Today I am talking with BrookeLynn Winters about her new release, Covered In Darkness.
Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
My name is BrookLynne Winters and I am currently a mom of four and a full time student at Arkansas State where I am pursuing a Masters in English. I grew up in Arkansas but left at 18 to join the Navy. After 12 years away, I finally came back here to raise my family.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
New York Times Bestseller list and a movie deal of course! Seriously. People laugh when I say that I don’t believe in aspiring to something unless you aspire big! I don’t wish on stars, I find stars!
Which writers inspire you?
I grew up on the classics so a few would be Charlotte Bronte, Jane Austin, Alexander Dumas, and Louisa May Alcott. Some modern day writers that inspire me are Julie Kagawa, Chevy Stevens, Kresley Cole, and Lisa Gardner.
Great! So let’s get right to your novels!
What have you written? What genre do you typically write? What genres are your books?
Currently I only have one book published but the sequel release is just around the corner. My current novel is fantasy and Young Adult (or New Adult). I have several projects in the works and two of them are also YA but I also have a crime novel that is coming out and I have been dabbling in a period piece.
I write creative non-fiction on my blog which can be found at www.fallingaddiction.blogspot.com
I thoroughly enjoy poetry and when I was 12 I had a short poem published. I have never really attempted to publish my poetry, however, and I simply share it on my blog or author page from time to time.
Where can we buy or see them?
My novel is available through Lulu.com as well as Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
My main character is Meagan. Without giving too much away, I will just say that she is hot headed like many teens today but she also has a very logical side that will turn out to be very useful for her. She finds out in the book that her entire background has been a lie and that being human is not something that fate has in store for her. She is able to recognize the importance of humanity and soul, however, throughout the book and that gives her a unique gift.
Give us a summary of what your book is about.
Meagan Farrow is about to turn seventeen. She is about to graduate high school. She has just moved to a new town and she looks forward to meeting new people. Except: She is not turning seventeen, she is not going to graduate high school, and the new people she is about to meet are not exactly the average run of the mill teenage associations.
Everything Meagan knows is about to be flipped upside down. She is about to discover that who she always thought she was, was nothing more than nature’s deception. Boiling beneath her calm and mature exterior, an entirely different creature churns restlessly, just waiting for the moment when transition takes place. What is coming is unavoidable and inescapable and, unless Meagan finds help fast, lethal and consuming to herself and everyone around her.
If you had to choose a favorite character that you’ve written, who would it be and why?
I think I would choose Kearn – who you can meet in Covered In Darkness. He reminds me of me in his obsession for certain things. Obsession can be dangerous and border on knocking a person over the edge. Kearn may or may not realize this in time. As people who feel very real emotions and hopes and dreams every day it can often turn to a dangerous pursuit if we do not temper ourselves.
What are you working on at the minute?
Currently I am working on the third book in the Covered In Darkness series as well as a YA novel about a girl who has the unlucky knack of being surrounded by death constantly. I am also working on an adult crime/suspense novel that deals with Human Trafficking – this book delves into the parts of the human mind and heart that we don’t like to acknowledge and often shut down because we believe it is better to distract than to face.
Wow, sounds like you’re really busy! That’s a good thing! But let’s talk about work.
When did you decide to become a writer?
I don’t think I ever really decided. Writing has just always been something I’ve done. I have vague memories of being four and five and writing little mini stories on index cards and then showing them to my parents. As soon as I learned how to write I started piecing together stories.
Why do you write?
Writing is an immense form of pleasure for me. It enables me to go places I might otherwise never go – it allows me the freedom to meet people I would normally never meet and to face challenges life may never present to me. Mainly, though, I write because I have always had characters in my head clamoring for attention and because I want others to enjoy what I experience daily in my imagination as much as I do.
What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?
I was in an English class during my undergrad when a line popped into my head. Just a tiny line that one of the characters in my mind whispered. I was immediately so fascinated that I pulled out a napkin and began scratching it down. One napkin turned into my entire supply, turned into several notebooks, turned into an entire book. I barely passed that class. LOL!
Do you write full-time or part-time?
I try to write at least three hours a day as I have classes and children. So I guess part-time?
How do you structure your day, by word count, hours or by pages?
I write until the characters decide to take a break from directing me. Sometimes that is only a few pages, a couple hundred words, and then other days I will write for 8 hours straight and heave out close to ten thousand words.
Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?
Computer and longhand, whichever is readily available.
Where do your ideas come from?
From anywhere. I have had ideas come to me from an epitaph on a gravestone, from a picture in a magazine, from a line of poetry, from randomly flipping through channels. Sometimes I get ideas in the middle of the night and I have no idea where they came from.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
Initially I see where it takes me. If it takes me past curiosity and the first five chapters and turns into “have to know” then I will sometimes scratch together a rough plot.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
I’m going to be the odd writer that says “I don’t know.” I see this question asked of writers a lot and they have amazing answers. For me, I truly don’t know. I just know that as I’ve grown up over the years I’ve gotten better at it.
What are your greatest challenges in writing and how have you adapted to them?
Remembering scars. I think it was Stephen King who said something about “In order to write well it is important to remember every scar of your characters.” I find that sometimes, I will forget certain details and then I feel as if I have failed my characters. Another challenge is finding the fine line between my family and my writing. Often times I want to let my characters consume me but I have to force myself to back away. I have had to teach myself that my characters will always exist in me but my family is day by day.
One section I like to cover is the editing process, since each author does it differently.
Tell me how you start with yours by describing who does your proofreading and editing.
I do it first and then I let someone else do it and then I do it again.
What process do you use to proofread or edit your books?
I walk away from a week or two and write NOTHING. Not a single word of anything. Then I go back and run my grammar checker over it, I run my spell proof over it and then I read the whole thing. After, I hand it off. When I get it back, I do it again.
Who edited your book and how did you select him/her?
It varies from person to person every time but one thing is for sure, they have to truly love the genre I write.
Did anyone line proof your book separately? If so, how did you come to choose them?
Yes. I chose them based on their knowledge of grammar and the English language as well as their interest in what I was writing and how well they knew how I speak and write.
Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about.
The first one was HORRIBLE! I did it myself. It was dark and ugly. I found an artists who was able to give me exactly what I told him and probably won’t go back.
Who designed your book cover/s?
Their name is Hristo and they are from Russia. I found them through other Indie writers on Facebook.
Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
Absolutely. I know it does for me when I am buying a book. The outside should be captivating as well as the synopsis and the content.
How are you publishing this book and why?
Indie for now but I will never stop seeking a traditional publisher. For now, Indie because I have readers who message me asking for more of this series and so I am not going to make them wait for me to find an agent.
What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?
Main advantage is I control everything. Biggest disadvantage is I am horrible at marketing and with an agent and publisher at least I would have professional guidance as well as the advantage of their contacts.
How do you market your books?
Everywhere. Word of mouth, blogs, Facebook page, giveaways. But I try not to be too pushy and do it nonstop because I know that can get really annoying for people that follow new authors.
Do you have any advice for those who want to do Indie publishing, such as social media, marketing, giveaways and promoting sales?
You know, I’m still pretty new to all of this so I don’t have a lot I can offer yet. I will say, find groups of people who do what you do and get to know them. They can offer a wealth of experience and all it takes is a genuine desire to be friendly and with them.
So, let’s talk about you and how you unwind a bit, my favorite part of these interviews. Getting to know your authors is nifty.
How do you relax when you’re not writing?
I read, I swim, I blare music and dance around my house, and I chug iced coffee.
What is your favorite book and why?
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I actually did a twenty-two page Bachelor’s thesis on that book. TGG is just so amazing in every way. Every word is written with a distinct purpose and the themes of the book are endless. You could read it a hundred times and not get everything.
How do you get inspired to write?
My characters start screaming at me! LOL. Also, it helps when I get messaged from readers telling me how much they love what I wrote and how they can’t wait for more.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Fill plot holes, develop characters that haven’t been written a million times, be as unique as you can, and never, for a second, doubt what you love.
Where do you see publishing going in the future?
I see myself eventually getting a publishing contract and my books taking off like wildfire. Yes, I am that confident and in love with my books.
Finally, how can readers discover more about you and you work?
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Brooklynne-Winters
Book Links: (* American, UK, etc.)
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/covered-in-darkness-brooklynne-winters/1120054329?ean=9781312226784