Thursday, March 21, 2013

Interview with Tawdra Kandle

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series? 
ENDLESS is the fourth and final book in The King Series. It picks up Tasmyn’s story at the beginning of her freshman year in college, as she and Michael continue to recover from the train wreck that was Tas’s senior year in high school. She’s working to get her life back on track, regain Michael’s trust as well as that of her parents, and learning to control her new powers. Of course, life is never that easy, and so there are a few bumps in the road.

Do you have a favorite character? 
I always love Tasmyn and Michael, and of course Rafe and Nell hold a very special place in my heart. But in this book, I really enjoyed writing Cathryn. She is much more complex than what we realize in ENDLESS. . .enough so that she is going to pop up here and there in other books.

Have you ever had a minor character evolve into a major one? Did that change the direction of the novel at all?
Absolutely. Michael and Tasmyn’s friend Anne actually had her own subplot in FEARLESS, which was something I loved. And Nell was supposed to end her run at the conclusion of the first book, yet here she is about to have her own book!

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
I did, with the first book in The King Series. I queried a number of agents, and I was very fortunate to develop some internet relationships that helped me to polish both the MS and my query letter. Ultimately, though, after spending a great deal of time listening to agents and editors, particularly in NYC, I decided to try the indie route.

What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?
I write whenever, wherever, however. When I got serious about my writing again, I learned that my life was not going to open up and give me more time to make it happen; I had to create the time. I take my computer with me everywhere. My first two books were written at baseball practices, in orthodontist offices, at the hair salon. . .that was the wherever. Often I write very late into the night, if I have a light schedule the next day. That’s the whenever. And I am not married to a particular set up or environment. I write in bed or on the sofa with the TV on, with little ones running around, while in the middle of cooking. . .that’s the however! I don’t need silence, which is a good thing since it is a rare thing at my house. I love writing with music, and much of my inspiration comes from hearing certain songs at specific times, even when I’m not actively writing.

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
At the beginning of each book, I sketch out where I see the story going, including character names, pertinent information and important turning points. I add to that and tweak it as I write. However, I am never a slave to what I’ve planned. When I quiet my mind and hear what is going on with my characters, I just follow them, even if it doesn’t stick with my original plan.

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
As the co-owner of a public relations company that targets authors and books, I have unique perspective on marketing. Because so much of my work is on Facebook, that tends to be my biggest marketing focus. I have connected my Twitter account to my author Facebook so that it isn’t totally left out. I’ve also joined with other authors to do a weekly Twitter chat called #book30, where we discuss just about anything and everything related to genres, books and writing. That helps us connect with our readers.

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
Always. I think that all authors struggle with that balance. Sometimes I love marketing; I enjoy chatting with bloggers and readers. But there are also times I would prefer to be holed up, just writing without any thought of promotion.

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
It’s said so many times, but it seems to be a necessary reminder: do the work you can and hire out what you can’t. Cut ruthlessly; polish longer than you think you must. Use an editor, at least; if you can, use a proofreader as well. Find the best cover artist and formatter possible. And then promote, but do it wisely. Don’t spam your friends. Use social media to connect, not to sell.  Don’t use being indie published as an excuse for mediocre work. As indie artists, we actually have to hold ourselves to a higher standard.

What’s next for you?
It’s going to be a busy year! I’m releasing a contemporary romance called THE POSSE this spring, followed by the first book in my adult series. I’ll have a short story in the anthology ETERNAL SUMMER, coming out in June, and then the Serendipity Duet, which are Rafe and Nell’s books. A post-apocalyptic book is in the works, but it may be headed for a 2014 release. 

Author bio:
Tawdra Kandle is the author of THE KING SERIES, a young adult urban fantasy quartet. Born in South Jersey, Tawdra published her first short story at the age of 13 in Child's Life magazine. During the early years of her marriage and motherhood, she wrote articles and columns on parenting and homeschooling, as well as some homeschooling curriculum. THE KING SERIES is her first published full-length fiction. Tawdra currently lives in central Florida with her husband, and children, both skin and fur types. And yes, she has purple hair.