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An Interview with Tiera Rice: Author of Awakening: Bloodline Book One

Tiera RiceTiera Rice was raised in Rockland County, New York and is a realtor in Rockland, Westchester, and Orange Counties. She earned her degree in criminal justice from Temple University, is the founder of Laughter and Lemonade: a project that focuses on motivational posters for those experiencing a chronic illness, and co-founder of #26forTiera: a foundation that provides financial resources to single parents battling life-threatening illnesses.

A creator of poems and short-stories for many years, Tiera challenged herself by leaping into the world of novels. Having recently survived a battle with cancer, Tiera decided to use her writing to entertain and motivate her readers. When not writing or selling houses, Tiera can be found spending time with her friends and family, especially her young daughter, fish, and kitty cat. Her other interests include singing, drawing, and dancing.

Why did you choose to self-publish?

I chose to go the self-publishing route because I like to have control over every aspect of the process–from what to write, how to write, editors, marketing, etc. I’m very hands-on, and felt that too much would be taken from me if I were to go with a traditional publisher. I also created a publishing company, Eula Rae Printing & Publishing, in which I plan on taking other indie authors under my wing.

What tools or companies did you use, and what experience did you have?

Reading/researching were my number one tools! Before continuing on the self-publishing route, I made sure that it was something I wholeheartedly wanted to pursue. I knew that having a great cover would set me apart, even before the story is read. I researched companies and came across Damonza.com. I told them my idea for my cover and what they came up with was fantastic. Damonza also has other services, like social media banners, formatting, book marks etc. I enjoyed working with them. I found them to be affordable with excellent results and I appreciated their communication. Similarly, I researched editors from the Editorial Freelance Association, and “interviewed” two potential editors. After a free sample edit, I fell in love with the editing that Caitlin McKenna, of Scoria Press, had done for me. I’ve had a pleasant experience working with her and am using her on future pieces.

What did you learn on your journey as an author?

My passion is my number one motivator. While writing Awakening, I had a major setback when I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of lymphoma. While undergoing extensive treatments, I was unable to write. But near the middle/end of my treatments, I was called to my story again. I had to answer, I had to get Awakening completed no matter what. There are many, many times I was unsure of where it was going, and had severe “writer’s block,” but my passion for writing and goal of needing to finish my story are what made it possible. Like me, my characters are faced with obstacles that they must overcome in order to grow. Always use the writing process as a way of developing yourself, and your craft, into the best you (and it) can be.

Awakening: Bloodline Book OneTell us about your book.

Awakening is a story of self-exploration and family history, with Vampyres and Witches thrown into the mix! Written in alternating point-of-views, it follows Antanasia (set in 1480 Romania) and her story being the daughter of Dracula. How Antanasia deals with the war she was born into and how she handles the challenges she faces. Simultaneously, we have Nadia (set in 2015 NYC) who is learning the truth about who she is and who her family is. A practicing Witch, she starts to develop abilities that she recognizes as a Vampyre Awakening–what does this mean for her now? How does she handle this reveal and what she’s learned about her family? Awakening is a story of parallel lives and the first installment of the Bloodline series.

What do you think are the main pitfalls for indie writers?

I think as indie writers, we aren’t taken as seriously, unfortunately. After Awakening was published, I contacted the owner of a small bookstore to see about hosting an event there. He gave me every excuse under the sun to not give me an opportunity, the number one reason being that it wasn’t published by a big name publisher. I have heard that indie stories rarely, if ever, make a best-selling list, regardless if it’s a best seller or not. To these things I say, I’ll pave my way to the top regardless of what I’m told. I have the passion, drive, ability, and a story to make it there, one way or another. I have to work harder, but it makes the rewards that much sweeter.

As a writer, what is your schedule? How do you get the job done?

Honestly, I have no set schedule LOL! I write when I can, whether that’s 9pm or 4am. To this day, I’m still unsure as to how I was able to finish Awakening, especially while going through treatments, but somehow I found the time. I would love to sit here and say, “I wrote for 2 hours everyday in the morning religiously,” but that’s not the case. I’m a single mother of a two-year old, and a Realtor. I write when I’m called to write, in between mommy and real estate duties.

What tips can you give other authors looking to self-publish?

Do lots of research!! I’ve read numerous articles about everything dealing with self-publishing before 100% committing to the idea. Make sure that it is right for you. If you are on a budget, as I was, I definitely recommend spending it on editing and your cover. Then promote, promote, promote! Try everything! Just because one person says they are unable to help you, doesn’t mean that the next person can’t help you. If self-publishing is what you really wish to pursue, then go all out and do it right! Don’t get discouraged.

Why did you want to write a book?

I’ve always loved to write. Seriously. I have stories that I’d started back in second grade just begging me to finish them. I was going through a spiritual shift when the idea for Awakening first came to me. I decided to focus on that story, to cultivate it and see where it could take me. Most of the time, a new idea comes to me and I run off after it, leaving the piece I’m working on behind me. I made sure that I made Awakening my priority, so that I could finally finish a piece I’ve started. While undergoing cancer treatments, I told myself that should I leave this world before my time, would I be content knowing that Awakening wasn’t finished? The answer was NO, and so, I made it my mission to complete it, no matter what. Writing is the best way for me to express myself, without judgement or concern, and I love the way my words flow on paper. It was about time to share it with the world.

How do you deal with writer’s block?

Oh, writer’s block..how I (don’t) adore you. How do I deal? Sometimes I don’t. I may pull my hair out or scream into a pillow. I may type “ajsndlahsdlua” over and over until something that makes sense comes to me. What I’ve learned is that it’s okay if you are stuck in your story – it’s best not to force it; that just makes the idea run farther away. So, what I do is try to focus on something else. Maybe write about my writer’s block, or just journal. As long as I’m writing SOMETHING, eventually I get over that hurdle and can continue with my story.

What have you learned from this experience?

The process of writing and publishing is not an easy feat. You have to be strong, and constantly remind yourself of why you’re doing this. It is easy to say, “forget it, this is too challenging,” pack up your pens and notebooks, and be done with it. The hardest part is pushing forward and trusting that you’re writing a great story. This process is also not a fast one. Some people look at writers and think how easy that job must be. First, I don’t consider writing (for me) a “job” – it’s a gift I have a passion I like to share, that just so happens to pay me from time to time. Secondly, creating a solid concept, crafting a story around it, having it be edited and critiqued – all not easy. I have to swallow my pride, put on my big-girl pants and accept that perhaps this story needs more work in order to be the best it can be – and that’s okay! I had to remind myself that not everyone will like my story. If everyone liked everything, this would be a pretty boring world!

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