- Can you tell us a little about yourself?
- I grew up and live in Baltimore County, Maryland. I’m personally very reserved but friendly and dedicated.
- Me, Myself & I is my first short story posted on Amazon KDP.
- Enemy Self is my debut novel, a cross-genre of new adult, psychological thriller, dark fantasy and sci-fi.
- I have published a few articles in local papers.
- I enjoy graphic design, brisk walks, unique concepts in movies, kayaking, and travel. Most passionately, I love interacting with my fans.
- Where do you get your ideas?
My ideas come from a combination of past experiences and my imagination. A few ideas are borrowed, most are my own.
- Do you work with an outline or just write?
I just write. Outlines do not work for me. They are too confining and limit my creativity.
- Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
Gosh there were so many. I had to find the cheapest way to do everything considering my budget and the chance that my book may flop.
I located an editor initially through Craigslist, later I learned about FIVERR, which was relatively new. I remember reviewing stiff criteria for manuscript submissions to agents in the traditional publishing arena and lots of rejection letters came back to me, enough to wallpaper my bathroom. Out of frustration I turned to self publishing. I purchased a stock photo from Canstockphoto.com for cover art then processed the image on Photoshop Elements, which was a learning curve in itself. As long as the manuscript took to write and exhaustively revise, the synopsis was very grueling to me. I struggled with the initial synopsis then a friend totally replaced it.
I converted the manuscript into an ebook format first. Ebooks have no back cover, which is great but I had to create a Table of Contents with hyperlinks. Smashwords has a free style guide for ebook publishing which I am grateful for, but invested a lot of time reading, re-reading, creating then proofing the hyperlinks.
I decided to publish the paperback with Amazon’s Createspace, now KDP, because it was the most affordable option. I had to learn all the technicalities which was not user friendly. One big surprise for example: an 8×11 page manuscript on Microsoft Word is about 112 pages; however, converts to a 6×9 paperback of 455 pages. I had a rude awakening, thinking that I created a thin book when it was actually one inch thick! Then there was the spine problem. Createspace offers a default paperback spine with no menu option to customize. I didn’t know this when I initially published. Therefore, when I revised my novel, I went back to the drawing board and used Photoshop Elements to restructure the spine.
So far I have Enemy Self in two formats, paperback and ebook. I haven’t pursued converting my novel into audio tape yet due to the high cost, however I will consider this task some time in the future.
What I’m trying to say is that it’s all a trade off: You can invest in a self-publishing agency such as iUniverse or Authorhouse which costs a few thousand based on a variety of package deals. You have to review and sign contracts or you can save the money and potential legal headaches and become something like a project manager by doing it yourself (DIY). You learn a ton of skills and consume a ton of time but you save money.
- Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
I was bullied in grade school so this novel hits home for me as well as thousands of others. The rest of the story is based on either my imagination or research.
- What was your favorite chapter or writing and why?
There were many favorite chapters. That’s why I fell in love with this story. But I’m going to pick Heart to Heart because it was so emotional and revealing. Kevin, Denise’s boyfriend, persuades Denise to see a therapist. Denise discloses to him that she was a hooker and other secrets.
- Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Yes. If you really passionately desire to be published, you’ve got to believe in yourself, because there’s a lot of obstacles in your way including your value as a writer, learning curves, rejections, technicalities, and lots of spending money along the process for book production and promotion.
- Do you try to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I am determined to be original. This is my passion.
- Do you view writing as a spiritual practice?
Yes, in a way. I put all my heart into it. I’m not doing it for marketplace supply and demand. This is about sending a message.
- What was your hardest scene to write?
I had a tough time imagining myself as a bully tormenting her victim. I mean, it’s a challenge if you were a victim to envision putting yourself in the opposite role.