Q1: Hi, Angela! How are you today?
Well, the sun is shining and I had an awesome days writing – the best in a long time – so I am feeling pretty good, thanks.
Q2: Tell us about yourself and how you started writing.
Well, as some of you may know I was born in the UK and grew up and had both my kids over there. In that life, I was a mother and a teacher, teaching kindergarten and grade school for around eighteen years. Just over eleven years ago, my husband got the opportunity to work in Singapore and we all lived out there. Eight months later, we were surprised to find ourselves heading over to America where we have lived since then.
When I moved from England, I gave up teaching as I needed to focus on settling the family in and helping my son with his schooling. Somehow I never did make it back to work and as my kids grew up and I stopped helping out in schools I grew kind of bored. To alleviate that, I turned back to reading.
I found myself at one point on a huge romance book kick. I got into Fifty Shades of Grey (don’t judge me!) and then stumbled on an author called Kristen Ashley. She was an indie author who was very prolific. I think I downloaded about twenty of her books. I also discovered JRR Ward at this time. It was a combination of these 3 authors that inspired me.
At the time I found myself stranded in my house as I was having a huge building project done. So one day, about three and a half years ago, I decided to give it a go and secretly began writing. The kick lasted about three weeks and then I got distracted with family and house stuff. But about six months later I saw the file on my computer. I had about eleven thousand words, I think, and as I read over it, I thought with a bit of alteration I might be able to make it work. I ended up starting again, but over the next two months I wrote my first novel, Lemon Drops And Love.
After I’d finished it, I didn’t really know what to do with it, but about four months later I discovered wattpad and put it up there. I was really nervous but the nerves soon turned into an addiction as people started to read and began to say they loved it. I was immensely proud when Lemon Drops passed its 100K reads on there though and it would have been neat to see how high it would have gone, but the book was removed form wattpad shortly after to be published.
Now, I live and breathe writing. I’ve turned into an incredibly boring person as I rarely go out. I just love getting lost in my characters and the challenge of weaving the stories together. I have learned to be a writer, publisher, cover designer (I do all my own for my romance books and my daughter designed the covers for the Vargr Clan Trilogy).
Q3: Any other big achievements that you are proud of?
I am ecstatic that I have had nearly 15,000 downloads of all my books on Amazon and do a happy dance when anyone writes me a good review.
Q4: What kind of audience would enjoy your books?
The Cocktail Series are steamy contemporary romances that I originally aimed at the ‘mommy porn’ market. I love reading these types of books myself but was getting a little tired of the lack of actual story within a lot of the books. So when I wrote mine I wanted them to be longer, more complex stories as well as having the steamy element. I also am a sucker for really emotional books and this series will push all your emotion buttons. Surprisingly, I have had quite a few men read this series and loved them. They like that my books aren’t all hearts and flowers and they like the gritty realistic language. I think they also just like reading the sexy bits too.
The Vargr Clan Trilogy is an urban fantasy that crosses over from YA (young adult) into NA (new adult) Again, it is emotionally charged, but this book is clean and not romance based. If you love fantasy without it being clogged up with romance, and you like your fantasy set in the real world, then you’ll like these books. This trilogy also has a strong Native American theme and a lot of people buy them for this reason – they like all the skin walker legend stuff and the culture of the Native Americans I wind through. And of course, if you like werewolf stories, you will enjoy them too. But beware, my Lycans are very different and you do not get any of the alpha male imprinting sexy wolves in my books.
Q5: What are you working on now and when will it be available?
I’m currently working on a spin off series to the Vargr Trilogy. I’m so excited about it! Further into the trilogy I have these awesome warrior characters lead by Hania and these are forming the base of my series. It’s an action packed collection of stories with lots of fantastical monsters. The warriors are super human skin walkers with amazing powers who act as vigilantes. I’m about 50k into my first draft of Book 1 at the moment. I write fantasy in a very weird layering type of a way that always seems like I take two steps forward and one step back. I would expect the first of the series to be available spring/summer next year. There will need to be a lot of testing out on the books, my fantasy works tend to be a lot more complex than my romance. I am still in two minds but you may see an early draft hit wattpad for a few months as I test it out.
Alongside this (as I always have several projects on the go) I am also working on another fantasy. This one is a historical fantasy based in Iceland. It stems from the traditional Icelandic folk tales of hidden folk that live all over Iceland. There is a ton of magic in this one as well as it being based in Iceland in the 18th century, so it is involving a lot of research. Completion for this one is a long way off. I wouldn’t be surprised if this took me two or three years.
I have a third book in the cocktail series that is out of beta testing and ready to be edited to death. That will hopefully reach you in the fall.
Q6: Are you planning any promotions or giveaways soon?
I’m glad you asked me this as I have a free novella available (it’s a companion to the Cocktail Series). Champagne Moments can be purchased on Amazon, but you can get a free copy just by subscribing to my website – all the details are here: http://www.angelastevens.net/champagne-moments-1/
I hope to do a promo on The Wolf You Feed in a few weeks so keep your eyes peeled on my website or on my Facebook page for details of when that will be happening.
Q7: What obstacles did you face when publishing?
For me, it was my own self doubt. I didn’t have a clue how to do it and didn’t think that I could. I got some great support from a writing mentor and I piggy backed off his experiences. He guided me through the process and I eventually conquered it. It took me about 5 attempts to get my book on create space and I still get palpitations every time I go through the process and I am just releasing my sixth book.
Q8: Why self-publishing?
In someways self publishing is easy. I make all the decisions, design my own cover, say when it goes out, edit and format everything myself.
Publishing is relatively easy. The challenge is selling.
You work hard on your baby for years and then put it out there and then find only a handful of copies are sold. Not because it is a bad novel, but because no one outside your relatives and friends knows it is even there. You literally have to knock on everyone’s door and say “Hey, have you seen my book?”
For a very introverted person like myself, marketing my work is the hardest thing I have to do and I am extremely bad at it. I’m learning to not worry about it. I celebrate each sale, and keep reminding myself why I have published in the first place. Although I’d love my book to go viral I’m sure I couldn’t deal with it. For me, just hearing another person has read it and enjoyed it is what drives me on to write the next. I would hope to make enough to pay for professional editors, but other than that, I treat this as my hobby, not my livelihood and I’m good with that.
Self-publishing allowed me not to become stressed and disillusioned with myself. I did send off a few submissions and probably will in the future, but it is a soul destroying process. Most publishers don’t acknowledge they have seen your work or let you know they have rejected it.
Q9: Any advice to writers who might be reading this?
Writing is the easy part. Just stick your fingers on the keyboard and tap. But know when you have finished that, it is really only just the start. There are thousands of books out there to compete with; make sure yours shines. Don’t skimp on anything. When you take that plunge, make sure your book is ready.
Q10: Where can people find you?
Thank you for giving this interview!
Thank you for doing it Dilyana!
My reviews on books by this author: