1. The Color Purple, because life can be horrific and there are real fake monsters. And if you have enough grit (and help) you can overcome unimaginable odds. 2. Interview with a Vampire, told a wonderful yet horrifying tale simply. I digested that book like a great meal. 3. Salem's Lot, Stephen King (who is one of my favorites), used a Nosferatu to strip away the "sexy" vampire persona and deliver a really scary book. He practically said, "Let's face it, we're just food". Awesome. 4. Any trashy romantic books by Rosemary Rodgers, Sidney Sheldon, or Harold Robbins because we all need to live out our trashy romantic fantasies some how without actually living trashy romantic lives. We hope! 5. Ghost Story. I believe by Page 20 I was so afraid that I was wary of the shadows in my room. I was completely jealous of Peter Straub's ability to scare the crap out of me. The movie that followed was a disgrace to the book. After seeing that mess, I was so mad I wanted to spit.
How do you approach cover design?
I have help with all my cover designs. The graphic artists usually ask me questions and they basically come up with the concept. I'm just great at finding wonderful artists.
What do you read for pleasure?
I always felt that I didn't have time to write and read, but I love reading the works of other authors. I especially love to read the works of other Indie authors I've connected with and on occasion I will write an online review.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have a Kindle. I keep it with me always. Whenever I purchase a new purse, it has to be large enough to carry my Kindle.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
After five years (count them -- five long years), I've only just started to see my books gain traction. Family, friends and faith kept me going when I wanted to give up. Right now, I'm still in the "trial and error" phase. I will have to come back to this question when I have some concrete answers.
Describe your desk
My desk is a large corner desk where one side faces a large window. When I'm searching for inspiration, I will stare out the window. But usually, I stare out the window just to be nosy.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the housing projects. I escaped in books. Folks have compared me to Stephen King. I take that as the highest compliment. I basically read only him so it was natural for me to adopt his style. Believe me, I didn't do it on purpose.
When did you first start writing?
I was ten years old when I started writing. I remember keeping my thoughts in a big black notebook. I didn't know why I was writing. I just knew that I had to write.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book, Really, Cher? Is about my love hate relationship with my rescue dog. When I adopted her, she had an attitude. We've been together for eight years and she is still a diva. I've rescued her butt twice and she still acts as if she's royalty. Go figure.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I can't stop writing. Even when success is nonexistent and I have no financial reason to continue, I can't stop thinking about new stories, twists to plots, character developments. Some times it does make sleep elusive. The only way to get rid of all that noise in my head is to write. Sad, but true.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I haven't had success on Smashwords, yet. I'm just learning new ways to market my books which had always been my downfall. Previously, I had pulled my books off Smashwords, but now I think I have the tools to make the venue work for me.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Freedom from madness. If I write about them, then my characters can stop haunting me. Does that sound weird? Am I weird? Yes, I am.
What do your fans mean to you?
I don't think I'm important enough, or interesting enough, to have fans. But I do love it when folks say that love reading my books. It makes me proud. I can't believe people are buying my books. It's a dream come true.
What are you working on next?
I'm working on ANOTHER paranormal story called, The Prophet's Mother. I've only recently decided to make it a trilogy. It was just getting too big a story to tell. However, I'm surprised by the response to, Really, Cher? Humor is a departure for me and with my pooch it is better to laugh than cry.
Who are your favorite authors?
Alice Walker Toni Morrison Anne Rice Stephen King
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I need a paycheck. My Twitter followers know that I live for Fridays.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Aside from working (don't give up your day job) and writing (feels like another "day" job), I'm a marathon runner -- my finishes are always sloppy, and could be classified as pathetic, but I finish and I also love gardening.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I read other Indie authors, primarily. I specifically read those I've connected with on Facebook and other sites. I credit them with helping me find some marketing success. It really doesn't matter how well a book is written, or how gifted the author, if the marketing strategy is poor that writer won't make a dime. There are so many good writers who have given up. My family and friends kept me from doing the same thing. I'm so glad I ran this writing marathon. It has been a pathetic run, but I'm crossing the finish line.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I don't remember the first story I ever wrote, but I do remember that I was in middle school when my mom presented me with an electric typewriter. It was a thing of beauty. I gave up sleep to create stories. In the wee hours of the morning, I could be found at the kitchen table just typing away on that awesome beige machine.
What is your writing process?
I listen to music. I have a playlist for each book and I listen to the music as I type out the scenes in my head. Those scenes become chapters and those chapters become the first draft. I thought it was interesting (and insightful) when someone reviewed one of my books and said my words were lyrical. How true!
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Yes. It was a short story, I believe from Arthur Conan Doyle and it was called, Pigeons from Hell. It was about zombies. It scared the crap out of me...AND I was jealous that he wrote it so well. I wanted to write just -- like -- THAT!
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.