My guest today is Fiona Skye, paranormal fiction and fantasy author. She offers her thoughts on the writing process, and has some great tips for editing (such a great point about using Kindle/Nook to review your edits!) Also, Fiona should copyright the term “vomit draft.”
Please join me in welcoming Fiona to the Guest Author Program!
If you are interested in participating in the program, you can submit here.
2. How many books have you written? This can include both published
and unpublished works. Describe each of them in 1-2 sentences apiece
(if published, feel free to include the links as well).
I have written 6 books, but probably only one of them will
ever see the light of day. One of them is about a vampire who finds
the cure for her “disease”, only it turns out to be more of a curse;
four of them are about the same family and their involvement with a
stone circle in the Egyptian desert and how they save civilization
after a nuclear apocalypse; and the last one is the first book in my
trilogy about a werejaguar and her battles with the Fae.
I’ve also self-published a short story that introduces my
werejaguar and her world. It’s called “The Night of Revelations” and
it’s available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00CKY01EE
3. Tell me a little bit about your current WIP.
I am actually working on two books right now. They are the
first and second books in my trilogy. The first one is being edited
and the second is being written.
4. What does writing preparation look like for you? Do you do full
outlines and character profiles, or do you just start with a general
idea and write?
I always start with an idea that I write down in a small
Moleskine notebook I carry with me all the time. Then, if the idea is
still haunting me a week or so later, I’ll start roughing out
character sketches and think about the setting. If the idea’s still
with me, I’ll start doing some pretty intense research, such as the
meanings of names for my characters, any sort of mythology that ties
into my story, languages I might want to use, settings, stuff like
5. Editing is a challenge for many writers. Give us some of your tips
for editing efficiently and well.
I think it’s really handy to print out what you’re editing
as well as formatting your work for your Nook or Kindle, if you have
one. Sometimes just the different formats help you catch mistakes you
wouldn’t have seen otherwise. It’s also helpful to read it out loud,
either to yourself or to someone you trust. And if you’re planning on
seriously seeking publication, hire a freelance editor. The good one
will offer to edit your first chapter or three to see if your styles
6. Research is another challenge writers face, but is an important
part of the writing process. What are some of your research tips?
Don’t rely on Wikipedia information. This was the biggest
thing drilled into my head by my journalism professors. If you find
something that you want to use in your book or if you find something
that doesn’t quite make sense to you, always make sure to find an
alternate source to verify what you’ve found. Also, get to know your
local library’s reference librarians. These people are fantastic
resources and will often uncover things that you didn’t even know
exist but which fit perfectly into your stories.
7. If you have been published (self or traditionally), what type of
marketing did you find worked the best for you? What was the least
So far, I’ve found that word of mouth has been the most
helpful. Get your friends to read your work, then ask them to leave
reviews on Amazon. Have them tell their friends about your book, too.
Also really helpful is visiting blogs written by other authors and
leaving comments on their entries. You can kill two birds with one
stone by doing this–you’ll build up a great network of fellow authors
and you’ll get your name out there, too.
8. What genre do you write in? What are some of the challenges to
writing this particular genre well?
I write mostly paranormal fiction, with an emphasis on
fantasy. The biggest challenge I’ve found so far is making sure that
your work isn’t too much like an already-established writer’s. Trying
to find an original angle for a vampire story is difficult!
9. What advice would you give to a writer who is starting out?
It doesn’t have to be perfect; it just has to be written.
Get your butt in the chair, your hands on the keyboard, and write–no
excuses. It doesn’t matter if your first draft is crap–it’s called
“the vomit draft” for a reason. But it’ll never become beautiful,
polished prose if you don’t write it. If you want it badly enough, you
have to work for it.
10. What are your writing, editing, marketing, and research goals for 2013?
I want to get my first book completely through the editing
phase, I want to get at least 20 queries out to agents and publishers,
and I want to finish the first draft of the second book and get that
started with the editing process.
11. Pretend I am from a publishing house and you are looking for me to
take on one of your books. Pitch it to me in 1-2 paragraphs.
Riley O’Rourke isn’t the news, she reports it for the Tucson
Daily Gazette…at least until the Night of Revelations when she proves
the existence of Things That Go Bump In The Night by shifting into a
jaguar on live, national television. Now Riley is the spokesperson for
the weird and the strange, responsible for bridging the gaps between
Humans and Preternaturals.
Not all the Critters are happy about being dragged out of
the skeleton closet, however, and Riley soon finds herself battling
insane Faerie Queens, falling in love with a Chinese Buddhist golem,
and searching for a workable balance between her Humanity and her
Beast. When the Summer Queen asks Riley to perform a Heroic Deed,
worthy of Fionn mac Cumhail or Cu Chulainn, Riley is thrust into a
race to secure control of the Shadows, before Winter Queen kills her
and everyone she loves.