Monday, August 26, 2013

Interview with Emma Right



Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
Keeper of Reign Book 1 is a young adult/middle grade fantasy about a young Elfie, Jules Blaze, who lived in the Kingdom of Reign. The Elfies are a blend of Elves and fairies, and used to be big and normal, like us humans, but something triggered a curse and the entire Race was reduced. This happened centuries ago. Now, they just sort of accept life the way it's always been--much like us humans when we get used to a rough patch and don't do anything about it, and think, well, it's part of life to suffer. But, really, is it? 

In the story, Jules, the sixteen-year-old, wanted to take matters into his own hands, because he really believed he could make a difference. Except things spiraled out of control in his life as one by one his family member faced danger. Would this stop him from trying to make a difference? Would he stop trying because of obstacles? Should he stop trying? In many ways, Keeper of Reign, is an allegorical fantasy, in that it reflects our human plight. At what point do we allow the troubles of this world to stop us from doing what is right? What is good? That was Jules's journey to maturity and growth.

Do you have a favorite character?
Probably Jules Blaze, the sixteen-year-old protagonist. He tries so hard to make a difference but he has to face so  many obstacles and as a youngster he doesn't see the value of family and a safe home until these things were all lost. It was a lesson he had to learn, to gain wisdom and re-learn what was most important to him--his family and his Kingdom. He faced many conflicted decisions, but through perseverance and some smart moves he realized the importance of the Ancient Books and that he had it within him to overcome Whisperer, the main villain in Book 1.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish your book(s)?
I always like to stay current, and after studying the publishing atmosphere these days I felt that even after all the trouble of getting a literary agent, I'd still have to wait before the agent can sign up a publisher, and even then it might take a year or two before the book could be ready for the public. In addition, with the publishing climate right now, publishers don't dish out wads of cash any more, unless the writer is JK Rowling, and even if the author gets a tidy sum it doesn't mean the publisher would actually stand behind the book with enough marketing money and power. For the most part, they'd reserved that for the brand-name authors.

So what does that leave me? A newbie? I'd still have to market Keeper of Reign, as I'm doing now. And after all the hard work, the author only get about 10% of the royalties. Besides, this way, too, I feel I can get on the ground and see what readers have to say. So, taking all things into consideration, I thought I'd give self-publishing a shot. Besides, I'd always believed in the power of the little people. And I feel self-publishing could show that the author-entrepreneur can make it. 

If you used a graphic designer/publisher’s designer, how involved were you during the creative process for your cover?
I hired a cover designer and we got our brains together and hashed out a plan. I felt the dragonfly lantern played an elemental role in the story, so we decided to go with the cover we now have. 

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
I am more of an organic writer in that I have a story in my head, an idea I'd like to grow, and once I start with the character and the conflict, the story blossoms on its own. I just keep writing until the end. So I don't really outline--I just go with the flow. But then once I am done with the first draft, I do try to give it some kind of structure-- I go back to the piece  (about six-seven months later) to rearrange scenes and plots so that it has the traditional framework that is recognized as the basic architecture of what a good story should be--the 1/4-1/4/1/4/-1/4 structure.  

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
Yes, two actually. One is a creative writing professor at a university who has written and published about sixty books with a traditional publishing house, and the other is an editor and up and coming author, herself. 

What have you’ve learned during your self-publishing journey?
I learned that when I put my book out there, in the wide world of Amazon and beyond, I will get praises, but I will also get criticisms, and it's just a fact of life, but that was something I never realized before. No one single book is for everyone. Some people may be offended, some may be confused, some may actually get it. I took a look at some of the bestselling authors and their books on Amazon, and I see that they, too, get five and one star reviews, and they have been doing this for decades, made millions, and even won awards.  Not everyone can eat jalapeno, without hiccuping. But as long some people enjoy the book, that's what's important.

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
Right now I am just concentrating on Amazon. But Keeper of Reign 1 is also available in paperback at BN, and by the end of next month it should be in all the major e-retailers and hopefully in some bookstores, too. But I gravitate toward ebooks, myself, especially after I learned how many thousands of books get pulped each year. I think it's such a waste. But that's just me.

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
I pretty much use the big four--twitter, FB, blog tours, and my own website. I have never really tried to be involved in forums but maybe it's something I would look into eventually. There are just so many hours in a day, and I'd rather be writing stories.

What’s next for you?
I am  currently editing Dead Dreams, a young adult psychological mystery thriller, and that should be ready December 2013. And I hope to have Keeper of Reign Book 2 out early 2014. Some readers (book bloggers, mostly,) have asked me to write a prequel for Keeper of Reign. I might. Time is my enemy these days.



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