Interview with Gabrielle Garbin

What is your writing process?
I keep a list of ideas, thoughts and lines in notebooks, the notes app in my phone and have even written on my hand when no other writing material was available. Once I have the seeds of a story, I try interview the character to find out why I should care about them. The actual crafting process is tougher because invariably, the more questions I ask, the more questions that surface. That's when I know both the story and the characters are becoming more three dimensional for me.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I started reading early, and have read voraciously all my life including the classics such as Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights, more historical and gothic romances during my teenage years than I can remember, however, one book that sticks out is a book called Stowaway To The Mushroom Planet. That book was very old when I read it, but the story was wonderfully imaginative. I think that book triggered a life long love of science fiction and fantasy stories.
How do you approach cover design?
Initially, I hired someone to do it. Paying a designer to make the cover is much easier and--unless you're a photoshop phenom--it will look far more professional. Recently, I started taking classes and learning to design my own covers. I look for free photos on morguefile.com and pay for some photos on Bigstock or Dreamstime. I search for photos that reflect on what the book is about. Complex covers are impressive but my skill level is probably simple and clean at this stage.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Only FIVE? Sorry, I can't do five. Here are my top picks:

To Kill A Mockingbird--Harper Lee. This book had a profound impact on me because I "felt" this story, felt transported to the south, like I was playing along side Jem, Scout and Dill, or that I was watching Atticus in the courtroom.
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger --because it's a skillfully wrought, unique story line with beautifully drawn characters. I believe it will eventually become a classic.
The Art of Racing in the Rain--Garth Stein. Rare are the books that make me cry, but this one dug deep into my psyche. It's an unforgettable story told from the point of view of the dog.
The Eyre Affair, Lost In A Good Book, The Well Of Lost Plots --Jasper Fforde
Anything by James Lee Burke--If you've ever read James Lee Burke's poetic prose, you know he's probably one of the greatest writer's of our time.
Gone Girl-Gillian Flynn (and her other books as well). Flynn's masterful ability to weave an unpredictable storyline with strong characters and a psychological twist is enviable. And she's just getting started...
Still Missing--Chevy Stevens--One of the most disturbing books I've ever read. It's like watching a car accident. You want to look away, but you can't. I'll say no more.
The Vampire Lestat--I love the early Anne Rice vampire novels. She paved the way for writer's of the paranormal genre.
What do you read for pleasure?
Fiction, poetry, biographies, usually on writers. I have read three great biographies over the past few years on Mary Shelley, Raymond Carver and Truman Capote.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
My iPad.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
That's a hard question because I'm a new writer. I have several social networking platforms set up, but I recently discovered Animoto, a video-making website. I made video promos for two of my books and posted them on YouTube with links added to my Smashwords listings.
Describe your desk
I love my desk. It's a mahogany knock-off hand-me-down mission style desk purchased from Target that I inherited from my husband when he got a "real" desk. I stuck it in the bay window area of the living room and I write facing my front yard which is peppered with bird feeders.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the Midwest in a "red" state. I have an ear for that dialect and the mentality, but the rigidity of that culture always felt foreign to me. Reading and writing was a way to escape a narrower point of view. I think reading was essential to my development as a writer because of the conservative climate in my home state.
When did you first start writing?
As soon as I could hold an instrument. I have a vivid memory of having a temper tantrum (I was three years old) because I wanted to write REAL WORDS in the long flowing cursive that the grown ups used. I had stories to tell and I couldn't be bothered with "learning to print first." My mother finally gave up trying to explain it. I filled notebook after notebook as a child and have never stopped writing.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My current project is a paranormal romance that involves soul transmigration, letting go of one reality and embracing another. Death is just the beginning...
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Smashwords changed my life. I have published books that would not have been possible through a traditional publisher, but my primary reasons are the expediency in getting books into the hands (or on the devices) of readers. I also like having creative control over what I write and how it is distributed. I believe with hard work, continual learning, improving the writing craft and educating oneself on how to market through social networking platforms, anything is possible. I hear the "statistics" and I know the challenges in becoming a best selling author. In my heart, I believe that we just have to write our hearts out and trust the process.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
This bears repeating. Smashwords has changed my life. I have published three books, something I would not have thought possible a decade ago. Smashwords isn't just an ebook publisher and distributor, it is also part talent scout. Writers who would never have been discovered are writing books and earning money, all because of Mark Coker's vision.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Watching a book evolve through the stages of a few collected ideas to a work of form and substance with well-developed characters and an intriguing story-line.
What do your fans mean to you?
Ultimately, fans make a good writer a better writer. Without fans, there would be no reason to publish. Fans demonstrate their loyalty and faith in me when they buy my books. They deserve the best book that I can write.
What are you working on next?
The paranormal book that I'm working on now is the first book in what I hope will be a trilogy (or more). I expect to start working on the second book in the series once this book is completed.
Who are your favorite authors?
Harper Lee
Jasper Fforde
James Lee Burke
Gillian Flynn
Anne Rice
Raymond Carver
Garth Stein
Audrey Niffenegger
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The opportunity to do what I love most: Write. I feel like the luckiest person in the world when I walk over to my writing desk and sit down.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I'm an amateur photographer. I'm also taking photoshop classes and any instruction that helps me improve my writing or book covers design. I do watch more t.v. than I should, but in my defense, I think it's because I'm constantly deconstructing the writing. Currently, I am a Criminal Minds junkie.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I follow certain writer's and look for their ebooks on a variety of sites. I listen to podcast interviews of indie authors to discover new writers.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I'm a literal person, so I doubt I recall the "first" story I wrote because I started writing sentences and calling them stories when I was about four year old. I remember the first stories and poems I had published in Jr. High School. On an interesting note, I had a poem I wrote in seventh grade plagiarized! I was hopping mad and insisted that this young girl who printed my (very sappy poem) as her own write a "retraction." Getting my writing diva on even back then. My English teacher did not condone the plagiarism but she did ask me if I knew what this meant. When I looked confused, she said, "People don't steal bad work. It means you're destined to be a writer." I never forgot that. That comment--and the encouragement of other writer's and college professors--is what brought me back to writing. Smashwords is what inspired me to publish.
Published 2013-11-16.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

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Price: Free! Words: 1,710. Language: English. Published: March 22, 2013. Category: Fiction » Poetry » Contemporary Poetry
Dangerous women is a collection of ten feminist poems that explores the effects of divorce on parent-child relationships.
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For broke graduate student and art protégé, Jade Prescott, working as a phone sex operator seems like the perfect solution to her money problems. Everything a girl could want--until her very hot client shows up in the last place she expects and sets more than her potter's wheel in motion!