Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
THE DEVIL'S BREATH is the 5th novel in my bestselling Sydney Rye Series of mysteries. My series feature a strong female protagonist and her canine best friend, Blue. It is recommended for the 18+ who enjoy some violence, don't mind dirty language, and are up for a dash of sex. Not to mention an awesome, rollicking good mystery!
One of Sydney Rye’s dearest friends, Hugh Defry, has been accused of brutally murdering his business partner. All the evidence points to Hugh and he has no memory of that night. But Sydney refuses to believe that Hugh is capable of such violence.
Called to investigate by Robert Maxim, a man she has, until now, considered her greatest enemy, Sydney flies to Miami searching for the real killer. Her investigation leads her from the mansions of Star Island to the depths of the Everglades. Rye’s suspicions are raised when she learns that Robert Maxim not only wants to work together, but also wants to build a friendship. She doesn’t begin to understand Maxim's motives until her former lover, Dan, arrives in Miami to tell her a devastating secret.
As more people from her past turn up, and not knowing whom to trust, Sydney begins to recognize that her personal fight for justice has become much more than she'd ever imagined. Sydney is pushed towards making a decision that will change not just her life, but possibly the future of crime fighting.
The Sydney Rye Series:
UNLEASHED (A Sydney Rye Novel, #1)
DEATH IN THE DARK (A Sydney Rye Novella, #2)
INSATIABLE (A Sydney Rye Novel, #3)
STRINGS OF GLASS (A Sydney Rye Novel, #4)
THE DEVIL'S BREATH (A Sydney Rye Novel, #5)
If you used a graphic designer/publisher’s designer, how involved were you during the creative process for your cover?
One of my very best friends, Autumn Whitehurst, is an incredible illustrator and I knew the moment I decided to self publish that I wanted her to make my cover. I traded her a one of a kind stacking terrarium that my husband, a third generation glassblower, made.
Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?
I do not belong to a critique group. In college I took some writing classes but never found the comments that helpful. Instead, I work with several people whose opinions I trust. They read all my work and let me know how to improve it.
What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?
I listen to music most of the time that I write. It helps me slip into that other world. It also keeps people from interrupting me. I’m easily distracted so my headphones are kind of like the blinders they put on scared horses.
Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
I do a combination. For about a month before I start my first draft I think about it, free write a lot, and allow my brain to run wild around the different ideas swirling in there. Then I sit down and write the first draft as quickly as possible. The shortest I’ve ever done is three weeks and I’m hoping to do that again with the draft I’m working on now. Once I’ve written the first draft I let it sit for at least two weeks, and up to several months, allowing the story to settle once again. Then when I go back in I’m usually surprised by what I find. Often there are entire scene I don’t remember writing. I’ll also think there are scenes in there that are not. So then I go and write everything the story is missing and take out anything that doesn’t make any sense. Once I’ve gotten it to a point where I don’t know exactly what’s wrong with it I turn to my friend, Mette, who will read it and help me figure out how to make it better.
Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
Yes, I have two editors who go over my work. A copy editor I found online and my father, who was a professional editor in the newspaper business for decades. Finally, I send it out to my street team who ferret out any last little mistakes.
What have you’ve learned during your self-publishing journey?
Haha, that’s a big question. I’ve learned so much. Faith is a big one. There are a lot of ups and downs in this business. You can be ranked in the top 100 one month and down in the 100,000 the next. The key is finding your audience, connecting with them, and having faith that everything is as it should be.
Also, gratitude. I’ve never felt so incredible lucky and grateful as I have in the last couple of years. The number of people who have taken an interest in my work beyond just buying the entire series astounds me. My readers are amazing, how they promote me and send me notes of encouragement. It’s enough to make you think the worlds a pretty beautiful place.
Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
I sell on all the major sites. Barnes&Noble, Kobo, and iBooks.
Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
Yes! This is such a huge thing for any writer. I feel like it’s really different parts of my brain that are needed for each task and switching modes is hard. Both are so vitally important though so it’s something I’ll continue to work on.
Besides writing, do you have any other passions?
For sure. I love to ride horses, hike, swim, read (naturally :), spend time with friends and family, cook, and do Pilates. I find that the more active I am away from my writing hours the more I get done. Except sometimes when I spend the whole day at the barn instead of my desk. But I figure it’s all the way it’s supposed to be.
What’s next for you?
I’m filling out this interview on a plane so the next thing I’m doing is landing in New York City. After that I’m going to keep writing Sydney Rye #6. I’ve got the first draft of a paranormal/zombie/romance thing that I wrote during Nanowrimo and plan to edit into something in May. I’m hoping to publish that by late Summer and then get Sydney Rye #6 out by Fall.