1. I know you get asked this all time time, but can you tell us a little bit about yourself and about the Marina’s Tales series?
I have three beautiful daughters (yay-fellow mother of twins!), and checking out their reading material re-acquainted me with my neglected love of books. Reading the series they love, from Harry Potter toTwilight, really opened my eyes to all the wonderful books in the YA genre, and inspired me to try my hand at writing a story of my own.
I decided to set my little tale in Aptos, in the charming seaside neighborhood where my husband and I spent the first ten years of our marriage. There really is a broken down old cement ship at the end of a pier, and the setting just kind of screamed mermaid. It turns out I’m a pantser, and once I got going, the story took on a life of its own – I still have no idea exactly how I’m going to get to the HEA.
2. The Marina’s Tales stories are a lot of fantasy and romance with a little bit of suspense thrown in there. I’ll admit that I loved reading the romance parts the most…Which part was your favorite to write?
I loved writing the “meet cute” part, imagining those sweet, uncertain moments at the very beginning of falling in love. Remembering all the dancing around each other that happens at the start of a relationship made me nostalgic. I’ve been married to my wonderful husband for twenty three years now, so I really had to dig deep!
3. Marina is easy to love. Besides Marina, who is your favorite character and why?
I have a soft spot in my heart for Cruz, but probably had the most fun writing Shayla’s dialogue. I hung around with so many punk kids like her – the only hard part was taking the f-bomb out of every other phrase. I wanted to keep the story relatively clean for my daughter’s sake.
4. Marina loved to paint. Ethan loved nature. Cruz loved fashion. Megan loved to sing. There is a huge subculture of surfing throughout the series…How much of yourself and/or your family did you put into these characters?
Bits and pieces of all sorts of real people blend together into my fictional ones.
There was no shortage of surfer dudes in Aptos, and I actually do have an eccentric and sophisticated aunt who was a glamorous model in “Mad Men” era New York and Paris (unfortunately, she did not marry money!).
My checkered past : Leaving home at an early age, waitressing in all kinds of different restaurants, and having some colorful friends and roommates definitely helps me with character development. When I finally wised up and dropped back into school, I was an art-major by day and an airport-hotel bartender by night.Talk about characters!
5. I’m very excited about a fourth book in the series, The Turning Tides…At this point, can you tell us anything about it?
It’s still in the works, but I can say that an evil scientist and a giant aquarium will figure into it…
6. I have intense respect for self-published and indie published authors. What can you tell me about the process of being self-published? Has it been challenging, rewarding, etc? What are the pros vs. cons?
When I finished my first book, I fired off a couple dozen queries to literary agents. I got back one request for a partial, and then… crickets. I was pretty dispirited, but my visionary entrepreneurial husband encouraged me to go ahead and self publish. He believed that the advent of e-readers would change the face of publishing – several years before anyone else even started talking about it.
Amazon, B&N Pubit, and Smashwords make it relatively easy to convert a Word document, and provide lots of free information about formatting.
The best part about self publishing e-books? Nothing is set in stone, and you can go back in and tweak them at any time. Hello second edition = goodbye typos!
The worst part about being an indie… see the next question.
7. After the publishing comes the marketing! Can you talk a little bit about putting yourself out there as a self-published author? What seems to work best for you?
So far, the only marketing I’ve done is to query book bloggers for honest reviews. Take a bow, because BOOK BLOGGERS ARE AWESOME!!! I’ve gotten lots of valuable feedback, much needed encouragement, and some very constructive criticism from you guys.
That said, I’m terrible about social networking, and I’m probably the last person on earth that isn’t on Facebook and doesn’t Tweet. I have old friends who accuse me of “going hermit”. I know they have a point, but I just see it as one more thing to deal with, like getting a new puppy. I can see that this is an area where a publisher might come in handy.
One day I’ll probably get with the promotion program, but for now, I’m working on improving my writing chops by finishing this series. I have an idea for a stand-alone thriller, and also a totally different YA series I’d like to start one day soon.
I’ve been self employed for many years now, so I’m used to flying without a net. My husband and I run a small business out of our garage, and with two high school seniors going off to college this fall, we’re pretty much resigned to working the rest of our lives.
On a positive note, my book sales have been slowly climbing, and I’m just about able to cover my monthly chocolate & red wine bill! What more could a girl want?
8. What, if anything, have you learned about yourself through the process of writing?
That I’m a serial obsessive. My garden is seriously overgrown right now, I’ve neglected my painting, and since I’ve started writing, more than one load of laundry has gone sour in the washing machine.
Wow, Derrolyn! Thank you so much for your time and interview!
I LOVE Cruz too and I think he is a favorite among
other readers as well…
I’m so excited about the next book in Marina’s Tales coming out
and I can’t wait to read it!
AND…covering that chocolate and wine bill sounds pretty good to me!
Thank you for stopping by and you are welcome here anytime!
Now for the GIVEAWAY!
The author has generously provided one set
of the Marina’s Tales books (ebook copies) for one reader!
AND…she has provided
a few extra copies of
Between The Land And The Sea,
for a couple of readers!
You must be at least 13 years old to enter.
Deadline for entry is Friday, February 3, 2012.
This contest is open to Everyone.
To enter, please fill out this form: