Q: Thanks for being here today, Adrienne! Please tell readers about your path from writer to published author.
I’ve technically been a writer since I was ten, when I attempted to write my first book (which was a rip-off of a Judy Blume book.) I wrote poetry for years and when I was a freshman in college, my English teacher tried to talk me into changing my major to English. Well, I changed it from Biology to Nursing to Education and back to Biology. I ended up graduating with a degree in Biology with plans to attend Medical School until I realized I didn’t want to be a doctor after all. I ended up becoming an RN out of necessity (I found myself divorced with 3 kids to raise) but I really didn’t want to be a nurse, either. It took me years to realize that my talent and passion had always been the written word. After writing in secret for two years, I self-published my first novel in 2011. The rest, as they say, is history.
Q: How do your stories come about? Do you plot them out, or sit down and simply start typing, or have a powerful dream, or…?
My stories sometimes come to me in dreams. I also get a lot of ideas when I’m around water—whether I’m taking a bath or washing dishes or it’s raining outside, water has a way of inspiring me. Then sometimes, something will just come to me, a sentence or a phrase, and I end up building a story around it. I don’t plot out my stories. I just sit down and write and as long as the inspiration is there, the story just kind of unfolds before my eyes.
Q: What is your ideal writing environment? Do you start with an outline or notes, or do you let the words simply unfold on the page?
I might jot down a few notes so that I won’t forget my ideas, but other than that, my process is pretty organic. I just write. My idea environment would be sitting in front of a big picture window, typing at my computer with soft music playing, my cell phone off, and no cares or worries on my mind.
Q: Those of us who follow you on social media know how important your faith is to you. Does your faith play a role when you are shaping characters, plot lines, and scenes on the page? Is there a motto or saying that you keep in your thoughts when you are writing?
True, my faith is everything to me. It’s brought me through some very tough and horrible times in my life and it continues to do so. When I am shaping my stories, I try to show that no matter how broken or low a person is, they can find healing and love from both God and other people. I guess the main message I try to convey is that no one is so broken that they can’t be redeemed. That someone somewhere still cares about them and loves them. That there is a place where they belong. Of course my motto is that I create stories from the soul for the soul. I pull these stories from my own soul and spirit. I use my own brokenness to foster healing.
Q: Who does your gorgeous book covers? Have you outsources any other parts of the publishing process, like editing or formatting?
Other than the cover for Bluesday, I created my own book covers. The only thing I have outsourced is the editing. Other than that, it’s all me, lol. From writing to typing to formatting to typesetting to blurbs to covers, I do it all. I’m a true self-publisher!
Q: What do you consider to be the most important marketing element for an author? What have you tried that you would recommend? What hasn’t worked? How do you measure the results?
I think just being accessible and having a presence online and in social media is the key. I try to answer every email or message or tweet that I can. I do post book links and advertise, too, but I try not to spam. I think what doesn’t work is overdoing your advertising and being just plain rude. If someone “friends” me on Facebook I thank them but I don’t post links on their wall. That just seems tacky to me. I also don’t take advantage of people’s misfortunes. I see authors running sales around disasters like hurricanes and promising to donate part of the proceeds to charities. That, to me, is just a cheap trick. I don’t buy into that type of stuff. Honestly, the best way to market is to consistently put out good work, be sure there is an attractive cover for your book, and it doesn’t hurt to host some giveaways or contests form time to time. But as you know, nothing beats good old word of mouth.
Q: Do you spend a lot of time on social media? How do you gauge the success of your efforts? And which social media options do you consider the best meeting places for authors and readers? Why?
I spend way too much time on social media. I need to spend more time writing, but I’m addicted, lol. I gauge success in that if it weren’t for social media, almost no one would know who I am. Because of the reader groups on Facebook, I actually have a good base of readers now. There was no other way I would’ve been able to get the word out about my books across state lines otherwise. When your marketing budget is tight (or like mine—non-existent), social media is a true blessing. And the use of social media fits right in with the new age of digital books. I have had some success with Twitter as well and I plan to increase my presence there this year.
Q: Which would you cite as the most significant changes in the publishing industry as a whole over the last year?
The increase in published authors! The number of people publishing books now as opposed to two years ago is staggering and I don’t see it slowing down any time soon.
I count it a great blessing that I entered the publishing game during this great revolutionary time for authors. I actually make a living from book sales. That couldn’t have been said for me or many other self-published authors just a few years ago.
Q: Please share five songs in your iTunes or music library and tell us why they are special to you.
Just five? Lol.
“Been So Long” by Anita Baker – It’s one of my favorite songs and it is also the title of my most successful book to date.
“Butterflies” by Michael Jackson – I’ve always been an MJ fan and this is my favorite of all of my favorites of his songs.
“Heaven” by Kem – This is possibly the most beautiful song I’ve ever heard in my entire life. I could leave it on repeat for years and not get tired of it. It’s like a lullaby for the soul.
“The A-Team” by Ed Sheeran – It’s kind of sad and I feel like crying every time I listen to it, but the lyrics speak to the things I write about. So I torture myself with it on a daily basis, lol.
“What You Won’t Do For Love” by Bobby Caldwell – Hands down, my all-time favorite song ever in the world! If a song can be perfect, then this one is perfect in my book. I have loved this song since I was a child—way before I had any idea what the lyrics were about, lol.
Q: What’s coming up for you in this year?
Well, there’s a very ambitious list of seven book titles posted in my workspace. They are the books I hope and wish and pray I’ll be able to publish this year. I’ve already published two of them (Little Sister and Rapture) and am working hard to whip the other five into shape. Those to come are:
Been So Long 2 (Body and Soul)
Blues in the Key of B (Bluesday Book III)
Your Love Is King
Fireflies (my first YA book)
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