A woman forced to live a life she didn’t choose. A vampire bound by honor to protect humans. A deadly game of revenge that threatens both their lives …
Thirty years ago, a horrendous attack thrust Chemistry professor, ALEXANDRA FLANAGAN into the secret world of vampires. Saved by the blood of an ancient vampire, she unhappily walks among immortals.Now, deadly fires in her quaint town have brought her to the attention of REESE COLTON and his eliteRISEN team. Undercover as a firefighter, Reese has been called in to flush out and eliminate the rogue vampire burying a string of murders in the ashes of deadly fires.
With the body count climbing and the number of fires escalating, the evidence pointing to Alex is piling high. Discovering the identity of the vicious vampire hell-bent on revenge may be the easy part of Reese’s job. But bringing a murderer to justice could mean the difference between honoring his duty—and losing his heart.
This week, we had the pleasure of interviewing a former Literative contributor and the creator of our fantastic series on self-publishing, Nina Piece! She’s a USA Today Bestselling romance author, whose steamy novels and novellas have been heating up the charts! She’s been kind enough to give us a lively interview with some great advice for up-and-coming writers of all genres.
What about your chosen genre appeals to you?
I love writing suspense. It seems someone’s always dying in my books and then someone else has to figure out why. That genre is such a challenge for me. Dolling out small pieces of the puzzle to the readers until you reach the end and there it is: the whole picture in front of them. And what didn’t appear as anything important now makes perfect sense in the whole suspense story line. And of course I do this all wrapped up in a love story just to make it more fun.
How do you come up with your ideas? Are they inspired by real-life events? Or do they come from somewhere else entirely?
Hmmm, you know, it’s become a thought process for me. When I was teaching elementary science, television programs or places I’d visit got filed away as possible information for a lesson plan.
When I left teaching I realized I was no longer cataloging the world around me in terms of lessons, but possible “what ifs”. What if I someone on this beach were a serial killer seeking out their next victim? What if that bartender were really undercover looking for a drug smuggler? I’m a people watcher and love imagining everyone has a different story than the one I see. I pay attention to the news and interesting crimes on the internet. I like to have my stories revolve around that. The characters and settings just sort of come out of the crime.
Have you ever used a writing prompt to help you come up with an idea?
Not a written prompt, but pictures. I’m a visual person. When I’m really stuck I google some topic like … imaginary places. Then I pick a picture and write something about the setting and who would live there. And yes, a couple of times it was enough to spark a whole story idea.
How do you do your research? Do you try to experience similar things or places?
When I first started writing and had a story idea I felt like I needed to interview someone who had my character’s job. It was really fun. I talked with a game warden, a fire chief, a judge in family court and I even went to a newspaper printing shop. I LOVE doing that type of stuff. But seriously, that goes back to the scientist in me. I just love finding out how things work.
Now that I’ve written a number of books, I realize I can get most of my information from research through the Internet. It’s not as much fun as visiting somewhere new or talking with someone, but with my mobility issues, I’m really glad I have that resource.
How long does it take you to finish a book?
Wow! That’s a question and a half. When I first started writing and didn’t know the “rules” I just sat down and let the story meander and when the villain came to justice it was finished. A full novel took me 8 to 12 weeks.
Now … yeeeeah. That internal editor has learned waaaay too much about the rules of creating a good story. She and I battle it out and my writing is much slower these days. I’m working to gag the wench and find the joy in writing in ignorance. I haven’t found that balance, but hopefully she and I will come to an understanding and she’ll let me pound out that crappy first draft.
Do you outline your plot first or do you come up with the story as you go (pantser)?
Pantser all the way. I’ve learned to leave red herrings along the way that even I don’t consciously know where they’re headed, but in the end, they all fall into place. I did write a whole novel once without knowing who was doing all the killing until he confessed at the end. I was really surprised because I thought he was one of the good guys. Obviously, my muse has a road map he’s not sharing with me, but I like it that way.
What do you think is the most important part of a story?
The characters. I’d never heard the term “character-driven plot” until I started writing. But I know I’ll abandon a book if I don’t connect with the people in the story. Readers have to care about the characters … if they don’t they’re not going to care whether they’re the next murder victim or if they find their soul mate.
How was the publishing experience for you? Did you go alone or get any help?
I found a great writer’s group in my state. They pointed me in the right direction and I found out about publishers and how to query them. From there I found a critique partner. I always do better when someone is expecting me to have another chapter for them to critique in another week or two.
Now I self-publish my books. I have a great online support group that help me stay in touch with the latest publishing trends.
What have you found to be the best way to market your books?
This is the million dollar question. This is a hard time to be in the publishing business. There are hundreds of books published every day. Everyone wants to know how to be heard through all the chatter. And frankly, I don’t have a good answer for you.
We’ve all seen that book or series make a meteoric rise to the top, but there’s as much luck involved in that success as there is in talent and good marketing.
The one thing I can tell you is if you don’t like, it don’t do it. Don’t like twitter, then don’t try to engage readers there. Love pinterest? Find a way to turn your hobbies into marketing. Let readers see the real you, wherever that is. When a reader connects with an author, they’re more likely to pick one of her books.
How do you handle rejection and negative reviews?
Oh, at the beginning, before I was published it was hard. Very hard. It’s difficult to keep moving forward when you keep getting told your baby is ugly and not fit for the light of day. There’s so much of me personally invested in every story. But it’s easier now. I know I can do it so if something gets rejected it simply means it wasn’t really ready to go out into the world. I kick sand and have a margarita to soothe the hurt and then the next day I’m right back at it again. Unfortunately, every story isn’t right for every publisher and I’ll find the right place for it eventually.
What’s next for you? What are you working on now?
I have three novels that I wrote as stand-alones, but when I finished I loved the characters so much I wanted to turn them into series. My life’s been in turmoil for a little while now and my poor muse is lying in a crumpled heap in the corner of my office. When life settles down, I’m hoping the two of us will sit down and finish those series.
It is our hope that Nina Pierce gets some time for the dust to settle, so she can get back to doing what she does best: writing. If you would like to know more about this author, please follow her Twitter and Facebook, or check out her website.
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