Friday, June 23, 2017

Interview with A.P. Watson, SEEDS OF EDEN

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
Seeds of Eden follows the story of a young girl, Evey, whose life gets turned upside down. Her past and present collide into one another and she is eventually forced to run for her life. Seeds of Eden is the first installment in my trilogy, The Concilium Series. The next two books in the series are A Fallen Son and The Final Temptation. I'm also planning on writing four companion novellas to accompany the series. Each novella will be told from a different character's perspective. Some of these will follow characters that aren't very prominent in the story, but still have interesting and diverse tales to tell. 

Do you have a favorite character?
I actually have two favorite characters in this story. I love Caroline who is Evey’s (the story’s protagonist) best friend and I also adore Conrad, Evey’s love interest. Caroline is so much fun because she is the type of person who can talk her way into any situation and talk her way back out. She is everything a best friend should be; she’s smart, sassy, and completely dependable. She always has Evey’s back no matter what and she isn’t afraid to tell you like it is. Conrad is witty and completely charming. He’s experienced more hardships than most people but he is still a truly caring and compassionate soul. Not to mention, he’s also quite a rebel, and that makes him so much fun to write!

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
When I first started writing Seeds of Eden five years ago, I tried to get it published through the traditional route. I queried agents and publishers all to no avail. That’s when I decided to stop querying and really focused on honing my craft. I had my writing professionally edited and that truly helped make me a better writer. Once I got my edits back on Seeds of Eden, I did a complete re-write of that story. After I finished writing my book again, I began to research the publishing industry. I studied different routes and methods of publishing from traditional publishing to self-publishing. Eventually, I decided that I wanted my book to be published by an independent press. Retaining all the rights to my intellectual property is very important to me. I had the final say in every aspect of the publishing process, including editing, cover design, and marketing. Working with my publisher, 1st Ride Enterprises, has been such a wonderful experience. I’ve learned so much during my crazy publishing journey, and I’m thankful to have such an amazing editor and writing coach to help guide me along the way.

How long before you got your offer of representation/your first contract? Was it for your first novel?
After practically re-writing my manuscript for Seeds of Eden, I submitted it to several publishers. Within a few weeks I got a couple rejections, but I also had two different independent presses interested in my work as well. I ended up picking my publisher because they put a lot of care and tons of hard work into every book they publish. They also listened to any questions or concerns I had about the publishing process and helped guide me though a truly thrilling yet daunting experience. Seeds of Eden is my first novel to be published, and I’m already working on the second and third installments in The Concilium Series.

If you used a graphic designer/publisher’s designer, how involved were you during the creative process for your cover?
Regina Wamba with Mae I Design and Photography designed the cover for Seeds of Eden. She is a truly gifted artist, and her attention to detail is unmatched. She organized a photoshoot just for my book and I actually got to select the models she used in the shoot. Regina even streamed parts of the shoot through Facebook Live, and it was so much fun to watch! Seeing my characters come to life was a surreal experience and the gallery Regina put together from that photoshoot was breathtaking. She really listened to my specifications about the characters and different elements I wanted incorporated in the photoshoot. The book cover she designed for me is so beautiful and I absolutely love it.

What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?
As far as my writing process goes, it varies. My ideas tend to come from a single thought or a situation I can visualize my characters being involved in. Then I form my story around this thought or situation by asking myself questions. How did these characters get here? How will they react? By asking questions like this, I can form backstories for my characters and invent new challenges for them to face as well. Working full time as a registered nurse keeps me very busy, and I am continually struck by inspiration at the drop of a hat. I started carrying a small notebook in my scrubs to write down ideas as they come to me. That way when I get home after my shift, I can transfer the ideas to my computer. I also like to use a large marker board to help me outline chapters I haven’t written yet. By keeping an outline like this, I can make any adjustments or changes I need to, and it helps me remember what I need to write about in that specific chapter. At times, my writing methods can be sporadic or even a bit chaotic, but I believe everyone has their own method to the madness. It’s just a matter of figuring out what works best for you. Another thing that really helps me write is listening to music. This may not hold true for every author, but when I listen to music while I write my words flow so much better! My favorite bands to listen to while I write are London Grammar, The XX, and The Civil Wars.

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
Some advice I would give to a new author or to anyone thinking about writing a book is to believe in yourself! My mother always told me I could do anything I set my mind to and that piece of advice has followed me throughout my entire life. Writing is hard. Some days the words won’t flow, some days you’ll delete every single word you write, but you have to keep fighting for your dreams. No one is going to hand you a completed manuscript. You have to have to earn that accomplishment for yourself through hard work and determination. Self-doubt and criticism are inevitable with any creative endeavor, but you can’t allow those kinds of negativity to stop you. Pour your heart and soul into your craft, and your dreams will come true! Also, don’t discount the old adage that practice makes perfect, because it’s true. The more you write the better at it you get. 

Besides writing, do you have any other passions?
In addition to being an author and a nurse, I’m also an avid pole dancer. I’ve been taking lessons for the last four years and absolutely love it! Pole dancing is such an amazing workout. It has increased my strength, flexibility, and self-confidence. I encourage everyone to try it, not only for the health benefits it provides, but because the pole dancing community is truly a wonderful group of people. The group of men and women I take classes with at my home studio in Knoxville are some of the most incredible people I’ve ever met. We are so supportive of one another and they are my family.

If I had to choose between cats and dogs, I’d choose dogs. I actually have a dog and her name is Elle (Yes, she is named after Elle Woods from Legally Blonde). She is thirteen pounds of pure love and I can't believe she is turning 10 this fall! She is my constant writing companion, because she loves to lie across my lap while I'm writing. My love for her may teeter on the edge of obsession (she has her own Instagram account), but who am I to deny the world such cuteness?

As a nurse, I work twelve hour shifts, so I definitely need all the caffeine I can get my hands on. I couldn’t live without coffee, and after I work four shifts in a row at the hospital, I pretty much function on caffeine and sass.
I’m definitely a night owl, because my working hours are from 7 p.m. to 7a.m. I’ve worked nights for the past six years, so whenever I venture outside during daylight hours, I feel like my skin is melting off my body. Vampirism…the struggle is real!

What’s next for you?
My plans for the future are to prepare the next two books in The Concilium Series to be published. There is also another paranormal romance novel and a contemporary romance novel that I am currently working on and will be looking to have published as well. My goal is to really work on honing my craft, and I’ll be participating in a July NaNoWriMo camp. Writing is my passion, and it is something I plan on doing for the rest of my life.

Seeds of Eden
A.P. Watson
(The Concilium, #1)
Publication date: January 25th 2017
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Haunted by visions of the execution of an innocent man, Evey discovers that the secrets of her past and a mysterious stranger are irrevocably intertwined.
Visions of decapitated corpses, pools of blood, and a masked executioner have haunted Evey for as long as she can remember. Torn between a life in the waking world and dreams of the dead, she realizes her normal existence is nothing more than an illusion. As the veil between reality and her subconscious dissipates, she begins to question her own sanity. Each night as she closes her eyes, she wonders what wrongs she committed to warrant such a curse.
When a handsome stranger suddenly appears in Evey’s life, he is able to provide her with the answers she seeks. However, the only thing more mystifying than Conrad’s appearance in one of her nightmares is the undeniable attraction she feels for him. It is only when he confesses their fates and souls have been intertwined for centuries that an ancient secret is revealed. Now, the two of them must outrun a great darkness or it will claim their lives again.

Author Bio:
town of Estill Springs, Tennessee. Growing up in a rural town allowed her imagination to run wild, and Paige began making up stories in her head at a young age. This storytelling eventually transformed into a love of writing. She is currently penning her first trilogy, The Concilium Series, and is also planning to write four companion novellas to accompany it. She is an avid reader, enjoying a variety of genres and authors from Jane Austen to Charlaine Harris.
When she isn’t reading or writing, Paige spends the majority of her time dancing. She has been taking pole dancing lessons for the past three years and couldn’t be more in love with the sport. The blend of athleticism, grace, and flexibility required to dance continually challenges her and she strives to not only build strength but defy gravity, as well. Paige has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Nursing from East Tennessee State University. She has been a critical care nurse at Bristol Regional Medical Center for the last five years. She currently resides in Johnson City, Tennessee with her adorable dog, Elle.

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