Today I have another instalment in my series SPFBO interviews. You may remember Taya from the guest post she gave us a few weeks ago, on choosing the next story to work on.
Welcome back, Taya!
First welcome to the blog! Thank you very much for agreeing to take part in this series of interviews.
Thank you for inviting me!
1) What made you decide to self-publish your book?
One of my primary reasons was the fact that I have an uncle who has successfully established himself as a self-published author. He puts out a book a year in his mystery series and has developed a devoted audience who, by now, will read anything he writes. While I knew the road was a difficult one, I also felt I had a good example to draw from, not to mention a ready source of advice.
2) What advantages and disadvantages have you experienced in self-publishing?
Marketing. Marketing. Marketing. This is the bane of my existence, as I know it is for many self-published authors. Not only is it time consuming, I’m about as comfortable with it as a cat caught in a rainstorm. And while I know that most traditionally published authors these days have to do far more marketing of their work than in the past, there is at least the framework of a system that is meant to help them.
The chief advantage is, of course, the ability to retain control over my work. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not a my way or the highway type of person. I like collaboration and the ability to work with others to create the best book I can is incredibly important to me. But I do appreciate the fact that the final say is mine.
3) Why did you decide to enter SPFBO?
Why wouldn’t I? Honestly, there was no foreseeable downside.
4) Can you tell us a bit about the book that you entered?
It’s called The Blood-Tainted Winter and it’s the first in a series called The Song of the Ash Tree. The story is set in the nine realms of Norse mythology and follows a young man who must wade his way through grief, deceit, alliances, and war mongering after the sudden death of his father. To top it off, the gods are meddling in the affairs of men, causing chaos and destruction that can only herald darker and more dangerous times ahead. I like to think of it as a love child between historical Vikings and The Iliad.
5) How was the experience of participating for you?
I’ve had far more fun than I imagined. Getting to know other authors and some of the reviewers has been truly enriching and I feel like we’ve carved out a little community that, I hope and believe, will stick together and continue to support each other.
As a reader, I’ve made a concerted effort to read other entries. I’ve now read four entries, three sequels, one entry from last year’s contest, and a blogger’s novelette. The variety within the pages of those books has been refreshing and entertaining and I’m looking forward to continuing to read within the SPFBO community.
6) Did taking part have any effect on your sales as far as you are aware?
Nope. And that’s ok. I think only the ten finalists and a few exceptions (namely Josiah Bancroft for Senlin Ascends) can expect to see that kind of return, and while that would be a nice benefit, I think I have stumbled on other, less tangible benefits—the camaraderie and support mentioned above is so important and I value it tremendously.
7) What was the best and worst /part of the experience for you?
The wait was rough! Waiting for my blogger to get to my book was nerve-wracking, but I was lucky to have a blogger who put out frequent updates as to her progress and timeline; she also got through her stack of books remarkably quickly.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the community that has formed out of the contest has definitely been the best part—not least because it was so unexpected.
8) What are you working on now?
I’m closing in on releasing the third and final book in The Song of the Ash Tree trilogy. It’s been sent off to the formatters—YAY. I got side-lined at the end of 2016 when I started a new job after moving back to the States, so publishing book three, Already Comes Darkness, seemed to keep slipping away from me. I’m so glad to finally have the final stages underway.
Writing-wise, I’m so, so eager to get to work on something new. It’s actually been well over a year since I’ve written anything new other than a few small snippets of ideas here and there and, of course, revisions for Already Comes Darkness. Writing a dissertation kind of cramped my style! I have a few ideas rattling around in my grey matter and I know I just need to pick one and let the garden grow.
9) Do you have any other projects planned?
Planned? I don’t understand this word….
I’m definitely a pantser/gardener when it comes to writing—which is a bit strange considering how I go about some other aspects of my life (you should see me plan my travels…). That being said, I do have a range of projects in mind, some of which I might never pursue. I’m a believer in the theory that a writer should try to forget all of her ideas—it’s the idea that can’t be forgotten that needs to be written.
Right now, the idea I’m trying to forget seems to be some sort of nebulous wild west fantasy. Emphasis on nebulous.
10) What does your typical writing day look like?
I wrote all three first drafts of the books of The Song of the Ash Tree back to back, and during those months, I wrote nearly every day. I skipped a couple holidays and there were some days when I was bogged down in the opening of book three that I just needed to take some time to figure out what the hell I was doing, like the day I decided to delete 40,000 words.
I miss those days.
At first, I wrote every day out of fear. Fear that I would stop and give up on the story, just like I had so many times before. After about 50,000 words of the first book, I realized I wasn’t afraid anymore and I wrote every day because I wanted to. I really came to enjoy the habit and discipline of it and I want to build that up again.**
**Struggles may ensue. I now have a full time job I didn’t have when I was writing The Song of the Ash Tree, but I will persevere!
11) Do you have a favourite quote about writing?
I’m not much of a quote collector, but I’m rather fond of Raymond Chandler’s line: “When in doubt, have a man come through the door with a gun in his hand.” Can’t go wrong with that.
12) Where can we connect with you?
I tweet: @TLGreylock
I take pictures: @tl_greylock
I have a book of faces: www.facebook.com/tlgreylock