Friday, May 15, 2020

Interview with Aileen Erin, ALPHA ERASED

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
Alpha Erased is Book Nine of the Alpha Girls series. Readers might be confused if they tried to jump in right now, so I definitely recommend reading the earlier books first! They’re all one sale now. ;) This book starts six months after the end of book Eight, Lunar Court. Things are crazy for Tessa and Dastien—it’s been non-stop attacks on the St. Ailbe’s campus and surrounding area with no end in sight. Tessa is exhausted, Dastien is doing his best, but both are ready for a break. But they won’t get one. Tessa gets a call at 3AM from her brother. He’s been attacked, and then the phone goes dead. There’s nothing that Tessa won’t do to save her brother, but it might end up costing Dastien everything.

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
No, I actually skipped all of that. After getting my MFA in Writing Popular Fiction in January of 2012, I had a choice to make. Go traditional or try the new hotness—indie publishing. I decided that there wasn’t a huge risk of going indie. The worst that could happen was that I wasted a little bit of time and money, and I could start submitting the new books I was working on if my trial run at going indie failed. I formed Ink Monster with another author in 2013, and we joined with a distributor to help give our books the spotlight at retailers. I released Becoming Alpha (Book One of the Alpha Girls series) in December of 2013, and by the time the third book came out, I’d hit the USA Today List. I found that I loved the freedom being indie gave me, and I’ve never looked back.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish your book(s)?
I was just starting out, so there was little to no risk involved. I have so many book ideas, and if I failed at going indie, then I could work on one of my other ideas and start the querying process under another pseudonym. And in 2013, there were so many indie authors that were making more money than the majority of traditionally published authors. I also liked the idea of being able to control what my covers looked like, what books I wrote, and my release schedule. It’s a ton more work—because you have to be both an author AND the publisher—but after doing it a few times, I realized that I loved both processes and the results.

If you used a graphic designer/publisher’s designer, how involved were you during the creative process for your cover?
I work with a few different graphic designers and artists on my covers. Ana Cruz Arts does the Alpha Girls series and Shadow Ravens series. She also covers for other authors under the Ink Monster helm. Jenny at Seedlings Design did my awesome Aunare Chronicles covers. With both artists, I send inspiration and ideas to get the process started. They send back their thoughts on what would work better, and then they get to work. As they finish drafts of the cover, they send it to me for revisions until we get the cover finalized.

Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?
I used to be in a critique group. My current developmental editor was in my critique group during my MFA. I think having one is really key to finding your voice and honing your craft. Right now, I’m writing so much, that I don’t have time to critique or edit anyone else. It’s sad because I really love critiquing, but that would eat into my writing time too much. So, I had to let my critique group go about four years ago.

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
I use Blake Snyder’s Beat Sheet from Save the Cat to make a very brief, 13 point outline. I used to follow that up with his 40 notecards system, but I found that I don’t really need them anymore. The muse always has other ideas once I dive into the story, and those 13 points are enough of a framework to help me get started.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
Yes! I work with two editors. My developmental editor—Kime Heller-Neal of Wordsmith’s Key--works through the story three times, once per draft. She makes sure that my plot, pacing, characters all shine. I trust her to give me constructive comments that push me to make the story better. After I’ve finished my book, I send it to a copy editor—Sharon K. Garner—to catch typos and any grammatical errors that slipped past both myself and Kime.

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
IPG and INscribe Digital—my distributors—send my books to all major retailers and library services. You can get them at Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google Play, Hoopla, and over 200 other retailers!

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
Yes! I’m always working on my next book, and sometimes switching into marketing mode can be difficult. I try to lump as much marketing to-do’s together—either doing it in one afternoon or spending a full day on it. That way, it’s all done, and I can just enjoy the writing process. I try to post on social media as consistently as I can, but when I’m deep in revisions, I completely forget about it. So, it’s hard for me to remember to do both! It’s a delicate balance.

What’s next for you?
I’ll be finishing my four-part science fantasy series—The Aunare Chronicles next. The first two books—Off Planet and Off Balance—are available now, and the next one—On Destiny—will release on 12/1. After that, I’ll be spinning off Samantha—who appeared in Alpha Erased—into her own series. The first book is called Invocation. Samantha’s series will be 3+ books long, a little bit spooky, a little bit funny, and have a solid romance sub-plot.

Alpha Erased
Aileen Erin
(Alpha Girls #9)
Published by: Ink Monster LLC
Publication date: May 12th 2020
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

Tessa—part witch, part werewolf, raised human and now the unofficial leader of a newly minted supernatural alliance—thinks nothing of her brother, Axel, texting her and Dastien to meet up. The location pin is in a weird spot, but maybe he found a magical anomaly?
But when Tessa steps into the darkened warehouse, she doesn’t expect to see her brother laying in a pool of his own blood, smell the sulfuric scent of black magic, or feel the pain of her mate being shot full of silver.
Tessa has seconds to make a choice, but there’s only one thing she can do to save the two most important men in her life—sacrifice herself.
The last thing Dastien hears from Tessa is her plea—help Axel. Then their bond goes silent. He can’t hear her. He can’t feel her. And there’s no sign of the attackers who took her.
Dastien does everything he can to save Axel before calling his friends in a panic. It takes all of them to find Tessa, but when Dastien’s finally reunited with her, there’s no sign of recognition in her eyes.
No magic in her touch.
No wolf beneath the surface.
Everything that made Tessa who she was…has been erased.

Author Bio:
Aileen Erin is half-Irish, half-Mexican, and 100% nerd–from Star Wars (prequels don’t count) to Star Trek (TNG FTW), she reads Quenya and some Sindarin, and has a severe fascination with the supernatural.
Aileen has a BS in Radio-TV-Film from the University of Texas at Austin, and an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She lives with her husband in Los Angeles, and spends her days doing her favorite things: reading books, creating worlds, and kicking ass.

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