Interview with Vanessa Wester

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Gibraltar, and for the first 9 years of my life the frontier to Spain was closed so I only knew the "rock". My mum and dad encouraged me to read, and I especially remember going a lot to the library with my dad and the book shop. We also used to trade books, comics, etc for cash so I could get new ones - this was great fun!

Even though sidetracked by television, I always loved a good book and had my favourites.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first story I really remember writing was based on the movie "Poltergeist".

It was creepy and still makes the hairs at the back of my back rise since the girl in my story disappeared. I was actually really proud of it, and it got featured in our yearly school magazine so that was a bonus!

I do like a bit of horror every now and again...
What is your writing process?
I write what comes to mind if I am not working on a project or if an idea pops into my head and I don't want to forget it.

When working on a project, like my trilogy, I have to be more disciplined - this was especially the case during the last book. Although, I did not like the fact I had to keep cross checking all the time. I prefer to let the story tell itself when possible.

I am just the typist! Ha ha...
How do you approach cover design?
I take a lot of pictures when I can and keep them for future reference. I have had advice from authors online, and I do look at what is currently out there. Although, I ignore most of them - I hope I never have a naked upper male body on my covers to sell books. I prefer to let the story speak for itself.

The fact I am creative and love to play around with ideas does help - the covers are the fun part :)
What are your five favorite books, and why?
"Pride & Prejudice" by Jane Austin - Great story, plot, characterisation, romance, drama... amazing!
"You don't have to say you love me" by Sarra Manning - I love the characters created, the adult take on the love that can grow between two unsuspecting people, and the battle to stay fit and healthy.
"Anne of Green Gables" by L M Montgomery - Anne is a feisty, independent, girl who will not be intimidated by a boy! Oh, how I relate to her... brilliant coming of age story.
"Twilight" by Stephenie Meyers - I love vampires that fall in love (blame the Buffy series)... this book allowed me to read about the romance that can develop between two people when it should be forbidden.
"The Snail and the Whale" by Julia Donaldson - a lovely story about a friendship that allowed a little snail to see the world and then help his friend. Just brilliant.
What do you read for pleasure?
Anything... but I stay about from gory horror, or weird SciFi (strange names make it hard for me to keep my head in the story).

I love well written historical fiction (Leon, Uris, Ken Follett, Victoria Hislop), romantic suspense, chiclit, who done its (Agatha Christie), drama and intelligent crime novels (early John Grisham, Jeffrey Archer)
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have an ipad and a kobo - someday I might get a kindle, since its difficult to read on the ipad in daylight.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Twitter, Blogger, Wordpress, Facebook, emailing people I know.

Need to explore other avenues - selling is hard :(
When did you first start writing?
I started writing in February 2010, after reading the Twilight series. I had a 1 year old to look after and needed to use my brain... my creativity (I think) was unleashed!
What's the story behind your latest book?
My trilogy is the story of Steven Thorn, a hybrid, who has to make some massive decisions as he comes to terms with who he is, what he wants out of life, and who he is willing to include whilst making his choice.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I wanted to share my writing and people wanted to read it - I had nothing to lose.

I did send some queries out to agents, and even though they were not interested since they had no space in their books, they saw promise in my writing. I took that as a sign to go it alone. Agents have a tough job, getting discovered as a writer is just not an easy thing to do (unless you happen to write what people want to read - anyone got a time machine? HA)
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords was the first publisher I used. I learnt a LOT and I found Mark Coker's advice fantastic - thank you :)
Published 2013-09-25.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.