Interview With Sandra Giles, Author of the Collision Of Worlds Series

I’d like to welcome my special guest Sandra Giles, author of the Collision of Worlds series. Please enjoy her insightful interview.

161241801.  How long does it take you to write a book?

That all depends on how much I procrastinate and whether I’m in a writing mind-set. When I’m working on a novel straight through without distractions, either from another novel or from the real world, it takes me up to a month. Unfortunately this is a rare occurrence as I mostly find my mind elsewhere. If that’s the case then it can take months, years, or maybe even a lifetime. The last is something I might be testing with the novel I am currently working on.

2.  Can you tell us about your challenge in getting your first book published?

I self-published my first novel, so the challenges have mostly been in being heard among the many other writers crying out for attention. Oh, and editing. That’s a massive challenge all in itself. Novels shouldn’t hit the shelves without strict editing and being self-published is no excuse. As someone who has never had enough money to spare for a proper editor, I can definitely be called a hypocrite. But I am working on it. I guess you can say that the biggest challenge is something that I still face and am determined to tackle head-on.

3.  What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Oh the usual things writers do. Sit in my room with my characters and gossip about those who aren’t present. We do this with a glass of red wine and surrounded by balls of paper from failed ideas. Okay, I’m not much of a stereotypical writer. I can be a bit of a hermit at times, but mostly I’m with loved ones (who are real, not fictional) and whatnot. I’m a big music fan and love concerts, so I can often be found at venues in various locations. More recently I have entered into a venture with my partner, Aron, that sees us attending local gigs and blogging about them. He takes the photographs and I attempt to write about reality as opposed to fiction. It’s proving difficult but is fun nonetheless.

4.  What does your family think of your writing?

They think I need to be sectioned, or see a therapist at the very least. Those who have read my stuff are slightly fearful of my imagination as I write about some disturbing things, but they seem to think I have talent and have said they enjoy what I write. They have to say that as they’re family, but I think it might be genuine. The fear for my state of mind is, anyway.

5.  How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best in your genre?

I don’t market my work anywhere near as much as I should. I used to do anything from social networking to giving libraries my novels and wearing promotional t-shirts. Nowadays I might blog a bit or send out the odd tweet, but mostly I let my novels fly solo. I’ve noticed a decrease in sales but it’s not significant enough to get me back on track. Especially as I don’t actually know what worked best as I did them all at once and didn’t find the link. I think blogging is quite effective as it shows writers as humans rather than allowing their novels to do all the talking for them.

6.  What do you think makes a good story?

I personally wrote my novels for me, removing the aspects that, in my opinion, ruined stories. I like something with a fast-pace and a good balance of plot, action and humour. The characters need to be developed in a way that is relatable yet intriguing, and there is no fun in reading something where everything is described in excruciating detail. I’m also a massive fan of series, but not so keen on lengthy novels that never meet an end. This is because it’s great to get to know characters, but dragging a plot over hundreds of pages often becomes tedious. Oh, and it needs at least an element of fantasy. I can’t read about things that are too close to reality. To me it defeats the purpose of writing.

7.  Can you tell us about this book?

I’ll answer this as I answer similar questions and act like my series is a book. It’s much easier as I never know which novel to go with. Collision Of Worlds is a contemporary fantasy series focusing on various narrators of varying abilities. From vampires to ghosts and psychics, these novels keep legends alive and deeply embedded in this very ordinary world we live in. There is gore, humour. love, confusion and suspense in every book, or at least from every narrator. But if you really want to know more, read the novels. It’s the only real way of knowing. [Insert evil cackle here].

8.  Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers and fans?

Are you still out there?

Feeble joking aside, I’d like to thank anyone who has given my novels or even my blog the time of day as it means a lot to know there are people out there (however few) who enjoy reading what I write. And anyone who has gone that one step further and reviewed or commented on something by me, thanks a million. It means the world to have some way of knowing you’re out there, as it often feels as though I am talking to thin air. For the most part I probably am, but it’s good to know this isn’t always the case. I will try to give more than I have been as a thanks, and hopefully some new books are on the horizon.

9.  Social media you’d like to share?

I now have to split this into two parts.

For my novels and whatnot, I can be found at the following places:

And for all things related to VEXtended (mine and Aron’s music blog), go to:

Running A Marathon, Not A Sprint

It’s dawned on me that I haven’t been posting about my writing experience lately. If I don’t talk about myself, who will? I’m still working on short stories. Right now, I have 5 that I submitted to magazines/online journals. I’m still editing my 6th one, so I can add it to the list.

I’m happy to announce–One By One is officially off hiatus!!! I found an editor. Correction. An editor found me; my author friend offered to look over my manuscript. I’m very grateful that he helped me out. Not only did he volunteer his time, but he delivered his feedback in a timely manner. Jim did a line by line edit as well as pointed out ways to improve some scenes. Thankfully, there’s no massive rewriting that I have to do on my part.

  • Thank you Jim. You have no idea how much your help meant to me 🙂 I also want to thank Monica. She gave me a step by step guide on formatting a Word document to Amazon’s Kindle format. Her instructions are easy to understand and way more helpful than those “helpful guides” online. Learning how to do this myself is a huge investment where I can cut down on expenses. I have to think like a businesswoman.
  • Last year, I wanted to publish One By One in March, but something came up (a.k.a. having to save money for a new apartment). As long as nothing awful happens during the formatting stage (a.k.a. I can’t figure it out and would have to hire someone, possibly being on a waiting list), I plan on having my book out mid-to-late April. One month behind schedule isn’t too bad.

For a long time, it was hard for me to find anyone interested in reading Something’s Amiss as a beta-reader. I don’t know why the romance genre gets a bad rep. I kept hearing, “Ew, I don’t want to read anything corny.” Thankfully, I found writers willing to look over my story now. So far they’re enjoying it! Instead of a romance, I’m re-tweaking some story elements to make it women fiction instead. I’d rather it be a drama instead of a straight up love story. So the feedback I’m receiving is helping me see what works and what doesn’t.

  • I contacted Sandra Giles, who was my cover design artist before, to see if she was willing to work with me again. She said “yes”! You have no idea how happy I was to hear that. She’s still free; however, I’m going to donate money through PayPal for her services. Having a cover produced has motivated me to release this book at the end of the year. I love that it conveys the book as a drama, and that it’s a nice shout-out to Jenna (the deceased character everyone bonds over). Here’s my cover:

As you can see, I’ve been a busy bee. Sorry that I’ve been working behind the scenes without revealing anything until now. I’ll try not to do that again. Between book reviewing, writing and editing my own stuff, being critique partners/beta-readers for other writers, blogging, and attempting to have a social life, there’s not enough hours in the day. I haven’t had time for any social media–the only Facebook and Twitter posts have been connected to this blog. And I haven’t had time to read other blogs like I love to do. Hopefully, when I finish book reviewing, I’ll have more free time.

***I’m not quitting book reviewing for good. It’s just I’d like to work on my own pace, so I want to go back to my reading challenge (finding books on my own from authors’ blogs and forums), especially focusing on my favorite genres: thriller, mystery, horror, women’s fiction, romance.***

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

An Interview With Sandra Giles, Author Of Plead Insanity

Yawatta would like to welcome her special guest Sandra Giles, author of Plead Insanity. Please enjoy her insightful interview.

161241681.  Do you have any advice for other writers trying to get published?

Don’t take the rejections to heart (easier said than done, I know) but take any criticism on-board. If you’re taking the traditional route, criticism is good as it means they think you have the potential to get somewhere, and you’re worth the time. If you’re going to self-publish, bear in mind that out of the many people to give their opinion, not everyone will be clued up enough to actually help. If you’re going to take advice regarding your novels, make sure the person giving it is worth listening to. It can be hard, but if you look at their novel and find massive flaws, chances are they can’t help you.

2.  Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Thank you. What more can I say? You can be the most talented writer in the world and never get anywhere if no one gives you the time of day, so every download/sale means a lot. I’m not saying I’m the most talented writer in the world, far from it, but that just makes readers all the more valued.

3.  What are your thoughts on the fact that both trade and self-published authors have to promote their own work?

I haven’t really thought about it, to be honest. I don’t promote anywhere near as much as I should, but I think all writers should have some kind of blog or social networking site to help interact with readers. Why should we give our characters more presence than we do ourselves? People need to see the mind behind the characters, so it’s only right that writers have some part in it all.

4.  What genre do you write for? Your favorite aspect? Your least favorite aspect?

I write fantasy, and love that just about every other genre can fall within it. My least favourite aspect is probably the fact there are certain expectations regarding legends. My vampires don’t sleep in coffins or only come out at night. My werewolves aren’t tied to the full moon. People sometimes question that kind of thing, as though straying from the legend is unacceptable on some level. Look at Twilight. How many people are outraged by the very idea of a vampire sparkling?

5.  What are your current/next projects?

The project I’m always working on is my series, Collision Of Worlds. I have a double release coming up at the end of March, which will see the arrival of the fourth novel from my vampire, Jared, and the first from Aled. The novels cross over with one another, which inspired this double release. All going well, I also have a short story coming out in the same month. An anthology is being complied with a mix of authors from the Amazon forums. The end result promises to be interesting! I’m certainly intrigued by it all.

6.  Do you prefer to work alone or with critique partners/beta-readers?

I am very much a lone soldier, which really isn’t a good thing. I wrote about ten or eleven novels before self-publishing, and I hadn’t known about all of the help that people offer online. I just wrote, and wrote, and wrote, and now I have my own ways and prefer not to share my work with other writers. I have someone who acts as editor for me, but other than that it’s just me. Saying that, there is a group of authors who I’ve recently started asking for advice. They’re a great bunch, and we’ve even gone as far as to make a Guild. It’s called The Gumbee Fantasy Writer’s Guild, and they really are an interesting lot!

7.  How do you find time to write?

It’s not so much an issue of finding time as it is forcing myself to get to it. I’m a massive fan of procrastination. I design covers, talk to writers, and blog about my procrastination more than I actually write. I love writing, and once I start I can’t tear myself away, but by that point it’s usually time to go to work. So I have time, I just don’t use it right!

8.  Did you always want to become an author?

No. I only discovered the passion for writing a few years ago, and before that didn’t really have any clue as to what I wanted to do. For a while I wanted to work with animals, and when that faded I decided to take courses that were of interest to me. I took psychology, media studies and photography, and through them was told I’m good at writing. Then I started writing, and the dream grew.

9.  Are there any writing rituals you complete before creating your manuscripts/drafts?

Unless procrastinating is a ritual, no. I just go for it, really.

10.  Do you write the beginning/opening first or do you tend to write out of order (with whatever scenes interest you the most)?

The hardest part of any novel for me is the opening. Once I’ve started, I’m usually okay to continue, but I do have a habit of jumping ahead and writing whatever scenes come to mind. I do the same with novels as a whole. I’ll be partway through a novel, or even near the end, and then another narrator will demand my attention. I recently left the seventh novel of Jared’s in order to concentrate on the second from Aled, which was already two thirds of the way through. I don’t know what I’ll jump to next. It’s quite unpredictable.

11.  Have you ever hated something you wrote?

I generally hate everything I write once I’ve had some time away from it, because I only remember the basic storyline and not much else. I’ll then read the novel in question and won’t be able to put it down. My novels were initially designed for me, so I really like reading them, but I can’t help disliking the ones I’ve neglected for some time. It’s really quite annoying!

12.  Which is the easiest for you to write–novel, novella, or short story? Why?

I never used to write anything other than novels, and only started to last August. It just never occurred to me before then. I’m terrible at keeping a short story short, but I don’t think any of them can be called novellas. Short stories are probably easier to write as they’re over with so fast, but I prefer novels. I’ve only read one short story that I liked. They’re just too short. I love series, and getting used to characters. A short story doesn’t allow for that.

13.  While you were writing, did you ever feel like you were one of your characters?

No, but they have a very real presence in my mind. They’re like real people. So much so, in fact, that I’m pretty sure I’ll be in an asylum by the time I’m forty. No doubt I’ll start talking to thin air, believing my characters are really there. Just as long as they don’t get me to kill anyone or anything, it should be okay.

14.  How did you come up with the title?

Plead Insanity was the name me and my sister came up with for a band. We’re not in a band, but figured it would be a fun name for one. I don’t know how that particular conversation started, but I later decided to use it for my novel. Since then I fell into something of a theme when it comes to titles. For Jared my titles are always two words, with a type of court/criminal theme. Minority Rules was accidentally similar, but after that I decided to stick with it. My other narrators have themes to their titles, too. Aled’s novels have ones that are always three words, starting with ‘A’ and ending with something that sounds attractive. That may sound strange, but some words are appealing to certain people. Two of my titles for him are A Lost Fantasy and A Beautiful Curse. For Sebastin (another narrator) I use two words, the first always being ‘The’. For Torin, his brother, I use one word. Spirits, for example, is his first novel. And then there’s Michael. I don’t have a specific word count for his titles, but I like to use homonyms to give the title a double meaning. Scene And Not Heard. Early Mourning. I use typical phrases and then change a word to give it a new meaning. The title of the series as a whole, Collision Of Worlds, simply came to me about a year ago and just seemed to fit. And if anyone has read my last interview, they might notice this exact answer was given then. Lazy, I know.

15.  What inspired you to write your latest book? What is the book about?

My characters. They don’t so much inspire me as push me into it, but there you go. I never know what novel to apply questions like this to. Do I focus on the next to be released, or the one I’m currently writing? I think this time I’ll go for one of my next releases. Everyone who has read my novels will know what Jared’s world is about, and his next novel sees him fighting with an unknown entity that he starts to believe is actually him. His dreams are becoming tangled with reality, and things are happening that he can’t control. People are dying, and he fears it’s at his hands. The novel is called Proving Negatives, a title inspired by his struggle to prove his own innocence. It’s something he doesn’t think possible, somehow.

16.  Any blogs, websites, social media you’d like to share?

I can be found in various corners of the Internet, including:

Blog

Twitter

Facebook

Gumbee Guild

My Cover For “One By One” Thriller!!!

For anyone who’s been following My Writer’s Blog since the beginning, you’re aware that I started it to document my writing journey as well as my journey on getting published. I had focused on my first novel Something’s Amiss, then NaNoWriMo came into my life, causing me to shift gears toward One By One.

I’m happy to announce that I received my book cover last Monday! I had browsed Absolute Write Forums under Self-Publishing. I found a member offering free services–she wants to build her portfolio so eventually she can start a cover design business.

Sandra Giles was professional and very efficient. I contacted her on November 1st (Thursday) and received my mock cover on November 5th (Monday). After listening to my suggestions, I received my final proof the same day.

Cover Design: Sandra Giles

Now that I have my book cover image, I need to continue with my business plan:

  • Get an author photo taken
  • Create an author page on Facebook
  • If I could figure out my image widget, then I could display my books on the sidebar
  • Write a blurb and add a “One By One” tab to my blog
  • Hoping my book release date can be early to mid 2013 (it’ll depend on how long the process takes with editors)

Wish me luck!

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby