Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Interview with Vicki Stiefel, CHANGED

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?

Changed is part of the Made Ones Saga, though it can be read as a stand alone. The question I ask in the series is: What if you could be young again? Would it be a dream come true or truly a nightmare?
The Eleutians are dying out, one female at a time. To save their species, the powerful Alchemic (science) clan conscripts women from parallel worlds, altering them into the perfect breeding stock. On Eleutia, humans have symbiont animals, thus the Wolf Clan (Altered), the Cat Clan (Changed), and many others. While the animal Clans vow to find the cause of the species' decline, the Alchemics increasingly lord over them. The three Earth sisters pulled to Eleutia—Kit, Bree, and Sybi—rock the world and forever change its future.

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers? I’ve been both traditionally and self-published. My journey to being traditionally published was the usual process of querying agents, who then queried publishers until one (happily) purchased my books.

How long before you got your offer of representation/your first contract? Was it for your first novel?
The wait was grueling. I would say it took two-plus years from my very first agent query to purchase by a publisher. The book was Body Parts, a mystery thriller. It was the fourth novel I had written—the other three live under my bed—and the first in my Tally Whyte homicide-counselor series.

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?
Right now I’m enjoying self-publishing enormously. I love the control. (I probably shouldn’t say that, but it’s true.) I also have the Afterworld Chronicles series—I’m working on book four. And I’m working on a third series that I may submit to my agent to see what traditional publishers think.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish your book(s)? That’s an easy one. The first book in the Afterworld Chronicles, Chest of Bone, was published by a small press, but the second book was a train wreck. They dropped the ball so badly that I bought back the rights to the book and began my self-publishing journey.

If you used a graphic designer/publisher’s designer, how involved were you during the creative process for your cover? I always use a professional graphic designer for my covers, and I am very involved in the process. In fact, I love it. I’m somewhat adept in Photoshop, so I create a mock up of my vision for the cover. Using that, the designer takes off on her own journey.

What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?
I write in silence, pure, unadulterated silence for my fiction. Not so much the nonfiction I write. I’m sort of a noise adverse person. I need silence to commit myself to the world I’m writing.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
I always hire both a developmental editor and a copyeditor. Always. The first sees all the messes I’ve made with my story and characters so I can fix them. The second hunts for typos and grammatical errors. Both are essential.

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale? Amazon is a terrific venue for authors, but its not the only game in town for readers. So my books are available wide, meaning you can buy them in paperback, as well as on iBooks, Kobo, Nook, get them through libraries, as well as a variety of other venues.

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

Write every day. It’s that simple and that complex. It’s easy enough to do, but when the words don’t come, it can be enormously frustrating. But if an author writes every day, almost like a meditative practice, it becomes muscle memory. So, sure, you’re going to have stuff that you have to throw out because it’s garbage. But you’ll find gems, too, and will move your story forward.

Besides writing, do you have any other passions?

My kids, family, and friends. I love few things more than teaching writing. Critters. Scuba diving. Fly fishing. Zuni fetish carvings. Lobster.

What’s next for you?

The Made Ones Saga’s third book, Awakened (working title) is progressing, and I’m so pumped. Awakened is a huge climactic book that’s already surprising me. I’m also working on Chest of Fire (Afterworld Chronicles), and a few other secret projects.

Vicki Stiefel
(The Made Ones Saga, #2)
Publication date: August 13th 2020
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Romance

What if you could be young again? Would it be a dream come true or truly a nightmare?

That’s the startling reality retired circus trapeze artist Breena Balážová awakens to on the world of Eleutia in her own re-engineered younger body. For a woman whose death on Earth was inches away, it seems like a second chance at life. But in this parallel world, where horses fly and animals and humans are symbionts, Bree is intended as breeding stock to balance the plummeting female birthrate.

As she searches for her missing sisters, who were pulled to Eleutia with her, Bree also must survive assassination attempts, the growing threat of war, and her unexpected attraction to the arrogant animal Clan Alpha, Gato, a man with terrible burdens and secrets.

The animal Clans join forces to combat a dark conspiracy that will shake the foundations of their world, even as Bree’s search for her sisters grows more desperate and dangerous.

If Bree has any hope of finding her sisters and fulfilling her own destiny, she and Gato must carry out a perilous deception, their success or failure deciding not only their own fate, but that of all Eleutia.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

Author Bio:

Vicki’s fantasy romantic suspense series, The Afterworld Chronicles, launched with Chest of Bone, followed by Chest of Stone and Chest of Time. She is currently pounding the keys on her series’ fourth novel, Chest of Fire, and the first in a new series, The Made Ones Sags: Altered.

Her mystery/thrillers include Body Parts, The Dead Stone, The Bone Man, and The Grief Shop, a Daphne du Maurier prize winner. All feature homicide counselor Tally Whyte. All are available as ebooks.

She co-wrote (with Lisa Souza) and photographed the 10 Secrets of the LaidBack Knitters. With her late husband, William G. Tapply, she ran The Writers Studio workshops in creative fiction.

Vicki taught fiction writing and modern media writing at Clark University.
She loves both a well-crafted sentence and unlocking the doors of a student’s imagination.

She grew up in professional theater and planned to become an actress, with a bent for song and dance. She didn’t. Instead, she’s been a professional photographer, a high-school teacher, a hamburger slinger, a scuba-shop manager, and an editor.
She’s Blake’s and Ben’s mom, her favorite role of all.

Her passions include scuba diving and fly fishing and knitting; photography and movies; vinho verde and bourbon (not together!); Maine lobster and chocolate (also not together!); and musical comedy scores, which she sing in the shower, unfortunately not an Equity venue; and a fascination with people in all walks of life.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram


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  1. Thanks for being on the tour! :)

  2. I liked the blurb. It sounds like a really interesting book. Thank you for sharing.


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