Tell us something about your book. The basics: what’s it about?
Welcome, Reluctant Stranger! (WRS) is Book 3 in my series, Between Two Worlds, which is a saga about a contemporary family living in the San Francisco Bay Area. WRS is the story of Leilani and Justin, the second son in the family. In a nutshell, it’s about the many faces of love spun into a tale of loss, past political intrigue, and a young woman’s inner journey, accepting her past.
Leilani heals others. But can she heal herself when she learns the devastating reason her family fled their homeland without her father? Justin is a computer nerd whose seven-year relationship just broke up. They meet when Leilani rescues him while he was being assaulted by thugs and they go on a journey together to rescue her father.
How did you come to self-publish? Did you try to get published traditionally?
I did try traditional for the first book in the series. The main concern, I think, for traditional publishers is to sell to their established niches. One of those I pitched to said my manuscript was very well-written but, essentially, her group wasn’t interested in my story (stated in PC terms, of course). Another actually told me that they don’t accept stories where main protagonists “cheat.” The others just sent me form letters.
What self-publishing service did you use? Happy with the service?
Amazon kdp. It works quite well for me. I do have some html experience which you have less need of if you publish fiction, but it actually helps more for nonfiction.
What avenues have you taken to market the book? Have you gotten reviews, interviews, TV, print media coverage?
For the first books in the series, I trolled many book blogs begging for reviews. Most times you don’t get them. For WRS, I had help from a marketing company which netted me 20 reviews.
For book promotion, I’ve gone on a book tour and will go again to one in August. I announce my free days on Facebook and Goodreads groups, and advertise on book sites. Here’s an account of my recent experience: How can you boost your kdp free days? Useful data-based insights.
What drove you to write this particular book?
This book, in my mind is a logical, linear offshoot of the first two books. It seemed natural that I should write it. What I didn’t anticipate is my decision to make the heroine an ethnic woman, a Pacific Islander who, as a child, flees from a country in turmoil. I had misgivings about the appeal of an interracial pairing because of remarks like those I cite in my article cited above.
Is the book in any one particular genre? Is it a genre that’s familiar to you?
At Amazon, WRS falls in these categories: Romance-multicultural and International Mystery and Crime. Are these genres? The publisher of shewrites.com says no. Genre refers to an industry-defined classification system and though I might think of my novel as crossing genres, she advises not doing so, for that only marks me (or you) as an “amateur.” Conceptually, the difference between genre and category may not matter, but it matters in marketing and when you make a pitch to a traditional publisher.
Who are your greatest writing influences?
I’m not quite sure what a “writing influence” is. Of romance writers, I like Jane Austen’s novel of manners approach since I find human quirks fascinating. I’m in awe of writers with a gift for prose that sings but is, at the same time, clear and, if possible, economic. To me, Gilbert K. Chesterton, Robert Hughes, Evelyn Waugh, and Chitra Divakaruni count among those.
What’s your writing regimen? Any tips for keeping focused?
I write in between the daily grind that is living—in the morning and when everything is quiet at night. Minimal distractions and ideas churning in my head are all I require.
Would you self-publish again?
All my four novels are self-published. I suppose that speaks for itself.
Any final words of advice for those looking to self-publish?
I never presume to give advice. I’ll give my opinion, though. The gaps between selfies—if I may borrow that term—and traditionalists are closing. The resources to aid writers, the advantages, earnings, even the need to assume a significant role in marketing. As a selfie, I would concentrate on writing the best book I can possibly write. And read, read, read the truly great writers.