Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Interview with Judy Teel, SAVAGE MAGIC

Have you ever had a minor character evolve into a major one? Did that change the direction of the novel at all?
I’ve never had that happen, probably because after a lot of writing career false starts, I learned that clearly plotting a story and defining its characters was a better way for me to go. Wrote my way into many a dead end before I figured that one out.

However, and this is an exclusive for Two Ends of the Pen, I do have a group of secondary characters in the Shifty Magic series that are popular and fun, so I’ve decided to give them their own novella series after Shifty is finished. If anyone wants to know more about that, feel free to ask me in the comments. I’d love to dish about it.

What do you think you're really good at?
I know what I like doing, but for what I'm good at, I’ll have to defer to what readers have said about my writing. They seem to especially enjoy how I describe action, and that I capture the emotion of the characters well. I've also been told that people really like how my characters banter with each other.

What do you think you're really bad at?
I have a lot of trouble with first drafts because I tend to lean toward the perfectionist side of the scale. I’m always having to hold myself back from rewriting at that stage, which tends to mess up that creative flow. I'm getting better though, and my readers will be happy to know that my continuing goal for improvement is to write faster.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish your book(s)?
 I felt the market was changing toward books that blended genres more, but it was difficult at that time to find traditional publishers that were moving in that direction. About that same time, Amazon launched their indie-pub platform, so I decided after much prompting from some interesting and unexpected directions to write a contemporary romantic comedy series that I’d had brewing in my mind. I enjoyed an unexpected level of success with it, so when I was ready for a change, I dove into the Urban Fantasy Mystery & Romance world.

If you used a graphic designer/publisher’s designer, how involved were you during the creative process for your cover?
Because I’m indie-pubbed, I’m my own small business, so outsource all the pieces that go into producing a book. I have an excellent graphic designer, Niina at For the Love of Reading Cover Design and stay fairly involved with the creative process for my covers. Control over covers is one of the great joys of being independently published. But even with that, Niina gets most of the credit. Okay, all the credit. Other than the particulars of title, my interactions with her often go something like this:

Me: I want a cover that looks like a monster has gone up to the bookshelf and slashed its claws through it, and there has to be this woods, a spooky woods because it’s set in the mountains and all these things are happening, and if there were this kind of vague picture of a guy in the woods somewhere that would be really cool because…
Nina: I can do that.

And from crazy talk like that, I ended up with the cover of Savage Magic. The woman’s not only a good graphic artists, she’s a saint.

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
Another part of that lesson learned through painful experience. I have to plot out my books very clearly. I don’t put in every tiny detail, because at heart I’m actually what’s called a pantser, which means I write by the seat of my pants. But if I don’t have a clear storyline to follow, I have a lot of trouble staying focused on the story I’m trying to tell and eventually get completely mixed up. And if I’m confused, my readers are going to be confused, and that is not the adventure I want to take them on.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
Like my fabulous cover designer, I also have a rocking editor, Christie at Proof Positive. Like Niina, she’s honest and straightforward, but also infinitely patient and encouraging, and since I can sometimes get a tad high strung at the end of a book’s cycle, she’s been a great addition to the team.

What have you’ve learned during your self-publishing journey?
I’ve learned to be a businesswoman and entrepreneur, which has been an incredible and exciting learning curve and journey for me. But what’s meant the most is I’ve become a better writer.

If you could be any character, from any literary work, who would you choose to be? Why?
I would be Tigger from Winnie the Pooh. Tigger's cute, colorful, energetic, and always happy. That sounds like a fun way to live!

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?

·       For mentors, look for people who have a proven track record doing what you want to be doing.
·       Never stop learning.
·       Write a book, finish a book, and then do it again. And again.
·       Do as much of your business as you can yourself. Not only will it save you money, but you’ll know your business better than anyone and it will really reflect who you are as a writer.
·       Once you have an income stream, funnel some of your profits into outsourcing and raising the quality bar of your product (website, promotion, covers, editing).
·       Always treasure your readers and fans. They’re at the heart of why you’re doing what you’re doing.

A deadly disease from an unknown origin…

Addison Kittner and ex-FBI agent Cooper Daine arrive at Bone Clan expecting a warm welcome. Instead they’re imprisoned and placed under quarantine, where they discover that the werewolf mountain Clans are being decimated by a deadly plague which can’t be cured.

An old obligation that changes everything…

With only a few days to live, Cooper’s brother, Alpha of Bone Clan, asks Cooper to fulfill his promise, one that’s crucial to their Clan’s survival. But if he does, Cooper risks loosing Addison. Forever.

An ancient creature bred for genocide…

Determined to stop the plague and cure Cooper’s brother, Addison defies Clan law and sneaks away to an ancient ruin which might hold the key. There she discovers an unexpected link to her past and inadvertently calls forth an immortal monster that will destroy the paranormal races protecting humanity if it can’t be stopped.

But as Cooper and Addison battle to stop the annihilation of the Clans and the forces trying to tear their bond apart, something even more powerful and deadly gathers just out of sight…

And prepares to strike.

Buy links:

Shifty Magic (Book 1): http://amzn.com/B00CXQ7EOE
Undercover Magic (Book 2): http://amzn.com/B00H7M48KM

Shifty Magic (Book 1): http://goo.gl/6hU5bQ
Undercover Magic (Book 2): http://goo.gl/0qjldj

AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Judy Teel was born in Virginia and moved to North Carolina just before middle school. She's a fiction author and novelist writing in the dystopian urban fantasy genre. Her stories deliver mystery with some thriller elements, a kick-butt heroine with a large dash of snark in her, a bit more than a touch of romance with a guy that makes readers' hearts beat a little faster, and a wild ride full of action and emotion from start to finish.

Shifty Magic is permanently free on all platforms and Undercover Magic is free as a thank you gift for anyone who signs up on my readers list:  http://judyteel.com/my-free-book/

Twitter: @JudyTeelBooks / https://twitter.com/JudyTeelBooks
Amazon Author’s Page: http://goo.gl/a7oKub

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