Interview with Cierra Rantoul

How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has helped me reach a wider audience than I originally did when I self-published my books. Going this route puts the cost of marketing on the author, and that doesn't come cheap if you want to really reach a big audience. Being able to market my books with a coupon on social media, or offer a % of the book to preview for free helps me get more 'clicks.' Even if those clicks don't buy, the books are seen and hopefully shared.
Describe your desk
It is an old wooden desk that I found for $20 at a yard sale. The desk has stains and cuts on it that tell how bored the original child who sat at it was when they were doing homework. It is cluttered with notes and ideas on little pieces of paper stuffed here and there. My mousepad has a picture of Trooper on it, and I have a tall sofa table lamp that I found at a yard sale for $0.50. Some of those scraps of paper are ideas for refinishing the lamp, and putting a DIY lampshade on it. Another has an idea for sanding down the desktop and drawers, and painting them with a fabric lace stencil, or maybe even using leaves and flowers. I have a Day-Timer book with notes and appointments open on top of my printer, and two notebooks for random thoughts.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
After writing and self-publishing the print copy of this book, I attended a writer's conference that was hosted by Michael Lister, with Michael Connelly as the guest speaker. In his presentation, Mr. Connelly shared what happens when a book is purchased by a publisher. Essentially, the publisher purchases the rights to do whatever they want with your words. They can cut out chapters, or ask you to add more. They can change the title, or names of characters. They can even change what you envisioned for the book cover art. For the term of your contract with a big house publisher, they 'own' you.

I'm not for sale.
What do your fans mean to you?
I think that one of the biggest reasons I wanted to write this book and get it out where others could read it was to let someone in similar shoes know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You aren't crazy. You do have worth, and value, and you can survive if you make the decision to leave. It isn't always an easy decision to leave - just as staying isn't always an easy decision. But whatever decision you make, whether to stay or go in an abusive relationship, I wanted to offer encouragement to you to believe in yourself. You are worth it. Honest.
When did you first start writing?
In the 9th grade I wrote for the school newspaper, but the first time I wrote a fiction story that got any kind of attention was in the 11th grade when I wrote for a health class about a girl my age facing addiction and how she overcame it. The story was read to every health class from 10th to 12th grades. I was embarrassed because I hadn't expected the attention, but at the same time, hooked on hearing my words read out loud. That was more years ago than I'd like to admit. I moved at the end of that year and finished high school at a new school where I again wrote for the school newspaper. After graduation, one of my first jobs was working for a country music radio station writing ad copy. Later I moved to California, and my writing became monthly newsletters to family telling a 'censored' version of my life. When I escaped California and finally found my voice again, I started writing this book, and eventually a blog (or two). I've now written and self-published two fiction books under my own name.
What is your reading device of choice? E-reader or print copy?
E-reading is convenient at times because I can pull up a book on my phone or tablet when I suddenly find myself with time on my hands. Truth be told, however, I love the smell of the pages and fresh ink in a new book, and the smell of history in the pages of a unique find at a thrift store. Recently I found an original print copy of Robert Burns' work that was published in the 1800's. $2. I sent it to my mom for Christmas and she cried with joy when she got it. There is just something about holding a book in your hands, turning the pages, and knowing that you are holding something incredible.
What do you read for pleasure?
Growing up, I was "new kid" in school more times than not. The military in all it's wisdom always thought that moving a family to a new assignment was best done in the middle of a school year. I was the one never picked for any team in PE class, and always put on a team by the coach because no one wanted me. I was the kid with the bright red hair, freckles, bifocals in 2nd grade, who had twister cables on her legs for a few years, and whose mom made her clothes to try to cover them up.

Because of that, the school and town libraries were the first places I sought out when we moved, and the places where I spent most of my time. The books I read when I was young, were science fiction books where I could be anywhere but where I was. When I got older, the books I read were books I could disappear into, historical romances that took me back in time to another place.

M.M. Kaye became my favorite author, and I could read her books over and over and over again. Still. Stephen King, especially The Stand. Years later, I stopped reading him because Rose Madder was too close to home, and his works after his car accident disturbed me at times. Now, I like books about dogs, especially true stories. Christian books, self-discovery, books that make my walk of faith stronger.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I'm researching for my next fiction, walking my dog, spending time with my husband (#4) who is a keeper and the best thing that has ever happened to me. We are now living in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and in the spring, summer, and fall months we explore this beautiful area. In the winter, we wonder why we left Florida!
What are you working on next?
I am working on another memoir, and another fiction. Which one will be finished first will depend on where the fingers draw their strength. My memoir will deal with hitting bottom, losing everything, unanswered prayers, miracles, addictions, redemption, restoration, and finding more than I lost.
Published 2016-02-08.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

My Best Friends Have Hairy Legs
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 33,560. Language: English. Published: February 14, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » Relationships and Family » Marriage, Nonfiction » Relationships and Family » Marriage
“My Best Friends have Hairy Legs” is the story of how my dog, Trooper, and I overcame abuse and bad marriages; and how we learned to trust again.