#ASI: Amy Dawson

Hi Amy, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background. I live in South Dakota, originally from Iowa. I’m pretty much a goof most days. Always trying to be the funny girl and probably failing miserably. 😉 I went to school for video production and have worked in television for over ten years now. The last two years is when I just started writing books!

Discuss your newest book. My last book is called That One Moment. It’s book 5 in my London Lovers Series but reads really well as a standalone. It’s about a broken damaged hero who had a tragedy happen in his family over five years ago. He spiraled down a dark and twisty path and this book begins one year after he gets out of rehab. So he’s just finally starting to feel confident in himself again…and then of course a girl has to come in and shake things up for him! 😉

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Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? I have a bit of a unique start in writing. It’s always come easy for me…with college papers, letters, etc. But it wasn’t until I had a story to tell that I thought I could maybe write a book. My first book is called Chasing Hope and it’s my true story of my struggle with recurrent pregnancy loss. It’s super emotional but inspirational at the same time. I’m so so proud of it. My fiction work blossomed from that basically! I’m sorry for your loss. I’m glad that you could take something like that and see the light in it.

What are your current projects? Right now I’m starting a British soccer romance series. Sexy Harris brothers. They were the siblings to the heroine in my last book and they all play professionally. They were too cute not to get their own series!

 What books have most influenced your life most? British chick lit. It’s what made me fall in love with reading and probably hugely why I based my series in London!

What inspired you to write your first book? My own true story of how I got my daughter.

 Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special? The hero of my last book is special because he’s broken…and there’s just something about a broken man laying it all bare…putting it all out there for the world to see that is sexy as hell. You want to be the woman to fix him and when you get glimpses of him being strong…raar baby! Sounds like a great read!

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? I always seem to include some sort of message in my novels. For That One Moment, it’s really about loving yourself and trusting yourself to be okay. To not be afraid of your own shadow and to still continue to take risks because the payoff in the end can be magical.

 Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book? I totally see Robert Pattinson as my hero. He’s sexy, but in the dark, smoldering and complicated sort of way. For my heroine, Vi…Imogen Poot would be perfect I think! Maybe just a bit blonder though!

When did you decide to become a writer? I never decided. LOL. It just sort of happened. And even then I denied calling myself a “writer” for a long time. But with eight books out now, I’m starting to finally believe! Sometimes it just happens like that.

Why do you write? Because it is fun! I get to play God and make all sorts of decisions. And I get to have people read what I write and squeal with me about this world I created. So amazing.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something? My miscarriages. I had my daughter and it was so wonderful but I was terrified I would forget all the bad stuff that led up to her…and I didn’t want that. Because the bad got me to the good.

Do you write full-time or part-time? I currently still have a day job at the TV station. I work soooo many hours. Maybe someday I’ll just write full time, but for now…I’m juggling both.

What is the hardest thing about writing? Finding time to do it all. It’s so much all the time.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book? The stakes were high because it was HAYDEN! My readers were calling him #MyHayden for months before I even wrote the book. I was intimidated that I wouldn’t write something to live up to all they were  making him out to be. In the end…I think I just might have nailed it though. J

What is the easiest thing about writing? Writing is all a tremendous amount of work. But having fun with readers…that part is hella easy!

What book are you reading now? Marry, Screw, Kill by Liv Morris!

What is one random thing about you? I like to eat Doritos and Cottage Cheese together. Me too!

What is your preferred medium of writing? Pen and paper or strictly tablet and computer? Computer! I edit as I go…pen and paper would be awful for me!

What does your writing process look like?  Ear buds, kleenx (I cry a lot when I write), snack, Diet Coke fountain pop…44 ouncer. 🙂

Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)? I don’t write in the shower but I get my best ideas in the shower!!!

How important are names to you in your books? Sometimes important, not always. Sometimes I come up with names and I’m like…this will work for now, but then all the sudden I get attached to the name and I just can’t bring myself to change it. Makes me mad b/c it was just a filler name that stuck! Sometimes the first choice just …works.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?  I want every book I write to be better than the last. On book #8, that is getting so hard and so intimidating.

Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future? I’m sure there’s TONS of mistakes I’ve made. You learn as you go though.

What is your favorite motivational phrase? “Success looks a lot like hard work.”

What is your favorite book and why? A Girls Best Friend by Samantha Young. It’s just light and frothy and British and sexy! I want to reread it right now!

Do you have any advice for other writers? Networking is huge in this industry. Meet other authors, make friends, make contacts. It all opens doors one way or another.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? I love TV. I watch a lot of TV. Oh..and family. I have a husband and daughter I spend all my free time with…I probably should have said them before TV. EEK. Maybe I should revisit that with a therapist at a later date. Lol

From where do you gain your inspiration? Real life. I’m a watcher now. Everything around me is potential inspiration for a story. You’re never safe in my presence!

What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around? Self-published you get to have all the power…muhahahahaaaaaa.
Traditional…you can give up some of the power…and maybe have more free time! :O What is this free time you speak of?

How do you market your books? Social media, Facebook ads, newsletter, fan club.

Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books? Go for outside the box ideas. Don’t get lost in the sea of authors. Stand out!

What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book? A lot. Probably 50/50.

What do you do to get book reviews? I try to network with bloggers and then as I gain fans I find ones that want ARCs in exchange for a review.

How successful has your quest for reviews been so far? Good I’d say!

What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews? I’ve learned a lot from good and bad reviews. I learn my strengths and weaknesses and try to apply them to the next book.

Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why? I feel like Anne Hathaway would be really interesting. I don’t know…I’ve always loved her and I love a lot of things she says. I think she’d be fun and inspiring.

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
Potter!!!! I want the Potter franchise to be mine.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? You won’t write a book until you just DO IT. Stop talking about doing it and just DO IT! 🙂

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

My website! www.amydawsauthor.com

#ASI: Brianna West

Hi Brianna, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background? Well, my name is Brianna, obviously, and I am a mother of three young kids. I’ve always written, mostly fanfiction—back when that was still cool—and decided one day that I could do it better, or at least that’s what I tell myself anyway.

 

Discuss your newest book.

Coming April 29th Dawning is the third book in my Promiscus Guardians Series, and the fourth book I’m self-publishing. I write paranormal/fantasy romance; however, my books have a lot of other elements—humor, action, suspense, and badass heroines. Not to forget the incredible hunks that surround them.

 

This book series follows Izzy, who was like everyone else, until the day she eavesdropped on two major hotties in her little town and found out she was a hot commodity in the supernatural world. The Promiscus Guardians (mixed supernatural breed protectors) vow to protect her from the Dark that seeks to use her. Lucas, the vampire-angel team leader, is charged with her protection. Suffice to say, the stoic, uptight British hunk is hard to work under (or over).

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Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

Mostly, I think it came from my love for reading romances. I enjoy writing as much as I enjoy reading it. Because, who wouldn’t want to fantasize with some supernatural hunk? Drool-worthy abs? Hard as rock pectorals? Brooding conscience and hard to win over hunks? Yeah, that’s pretty much why I write them.

 

What are your current projects?

I’m fixing to release Dawning with a great event on Facebook; there will be a huge giveaway starting the 24th, and I am also planning to start writing the next book in my Guardians In Love Series, which is the spin-off series that follows the secondary characters in the Promiscus Guardians Series. Mark your calendars!

 

What books have most influenced your life most?

Pride and Prejudice has been a major love of mine. I don’t know what it is about that time period—because there’s no sex at all lol—but I’ve always been in love with the simple opposites attract scenario.

 

What inspired you to write your first book?

I had a tragedy happen personally, and I used to as motivation to write this story; take control of my life. And mostly because I have always dreamed of someone else reading my work.

 

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

Izzy is very sassy and sarcastic. She’s been independent most of her life, with only her best friend Nattie to turn to. When the story begins, Izzy had lost her job at the local library which had closed down. But, Izzy is a very strong-minded character. She’s optimistic and always knows how to make light of things. Even when someone tells you that you’re a supernatural creature and now part of the Dark versus Light battle ensuing all through the world.

 

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

Be strong. Push through. Never give up. Always love. We tend to crumble when times get tough, but there is always good in the bad; we just need to look for it.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?

Because there are so many great actresses, I’ve never really decided who’d be right. I thought Zoey Deschanel would be a good match. She’d need to be a bit more sarcastic to fit Izzy, but I think she could do it for sure.

When did you decide to become a writer?

Back in October. I’ve always written, but that’s when I decided to make it happen.

Why do you write?

All day, every day. I write fast, so I often push out a book in a few weeks, or a month. My kids and schooling have slowed me some recently, but not much.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?

Don’t know, actually. I just did it. Did it because I wanted to.

Do you write full-time or part-time?

I guess you could say it’s been full-time since I started since I do all the work and marketing.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Editing lol. I love rereading the stories, but worrying about missing a mistake drives this overachiever crazy.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?

That one was a breeze. I guess it just comes naturally.

What is the easiest thing about writing?

The writing part. It literally flows out of me. I’ve never had writer’s block with this story.

 

What book are you reading now?

An ARC I got from a fellow author. But that’s a secret 😉 A little mystery is good!

 

What is one random thing about you?

I’m a pervert. Oh wait, that’s not random.

 

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

Computer only.

 

What does your writing process look like?

I write whenever I feel the pull, which is all the time.

 

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

Thankfully, I seem to be normal, at least in that area.

 

How important are names to you in your books?

I want all my names to be unique and characteristic of their nationality.

 

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Not much really. Maybe where to put the damn commas. Commas, tricky little things.

 

Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future

Be careful what you decide to pay for. It may not mean much, or even make a difference to be worthwhile

 

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

Write for yourself. Write how you’d want to read it.

 

What is your favorite book and why?

I mentioned it earlier, but I am a big Pride and Prejudice buff. I love that book because the language is so poetic and really resonates with you. I guess I need to check it out.

 

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Just write. Don’t worry about the details. I don’t even think it’s worth it to outline your story, but get something put onto paper and never hold back.

 

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

I am a Netflix whore…so I’ll watch movies and shows whenever I can. I also love to secretly, not-so-secretly play otome romance games on my tablet…shhh, don’t tell anyone. My lips are sealed.

 

From where do you gain your inspiration?

There’s no real place, but sometimes other romance books give me inspiration.

What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?

I’ll just say that I haven’t regretted self-publishing. It’s hard work to market yourself, but it’s also worthwhile when you know that you did it all yourself. I make my covers and teasers, do my own takeovers, discuss things with everyone I speak to, and I make it all happen.

How do you market your books?

Twitter, facebook. I do events and takeovers. Spotlight on blogs and interact with fans.

Why did you choose this route?

So I could maintain all my creativity.

Would you or do you use a PR agency?

Not at the moment. I may, but right now, I’m happy where I’m at.

Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?

Do what you can, but know that your social media presence is where you sell your books, so make sure that is reflected in your tenacity.

What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book?

The in between hours. I tend to do it throughout the day.

What do you do to get book reviews?

I’ve been contacting blogs, but mostly, I just hope those that read the books review. I’m not at the point of begging yet.

How successful has your quest for reviews been so far?

Fairly okay. It’s not great, but I’m working on it.

Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers?

Not really. I’m still trying to find it.

What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?

They are all precious to me. Whether or not it’s good or bad, I take it as someone feeling the need to tell me what they thought. I see only an opportunity for growth from them. If it’s meant to be hurtful, I can shrug it off. You have to have a thick skin in this business.

Any amusing story about marketing books that happened to you?

As an author, we tend to navigate towards other authors. I was in a spotlight with someone…and my perverse nature came out. So during the interview, she couldn’t stop laughing. LOL nice

What’s your views on social media for marketing?

I think it’s helpful since it reaches so many. I genuinely believe that’s the only way authors sell books.

Which social network worked best for you?

Currently, Facebook and Twitter.

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

Don’t pay for services that you don’t know are reputable. There’s a lot of scammers out there. Try to do as many events, as many features on blogs, as many interviews as you can.

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

I’ve just started with the Facebook events. I’ll be doing them for each new release and to celebrate my fans. I’ll be doing another event when my facebook reaches 1000 likes…which should be fun.

Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?

Alan Rickman. I loved him so much. His acting would have been in my movies. Do I know where? No. Do I care? No. He was just an amazing actor. Agreed, his work is amazing. RIP Alan Rickman.

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?

None. I love what I write, and wouldn’t want to write anything else.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Just do it. Don’t hesitate. Don’t make excuses. Go for it and conquer that book inside you.

 

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

 

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Brianna-West/e/B016APSN6Q

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorbriannawest

Blog: briannawest.wordpress.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/bwest0426

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/briannawest

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bTxG9z