I've worked with the same cover artist for the past two years, so I've developed a good collaborative process with him. Initially, I give him a loose outline of what I have in mind, along with the synopsis of my book, and he sends back sketches of his ideas. After careful dialogue back and forth (looping in a few close, trusted friends), we settle on a design. Then we go back and forth a few more times as the final cover comes together. A finished product typically takes several months, but it's worth it to get art that not only represents the book, but shows a higher level of creativity than a standard cut-and-paste job in Photoshop. After all, it's hard not to judge a book by its cover, even though we're warned against the practice.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
#1-3: The Lord of The Rings Trilogy. I got my first taste of Epic Fantasy during a summer babysitting job my junior year of high school. I had never experienced a world so well-developed before, and I haven't since. Tolkien is truly the master of fantasy.
#4: Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone. While this isn't my favorite book in the Harry Potter series, it makes my top 5 all time books because Rowling truly got the world talking about reading again. She has a delightful imagination that touches the young and experienced alike, which is probably why people will be reading her books a few hundred years from now. She is the one-in-a-million type of author I think we all wish we could be.
#5: The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe. Poe is one of my absolute favorite authors. His poetry and stories always hold equal sway over me, delivering me beyond his words and into the worlds he created. I held my breath the first time I read this book, and I still do years later and after a dozen additional reads. Plus, he has a major creepy factor that still chills me to the bone. I love that.
What do you read for pleasure?
Everything I can get my hands on, as long as it's good. I love Fantasy, of course, as well as mystery, historical non-fiction, romance, and suspense. About the only genre I don't like is Dystopian, though I did enjoy Hunger Games. I last read The Book Thief and a book that outlined the last days of the Titanic, and I'm currently reading Joyland by Stephen King.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
The Kindle Touch 3G. I actually prefer the Nook, but I need to be able to download books when I'm out and about, so I had to stop using the Nook when they switched to offering only wi-fi. That broke my heart a little bit.
Describe your desk
It's a small, glass desk, tucked into one corner of my office. I chose the smallest desk I could find so I wouldn't be able to mess it up easily and I made sure to keep it boxed in so I'd feel secure when I write (kind of like how a cat likes a bed with walls). My husband refers to it as my "hobbit hole".
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The short answer is "a friend". I met a wonderful woman (author Lisa J. Yarde) who has had great success writing and marketing her Historical Romance books. She has been both encouraging and extremely helpful throughout this process, from helping me hone a professional product to understanding the ins and outs of formatting for publishing. Ultimately, she convinced me to take a chance on my work and I'm grateful she did. This has been one of the hardest and best journeys I've ever undertaken.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Connecting with my readers--through emails, facebook, twitter, reviews, etc.--and hearing how they've fallen in love with Aerenden and the people who live within that world. My characters are real to me and it's wonderful to have others understand my connection to them and feel the same connection. Insanity loves company, after all :).
What are you working on next?
I plan to finish the last two books in the Aerenden series and release them. I also hope to write a book of short stories that will provide history and background for the world of Aerenden and maybe, if I have time, I'll finish a cook book of recipes highlighting foods described in the books. After those projects (or perhaps even during), I intend to release a contemporary romance series that centers around four men in a rock band. Two of those books are nearly complete.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My wonderful husband, my fantastic one-year-old daughter (who would not let me sleep in even if I didn't want to get out of bed), my love of running and training for races, and writing (of course). I am nothing if not busy these days!
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Word of mouth is my primary source for finding new books (via friends, facebook posts, or Goodreads discussions). Once someone recommends a book to me, I check reviews on Amazon and Goodreads and see if peoples' opinions align with what I typically like. Sometimes I also just randomly buy what looks good on Amazon's deal-a-day email blasts or Barnes & Noble's discount sale section.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I do! I was actually talking about this with a friend the other day. In third grade (or second, maybe), I wrote a mystery story on a class assignment. At the time, my favorite series was Encyclopedia Brown (the boy detective), so I wrote a story about a kid sleuth, a girl called Encyclopedia Turquoise. I can't say I was overly inventive back then...lol.
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