Interview with Miranda Nading

What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Word of mouth. Hands down. When a reader gets excited about one of my books, they usually reach out to me through my website, facebook, or twitter. Not longer after, I always notice a spike in sales. There's nothing like someone who genuinely enjoys your writing to bring attention to your work. Making myself accessible to my readers is another big one. I want to hear from them, I want to chat and get their feedback. I think readers find that attractive. And it works both ways. Hearing from readers, seeing their reviews and their feedback, motivates and drives me to write more, write better.
Describe your desk
{Grin} Right now, it's the dining room table. I've commandeered it since we've moved into the new place. Eating has to happen somewhere else. At least until I get the office set up. To my right is my lifeline...the coffee pot, sugar, and creamer. To my left is my writing journal, several notebooks and my ink pen. The hutch holds my 1974 Roget's Thesaurus, dictionary, a few odd books. My digital reader sits on the other side of my notebooks. I upload my manuscripts and research to the device so I can edit or do revisions without having a ton of docs open on my computer. It also holds a wealth of fiction. When I need a break, I grab the reader, a cup of coffee, and head for the back door. The dogs are usually hot on my heels as soon as they hear the chair scrape across the tile.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Is there a C here for all of the above? I was born in West Memphis but spent a lot of time moving around Arkansas, Mississippi, and California. I honestly don't remember staying anywhere too long. I've lived in big cities, boondock towns, and in places where having running water meant you had to run-go-get-it. As for influencing my writing, I think we're created in our childhood in more ways than one. Everything that I am, goes into my writing - the good, the bad, and the horrendously embarrassing. Location is no different. I love the lonely places, the dark and forgotten places. Especially for writing suspense.
When did you first start writing?
Between 5th and 6th grade. I was in Houston Elementary school in Visalia California. My teachers at the time, Mr.Frye and Ms. Neilmeyer, used my writing as an example in class. They also used to buy me books at the book fair. That's where I met Brahm Stoker and Mary Shelley. It wasn't until the 90's that I really kicked it into gear. It was my dirty little secret. Only those closest to me knew about it. At least until my mother-in-law got a hold of Echoes of Harmony a couple of years ago. With the kids growing up and moving out, and her as a cheerleader, I finally jumped into getting published.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Which one? {grin} I'm rewriting the second book in the Extinction series now. It'll be a leap for some readers. I have my Echoes books - serial killers, then Caliban - genetic engineering gone wrong, Extinction is a whole different animal. The idea started forming when I went back to college in 2012 for an AAS as an Environmental Technician. It was science heavy and I loved it. I love the concept of the fall of civilization, the struggle of man. When Eve, one of the main characters, started talking to me last year, I knew this book was going to be different. There are no monsters, no serial killers (unless you count the drunk hitman), and the things that go bump in the night are totally human. But the characters... that's what really drives this series.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Life. :-) I was a very young mom, mostly single and working. That didn't leave a lot of time, or energy. Writing for me has always been about the story. The exploration and creation, enjoying the ride and getting it out of my head. It's why I do what I do. When I started thinking about publishing, I realized I didn't want that to change. I don't want to be forced into a niche, or hand the rights over to someone else. Writers face a choice: Get an advance (if they're lucky) or earn their keep book by book. I chose to keep working for a paycheck and earning the right to call myself an author one book at a time. I handle every aspect of my writing. It's a lot of work, long nights and early mornings, but I'm proud of what I've learned and what I've accomplished. I grow a little bit every day and I'm just not sure it would be the same if I was not the one in the trenches.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I'm new to Smashwords. Echoes of Harmony was my first published and it was done in a limited market with little to no advertising. Word of mouth had a much bigger impact on my sales than I ever thought possible. Caliban followed right after and I knew I had dedicated readers right away. With Canyon Echoes and the Extinction Series in the pipeline, I've been told it's time to get off my tuckus and reach a bigger market. I believe Smashwords is the right venue to do just that. Marketing and promoting are aspects of the business end that I know the least about. It's my hope that Smashwords will be invaluable in helping me grow in that area as well.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Other than the initial rush of writing that first draft - exploring the story and getting to know the characters - it has to be hearing from a reader that enjoyed a book. Especially if a particular scene or character stuck with them. I had the opportunity in Yellowstone National Park to do a small book signing. There were a few readers that were passionate about Echoes of Harmony, particularly Ms. Emma and Celia. Sitting and talking to them about it (they were actually telling me the story) was an incredible experience. I wrote like a fiend after that. As if they were a better fuel source than coffee. Which says a lot because I practically mainline the java.
What do your fans mean to you?
They are my greatest asset. I write because I have no choice. It's who I am, it's what I do. With or without readers, the stories flow and take me along for the ride. But my fans... they're my drug of choice. Every time I have one connect with me to chat about a book, my writing schedule amps up. They motivate me, encourage me, and keep me honest. I find myself writing for them. Those gals in Yellowstone? There's a book in the editing pipeline just for them. The day we spent talking about Echoes is one I'll never forget. It's hard to find a way to let our readers know just how much they mean to us, so mine get sneak peaks, input on cover art, and snippets of works in progress. That's one nice thing about Facebook. I can create a post just for readers that have left reviews for me and connected with me in that media. They even weighed in on the title for the first Extinction novel. That was a blast, by the way.
What are you working on next?
Eldorado: A Cottonwood Cove Novel. It's the first book I've written a full outline on before the first draft has even been started. Most of the time, I start with a scene, or an event, or a character. I don't see the true shape of it until I'm about halfway through. I was finishing up the revision on the first Extinction novel when the history of this new place grabbed my attention. Somehow it caught on fire. A diver's body is found in Lake Mohave. The recovery divers (a husband and wife team) find something clenched in his fist. Instead of turning it over to the National Park Service, they investigate it on their own and land in the middle of a conspiracy that has been in the works since 1915.
Who are your favorite authors?
The first book I remember reading was Agatha Christie's 'And Then There Were None'. I had read plenty of books before that one, but none hit me like hers. I still have all of her books. Later came Sir Author Conan Doyle and Edger Allan Poe. A friend in the sixth grade introduced me to Stephen King and I found Dean Koontz in my early twenties. They are still my go-to books. I re-read my favorites every year, like revisiting old friends. Clive Cussler is another one I enjoy. I also have my favorite Indie authors. AJ Riddle, Ryk Brown, Laura Stapleton, and I'm finding new ones every week.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
This is a bigger question than it appears to be. I've seen, experienced, some of the worst that humanity has to offer. Especially the first twenty years of my life. I crave life. The exploration of it, the experience of it... every day is an adventure. It's a chance to love, laugh, and make up for lost time. Every day is a chance for me to learn, grow, and cherish being in the sun. I started to say this has nothing to do with my writing, but now that I think about it,... it has everything to do with it.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Giving my husband grey hair {grin}. I love things that get the old heart pumping, the adrenaline flowing. I want to live life to the fullest and experience everything that I can. If I'm not writing, I'm either trying to talk my husband into joining me on an adventure, scuba diving or exploring the desert. I also love flying small, single engine aircraft. I think that's the most fun a person can have and not go to jail.
Published 2015-05-06.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.