Daily Archives: March 6, 2012
Posted by H.A Caine
Hi everyone! Today I’d like to introduce you to YA author Debbie Brown.
Along with doing an interview with Debbie, I am giving away ONE ebook copy of Debbie’s book to a lucky winner. To enter just comment with name and email. Now…
Tell us a little about yourself?
I have four children, 23, 22, 21 and 3 years of age. My 22 year old daughter is home while she completes her studies and my days are filled with my imaginative 3-year-old. I work part time for the Canadian Forces as a CIC officer. I enjoy writing ;o), and anything manual, from auto mechanics to woodworking. I still teach martial arts, though not as often as when I owned and operated a school. I have been a nurse, a teacher (both elementary and high school), a baseball, figure skating and gymnastics coach. I have studied languages and worked translating documents from French to English, flown planes and sold paintings in an art gallery. I had developed a program to get people with MS out of their wheel chairs and moving again while I worked for the Canadian MS society…to name a few.
What was your dreams growing up?
LOL, do you want the “all out dream”?
When I was younger I had wanted to speak many languages, be part of the military, to be a doctor, a pilot and an astronaut. Oh, I wanted to rescue animals and children too, creating some kind of sanctuary for them to be safe as they learned and grew. Ultimately, I wanted to help people.
What made you start writing?
I have always loved writing and used to carry a pad and pencil wherever I went, to draw and write. I used to write extra chapters for the books I was reading, just because I hated to be left wondering what happened next.
When did you start writing?
I started writing stories around the age of twelve, and still have most of them stored away. About ten years ago I had signed up for a writing course with The Institute f Children’s Literature, but had to suspend my course when a series of personal tragedies hit. Around 18 months ago I decided to pick up where I had left off (about half-way through the course) and complete it. While I was doing this I wrote Amethyst Eyes.
Is writing something you’ve always wanted to do or is it new to you?
It is something I have always wanted to do, because unlike a movie, you know what your characters are thinking and feeling, something you can only guess about in a movie.
You’ve recently released your first book. What is it about?
It’s a YA novel that covers personal growth and human interaction. There is as much going on inside Tommy as there is adventure around him.
Tommy lives in the Rockies with his mother until he loses her in the car accident that lands him in the hospital. The nurses tell him his father is on his way, but Tommy has little recollection of his father since he was barely three when he left, without ever coming back.
His father soon realises that his son has no knowledge of who or what his father is…the commander of a crisis intervention ship, and an alien.
Tommy is relocated to the space ship and expected to fit in. Jayden, an angry, unsympathetic teen is paired off with Tommy and ordered to ‘help him adapt’. If that isn’t enough on Tommy’s plate, he soon discovers that having amethyst eyes has made him the target for some nasty beings…
What made you decide to write it?
I had written the first chapter, minus the flashback, as an assignment for my writing course. I knew there was more to it and carried it around for over ten years before I wrote the novel.
Are you working on anything new? What is it?
I have two novels in the works. One is for the advanced writing course I’m taking. A middle-grade or YA adventure, and the other is the story of Tommy’s parents, so an adventure with a little romance in it.
Any special routines you have to do before you can sit down and write?
I usually reread the last few pages of what I had written to get into my mindset. Once that is done, I become an observer and document what’s going on in my minds eye. Of course having a three-year-old running around while I try to write makes it interesting.
What is the perfect place for you to write?
There is a nice library in the second floor of my home, overlooking the wooded area below, and yet I spend most of my time sitting in the living room with a small laptop table at the edge of the couch while my daughter plays nearby. Basically, anywhere I feel comfortable enough to ‘get into’ my story is fine.
When are you your most constructive (morning/night/evening/4-6 etc…)?
Fortunately I am quite flexible, so as long as I have a few minutes to focus as I reread those last few pages, I’m good to go any time of day or night.
Is there any hidden meanings in your book? A lesson to be learned?
Of course ;o). There are a few, on a personal level, family level and planetary level…
What’s in store for you next?
If I had my way I would focus more on my writing. I should have the first draft of my second novel done by mid-March, then the revision and market study part kicks in. Hopefully I will finish the first draft of my other novel as well.
Other than writing, do you do anything else?
Right now marketing Amethyst Eyes takes up a lot of my time. I always have all kinds of things going on…as you can imagine from my answers given at the beginning of the interview.
Do you think authors should read reviews of their books?
Yes, because if the same type of comment keeps coming back, say for example; The main character is too one-dimensional, or the plot is missing this element, there’s too much ‘tell’ and not enough ‘show’, then we can learn form our mistakes and improve our writing.
Do you read your reviews?
Oh yes, earnestly!
Would you argue with a reviewer over a bad review?
I have always been able to take constructive criticism, but if I thought the reviewer missed the point or unjustly posted a harsh review, then maybe. If you are going to be harsh in your comment, then back it up or offer a solution.
Now that you’ve published your book, is there anything you would change? Any regrets?
One. The finished cover image is not as nice as the proofs. I should have insisted they correct it. As for the publisher I worked with, no. I am satisfied with the job they have done. There is a letter missing on one page, and a funny error within. So far only 2 people have noticed it. None of the proof readers, and not even the editor caught it. (We’ll keep that for a bit of trivia later on!)
How often do you write? Do you have a word-count schedule to keep you on track or do you just “go with the flow”?
I try to write a little every day or every other day. Marketing Amethyst Eyes takes more time than I could have imagined and cuts into my writing time. I have to keep some form of schedule to respect my assignment deadlines. When I’m ‘in the zone’ I find that the ideas come faster than I can write. I wrote, revised, had the manuscript edited and published Amethyst Eyes within twelve months of starting it.
Are you published with a publishing house or self-publish?
I went with assisted publishing. I had sent out my query letters and started to wait. My first responses were something like ‘had your main character been a girl…’ or ‘we’ll get back to you with six months’. And then I found out that once the manuscript was accepted it could take anywhere from 12-24 months before the book was actually published. I didn’t bother waiting for any more answers. I went ahead with iUniverse and published. My book started showing up online shortly after and can be found in over 100 online book stores. They took care of the various formatting to offer my book for kindle, nook, kobo and more. They also print on demand, so I didn’t have to order a ton of books.
What are your plans next?
-Marketing for Amethyst Eyes
-Finishing and publishing the other two novels
-Writing the sequel to Amethyst Eyes.
Do you have a favorite genre to write? To read?
I had not planned on writing sci-fi specifically, I think it just happened. I wrote about the characters, and the setting creates itself.
I read just about anything, it depends on how I feel. I don’t like horror or overly graphic novels. I have a good memory and ability to visualize, so I don’t want these things stuck in my head.
Who is/are your favorite author(s)?
I don’t have a favorite. I have read complete collections in various genres by different authors, but I would be hard pressed to pick one.
What/who is your inspiration for writing?
I think life has been my inspiration. Human interaction, military training, sports, nursing, children, and anything from spiritual to Star Trek books have all had an impact on me.
What are you reading right now? Who is it by?
LOL, you asked…
-Operation Summer Storm, by Karlene Blakemore-Mowle,
-The Curse of Yama, by K F Ridley,
-One Moment, One Morning, by Sarah Rayner,
-When Passion Rules, by Johanna Lindsey
-Home Front, by Kristin Hannah
-Alter your Life, by Emmet Fox, and
-the APD 201, Military guide to Drill and Ceremonial…
Next week I’ll be on a whole new set of books.
Are you enjoying it?
Yes, I love to read and learn.
Do you have a favorite book? What is it?
I hate that question…because there are books I can read and reread, then put aside for years before coming back to them.
If you’ve ever re-read a book, what book was it? How many times? Why?
There are books I have reread dozens of times…off the top of my head…
-Pawn’s and Symbols,
-The Celestine Prophecy,
-Cowboy Daddy, Jingle-Bell Baby (The title is a head scratcher, but I love the characters),
-Spiritual Growth: Being Your Higher Self,
What is your favorite reader/writer interaction site?
-Still looking…but discovering a whole new world…Do you have any to suggest?
I think Goodreads is awesome though, honestly.
If you could co-write a story with any published or self published author, who would it be? Why them? What would you write?
Sanaya Roman because I like the way she writes and the images she creates. As crazy as it sounds, a kind of spiritual storybook for kids, something that would allow them to see the beauty in the world and their lives.
Vampire or werewolf? Angel or demon?
Favorite television show?
Souvlaki, crème caramel…and is chocolate a food?
One thing you want to do/see before you die?
Ireland, Christmas in the Rockies, my son’s first music album, and my book a success. (Not necessarily in that order).
What’s the next step for you, now that you have published your first book?
First, the successful marketing of Amethyst Eyes, followed by the publishing and marketing of the next ones. A publicist would make a great birthday present.
Anything else you would like to tell us about yourself?
I think you have covered most of it. However, if anyone has any other questions, feel free to ask!
Amethyst Eyes is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Chapters Indigo, Powell’s and as I said, over 100 online bookstores worldwide. Just Google it!
Here is the book’s facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Amethyst-Eyes/169207996492385
Here is the link to the book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QaSQLuUkHeo
Here is my blog: http://amethysteyesauthor.blogspot.com/
Debbie was kind enough to write a post on marketing for us. To read just keep scrolling down…just an inch more 🙂
Marketing Your Book
As a recently published author, I ran head on into the reality known as marketing. Whether you publish through a traditional publisher, use assisted or self publishing, the reality is the same. YOU have to promote your book.
Do not make the mistake of thinking that marketing is the step following publishing. Get a head start on it and prepare your books entrance into the market.
Let’s break this down into simple steps:
1– Define your target audience. If you have written a YA novel, you might save yourself a lot of wasted energy promoting in an area that might only speak to a small percentage of people. (In this case (YA novel) you might avoid marketing in a kindergarten class or a senior’s club).
Once you have established your target audience, then get on with the following steps:
2-Let your friends and family know. Ask them to spread the word as well, word of mouth is valuable.
3-Create a Goodreads account and include an author page. Take time to explore all offered groups and pages. I honestly think Goodreads is endless…I’m still discovering stuff.
4-Use social media, facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
Separate your book page from your personal page on facebook. You can also create a separate author page.
5-Ask your friends on facebook to share the link to your book page at least once (no one likes to be harassed).
6-Search for pages that would be helpful, such as publishers, fellow authors, book clubs etc. Join these book pages.
7-List a book giveaway.
8-Let your local newspaper know they have a new author living in the area.
9-Ask those who have read it to post a review…not as easy as it sounds ;o)
Offer your book on blogs or sites that offer to post reviews.
10-Make a book trailer (video). You can go on publisher sites or on YouTube and check them out to get some ideas. There are quite a few (done as class projects) and posted on the net.
11-Create a blog. Visit other blogs, share comments, information and good news. Post their book link in exchange for them posting yours. Participate in a blog tour.
12-Create an email for your author/book related business.
13-Link everything together, so your trailer, website and facebook page can be found on Goodreads and the other way around.
14-Join local author groups, review groups and literary groups. If you wrote a sci-fi novel, join a sci-fi group as well. These often have fees, but in exchange they organize author signings, presentations and such.
15-Go to your local library or school library and give a free book. Ask about doing an author presentation. If the book is not school material, look into book clubs or reading clubs as well as community centers.
16-Offer your book to local bookstores on consignment.
17-See if your local or community TV/radio station won’t give you a brief interview or at least share your good news. Offer to give a book away here too.
Time for a gulp of air…
I suggest you do these one after another so that you can pace yourself. Once you create these pages or sites, it is your responsibility to maintain them. Watch your page stats and keep traffic flowing. Once you have one working, add a second one, then a third and so on. Keep a pace that works for you; better to have one great page than half a dozen bad ones. As for content, do I really want to just “copy-paste” the same stuff everywhere? If not, then you need to work at a pace that allows you to create stuff for each page.
-Most of all enjoy the process and don’t forget to breathe. Go at your own rate because it can quickly become overwhelming…and remember, you are NOT alone!
Thank you, Debbie, for stopping by today and chatting with us.