Kindle Author Interview: Vella Munn

Vella Munn, author of Whiteout, discusses her book, her journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.

DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about Whiteout?

VELLA MUNN: Whiteout is a survival, man against nature story I wrote because I had to. As a career writer, I'm accustomed to writing to the market, but Whiteout came out of my love of the wilderness and some serious questions about whether my characters would survive a blizzard and if they did, how would the experience change them.

DAVID WISEHART: How do you create and maintain dramatic tension?

VELLA MUNN: Dramatic tension was a given with Whiteout. The storm keeps increasing in intensity and things go from bad to worse for my four main characters. Either they dig deep into themselves or they die.

DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

VELLA MUNN: With more than 50 published fiction books under my belt, its always a matter of looking at my characters' childhoods. Maybe that comes from having been a social worker, maybe the result of my own childhood. I believe that our personalities are defined by our early years which is why my poor characters have such disfunctional families.

DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?

VELLA MUNN: Good question. I'd have to say its someone who has read for years and understands a story's underpinnings. That's the reader I have to reach. A great challenge.

DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?

VELLA MUNN: I was raised by my mother and grandmother, both teachers. We lived in rural/remote areas and reading became my compulsion. I always wanted to write and am pretty much self taught, starting with writing for the confession magazines. Even if I wince when I admit that, the confessions taught me valuable lessons about emotion, character, and plot. I accepted a friend's challenge to try a category romance and danced at that dance for years. Then my agent challenged me to try historicals and that avenue paid the bills through nine Native American books. Because nothing stays the same in this business, I moved onto erotica to pay the bills and was in on the ground floor with epublishing. These days I write for one print publisher and three epublishers. In addition, I'm bringing out my old romances via Kindle, etc.

As I often say, I've been writing so long I no longer have any other marketable skills.

DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?

VELLA MUNN: Walk dogs while pondering characters/plot. Sit down at computer, wait for inspiration. Give up on inspiration, jump out of plane without a parachute and hope for the best. Seriously, I write daily. Its my job.

DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?

VELLA MUNN: I'm not sure I'd use the word inspire because the bills and characters rattling around in my brain are what keeps me going. Stephen King rocks as does Dean Koontz, Tami Hoag, etc. Yep, I'm a suspense/horror junkie.

DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you'd written yourself?

VELLA MUNN: Hmm. I've never thought about that. Years ago my friend Catherine Anderson wrote an historical romance called Annie's Song about a deaf heroine. Awesome story.

DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?

VELLA MUNN: Let me count the ways. Social networking threatens to consume today's writers. I Twitter and Facebook but seldom blog any more. I'm on a lot of Yahoo groups. One thing I'm very excited about is being part of a 100-writer strong clearing house called www.backlistebooks.com. The site will go live this summer. In the meantime we're active on Facebook, Amazon, and Smashwords. All books on backlist were previously published by major publishers which means they're quality reads. Now that we have the rights back, we're offering them at very favorable rates. Whiteout and three of my Native American historicals are there.

DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?

VELLA MUNN: In 25 words or less? There are a million reasons, not all of them good because unfortunately a lot of unpublishable material is on Kindle. The cream will rise via such gatekeepers as www.backlistebooks.com and reviews. Simply getting something on Kindle isn't the answer. It has to be a quality something that appeals to readers—if they can find it. I believe in Kindle because traditional publishers simply can't publish everything that's worthy. Now those out of the box stories have a chance.

DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?

VELLA MUNN: I've been saying this about publishing for years and it still holds true. Treat writing as a BUSINESS. Read, read, read. Write, write, write. Have your work critiqued and not by your mother. Get it professionally edited and have a quality cover made. And before you put it up on Kindle, educate yourself about the promotion arm. Are you ready and willing to do that work?

DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your books.


Bottom line, Vella Munn is a country hick. Born and raised in Northern California's gold country, she freely roamed the forests—and lived to write about it. She spent a total of 18 months in a city and vows to never do that again. These days she lives in rural Oregon where she happily writes about characters who, like her, love the sound of the wind in the evergreens. She occasionally runs off to the family cabin near Crater Lake where she thinks about writing. Married with two sons and an amazingly handsome grandson, she's owned by two dogs.

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