choices.
I set an alarm so that I get up and walk for ten minutes on the hour every hour or I’m a cripple by the end of the day.
And I like to nap in the afternoons…it’s a hard life 🙂

Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?
Apart from the fact that I write more if I go out than stay at home, no.

How important are names to you in your books? It’s funny, I seem to favour names that start with a D, Dane, Dave, Destiny and J, Jonas, Judge so I try and keep away from those.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
The only time I have an issue is if I can’t find an answer to a question on Google. The few times I’ve picked up the phone or met someone in the flesh, they’ve been extremely helpful in helping me with my research.

Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future?
Not really. This industry is changing so quickly, you have to be prepared to move with it and try new things.
And what works for me may not work for you. My advice is to find an Author or Authors in your genre and copy their business practices.

What is your favorite motivational phrase? Your mind is like a parachute, it’s only working when it’s open.

What is your favorite book and why?
Lover Eternal by JR Ward.
It tells the story of a very attractive man who falls for a normal, average woman.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read this.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write everyday, read everyday. Take care of yourself and if you write full-time make sure, once a week, that you go out into the world and be a part of it. #WriteOn!

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?  I like to spend time with those I love the most

From where do you gain your inspiration? It’s all in my head but I do get the names of my characters from people around me.

What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around? I am self-published but I’m not against being traditionally published.
It would be fantastic to see my books on the shelves in bookstores. Now, I know not all publishing houses are the same but I like to design my own covers, and I like it that my books are as long or short as they need to be.
Being an Indie I can release my books as soon as they are ready, insuring an income.
From what I’ve been told if you go Traditional they only want one book a year and they take their cut of the profits.
I have thought about becoming a hybrid Author and I believe this is the path I’d like to take but not for a long time.

How do you market your books? I have a bloggers list who promote me when I have a new release or sale.
Kylie Give Me Books does all my Release Day Blitz’s.
My PA Maci Dillon organises takeovers and press releases and too many other things to talk about 🙂
Then lastly is my Street Team, Kelly Angels, these ladies promote me all over Facebook.

Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books? The only advice that I have is writing the book was the easy part, now the hard work begins.

What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book? I don’t start writing until 10am so if I’m up and awake, this is when I’m organising my posts and promoting myself.

What do you do to get book reviews?  I have my Street Team and I’m often preaching about writing reviews for my books.
I do not ask for 5 star reviews, this helps no one and leaves a nasty taste in my mouth.
I ask for honest reviews.

How successful has your quest for reviews been so far? It’s been ok and I want to thank everyone who has left a review. But like all Authors the more the better.

What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?
It’s someone’s opinion I don’t mind either way. I don’t like all the books out there and I’m sure not everyone is going to like my books, it’s an opinion.

Any stories about marketing books that happened to you? There is a Katherine Kelly who also writes MC, I had no idea. Last year she got breast cancer and my inbox exploded with people wishing me well and offering to donate money. One reader even sent me flowers. Wow.

What’s your views on social media for marketing? It’s an invaluable tool. I just wish Facebook would stop changing, it would make it a lot easier on small businesses.

Which social network worked best for you? Facebook.

Any tips on what to do and what not to do? NEVER be negative, keep your opinions to yourself and be happy. If you go looking for negative, you’ll find it so be nice and happy.

Did you do a press release, Goodreads book launch or anything else to promote your work and did it work? I do, do press releases, not really sure if these work but the locals get a kick out of meeting you.
I’ve run promotions on Goodreads with success.

The best promotions I’ve done are BookBub and Robin Reads.

Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
Because I have a HUGE crush on him, Dave Navarro.
If I can’t have Dave, Brian Murray CEO of HarperCollins, to pick his brain.

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why? The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien. Can you imagine having your works being read by hundreds of millions of people? Having that much of a reach and getting your message out there? Not to mention the movies. I also love these books. Might be time for a re-read. 🙂

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? We all have doubts, even the most successful Authors. I know I’ve asked them.
We all think our work sucks, then it’s good, no it sucks, no actually it’s good etc. It’s normal.
Put pen to paper or fingers to the keyboards and get your story out!
Do not give it to family and friends to read, find someone else but someone you can trust. If you don’t have this,  someone, find me on Facebook and I will recommend someone for you.
Ask successful Authors questions. Don’t listen to Authors who haven’t sold a lot of books.
Join as many groups as possible so you can learn about the algorithms on Facebook and Amazon and lastly surround yourself with positive people.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

I can be found on all of these platforms:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kathleenkellyauthor

Facebook Personal Page: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100005859376891&fref=ts
Website: https://kathleenkellyauthor.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kkellyauthor

TSU: http://www.tsu.co/KathleenKellyAuthor

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1KBOq1G

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/-x035

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/kathleenkellyau/

Instagram: https://instagram.com/kathleenkellyauthor/

#ASI: Eve Rabi

Hi Eve. Thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background? Hi, Courtney. Thank you for having me on your lovely site. A little about me: I am an author of 26 romantic crime and suspense-filled novels. I live in Sydney Australia, but I was born in South Africa. If you enjoy high drama with exciting twists and turns, contemporary romances with elements of a crime thriller, stories of revenge and suspense, then you will enjoy my books. But be prepared to gasp, to laugh and to cry while you fall in love. As one reader put it “Eve Rabi goes there. I love that in an author.”
I am living a dream – I am a full-time writer.

Eve 1

 Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? Some time ago, my ex-husband and I ran a magazine in Sydney’s North Shore. It was a success but hard work. Since I worked for a newspaper before, I wrote all the articles for our magazine. I did everything for the magazine, in fact. It was around then, that I realized how much I enjoyed writing. Especially humorous articles. I began to work secretly on CAPTURED – My Sworn Enemy, My Secret Lover, but with two little kids there was never any time to do the things I liked. I was extremely frustrated that I couldn’t write to my heart’s content, so I woke up every day at 3 a.m., crept downstairs to my study and wrote till 7 a.m.
I stopped watching TV for two years and used every spare minute to dream and write. I only published my first book in 2012, though.

What are your current projects?
I’m currently working on two more books due in December 2016.

Discuss your newest book.


Eve 2

As the picture above indicates, THE OTHER WOMAN is a story about a betrayed wife who suddenly finds that she has lost everything – her husband, her children, her home, her friends and her life. With nothing to lose, she decides not to turn the other cheek. Instead she decides to dig up dirt on the other woman and uses it to sabotage her ex-husband’s life. This book has an overall 5-star rating on Amazon UK. Sounds interesting.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special? Scarlett Smyth in The Other Woman – she is a seductress and rather good at it. She believes that she can seduce any male, taken or single and she does.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? In the words of Jack Nicholson (the unloading of a husband) in The Witches of Eastwick: “…death, desertion, divorce – the three Ds; when that happens, a woman blooms.”
Jack’s right, you know. I bloomed after my marriage ended. After I reached rock bottom, of course. THE OTHER WOMAN is not my story, however, having experienced the pain of betrayal in my marriage, I can say that all the pain the wronged wife felt in THE OTHER WOMAN was all mine. But I have to point out that I am currently really happy in my life right now. In fact, ending my marriage was the best thing that could have happened to me. I have a spring in my step. Congratulations on your divorce…in the best way. 🙂

 Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book? Jennifer Lawrence would make a fabulous Scarlett.

What books have most influenced your life most? The Valley of the Dolls and most of Sydney Sheldon’s books. I hear that is good, but never picked it up.

What inspired you to write your first book? An article in the newspaper about the war in Iraq inspired me to write the romantic suspense book called CAPTURED.

 Eve 3

When did you decide to become a writer? In 2003 I started penning my first novel. It took me five years to finish it.

Why do you write? I write because I have to. If I had more time in the day, I would churn out about three books a year.

Do you write full-time or part-time? I am a full-time writer. As I said earlier on, I used to dream about being a full-time writer and now, I can hardly believe, I am living my dream. I never take it for granted.

What is the hardest thing about writing? I juggle kids, a home, a social life and work (writing). I’ve learned that it’s important to achieve balance in one’s life, so I have to force myself not to spend all my time doing what I love and that is writing books.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book? Although it was cathartic, it was extremely painful to write THE OTHER WOMAN. The raw hurt, the unpleasant memories swarmed and overwhelmed me at times. However, it was a good thing in the end.

Eve 4

What is the easiest thing about writing? I never suffer writer’s block and I never run short of ideas. In fact, I have books scheduled for 2019!

What book are you reading now? I’m reading a book on body language, can you believe it?

What is one random thing about you? I dance. Ceroc, salsa, ballroom, modern jive – I dance all the time. I started dancing when I was fifteen and have never stopped.

What is your preferred medium of writing? Pen and paper or strictly tablet and computer? Laptop. I have two state-of-the-art laptops that I use.

What does your writing process look like? Oh, it’s such a mess in the beginning, I often amaze myself when I manage to piece together the story in the end.

Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)? No. But I do tend to eat a lot while I am writing a book. Like a lot!

How important are names to you in your books? Very. I start off with a name for my characters, but by the time I finish the book, I’ve changed the names at least 4 or more times.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? The legal facets, police procedural and courtroom aspects. Luckily my sister is an attorney and she guides and corrects me.

Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future?
Yes, I failed to mention sexual violence in my book called GRINGA, and I got blasted for it. Turns out the reader who kicked my butt for my omission is another author, not a reader.

What is your favorite motivational phrase? This too shall pass.

What is your favorite book and why? Currently, I would say Gone Girl. I love the author’s style of writing and I find her prose lyrical.

Do you have any advice for other writers? Keep writing. Never stop.

Eve 5

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? I am a person who loves life and when I’m not writing, I’m usually dancing and socializing. Or pretending to clean my house.

From where do you gain your inspiration? From everywhere, mainly music.

What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around? I have been approached by publishers, but I did not like their conditions. I love the feeling of being able to craft without restraint and restriction. Don’t fence me in.

How do you market your books? I use mainly social media, Facebook. I also use Amazon, Smashwords, etc.  Fiverr.com also helps.

Why did you choose this route?
Self-publishing is the route most writers chose these days. No longer do we need agents telling us how to write and controlling our every move. Amazon has made that possible.

Would you or do you use a PR agency?
I’m not sure. Maybe in the future.

Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?
Take your books to the readers. Facebook is a good medium – make use of it.

What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book?
I have two assistants who help me market. Of course, they do it under supervision and that does take up half my day.

What do you do to get book reviews? I still find it hard to get enough reviews. It’s something all authors complain of.

How successful has your quest for reviews been so far? It’s been a while since I solicited reviews. So I guess I’m lucky there.

Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers? No. Luckily I have a great number of faithful readers who post reviews without me having to ask.

What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews? Most of my really bad reviews comes from other authors. It’s clear to see that. I take the good with the bad. You cannot escape that.

Any amusing story about marketing books that happened to you? Nothing amusing, however, I had some pretty bad experiences where I got kicked out of some Facebook groups for not adhering to the rules. I wasn’t rebelling or anything – I just messed up.

What’s your views on social media for marketing? Facebook works for me. I haven’t had much luck with Pinterest, Twitter or Instagram, even though I promote my books on them.

Any tips on what to do and what not to do? Be focused on what you want to achieve as an author. Also, be nice to other authors. It will serve you well in the end.

 Eve 6

Did you do a press release, Goodreads book launch or anything else to promote your work and did it work? No, I’ve never done any of that. I did advertise on Goodreads once, but the response was weak. I promoted via book tours but there again, the response wasn’t anything to get excited about.

Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
I would love to go on holiday with Madonna. She’s not only gifted, she’s fun. Amy Schumer would be my next choice.

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why? Gone Girl. I think it’s a great book. I love Gillian Flynn’s sense of humor and I find her prose lyrical.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? Keep writing. Never stop. Cut out all distractions. I gave up television for two years when I was writing. I also hibernated for more than a year while I wrote more books. I wanted it that bad.
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Website/blog: http://everabi.wordpress.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/eve.rabi
Twitter – https://twitter.com/EveRabi1
Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/everabiauthor/
Google + – https://plus.google.com/111560859015561071911
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/everabiauthor
Instagram: https://instagram.com/everabiauthor/
Amazon U.K.: http://amzn.to/14vFE8r
Email:everabi2012@hotmail.com

 

 

 

#ASI: Heather Guimond

Hi Heather, thank you for agreeing to this interview.

Discuss your newest book.  My newest book, Fighting Perfection, is the second installment in a series detailing the events in Mimi Ashcroft’s life, two years following the end of the first book, Shattered Perfection.

Heather 3.jpg

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?   All my life I have loved the written word, and have devoured thousands of books.  English was always a strong subject for me in school, and I have a fertile imagination that is constantly taking real-life situations and wondering “What if it went this way…”

What are your current projects?   Right now, I have two works in progress, both as yet untitled.  One is what I anticipate to be the last book in the Perfection series, the other a standalone.  I also have another idea marinating in my head, to be written following the completion of my standalone book.    I have working titles for all of them, but I tend to make a final decision after the books are finished.

Heather 2

What books have most influenced your life most?  There have been so many moving stories that I’ve read in my lifetime.  Any book that moves me to tears is one that will forever be a favorite.  The first book I remember reading that made me cry was P.S. I Love You, by Barbara Conklin, when I was in the eighth grade.  As an adult, Dean Koontz’ The Watchers was the next one that made me bawl like a baby.

What inspired you to write your first book?   I was going through an extremely hard and sad time in my life.  I had all these emotions I needed to get out.  Normally I would have kept a journal, but I didn’t want to record the events as they happened, because that would have been unbearable for me.  Instead I created a completely different story that would evoke feelings that were similar to the ones I was feeling so deeply at the time.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?  Mimi is a fun and I think relatable character.  She goes through a series of difficult, often scary and heartbreaking situations where she gets knocked down—hard.  But, she always rises again, with her sense of humor intact. Sounds Good

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?   I want then to be free to take away whatever meaning they find in them.  More than anything, I want them to feel the emotions that I have felt, to live certain parts of my life so that they know that they may not be alone in some of the more difficult things they have experienced.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?  That’s a hard one, because I’m not familiar with many of the actresses today, (at least not by name) and in the first book, Mimi is only 24-25 years old at the beginning.  In the second, she turns 30, and I think Rachel McAdams would be a wonderful choice.

When did you decide to become a writer?  I always wanted to be one, whether it was free-lance, non-fiction articles (I abandoned that idea, because I didn’t think I knew enough about anything to share with readers).  I wanted to write novels but didn’t think my ideas were good or interesting enough to appeal to readers.  Finally, I was moved and inspired to actually complete a book, and fell in love with the story I’d told.  I showed it to an author friend, who urged me to try to publish it, and it gave me the courage and confidence I needed.

Why do you write?  Truthfully, because it’s fun.  Once I get an idea, I love seeing where it takes me.  It’s like reading; it’s a whole new world for me to live in and experience and I get completely consumed by it.  Reading will always be a love of mine, but writing?  That’s where I truly get lost and live a story.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?  I had a lot of false starts, but my lack of confidence always held me back.  When I was moved to actually finish one, it’s because I had so much emotion in me that I needed to express somehow, and I couldn’t think of any other way to do it.  It was cathartic, ended up being a very satisfying endeavor for me, and something I am very proud of.

Do you write full-time or part-time? When I’m writing, it tends to be full-time.  I take breaks between books to rejuvenate and clear my mind so that new ideas can come in.  It’s not uncommon for me to take a month or two between novels because I need to rest.  In that time, I find myself reading again like a fiend, and I eventually find something that stirs the creative juices and sends me running back to my computer to write again.

What is the hardest thing about writing?  For me, it’s bridging one scene to the next.  I always have plot points worked out in my head from the beginning to the end when I start writing.  Getting from one to the other and still making it interesting can be a challenge for me.  I tend to stop writing for a couple days as I try to work it out in my head, but really the only thing that seems to work is just sitting down and writing, to see what comes out on the page.  That’s when the inspiration really hits. #ToughTransitions

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?  The first book was so highly emotional that I was concerned that the second one wouldn’t live up to the expectations I created with it, and I don’t think I accomplished that.  I was really worried that I would disappoint my readers.  Fortunately, the reviews, comments and emails I received have proved that at least some people have liked it.

What is the easiest thing about writing?  I hate to say anything about the writing process is easy because it’s not, but loving what I’m doing is very easy.  Other than being a mom, I have never found anything in my life that was more fulfilling, satisfying and purposeful as writing.

What book are you reading now?   I recently started a book blog with a good friend of mine, so I’ve been reading a lot of unpublished titles.  One of the things I read recently that really stirred me was the ongoing Bellator Saga by Cecilia London.  Fantastic books, fantastic writing which  have me eagerly awaiting the completion of the story.

What is one random thing about you?  Random, huh?  Hmmm… I used to take salsa lessons.  I loved it even more than writing.

What is your preferred medium of writing? Pen and paper or strictly tablet and computer?  While I have always found the sight of a fresh, blank piece of paper inspiring, I do all of my writing on a computer.  I don’t think I could handle the writer’s cramp writing with pen and ink.

What does your writing process look like?  Me, sitting in my pajamas furiously pounding away at a keyboard while drinking copious amounts of coffee and chain smoking.

Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?  No, I don’t think so, but I do tend to lay down to think out my next scenes which doesn’t work well.  I always end up falling asleep! Not good!

How important are names to you in your books?  In my first book, I named the main character after one of my favorite authors.  I love her name and I love her writing, so it seemed like the perfect choice for the type of person I was creating.  Last names, I couldn’t really come up with, so while I was watching the credits for a TV program one day, I looked for last names that I thought might fit well with the first names I’d picked.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?  As I mentioned before, it’s the transition from scene to scene.  I always believe that each step should drive the plot forward and be a natural progression for developing the characters, bringing their thoughts, moods, etc. to life, so a reader really feels like they’re living the story.  I often read so many books that leave me scratching my head and wondering “What was the purpose for that scene?”  I don’t want my books to be like that—I never think of a scene as just a “filler” to get to one plot point to another.

Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future?  Marketing is still a learning experience for me.  I should have learned more ideas and avenues before I published, but I don’t regret it too much.  It’s been fun for me trying new avenues and techniques.  So far, I’ve found advertising on social media to be the most effective way to get my book out there, but it can be costly.  I’ll try just about anything though.  It’s the only way for me to learn what works for me and what doesn’t.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?  “Upward and Onward!”

What is your favorite book and why?  I have read so very many.  I have hundreds of physical books on my shelf, and thousands on my Kindle.  I spent two years reading a book a day in the not-so-distant past.  It’s hard to think of an all-time favorite.  I do have to reiterate that The Bellator Saga is my favorite right now.  I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Do you have any advice for other writers?  Go for it!  Don’t be afraid, and have confidence in yourself.  If you have a story you want to tell, someone is going to want to hear it, whether it’s five people or five million.  It’s a learning process as you go along, and even if your first book doesn’t bring you the feedback or success you hope for, it’s all a learning process and you will improve with each book you write.  Not everyone is compelled to tell stories, and if you are, you have something of value to share.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?   Read!  I also enjoy spending time with my family, watching films, and thinking about what I’m going to write next.

From where do you gain your inspiration?  Past experiences, everyday life, and people I meet or already know.

What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?  I submitted my first book to a host of agents, only to be rejected. However, I realized that they want books that they think they can easily sell, generally based upon what is “hot” in the market at any given time.  I knew that I wanted to share my story, and that there would be at least some people who would find it moving.  Self-publishing gave me that opportunity.  Also, depending on how you sell your books, the royalties are higher than with traditional publishing.  Sure, you have to be particularly savvy with marketing to reach a wide audience, but with self-publishing, you’re free from a handful of people’s opinion as to whether your book is marketable or not.  Readers just want an entertaining story, and while some do like to stay with what’s hot, (i.e. the Motorcycle Club novels, the MMA fighters, BDSM novels, etc.) I find that they’re willing to take a chance on what they think is an interesting story.  I’ve had a few great reviews that have started with “This is not my typical kind of book, but…”

How do you market your books?  Right now, my most successful avenue is with Facebook ads.  Social media is used by nearly everyone these days, and there is a wide reading community out there.  Writers love to read too, and indie authors are especially good at supporting one another and helping you to get your titles out.  Bloggers are also invaluable!  Readers develop trust in them, and are willing to take a shot with books that their favorite bloggers recommend.  Additionally, bloggers are very gracious about sharing titles, even if their to-be-read piles are enormous.

Why did you choose this route?  I’m trying everything that I think will give me results.  I continue with it, because I’ve seen proven results with it so far.

Would you or do you use a PR agency?  I don’t currently, but am very interested in this avenue.

Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?  I wish I had a tried and true formula, but as yet I don’t since I’m still learning.  I recommend having an advertising budget, to know exactly how much you want to spend and actively work within those parameters.  Word of mouth is still free, so giveaways are a great way to get the word out.  Don’t expect to be a financial success at first, or even ever.  I read once that the average indie author only makes a few thousand dollars a year, so forget about getting rich.  Concentrate on believing in your work and getting it in the hands of others.  True success to me is getting positive feedback and gets me more excited than increased sales for me.  Also, keep writing.  Having a back list helps drive sales.  The more books you have to sell, the more you are going to sell, simple as that.

What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book?  I am either writing or marketing.  I always have a small amount of marketing that I do while writing, but it’s mostly the simplest of things, since my focus is on getting my work on the page.  I find both to be highly fun, so I compartmentalize the two.

What do you do to get book reviews?   BEG!  I’ve done a few blog tours that garnered me a few reviews, and I listed my first book on NetGalley that got me a bunch more.  NetGalley was a little disappointing because a very large number of people who were approved to read and review the book didn’t actually take the time to review it.  I had hundreds request it and received about 15 reviews.  Also, the majority of those reviews were done on Goodreads, and while that’s great, reviews where you sell your books are far more valuable.  I do get a lot of mini-reviews on my ad on Facebook, which is exciting since I advertise heavily there and it helps people decide to take a chance.  I really love the Facebook community.

How successful has your quest for reviews been so far?  It’s always a struggle.  In contrast to the number of books I’ve sold, I only have a handful of reviews.  With only a few exceptions, they’ve all been great, but the more you have, the more exposure you get.  So, you’ll always find me begging for reviews.

Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers?  I still try anything and everything.  I will continue to beg, I will keep doing blog tours and anything else that might draw a few my way.  I wish more readers knew the value of their opinion, whether good or bad.  People really do rely upon them when making a decision, and most authors are starving for feedback.

What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?  All reviews are gold.  The good ones help drive your book sales and make you feel so accomplished, flattered and satisfied.  Bad reviews, while disappointing and hard to read, they give insight into how you can be better.  Of course, no matter what you do, there are going to be people who just don’t connect with your work, and that’s okay.  I’m grateful that so far no one has criticized my writing abilities, it’s all been that they just didn’t enjoy the story.  I can live with that, but if I did receive one that did, you can bet that I will take it to heart and keep it in consideration for my next work.

Any amusing story about marketing books that happened to you?  There’s been no specific incident that has been funny so far.  What amuses me most is how clueless I was at the beginning (and in some ways probably still am).  One blogger asked for my “stalk links” and I had absolutely no idea what that meant.  I felt like a doof once she explained it to me.  It didn’t even occur to me that “stalk” meant actually for fans to pseudo-stalk you.  I had visions of corn when I first heard it. We learn something new every day.

What’s your views on social media for marketing?  Invaluable!  Nearly every blogger has a Facebook page, so they are easy to make contacts with and develop relationships.  I am continually amazed at how enthusiastic they are about helping you get the word out to their audiences.  Additionally, there are TONS of groups that invite you to promote your books, and that’s all free.  Perseverance is the key.

Which social network worked best for you?  As you can tell by now, Facebook is my favorite.  I have a Twitter account with thousands of followers, but I find they all have their own agenda of sharing their tweets, not nearly as much interest in sharing others (author followers excepted).  I have an Instagram account, but really haven’t taken the time to figure it all out,  I’m always hungry for new ideas, so if anyone can help me out with that, I’d be grateful. Facebook FTW!

Any tips on what to do and what not to do?  I say try everything you can think of, and do internet research to gain new ideas.  Talk to other authors and see what has worked for them.  Cultivate relationships in the community.  It’s amazing what your friends will do to help you.

Did you do a press release, Goodreads book launch or anything else to promote your work and did it work?  I did not.  I just wanted my book out there and published, so I didn’t do any marketing beforehand.  I felt as a new author, people weren’t going to be as willing to read or be excited about my release.  (I also was still largely clueless on what to do).  I haven’t done any kind of promotion for my second book.  I am waiting until the series is finished so I can offer it in a boxed set, and intend to do a full-scale blitz then.

Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?  I would love to meet President Obama.  I think he is tremendously intelligent, and just so very cool.  I’d be equally thrilled to meet President Clinton.  They both just seem to have the kind of sense of humor I enjoy. Go Obama! Good luck Lady Clinton!

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?  I can admire the success of any author, but I can’t say there is a certain book that I wished I had written instead.  There are several authors whom I find so clever, the humor so flawless that I envy their abilities, but every author’s idea is unique and their own.  I can’t begrudge them that.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?  Just do it!  Put your heart and soul into it.  If you are moved by your own writing, there will be others that are sure to be as well.  Most readers are empathetic, otherwise they wouldn’t enjoy doing it.  They WANT to live your story.  Put it out there.  There’s nothing more gratifying than giving your story life and scary as it may seem, sharing it with the world.

 

How can readers discover more about you and you work?  I do have a website, www.heatherguimond.com, but I am dismal about updating it.  You can email me from there, however.  The most effective way to reach me is by Facebook, whether by friending me or liking my fan page.  You can find me there as a friend by searching for Author Heather Guimond.  My fan page can be found at https://facebook.com/heather.guimond.  I LOVE interacting with readers, and I’m really quite friendly.  I love to make relationships with readers and writers, get to know them and actually be friends.  No one should hesitate to reach out to me.  I’ll always respond quickly.

#ASI: Heidi Angel

Where are you from? I was born in Montana, spent my high school years in South Carolina, and am currently living in Salt Lake City, UT.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite? Hell School: Fresh Meat is my 6th book. I really can’t pick a favorite! That is like asking a mother to pick her favorite child! Lol, I have heard that it is a tough choice. I usually go with the most recent I’ve released because the newest child always gets the most attention for a little while.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? I have always loved storytelling, but I knew I wanted to be a writer when my first grade teacher taught us the different parts of books by having us each publish our own book. I still have that book today. Awesome! Teachers are always great inspiration.

What are your current projects? I am working on the second book in the Hunters series which should be out in the summer, the third book in the Clear Angel Chronicles which should come out toward the end of this year, beginning of next year, and of course the second book in the Hell School series which will come out next year. Mark your calendars everyone!

What books have most influenced your life? Oh goodness, there are so many… Les Miserable was the beginning of seeing the world in shades of gray instead of black and white. Eye of the Hunter made me fall in love with Fantasy and explore new realms. Great Expectations taught me the kind of writer I didn’t want to be. Everything by Poe taught me that I have a dark heart. I could keep going. I try to learn something about myself from every book I read.

What inspired you to write your first book? Elements of a Broken Mind, the first book in the Clear Angel Chronicles was actually inspired by my mom. She was really into Ghost Whisperer and it was something we watched together. I dreamed of Clear one night after we binge watched Ghost Whisperer. Sounds mystifying!

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? The Hell School Series is a cautionary tale about stalking.

What was the hardest part of writing your book? The series is based on my experience with a stalker. It has been ten years in the making. Every time I tried to write the series in the past the trauma was still too fresh and I couldn’t handle it. Once I got to the point where I could start writing it, I struggled with balancing fact and fiction. That’s horrible that you were stalked, but I am glad you have been able to take something good from it and are able to do so now.

What book are you reading now? Realms Unreel by Audrey Auden

Do you ever experience writer’s block? Not in the traditional sense. I never have problems writing, but sometimes I have to set one project aside because another project is demanding my attention. I can be so fracking frustrating!

What is one random thing about you? I am a lexicomaniac, meaning I am obsessed with words, learning their origins, how the meanings have changed through history, and learning new words. I do a word of the day just for me. I tried to share it with my kids but they got bored. Apparently they didn’t get my Lexicomanic gene. Interesting, I have the same gene, only with names.

What is your preferred medium of writing? I love pretty much any medium from blogging to poetry and short stories, but novels hold a special place in my heart. All the months that go into world building, character development, crafting the message… It is exhilarating and to have a tangible paperback at the end gives me chills every.single.time!

What does your writing process look like? It varies from story to story, and depending on the medium. I tend to be a planner though. I always at least have a beginning, middle and end before I sit down to write anything.

Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)? I plot scenes while doing other things like driving, working out, cleaning house. My family has gotten used to walking in to me talking to myself! 🙂

How important are names to you in your books? So important that I passed up a publishing contract because he wanted me to change the main characters name. Shakespeare was wrong, there is a lot in a name! Totally agree! Would Romeo and Juliet be as beloved if their names were Roger and Jan? I think not.

Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? I absolutely read every review and I do respond in appropriate settings (like Goodreads or on a blog post). I love reviews (good or bad) because they help me become a better writer. I thank every reviewer even if they absolutely hated the book, because it took them time to read and write a review. Fortunately, I have never received a review that was a personal attack on me. I am not sure what I would do in that situation. Probably not respond.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? Balance. If I could, I would write 10 + hours a day. Often my husband has to remind me to eat or go to bed because I get so into what I am doing that I forget.

Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future?
I tried PPC advertising for about six months. Don’t think I will do that again any time soon. I try to keep my books pretty low priced, so the number of sales I got didn’t cover the cost of advertising. It was very disappointing.

What is your favorite motivational phrase? Lol, I have so many! You should see my twitter feed. Um… just one…. “Think before you speak. Read before you think.” ― Fran Lebowitz. Wise words.

What is your favorite book and why? I really can’t pick just one. I keep trying, but I fail every time. I will describe my favorite types of books, though. I read across many genres, both fiction and nonfiction. I like a read that challenges me to see the world differently. A book that requires me to think beyond my own preconceived notions and that expands my views. Surprisingly, you find that more in fiction than in nonfiction.

What is your favorite quote? Oh goodness…. Again, so very many! Let’s go with “Life is pain, highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.” —The Princess Bride

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why? Cheeky answer, but the ones I write, because they are a reflection of all I have learned, of the views and perspectives and lenses other books have given me to look through. Yet they are uniquely mine and I love them!

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write from your heart. Write from your soul. Forget about “what will sell well.” The great writers didn’t become great because they wrote dime store fluff. They became great because they gave a piece of themselves to their readers.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Read… and swimming, camping, hiking, dancing, binge watching movies and tv shows with the family. But mostly, read!

How can readers discover more about you and you work? Visit my website. I have a blog, and sections for each series, I post events and if there is something you want to know, but don’t see then feel free to drop me a line. I love to hear from you!

Facebook
Twitter @HeidiAngell
Heidi’s Blog
Google +
Pinterest
Linkedin
YouTube

ha2

#ASI: Beaux Cooper

How many books have you written? Many throughout my youth just for fun, but Dust is my first published.
Congratulations!


Which is your favorite? Definitely Dust.
The first one is always special to us.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? I think it’s always been there. I can remember my parents telling me how I would write plays and stories with a vocabulary my spelling hadn’t yet caught up with.

What are your current projects? School for right now, but I have a few books on the backburner that I need to pick up. The most urgent being the follow up to Dust.

What books have most influenced your life?  There haven’t been many that were earth shattering for me, but there are a few that have made me truly appreciate the craft of writing such as Rumo and His Miraculous Adventures, Jane Eyre, and anything by Zane Grey. I have learned much about my own craft as a writer from these books such as how to break the rules, building strong characters, and paying close attention to the landscape.
These sound worth a look, I can’t say that I’ve heard of them. Except Jane Eyre and Dust of course.

What inspired you to write your first book? It’s just something I’ve always done. Being published was a lifelong goal.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? There are quite a few, actually, but the most important being that we were never meant to be just one thing in our lifetime – chase dreams and explore your inner self. Go to school for the subject you’re interested in, not because it’ll make you money… with the way today’s economy is, whether you get a business or art degree you’ll still probably end up working at Starbucks. So do what you love and never waiver.
Beautiful message, one that needs to be stressed more often.

What was the hardest part of writing your book? Forgiving myself for not writing gobs of words every day. Some days only one sentence comes out and others are 5000 word days. It evens out in the end and so long as you are moving forward, you’re making progress.

What book are you reading now? I have my nose in a few books (mostly textbooks for school). When I do find leisure reading time, though, I spend it with my current fiction by Elizabeth Wein, Rose Under Fire.

Do you ever experience writer’s block? All the time and anyone who says they don’t is lying or not trying to write anything worth reading. Some days are better than others and I can usually cure it by working on a different story in a different genre with completely a different plot. While writing Dust I also wrote a story about the shipwreck of an old luxury cruise ship turned economy cruiser in the early 1920s.
Sounds interesting as well!

What is one random thing about you? I don’t have a sense of smell.

What is your preferred medium of writing? Typing because my fingers can keep up with my brain much faster than I can when I’m writing.
Cool. I have to say that you are the first author to answer this question in the manner I was looking for. 🙂

What does your writing process look like? Experience plays a huge part in my writing process. There are just some things you need to see, feel, do for yourself before you can write about them. Most recently, I went to a cattle branding on a ranch as way of research. Either during or after experiencing something I’ll write it down, take notes, jot down any inspirational quotes that come my way.

Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)? Not that I’m aware of. Most of the time I have to turn off my wifi so that I don’t get distracted by the internet, but that’s about it.

How important are names to you in your books? Fairly important. I like to take at least a little time researching certain names and making sure their meaning fits the character, but I don’t hinge everything on that. There are names that just fit.
I agree, sometimes a name can mean everything and sometimes it is jut a gut feeling.

Do you read your reviews? Absolutely. I want to see what people like and didn’t like about the work and if it holds merit, do something about it in my writing.

Do you respond to them, good or bad? If I catch someone on social media or their website reviewing my work I’ll swing by and say “Thank you” no matter how flattering the review is, however, I don’t respond to Amazon reviews because it would just take too much time.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? My biggest weakness in writing is the ability to write honestly and authentically. The idea of being vulnerable on paper for others to read is terrifying, but absolutely necessary. Then, too, there are times when I worry I will sound too pretentious or too big for my britches; that people will say something like “who does she thinks she is? She isn’t Hemmingway…” It’s a big challenge, but I’m working on it. Dust has been a great exercise in writing authentically for me and I’ve grown a lot because of it.

Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future? I’m still pretty early in the game so I haven’t seen the true ramifications of my marketing actions. My online release party was a hit, though, so I’m quite proud of that.

What is your favorite motivational phrase? “What if I fall? Oh but my darling, what if you fly?” – Erin Hanson

What is your favorite book and why? Hands down, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Just stunning.

What is your favorite quote? I really don’t have one. Every now and then I will come across a sentence I wish I had written, but nothing quickly comes to mind.

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why? Definitely Jane Eyre. I love the building of the story, the strength of Jane’s character, and trials she endures. It’s a beautiful story.

Do you have any advice for other writers? Do your thang, baby! Write honestly and authentically rather than conforming to the rules of a style, theme, or genre. Your authenticity is what will make your work stand out from others.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Read, binge watch British television shows on Netflix, travel, and go out to eat!

How can readers discover more about you and you work? I have a fairly active social media suite and I update my website daily. You can find me here:
Website: http://www.beauxcooper.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CooperBeaux/
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/beauxcooper
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/beauxcooper
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/beauxcooper
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+BeauxCooperAuthor
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/beauxcooper

PICK UP YOUR COPY OF DUST TODAY!

DustbyBeauxCooper

#ASI Openings

Got a new book out? Want to spread the word about your books? Why not to an Author Spotlight Interview? All you need to do is Contact me and I will send you a short questionnaire to fill out. Send me an author photo and/or a cover photo and I will have it up in no time. It would be spread through Google+, Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook. So What do you say? It certainly can’t hurt.

The Paladins of Naretia Press Release by TP Keane

To those of you who have been following me as I interview authors and their books, it’s now my turn. EEEKK. Yes, with trembling knees and fingernails bitten to the quick, I take my first steps into authordom and ask myself the same questions I posed to them.

Following the brave authors before me, I am releasing my debut novel, The Paladins of Naretia, (book one of the Naretia series), a young adult fantasy novel.

TP

What is the book about?

A vision sparks the beginning of treachery and war in the kingdom of Naretia.

The story is told by a nearly three hundred year-old wizard, Olórin, and a seventeen-year-old tyrannical queen, Aria. Olórin knows only one thing for certain: that his adopted son, Aramus, will end all life if things are left the way they are. He must scour the kingdom for otherworldly ingredients to make a potion that will save him. If he cannot, then by his eighteenth birthday Aramus’s father, Dantet, will send his dark army to kill his son and take Aramus’s powers for his own. The evil God will be free to walk upon mortal soil and incinerate all who live there.

Olórin is optimistic, however, that Aramus’s human side will prevail over the rising darkness within him. He also hopes that his love for his son will be enough to steer Aramus away from the darkness. But underhanded deeds by traitors within the wizard caste prevent Olórin from achieving his goal, and Aramus turns before the potion is ready. Olórin is faced with an impossible choice: his son’s life, or all who dwell in the kingdom of Naretia.

What was the inspiration for this book?

I woke up from a dream one night, after having witnessed a strange and dynamic world (which was later to become Nareita) fall into chaos in my dream. In it, I saw the fiery winged figure of a young man with amber eyes. I began to wonder what an ominous, but obviously torn, figure would have to do with the destruction of the world and how it might affect him. So, in truth, the world was created by my unconscious brain and everything else just fell into place after that.

What draws you to this genre? Do you write in any other genre?

I also write in science fiction and I’m working on a book as we speak. Science fiction and fantasy interests me the most because I’m not limited by the bounds of reality. Should I decide that there are three moons in the sky, then there are three moons. I’m only limited by my imagination and that’s the kind of freedom I love to write in. Not only that, but I love to figure out the dynamics of the different characters between each other and the strange environment they have been put into. Working out the logistics of the science side of things for Scifi is a bit more daunting, however. But I’ve never been one to shy away from a challenge.

Can we expect more?

This is just the first book of the Naretia series, of which I’m expecting about 4 in total. Also, the Scifi novel I’m working, Kepler One, on is a trilogy. My love of literature, and strange worlds, won’t allow me to stop writing, so, yes, you can expect a lot more.

Tell me about you and what drew you to writing? Are there any authors who inspired you to become a writer yourself?

In my youth, I was a terrible student, not for the lack of brains but rather for the lack of interest. I remember every parent teacher’s meeting, my poor parents would come back exasperated with me because every year it would be the same. “She could be fantastic, if she only tried a little harder.” Little did they know that my lack of interest stemmed from a lack of an ability to be able to spell. There is a history of dyslexia in our family, although I’m not sure if I am dyslexic. But I’ve struggled all my life with reading, writing, directions, and my confidence suffered because of it. I learned to work around my issues and mask them as best I could. The only thing outing me was reading in public, so I avoided that at all costs.

Despite my lack of effort, I never lost my interest in hearing the teacher reading fantastical stories. It was the best part of my day as a child. I would relive those tales at night when I couldn’t sleep and I made up my own stories, but never told a soul. It wasn’t until I had my own two children that I began to tell the stories bubbling around in my noggin. My confidence grew, and soon I began to write them down (thanks in large part to spellcheck). After writing a couple of books, I finally found my groove and out came The Paladin of Naretia.

I love quirky authors, or books where the worlds ooze imagination. That, of course, is only second to a good story. My favourite authors are, Douglas Adams, JRR Tolkien, Jonathan Stroud, Ransom Riggs, John Green and, of course, JK Rowling.

Other than your own book, what is your favourite novel?

I have so many. My favourite books are the ones that remain with me after I’ve read them for one reason or another. The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Charles Dickens – A Christmas Tale, Mrs. Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs, or most recently, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms – NK Jemisin.

Have you written other books we should know about?
I have written other books, but this is to be my debut novel.

If you could advise aspiring writers on only one aspect of authordom, what would your advice be?

When you live inside your head as you make sense of your make-believe world, don’t forget to come up for air. Inspiration can be found in the world around you, and the biggest characters of all are not on paper. Believe in yourself, and remember, those who love your work will keep it in their hearts much longer than those who don’t.

Where can we find your books?

My book has yet to be published. The release date for it is Feb 28th 2016. But you can join me at the release party and enter a chance to win a fab prize, on Facebook by clicking HERE.

Where can we find out more about you?

I’m all over social media, most of my links can be found on my website

Website
Facebook
Twitter @tpkeaneauthor