Echoes of Paradise is my second published book, but my first fiction novel. I did stop and start on a couple of novels over the years. I guess I just didn’t have a story idea that I felt excited and passionate about back then. Through many life experiences, I discovered what really inspired me and then everything fell into place.
What prompted the idea for that book?The idea for Echoes of Paradise came from a few of my own experiences. The biggest inspiration for the book came after I had been noticing a series of coincidences after a friend passed away. One day I asked my friend for a sign, a pink rose. About a week or so later, I was at a park with my family. As I was about to sit down at a picnic table for lunch, I noticed something directly under my seat. I bent down to pick it up and discovered, it was a pink fabric rose. Imagine my surprise and excitement! From that moment on, I became fascinated by the paranormal and our connections with others. And then the idea for Echoes of Paradise was born!
How long did it take you to write that book?About six months.
Did it change much from what you first envisioned it would be? How many rewrites did you do on it?The story didn’t change much from how I first envisioned it. I did add a few more scenes and also deleted one that I believed was too far-fetched. I went through about 4 rounds of editing, but didn’t do any major rewrites.
Your bio says you’ve enjoyed writing since you were a child. Outside of business writing what other types of writing have you published?I’ve written magazine articles for Corvette Quarterly and Exxon Travel Club’s Vista. I volunteer as an editor at BellaOnline, where I write weekly articles about adoption. I’ve also been a guest blogger on various web sites, including Adoptimist.com, AmericaAdopts.com and Mythical Books. And, I’ve written a few poems as well, most of them unpublished.
How did you go through the process of finding a publisher? How many sources did you pitch? Did you pitch any agents? How did you get involved with Rose Petal Publication?I chose to self-publish both of my books, so I didn’t go through a rigorous process or pitch any sources or agents. I liked the idea of having creative control over my projects and wanted to get my ideas to market as quickly as possible. Because the traditional route is so unpredictable and time-consuming, I decided that I would try self-publishing. I researched a few self-publishing companies before making my final choice. Rose Petal Publications is my own company that I formed in August 2013. In addition to my books, my company also offers writing services.
You’ve also written a non-fiction book called, From Pain to Parenthood: A Journey Through Miscarriage to Adoption. What made you decide to write something so personal and painful?I decided to write From Pain to Parenthood in order to help others facing miscarriages and infertility and those who are considering adoption. It was a difficult story to write because it is so personal and painful. There were many times when I wondered if I would finish it. What kept me going was reminding myself how many people I could help and how many lives I could touch by sharing my story.
My book is more than just a memoir. I also provide tips for dealing with grief, depression and anxiety, as well as a list of resources that people can contact for more help. So many people are affected by miscarriages and adoption, but often don’t have the support and resources they need. It’s an important topic, and I’m glad to be able to offer my insights and support.
How do you write? Did you do an outline first?I do a lot of writing in my head before I ever sit down at the computer. I have never used an outline. I find it too tedious and confining. I work best when I do a lot of thinking first, and then sit down and just let the ideas flow.
Did you do individual character development before doing the full plot?The plot comes first. I decide where the story is going, including how it will start and end, and what messages I want to convey. Then I work on writing the story and bringing the characters to life.
What do you think you learned from writing your first novel that will help you in other books?I learned that writing the book is the easy part and just the beginning of an author’s work. There is so much involved in marketing and promoting a book. It is an ongoing process, and you need to devote a block of time each day. Your work doesn’t end after the book is published; it is just beginning.
How much does social media play in your promotion of your books? What suggestions do you have for enhancing a writer’s social media platform?I use social media a lot to promote my books – especially Twitter and Facebook. Writers who are looking to enhance their social media platform should actively participate in groups such as Tweet Chats and make connections with those who share the same interests. Read through stories that interest you on Twitter, Google + and Facebook and then share those stories with others. Write about your own topic and share your thoughts and ideas as well. Before you know it, you will have developed a network of people who support your cause and share your work.
What type of publicity do you do to promote your book? What has worked best for you in generating sales?I’ve used GoodReads and Facebook ads, book signings, guest interviews and blog posts, book giveaways, press releases and an online book tour with Bewitching Book Tours. I’ve also done a few internet radio interviews, as well as an interview with a local newspaper and local cable news program. For generating sales, I’ve found that having a book promotion helps and so do the interviews. However, the best way to sell books is to keep at it and establish yourself as an expert in your field or topic of choice.
What do you know now about writing/publishing now that you wished you had known sooner?Don’t expect instant success. It takes a lot of time and effort to get others to want to read your book. Having a great story and fantastic writing skills are just a small part of the picture. You need to be ready and willing to prove to readers why they should read your book.
Also, although self-publishing is usually fairly inexpensive, you must be prepared to spend some money on professional services such as editing and book reviews, as well as on marketing and promoting your book.
What is the best advice you’ve been given about writing or that you’ve learned that you would like to pass along?My best advice for those who are interested in writing and/or publishing a book is to just write without censoring yourself or worrying about where the story is going. A lot of people find they have writer’s block because they want their writing to be flawless and perfect the first time around. They worry so much about punctuation and grammar that they stifle their creativity. I saw this a lot with students when I tutored writing in college. Writing isn’t a task; it’s a process. It evolves and develops as you go. The more you write and think about your ideas, the better you’ll get at it.
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