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Interview with the Author
What initially got you interested in writing?
Since I was a kid, I spent free time coming up with new stories, playing out different scenarios with the people and events going on around me. I never really took a serious interest in it until my husband and I started traveling for his job to some pretty remote areas where there was little to do outside within reasonable driving distance. There’s only so much time a housewife can spend on Pinterest before her vision blurs. So I decided to try out that crazy writer dream. When I realized how many self-publishing services were available and the popularity of indie publishing (no longer feeding the stigma of “artists can’t make money”), I was thrilled. But I’m the type that sees an open door and wants to peek inside.
What genres do you write in?
I primarily write science fiction, fantasy, romance (holiday and suspense), and one children’s book (planning a few more). I should add that most of my books have a military subgenre or at least a character connected to the military in some way.
What drew you to writing these specific genres?
I’m a sucker for anything space-related. I love Star Trek and Star Wars and reading scifi novels. So that choice came about naturally. I enjoy romance novels that feature imperfect people struggling to better themselves in a judgmental world. Sometimes, I have to write what I only wish I could find to read. I also have a few fantasy novels in the works for publication in the next few years. Those are mostly a fun way to experiment with character stories that don’t fit the typical profiles.
How did you break into the field?
Stellar Fusion is my first book. I started with science fiction because I had the strongest, most-developed idea in that genre. I stumbled my way through a few different versions while learning the self-pub landscape. But soon after I published the first version, I had a five star review from a customer. So I thought, “Okay, maybe my writing doesn’t suck.” I’m now three books into that series with one romance and one children’s book published, and three more books coming this year, possibly four if I can manage it. I don’t think readers know how much they motivate us with their reviews.
What do you want readers to take away from reading your works?
There are countless messages in my books, so it would be hard to list them all here. It’s not so much that I’m imposing ideas, merely presenting them for consideration. I want readers to enjoy the action scenes and quieter loving moments, but I also hope they think about the conflicts. I have tons of symbols in my books, though I won’t define them outright.
A few messages in my works:
Family doesn’t have to be blood.
Love and understanding can mend most things.
We build more when we let go of our differences.
No one’s life is perfect, even if it looks that way.
Scars are beautiful symbols of strength.
Invisible illnesses hurt too.
What do you find most rewarding about writing?
When someone reviews one of my books and points out something that really stuck with them, it confirms that what I’m writing has meaning, that I made their life for the better if only for a moment. I write stories that I love, but I publish them for my readers. Knowing what makes readers happy, within my work, helps me (constructively) fine-tune the next books.
What do you find most challenging about writing?
Developmental self-editing is hard. It’s difficult to know how others will perceive certain events or bits of dialogue. This is why critique partners are so important. Getting multiple perspectives can make a huge difference. What is normal to me may not be normal for others. The most difficult part is finding CPs that will finish the whole book and give quality feedback. Without them, the manuscript can’t move on for further editing. I’m patient with most things. But when it comes to getting my books published, I’m a kid in a candy store, already hyped-up on Twinkies and caramel macchiatos.
What advice would you give to people wanting to enter the field?
It’s not hard if you set up a plan and stick to it.
Write your book, and then take a class on editing/writing craft. Edit your book. Do this a few times before your search for CPs. And CP before you hire an editor. It will help you cut out unnecessary chunks so you don’t have to pay an editor to tell you the same thing.
Have a website and a marketing plan. Readers today want to see you in at least three places online to know you’re legit: Amazon, Goodreads, and a personal website for your books—at a minimum. If you can be on a few social media platforms like Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, do that.
Set up a blog.
Build an email subscriber list so you can send Advanced Review Copies of your books as a thank you for being loyal.
Set up a pre-order.
Run ads before, during, and after launch.
Do book review campaigns.
The list seems endless. It kind of is. Just try a few things and figure out what works for you. Most of us can’t afford to do everything, so be deliberate in what you choose to put your money toward. Look at reviews for the services and try to aim for your best ROI.
I will say this: no marketing platform = no one will know your book even exists. If you’re not getting sales, that’s likely the reason.
What type of books do you enjoy reading?
I love fast-paced scifi and fantasy that blend science and magic. Cyberpunk, biopunk. and space exploration/battle themes are my favorite. Action, crazy tech, galactic empires, aliens, robots, and comedic characters are some of my most enjoyed elements.
I’m also a fan of holiday romance for its cozy and uplifting mood and romantic suspense for the tense mystery and the ever-beating question of whether the lovers will make it together or not.
Is there anything else besides writing you think people would find interesting about you?
I actually don’t like sitting inside at my computer. I’d much rather be outside hiking, camping, riding ATVs, working on the car, gardening, bodybuilding at the gym, etc. I’m not your typical book lover. I am not librarian material. But I write from my experiences, from places we’ve traveled in our RV, and from the people that I’ve met. I want my stories to feel as real as they can, so I often write from experience.
What are the best ways to connect with you, or find out more about your work?
You can find more info on my books at: http://atomic-temporary-109968461.wpcomstaging.com or on my Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/elysiastrife
I’m also on social media:
Thanks for having me!