Author Interview: Danna Walters, Gaze Upon a Blue Moon
When Danna Walters had to cut out sections of her story to make it better, at the time it was like ripping off a band-aid. Of course she knew that it was necessary--it just wasn't very pleasant. But then, the re-writing process can be like that.
Read her Author Interview below to learn the inspiration behind her story and the work it took to get it published.
Check out her website at www.authordanna.com.
1. How many books have you published and when (month/year)?
Gaze Upon a Blue Moon
2. When did you start writing your first book? Where did the idea come from?
December 2013. Up until this point, I’d written children’s books. I always wanted to write a novel, and I wanted to honor my grandmother whose grandparents came to America from Ireland. So, I researched historical events of Ireland and chose a time and event that interested me. The story starts in present day, but goes back to the 1600s.
3. What was the hardest part about writing your first book? What hurdles did you have to overcome?
Making it long enough to qualify as a novel. A big hurdle for me was not going in too many directions with the story, and deciding which direction to develop.
4. Once your manuscript was finished, what did you do?
I began Googling publishing companies to send it to. Wrote a synopsis and a teaser. Printed them up and began sending it out.
5. What did you expect from the editing process? How was the experience?
Punctuation, grammar and sentence structure correction. Suggestions on what to say and not say. It was so much more than I expected. The editor helped me rearrange the story and even the chapters so that I didn’t reveal too much too soon. Although, I didn’t always agree with her on “author intrusion,” it was a wonderful experience. I feel she made me a much better writer.
6. Describe what re-writing involves and how it makes you feel. How is it different than the initial writing?
The re-writing was challenging at times. Took a lot of thought and at times stumped me. The initial writing flows fairly effortlessly because your focus is on getting the story down. The re-writing is where the real writing mechanics come into play, and is more of a challenge. When I had to cut whole sections out, I did not like it. I felt I was losing hard work, but it also made me feel good because I recognized it was making the story better.
7. Did you have non-editors read your book for feedback (Alpha Readers)? What did you get out of that?
During the writing process I had my mom and sister read as I went along. They offered me a lot of encouragement which helped keep me going. After the editing process was done, the story was sent out to alpha readers. Got good reviews from it, as well as mistakes that hadn’t been caught.
8. Who designed your cover? How much input did you have? How important is the cover design?
Richard Draude with the publishing company designed the cover. His design was nothing like I had in mind, but after consideration I decided it was perfect. I did request the rose the girl was holding be changed to an iris. He honored my request and changed it to an iris.
9. How did you go forward with publishing? Why? How was that experience?
I accepted the first company that agreed to publish it, even though they are a small company. They saw the potential in my story, but knew it needed help to become better. They were willing to work with me through editing to bring it up to par, rather than publishing subpar material. It has been a wonderful experience.
10. How have you marketed your first book?
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, I plan to enlist it with BookBub.
11. How was the initial feedback from readers?
So far everyone has LOVED it and asks for a sequel.
12. How have sales been on your first book? Did they go as expected? What helps you the most to sell books?
A little slow. I expect everyone I know to order my book, and that just hasn’t happened…yet. Talking face to face with people has helped me the most to sell books.
13. Talk about print vs ebook. Do you get more sales with one than the other?
At this time my novel is not an ebook. I host a book club, and half the women prefer the ebook and the other half prefer the paper book.
14. Did you set the prices of your print and ebooks? How do you decide how to price them?
No, the publisher set the price.
15. What made you decide to write more books? How were those experiences (writing/editing) compared with your first book? Did you do anything differently?
I’m currently writing my second novel. It’s going slower because I’m putting to practice all that I learned during the editing of my first.
16. Anything different in the publishing process for your other books?
Does not apply.
17. When did you consider yourself a "writer"?
Once a publishing company picked up my story.
18. When do you write? What motivates you to write?
I write at night when it’s quiet, and it’s my most creative time. Things that spark my imagination and beauty inspire me to write.
19. What do aspiring authors ask you?
How did you get published? Do you have an agent? How did you find a publisher?
20. What advice can you offer for aspiring authors about writing, editing, publishing, and marketing?
Write every day. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends for help getting the word out. Once you have a book, get interviews with bloggers, podcasters, etc… Develop an email list, create a big social network, write a blog.