Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Interview with Majanka Verstraete, A STUDY IN SHIFTERS

 Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
“A Study in Shifters” is the first book in The Adventures of Marisol Holmes series. It features Marisol Holmes, a teenage girl who is the great great granddaughter of Sherlock Holmes, and who is also a halfling jaguar shifter, and heir to the shifter throne. As if she hasn’t got enough on her plate already, Marisol also works for a super-secret organization that solves supernatural crimes, the Conclave.

I’m already working on the second book, “The Sign of The Serpent”, which will release in December of this year.

Do you have a favorite character?
That would be Mannix, the bad guy of the book. He’s just so mysterious and intriguing, and even when writing about him, I discover more and more clues about who he really is, and as an author that’s challenging and exciting at the same time.

Have you ever had a minor character evolve into a major one? Did that change the direction of the novel at all?
Yes, I’ve had this happen quite a few times, usually when the minor character is just too cool to be ignored. Then he/she becomes part of the major plot, usually over the course of a few books. I think it’s great, and it shows how a manuscript is “alive”, even if you start out with a concept, it can still change over time.

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
Yes, in fact I’ve worked with several publishers before finding Monster House Books.

How long before you got your offer of representation/your first contract? Was it for your first novel?
Yes, it was! It didn’t take very long, I was very lucky in that regard. I had self-published the book first, and then offered it to a publisher as part of a series.

What factors influenced your decision to go with a particular agent or publisher?
For Monster House Books, I really liked their co-operative model, where they worked with the author one-on-one from the start, shaping the stories and the books, and working together every step of the way.

Are you currently under a traditional publishing contract for future books or do you have manuscripts that you will self-publish? Are you doing both?
I’m thinking about doing both. I have a series that would be a great fit for self-publishing, but I’m not sure if I’m ready to go that route yet. It’s a lot of responsibility and hard work.

If you used a graphic designer/publisher’s designer, how involved were you during the creative process for your cover?
It was pretty amazing. I gave a suggestion of what I would’ve liked to see on the cover, and Monster House Books showed me a presentation about what could be on the book cover, which I loved. Then, the designer created a cover based on that, and it was even more amazing than I thought it would look.

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
It depends a lot on the book, but for “A Study in Shifters”, I used an outline, and it was a really good decision in that case. Some books I start by just writing them, and then come up with an outline about halfway through. It depends.

What have you’ve learned during your self-publishing journey?
Not much yet, since I didn’t self-publish yet… But during my publishing journey, I already learned a lot. What to look out for in potential publishers, how to grab a storyline that is familiar and twist it around to unfamiliar territory, and tons more!

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
If you think about self-publishing, you have to really decide for yourself if you don’t mind putting on two, sometimes three different hats: publisher of your books, author of your books, and marketing manager of your books. Those tasks are all very different and you need a different skill set for each of them.

Some fun facts about you, which do you prefer – dogs or cats? Chocolate or vanilla? Coffee or Tea? Talk or Text? Day or Night?

What’s next for you?
I’m working on “The Sign of The Serpent”, the second book in The Adventures of Marisol Holmes series, which is due out in December of this year.

A Study In Shifters
Majanka Verstraete
(The Adventures of Marisol Holmes, #1)
Publication date: June 26th 2018
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

Seventeen-year-old Marisol Holmes may be the great-great-great granddaughter of Sherlock Holmes, but it’s hard to live up to the family name when only one mistake can spell your downfall. After trusting the wrong guy in a case gone totally wrong, Marisol convinces the Conclave, an underground organization of detectives solving supernatural cases, to give her a last chance to prove her worth, and maybe even heal her broken heart
After all, as a half-blood jaguar shifter, Marisol is uniquely qualified to solve this murder—and every scrap of evidence points toward the culprit being a fellow jaguar shifter. But is one of her own people involved, or is this all a ploy to kick Marisol’s mother off the shifter throne?
Then Marisol discovers her best friend, Roan, is missing, and maybe the killer’s next target. The stakes just got higher than political intrigue. Just when things couldn’t get worse, Marisol’s ex-boyfriend-turned-nemesis, Mannix, starts leaving sinister clues for her. Marisol fears this case might be far more personal than she could’ve imagined.
It’s time for Marisol to prove her worth, or her people could fall into chaos while her best friend loses his life.

Author Bio:
Author Majanka Verstraete has written more than twenty unique works of fiction. A native of Belgium, Majanka’s novels explore the true nature of monsters: the good, the bad, and just about every species in between. Her young adult books include the acclaimed Mirrorland (YA Dark Fantasy) and Angel of Death (YA Paranormal) series of novels.
At MHB, Majanka is currently developing a new YA shifter series with a fresh take on fierce female detectives called THE ADVENTURES OF MARISOL HOLMES.
When she’s not writing, Majanka is probably playing World of Warcraft or catching up with the dozens of TV series she’s addicted to.
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