Interview with Twyla Turner

Published 2014-01-31.
When did you first start writing?
The first time I wrote a story of my own creation was in the 3rd grade. The story idea came from a poster that I had in my room. The experience never left me. I rewrote that story in high school and my teacher liked it so much that she told me that it would make a great animated movie. So when I went to college, I minored in Creative Writing. My major was Radio/TV, I also wanted to be the next Oprah. But I should have realized then that writing was my true love, because even then my Creative Writing classes were my favorites and I got the best grades in them.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Well in 2009 I moved to Long Beach, California. I fell in love with the little city, which is the backdrop for my novel. But while in SoCal, I had a really rough time meeting men. I basically went nearly 4 years without being asked on a single date. It was frustrating. And I didn't get it. So my main character deals with the same issues, but luckily for her, she met someone spectacular. I on the other hand, moved to Arizona.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I figured there was no way that an agent and/or publisher would have faith in a new writer. It's not like I'm not wiling to go mainstream, I just know that if I wanted to get my story heard, this was the best way to start. And it's very exciting and fulfilling to do the whole process yourself. I've never been so proud of myself.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I'm not sure yet. It hasn't even been a week yet. But so far my experience has been good. Smashwords has been very helpful in breaking down everything.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Getting totally wrapped up in my characters. Since this was my first novel, every aspect of the writing experience is probably that much more heightened. I literally fell in love with my characters, they meant so much to me. Normally I'm am the biggest procrastinator in the world. But my love of the characters forced me to sit down and write. I felt I owed it to them to finish their story.
What do your fans mean to you?
Well I don't really have any yet. Except for my family and friends. But once I get some, they'll mean a lot to me. You can't be a success author without fans to have your back.
What are you working on next?
I'm currently working on the sequel to Star-Struck. It's the conclusion to Sunny and Gabe's story, called Awe-Struck.
Who are your favorite authors?
Oh that's a tough one. When I was younger and ran to the library every two weeks to get my customary 5-6 books, I'd get: Johanna Lindsay, Judith McNaught, Lavyrle Spencer and surprisingly Fabio (don't laugh, his books were actually very good). Back in the early 2000's I fell in love with Julia Quinn. And of course I loved the Twilight series, The Hunger Games, Fifty Shades, and The Crossfire series. By now you should have noticed a pattern...romance is my thing.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Anticipating the amazing possibilities the day may bring. I'm the eternal optimist. Though recently, my characters Sunny and Gabe have been the reason why I can't even sleep in anymore.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Well I have a Nook, so I just go onto the Barnes & Noble site to search for books. But since I've started writing and becoming my own publisher, learning all the ends and outs, and different websites...I've realized there is so much more out there. And I plan on using what I've found.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. As I mentioned in another question, it was in the 3rd grade. I can't tell you what it is, because I plan on rewriting it and I don't want anyone to get to it first. ;)
What is your writing process?
Well I'm not sure I have one. I started writing Star-Struck in February 2013 and only wrote a chapter and a half, and then I just stopped. At the time I was working full-time, but I did live alone and had plenty of free time to write, but it just wasn't in me at the time. But I moved to Arizona with my parents, and I was unemployed and looking for a job. In between that time, I was reading. And I mean, constantly reading. I can't even tell you how many books I read in the span of two months. But right in the middle of reading a book, Sunny and Gabe wouldn't get out of my head. I mean, I couldn't concentrate on what I was reading it was so intense. So I finally put down my Nook and reached for my laptop and started writing. And I basically just wrote and wrote and wrote, until I was done about 15 days later. And by the way, I still haven't been able to finish that book I was reading. I guess it's because Sunny and Gabe's story isn't done yet.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I can't exactly remember the first story I read. I do remember I loved No Baths for Tabitha, which was pretty awesome I might add. But I can tell you my favorite novel of all time...Judith McNaught's Perfect. I guess it had a definite influence on me, because my novel has similar ideas.
How do you approach cover design?
With a headache, is how I approach it. I don't have any money at the moment to hire someone to do it for me. And I'm not the type of person to ask for help often. So I started working on it myself. First starting out with your basic paint and draw program on a PC. And not satisfied with the amateur results, I looked further into it. Eventually I downloaded a free photoshop type program, and after that my designs that I came up with got better and better after teaching myself. I'm sure it's still not up to par with most professional designers, but I'm fairly happy with what I've done. The two possible cover designs that I really want, will take a LOT of money, so I take what I can get for the moment.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Perfect-by Judith McNaught: I've always been fascinated with famous male actors. I always have a crush on a few of them. So I've always wondered if it was possible for an average girl to attract the attention of a mega-star. That theme was in Perfect as well as my own novel.

The Bridgerton Books-by Julia Quinn: I loved these books because I loved learning the stories of each and every family member, and being able to see the couples from past stories in the next novel. I felt like I was part of their family or at least a really good friend.

The Twilight Series: Yes they may be cheesy or teenybopper books, but I love them any way. I have always had a fascination with vampires, so the thought of a vampire falling in love with a human and he didn't turn into a giant bat or uglier version of himself like in Bram Stoker's Dracula, interested me.

The Hunger Games: This was the first book/series that I had read that wasn't romance that I truly loved. I can't say exactly why, all I know was that it had me immersed.

Fifty Shades of Grey Series: As far as I know this was the first explicitly sexual books I had ever read and I was hooked afterwards. Before I mostly read historical romance, which are very sweet in the description of the sexual encounters. But Fifty Shades stepped outside of the boundaries and since I am very open about sexuality, I found it so interesting. And I've been reading books similar ever since and have written my novel in that same erotic style (without the BDSM).
What do you read for pleasure?
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Well the only two that I know are my Nook and my smartphone. I'm sure the Kindle is great, but I just haven't tried it yet.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Since I've just gotten started, I haven't went any further than Facebook for now. But I do plan on finding other avenues.
Describe your desk
I don't have one. But I can say that I've used my regular full sized laptop, my mini laptop, my Nook and my parents' desktop during the entire writing process. I sat on the couch with my mini laptop in my lap and my Nook with ready on the screen and a regular notebook next to me in case I needed to write down new ideas that would work in chapters further ahead. But when it came to downloading my manuscript and designing a cover I also ran back and forth between my full sized laptop and my parents' desktop. I'm sure if anyone had of been watching, they would've thought I was crazy.
Will you always write about interracial relationships and female heroines that are BBW?
Well I always think it's best to right what you know. And since I am a BBW, more than likely I will always write about women that are plus-sized. There are plenty of romance novels with slender women, and I personally love reading all kinds of romance novels, but I love reading about a woman that is more like me. One that I can relate to, that gets the hot guy. And I don't think that there are enough of those kinds of novels and I'd really love to see BBW Romance become mainstream.
When it comes to relationships, I've dated the rainbow, but I do tend to lean towards white males. I have no idea why, I just do. So of course I'm going to write about what interests me. But more often than not, my books won't really focus on the fact that the characters are different races. I don't focus too much on it when I'm with a man so neither will my characters.
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