Join me for an interview with R. Rodriguez, author of Grace: An Eternal Beloved Novel, on her first exclusive interview …
1. Do you have any advice for other writers trying to get published?
This is a tough business. While breaking into traditional publishing is brutal, being a self published author is even harder. The best advice I can give an aspiring author is to be persistent. Giving up is not an option in this business. Fortunately, with the appearance of eReaders we have more options to become published.
2. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I hope to touch as many lives with my writing as I can. My target audience with my first series is young women. I hope to build a network of young women in search of empowerment.
3. What genre do you write for? Your favorite aspect of it? Least favorite aspect of it?
For the moment, I tackle issues that affect young women today in a paranormal romance setting. I love this genre because I get to explore other dimensions of the universe that may or may not exist and get to tell a good love story as well. A setback to writing paranormal romances is that some people don’t take this genre seriously. I do plan to write in other genres in the future.
4. While you were writing, did you ever feel as if you were one of your characters?
I believe every writer brings something of their life experience into their books and characters. I didn’t feel like I was one of the characters, though. I did feel an affinity with certain characters’ feelings through their relative situations. A writer spends so much time with their characters that it could feel as if they’re real at some point.
5. How did you come up with the title?
I came up with the concept for the series first. Every book in this series has a female protagonist that tackles a central theme. I wanted to name the books after the protagonist. Then I thought of the central theme of the book and the name had to fit that.
6. What inspired you to write your latest book? What is it about?
After high school and during the college years, women are faced with different dilemmas that can affect the rest of their lives for better or for worse. My concern for this audience sparked my ideas. I didn’t want the books to be so serious, so I combined my message with my love of paranormal romances, to create a book with a message in a paranormal romance setting. Grace is about a young woman who has always wanted to commit suicide. She almost achieves it, but is saved unexpectedly. Death has already noticed her, though and doesn’t let go. The book details her efforts at self development, her setbacks because of bad decisions, and the power, only she has, to change her destiny. The main themes are suicide and abuse. This series is not a saga or a trilogy.
7. Do you prefer to work alone or work with critique partners/beta-readers?
I’ve been working alone because it is not common to write fiction in English where I live. Although I do share my work with my sister, I haven’t explored working with critique partners/beta- readers. I employed a professional editor to edit my manuscript after its completion. Sharing my work with others is something that I would explore in the future.
8. How do you find time to write?
It is a challenge to find time to write because I have a full time job, a husband, kids, a house, and dog. Writing is what makes me most happy, so I schedule time to write every day.
9. Did you always want to become an author?
Yes! I’ve always wanted to be an author. I’ve had a love affair with books since the age of nine. Shortly after that, I began to write stories. During my teenage years, I wrote in notebooks. I haven’t stopped writing since. After having a freelance writing business for two years, I decided to pursue creative writing, which is my true passion.
10. What are your thoughts on the fact that both traditional and self-published authors have to promote their own work?
This is probably the hardest aspect of publishing a book. I think it’s necessary, though. If you don’t put your book out there, it won’t reach as many readers as you’d like. Perhaps it is easier when an author is published by a traditional publishing house because they set up the appearances and take care of everything that goes on behind the scenes. They also provide the funds behind marketing efforts. The author basically has to show up and do their part. A self published author has to do everything on their own from writing the book, to formatting, to editing, to distributing it, and marketing. The amount of efforts you employ in this regard is influenced by your goals. Do you want to make money, or do you want to put your word out there and make the world a better place?
11. Is there any writing ritual you perform before creating your manuscripts/drafts?
I don’t have a ritual. I do have some preferences, though. I like writing by hand first, on a legal pad and then onto my laptop. I also listen to my iPod during the whole creative process. I can write various chapters by listening to just one song over and over again. There are certain songs that inspire me during the creation of a certain part of the story.
12. Do you tend to write in sequence or out of order (with whatever interests you the most at the moment)?
I write out of order. I have a brainstorming session first. That’s when I think of the concept, the title, and the message I’m trying to send. I decide how many words I’m going to have in my novel, how many chapters, and how many words for each chapter. Then, I brainstorm the setting and the characters. I develop the character traits and their names. Some names just come to me. I employ the use of a Baby Names book for others. The next thing I do is write an outline of each chapter. I start writing the chapters for which the ideas are flowing more, then I tackle the rest. For this book, I wrote the last chapter first.
13. Have you ever hated something you wrote?
Everything I write comes from within me, so I don’t hate it. I have found stories I’ve written superior to others, in terms of the words I use and the whole make up of the story. Also, the reader is the ultimate judge and even that is subjective. There is always space to improve and to be innovative.
14. Which is easiest for you to write–novel, novella, or short story? Why?
A short story is the easiest to write, followed by a novella, and then a novel. The amount of words and tabs you have to keep on the plot is more extensive for a longer piece.
15. What are your current/next projects?
I am currently working on finishing the next book in the Eternal Beloved Series. Chastity should be published by May. The themes of promiscuity and neglect are explored in this next installment. I am also working on a middle age adventure story called Renaissance Quest. That should be out by August.
16. Any blogs, websites, social media you’d like to share?
You can follow me on:
***My eBooks are sold at smashwords.com, B&N, Kindle, iBooks, Kobo, Sony, Diesel. Print copies can be purchased at lulu.com.