Today on the blog we have Gretchen S. B. author of Lady of the Dead for an interview. Let’s get to know this amazing author!
Did you always wanted to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
When I was little I did not want to be a princess or a ballerina. I wanted to be a train conductor. To this day I have no clue why, but I remember thinking that is seemed like the coolest job in the world. It wasn't until college that I began to consider becoming a writer.
When did you first consider yourself a “writer”?
Wow, I don't know. I wrote and created stories most of my life but I have never considered myself a writer. Once I started writing with the intent to publish I did not think of myself as a writer but someone who wanted to become one. I got this sense of relief and accomplishment when I saw my book for sale on Amazon. If I had to guess, I would say I considered myself a writer when a copy of Lady of the Dead sold. It sort of become official for me in that moment.
How long did it take to get your first book published?
I started working on Lady of the Dead, I believe, in 2010. It took me seven months to write. By far the fastest I ever finished a story. My queries were rejected by a handful of literary agencies, so Lady of the Dead sat on the digital shelf until I began seriously researching self-publishing.
Then in April I began giving the manuscript one last onceover. My grammar is terrible so I researched independent book editors. I found The Author's Red Room. They have reasonable prices and edited my manuscript in about two months (they do two rounds of edits). Then I worked on the cover and blub. Lady of the Dead came out on Halloween. So the much shorter answer is about 3.5 years.
Do you do another job except for writing and can you tell us more about it?
I do, I am a Site Coordinator for City University of Seattle's Everett campus. Which comes down to being a mix between head office assistant and office manager. I am the youngest in the office by almost twenty years. I love my Everett co-workers! We joke around and work well as a team.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say?
Lady of the Dead: Paranormal romance with a modern woman who sees the Spirit World and an old fashioned King who falls for her.
Who is your publisher? Or do you self-publish?
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
Forever! From conception, it could take years. Some books started out as plot points in an existing book that just became too big. I have a habit of writing up a story idea (just so I do not forget it) then leave it alone until it percolates. Once I start getting into the writing groove though it takes me 7-16 months.
What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
I hope to have a long writing career, as long as readers like my work. I hope to be writing Romance and Fantasy (and combinations of the tow) for years to come.
I currently have two stories in the works I hope to publish within the next six months. The first is a book called Berman's Wolves. It is an Urban Fantasy about the aftermath of a science experiment that turned several hundred students into Werewolves. The government quarantined the affected and broke the students up into groups for testing. The book takes place years later, after the government officials have stepped out of the picture. Or so it seems.
The second story is an Urban Fantasy about a homicide detective who is handed a gruesome case. Following the killer's trail, Tony starts to become aware of a paranormal world he did not know existed. The paranormal community would like to keep him in the dark and handle the killer themselves. He not only has to catch the murderer but come to terms with the fact that the world is not as simple as he always thought.
What made you decide to write that genre of book?
I enjoy creating my own spin on reality. I like to create my own rules by which the world has to operate. That is why I like to write fantasy, whether urban or paranormal, there are less boundaries for my imagination. As for romance, I just like romance and happily ever after. I like writing about two characters destiny brings together.
How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?
I have been writing since I was very little. I simply enjoy entertaining people. For 15 years my creative energy went toward acting as a way to create and entertain. I started writing more seriously in mid high school. A friend and I used to create stories about characters we made up. I think she in a way inspired me to create my own worlds instead of play in someone else's.
Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
I do not have much of a routine. But I do have habits. It was not until about a year ago that I was willing to part ways with Word 2003. It was my favorite. I almost always write on my laptop, not much in ink anymore sadly. I can't have any talking while I write, music is fine about half the time but no TV. If I am in a writing groove and someone talks to me it is as if a bubble pops and I can no longer concentrate.
How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
Character names are funny. Sometimes there is a name I really want to use. Most of the time there is a letter, I just get the first letter (or once in a while the last). Then I go on baby naming websites until I find one that clicks for me.
With places I like to have a mix of real and imaginary. I like sprinkling in real places so that when local people read it there is that moment of 'hey, I know where that is!' I mostly name places based on the type of name I think it needs or what I think, at the time, would be funny.
Are character names and place names decided after their creation? Or do you pick a character/place name and then invent them?
Characters and places come first, then I name them. One of the very frustrating things for me is when I have to use a character's name but do not have one yet. I will stare at the screen for several minutes hoping one comes to me. I usually get annoyed enough that I stop writing for the day.
Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
I find that characters will write themselves. I might start out thinking a character is (as a random example) a sporty, driven woman. Then I get in to the meat of the story and find the plot is all gnarled and stuck because that character just isn't the sporty driven woman I thought she was. Then I have to go back and look at her actions and see what seems mechanically forced instead of the character's natural response.
Which format of book do you prefer, eBook, hardback, or paperback?
Personally I prefer paperbacks. I love holding it in my hands, turning the pages, and having that visual confirmation of how far I am in the book. I love book shopping! It is the ultimate retail therapy for me to walk into a Half Price Books and walk out with a bag of books for under $20. I get very excited about organizing my bookcase and seeing it fill with books I like to read.
Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favorite/worst book to movie transfer?
I think they can. I struggle with it though if I have read the book first and within a few months of seeing the movie. It bothers me when the plots or stories are different. I find myself going, 'no, but you're supposed to do this…'
Your favorite food is?
It depends on my mood. But I definitely have a weakness for coffee (mostly lattes). It smells nice, it's warm, and it can taste nice. I love hanging out with people I care about in a coffee shop. I am always excited when pumpkin spice comes back in to season.
Your favorite color is?
Blue, I love that shade that is a smidge darker then cerulean. It looks so rich, as if it would feel like velvet if I reached out to touch it.
Remember to check out today’s book blitz to find out more about Gretchen and her novel.