IndieView with Sabrina Albis, author of A Night Without Stars

With the main character, Autumn Kingston, I wanted her to be moral, levelheaded and kind. Those are qualities I strive for in myself and I wanted her character to embody those qualities as well.  

Sabrina Albis – 1 June 2017

The Back Flap

Pretty, kind, and bright, seventeen-year-old Autumn Kingston is just like so many other girls her age. But her life changes drastically when she is asked to move away from home to help tutor an old childhood friend.

Autumn is excited to reconnect with Rick Jacobs and help him graduate, but when Rick decides to film a school project out by the notorious haunted caves things go from normal to disturbing in the blink of an eye. As the caves’ dark secrets emerge, people go missing, and those who return aren’t themselves anymore. And when the enigmatic school outcast Eric King asks for their help in ending the horrors of the caves for good, Autumn and Rick can’t resist—no matter how dangerous it might be. The teens recruit Rick’s best friend, Nathaniel Abrams, and Autumn’s new friend Mandy Jensen on the mission to save the town and its inhabitants. The only questions remaining are what is actually in the cave and whether they even have a chance of stopping the evil from spreading and eventually taking over.

In this novel, a group of teenagers sets out to defeat a supernatural horror lurking in the nearby caves and along the way discover truths about the world and themselves.

About the book

What is the book about?

A Night without Stars is about a group of friends that discover the supernatural exists all around them, though they really aren’t expecting it. They live normal lives until they realize their town isn’t as mundane as they believed it to be. Extraordinary things, good and bad, are happening right under their noses.

When did you start writing the book?

I began writing this book in 2012.

How long did it take you to write it?

I would say about five years. That includes the original story, the rewrites and the editing.

Where did you get the idea from?

The idea just came to me. I am an avid reader and I really love The Twilight Saga, the Harry Potter series, The Hunger Games and all those type of young adult books. I like that they transcend age barriers. They are targeted at certain age groups but adults still read those books and enjoy them. I really wanted to create a book that could engage all age groups. Also, I wanted to write a book with loveable and relatable characters that experience extraordinary situations. I love writing fantasy books. The supernatural element adds excitement to the pages.

Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?

The editing part was the most difficult. It is very monotonous and tedious but absolutely essential.

What came easily?

The characters and their dialogue came to me very organically. I loved adding in the wisecracks and the banter between characters. I also liked creating their backstories and building their relationships with one another.

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

I believe all authors incorporate aspects of real world people in their work, whether they are aware of it or not. So subconsciously I think my characters have some tethers to the real world. With the main character, Autumn Kingston, I wanted her to be moral, levelheaded and kind. Those are qualities I strive for in myself and I wanted her character to embody those qualities 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?

R.L. Stine. He is one of the reasons I began writing books. When I was young, I would devour three of his Fear Street books in a week. When I write, I often feel the influence of his books in my work. I also really love Stephenie Meyer, J.K. Rowling, Jennifer Weiner and Sylvia Plath. I could go on, the list is so long!

Do you have a target reader?

This book is definitely geared towards a young adult audience. However, many adults who have read the book loved it, so I would recommend it to anyone that enjoys adventure, romance and things that go bump in the night!

About Writing

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

I sometimes write stories out of sequence. I write the middle or the last chapter first. I just write what comes to me really. If the last scene in the book is something I am really excited to write that day, I do that. I also really love a good prologue. It can add so much to a story. For A Night without Stars I added the prologue to explain why Autumn was willing to leave her old life behind so willingly and to shed light on what her life was like.

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

I have attempted to outline but it isn’t my thing. In my head I have a rough idea where things are headed obviously but because I frequently change the direction of my stories, I like to keep things relaxed and spontaneous when I write.

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

Both. I try and go back and fix things as I go but I often get to the point where I just want to focus on the story itself and its progression and I opt to edit when I am done completely.

Did you hire a professional editor?

I did have a professional editor quickly peruse my work but it wasn’t edited line by line. That was all done by me. Many times.

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

I love music so much but it can be distracting when I am writing so I don’t often listen to it while working.

About Publishing

Did you submit your work to Agents?

I did not. I knew from the get-go that I wanted to self-publish A Night without Stars.

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 much as I respect and admire anyone that goes through with traditional publishing, I knew that wasn’t something I wanted to do. I am very impatient and I knew I wanted this book out there and available on my own terms. I know many writers think self-publishing is difficult but with the tools we have today, social media and whatnot, I think self-publishing and promoting your own book, isn’t what it once was. It is a viable option for many new writers looking to get noticed.

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

My book was professionally designed through the amazing artists at iUniverse Publishing. I was involved creatively in the regard that I described what I wanted the cover to look like and they made it happen. The cover of A Night without Stars is a true testament to how talented the artists there are. The cover turned out so stunning and eye-catching. So many people have mentioned how amazing it looks.

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

Some of my marketing was planned and some wasn’t. I knew I wanted an author page on Facebook and that I should get a Twitter account. I also knew I wanted to contact my local newspaper about my book and do book signings. So far everything I wanted to achieve I have but I am constantly looking for new ways to spread the word about my book and gain more readers and reviews.

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

The best advice I can give is to believe in yourself and your book. You need to be comfortable self-promoting yourself as an author and your book so you need to have confidence. Also, do your research. I was linked to my publisher through Chapters online. You want to make sure you are going with the publisher that best represents you and your needs. There are so many options when self-publishing and you really need to know what choices are available to you.

About You

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Whitby, Ontario which is in Canada.

Where do you live now?

I still reside in Whitby. I enjoy traveling to other places but in the end Whitby just feels like home.

What would you like readers to know about you?

I am a huge nerd. I love comic books, manga and anime. I also love buying collectibles and playing video games.

What are you working on now?

When I wrote A Night without Stars, I knew there was going to be at least three books in the series. I have this whole elaborate story unfolding in my mind. When I finished the first book, I immediately started the second book. So the second book in the series, which is presently untitled, has already been written. I am currently editing that manuscript.

End of Interview:

For more from Sabrina visit her blog, follow her on Twitter, or like her Facebook page.

Get your copy of A Night Without Stars from Amazon US or Amazon UK.

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