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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Author Interview – Shirleen Davies @ShirleenDavies #Harder

6:30 AM Posted by James Noel No comments
What do you consider the most challenging parts of writing a novel or writing in general?
Finding the time to write the stories and the time to market the final product. It is truly a balancing act as a writer must learn to do both in parallel. This applies to both Indie and traditionally published authors. All writers these days must be actively involved in marketing their books—social media presence, book tours/blogs/release parties, book release announcements, advertising, book signings, giveaways, etc. The time this takes is enormous and a writer must develop the discipline to do this aspect well in additional to creating a high-quality story for readers.
Do you intend to make writing a career?
Yes, my intention is to make writing my second and last career. I love the challenges and flexibility of a writing career. It gives me a chance to put to life the stories in my head and learn new skills in marketing and book production management. I’m blessed to have this chance.
How did you come up with the title?
The first book in the series is Tougher Than The Rest and centers on a character who must be tough and singled-minded in his responsibilities to lead the MacLaren family and make the difficult decisions to continue their success in the ranching industry. It seemed a natural progression to have this set the tone for the titles in the rest of the series. Book two is Faster Than The Rest and centers on the second brother who is a U.S. Marshal and considered to have the fastest gun in the Marshal Service, as well as a fast temper. Book three is Harder Than The Rest, and focuses on one of the two younger brothers who has turned hard and embittered do to some tragic events in his life. The goal is to identify a key characteristic in the lead character and use it in the title.
Can you tell us a little bit about your main character?
Will MacLaren is one of the two youngest brothers, and a twin to Drew MacLaren. He is a gifted rancher with natural instincts and abilities. He wants nothing more than to run the horse breeding part of the MacLaren ranch and live peaceably with his family. He is easy going, quick to laugh, and eager to help others. All this changes when tragedy strikes and he loses his young wife and unborn child. He turns hard and enters a life that would have been unthinkable to him prior to the tragedy. This is Will’s journey through heartbreak, guilt, the pursuit of vengeance, and redemption.
How are you promoting this book?
I use a variety of promotion techniques including an active presence on my Facebook Fan Page, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. The Blog Blast and support of some terrific book blogs to get the word out is critical to the release of Harder Than The Rest. I am doing some posts on free sites and some on paid advertising sites. Some additional reader blogs, not part of the blast, have been of tremendous support for the first two books and will be posting for book three also.
How important do you think villains are in a story?
A well-portrayed villain is critical to the success of a story for most books in the romance genre and sub-genres. If not a true villain, then a strong conflict must be developed between the male and female protagonists, or internally for one or more of the lead characters. For instance, in Tougher, I used intense internal conflicts rather than a true villain. In Faster and Harder, there are true villains as well as internal conflict. Either or both is necessary for an interesting story.
Do you have to travel much concerning your books?
I’ve lived in most of the places where my books are set, so at this point I do some additional research but don’t need to travel. The project after the MacLarens series may require some travel as it will be set in several states where I haven’t lived.
Have you developed a specific writing style?
My books tend to have a prologue then move through two to three more chapters where the location is pretty set. After that, I move from location to location, or character to character, more rapidly. I mix up my scenes in a fashion similar to fast-paced TV shows and movies, which I realize can be challenging if a reader is not used to this style.
What influenced your writing over the years?
First, I found that the books I enjoyed the most moved at a quick pace. These could be in any genre—romance, suspense, thriller, paranormal, etc. it didn’t seem to matter. The storyline with solid, well-defined male and female protagonists, plus a good pace, kept me reading. I decided that was the way I wanted to write and have set out to do my best to achieve it. Second, I realized I don’t tend to read too many fiction books that are 350 plus pages as they tend to have a great deal of filler information at the expense of keeping a brisk pace. It’s hard for me to read too much detail about a room or a setting. I need just enough to let my imagine trigger, then I’m ready to move on with the story. Like my feelings for Alfred Hitchcock movies, I find that my imagine carries me to much more intense, interesting places than when something is spelled out or portrayed in too much detail.
Who designed the cover?
I’ve used Drew at idrewdesign for all my books to date as well as my FB, Google+, and website banners and covers. He is an awesome designer and was quick to understand the message I wanted to portray through my book covers.
What is your opinion on Beta Readers? Are they helpful or do they offer only self-opinions?
They’re a wonderful resource. I have a couple but would like to add one or two more. Interested Beta Readers may send me a message at shirleen@shirleendavies.com or visit my website.
What strikes you as a successful marketing tool?
Book trailers have the potential to increase awareness of a book as well as create excitement about the story. I have one for Tougher, and am in the process of developing them for Faster, Harder, and Stronger. I’m working with a very talented designer but it is still very challenging and takes time.
Do you proofread/edit your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?
I proofread twice before sending the manuscripts to my professional editor. She does three complete rounds for content, flow, character development, and an extensive line edit. I’m learning a lot, but believe it is vital for authors to use the editing services of a professional and not rely on their own reviews.
Harder Than The Rest
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Western Historical Romance
Rating – PG-13
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