5-STAR Fantasy / Sci-Fi

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Indie Author Interview: Nichelle Rae

Interview with Nichelle Rae - Author of the Epic Fantasy Only A Glow (The White Warrior).

Nichelle Rae was born and raised in Massachusetts. She lived in Tennessee for little over a year where she found a strong foundation in her faith in God. After moving back home to Massachusetts for 2 years due to family reasons, she is currently making plans for a move to Los Angeles, California in the summer of 2013 with a close friend. In Los Angeles she hopes to continue writing books and have a lot of fun.

The White Warrior series is Nichelle Rae’s debut series that she has published as an independent author.

Interview with Author Nichelle Rae

Interview w/ Author Nichelle Rae
Author Nichelle Rae
Alan Kealey (Indie Author News): What is your (writing) background?
Nichelle Rae: Professionally? None. “Only A Glow” is my debut novel. Unprofessionally? I started writing fun short stories when I was 14 years old. It was a bit of silly fan fiction about meeting my favorite band at the time. When I shared these stories with fellow fans I, to my surprise and delight, got requests from some people for me to write a story for them that they could treasure and keep. When I did, I received a lot of praise and a bunch of giddy squeals from those that had requested them. This established the joy for writing that I have now. Making people happy with my words, taking people to places they would never otherwise go, or meeting people (like their favorite band member) that they would never otherwise meet, is why I love what I do.

Who are your favorite writers, your favorite books, and who or what are your writing influences?
Some of my favorite writers include, J.R.R Tolkien, Terry Goodkind, Brandon Sanderson, Rick Riordan, Brandon Mull, R. A. Salvatore, Stephenie Meyer, Iris Johansen, and Mercedes Lackey.

Oh goodness, I couldn’t narrow down a favorite book list if you paid me a million dollars right now. I have tons of favorites and most of them are series books. I have many many many favorite books, and pretty much all of them are by the author’s listed above.

All of the authors I have read in my life could be considered influential to me. They have shown me what I like and what I don’t like, what works in a story and what doesn’t. If I like a book I read, it translates into my own writing. If I don’t like a book I read, I know what I don’t want in my writing. I think all authors impact each other more than they really realize.

When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?
This is a slightly complicated question. I always enjoyed writing from the day I realized people loved my work. But writing was always just something I enjoyed doing, nothing I really considered as career option. It’s taken years of praise and complements from a variety of people, peers and professionals, on my writing abilities to think it might be something worth pursuing more seriously. The moment I really made the decision to be a published author, was right after I sent out a sample of The White Warrior series to some close friends of mine. I was just looking for some critiques but the resulting excitement, and overwhelming praise, really lit the fire for me to go after this; even if only to get my book out to these close friends of mine who suddenly wanted it so badly.

I guess there wasn’t really a defining moment of when I decided I wanted to be a writer, it’s just something I’ve always done and enjoyed.

Tell us about your writing process. Do you have a writing routine?

This question always makes me laugh because I know my Facebook friends are going to read this interview, grin, and think, “Oh Nichelle, only you.”

I don’t necessarily have a specific routine when I write, but there is one thing MUST always be present; and that is headphones in my ears and music playing from my favorite music group Pentatonix. (Just look them up on YouTube and I dare your mind not to be blown to smithereens by their level of talent.)

If it’s late at night, add a hot cup of coffee in my hands with 3 sugars and about 1/3 cup of Bailey’s Caramel coffee creamer and I’m good to go. I will completely zone out, be dead to the world, useless as a human being for the next 12 - 14 hours if I’m working on a book.

"It’s hard to be heard."

What do you find easiest about writing? What the hardest?
The easiest thing about writing, for me, is my characters. They come to me so easily it’s sort of frightening. I understand them immediately when I start a new story. I know how they will respond to situations and progress the story along with their reactions. This might sound super weird but I sort of build a relationship with them while I write. I come to care about them as people. Does that even make sense? (laughs) I worry about them when they enter a situation that seems to be too much for them, and I’m relieved when they come out the other side of said situations. I legitimately fall in love with every character I create. I cry when they die and rejoice when something good happens.

The hardest thing about writing is marketing your work. Maybe it’s just because I have no idea what I’m doing. It’s difficult to get the word out and have people listen. Fellow authors are usually concerned with getting their own writing out that they can’t pay much attention to other authors. On the same token, the general public isn’t going to listen to a nobody debut novelist. It’s hard to be heard.

Nichelle, please tell us a little about your debut novel 'Only a Glow'.
Only A Glow starts the journey of Azrel, Rabryn, and Ortheldo across their land in hopes to save it from another age of the evil Shadow God’s rule. Azrel’s journey however, isn't just across the land she lives in, but it’s a journey of healing and self-discovery that she needs to take.

It’s a journey of accepting who she is and do something great with it. The end of the book isn't just about whether she wins or loses the battle to save her world (though that's still a huge part,) but also to see if she can overcome her own self-hatred and become everything she was born to be. Or to see if she will fail and destroy herself, thus the world becomes destroyed with her.

It's also interesting to see how she overcomes some obstacles, and how she often fails at overcoming others.

Only A Glow (The White Warrior) - Nichelle Rae
Click to Read an Excerpt

What inspired you to write the book?
This question always makes me laugh too. When I was 19 I was obsessed with The Lord of the Rings movies, but I felt that there should be more strong, warrior females in the movies and books. So, being a bored 19 year old, I started to rewrite The Lord of the Rings books with a strong warrior female main character named Azrel.

Much to my utter shock, Azrel started taking the lead away from The Lord of The Rings plot and turning it into her own story. When I realized what was happening I just decided to follow her. Two years later The White Warrior series was born (after I went back to the beginning and got rid of the plagiarized The Lord of the Rings theme I started with and gave it its own beginning.)

It sat around in my attic for 8 years until finally I just decided to go for it. “Why” you may ask, “did you suddenly decide to publish it after 8 years?” The answer is; I have no idea. It just sort of happened.

"[...] you can download the free e-book on Smashwords."

Who do you see as your target audience and where can we buy the book?
I would say Young Adult is my target audience. If my book was a movie I would rate is PG-13 for violence and mild sexual content.

There are three options for buying my book; you can get a physical copy on Amazon.com or download the Kindler version on Amazon.com, or you can download the free e-book on Smashwords.com. All of the links to each of these options is on my website [see Link below].

How would you describe the success of your book so far?
Surprising! (laughs) I’ve gotten some really STELLAR reviews in my email and Facebook messages, and another surprising one on Amazon! I had 30 downloads on my book the first day it came out. I’m up to 150 downloads now. The sales on Amazon could be doing better, but with a free e-book available, there is really no reason for people to buy the physical copy. This is something I was prepared for. I mainly put my book on Amazon so I could get the physical copies to my 25 friends that requested them.

It’s slow going, but I understand that it takes a while for an unknown author to get on the radar, if I’m meant to be on the radar at all. If not, well, I love writing and I’m going to keep doing it because life doesn’t make sense if I’m not writing. Being successful at what I love to do would just be a bonus. I’m not doing it for the success; I’m doing it because it’s what I love. I will get all 7 of my books in this series out whether the world wants them or not, because I want them.

"Yes, I said freehand. And yes I said 27, five subject notebooks."

How long did it take it to write the book?
Two years, writing it free hand, in 27, five subject notebooks. (Yes, I said freehand. And yes I said 27, five subject notebooks.)

Please, tell us where you self-published the book.
CreateSpace which is affiliated with Amazon. I also put the e-book on Smashwords. Wonderful places to work with, truly. I haven’t had any issues with them.

How smooth went the self-publishing process? Any issues? What are things to look for when self-publishing a book?
I’m no expert. All I can do is tell you what I did. I did a lot of homework so the process for me was pretty smooth. It was a lot of work but no major hiccups.

In my experience it took a lot of money too. I have a book trailer that cost me a pretty penny but not many authors really need or want a book trailer. I wanted one though for social media purposes; videos go very far on Facebook and Twitter.

Also, I really can’t think of anything specific to look for when self-publishing a book. Everyone is different, and everyone’s book is different, so publishing it will be different for each person too.

I personally just studied first, then once I pooled all the information I gathered on the process, I took the necessary steps I thought I should take, and then did it.

Did you hire an editor and/or Cover Designer for your book?
I LOVE my cover artist! Travis Pennington. (http://www.probookcovers.com/) I gave him absolutely nothing to work with when he made the cover for “Only A Glow” except a very brief synopsis on my story, and he put together a cover that was gorgeous and completely beyond what I imagined it would be. He is seriously marvelous to work with.

I did talk with a freelance editor that was wonderful and had her edit the first 40 pages of my book, but when it came down to it the money just wasn’t there to hire her. So my book is not edited or proofread, but my current readers don’t seem to mind much.

For the second book I will have the money to either pay my editor for a full edit, or hire a proofreader because I won’t have a website and a book trailer to pay for when that comes out.

"Also do your book your way!"

Can you give some tips for other Indie Authors regarding the writing and self-publishing process?
When self-publishing a book you have got to read up on what is needed and required. Do your homework. That is the best advice I can give. Don’t jump into this blind. You could save yourself a lot of time and hiccups/issues. When I started going full force with getting this book out, I did it in 5 months, which is pretty good timing I think considering everything that needed to get done…which was a lot!

Also do your book your way! Get advice and ideas from people and successful authors but ultimately do your book how you want it done. Your uniqueness will make your book stand out and it will truly be your own. Make sure you are happy with it, not that anyone else is happy with it, because it’s your book, no one else’s. You have to live with it and look at it forever, so make sure you love what you’re seeing.

Are you working on another book project? Can you tell us a little about it?
I’m currently working on getting book #2 “The Blaze Ignites” done for a March 2013 release. It’s a continuation of Azrel, Rabryn, and Ortheldo’s journey though Casdanarus. A few new main characters are introduced and of course a lot of adventure.

Are you planning to move forward as an Indie author or are you looking forward to have one of your next books to be traditionally published?
I am actually very good personal friends with a professional book editor up in Canada who gave me some advice. My freelance editor had some very helpful advice too. Both of them really dissuaded me from going the traditional publisher’s route. (Yes, my Canadian friend actually works for a publisher.)

You lose so much control over your book. You lose your cover design, you have to do a million rewrites that you most likely won’t agree with, you lose a huge percentage of royalties, and to top it off, publishers apparently don’t put any effort into marketing a book unless you already have a best seller on the shelves.

Well, all I needed to hear was that I would mostly likely need to change my cover design and I washed my hands of trying to get a traditional publisher to notice my work. I love my cover artist and only want his covers on my books.

Where do you see the book market in 5 or 10 years? Will there be only eBooks and will book stores disappear like record stores disappeared?
I’m pretty sure e-books will take over the world in 5 – 10 years. This kind of makes me sad because I’m the kind of reader that wants a physical copy of a book to curl up with on the couch (preferably in front of a fireplace) and drink hot chocolate while I read. I don’t know. The smell of the paper and ink and seeing the shiny gloss of the cover just makes me more comfortable than the clunky, hard, unmovable plastic of e-reading devices. Call me old fashioned but paperbacks all the way for me please. But as technology evolves, alas, so must we.

Do you write full-time or do you have a day job?
I have a day job but my job is quiet enough where I can get a bit of writing done if I have a mind. My job is great for editing my work, perhaps not creating a new story because that takes focus and concentration I can’t afford at my job, but editing for sure. Editing doesn’t cause me to zone out as bad as creating an original work does. That’s what weekends are for however.

"I am a huge Twitter nerd [...]"

How can readers connect with you?
I am a huge Twitter nerd and I ain’t ashamed to admit it. I’m on every single day. Follow me Twitter and we can chat. You can also contact me via my website or you can just email me at Nichelle_Rae@yahoo.com. Thank you so much!!
[See Links below].

Thank you very much for the Interview, Nichelle.

About the Book Only A Glow

Only a Glow - Nichelle Rae
Click to Read an Excerpt
What if the world was ending?

What if only you had the power to save it?

And what if your power wasn’t in your control? Welcome to Azrel’s dilemma.

Only A Glow is the first book in an epic new fantasy series, The White Warrior.

Join Azrel, her brother Rabryn, and her best friend Ortheldo as they journey across their land to try to save the world from another age of the Shadow Gods rule.

Along the way they try to find out what’s wrong with Azrel’s magic, because her magic is the only power that will cause the Shadow Gods to stumble and fail.

- "Nichelle's characters are instantly relatable. She tells a great story!"

Links to the Author and the Book

Link to Nichelle Rae's Website

Connect with the Author via Twitter: @Nichelle_Writes

Link to the Paperback Only A Glow on Amazon with Excerpt

Link to the eBook Only A Glow on Amazon with Excerpt

Link to the eBook Only A Glow on Smashwords (Download for FREE Today!)


Ellen M. Gregg said...

Great interview. Thank you for sharing your process. :-)

Question: Why haven't you uploaded your ebook to Amazon, as well, for more traction? Just curious as to that part of your process.

Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

I might just be Nichelle's biggest fan. "Only A Glow" is a fantastic book. Nichelle's characters are easy to relate to and take a physical form, It's almost like you can watch the movie in your mind as you read it. She is also a very sweet person. Thank You Nichelle for an amazing book. I just started reading it for a second time...

~John R. Bachert

Nichelle Rae said...

Goodness gracious! Just saw these comments!! SO SORRY! I do have the Kindle (ebook) verson of my book available on Amazon. :)

Nichelle Rae said...

Dude! That is the BEST complament ever...that reading my book was like watching a movie in your mind!! A close second favorite complament is "I couldn't put it down! It kept me up all night!" Oh wait...you've given me THAT complament too!! LOL My biggest fan! <3 Thank you for saying I'm sweet too. :)

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