Question: How do you get inspiration for your characters and plots?
Answer: The simplest answer is: I am an avid reader. Some of you wonderful readers are absolutely ravenous in the books you consume and it astounds me. I’ll send out an ARC and a few hours later people will be emailing me back telling me they (usually) loved it. I’m always dumbfounded. I feel like I’m a fast reader, but wow.
I do read, and I read a lot. Ever since I was younger, my parents (both big readers themselves) have worked to instill the love with me. At first they would take me to the library every two weeks. I had to take out ten books. I could pick ANY ten that I wanted to read, but I had to get ten. I don’t remember exactly when, but at some point ten became a meaningless number because I would be getting as many as I could. Again, at some unremembered time later, we stopped going to the library.
That’s what I started my own collection. One of my most vivid memories of reading as a child is my father reading to me the Chronicles of Narnia. I peg that moment/series as what sparked a lifelong love of the fantasy genre. From there I moved in to the Hardy Boys/Tom Swift. It gets worse. (Well, better in my eyes!)
I gobbled all those up, and in some of the Tom Swift books there were talks of spaceships. When I was about 12 or 13 I received a copy of the original Star Wars Trilogy on VHS. I was a lost cause after that, I’m sorry! I read a lot of fantasy and science fiction to this day. The bigger the book, the better (Usually!). I’m still hoping that one day I can meet Steven Erikson (Author of the Malazan Book of the Fallen series) or Jim Butcher (The Dresden Files & Codex Alera series), as they are some of my favorites.
This extensive reading has allowed me to bring a wealth of ideas and crazy schemes (I’ve had to pull back on a lot of the things I’ve originally thought about putting into my books!) to my own books that I think don’t get brought up as often by other romance authors. To me though it just makes everything more entertaining. If you want more traditional, I’m sorry! I like my action, and romantic suspense combined with the paranormal elements is much more up my alley. There’s plenty for everyone though.
I’m sure there are other things that help, but reading a wide variety of books gives me lots of inspiration for characters of my own.
Question: What does a typical work day look like?
Short Answer: There is no typical work day.
Longer Answer: There is no typical work day.
Every day is different. Most days I try to be up and working for some time between 8 and 9am. I spend half an hour or so on various author forums, social media, and if I’m not feeling overwhelmed, email. (Sorry ARC team, I’m not replying to your emails cause I’m writing this…love you all though!). After that, I start to write.
Depending on how my muse is functioning, this gets divvied up into three or four sections. If the words are flowing, I try to do three chunks in a day. I will do two chunks, usually with a thirty minute break to get up, walk around, get some water, check my phone for texts and messages from friends and such, send my partner an ‘I love you’ or something because he’s so awesome but still has to go to work every day, and then get back to it.
After two chunks (Three if I’m splitting the day into quarters) I break for lunch. This is one hour. I eat, and usually watch some home renovation shows while I’m doing so, and then it’s back to work. After I finish the last chunk of writing, I’ll spend some more time on social media, emails, and marketing. I do a lot of Facebook advertising and also on Amazon as well, which you need to stay on top of or else it can get out of hand.
All told I usually work for roughly 8 hours a day. I write 6,000 words a day in 3 x 2,000 or 4 x 1,500 word sections. Once I’ve done that, I call it a day. I’ll go read a book, do chores (ugh) or go to the mall after, depending on how hard it was to get everything done. (Retail therapy? Yes please!). I do this with the expectation that I’ll repeat it seven days a week. But I will take time off. If I need a day to go see my parents, done. Or if we want to sneak away last minute to go stay at a hotel, waste money at a casino and get drunk on over-priced wine, we do that too! It definitely allows me some freedom, but only because I treat it like what it is, a job.
It’s a hell of a fun job, but if you don’t take it seriously, then you aren’t likely to see the success of it either.
I had a lot of folks email me various questions, and I’m going to respond to some of the biggest ones that I got the most of.
Question: Are you ever going to go back to Genesis Valley?
Answer: I get this question all the time, and it warms my heart every time someone asks for more books written in this world! Even though I haven’t published a story in it in well over a year now, I still get requests to go see what’s up with Marcus & Valen, the Ruby Crew and others that were hinted at.
Truthfully, I would love to do just that. The idea of going back there excites me. I can just see the covers for the Ruby Crew now. But covers and the idea of writing in the world are one thing. Coming up with a story that I feel would do the Genesis Valley world justice is something else entirely, and the main reason why I’ve stayed away. Until I feel that I have the story necessary to tell, then I’m not going to do it. I don’t want to put out something subpar, simply for the sake of going back there.
But I’m definitely not ruling it out as ‘never’. It’s more of a ‘when the time is right’ sort of thing.
Question: What about the rescued Kronum Shifters from the Bad Dad stories in Cloud Lake?
Answer: So originally they were supposed to be the focus of the Bad Dad series, believe it or not. But as I started writing, it all just morphed on me into something else completely. I’d always intended for that series to be the cap to the Cadia world. There were too many other stories bouncing around in my head, I couldn’t focus the way I needed to, to keep writing. I needed a change of pace. Unfortunately, along the lines, those poor Kronum Shifters got screwed over (again, I might add).
Right now I imagine them happily living out life in Cloud Lake along with the Koche’s, Gray and all the others, finding their way and maybe even stumbling across their own fated mate. After that, weddings, pregnancies and babies oh my! All the good stuff.
But at this time, there are no plans in the work to go back and tell their stories. Maybe someday, but not for now.
Question: Why did I, as an author, decide to make my works all available via the Kindle Unlimited Platform, instead of opting for straight sales?
Answer: Hoo boy. If this were one of those little booklets you get when writing an exam for school (Yes, I’m forcing us all to think way back! Haha), I would definitely have my hand up to request another one right off the bat to answer this question.
Kindle Unlimited is a blessing and a curse for us authors. I’ll try not to harp on about it too much, but I apologize if I am weak and throw in some snide comments about it along the way.
Back when I published my debut novella Rogue Bear in July of 2015, Kindle Unlimited version 2.0 (KU2) had just been released. Literally the same day of release (July 1st). KU2 essentially sends your ebook through a system at Amazon that unifies it with all books (strips formatting, applies constant font style/size, etc), and then spits out a number of pages. This is not the pages you as a reader see. Only the authors see this number. Then, as you read our book, we get paid based on the number of those pages you read. It’s an interesting system, but there are a lot of flaws, and it’s fairly easily gamed, unfortunately.
But we’re not going to get into that, because this is a question about why I, Amelia, decided to use it as a platform for my books. The easiest answer is that I was new. An unknown. Unproven, nobody knew if I had the writing chops to hang with the big girls (and boys) on the playground.
As an indie-author, part of my mindset is always about marketing/getting my name out there. It is difficult! I like being able to pay the bills with my income, it’s fantastic, but it is a heck of a lot of work! I work 8-5, seven days a week, either writing, marketing, plotting, editing, etc. It is a full time job and then some. I’m not asking for pity or sympathy, I chose this path. But what my point is, is that I needed a marketing platform that would work hard for me.
Kindle Unlimited was it. There was no penalty to those who read my books via Kindle Unlimited. They could give them all a try and see if they liked them, while still paying the same monthly flat fee.
What KU is, is a platform to help us unknowns have a chance to compete with the traditionally published authors that everyone knows and loves.
There were several times I thought about pulling my support from KU. Not because of the readers, but because of the way Amazon has treated us authors over it. But I haven’t, and the main reason for that, is you. The reader. I put them in there for you, to make your life easier, and to encourage you to keep up with all the antics that my characters seem to get up to.
I receive 2-3 emails a week thanking me for having my books available in KU, because otherwise they might not be able to afford to read all the books from their favorite authors. That brings a smile to my face, because they’re including me in their list of favorite authors, and that is one of the biggest compliments an author could get.
Anyway, that’s the longwinded answer to the question about Kindle Unlimited. It started off as a tool for visibility, and now I do it because I want to ensure everyone has the opportunity to read my books.