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Q&A with Rose

Q.  Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
A.  I was born in Gravesend, Kent, but I would not say the place has been an influence on my writing; my imagination has done that!
Q.  When did you first start writing?
A.  I have always written creatively and had my first piece published in a school magazine when I was twelve years old.  My friends and I used to create our own fictional worlds and give each other characters in them, but I also used to write poetry when I was bored in class.  A relative gave me a diary on the Christmas of my thirteenth year and I have written a journal ever since.  I have also written Star Trek fan fiction and edited a club newsletter.  My writing has peaked and troughed over the years, depending on how interesting the day job is.  I am currently going through a peak period.
Q.  What’s the story behind your latest book?
 A.  The Shades series started with a dream, as many of my ideas tend to do.  I was never really into vampires before this, but the paranormal has always been an interest of mine.  I read occasional vampire novels, starting as many people do with Anne Rice, but it was the TV vampires that sparked my interest.  I enjoyed Kindred, Forever Knight, Blood Ties, the Spike storylines in Buffy, and Highlander (really a vampire show in disguise) but it was the cancellation of Moonlight after so few episodes that made me think I wasn’t ready to give up my fix of sympathetic bloodsuckers. As I have a background of working in the TV industry, I thought it would be an interesting premise to have an actor working on such a show to find the real thing off set as well, hence Shades was born.
Q.  What motivated you to become an indie author?
 A.  I have done my share of sending out material in the hope that an agent or publisher would take me on, but on the whole I would rather be writing new material than waiting for the next rejection.  I am sure there is a publisher out there who will eventually see the value of my work, so I would rather let it speak for itself by going independent.  I also think that independent authors are the future of the fiction industry, so I want to be in on the revolution.
Q.  What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
 A.  The greatest joy is the moment when the characters start taking on a life of their own.  They tell me what they want to do and I can only push them so far.  I love the creative process and the fact that it can take you in a direction you did not expect.  I have a writing plan, but i’m not rigid about it and if something else comes along as i’m developing a plot point, that’s fine by me.
Q.  What do your fans mean to you?
 A.  Well I’m not sure how many fans I have out there at the moment, but feedback of any kind (but preferably the good stuff) means I can see if I’m hitting the spot.  It’s no good me thinking I’m a great writer if no one agrees with me!  We all want to be loved.
Q.  What are you working on next?
 A.  Shades and House of Lilith are now finished and my next project is book three in the series.  This one’s called White Thorn and it’s a continuation of the Alex story.  Van Dijk and his associates from the TV series are now at the end of their story cycle, although I have left options for a standalone with them at a later date if the interest is there. After White Thorn, which is set in LA and Prague, there will be Smoking Mirror, which in mainly based in Mexico.  Next is The Stars Combined, which introduces some new characters and this will be mainly their story.  Book six, Dark of the Moon, will conclude the story arc begun in book one.  The last book doesn’t have a title yet, but I have loads of notes and I don’t want to give any spoilers. In addition to the Shades series, there is also a space opera quadrillogy almost ready to go, plans for a supernatural series called Elementals and a couple of standalone novels, so there’s plenty to come.
Q.  Who are your favorite authors?
 A.  Difficult one.  I love Paul Gallico’s The Snow Goose outside of the vampire genre.  In the genre, my favourites are Jim Butcher’s Dresden stories and all of Charlaine Harris’ stuff.  Anne Rice is mainly the Marius stories as I’m not a great Lestat fan and I did enjoy The Mummy.  Chelsea Quinn Yarbro is another favourite, as is Tanya Huff and my guilty pleasures are JR Ward, Jeaniene Frost and Sharon Ashwood.  I also like Shirley Jackson, Bernard Cornwell, Tom Holland, Lian Hearn and Tove Jansson.  There are more, but that would be boring.  You get the gist.
Q.  What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
A.  The sun shining and something interesting to look forward to.
Q.  When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
 A.  I love to travel, either home or abroad and my current home project is visiting as many Neolithic stone circles and long barrows as I can for a photojournal and possible guidebook.  I’ve recently completed a Masters in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology, so this project is a non academic continuation of that interest.  The distant past has always fascinated me, as well as looking at the night sky and wondering just what’s out there, so I guess that interest feeds into my subject choices when I write.  It’s all connected, folks!
Q.  How do you discover the ebooks you read?
A.  Usually by recommendation or browsing.  If I come across something and the subject matter interests me, I’ll downlaod it.
Q.  Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
A.  Yes, it was a timetravel story going back to ancient Egypt and I wrote it when I was around seven years old.  I still have the schoolbook I wrote it in.  Scary, what? What can I say.  I find it hard to throw stuff away.
Q.  What is your writing process?
A.  It varies from project to project.  My yet unpublished space opera started at the beginning and worked through in sequence.  The Shades series I wrote as notes and scenes as they came to me and arrived in no particular order.  Finding a title is important, as is getting the first few paragraphs down.  I like to write test scenes to find the characters and work out the back story and I always keep some paper and a pen nearby because you never know when the muse is going to strike.  I also read and re-read as I go along, so it’s a constant editing process. When writing up, I try to give myself at least two days a week and make sure I write around 2,000 words a day, but it varies according to how inspired I feel and what else is going on in my life.
Q.  Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
A.  My favorite book as a child was Finn Family Moomintroll and I still love Tove Jansson’s books.  I love the Groke and the Hattifatteners, but it’s the family cohesion that supports Moomin in his adventures that had the most impact on me I think.
Q.  How do  you approach cover design?
A.  Well so far the covers have featured photographs I have taken myself.  Shades reflects the beginning of the story, as Jonathan has spent the last couple of centuries locked in a tomb in a cemetery.  I would have liked to visit Savannah and use a shot from there, but I think the local churchyard I used was spooky enough and gave a feel for the novel.  House of Lilith reflects Lilith’s wedding dress and flowers and White Thorn has a Noir feel to it.  That picture was taken on New Year’s Eve in Prague, where the book is mainly set.  The book covers to me are like the titles of a film; they give back story and an idea of the novel’s theme.  The font I used is Copperplate Gothic, which had a clean feel to it with a little flourish.  As around a decade of my career in the television industry was working with typefaces, it was fun to do, but I am aware that my Photoshop skills are still lacking.
Q.  What do you read for pleasure?
A.  I tend to enjoy biographies and historical fiction but I have read around the vampire genre widely for this project, as you may note when you read my work.  I’ve put deliberate nods to the previously existing fiction in there for the genre buff to pick up on.
Q.  What is your e-reading device of choice?
A.  I have a Kindle, but I also use Kindle for iPad.  When my husband bought me an e-reader, I wasn’t sure how I would take to it, as I love handling physical books and flicking forward and back through the pages, but I admit that I do read more fiction now than I used to because I can have several books on the go at once in one small device, rather than weighing myself down with paper.
Q.  What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
A.  Word of mouth and Facebook so far, but it’s early days yet.  Whatever gets people tempted to read my book hits the spot for me.  Once you’ve read it, I hope you’ll pass the word and recommend to your friends.  Nothing better than an honest recommendation.
Q.  How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
A.  I’m looking forward to that !

Published 2013-08-27.

See the original interview here: https://www.smashwords.com/interview/RoseJones

Shades: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/351643

House of Lilith: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/351686

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