Author Interview on Catching that Golden Snitch
|Release Date: 24.05.2016|
Today I have the supreme honor of introducing you to an amazing author from my homeland of South Africa.
Imagine my surprise when I discovered that this author from Durban, the home of my forefathers, had been published, internationally.
Eureka! Shannaro! There is Hope, I thought with excessive enthusiasm. She’s done it, she’s caught the Golden Snitch!
Upon reading some of her work, the intense talent and voice were clearly evident. Her prose style is both elegant and feisty in its unique flow. I am really and truly humbled to be hosting her while she’s on her blog tour before the release of the book.
So without further ado, let’s get to know this remarkable author and her Journey
Favorite Book Boyfriend:
Mark Bressler from Rachel Gibson’s Nothing but Trouble – moody and broody and simply sexy
Favorite Bad Boy Character:
Ty Garrison from Jill Shalvis’s Lucky in Love – there’s just something about a tortured hero
How long have you been writing for?
- I have been writing stories and plays from around ten years old. At age fourteen I tried my hand at my very first longer length story and the writing has not stopped since then.
What inspires you most to write?
- What does not? I love the moment of falling in love. I love the witty banter, the push and pull between my two protagonists and creating that moment of their coming together… is all the more sigh-worthy. I also write to give an outlet to the voices in my head.
The Big Debate of Traditional Vs. Self-Publishing. What made you choose one against the other?
- I’m an old soul so for me it wasn’t a biggie. Definitely Traditional print. I have always wanted to be a published author through a publishing house with my name in print. It’s harder to get in the door with traditional publishing but there is so much more support with a team of people who know what they are doing when you have a publishing house backing you. And trust me, I needed all the support I could get.
Tell me about your support structure. Who’s on board with you being an author, who doubted you?
- I kept my writing very private. Even now, all this exposure makes me feel very… exposed. My husband is my greatest support, despite never reading any of my books. He’s always pushing me to get on with it when he can clearly see that I am procrastinating (that happens a lot). He has often threatened to change the WIFI password and let me tell you, that threat works!
- My bestie, Tharreshnee is also a great support. She reads my stories as I am writing and encourages me along the way. She’s an extremely positive person and can be a real drill sergeant when you’re dipping your toes in the negativity or self-doubt pools.
- My Dad has always been my GREATEST supporter in life. He passed on three years ago but I know that if he were here today, he would shout my achievements out to ANYONE who would listen.
- There hasn’t been any real negativity so far… give it time, though. The reviews will be coming in soon. Eeep!
- Even then, I will take the negativity in my stride – it comes with the territory. Not everyone will enjoy the book. Someone will love it, some will hate it and some will be pretty indifferent. I didn’t set out on this journey to be famous or rich – my goal was to be a published author and that dream has come to fruition. No amount of doubt or negativity can take that away.
So the novel took you about 4 months to write. Walk me through your process of submissions in your search for an agent/publisher.
- I Googled… A LOT! I researched how to write a query letter and in my opinion, I still didn’t get this right. I made a list of ALL the publishing houses I could find and made a note of their submission requirements. Then I emailed them one by one, customizing my application to their needs. I kept a record of each publisher, their contact details and when I emailed my application to them. And then came the rejection letters. The first few I took in my stride and then they just started to deflate me. I almost gave up when I saw the special call from Fiery Seas Publishing and was so surprised to get an email with a contract inviting me to join their team. It’s been easier now since I have a foot in the door because my publisher is amazing and is always wanting more stories from me.
- It’s tough to get published in SA because they are usually looking for authentic South African stories. I love sunny South Africa but I also don’t want to be shoved in a mold to write stories just to be published locally. We each have an individual voice and that should be heard.
Rejection letters play a frequent role in any writer’s life during the submission process. How did it feel getting them? What kept you motivated throughout it all?
- It’s terrible. In the beginning, you take it in your stride. But then they keep coming and it’s really tough to stay positive, particularly when you sacrifice months of your time to get your story out, another few months polishing it and in a single paragraph, your dreams are dashed. My bestie was always a source of great encouragement and would often, at times, remind me that JK Rowling was rejected A LOT before someone gave her an opportunity. Thinking about that kept me on track. Success in any field is not just handed to you – you have to work for it.
Felicidades épicas! You’ve been published internationally. Talk to me about that day, receiving the email. How did it feel? And What have you done to celebrate since?
- I woke up at 5am one morning and went over my social media messages and then opened the email from Fiery Seas Publishing, expecting another concise rejection letter. I nearly fell off the bed when I read that they wanted to offer me a contract which was attached. I read and reread the email, not quite sure it wasn’t a joke. I shook my husband awake and shoved the phone in his face to see. Of course in his sleepy state, he simply said “That’s wonderful babe!” and went right back to sleep. So I lay awake in the dark of the morning and wondered at what had just happened. For many months I kept my news private – only a select few knew. I still didn’t believe it and I didn’t want to jinx it. But then the cover was revealed and I knew there was no going back.
Walk me through the process from that email to getting the final book signed off for release.
- It took many months from the time I got the original email till anything started happening. They sent me a questionnaire about what I expected from my cover, dedication, acknowledgments and so on. So Misty, my publisher could understand the vision I had.
- First Line Edits started – This was simply correcting grammar, spelling and the like.
- Second Line Edits – Were a bit more in depth, changing sentences so they make more sense and be easier to read. Getting into deep POV was a learning curve but I seem to be getting better at it.
- Copy Edits – This was Tough. This is really pulling your story together and making sure it makes sense. The suggestions to change sentences made me sit and scratch my head because I didn’t know how else to make it read. I trudged on and learned so much along the way.
- To Print – After surviving the copy edits, the book went to print.
Do you have any great writing resources that you can share with us?
- Google has been a great help! I also follow my favorite authors on their social platforms so I can learn from them. This worked best for me because my genre was the same.
What would you say to other aspiring writers out there, especially the ones in our homeland of South Africa?
- Keep working on your manuscripts. Be open to taking direction and advice from those in the field. Learn to take rejection (it will happen a lot). Success is for those who work towards it, keep going, your success is waiting on the horizon.
If there was just one nugget of wisdom you could share, what would that be?
- Write because it fulfills your soul. It should never be a job to you, it should be your lifestyle, a piece of who you are. I am a writer…
Bonus Tip: Melissa’s written a great post on her Top 10 Writing Tips for the Up and Comer
Audrey Kelly finds her way back home to Crystal Valley with her bruised pride and a shattered dangerous past mocking her rear view mirror. What she didn’t expect was to be face-to-face with Adam Parker, resident bad boy, sexy Navy SEAL and one of the reasons that Audrey ran all those years ago.
Audrey was the last person Adam had ever expected to see back in Crystal Valley. Over a decade ago, they shared a sizzling night together before he received the worst news of his life and he hasn’t seen her since…until she’d moved back unexpectedly. She was no longer the sweet innocent girl he once remembered, but Adam has his own problems without having to deal with Audrey’s ice princess recital, no matter how tempting the auburn haired seductress may be.
Sparks begin to ignite between them but can they accept Audrey’s past when it threatens to engage them in a dangerous twist? Can they save each other from themselves and stop running once and for all?
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