Hi M.S., thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
A little bit about me…well, I was born and raised in Iowa where I still reside today with my husband and 5 year old son. I enjoy writing, reading and spending time with my friends and family.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
My ambitions are pretty modest. Of course, I’d love to have a huge career with movie deals and the whole nine yards, but I need to be realist. Honestly, I’d love to be able to support my family full time with my writing and not have to worry about working my normal 9-5 job during the week.
Which writers inspire you?
For me, inspiration comes from many different places. Such as music, television programs, movies and current events. However, in the writing realm, I immediately fell in the with Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind. It’s such a moving piece of work that captured the time with such clarity and intensity. Currently, I love anything Jessica Sorensen, Jamie McGuire, J.A. Redmerski and Colleen Hoover write. I find those ladies inspirational not only with their words, but in their career as well.
So, what have you written?
Published are the first three books of the Sulfur Heights Series: Scarred Love, Tragic Love, and Blind Love. The popularity of Scarred Love became an Amazon Best Seller and I soon hope the others will fall in its path. I have written another full length novel, not associated with the Sulfur Heights Series; I will work on publishing it when I have more time.
Where can we buy or see them?
Scarred Love: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and KOBO
Tragic Love: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and KOBO
Blind Love: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and KOBO
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
The story is told a duel point of view.
Jake Evans is an absolute delight in a crude bad boy type of way. He was born in raised in a community (Sulfur Heights) where drugs, crime, and violence lurk around every corner. Until the age of ten he was raised by his drug-addicted mother and absentee father. After his mother’s death, Jake and the rest of his brothers were
Delilah St. James is the exact opposite of Jake. She was born into a wealthy southern family and was expected to be perfect in every fashion of her life. Although she was raised a certain way, Delilah was kind and befriended anyone who’d give her a chance. When she moved to Sulfur Heights for a school internship, she soon realizes that life isn’t always wonderful and can be quite cruel. It took Jake to open her eyes and see what kind of life she was leading, wasn’t really a life at all.
What are you working on at the minute?
Book #4 in the Sulfur Heights Series, Surviving Love as well as book #5, Redeemed Love.
What’s it about? (*if relevant)
Book #4 is the continuation of Tragic Love, told in Drake’s POV. Each book in the series are told in a different characters POV, however, the story plays off and builds from the book released prior in the series. Redeemed Love is the final installment in the Sulfur Heights Series and will be told in Jeremy’s POV. That’s about all I can share right now ;)
What genre are your books?
What draws you to this genre?
The stories are raw and as real as you can get to life. Well, the stories I tend to read.
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
This is a tough question. Off the top of my head I could see Alex Pettyfer playing Jake Evans and Amanda Seyfried as Delilah St. James.
How much research do you do?
For Blind Love there was no need for research. I was pretty comfortable with the material.
Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers?
I worked on some stuff with my sister, but nothing that’s been published.
When did you decide to become a writer?
About two years ago. I was having a bad day and my sister and I were having a rather interesting conversation. Next thing I know, she suggested writing a book and a very bright light bulb went off. That very night I sat down and started working on my first novel and soon after that I started writing Scarred Love.
Why do you write?
Because I love it and I couldn’t imagine never doing it. I find writing very therapeutic and the perfect way to escape reality. Growing up, I never knew what to do with all the stories I’d create in my head or really had a good excuse to people for hours at a time. Now, I know exactly what to do with them and I love it.
What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?
When my sister just blatantly told me I need to write a novel and she ignited a passion I never knew existed.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
Currently, it’s time. I still work a full time job at an insurance company and I have a young son I care for. So I can only write when I’m home and my house is quiet. Basically that equates to late at night or early in the morning.
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
The story was there, just ready to ooze out of me, but like I said earlier I was struggling with time. There never seems to be enough time in the day.
What is the easiest thing about writing?
Escaping into the story is the easiest thing for me when I write. I immerse myself totally into my characters and story. Once I’m in my writing zone, the words just fall out creating a story.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Working on a book part time, I can finish the initial rough draft in two to three months.
Do you ever get writer’s Block?
Fortunately, I haven’t experienced writers block too bad.
Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
Whenever I get stuck, I will walk away from my computer for a day and clear my head. If that doesn’t work I will run down the story with a friend or my sister to get the kinks worked out.
Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
Yes I do. The cover and the blurb are crucial when buyers select the book. Many times they will read the blurb, reviews, and look at the cover over reading the sample provided on the retail sites.
How are you publishing this book and why?
I am an Indie author. I am working on getting an agent and hopefully traditional publishing will be in my future.
Any amusing story about marketing books that happened to you?
I don’t have any funny stories. All I can say is, in 8 months time it’s been a major learning experience of what works and what doesn’t.
What’s your views on social media for marketing?
Social media is a very important step to get your book out to the public, especially blog sites. Indie authors are held at the mercy of bloggers and social media marketing. If a blog site loves your book, they will talk about it and promote your work for free. This can easily spread to other bloggers and before you know it everyone’s talking about you. Unfortunately, the same goes if they are not fans of your work.
What is your favourite book and why?
Gone with the Wind is my favorite book. It’s a classic story of survival and entwined with love and devotion to one’s desired to succeed.
What is your favourite quote?
“If I have to steal or kill—as God is my witness, I’m never going to be hungry again.”
What is your favourite film and why?
Gone with the Wind, it’s a timeless classic and reflects the book well especially for the time the movie was made in the 1930’s. I also love The Godfather, Warrior, When Harry Met Sally and anything Will Farrell stars in.
Where can you see yourself in 5 years time?
I can see myself in my cave writing away on a fulltime basis. Hopefully with a publishing deal and a lot more fans of my work.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Do lots of research when you first get into the publishing portion. Network, network, network and if you need help, find someone to help you. I would be lost without my PA. She’s done so much for me and getting my name out there. She’s irreplaceable.
Where do you see publishing going in the future?
I only hope the industry gets a handle on piracy sites and Amazon modifies their return policy on eBooks. Currently, you have three days to return an eBook on Amazon and many customers are reading the book in a couple of days then returning it. Personally, I think this is stealing. No other retail site has such a long return policy and it makes it that much easier for your books to get pirated.
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.