IndieView with Cameron Solnordal, author of The Tears of Regret

 

The first draft was great because a lot of it took into account simply writing what I felt. Once that had been done I then had to go back and really understand my relationship to those feelings. That’s where the structure really began to build.

Cameron Solnordal – 22 July 2017 Continue reading

IndieView with Evonda Michelle, author of Betrayal

I feel that almost everyone can identify with my characters either personally or vicariously because of a friend, family member or an associate. My target audiences are women (in general) with low self-esteem, teens, families of abuse and neglect, blended families and the like. 

Evonda Michelle – 20 July 2017 Continue reading

IndieView with Crystal Hope Reed, author of How to Live with a Psychic

I like telling people what to do so the advice giving came really easily. Maybe more easily than I should admit.

Crystal Hope Reed – 18 July 2017

The Back Flap

The emergence of psychic or healing abilities in one partner often causes anxiety, stress, or confusion for the other. How to Live with a Psychic teaches you not only how to survive this shift but how to thrive and strengthen your relationship when your life has detoured down this unfamiliar path.

Crystal has already figured out what works and what doesn’t. Follow her practical advice, designed to help you take command of your situation and achieve the best possible results for your unique circumstances.

About the book

What is the book about?

More and more people are experiencing a psychic awakening. This can take the form of clairvoyance, mediumship, healing, precognitive dreams, communicating with animals, or lots of other phenomena, like just knowing things and not being able to explain how you know them.  When this is happening to someone it may change their behavior and worldview and it’s often difficult for their partner to cope. Maybe it conflicts with established belief systems or upsets their equilibrium as a couple.  There are so many possibilities.

This book, the only one currently on the market addressing this particular issue, is written for the partner of the emerging psychic. I walk people through every aspect of the scenario and teach them how to manage their partner’s instability, when applicable, as well as their own discomfort and confusion. I give information about how psychics experience the world differently than most other people and thorough explanations about psychic phenomena in general.  The book also contains lots of relationship advice that can benefit anyone, even if they’re not living with a psychic.

There’s a chapter on how to tell the difference between psychosis and psychic ability, and another that is just firsthand accounts from developing psychics, where they explain what they wish their families and partners had done to support them. It’s really quite comprehensive and at the same time, to the point. Practical. Concrete. And hopefully not too serious even though it’s a serious subject.

When did you start writing the book?

I wrote about 40 pages in July of 2014 and then set it down for about a year and a half. During that time I felt as if I was actively “in the process of writing a book” but honestly, I didn’t do anything but think about it.

How long did it take you to write it?

Once I started writing again, it took much longer than I expected. In early 2016 I thought I could get it out during the summer. Then I set a “firm” deadline for myself for Thanksgiving weekend. Around the turn of 2017 I was polishing yet another draft, creating the cover, etc.  At some point after Thanksgiving I had finally given in to the idea that this process has a life of its own and that helped me relax and focus on doing the work instead of wasting my energy being upset about missing my self-imposed deadlines.

Where did you get the idea from?

You know how they say, “Write what you know”? That pretty much sums this book up. It’s based on my experience of having to figure out how to support my husband through the early, tumultuous phase of his explosion of psychic ability, combined with my counseling background and my own resulting fascination with the paranormal and metaphysics.

I was quite surprised to find there weren’t any books on this subject on Amazon because it seems like there are no new ideas left at this point, right? There were lots of books for people who are becoming or who want to be psychic, but none that focused on the issues that arise for/with their loved ones in the process.

I knew I was the right person to write the book, based on my unique combination of experience and training, and that I should do it as quickly as possible because Brett and I were meeting more and more people all the time who were struggling with this. For example, we’ve visited support groups for developing psychics around Los Angeles and they’re full of people who go to the meetings because they can’t talk to their significant others or family about what’s happening. And I’ve heard about several separations or divorces due to this relationship challenge in just the past year and a half. So it’s a real thing that’s affecting more people than you’d probably imagine.

Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?

Brett did the editing and a lot of the red marks came back in the form of “Explain!” and long passages crossed out in their entirety. So I guess the struggle was the same as most authors experience: being pleased with myself but then hearing from an editor or reader that the parts where I felt especially clever just came off as confusing or contrived.

What came easily?

I like telling people what to do so the advice giving came really easily. Maybe more easily than I should admit.

I’m half joking about that but honestly, it was fairly easy for me to flesh out the parts that focused on relationship issues. I’ve lived everything I talked about, and I’ve coached others through it, too, so those parts almost wrote themselves.

Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know?

My “characters” are 100% real since this is a non-fiction book. All names were removed to protect the identities of people I used as examples, and even the firsthand accounts in chapter 10 are unattributed, but everybody I refer to is an actual person and every anecdote I use is a truthful retelling.

We all know how important it is for writers to read. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you?

This is the kind of question where one might be tempted to make something up because we’re supposed to be able to talk about our influences, right? But I don’t. I can’t think of anyone who influences my writing style for non-fiction.

Do you have a target reader?

For this particular book, my target readers are: a) anyone who’s living with a developing psychic and would like some suggestions for making that easier; b) developing psychics who want to be able to ask for the support they need from their loved ones; and c) anyone who is newly interested in the psychic realm. My reviews on Amazon have also revealed that a people are reading it even though they have no interest in or experience with psychic phenomena and they’re still getting a lot of value from the advice that can be generalized to any relationship.

About Writing

Do you have a writing process? If so can you please describe it?

I shy away from ritual or routine so I don’t have a writing process in that sense. I write when the mood strikes mostly, and then once a project is in the editing and revision phases I’ll discipline myself more. Other days I work on book promotion and business, but not necessarily writing. Sometimes I even take a full day off, if you can imagine. How unorthodox.

Do you outline? If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences?

I outline extensively. You could say compulsively.

Since I write non-fiction, this makes sense, right? I need to have a very thorough list of all of the topics and details that I want to cover to make sure I feel I’m doing justice to the subject matter.

I start by listing everything I can think of, in no particular order. With pen and paper. I let this take at least a few days because “sleeping on it” actually works. (Always trust those instincts you have first thing when you wake up. Not just about writing, but about any area of life.) Then I start to organize and categorize, and I move it to a Word document.

By the time I’m done with this extensive brainstorming process, I practically just have to fill in some blanks. That’s an exaggeration, because of course there’s a lot of writing to do. And editing. And re-writing. But it leaves me with just these little blocks to focus on one at a time, instead of worrying about the arc or big picture, because I’ve already planned that to my satisfaction beforehand.

Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished?

Both. Obviously I don’t turn out drafts that I feel are poorly written, but there’s always a lot more work to do after every revision. I think we did 14 drafts of “How to Live with a Psychic.” I had four different intros. Not just three revisions of the same intro, but four entirely different approaches until one seemed to fit with the rest of the book.

One of the challenges of being an author is that a piece of work is never really done so at some point you just have to stop and let it be what it is. There are a ton of small things to consider first, though, like looking for words you tend to use too frequently and replacing those with alternatives—which sometimes requires rewriting the whole sentence or even more. It’s a balance between creating something that’s good enough for consumption and realizing that if you wrote the passage today it would come out differently than how you wrote it yesterday, so revising could potentially be a never-ending process.

Did you hire a professional editor?

Brett, my husband, has been my editor. I know having a family member or friend as one’s editor is advised against in pretty much every list of “do’s and don’t’s” for authors and in general I would agree with that proscription. However, our relationship dynamics have coalesced in such a way that being each others’ editors is actually probably the best idea for us. At least for now, during our self-publishing phase. Once we have books picked up by publishers there will be other editors involved in those projects whether we like it or not.

Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, what gets the fingers tapping?

I don’t listen to music while writing. If I had my choice, I would have only the ambient noise of our neighborhood, which is so familiar to me that it’s like the pulsing of my own blood through my veins. But since we don’t live in an ideal world, I have learned to mostly block out the constant household noise and to recover quickly from the frequent interruptions by people and dogs who seem quite certain that whatever they want from me at the moment is more important than whatever silly thing I’m doing on the computer.

About Publishing

Did you submit your work to Agents?

Not for this first book. My plan is to submit the next one to agents.

What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? Was it a particular event or a gradual process?

A little bit of the decision was based on feeling discouraged by the high rejection rate from agencies and publishers for first-time authors. Also, there was an element of impatience. I didn’t want to wait to get this particular book out since I’d discovered there wasn’t one on this topic on the market yet and I didn’t want to miss my window.

And then a lot of the decision was based on the fact that we like to do things ourselves. We like to know how things work. I didn’t know anything about this industry at all so I felt it was important to get my hands dirty with every single aspect.

There’s more work to it than I expected so in a way I’m glad I didn’t realize that before getting started. For example, almost every place one can post their ebook wants it in a different format.  These things are not necessarily hard, but they are all time consuming, so be sure you have the time and interest and organizational skills to make it happen if you’re considering that route.

Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself?

In keeping with our self-sufficiency model, Brett designed my cover. He’s a great artist and spent a lot of time analyzing successful book covers in terms of color schemes, fonts, and imagery in order to make the book look appropriate for my genre. Just out of curiosity I paid a few Fiverr vendors to create covers just to see what they could come up with and everything looked like a template. Practically the same design from each person. I’ve used Fiverr for other things and was satisfied but your book’s cover is too important, don’t skimp on that.

Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it?

Totally just winging it. Not recommended.

Here’s what I can say about marketing in a nutshell: When I am actively marketing, I get sales. When I am not actively marketing because I’m focusing on writing the next book or non-marketing business tasks, sales taper off.

I went with KDP Select for the first 90 days so I could do a free period on Amazon. I got almost exactly 500 downloads in one long weekend so that was pretty good for a niche book like mine. Making that happen took a lot of prep work, though, because I had to submit to dozens of free-ebook promotion sites, well in advance so they had time to list me on the appropriate days, and then a bunch of Facebook pages on the day of. Once I switched back to not-free, there wasn’t the momentum I’d expected or hoped for but at least it was valuable for getting some reviews, which are very important in attracting future readers.

Now I’ve switched my attention to making my book available more places. When I first put it on Amazon I didn’t realize that bookstores and libraries don’t typically buy from them (even with the reseller discount through CreateSpace Direct), partly because they want returnability. That means as self-publishers we have to put our print books up on other sites like Ingram and get it listed with wholesalers. (Check into the differences between a wholesaler and a distributor for you own edification.) So I went through the long process of being accepted by New Leaf Distributing and have paid to be placed in a couple catalogs that specialize in metaphysical books, as well as buying a display spot for this year’s BookExpo through Combined Book Exhibit. When I become aware of other opportunities or avenues for marketing I will pursue those as well. But I’m really just making it up as I go along.

Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors?

I will paraphrase some advice I heard on a webinar about being a successful indie author:

“If you choose to self-publish your books, you are not an author. You are an entrepreneur and your product just happens to be a book.”

I can’t emphasize enough how true this is. If you don’t have the time or the stomach for handling ALL of the production aspects and ALL of the sales aspects for your book then maybe consider sending your manuscript out to agents.

And you have to make that decision ahead of time. I’ve been told by every agent I’ve talked to that once a book is self-published they don’t want anything to do with it because the publishers don’t want anything to do with it.

About You

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Santa Monica, California. While it’s now considered Silicon Beach, when I was growing up in the ‘70s and early ‘80s it was literally Dogtown and Z Boys.

Where do you live now?

I still live in Santa Monica. While in the Navy I lived in the south and on the east coast, but as soon as my enlistment was over I zipped right back here. I know a lot of people don’t like our area—even some who’ve never even been here!—but for some of us there’s just no other place that feels comfortable and open enough to be home.

What are you working on now?

My next book is about animal communication. A combination of how-to and case studies. Releasing a workbook and audio book of How to Live with a Psychic are obvious next steps, too.  Other things I’ll be writing soon are some YA non-fiction and probably something heady about soul evolution. Pretty much everything will be psi related.

End of Interview:

For more from Crystal visit her website or like her Facebook page.

Get your copy of How to Live with a Psychic from Amazon US or Amazon UK.

 

IndieView with Brynn Taylor, author of (You Broke Me) Open

I believed for a long time that I would eventually write a book, but when I saw how much this particular subject of toxic relationships was helping other people, I knew I had to create (You Broke Me) Open. 

Brynn Taylor – 15 July 2017 Continue reading

IndieView with Mark Boutros, author of Karl’s Kingdom

I’ve been writing for over ten years and won the PAGE International Screenwriting Awards in 2016, and I plan to write until I no longer have the body or mind to type.

Mark Boutros – 13 July 2017 Continue reading

IndieView with Momchil Yoskov, author of The Immortal Trinity: Inheritance

It was a bliss writing it, because I didn’t have any publishers or agents perched on my head and shoulders, bothering me when it’ll be finished and because it was something I had never done before. 

Momchil Yoskov – 11 July 2017

The Back Flap

Ronnie Mason is an undergraduate who doesn’t have a clear idea what to do with his life. As an introverted and quiet type, he is also unsurprisingly unpopular among his peers. Life at home with his parents is becoming tedious with each day and he seeks a way out of it. He craves for a change in his life, whatever it may be, so that he could rise above the misery looming over his mind and demonstrate to his parents and his peers that he can improve himself and take control over his life.

His wish is gradually granted. He meets two boys in a bar and they quickly form a bond. A few days later, when they hang out at a local football stadium, an alien container crashes into the field. The three decide to open it and inside, they find three crystals, which bond to their bodies and change them irreversibly.
The boys find themselves dragged in a universe-wide conflict, as an evil entity wants the valuable crystals for his own personal gain. The ultimate goal of this entity, known as The Overlord, is to use the crystals to achieve total dominion over the universe and enslave all life within it.

Now Ronnie has a new purpose in life. How will he cope with it? Will he remain the same? Or will he evolve and adapt?

Inspired by video games, metal and everything surrounding us in our reality. A sci-fi novel with socio-political elements, lots of violence and humour.

About the book

What is the book about?

The book is about an alien race, called The Immortals, which dies during the events of a civil war. The only surviving objects from that war are three crystals in a container, which crashes on Earth and is found by three boys. One of the allies of that race, called New Hope, finds them and after explaining the whole situation, the boys begin working with them against this almost omnipotent evil called The Overlord, who wants the technology and the immortality that the boys now possess for his domination of the entire Universe.

When did you start writing the book?

Now, this one is a bit ambiguous. If I recall correctly, it was the end of January 2014. My memory is a bit hazy.

How long did it take you to write it?

The whole process of research, writing, editing and finally publishing Inheritance took me 3 years and 2 months.

Where did you get the idea from?

Rock and heavy metal, along with the videogames I play and some science fiction and action films that I’ve watched. Those are my primary sources of inspiration.

Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?

Good question. I can’t quite remember. It may have been some minor events and bits in the dialogue, where I needed some more unorthodox words or expressions. Also – the editing. I didn’t have a professional editor helping me in that endeavour, because I didn’t have any money to pay them for their services, so I had to rely on myself and my own wits. I’d say the editing was the hardest. Even now I find some minor errors, which irritate me and I correct them, then re-upload the book before anyone notices. If Inheritance has a downfall, it will be the way it’s edited and I feel that reviewers, writers and readers writing the first reviews for it will slander me for that.

What came easily?

Almost everything. On the whole, it was easy. It was a bliss writing it, because I didn’t have any publishers or agents perched on my head and shoulders, bothering me when it’ll be finished and because it was something I had never done before. During the writing the ideas for the current book and the sequels came the easiest.

Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know?

All of them are entirely or partly influenced by real people. In the sequels there will be actual personalities, famous for one thing or another in the real world, but I won’t reveal who they are just yet and no, I’m not going to put them under any torture or humiliation.

We all know how important it is for writers to read. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you?

That’s the funny thing: I avoid reading as much as possible, because of the amount of sources of inspiration that I have and I feel that I might just plagiarise a particular event, dialogue or a whole idea that somebody else has used. For now I try to find my own style without copying too much. I might read non-fiction books, related to the creative process, how to improve said creative process, how to avoid bogging down in terms of writing, but fiction… mm, not really, not at this point.

Do you have a target reader?

Yes, I do – gamers, rock and metal fans, young adults and… well, anyone over the age of 18 who would be interested in violence, profanity and a variable pinch of humour.

About Writing

Do you have a writing process? If so can you please describe it?

I wouldn’t say it’s anything specific, or rather revolutionary, at this point. It’s not rocket science. First I brainstorm some ideas and/or do some research, then I write them down in my notes. If I write in the manuscript, usually I have something in mind, then something else pops up and I add it in. It’s like an avalanche.

Do you outline? If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences?

Err, I don’t know exactly how to answer this one (because I looked up the meaning of “outline”, as I’m not a native speaker) but I’ll do my best. In terms of outlines, I have some pre-written scenarios, sentences and events, which I feel would be perfectly suitable for the whole series or for specific events, be they for the currently written book or for one of the sequels. Once I reach a point where I have to add something that I’ve outlined, I cut the pre-written bit from my notes and paste it into the manuscript. In some cases I improvise on the spot, so I’d say it’s 50/50.

Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished?

A little bit of both. Some editing on the spot and the rest is done, when the book is finished.

Did you hire a professional editor?

No, I did the editing myself, because I’m still broke and I can’t pay anything to anyone to do it for me.

Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, what gets the fingers tapping?

Some acid jazz, eurodance and some country… nah, just kidding! Rock and metal all the way!

About Publishing

Did you submit your work to Agents?

No, I didn’t use the services of any agents. So far I’ve only submitted my work to reviewers.

What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? Was it a particular event or a gradual process?

The idea of owning all of the rights to my own creations without clashing with a publisher’s interests and without them ripping me off of my profits.

Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself?

I had it done for me, but it wasn’t professionally done. A friend of mine found an artist on some site and he sent all of the details regarding the cover. It took some time, because he did make some mistakes in the process, but in the end the result was, I think, fabulous.

Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it?

The friend I mentioned earlier is also helping me with paid advertisement through Google Adwords, which is the more complicated side of the advertisement. I’m handling the unpaid portion – sending the book to reviewers. So far I’ve had some rejections, most notably by The Daily Mail and Guardian on the grounds of them being “too busy and full of books to review”. The best answer (aside from the few people at this point, who agreed to review it) was that of Cat Ellington, who didn’t accept my offer, but was impressed with the cover and the synopsis so much that she told me I’ll succeed and won’t be overlooked. In addition to that she redirected me to Derek Murphy, who happens to be a marketing guru and not a reviewer, as I found out. It’s not that I wouldn’t accept his help at all – it’s that I can’t pay him anything at this point.

Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors?

It’s a long road and at first you’ll have to rely mostly on yourself to do the heavy lifting, unless, of course, you’ve signed a contract with an independent publisher, a big publisher or a sponsor (hey, whatever you’ve chosen). If you have a sufficient amount of money (not necessarily an amount, which would allow you to light your cigars with 100 dollar bills), you’re luckier than most of us, so use it wisely. Now… most people firmly believe that earning mountains of money is a sin and I understand them entirely, especially if the end goal is to simply look rich in the eyes of the rest of us. But let’s be honest for a moment – everybody who decided to start writing has thought about the prospect of earning lots of money and maybe eventually making a living out of it. Unless they’ve published their books for free, of course. What I’m trying to say is: it’s not wrong to think about it and strive for financial safety, but you have to have a lot to offer, you have to be backed up by an immense amount of your own wits and people who believe in and enjoy what you do. If you can captivate them merely by speaking about something (not necessarily related to your books or your craft), you will go very far, I’m sure.

About You

Where did you grow up?

In my hometown Kozloduy, Bulgaria.

Where do you live now?

I live there.

What would you like readers to know about you?

Outside of the writing, I hope that one day I will front an extreme metal band. Also, if you really like the book, share it with friends, spread the word – it will help me and motivate me immensely.

What are you working on now?

Some metal material for my own band, whenever it becomes a reality, the Bulgarian translation of Inheritance and the sequel to Inheritance.

End of Interview:

Get your copy of Immortal Trinity: Inheritance from Amazon US or Amazon UK.

IndieView with Karen Botha, author of Naked Truths

I come into contact with so many different people of differing backgrounds being a massage therapist that it’s difficult to say where the idea came from specifically but I certainly have a wealth of stimulus.

The Back Flap

Easy going massage therapist, Lucy, ignores her strict policy on mixing business and pleasure when dapper widower, Giles Harrington saunters into her therapy room. Sparks fly; but is he as perfect as he appears?
Ignoring warnings from her best friend and ex murder detective, Paula, Lucy ploughs head on into a tumultuous romance with Giles. One with far-reaching consequences that neither could predict.

Paula enters a game of cat and mouse with the ultimate prize, will she unravel the tangled web before it’s too late?

A page turning psychological thriller that twists and turns towards its shocking conclusion.

About the book

What is the book about?

Lucy meets a dark handsome stranger, but her best friend and ex murder detective has a bad feeling about him. Trained to follow her gut, she starts looking into him discovering his first wife died. The circumstances surrounding her death become increasingly suspicious as the book progresses.

It’s set against a backdrop of a massage therapy business which is what I do for a ‘day job’ and what has provided many of the book’s happenings.

When did you start writing the book?

February 2016. I wrote a few chapters and then everyone told me it was great, but I didn’t want to be the BGT equivalent who says ‘well my Mum says I can sing.’ I put it down and booked to go to Swanwick Writers Summer School and had a one to one with Simon Hall, BBC news presenter and novelist. He said what I’d done was great so filled with confidence and new knowledge, I started in earnest at the end of August 2016. First draft was completed 12th December 2016 and it launched 21st May 2017 after the necessary editing process.

How long did it take you to write it?

9 months

Where did you get the idea from?

I come into contact with so many different people of differing backgrounds being a massage therapist that it’s difficult to say where the idea came from specifically but I certainly have a wealth of stimulus.

Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?

The first part before I attended Swanwick was more of a struggle of confidence than anything else. I loved the process of writing a book and am already on my second one, although this is non-fiction about natural fertility.

What came easily?

The story. I’m not much of an advance plotter. I had key markers where good and bad needed to happen to meet the story arc, but beyond that the characters took me where they needed to go. I didn’t know how the chapter would develop until it presented itself on the page. I think this is why I enjoyed the process so much, every day was like reading the book myself.

Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know?

Absolutely I’ve borrowed people I know, BUT there are probably twenty people within one character, plus all the fictional stuff as well.

We all know how important it is for writers to read. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you?

I’m not influenced by authors, I sit down and write in my own style, but I do love to read. I’m currently in the middle of two books; A Thread Unbroken by Kay Bratt and The Light of Fireflies by Paul Pen and Simon Bruni. My recent favourite was Good Me Bad Me by Ali Land and my favourite of all time was Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts.

Do you have a target reader?

Anyone who needs a bit of escapism from everyday life, more specifically females 18 – 45. This is not a heavy read. It’s light and humorous even though it’s a psychological thriller.

About Writing

Do you have a writing process? If so can you please describe it?

I write when I get time. Being a massage therapist (like Lucy) and reflexologist my clients make appointments at any time 7 days between 7am and 9pm for a 10pm finish. I prefer to write in the mornings, but if I have clients booked in then I write when I can.

Do you outline? If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences?

I’m lucky to get meaningful chapter headings.

Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished?

Wait until I’ve finished. The story takes over first draft.

Did you hire a professional editor?

No, but I have had extensive editing experience myself when working as Head of Marketing before I retrained to be a therapist.

Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, what gets the fingers tapping?

I tried it as I heard it helps to write moods, but it was way too distracting. The idea lasted about two minutes.

About Publishing

Did you submit your work to Agents?

I tried two, but then I was fidgety before the decisions came back so decided to publish it myself. I wasn’t too bothered even when submitting if I’m honest as I had heard through the writer’s circles that if you’re successful you get multiple book deals. My problem is, this is fun for me, I didn’t want to be pushed in to writing because that’s what sells. I want to write for enjoyment. Hopefully my enthusiasm for my characters comes through in Naked Truths.

What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? Was it a particular event or a gradual process?

As above, I didn’t want to be pigeon holed. I’ve already started my second book, a non-fiction on natural fertility – a totally different style.

Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself?

Professionally done by Chris Kudi.

Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it?

I have a marketing plan, as this was my career for more years than I care to remember prior to retraining in massage and reflexology, I can’t help myself.

Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors?

Go for it, what have you got to lose? Forums are great sources of advice.

About You

Where did you grow up?

Yorkshire, near Leeds.

Where do you live now?

Essex, UK.

What would you like readers to know about you?

Lucy is based on me, and Giles started off being based on my husband, but please don’t believe everything you read!

What are you working on now?

Non-fiction on Natural Fertility covering nutrition, lifestyle, hormonal basics and self help tips at home such as reflexology pressure points. The idea being that by following this simple guide, (a lot are way more complicated than they need to be,) you will hopefully avoid expensive and invasive hospital appointments.

End of Interview:

For more from Karen visit her website, like her Facebook page, or follow her on Twitter.

Get you copy of Naked Truths from Amazon US or Amazon UK.

IndieView with E.Y. Laster, author of Of Captivity & Kings

I wrote a book I would love to read! I love period films and books and if I found a great action movie set it in the past, I was all over it. 

E.Y. Laster – 6 July 2017

The Back Flap

The laws are different in the Kushite ruled Kingdom of Nabara. The penalty for involvement in the slave trade is death, and if the King fails to provide justice and order under ma’at, the High Priests can order him to commit suicide. When a Roman slave ship wrecks off the coast of Nabara, peace is shattered. Ancient caravan routes and nomadic hunters are threatened by kidnappings, robbery, and murder, forcing Nabaran High King Amkar Kashta to invoke the power of the six-kingdom alliance that is Nudolla. Each member of the ruling families finds themselves thrust into the rising slave trade and the corruption of everything and everyone it touches. It is an adventure told from the secret sanctuaries of the desert fathers in the Scetes desert and the massive pyramids of Meroë to the Skeleton Coast and towards the Great Barrier Mountains of Apedemak. Here, kings and queens, princes and princesses, slave traders and gladiators, high priests and slaves, scribes and warriors, caravan robbers, and hermits collide under the thread that links them all – Captivity and Kings.

About the book

What is the book about?

Of Captivity & Kings is the first installment in a series about the Kushite Kingdom of Nabara ruled by King Amkar Kashta and Queen Samya Kashta. With increasing piracy on ancient trade routes, drought, and a rising slave trade threatening the land, Nabaran High King Amkar Kashta invokes the power of the six-kingdom alliance that is Nudolla. Each member of the ruling families finds themselves thrust into the rising slave trade and the corruption of everything and everyone it touches. It is an adventure told from the secret sanctuaries of the desert fathers in the Scetes Desert and the massive pyramids of Meroë to the Skeleton Coast and towards the Great Barrier Mountains of Apedemak. Here, kings and queens, princes and princesses, slave traders and gladiators, high priests and slaves, scribes and warriors, caravan robbers, and hermits collide under the thread that links them all – Captivity & Kings.

When did you start writing the book?

I started writing the book in March of 2013 until September 2013.

How long did it take you to write it?

It took me about seven months in total to write the book. In 2016 I decided to publish and began the editing process.

Where did you get the idea from?

I wrote a book I would love to read! I love period films and books and if I found a great action movie set it in the past, I was all over it. I loved learning the history behind things, partly because my Mom and Dad told me so many stories as a kid and were endless sources of history. It always started with “Did you know…?” and I was all ears! This period of history always interested me because of the richness of the number of languages, ancient writing like Meroitic and Nsibidi script, and the trade among various empires.

Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?

Definitely. One thing about Africa is that the continent, while rich in history, has always been subject to people wanting to mine its resources. Sculptures were destroyed, cities were burned, and history itself was denied despite (quite literally) the writing on the wall. It was not always easy to find books or information on kingdoms that existed prior to the 14th century. Much of my research involved creating timelines, mapping out various kingdoms, groups, and religions that were around so I could use the history in telling my story. Using the reliefs on pyramids as well as archaeological evidence helped immensely and the Smithsonian was an excellent tool. Librarians are a necessary and underutilized resource!

What came easily?

The characters. I knew exactly what type of characters I wanted in the book so the fiction of their storyline came easily. I wrote the book so fast I didn’t realize what I was getting myself into, but I could see the scenes happening in my head once I got an idea and ran with it. I’d wake up in the morning, jump on the train to commute to work, and be typing away on my phone! Sometimes I’d be on a run and I’d start thinking of an idea and stop the music on my phone to use the voice recorder so I wouldn’t forget. I’d usually start scenes not knowing how they would end, but being certain I had to include it.

Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know?

Both apply here! The majority of my characters are fictitious, but many of them originate from real kingdoms that existed in the fourth century. It also discusses and includes real people in history such as King Ezana of the Aksumite Empire, Abba Moses the Black, Constantius II and Ambrose the theologian.  You may see these as point of view characters in Book 2 – the epilogue will provide an answer there as well! Lastly, I definitely put traits of people I know into the book. Three characters in the book have the names of people I know in real life because the character was so well suited for the name. I did some research into the meanings of names while I wrote so it worked perfectly!

We all know how important it is for writers to read. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you?

It’s hard to name particular authors who influenced how I write because this is my first novel. I grew up writing very short, modern stories about my sister and I before college but I’ve always written poetry. Other than that, I would read anything my parents gave me and later anything that I could buy and get my hands on. What I love most about authors I read is their ability to create dynamic characters that are flawed. When I read their works, the words come alive and I can see a picture in my head of every detail. Everyone in this world has more than one side to them and that’s what makes stories compelling.

Do you have a target reader?

I don’t have a target reader. Hopefully anyone who loves a good story!

About Writing

Do you have a writing process? If so can you please describe it?

I don’t have a writing process, but for me it always starts with the characters and their place in the world. Once I decided their personality and can see them in my mind I run with it and make it up as I go.

Do you outline? If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences?

I definitely outlined for this book! Especially once I realized I would need an index of characters. One thing I started doing once I had at least one hundred pages was to jot down notes on my phone with the name of a character and one or two sentences about the scene I wanted to write or a character I felt should be included and what they were bringing to the story.

Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished?

I wait until I’m finished.

Did you hire a professional editor?

I did! I used Writer’s Digest Critique services. The editors were extremely helpful in looking over my manuscript.

Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, what gets the fingers tapping?

No, I don’t listen to music while I write. I watch television while I write. All the time.  It’s probably a bad habit, but I don’t find it distracting.

About Publishing

Did you submit your work to Agents?

No, but eventually I would like to!

What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? Was it a particular event or a gradual process?

I liked the immediacy of self-publishing and the fact that it would allow me to continue working full time. Of course, once I got into it, I discovered the amount of work that went into getting a book ready. It was daunting, but also exciting to discover how much information was out there.

Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself?

I used a professional.

Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it?

I have a website that went live as soon as the book was available for pre-order. I’m not all over social media, but I do enjoy speaking with other indie authors about their work or resources they are using or just giving them advice even if it’s to tell them to not give up on their story! For my website I’ve created a mailing list and a blog to give resources to writers and respond to people who have questions, comments or just enjoy the book!

Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors?

Do what works for you, push away the doubt, and don’t give up. One of my favorite movies is Inception and I will always remember the lines spoken between Leonardo DiCaprio and Ken Watanabe. I ask this of my friends all the time when doubt pops up in their lives no matter what area it is. Do you want to take a leap of faith? Or become an old man, filled with regret, waiting to die alone?

About You

What do you want readers to know about you?

If readers have questions about the book, sign up for my mailing list or want to leave comments they can view more information and Frequently Asked Questions at www.ofcaptivityandkings.com. A random winner will be chosen from the first 100 people to sign up for the mailing list. They can also email me at info@ofcaptivityandkings.com.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on Book Two in the series!

End of Interview:

Get your copy of Of Captivity & Kings from Amazon US or Amazon UK.

IndieView with Paul A. Trinetti, author of The Complete Vexton Trilogy

First and foremost, for any work to resonate with others it must come from the heart. The writer must also be confident and not swayed by the fact that not everyone is going to appreciate their creation.

Paul Trinetti – 4 July 2017 Continue reading

Reviewer IndieView with Jessica of Forward Scribes

I like to be thrown right into the story. Drop me right into the action. Get my heart pounding right away. Scare the mess out of me. 

Jessica – 2 July 2017 Continue reading