It’s Robin Stephen on the blog this time. She is the author of the Chronicles of the Tessilari series of fantasy novellas. You can visit her website at http://robinstephen.com/
1) Tell us about yourself. Where are you from?
I grew up in Tucson, Arizona, went to college in Flagstaff, Arizona, spent a year studying abroad in Swansea, Whales and currently live in Iowa City, Iowa. I’ve always loved to read, and am an introvert who is very selective in my friendships. I share my life with my wonderful husband, our four horses, and our young dog.
2) Tell us about your Tessilari series.
I have a particular interest in relationships between animals and humans. The Tessilari are a people who can form a magical bond with tiny dragon-like creatures called tessili. At the beginning of this series, there is only one place left in the world where these creatures live. Only a few people who can bond with them have survived, and they can learn magic. This novella trilogy is the first of several that will interconnect to tell the larger story of this world.
3) When did the writing bug first bite you?
I first began writing fiction as soon as I could hold a pencil. When I was 8 years old, a short story I wrote won a contest. I had some poems published in an anthology the next year, then completed my first novel (100,000 words) when I was 14. So, I have never really not had the writing bug. 🙂
4) Can you describe your favourite character in your books in ten words?
Jey doesn’t know her history, but she’ll hunt it down.
5) How do you prepare your books for publication?
It’s a lengthy process involving quite a few people. In a nutshell, it goes like this: writing, rewriting, more rewriting, sending to beta readers, more rewriting, editing by me, editing by my editor, editing by me again, editing by my editor again, cover design, formatting, and, at last, publication. I think the most important thing about publishing your own work is not to rush the process. When in doubt about a particular work, I let it sit for a year and come back to it.
6) What has been your best marketing technique so far?
I have had good luck with email lists. My most successful promos were with ebooksoda and ReadCheaply.
7) Aside from writing, do you have other hobbies?
I spend a good deal of time riding and training horses. I am also (of course) a voracious reader.
8) Have you ever included any incident from your own life in your books (or anything close)?
I often include moments or slightly modified events from my life in my work. For instance, my book A Man Who Rides (published under my pen name Stefani Wilder) was inspired by a particular moment when my husband and I were driving through Montana and had to stop so a group of cowboys driving a herd of horses could cross the road. It was sunrise, and the horses were stirring up dust. This cowboy with a flag was standing in the road to direct traffic. The image stuck with me, so I wrote a book that began with a similar scene.
9) You maintain a blog and a website. How important have they been for you as a writer?
One of my difficulties as a writer has been that I like to write in several different genres, which slows down the process of building an audience. As a result, I’ve experimented with websites that combine all my pen names vs websites that only focus on just one. Though my current websites have led to a some connections and my mailing list is useful, I have realized I personally prefer to spend my time producing new fiction rather than blog posts. I use my blog mainly for cut and dry updates for people who have already discovered my work, and focus elsewhere when it comes to finding new readers.
10) What has been your highest writing output in one day?
I’m not actually sure! It’s a rare day I don’t write 1,000 – 2,000 words. When my momentum is really high, it’s not uncommon for me to have a 3,000 – 5,000 word day. I recently had a massive binge day where I wrote over 10k. I don’t think that was my biggest day ever, but it was probably close.
11) What will you be publishing next and when?
My next novella trilogy, Annals of the Brinlocks, is being readied for publication now. The first book, Brinlin Isle, will come out in June.
12) Anything you would like to add?
I think the most important advice on writing I ever took to heart came from Stephen King’s book, On Writing. He said, “The first million words are practice.” When I read that, I counted up my works and discovered I wasn’t even halfway there. This helped me put it all in perspective and focus on learning and growing and not worrying about publishing for a long time. I’ve now written over 1.5 million words in my life. I am constantly trying to grow as a writer and hope to retain that mindset for a lifetime.
A. J. Chaudhury is a young author from India writing mostly in the fantasy genre. His historical low fantasy short “A Song of Blood” releases shortly. Click here to download his fantasy novella “The Drabird” for free.