I want to first thank Tara Majuta for being my first guest. Tara was born in the dusty sands of southern Arizona. She enjoys cooking, dancing and storytelling. She is lucky to have a talented husband who not only supports her writing career, but also does her cover design. Having someone in my family who helps with this, I know how valuable that is. Her first novel is "The Fascinating Files of Claudia Broadstad" and is available where books are sold. Tara is actively writing both mystery and dark romance novels, so please check out her website for more information.
Without Further Ado, here's Tara's interview:
1. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I knew I wanted to be a storyteller when I was five years old. I liked telling stories and entertaining people. When I was ten, I had an idea for a fantasy novel about an evil witch and a beautiful princess (Sounds familiar). Fast forward two decades and I have fully conceptualized the idea and have started the process of creating it into a ten book series. Stay tuned for that one!
2. What is your writing process like? Do you have to have a certain setting in order to write?
In the past I've tried to figure out what my writing process is but it's very complicated. I liken it to creating a painting. First I start with dialogue to set the tone. Then I go back and add some scenery so I know where my characters are. Next, I add details and personalize the characters. Finally I add the action so the book will have a nice steady pace. I like to write scenes that move fast so my readers aren't bored during any part of the story.
Normally I don't need a specific setting but lately I've been drawn to the living room and NetFlix. I turn on the TV for background noise, pull out my files and go from there.
3.What was the number one thing that you learned about the writing process while finishing your first book?
I learned that I'll always feel like it will never be finished and that's okay. I always wanted to go back and add more to the book even though it was 88,000 words. It took me awhile to realize that the book was done, completely finished. For the second book I don't have that issue. I've accepted that the first book had everything it needed to create a great second book.
4. What made you choose the murder mystery genre? Is that the genre you read?
I chose the mystery genre because I love watching crime and investigation TV. Also, I liked the idea of creating puzzles within the storyline. Most mysteries are story driven but I've tried to make my books character driven as well. Claudia and her best friends have their own stories to tell within the world of the crimes that are being solved. I like the mix.
Most of my books are mystery/suspense but I also write fantasy and dark romance novels. The first book idea I had was fantasy but it was easier to create Claudia's mystery world first. My dark romance series, an idea that stemmed from the Claudia Broadstad series, will be out in early 2015.
As far as reading goes, I prefer to read romance mostly. Strange as it is, I usually don't read books unless they are reference books or authors who I personally know. I plan to start reading more mystery in the future though!
5. Looking back, what is the biggest thing you learned while publishing/selling your novel?
I've learned that publishing/selling your books is about branding yourself. I have a degree in business and I actively use it for my book projects. Most authors don't view themselves as business owners but they are. It's important to make monthly, quarterly, and annual goals for marketing, budgeting and writing.
I, the author, am the only person who will sell my books. I have to use every part of myself and my story to get readers to like me and give my work a chance. I tell fellow authors to work smarter, not harder; work with a branding/marketing coach who can help you find your target market and get those books out there.
6. What is the one piece of advice you would give to someone who wants to write/sell a book.
I start my advice by asking, "What do you want out of writing?"
If someone wants to write for pure enjoyment I say, "Work hard on your craft and continue to write." Learn as much as you can about your topic and enjoy the process!
If someone wants to make it into a career, and that is my path as well, I say, "Understand that you are a business owner and that's going to be hard sometimes." Your book project is a business and it will cost money to keep your business profitable. It takes time to build a following so don't expect to make any money at first. Take your time and enjoy the prospects of dreaming big!