#ASI: Piper Davenport

Hi Piper, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Discuss your newest book. Road to Victory is Knight & Kim’s story and they’ve waited a long time to get their happily ever after, so I’m excited for them.

 Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? Ah…no…not really…I don’t know that I’ve ever had an interest. It’s been more of a burning need to write or die kind of thing.

What are your current projects? I am in the finished book coma at the moment, so it’s the “I will never write another book” phase. Ask me in a week or two and I might be willing to sit down and write again.

 What books have most influenced your life most? Christine Feehan’s Dark series, Julia Quinn (everything), and this really old book, called Timeless Passion by Constance Day O’Flannery.

 What inspired you to write your first book? I read a horrible one and thought I could do better than this…I can’t for the life of me remember the name of it now. Probably a good thing.

 Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special? Kim is horribly emotionally wounded, having survived abuse in her past, but she also has an incredible confidence about her that draws people in. She’s loyal to a fault, and she’s easily hurt, but she’s also funny and smart, so it’s no surprise Knight fell in love with her. And he’s all alpha with a heart of gold who beats back her demons…who doesn’t love that?

 

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

 

I’m one of those die-hard romantics who believes there’s only one true love and when you find him/her, you treasure them…so all my books really have that message.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book? No clue! This is one of the first books I’ve written where I have no one in mind.

When did you decide to become a writer? When I lost my job and couldn’t find another one.

Why do you write? Because I can mostly. Piper Davenport is actually my pen name, but I also write under my real name and it has afforded me the ability to do this as a living.

Do you write full-time or part-time? I write full time.

What book are you reading now?

 

Reading? What is this thing you call reading? Unfortunately, I haven’t got a lot of time to read, but give me anything from Amanda Washington or Geri Glenn and I’m in.

 

What is one random thing about you?

 

I’m married to an ex-pastor, but I swear like a sailor. I guess there is a reason he’s an EX-pastor. 🙂 Jk

 

What is your preferred medium of writing? Pen and paper or strictly tablet and computer?

 

Computer!

 

What does your writing process look like? I vomit onto the page….I don’t edit as I go.

 

Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?

 

I write on my sofa with the television on most days.

 

How important are names to you in your books?

 

Not particularly, because they’re so subjective. One name might remind you of someone you love…or hate.

 

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

 

Not being able to type fast enough!

 

Do you have any advice for other writers?

 

GET AN EDITOR! I know one!

 

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

 

I ride horses every chance I get

 

From where do you gain your inspiration?

 

Everywhere!

What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around? I keep all my royalties and I have total control over quality.

Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why? Abraham Lincoln…because I feel he’s the only decent president we’ve ever had.

 

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

 

www.facebook.com/piperdavenport

#ASI: J.S. Snow

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…

 

TEMPTATION

JS2

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

#ASI: Harper Jameson

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.

BECOMINGRED_BookCover5x8_Cream_370.pdf

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.

 

www.facebook.com/HLJameson

www.twitter.com/HarperJameson

www.instagram.com/HarperLJameson

www.harperjameson.com

www.harperjameson.blogspot.com 

 

ASI: Sondi Warner

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Hi Sondi, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background? I’m Sondi Warner, ghostwriter turned indie publisher, and I help run a small press called Wrought Iron Reads. I’ve been a writer-for-hire for almost a decade, but last year I took a leap of faith and decided to add published author to my growing resume.   When I’m not writing, editing, marketing and learning more about the craft, I enjoy spending time with my four kids and beautiful partner down in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

If you want to know more about me, I’m easy to find on Amazon Author Central and Goodreads. You can also follow me at Facebook.com/sondi.writer and visit my website at wroughtironreads.org.

Discuss your newest book.

Watch the amazing book cover here!

 

My newest book, Deserving, is a ménage a trois thriller readers have dubbed “the year’s most intense romance,” and I’m truly blown away by how well it has been received.

In this male/female/female story, Matteo and Angelina Fuentes struggle to repair their marriage after Matteo’s infidelity. When he hires sexy, impoverished Kristi DuPont to be his personal cleaning lady at his million-dollar property development firm, Angelina smells trouble brewing. Desperate to keep her husband, she proposes the three of them engage in a threesome relationship, but everyone in this book comes with secrets and ulterior motives. This isn’t just romance; it’s a thrill ride! You really want to read to the end to find out exactly who wants what and why. Sounds very interesting!

For a quick peek, follow this Amazon link: http://amzn.to/21m55PS.  Read the book blurb and Look Inside! I guarantee you’ll love what you see.

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Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? When I was in the second grade, my teacher had the class write short stories. She liked mine so much, she proposed we enter it into a Young Literary Writers competition, and I won first place! From that point on, I knew writing would be a major part of my life, but I never expected to get the opportunity to make it a full-time job. Dreams do come true. They take hard work, patience and ambition, but they do come true.

What are your current projects? I am a walking To-Do list. Ha! I have so many projects going at any given point that it’s hard to keep up. Currently, I’m revamping my website, creating new blog posts, expanding my social outreach and building my author platform, as well as tinkering with new stories ideas. I’m considering a sequel to Deserving. We’ll just have to see what readers want. Good Luck.

What books have most influenced your life most? I always hate such questions because there’s no easy answer. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you how much I’ve read in a lifetime—from devouring the classics as a child to delving into fantastic new worlds as a young adult and discovering the kink of romance novels in adulthood. My interests range from memoirs and essays to mommy porn and pop fiction. I would say every book has had an impact. The frivolous helped me not taking my writing too seriously; the serious helped me understand the nuance of the human experience. Reading, in general, is impactful.

 What inspired you to write your first book? I wrote my first book in a journal as a preteen. I think I was inspired by the pretty cover of the new journal. *Smiling* As for my first published book, I put out Jonquille in September 2015. It’s a contemporary romance novella about a tarot reader who falls for a poker player. Who can win when love and lust are two sides of the same card? You can buy the book here: http://amzn.to/1OvryId

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 Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special? In my new book, Deserving, the three main characters come from vastly different worlds, which colors their perspectives, goals and motivations. For Matteo Fuentes, the son of an immigrant, intellect and hard work have made him a wealthy man. His wife, Angelina, comes from an upper middle class background which smooths their transition into polite society. Their story picks up after the couple is well-established, and it’s clear they are considered a model pair by their contemporaries. On the other hand, Kristi DuPont lives below the poverty line and always has. What I like most about her is how she used her talents and brains to steadily claw her way up from destitution. They sound well matched.

Matteo is attention-grabbing. He’s a powerful, money man. Angelina is elegance and class embodied, and as a psychiatrist, she has the distinction of being well-educated. Kristi is special because she is doggedly determined to get what she wants out of life. They each have something to learn from one another.

Readers can learn more about each of the characters and the world I developed around them by viewing the free Official Brag Book of Deserving. I put this magazine together to give a behind-the-scenes look at my thought processes while writing the book, and fans say it’s a great way to dive right in before purchasing Deserving. Here’s the link: http://bit.ly/1QY1C5m

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Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? I’d like readers to draw their own conclusions. I didn’t write it with a message in mind, but I believe there is a lesson to be learned from everything.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book? Ah! I’m glad you asked! I actually have each of my character choices pinned to a board. You can see for yourself here: http://bit.ly/1Q2uniV

When did you decide to become a writer? I was born this way. 😉

Why do you write? Whether love letters, poetry, short stories or novels, if there’s a notebook or scrap of paper handy, I’ll be writing something. I guess you could say I write out of habit. It soothes me. I have a lot of thoughts rambling around in this head of mine.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something? As a ghostwriter, my job entails writing books for others. Sometimes client would come with a premise or full outline, and I’d build a story around the framework. Often, I had to come up with the ideas and outlines myself. An interesting thing happened as I was writing to earn extra cash; I started to learn more about the craft! I also learned that a deadline and the promise of money at the end of it was a great motivator to get in and get that story done! So, now, when I sit down to write, I am my own client. I pay myself. I am motivated because I know I can do it, and I know I can do it well.

Do you write full-time or part-time? I write 24/7. I’m kidding. I sleep at least four hours a day. 😉 Writing is my full-time job, and as an indie publisher, I have to do much more than write. I have to create promos and book trailers, market and promote, network and socialize. It’s a job that never ends. Just like the song that never ends. 🙂

What is the hardest thing about writing? For me, the hardest thing about writing is how time-consuming it is. As I said above, I work nearly 24/7. I’ve been at football games where my daughter had to cheer, and I’d have to bring my laptop because a client needed a project finished STAT. (I still ghostwrite. It’s a vocation I truly love.) I’ve missed family functions or been present at family functions but too busy to participate.

But, I do all of this extra work now in life so that in a few years’ time, hopefully, I can take a break. I am determined to make the name Sondi Warner synonymous with brilliant storytelling and books worthy of recognition. I’m pleased to say Deserving is getting rave reviews, and I can’t wait to deliver more great content! Congratulations!

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book? While writing Deserving, I was also working on a project for Mr. Perfect Client—someone for whom I ghostwrite. Juggling two novels at a time is a trial, especially when the deadlines fall within weeks of each other. Well, I managed to complete his project, and I moved right on to another one for him. I was still working on my book, marketing it and growing my web presence. I felt like Superwoman. Or, an absolute idiot. 😀 I took on way too much at a time.

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What is the easiest thing about writing? When I’m in the zone, the words flow and the scenes come together like magic. I fall in love with the characters. It feels like they write their own story. That’s the easy part. (Then comes the editing. My characters aren’t the best of writers. *Smiling*)

 

What book are you reading now? Tragically, nothing. I have a TBR list a mile high, and I have many wonderful author buddies who I’d love to read and review. Unfortunately, my schedule is exactly as busy as it sounds. I barely remember to shower every day, much less have time to read a book. 😀

What is one random thing about you? I love to travel. Last year my partner and I took a cruise to Cozumel. If I could spend my life traveling the world and writing, I’d be one happy girl. Same here!

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What is your preferred medium of writing? Pen and paper or strictly tablet and computer? I switch things up, depending on what’s going on. If it will look completely out of place for me to have my laptop—say, at the dinner table—I bring along a pen and pad to hash out ideas while waiting on our drinks to come. When I’m at home, I alternate between my laptop, tablet and desktop computers.

 

What does your writing process look like? While some writers can dive right in without an outline, I like to have my ideas lined up before I begin writing. Sometimes I use an extensive outline package that includes character profiles, motivations and stakes and a breakdown of what will happen each chapter. Other times, I compile a beat sheet that focuses on the main plot points.

 Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)? I sometimes lay down and type with my eyes closed. My partner gets a kick out of that. I usually only resort to such shenanigans when I’m too exhausted to stare at the screen for much longer.

 How important are names to you in your books? I have been known to look at a random object in the house and make up a character name. For example, a Sony television makes me think, “Yes, Sonya! Perfect heroine name!” There are stories where the naming happens much more carefully. I look up name meanings and where the name originated to be sure it’s the right fit for a character.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

I am my biggest competition. I take every new project as an opportunity to do better. I know my strengths and weaknesses, and I work on them constantly. For instance, sometimes my dialogue feels stilted. I manage that by reading aloud and seeing what feels right for a character and what doesn’t. It’s a learning process. I’m no expert yet, but I’m happy to announce I don’t cling to the title of “novice” any longer.

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Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future? I’ve made TONS of marketing mistakes. Remember, most of us aren’t marketing gurus. We just want to write our books and stick them on the shelf. One of my biggest gaffs was not marketing my first published book, Jonquille, as aggressively as I should have. I’ve learned how to develop and implement a marketing plan. I also read white papers on marketing and social media on a near-daily basis. I’m always ready to learn more. I can’t stress enough how important it is to treat this business like a never-ending study session.

What is your favorite motivational phrase? “Just keep swimming.” I nearly drowned once in real life. I know the value of continuing to kick even when you feel you don’t have any kick left in you.

What is your favorite book and why? My go-to pick is Choke by Chuck Palahniuk or Dress Your Family in Denim and Corduroy by David Sedaris. Both are hilarious books for entirely different reasons, and there’s a lot of real world insight within the pages. Palahniuk and Sedaris are two of my favorite authors.

Do you have any advice for other writers? If you can quit, quit. Don’t waste your time. But, if you can’t stop doing this, no matter how hard you try, then you’re probably meant to be doing this. Reminds me of words from a nun “If you wake up in the morning and can think of nothing but singing (or writing in this case) first, you’re meant to be a singer (writer).

 What do you like to do when you’re not writing? I like to take mountain drives and spend time with my kids and my partner. We’re a close-knit family. They understand my job keeps me preoccupied, but we all love when I can break away, and we can hang out together.

From where do you gain your inspiration? There’s a little voice in my head constantly yelling, “Think of something new, damn you!” That’s where I get my inspiration. 😉 Since writing is my job, I don’t have the luxury of waiting for a muse to show up or the lightning to strike. I just have to write.

What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around? Both routes have pros and cons. Foremost, self-publishing is a business decision. It requires knowing how to run a business, scary acronyms like ROIs, and phrases like short tail and long tail. When a person signs up to self-publish, they should know in advance this means they will be doing all the work by themselves. Finding book covers, editors, copyrighting, a graphic designer for their promotional material, a publicist, etc. Nine times out of ten, half that list ends up being solely their responsibility. It costs a lot of money to do this, but the reward is, whatever you earn is all yours.

Publishing traditionally comes with a team to handle the taxing work described above, although you will still have to market yourself. However, you’ll be splitting your earnings quite unequally with the folks who are putting in the “hard work” while you sit back and write. Not to mention, the process of finding an agent and getting discovered in the first place can be tedious, and the entire process of a story going from your writing desk to bookstores can take a year or more.

So, if you don’t mind rolling up your sleeves and putting in work (and money) to publish yourself, then you’ll see your work on shelves sooner and reap all the returns. But, if you’d rather leave the dirty work to the professionals, then you won’t mind the long wait and earning a little less. Writers should determine which route works best for them, and remember the third option is to go hybrid—do a combination of self-publishing and traditional publishing.

How do you market your books? From flyers, to postcards, to business cards, to a heavy online presence, I market my books everywhere and at all times. I keep things creative by using digital magazines like the one I linked to above. I create Pinterest boards and Google+ collections. I talk about my writing on Facebook on my author page. I also do blogtalk radio shows, blog takeovers and interviews. In short, I market aggressively and creatively. Anyone interested in learning more can visit my website at wroughtironreads.org where I run a blog called Writer People Problems and give advice for indie authors and other writers.

Why did you choose this route? I made a rash decision. I got tired of writing, writing, writing and never seeing anything with my name attached. So, I sat down and drew up a logo, built a website, got with a few friends and hammered out some stories. Wrought Iron Reads was born. We quickly learned we were in over our heads, but I like a good challenge. 😀 Every month, our brand recognition grows, which tells me we’re doing something right. 😉

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Would you or do you use a PR agency? I don’t. I would if I could. It would take a lot of stress off my shoulders. 😉 At this time, hiring an agency isn’t within my budget. Let’s hope that changes as Deserving takes off! Ha! *Smiling*

Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books? I encourage everyone I meet to take advantage of the wealth of information available at their fingertips on the internet. Seek reputable sites and read articles from industry movers-and-shakers. I can’t tell anyone exactly what will work for them, but the answers are out there and not hard to find. There is plenty of general info on my blog, so I invite all to visit and follow Writer People Problems and sign up by email in order to never miss an article.

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What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book? *Smiling* All of it. I write a few paragraphs, hop online and send out a reminder Deserving is available on Amazon, and then get back to writing. I also schedule posts in advance to multi-task without breaking a sweat.

What do you do to get book reviews? I beg. I’m shameless. I remind. I cajole. I remind again. No, I’m kidding! With Deserving, I started well ahead of the release date by sending out ARC copy and asking readers to write down what they thought of the book. Once it was released, I sent out reminders they could post their reviews. I haven’t quite mastered the art of drumming up hundreds of reviews yet, but I’m working on it.

How successful has your quest for reviews been so far? It depends on how you define success. It was like pulling teeth to get a few reviews for Jonquille. It was easier with Deserving. I consider that a minor triumph.

Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers? For my next book, I intend to stand on a street corner with a sign that says, “Will read this book to you for reviews.” I have a very good reading voice. It should draw people in like flies to honey! If that doesn’t work, then I don’t know what will. 😉

Here’s me reading an excerpt from Deserving:

What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews? I want the good, the bad and the ugly. This is a job, as much as it is an art. While I’m sensitive about my writing, I understand my job is to give readers what they want. Bad reviews that have merit actually help me become a better writer. Bad reviews that have no merit are an annoyance. I love my good reviews, and I pay attention to them just as closely to see exactly what worked in the book and what didn’t. Even good reviews tend to have a tiny critique crammed in there. 😀

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Any amusing story about marketing books that happened to you? Gah! I wish I had some, but I don’t. This business is far more boring than it looks, lol.

What’s your views on social media for marketing? It’s a must, but it’s easy to err. I follow the 10% rule. Ten percent of my social media posts are allowed to be blatant promoting. Everything else should give readers a glimpse into who I am as an author. I’m selling myself as much as I am selling my books. I want friends and fans to know there’s person behind the writing.

Which social network worked best for you? My favorite is Facebook, but I’m old fashioned. I’ve been considering giving Snapchat a try.

Any tips on what to do and what not to do? Back to the 10% rule. Let’s use Facebook as an example, since they’re the most tedious. FB doesn’t want you using your personal page to get rich quick. (Someone should tell them there’s no get rich quick to being a writer.) Use your Author Page or Product/Book Page to do your marketing. For every ten posts, place one promotion. It’s that simple, meaning it’s hard as heck. You’ll be tempted to promote, promote, promote, but doing so will only decrease your outreach and could possibly lead to your page being shut down for spamming.

I wrote a more in-depth article about this for my blog. Here’s the link: http://bit.ly/1TjCuZG

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Did you do a press release, Goodreads book launch or anything else to promote your work and did it work? I created and disseminated a press release on my own. I’m still figuring out Goodreads. I know there’s a wealth of resources locked in that beautifully complicated website, but I haven’t quite gotten to the goods yet. 😀

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Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why? Yikes! That question. 😉 I’d like to meet the creators of the hit show Underground. I am wowed by the writing in that series. Truly amazing work!

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why? I’ve never considered it, but I guess I might like to trade places with Octavia Butler. I think I would’ve given her book, Kindred, a different ending.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? Read. Read more than that. Read everything.

 

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Find me on Author Central: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015MR3M6Y

Find me on Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1SEQQWn

Find me on Facebook: http://facebook.com/sondi.writer

Find my company on Facebook: http://facebook.com/wroughtironreads

Find me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/wiruniverse

Visit my site: http://wroughtironreads.org

Thank you so much for inviting me to participate in an author interview with you, and thanks to everyone reading this! I’ve enjoyed discussing my writing and other projects, and I appreciate the opportunity to talk my favorite subject: Books! Be sure to check out my website for more about me and the other writers of Wrought Iron Reads, and don’t miss Writer People Problems only at wroughtironreads.org. Because life’s too short for bad books! #ReadEntertained

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#ASI: Stella Eromonsere-Ajanaku

Hi Stella, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Discuss your newest book? My new release, Wild Whispers is a story about a beautiful widow, Adaora, who lost everyone and everything she loved and cared about in Abuja and retreated to Dagor Village.

In this story, you will meet Adaora Dike, an African woman with a backbone of steel and a heart of gold and Gary Mason, a Londoner who happened to stray to her doorstep in the woods, sees the emotion Adaora wants to keep away and wants to share something deep and special with her.

This is the first book I have written with a heroine who is a widow. The great thing is, Adaora is not broken by tragedy.

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Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? In all honesty, my deep desire to write romance novels originated from reading a ton of Mills and Boon romance stories in my teen years. My friends and I bought, read and swap countless books. It was very exciting. At that time, I did not think I would actually write but the joy of travelling with characters all around the world was unforgettable. Back in secondary school, I wrote plays. Although nothing came out of them, it was my first attempt at writing. Awesome.

What are your current projects? Two projects need my attention for sure. There is a story about a divorced woman that came straight at me one morning as I woke up. I have the blurb typed out. When the time is right, I would write her story.

Secondly, I owe my readers Book 2 of Royal Cowries, my historical/suspense/mystery romance novel. A few readers have sent me emails asking for a follow-up story. And I have committed to writing the story this year. Keep an eye out!

What books have most influenced your life most? Mills and Boon romance stories in my teens because there was a promise of a happy-ever-after no matter the conflict and hoops the characters had to jump over.

They influenced me to write the kind of stories I wanted to read – romance stories with African twist. Now I write Interracial/Multicultural romance.

What inspired you to write your first book? Loitering Shadows published in May 2010 was partly my story. When my colleague stuck a notebook and pen in my hand and asked me to write, I asked myself, what am I going to write? So I decided to start with the story I knew – mine. But as I carried on writing, my imagination kicked in and it turned into a half-fiction/half true story. It turned out to be a very therapeutic adventure.

In writing Loitering Shadows, I discovered that a writer did not need a therapist to get rid of past pain or things too naughty to tell anyone else. You just weave the details into your storyline and no one knows the truth except you. Lol! Every novel after Loitering Shadows reflects a bit of me or my husband in the lead characters.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special? In Wild Whispers, although Adaora was cast out and rejected by those who should have supported her and taken her in when tragedy struck, she did not allow her unfortunate situation to weigh her down or stop her from doing good deeds. She is one special woman.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? Yes, I want to showcase the plight of many strangers and emotionally vulnerable people in our communities. We need to be more accepting and treat them the way we want to be treated. There are lonely people around us who we probably look at with contempt or with no interest at all.

In Wild Whispers, only a young girl called, Ebele in the entire village paid the emotionally-torn Adaora any attention. The young girl’s infrequent visits brought Adaora the comfort she needed to stay strong. Such a good message.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book? My most recent book before Wild Whispers was Red Velvet Rose ~ A Valentine Romance. It would be amazing to have Laz Alonso from Breakout Kings play the sexy-as-sin Moroccan Millionaire Zane Abdul and for Ashley Benson from Pretty Little Liars to play my beautiful blonde heiress, Gabriella Gilcrest.

Why do you write? I write to satisfy my innate passion. My fingers just writes no matter what it is. Whether I’m watching TV or reading a book, I always have a pen and paper by my side. For as long as I can remember, I have always scribbled on notepads.

Writing is a habit I engaged in when I was in school as well because it helped me understand my subjects better. When I worked as a food safety professional, I got nominated to be project teams’ secretary all the time even when I did not fancy sitting down to take notes.

One day, I told a colleague at work that I would like to get published. I just blurted my thoughts aloud. She said, ‘What’s stopping you?” and thrust a reporter’s notebook in my hand and told me to write as I commuted. And I did.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something? As a teen, I read countless Mills and Boon romance novels. One day, I thought to myself, how lovely it would be to have romance novels featuring a blend of African characters, clothes, food and culture along with western characters and culture. That way, readers like me have the best of both worlds.

So my very first book was an interracial romance story titled: Loitering Shadows.

My motivation for writing IR is because I know that love breaks down every barrier across race and culture.

Do you write full-time or part-time? Until two years ago, I wrote part time but I now write full time. People might not know how demanding and exhausting writing is, but with a passion for writing and romance as deep as mine, there is nothing more fulfilling and rewarding.

What is the hardest thing about writing your latest book? There was so much tender romance growing between Adaora and Gary and I want readers to experience the same emotions as they read Wild Whispers. So trying to cram a lot into a short story was hard.

What is the easiest thing about writing? Having a laptop and a quiet space makes writing an easy task for me. The plot of the story is usually easy for me to write. For most of my books, through God’s grace, it just flows.

What book are you reading now? I just finished reading Black Unleashed by Penelope Marshall. It was a great read. And I have a review request to read The Wedding Day by Sharon Kleve. That is the next book on my TBR list.

What is one random thing about you? I drink bottles of water throughout the night, lying down and first thing in the morning.

What is your preferred medium of writing? Pen and paper or strictly tablet and computer? In 2010, I used pen and paper. In the past few years, I have used my smartphone, tablet or laptop. Life is so much easier this way.

What does your writing process look like? Once I get a nod to write which is usually in the form of a storyline or blurb waking me up from my beauty sleep, I just get on typing. Sometimes, I scribble down key events I want to feature in a few chapters to achieve a good flow.

After writing, I keep the draft aside. After a couple of days or weeks, I rewrite the story, edit and re-edit. Then I send it to my editor who uses a fine-toothed comb to go through the book. We do a bit of back and forth trips to revise and accept revisions. When I’m happy, I send the PDF copy to Createspace to produce a proof copy prior to publishing.

Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)? Lol! I have had inspiration on fleshing out storylines or adding dialogue here and there when I’m in the shower or commuting in the bus. When I’m traveling, I record every detail on my smartphone. And if I’m in the shower, I wait till I’m out to type it out.

How important are names to you in your books? Very important. The names for the lead characters must ring true in my ears and match the characters personalities.

For example, in the first draft for Wild Whispers, the hero’s name was Ryan Bennett. At that point, I did not give the choice of his name a thought, I just needed to get the story down. After a few revisions, I asked my teenagers to come up with a more ‘manly’ name to fit my hero’s personality. And bang, my son came up with Gary and my daughter came up with his last name, Mason. Honestly, Gary Mason was the perfect name for a man with a great heart who would not allow prejudice affect his decisions.

Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would do in future? Oh yes I have made marketing mistakes. It is a learning curve. When I first started writing, I did not promote or engage with readers in any way because I worked full time and I thought writing was the most important thing. How wrong I was.

Through social media, I have learned that readers love to interact directly with authors and not through an agent or PA. I make out time to thank potential and new readers, chat about my book characters, storyline and get to know their own story in many cases. And I would continue to involve readers in picking character names, cities and give them credit by including them in the ‘Sincere Gratitude’ page of my books.

What is your favourite book and why? I thoroughly enjoyed Chicki Brown’s book – Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough (Stafford Brothers Book 3) and more recently, Black Unleashed by Penelope Marshall.

Do you have any advice for other writers? Yes. Write from your heart. Get a good editor (could be an author you love their writing) to get rid of the little foxes that spoil the vine. Interact with readers and promote your books on social media. There are millions of authors in the market, if you only write, no one is going to know your book exists.

What do you like to do when you are not writing? Play board games with my husband and children, enjoy cuddles and have a sweet time with my husband, watch TV, go swimming (in the summer), go to the cinema and read romance novels.

From where do you gain your inspiration? Mainly from God because storylines and character dialogue wake me up from my sleep. I also write about prevalent issues affecting relationships such as infidelity, age difference, parental influence, rape etc. I look around and I get inspired.

Forbidden Dance was written after I looked out of my bedroom window one day and I saw a woman in bathrobe drive off in a puff of gravel with a man trying to run after her. In my head, a story was borne.

What would you say are the main advantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around? I love self-publishing because of the freedom to write, design covers and publish based on a timeline that works around my family life.

How do you market your books? Mainly on Facebook pages, on my blog (Flirty & Feisty Romance Blog) blog tour, Twitter, Pinterest and more recently, Instagram.

Why did you choose this route? Promoting my books on social media suits my family life, my health condition and it is free. It works for me.

Would you or do you use a PR agency? I use Ocean 2 Ocean Books Promotion for Facebook release parties because they are lovely, effective and affordable. Johnna N. Seibert PA is great at posting new releases on several Facebook pages for free. She is amazing

Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books? Spend time on Facebook engaging with readers (potential or exiting) and for some of your books, get your book covers professionally designed.

Readers love attractive book covers. Most of my book covers and promo materials were designed by the very creative and wonderful, Maria Lazarou of Obsessed by Books. She is affordable, delivers on time and creates extra special promo materials as a bonus. I love Maria to bits.

What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book? A large chunk, several days a week. I split my time between writing and promoting each book by keeping readers updated and doing giveaways.

What do you do to get book reviews? In chatting with people on Facebook, once they leave comments that they have read or bought my book, I encourage them to leave a review. Otherwise, readers often don’t. Some readers tell me they would read anything I write because they love my stories, yet, they might not leave reviews.

Sometimes, readers worry about what to write because they are not writers. They worry that their reviews would be judged as well.

How successful has your quest for reviews been so far? The most reviews I have on one book is seven, six or lower. Yet, my books sell at a rate I’m super delighted with considering I’m a relatively unknown indie author. It means I have loyal fans and new readers pick up my books as well.

When I struggled to write my Valentine Romance story in January, I posted the fact I was suffering from writer’s block on Facebook. The spontaneous responses I got from readers was overwhelming. They posted possible names of character, cities my heroine could come from, how my characters would meet and told me they would read anything I wrote. I was so shocked and delighted. One reader posted a photo of my heroine that ignited my writing the story. And I eventually released Red Velvet Rose in less than a month!

Now, I don’t agonize about not getting hundreds of reviews.

Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers? When I first started writing, I emailed book bloggers for review request, in almost all cases, they didn’t reply. There was one blogger who replied, read one of my early books (when I did not have an editor) and gave me the best advice ever. She told me to get an editor. But I had no money. God brought one brilliant US author my way who offered to edit my books for free. I have learnt so much from her.

That was the turning point. Thank God, the way for Flirty & Feisty Romance Novels now is UP. I don’t ask reviewers for reviews anymore because they seem to be inundated with review requests.

When I do Author Takeovers Events on Facebook, I give away my books and I do ask winners to leave a review.

Now, authors ask me to review their books and I feel honoured. I always make sure I reply every review request.

What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews? Good reviews are a delight of course because it gives me a great idea on what the reader liked and it is an affirmation my work is admired.

Bad reviews are great because it helps me grow. A reader who takes time out to share what they did not enjoy about my book is just as appreciated as a reviewer who wrote a glowing review. The only one I find unacceptable are reviews that either include spoilers or are abusive.

What’s your views on social media for marketing? My swift reply is, what would we do without social media? It provides a wide reach across the world for our books. Flirty & Feisty Romance Novels are sold in the US, Canada, across Europe, India and in Australia. This would not have been possible otherwise. I have never even been to most of these countries.

Which social network worked best for you? Facebook and Twitter for sure.

Any tips on what to do and what not to do?

Do: Actively engage and interact with readers on any platform that works for you.

Know your audience and write to keep your readers asking for more.

Find someone to help edit your story to get rid of the basic errors.

Keep writing. The more you write, the better you get.

Don’t: Don’t give up even when you receive bad reviews, you can only get better if you keep at it and listen to constructive criticism.

Did you do a press release, Goodreads book launch or anything else to promote your work and did it work?

It varies. I did a Facebook release party for Forbidden Dance organized by Ocean 2 Ocean Book Promotions, and it was a success. I did not do anything for Tempting Desire release and it was a huge success, thank God. I have never done a Goodreads book launch.

For Wild Whispers, I’m doing a blog tour.

Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why? Actor Jim Caviezel tops my list. He blew me away with his extraordinary acting ability, swagger and personality in the movie series, Person of Interest. I would love to meet him.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? Keep on writing. Don’t let anyone tell you, you are not good enough. Find an author whose work you enjoy to read your work if you can’t afford an editor. Self-publish and promote your work on social media. There’s room in the world for you.

How can readers discover more about you and your work? All Flirty & Feisty Romance Novels are available on Amazon and Smashwords. I have excerpts, snippets and teasers on my blog: Flirty & Feisty Romance Blog, Website: Flirty & Feisty Romance Novels and my books are on Goodreads.

 

Thank you, Courtney for this opportunity. It was fun to provide the answers to your questions.

#ASI: Montana Ash

Hi Montana, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background? I am an Aussie from a relatively small town in country New South Wales and my debut novel released late in 2015. Now here I am in April with another book hitting the shelves! I write paranormal and fantasy romance and I am a book junkie of almost every possible genre out there! I’ve met my first Aussie!

Discuss your newest book.  Paladin is book two in the Elemental Paladins series and follows directly from the conclusion of book one – Warden. Paladin sees a shift in the leading romantic couple with Diana and Darius having their time to shine. But don’t worry, I promise there is plenty of Max and the rest of the gang too!

Honour. Duty. Loyalty. Control. These are the principles Darius lives by – almost to the point of obsession. They had forged him into a noble knight but had also cost him the woman of his dreams and wrought a non-relenting hatred for his personal nemeses; the chades.

When a tiny, redheaded, whirlwind of trouble descends upon him and his fellow knights in a flurry of questions and impossibilities, Darius finds himself struggling to reconcile his past values with his future desires.

For Diana, the arrival of Max brings with it a portent; revolution. As a paladin of death, acceptance is at her core. So embracing the sarcastic powerhouse as her sworn liege is easy. But embracing a certain air paladin who is a pathological rule-follower? Well, that isn’t so easy, despite the attraction they have shared for centuries.

With Darius confronted by his demons and a bitter Warden bent on exacting revenge, will the two knights ever reach their happily ever after? Sounds great!

Montana 2

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? High school English! I was lucky enough to have a couple of wonderful English teachers who were supportive and critical at the same time – just what a budding writer needs 🙂 #TeachersWriteOn!

What are your current projects? I am currently working on book three in the Elemental Paladins series – Chade. I also have a couple of other series that I have fleshed out and also a stand-alone that I would love to finish off. But all in good time … I would love to get book one in my Reluctant Royals series out next! It’s all about demons and angels … and a tough female assassin called Saber!

What books have most influenced your life most? There are so many and all for different reasons. I remember the first science fiction books I read that sparked my love for that genre; the Tripods Trilogy by John Christopher. The very first romance books that lit my internal fires for a happily ever after; Across The Barricades by Joan Lingard. And of course Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin – a strong woman writing about strong women!

What inspired you to write your first book? I have a very active imagination and so many voices bumping around inside my head. Essentially, they finally wanted out and publishing my very own book has always been on my bucket list.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does she do that is so special? Max is the main character in Warden, book one of the Elemental Paladins series. She is also the heart of the entire series. I think she is the perfect balance of all of us out there and a wonderful contradiction; she is strong yet vulnerable, funny yet serious, friendly yet lonely, fiery yet solemn. She is a strong, independent, feisty heroine who is loyal and gives affection freely to her chosen few. She can also beat the crap out people twice her size and delivers one-liners with her sharp tongue like a queen.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? Balance and acceptance. Life is all about balance; good times follow the bad, if you take; you must give back. With all the marvelous diversity in the world, acceptance of all of our little eccentricities is so important.  

Which actor would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book? I would love to see a buzz-cut Hugh Jackman playing Darius! YUM!

Do you write full-time or part-time? Part time, unfortunately. I have a full time day job and write in my spare time.                                                            

What is the hardest thing about writing? Letting it go once it is finished. Being able to stop re-reading it and searching for tiny issues, and just trusting that somewhere, someone is going to enjoy it.

What book are you reading now? Take You Apart by T.J. Spade. It is a crime thriller with a side of romance. I am loving it!

What is one random thing about you? I have three tattoos; a wolf, a gothic rose with sharp thorns and also a squiggle on my big toe that I decided was a brilliant idea at 2am in Turkey! LOL

What does your writing process look like? Chaos! Absolute chaos! (lol) I write scene by scene so I end up with patches of a storyline. I then stitch them all together into some semblance of an actual book, just like a patchwork quilt. I never write chapter one first. In fact, I have always written the end scene of each book first.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? Killing characters off! I hate it and I don’t have any clue how I could sleep at night if I ever offed one of my main characters!

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? I am an embryologist and genetic counsellor by day. I mix babies up and put them back every day 🙂 I like to read – naturally – and play with my fur-kids … Montana and Ashby. WOW

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? Just write! If you write it, they will come …

How can readers discover more about you and you work? I have a website, Facebook page, Twitter account, Goodreads page … and all the usual places to stalk an author 🙂  Please chack out the links below. Stalk nicely!

Website

http://www.montanaash.com/

Facebook author page-

https://www.facebook.com/montana.ash.author/

Amazon Author Page

http://www.amazon.com/author/montanaash

Twitter-

@ReadMontanaAsh

Goodreads page –

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14661560.Montana_Ash

 

#ASI: Debbie Allen

Hi Debbie Allen, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background? I was born and raised in Detroit Michigan, and live in Macomb Michigan with my fiancé. I had a few things published in high school magazines, and a poem was published in Reader’s Digest many years ago. I’ve always jotted down story lines but never really did anything with them till 2015, when I found the picture that’s on the cover of Trusting In Love. It just hit me to tell my story of domestic abuse as part biography, part fiction.

 

Discuss your newest book. My newest book is about a tatted up, busted up bull rider who finds and nearly loses the love of his life.

Debbie

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? I’ve read from a very early age and always did little plays when I was alone about the books, wrote my own lines, etc.

 

What are your current projects? Dare To Ride, about the busted up cowboy, another one will be about a man who lost his wife and their unborn child in a crash he lived through, barely, and finds love again. I’ve got 3 other book covers with ideas for them, but no solid story yet. Hang in there, they’ll come.

 

What books have most influenced your life most? Historical romance novels and romance novels period.

 

What inspired you to write your first book? Honestly… I read a book in a bundle by Molly McClain, and when I found her on Facebook, we got to talking and she inspired me to start, and then I read another book by Maggie Adams and she’s been the biggest influence on me.

 

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special? All my main characters are survivors in some way of a tragedy or accident. They’re strong willed and find love in the end with that special someone.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? That love is there for everyone, it’s just a matter of finding it.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book? I really don’t know, I haven’t thought about it. Maybe Hugh Jackman.

When did you decide to become a writer? Didn’t decide, it just started flowing off the fingers one day till I was finished. I have many unfinished scripts that I’ve lost to hard drive failure over the last 20 years.

Why do you write? It’s cathartic sometimes. But mainly it’s because I enjoy dropping out of my world into theirs for awhile.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something? I saw the picture that I used as the cover for Trusting In Love and the story hit me in the face.

Do you write full-time or part-time? Right now part time

What is the hardest thing about writing? I’d have to say, sitting long enough to finish. I’ve had health problems that kept me from sitting as long at the computer as I’d like to in the last year.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book? Nothing really, just having time away from pain to sit long enough.

What is the easiest thing about writing? Wow, is there such a thing? Let’s see… I guess it’s wrapping my head into their world long enough to escape mine.

 

What book are you reading now? As of 4/14/16 Now that I’ve found you by Bella Andre

 

What is one random thing about you? I took truck driving school and can drive an 18 wheeler

 

What is your preferred medium of writing? Pen and paper or strictly tablet and computer? Computer

 

What does your writing process look like? I sit at my computer and either listen to music or have the TV going and then lose myself in my story as it unfolds. I write as I go along.

 

Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)? About the strangest writing habit is that I do my best writing after I go to bed in my head.

 

How important are names to you in your books? Pretty important, can’t call everyone he or she all the time 🙂

 

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? Remembering who did what when if I’ve been away from the story for awhile.

 

Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future? Yes, double and triple check your paperback covers before  saying they’re ok. I have a typo on my first and can’t change it now.

What is your favorite book and why? My first of course, Trusting In Love, it was the very first I published to the actual buying public.

 

Do you have any advice for other writers? Talk to other writers who’ve published books, whether with a publishing company or as an Indie like me. Listen to them, and then write your heart into it.

 What do you like to do when you’re not writing? READ, my TBR list is over 8000, yes, that’s thousand, I get the majority of my books free, so I have to take them when I can get them, as they’re free for a limited time. And I thought mine was getting long with over 3000!

 

From where do you gain your inspiration? Life, other books, TV.

What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around? Since I haven’t been published any way yet but self, I can’t really give an opinion.

How do you market your books? Through Facebook, my website www.debbieallenbooks.com, author takeovers on Facebook where I give free copies of my book and include a handful of bookmarks for the winner to had out to family and friends.

Why did you choose this route? I can’t afford a PR or PA yet, so have to do things myself.

Would you or do you use a PR agency? If I could find one really cheap, or free, yep.

Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books? Join many book sites on Facebook, follow their rules because some have a 1 post a day limit, or what can be posted. Get a website, make up a “cheat sheet” of your copy that you’re using to post the book with and make sure to have all your contact info and FB pages, etc on there.

What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book? I don’t, I just post it while I’m cruising around looking for free books, or reading posts on Facebook

What do you do to get book reviews? Honestly, I don’t do anything. With all the trouble at Amazon about reviews right now, Goodreads is about the only place I’d want reviews.

 

How successful has your quest for reviews been so far? Moot point, since I don’t do a quest for them.

Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers? No

What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews? Good reviews welcome, bad reviews I’d prefer to be inboxed with them first so I can rebut them.

Any amusing story about marketing books that happened to you? Marketing, no, but it was 2 weeks after I started doing the paperbacks that someone noticed a typo and I couldn’t change it then. Sigh.

What’s your views on social media for marketing? Best thing ever.

Which social network worked best for you? Facebook is much better than Twitter as I don’t have that many followers on Twitter.

Any tips on what to do and what not to do? Do get yourself writing, and don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice from another author.

Did you do a press release, Goodreads book launch or anything else to promote your work and did it work? Not really, though I am on the Goodreads author list.

Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why? Gene Kelly, I wanted to dance and sing like him since I was a kid. In fact I did do my own version of the Singin in the rain dance.

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why? Oh wow, I really don’t know, there are too many that I love.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? Don’t be afraid to ask authors questions. If they’re like some of my author friends, they’re more than willing to help.

 

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/1DjM2jD

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1dKd7zZ

Author’s Facebook Page: http://on.fb.me/1QS7hyQ

Website: http://debbieallenbooks.com/