Samson's Lovely Mortal, discusses her book, her journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.
DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about Samson's Lovely Mortal?
TINA FOLSOM: Samson, the hero of the book, has a very unique problem for a vampire: he suffers from Erectile Dysfunction after a traumatic event involving his ex-girlfriend. Luckily, when damsel-in-distress Delilah literally tumbles into his arms, things are looking up. His scruples about taking Delilah to bed vanish when his shrink suggests it's the only way to cure his problem. Thinking all he needs is one night with her, Samson indulges in a night of pleasure and passion. However, another attack on Delilah and a dead body later, and Samson has his hands full: not only with trying to hide the fact he's a vampire, but also with finding out what secrets Delilah harbors for somebody to want her harm.
DAVID WISEHART: What are the keys to writing a great romance?
TINA FOLSOM: The author has to create a hero her readers can fall in love with, and a heroine whose shoes they can step into. If you write a heroine with too many too-stupid-to-live moments, the reader will get frustrated and hate the heroine, and eventually throw the book (or their Kindle or Nook) against the wall. In a romance it’s also important not to let subplots overpower the love story, or supporting characters be a lot more interesting than the hero and the heroine. They can’t steal the show. But foremost, the pages have to prickle with sexual tension, and you’ll have to feel the connection between the two lovers.
DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?
TINA FOLSOM: That’s actually more a process that develops while I’m already writing, particularly when I’m writing a series. At the beginning, I start off with names and different archetypes I need for my story. Only along the way, do I really figure out who these people are. The plot often helps me with that: I suddenly have to give a character a special skill, so I often go back and weave it in, so it doesn’t look like it’s plucked out of thin air when it suddenly appears. I also try to differentiate characters by physical characteristics, however, that’s often more difficult for me, since one of my favorite cover models is tall, dark, and handsome, so most of my vampires are tall, dark, and handsome!
DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?
TINA FOLSOM: Most likely a woman in her late 20s—early 50s. She can be a housewife with kids, or a professional. Most likely she’s in a relationship.
DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?
TINA FOLSOM: It’s been a rocky road to start. Most writers are full of self-doubt. I’m no exception. We’re looking for constant validation. My writing is my baby, and I try to protect it as much as I can. I started writing early in my life, as a teenager, but never really finished anything. After trying screenwriting, I stopped writing for about 7 years, before I finally found the genre that connected with me: romance. Since then, I’ve been writing continuously.
DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?
TINA FOLSOM: I’m a plotter. All my novels get plotted out in advance. I use Alex Sokoloff’s method of 3 acts and 8 sequences to plot out my book like a movie with turning points, climaxes, midpoint, dark moment and so on. It helps me a lot to see where I have too little plot and need to amp up the action. Once the story is plotted on my board, I start writing the first scene. I always write with scenes in mind, just like a screenwriter does. I’m satisfied when I’ve written 2000 to 3000 words a day, and I mostly write in the morning when I’m at my most creative. I also re-write a lot along the way, so that my revising time later is much shorter.
DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?
TINA FOLSOM: Kresley Cole, JR Ward, Kerrelyn Spark, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Lara Adrian—when it comes to paranormal romance those are really the ones I look to.
DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you'd written yourself?
TINA FOLSOM: A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole. The hero was just to die for: he severed his own leg to go after the heroine (don’t worry, he’s a werewolf, so it grew back and healed). Now that’s passion!
DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?
TINA FOLSOM: I often do blog interviews and giveaways, but I don’t do any traditional advertising. Word of mouth seems to work best for me. And once my books had gotten more and more good reviews, they seemed to sell themselves. I occasionally do short promotional sales where I drop the price of one book for a few days to gain new readers and visibility as well as to improve my sales rankings. And all that seems to work.
DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?
TINA FOLSOM: I tried to get traditionally published, but I had no takers. And frankly, now I’m very happy that I was rejected. Kindle is convenient, and the royalties I can earn are much higher than what I could have ever made through a traditional publisher. I have total creative control, even though I do listen to my critique partners and my freelance editor when they want me to change things.
DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?
TINA FOLSOM: Make sure you pick a catchy cover that tells us something about your book, write a kick-ass blurb and an amazing book. You want the first two chapters to shine because that’s what readers can download as a sample. If you can’t wow them with those pages, you won’t make the sale. And then, write another book. It’s very unlikely that you’ll make a big splash with only one book out there. You need several. A series is even better.
DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your books.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tina is a member of the San Francisco Romance Writers of America. She also meets regularly with her two critique partners who write historical and paranormal romance.
Visit her website, read her blog, find her on facebook, and follow her on twitter.
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