Southern fiction writer Lorna Hollifield is partial to a big porch, but she says in order to be a successful author you have to get OFF your porch. "Network. Go to conferences, book signings, literary events. Get involved in the world you want to be part of! No one will come to you...go to them!" Read her full Author Interview below.
1. List the titles of your published books (include publisher and year published) plus your author website/Facebook page links.
Pen Name Publishing
2. When did you start writing your first book? Where did the idea come from? Include the synopsis.
I started Tobacco Sun about 3 years ago, when a lot of ideas seemed to spontaneously come together...hearing a great song, remembering a pretty field I drove by once, etc.
The year is 1947. The war is over, Jackie Robinson has just integrated baseball, and Frank Sinatra breezes in over the fuzzy airwaves. A sense of relief is finally sweeping the nation...everywhere except Tobaccoville, North Carolina.
Beyond the rural fields that are pregnant with decades of secrets, a mysterious Hollywood pin-up is jailed for murder while her facially birthmarked half-sister may hold the answers as to why.
The two girls, estranged for years, share a haunting past, a shell-shocked love interest, and maybe even a cruel destiny. Through mountains of lies, the truth that inevitably comes pouring out of the tobacco leaves will come to light. Will this light reveal the path to the siblings' foreordained destruction, or their long-awaited deliverance? Will they realize they each hold the power to set the other free before it's too late?
A story of heritage, hurt, and somehow, hope; Tobacco Sun keeps you on the edge of your seat while you find yourself rooting for redemption.
3. What was the hardest part about writing your first book? What hurdles did you have to overcome?
The hardest part was figuring out what to do with it once it was finished. The process of querying, and finding a publisher seemed endless. That was an uphill battle.
4. Once your manuscript was finished, what did you do?
I immediately started going to writer’s conferences, looking for agents, and sending out queries.
5. What did you expect from the editing process? How was the experience?
I thought editing would be more painful that it was. I expected to be ripped apart, but it was a joint creative effort. It was like a shot...barely stung, and made me better in the long run.
6. Describe what re-writing involves and how it makes you feel. How is it different than the initial writing?
Re-writing is different for everyone. For me, it was just “tidying up.” It wasn’t as hard as making something from nothing.
7. Did you have non-editors read your book for feedback (Alpha Readers)? What did you get out of that?
I do have friends and family members take a look first to let me know what is interesting, and what they didn’t understand. They are the average readers, so their opinion matters a lot. They can also help me find any plot holes or careless mistakes before submission.
8. Who designed your cover? How much input did you have? How important is the cover design?
My publisher actually designed my cover, and was awesome! She really saw my vision, and worked with me on it the whole way!
9. How did you go forward with publishing? Why? How was that experience?
I went with a great boutique publisher for the first one. We worked closely, which made the experience really good. She held my hand through a lot of it. Really, it’s a dream come true.
10. How have you marketed your first book?
I’ve done interviews, blogs, vlogs, guest articles, speaking events, signings...you name it. Marketing is most of the battle, and never ends!
11. How was the initial feedback from readers?
I’ve gotten excellent support, and great reviews! I’ve loved the feedback and interaction from my readers!
12. How have sales been on your first book? Did they go as expected? What helps you the most to sell books?
Sales are going well. I’ve sold out of all my copies on hand, and have ordered more. My digital numbers look great too. I’m happy with it!
13. Talk about print vs ebook. Do you get more sales with one than the other?
Mine are fairly even. I think digital might be a little higher if I weren’t always out pushing those hard copies!
14. Did you set the prices of your print and ebooks? How do you decide how to price them?
That’s all on the publisher!
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 love to write, and it’s what I do. I won’t stop writing. I don’t know if it gets easier, but it does get a little quicker. Like with anything, practice helps!
16. Anything different in the publishing process for your other books?
I’ve only published one, so time will tell!
17. When did you consider yourself a "writer"?
You have to claim it while you’re still dreaming. There is no magic moment when you become a writer. Don’t wait for permission...market yourself as one if that’s what you are. It’s what I did.
18. When do you write? What motivates you to write?
I write almost every day from mid-morning to afternoon...but also off hours when the mood strikes!
19. What do aspiring authors ask you?
I’m asked how to get published all the time.
20. What advice can you offer for aspiring authors about writing, editing, publishing, and marketing?
Get off your own porch! Network. Go to conferences, book signings, literary events. Get involved in the world you want to be part of! No one will come to you...go to them!