I was a guest on Yecheilyah Ysrayl’s blog recently and gave an in depth interview. Check it out here:
Welcome to another episode of Couch Convos! Today we welcome new author Joslyn Westbrook to talk about her book The 52 Week Chronicles! Let’s get started.
LWT: This being your first novel, what inspired you to start writing?
JW: I’ve always had a desire to write, since grade school. English and Journalism were my majors in college, but “life” took me in a totally different path. It was not until I lost my mom, that I realized life is too short to not live out your dreams, and I began writing as a mere hobby.
LWT: I totally understand that. I lost my mom recently and it is a wake up call. Why did you choose the “Chick Lit” style?
JW: I was on a business trip several years ago, when I picked up a novel by Sophie Kinsella, called Can You Keep A Secret? It was then that I fell in love with the Chick Lit genre. When I started writing, I felt Chick Lit was such a natural way for me to bring my characters to life.
LWT: What is your favorite “Chick Lit” book? Is it safe to say you’re a fan of Sophie Kinsella?
JW: Anything by Sophie Kinsella would be my favorite in the Chick Lit genre. I am a total fangirl!
LWT: Your main character in your book “The Fifty-Two Week Chronicles”, Penelope is a bona fide foodie. Do you have any experience with food?
JW: Actually I do have a ton of experience with food. For the last twenty years, I have been a Business Consultant to restaurant owners, helping them operate successful restaurants.
LWT: Wow, that sounds like a fun job. I’m sure you run into some interesting people. Who was your muse for Penelope?
JW: The initial inspiration for Penelope was based on the fact that in real life, I would have loved being a Food Critic. I am a crazy foodie and what could be better than combining a love for food and a love for writing?
LWT: If this book was made into a movie, who would play Jonathan? I absolutely adored him.
JW: Without a doubt, Jonathan’s role would be played by Taylor Kinney (with dark hair) from the TV show Chicago Fire. I think he would play the perfect Jonathan Knight.
LWT: Yum! Speaking of yummy, how did you come up with the menu for the pop-up restaurant, and do you have the recipes?
JW: The Pop-up restaurant menu came to life by watching many Food Network shows. I made notes of the type of food I envisioned Jonathan to be an expert at and was lucky enough to finalize the menu over the course of a weekend of Food Network binge watching. I do have the recipes and am strongly considering adding them to the back of the novel…or maybe as a novel bonus.
LWT: Do you put a little of yourself in any of your characters?
JW: That’s a great question. I do believe parts of my personality are sprinkled here and there…especially in some of the dialogue.
LWT: I am dying to know if Sebastian will get his own book.
JW: I love Sebastian! He was a fun character to write and many readers want more of him. I am not sure if he will get his very own book, but he is making a return in the next book in the series called A Cupcake and a Gentleman, which is set in San Francisco, CA. I am happy I was able to bring him back as he helps in sister Hannah with her bakery business.
LWT: Who is your favorite writer?
JW: I have so many favorites and I draw inspiration from all of them: Sophie Kinsella, Susan Mallery, Candace Bushnell, Plum Sykes, Jennifer Crusie, Nora Roberts, Danielle Steel…to name a few.
LWT: Who designed your book cover and how did you come up with the concept for it?
JW: Pro_ebookcovers designed the current cover, but that is not the original cover. The original cover was created by a lovely designer from 99Designs. I was prepared to use that cover, until I discovered the girl with the pink hat and instantly saw Penelope. So I had the entire concept redesigned and fell in love with the pink cover (which also matched my brand colors). I still have the rights to the original cover design, so I will use that in a limited edition paperback giveaway very soon.
LWT: We’ll be sure to keep an eye out for the contest. Which social media platforms do you find most beneficial in getting the word out for your book?
JW: Social Media is a great way to reach potential readers and I have found FaceBook and Twitter to be the most effective way to get the word out about The Fifty-Two Week Chronicles.
LWT: Tell us about your writing process. Do you need complete silence or do you work with music? Do you have a little drink while writing or is smoking your thing? Give us the skinny.
JW: I have a full-time job, and am a wife and a mom. I have to be super creative in how I squeeze in time to write. So my process usually consists of getting up at 4am to write before I have to get my daughter ready for school and myself ready for work. I also wrote all of The Fifty-Two Week Chronicles on my iPhone…using a writing app. This allowed me to write wherever and whenever I had free time, even if it was only 10 mins on line at the grocery store, on a lunch break, while sitting in traffic (lol), or late at night before bed. I do not typically drink, but I think I may have had a glass of wine when I wrote the sexy scenes in the book. 🙂
LWT: Girl, you wrote that on your iPhone? Dang. Well, what does your writing nook look like? If you could make it into anything you wanted, what would that look like?
JW: I have a loft-style office that I created specifically for writing. It has a cozy fireplace, and is away from any distractions. But, I never use it for writing! If I had the opportunity, I would have a room with my desk facing a huge bay window, overlooking the ocean. That is my dream writer’s nook. Dreams do come true, right?
LWT: Oh yeah. I’m a big believer of dreams. What was your editing process like?
JW: I edit as I write. And I do not move on to the next chapter until I have chosen all of the “right” words. It can take a week for me to complete a single chapter, sometimes. I have two beta-readers who I send a chapter at a time to for feedback or suggested revisions to the storyline. After all of that, I send the completed MS to my editor who takes me through two rounds of edits before it’s sent to a proofreader. I love the editing process!
LWT: I can’t say I look forward to editing, but it is necessary. Please give other indie writers 3 tips/tricks that you learned and used during your first writing experience?
JW: Ooooh! Okay three tips:
1)Write what you love to read because it will come more naturally.
2) Do not get discouraged if your friends / family show little interest in your writing.
3) Join writer’s groups because you’ll find writer’s will become your biggest support system when you need it the most.
LWT: Share one unique thing you’ve done to market your book?
JW: I created three book trailers for “fun”, while suffering through episodes of writer’s block. Those trailers had actually been viewed by so many more than I expected, giving the book a great deal of funky exposure.
LWT: Funny, I think that’s how I found your book. Tell the readers the one resource you can’t live without as a writer?
JW: I can not live without my writing app, a thesaurus, and Google (haha).
LWT: All great choices. Do you use an outline when writing and do you stick to it?
JW: I am in no way the type of a person who outlines. I do mentally plan the ending, but I just write and allow the characters to take me where I need to go. Sometimes they do surprise me. Take Jonathan for instance: I had no idea he rode a Harley until that chapter and I was like…what? A Harley? Um, okay.
LWT: I love it when a character takes over. Do you belong to any writer’s groups or associations? If so, which ones?
JW: As a matter of fact, I just applied to Romance Writers of America and Alliance of Independent Authors. I’m really excited!
LWT: Will you be participating in any conferences this year? If so, which ones and when?
JW: Unfortunately, this year I am so tied up with my job as a Business Consultant, I will not be able to attend any writer’s conferences. However, I plan to attend at least one next year.
LWT: I love the graphics on your author website. Who designed them for you?
JW: Thank you! I designed my website and most of the graphics are paid licenses of photos from Shutterstock.
LWT: Get out! We need to talk. What are you currently working on?
JW: I am happy to say I am currently working on the next novel in the series that should be released later this year as well as a short story that will be released in July. Yay!!
Joslyn Westbrook has been creating stories since grade school. Her passion for writing often lead to teachers and college professors reading her stories to the class, showcasing her creativity. Putting her writing on hold, Joslyn pursued a career as a Business Consultant as she raised her children. While she enjoyed working with business owners, she craved what she believed to be her true calling—writing. During her free time, Joslyn began writing her romance novel and series of chick-lit style novels to curb her passion for writing. Her work as a Business Consultant has spawned the concept of several characters featured in her books. Joslyn is a self-proclaimed foodie, enjoys shopping, cooking, binge watching shows and movies on Netflix, and spending time with her husband and children at home in sunny California.
Today is the Release Day for Egyptian Nights! This is book 1 in the Triple Threat Series LoveRotica Tale. Here’s what it is about:
“Once upon a time there was a beautiful young woman named Egypt, and she loved sex. Cursed by her mother’s dying declaration, she thinks she is unworthy of love. Locking her feelings inside an impenetrable ice block, she hides behind casual sex. Aided by her Naughty Fairy Godmother, she creates a playlist of rules to live by to avoid a broken heart.
When the ruggedly, sexy businessman, Harper Beckmann enters the restaurant where she is the executive chef, she feels drawn to him in ways she never felt before. When he denies her offer for a casual hook-up and offers to take her on a date instead, she is intrigued. Unable to resist his charms, she allows him to break all of her rules, including kissing on the mouth.
Harper has been playing the field since his fiancée left him for his best friend. A romantic at heart, he longs for the love of a good woman. When he meets Egypt, he knows instantly she is just what he needs to cure his aching heart. If he can break down her walls and get her to admit she loves him too, Beckmann may just be the one to break the curse. ”
***WARNING: This book contains explicit sexual content and is not suitable for anyone under the age of 18. May contain triggers for those sensitive about sexual abuse. Click HERE to purchase
I am so excited to share with you guys a FREE anthology of poetry called “When Queens Speak” (Royalty Reaches the Masses). I am proud to say four of my poems were included in this collection in honor of National Poetry Month. I hope you will take the time to download your copy. It is only available in e-book form. Many thanks to Rashida V. for putting this together.
Here’s the blurb:
“This E-book is a wonderful Anthology of poetry written by multiple American women. It’s eclectic, thought provoking and sincere. Each poem will enlighten or awaken the mind, the heart or the soul that engages. A dope work of feminine poetic energy surged into one. This is a must read.”
Click Here to download your FREE copy via Smashwords.
Welcome to April’s edition of Couch Convos! Today we welcome Ronyea Thompson, author of the popular novel “The Circle”. Let’s get started.
LWT: Welcome to Couch Convos. Tell us, how did you get the idea to write “The Circle”?
RT: I have a circle of friends in real life (who are way more conservative than the characters LOL) and since I love to write and play around with characters, I thought it would be cool to draw inspiration from my friends.
LWT: Well, in this book you do have a unique group of friends. Can you take us through the process you went through to develop each character?
RT: Yes…as stated above, the characters were inspired by my circle of friends. And when I say inspired, I mean VERY LOOSELY inspired LOL. All of it is fiction, none of it is real…for example Chantal is inspired by a dear friend of mine. The ONLY similarities they share are that they both live in California and both are dancers. However, my friend in real life is a praise dance and worship leader at her church, and spends days teaching young girls the art of dance via Ballet and Jazz at the Chon Renee Dance Academy in the Bay Area. She has never stripped nor done drugs…but it was fun to play with her character, because there are women who strip, and I wanted to change the stigma a bit.
LWT: When I read the book, I felt as if each one of the main characters struggled with their moral compass. Why was this such an important element in the story line?
RT: Its important to me as a woman to express the struggles we may have in our everyday lives. No one is perfect and we often battle with right and wrong intentions and decisions. I wanted to reference issues like drug use as well as abortions, because those are touchy topics and many people tend to be on one side of the fence when it comes to that. However, no one situation is the same. Just because in real life my “inspired friends” don’t deal with these situations, doesn’t mean others aren’t out there dealing with it, I know a few.
Also, my book is a bit different from a lot of “Urban” novels in the since, I wanted to tell a story with a spiritual undertone. God can use you right where you are. I hope readers walk away with that as well. Being relatable was also very important to me…who can’t deal with feeling stuck in a “job” like Keisha, but really wanting more. Dealing with debt and marital issues are common…also who hasn’t been affected by cancer, be it themselves or a close friend or family member?
LWT: When I write, I have a picture in my head of who I want my characters to look like. Who were the muses for the girls?
RT: My real friends…I took some of their physical similarities, and incorporated them into the characters.
LWT: What about the men? I know the readers are just salivating to find out who inspired each love interest.
RT: Honestly, the men were just made up, if you can believe that. Again, with the characters of Harvey and LD being not as good, I wanted to show good men too like John, Derrick, and even Big Cody who is a good father.
LWT: I have to know, do you identify with one character, more than the others in the book?
RT: Yes, Robin is loosely based on me, with her love of books and being married. However, I’ve never been with a woman.
LWT: How did you do your research for the characters, especially CC?
RT: For CC, believe it or not, I asked some of my men friends what happens in strip clubs, and just used my imagination from there.
LWT: The book focuses on a group of women who, in my opinion ride hard for each other. They may have a tiff or two, but in the end they know they can depend on each other. Why do you feel it is important, especially for black women to read about these types of relationships?
RT: The ultimate goal for this book is to show a strong, sincere bond of female friends. I believe in today’s world, so much attention is focused on women, especially black women, fighting one another. If you look at reality TV there is a strong presence of black women tearing each other down. We’re not always sleeping with each others man, or jealous, or gossiping about one another. Call me blessed, but I have some awesome friends in my life, that I have had for a very long time. Our friendships are healthy, positive, and supportive, and I feel there are a lot more out there…its just not often told.
LWT: Who are some of your favorite writers and why?
RT: It took me a few years (6 to be exact) to write and finalize The Circle. During that time I stopped reading other authors, just so my story would be true to me. I am excited to read some new authors, but I have also enjoyed Terry McMillan, Terri Woods, Mary Monroe, and Rashonda Tate Billingsley to name a few.
LWT: How do you choose your book covers and who does them?
RT: I knew I wanted sketch drawings. I searched for awhile, before I found @Nataliamadej on Instagram. I reached out to her to do the drawing, and the rest is history. I absolutely love my cover!
LWT: So do I. Speaking of Instagram,do you use social media for marketing and does it help with sales?
RT: Yes, I have Facebook and Instagram and I believe it has helped tremendously to get my name and the cover “out there”.
LWT: Tell us about your writing process. Do you need complete silence, or do you listen to music? Do you have a drink or write sober? Etc. Inquiring minds want to know.
RT: LOL…no I don’t drink when writing. Sometimes I write with the TV or radio going, and sometimes quiet. Usually, in the evenings though is when I find my groove.
LWT: What challenges have you faced as an indie writer?
RT: Oh… where to start? LOL No, ummmm…I haven’t had any MAJOR challenges, other than trying to get the word out that I’m a new author, and receive reviews (hopefully positive ones).
LWT: Have you or do you plan to attend any book fairs, conventions or signings? If so, which ones?
RT: Yes, this is all very new for me. But I definitely plan to attend some fairs and conventions in the fall of 2017. I had my first book signing in Oklahoma City in January 2017 and it was a success.
LWT: Please give other indie writers 3 tips you’ve learned, that help you to be successful?
- Stay focused on what you’re doing. What took 6 years for me should have taken 1 (if that) but I wasn’t focused.
- Be true to yourself. I don’t curse, so I didn’t want profanity in my book. Some people have said they wanted it or missed it when reading, but I had to be true for me. Not everyone will like your work and that okay.
- All you have to do is start, and the rest will work itself out. Its ok if you don’t know EVERYTHING you need to know about publishing a book. You will learn as you go. I am still learning.
LWT: Share one unique thing you’ve done to market your book?
RT: I have done giveaways and book signings. But that’s not so unique…I’ll take ideas if you have any LOL
LWT: Keep reading our Couch Convos interviews. I’m sure you’ll learn some great tricks. Tell the readers the one resource you can’t live without as a writer?
RT: My phone! I NEED it, because I can jot down a quick thought, or take a picture of something that might inspire me. I can also Google something real quick if needed.
LWT: Smart phones can be great sources of information. What does success look like for you?
RT: For me, success would be having more people reading and liking (and even taking something away) my writings, and one day being able to write as a full-time job.
LWT: What’s up next for you? A sequel perhaps?
RT: I have been toying with the idea of a sequel, but I am currently working on a book about 2 sisters. Its been really fun playing with it too.
We look forward to reading it too. Well, that’s it another Couch Convos in the can. ‘The Circle’ is available on Amazon and Kindle. Click here to purchase. You’ll be glad you did.
Ronyea Thompson currently lives in Southaven, Mississippi with her husband and two
children. Originally from Oklahoma City, she attended Langston University. While there she became a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and graduated with a Bachelors degree in Education. She has always had a love for reading and storytelling, and shortly after graduation she drew inspiration from her own circle of friends who loosely inspired The Circle, her debut novel.
To connect with her please click the links below to her Social Media sites.
LWT: How did you get into writing?
ARH: I began writing back in elementary school. I was a military brat, so I was alone a lot. My thing was to hide in bathrooms and write stories. I’ve had a lifelong obsession with journals, so I used to buy them with my allowance. I would then calculate a story, with illustrations, and write so the tale fit perfectly inside. I would either keep them for myself or give them to my friends. Everyone loved them so I asked for a typewriter and the end result: me today!
LWT: In this book you take a silly childhood pastime and turn it into something sinister. How did you come up with this concept?
ARH: That’s a fun story I share; I’m a home school mom who believes in morning walks. When my son was in sixth grade, we took a walk on a rainy day. Normally we stomp puddles, but this storm snuck up on us unprepared. On the way home, I was struck with the idea of stomping a puddle, but instead of making a huge mess of a splash, we fell in. I could see the opening above me, while beneath the rainwater and everything! So we got home and I grabbed my umbrella and camera and snapped a bunch of photos. That day, I wrote the tale in about four hours. The current version has been revamped, but still the original story.
LWT: I read the 2nd Anniversary Edition of ‘Puddle’. Were there any significant changes to this edition?
ARH: Yes I’ve made some changes, that I felt were significant, but only to lend the urban legend more substance. At the time, I was living in DeSoto, MO, which carries a lot of history, both black and white. I wanted to add more into Puddle, without taking from the original myth. Some of the events mentioned are from true, but as far as which ones… I won’t say. “wink wink”
LWT: When I write I have a picture in my head of who I want my characters to look like. Who were the muses for Quinn and Maxine?
ARH: When it came to Quinn, I saw my middle school self, because I was always new. Many times, I was the only black kid or one of a few, as well, so it just worked. I saw a friend of mine named Nicole as Maxine. She and I became besties, years after she’d beat me up for being new. Another crazy story I may share in a novelette.
LWT: Did you allow your son to read this story or was it too scary for him?
ARH: Whenever I decide to write a short story on children, I always want it safe for my son to read. Reading is a huge deal for me, passed on by my engineer of a father, so if I’m writing on kids at a certain age, I want my son to be able to read it too. Thankfully, this one wasn’t bad for him, but he’s not really in to horror… yet.
LWT: I see you have written a couple of Halloween tales. Do you only write short stories for children?
ARH: Those Halloween tales were actually written for my son. He was the inspiration- he’s even on the cover of the In The Walls short stories. I’ve had a lot of friends enjoy them but no, children are not my usual focus. I usually write with New Adults in mind. I guess because that’s how I still see myself. And I’m not!
LWT: How do you choose your book covers and who does them?
ARH: Ever since my first experience with traditional publishing and moved Indie, I’ve always done things backwards. When I get a story idea, I create my book cover. Either I will make it all from scratch myself, or I will reach out to a really fabulous artist I’d originally found on Fiverr.com. Now we’re friends and he’s my Go To man for artwork. I draw it, but he creates what I want to see, like a true visionary.
LWT: Do you use social media and does it help with sales?
ARH: I love social media, but as far as it helping me, I can say about half. By no means do I feel I’m a big selling author, because that’s no why I write. I just love the idea of getting a story out of me and sharing. When I use social media, it helps but I mostly use it to help others. Crazy I guess.
LWT: Tell us about your writing process. Do you need complete silence or do you listen to music? Do you have a drink or write sober? Etc. Spill the tea.
ARH: LOL Spill the tea; I like that! My process is as such: I gain an idea and purchase a new journal. I then create my characters in such a way’ they practically come to life. When I can see them clearly, I have them drawn by my concept artist. I then add their pics to my journal and as I write, they’re either on my computer, beside my document, or open in my book so I can see them. To me, they’re real- conversations, quirks, jobs- I need to see them. I can write any place at any time, on my Mac, iPhone or iPads. I also take lots of notes and add them to the journal. By the time I’m done with the story, that journal is a wreck!
LWT: What challenges have you faced as an indie writer?
ARH: My worst challenge as an indie author was when I took my traditionally published, first novel back from the publisher. It was crazy, I was foolish and I didn’t have the control I was promised. Now, I can do what I wish when I want, and when it flops, I have myself to blame on my choices- not someone else’s.
LWT: How does your editing process work?
ARH: Oh my goodness, my editing process is very redundant. I run through it a few times, making changes. Then I read it again with changes. Then again, before passing it to someone to read. I make appropriate adjustments and read it again. Then I find a team of at least 6, then make adjustments and read again, before sending it to an editor. I then read it again. By the time it’s published, I’m sick of it!
LWT: Please give other indie writers 3 tips that you learned that help you to be successful?
ARH: My three tips are: (1) Don’t ever pay to be published! (2) Make yourself sick of your story by reading it so many times, you can find nothing wrong. Then hand it to others for editing. My final tip, (3) Always keep a thesaurus on hand. It should become your best friend.
LWT: Share one unique thing you’ve done to market your book?
ARH: I believe the most unique method of marketing I’ve ever had the pleasure was marketing inside a comic book. A friend of mine was releasing his first graphic novel, and he gave me a half page, FREE! Best move I ever agreed to.
LWT: Tell the readers the one resource you can’t live without as a writer?
ARH: I’m not even going to lie- my best resource are other authors! I read more than 200 books a year (physical, ebook & audio), and because of their styles, I developed my own. As an author, the best thing you can do is glean successes and mistakes made by other authors.
LWT: We met on Instagram, where you are very active. How important is a site like Instagram for indie writers?
ARH: I am just now easing up on how much I’m on media, but I LOVE Instagram more than any other site. People share and interact more there, than any other for me. Plus, there’s no drama.
LWT: What does success look like for you?
ARH: Oh that’s an easy one! Success is when my mom called me last week stating, my aunt had mentioned to some friends that her niece was an author and stated my name. They said they knew my name and title- even the story’s theme. They’re in Philly! Needless to say, I was elated. To me, that’s the best form of success; someone knew my name and my story. The sales can come later.
LWT: What’s up next for you?
ARH: I am currently writing my first serious novel, as an Indie Author. The Malignant Soul is my toughest project yet, because I have to go deeper than I’ve ever gone emotionally. With a novel of this capacity, I need more description, more personality and more of a plot. It’s a complex story, but I believe my research and imagery will push this novel to great heights.
A. Renee Hunt, Alyssa by those who know her, is a home school mother, London Lover, Book & Funko Pop Hoarder, Tea Drinker, Reader & Reviewer. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and son.To connect with A. Renee please click the links to her Social Media sites below. To purchase her e-book, Puddle, click here to go to Amazon
Author Website: http://www.areneehunt.com
Welcome Back! It has been a long minute since I did an edition of Couch Convos.
Your girl was having some time management issue between working on the blog, and writing novels, but I have worked that all out and decided to bring back this feature. Today we have the talented Gisele Walko, an indie author who writes Paranormal Romance(PNR) stories. Her latest book Craving and Triggers is phenomenal. Let’s get to it:
LWT: Welcome to Couch Convos! Let’s get started. How did you get into writing PNR?
GW: PNR is the first thing I ever wrote. The story just came to me out of the blue, after my husband suggested that I try writing.
LWT: Sometimes we get our best inspiration out of the blue. Now, in this book your ‘hero’, Sani is a Skinwalker. How did you discover this entity and what compelled you to write about it?
GW: Hmm. I’m pretty sure I read some Navajo short stories about Skinwalkers, and a couple of years ago when I wrote Wolf Girl finds Necromance, I thought he would fit in quite well with the werewolves and vampires.
LWT: Speaking of previous books, I hear this isn’t Sani’s first appearance in your writing. How did his character start out and what inspired you to give him his own book?
GW: Sani was the villain in my first book, but through some growth and soul-searching he was able to grow as a person, and made a great hero in Cravings and Triggers. I wrote him a book because I love my spinoffs, but it hadn’t occurred to me to give him his own story until my friends Heather Crews and Donnya both told me within a few days of each other that he should have his own story. I gave them namesakes in the book.
LWT: I love it when readers get involved in your books! When I write, I have a picture in my head of who I want my characters to look like. Who were the muses for Sani and Zeph?
GW: For Zeph, I pictured Meagan Good, but a little darker and curvier. For Sani, I just had myself a good time looking up hot Native American men with long hair. No one in particular stands out.
LWT: I can attest, it is fun finding inspiration for the characters, especially the men! In this story Zeph has a teenage daughter who is transgender and identifies as a boy. What inspired you to write Z as a transgender youth?
GW: Well, I love diversity in books, is probably the main reason. Secondly, my mother used to be a foster parent and she had one male to female transgender child, and two female to male transgender children. One of the female to male children was such a sweet person, but had issues and challenges relating to all kinds of things. He eventually moved on to another foster home, where the foster parents were very religious and forced him to identify as a female. It made me sad. I still think about him and hope he’s okay.
LWT: I have to know, in Cravings and Triggers, why did you decide to include a vampire element?
GW: I just think vampires are fun. The book already had some supernatural stuff going on. One of the reviews I got said the supernatural stuff wasn’t necessary, which may be true, but I write for enjoyment, and it was fun.
LWT: Having fun and enjoying the writing is what it is all about. Explain why Sani felt so comfortable revealing that he was a Skinwalker to Zeph and Z on the day they first met. He seemed to know that they would not be disturbed by this?
GW: I think Sani wasn’t really expecting to see Zeph much or get attached to her and he was just having a little fun. He would have been entertained even if they were terrified. In Wolf Girl finds Necromance, he actually was trying to scare Brennan when he revealed himself to her, but then she turned into a huge wolf and pinned him to the floor, so maybe it was like a nod to his past too.
LWT: Speaking of wolves and shifters, how do you feel that some people think PNR promotes bestiality and can you defend against it?
GW: I wasn’t aware that people felt that way. I don’t share that opinion. I don’t know how to defend against it, other than to say I don’t condone any form of animal abuse.
LWT: In the book does Zeph have the supernatural power to read minds or is it only Sani’s mind that she seems to read?
GW: Just Sani’s dark and twisted mind.
LWT: Who are some of your favorite PNR writers and why?
GW: Hmm. I like Theodora Taylor’s wolf books; all of her books really. Heather Crews has an interracial vampire romance called ‘Prince of Misery’ that I like. G.L. Tomas has a couple that I like, but surprisingly I haven’t read too much PNR.
LWT: How do you choose your book covers and who does them?
GW: My husband and I do them on Adobe Photoshop to the best of our ability. I try to do everything for cheap or free.
LWT: Isn’t that the indie author’s way? Do you use social media and does it help with sales?
GW: I send out a few tweets, but I’m not great at social media. I wish I was better at it. Goodreads is my social media.
LWT: That totally counts! Tell us about your writing process. Do you need complete
silence or do you listen to music? Do you have a drink or write sober? Etc. Spill the tea.
GW: I usually start with a few scenes or bits of dialogue and try to build around that. I think when I sit down to write again, I may try using note cards. I don’t write out an outline or anything like that. Then I just try to string the scenes and conversations together. I usually have on the TV when I write, but just for background noise. If I find myself writing at night, I may have a glass of wine or two, but sometimes when I go back to reread those scenes, they’re not as funny as I thought they were when I was tipsy.
LWT: That’s why they say write drunk and edit sober. LOL. What challenges have you faced as an indie writer?
GW: I am an approval seeker by nature, so I hope most people like my books. In the beginning, bad reviews would hurt my feelings. Some people don’t like my stuff of course, and that’s okay. I try to take any constructive feedback I get and incorporate it and improve. Probably, some of the reviews that have helped me grow most were two star reviews. If I only got fours and fives, I would just think that everything I did was perfect, or damn near perfect, and never learn. Also finding readers is a challenge of course.
LWT: That is a huge challenge for us all. Earlier you mentioned how helpful your husband has been. I hear he also assists you with editing. How does that process work? Does it spark arguments or does it bring you closer?
GW: My husband reads and rereads for spelling and grammar mostly, but if he doesn’t get a joke, or thinks something sounds awkward, or thinks I need to look at a scene and tweak it, he’s vocal about it. Usually I agree, when I finish being defensive. I originally killed Sani, and he was like, “No! Absolutely not!” I un-killed Sani. We don’t really argue about it. He’s a sounding board and he’s pretty good at catching editing issues.
LWT: Well, he made the right call on Sani. I would have been devastated if he died. Please give other indie writers 3 tips that you learned that help you to be successful?
GW: I don’t know that I’m successful.
- I try to deliver a product pretty clear of most spelling and editing issues, because I know how they can distract from a story, and it’s important to be professional.
- Secondly, write for yourself. Writing a book is a tedious process, so write the kind of thing that you would like to read and just have fun with all the imaginary friends in your head. Chances are other people will like it too.
- Thirdly, I would recommend that you spend $5 on fiverr and promote with bknights. For Ethan and Michelle, I did really well with his gig. For my other books, not as well, but you’ll at least recoup your initial investment.
LWT: Oh, I love Fiverr. I will have to check him out. Share one unique thing you’ve done to market your book?
GW: At the risk of sounding crazy…I had business cards made up for my first book. On occasion, I still leave them places; the pharmacy, the grocery store, the doctor’s office. As far as I know, this has resulted in zero sales, but it’s a good time.
LWT: That doesn’t sound crazy at all. Tell the readers the one resource you can’t live without as a writer?
GW: The thesaurus and Google for research, or funny stories.
LWT: We met on Goodreads, where you are very active. How important is a site like Goodreads that brings writers and readers together in the same place?
GW: Goodreads is my favorite. Writers are readers, and I have found lots of fantastic authors (yourself included) who I have had the joy of discovering. I also love having a platform where I can interact with my readers.
LWT: It’s great isn’t it? What does success look like for you?
GW: I would eventually like to make some money at writing, so I can quit my day job and write more. I had a dream that my seventh book really took off, and I’m at number five so…we’ll just see.
LWT: You better speak that into existence! Speaking of your seventh book, what’s up next for Gisele?
GW: I was thinking earlier, that maybe I would start on Donnya and Ezra’s story from Cravings and Triggers, and keep the supernatural elements out of it. I don’t think it would be that hard since the vampire part was only the last 25% of Cravings and Triggers, and the new book would be mostly the meeting and falling in love part of the Donnya and Ezra story. I already love Donnya because she doesn’t cuss. She says things like, “What the cuss do you think you’re hecking doing?!” Ezra, I have to figure out more.
LWT: That sounds intriguing! I look forward to reading it.
There you have it ladies and gentlemen, another edition of Couch Convos in the books. You can purchase her books on Amazon by clicking the picture below:
Gisele Walko is a wife, mother, and elementary school assistant librarian. She has a degree in Social Sciences, which she doesn’t use, from the University of Oklahoma. She loves writing, reading, and hanging out and watching movies with her family. She resides in the Oklahoma City suburbs with her hubby, two teenagers, and three spoiled rotten dogs.To connect with Gisele please click the links to her Social Media sites below.
Island Adventures, Book 2 in The WanderLynn Experience Series is now available on Amazon! Click Here to purchase your copy today. If you haven’t read book 1 The Layover, what are you waiting for? Please read books in order or they will not make sense.
Today marks the one year anniversary of the release of my first novel The Mistreatment of Zora Langston! To celebrate I am giving away 3 Autographed Copies. All you have to do is sign up for my newsletter. Click Here for your chance to win!
Today’s featured author is the last in the series Black Authors I LOVE! that celebrated some of my favorite writers for Black History Month. I wanted to shake things up a bit since this is Leap Year and all so I chose Twyla Turner who is a self published author. She writes BBW Erotica and is my favorite writer in this genre. I know what you’re thinking because before last year I would never have read a book in this genre. I stumbled upon the book Scarred and the cover drew me in. I know they say you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, but in this case it was dead on. I took a chance and read the book and I was hooked. Miss Turner is a very gifted writer who creates characters that make you fall in love. Read more about her and the series that started it all for me in the interview I did for my Couch Convos Series. Click Here to read the interview.