Today I have an interview with Larissa Hinton, author of both a poetry/short story anthology and a newly re-released paranormal YA story.
The hardest part about writing is putting your idea on paper and making it come across right. Especially for a novel. It’s a long journey from the first page until the last and to make sure it’s projecting the idea from cover to cover from word to word is the most difficult part. As a writer, you have to be consistent, persistent, and have excellent time management to be able to complete a novel with style, grace and be sane. Seriously. Ask some writers if they haven’t pulled their hair out over a story that just wouldn’t translate from their brain onto the paper right. Ah, the makings of a novel.
Absolutely! I think reading the reviews have been crucial throughout this entire self-publishing process. There was a point in my career as an author where I had to make the hard decision to take down my books. Why? Because a lot of book reviewers were telling me that my book, Iwishacana/Acanawishi, needed a lot of work. They were confused about the concept, the names, and some didn’t even finish reading it. I paid close attention to see a pattern that Iwishacana/Acanawishi wasn’t ready for public viewing or buying for that matter. So I took the book down and hired an editor to fix the problems.
It took me three whole months to get that book into shape and I have to say: I love it more than ever before. I had a lot of questions about it since the beginning, but now that I delved into the past, rediscovered my characters, and what was really going on in the book, the book itself has turned out to be so much clearer and more focused that I love it. I really think reviewers will see the difference between the old confusing one and this new brighter clearer one as well.
Do you keep track or write reviews for books you read?
Most of the time, yes I do. If I review a book for my blog (A ThreeWay Tie), I promote it on the other websites and I expect other book reviewers to do the same. Especially if you LOVE a book to pieces! For example, The Knife of Never Letting Go is one of my favourite books. Do you think I keep that to myself by never reviewing it or sharing this lovely book with my friends? Of course not! I share it any way I can! Therefore, I think it’s important with readers to share their love of their book. Especially if it’s pretty rare and hard to find in Barnes and Noble. 🙂 A great example of this is Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. LOVE this book, but it’s kinda hard to find but I have to say: I love the hunt for a great book. Especially one with shapeshifters in them.
This also works the other way, unfortunately. If a book really disappointed me and it’s on the bestseller’s list and I know my friend is about to buy it, I would tell her not to. Or him. If the book wasn’t as great as I thought it would be, like Beastly by Alex Flinn, then I would tell my friend about that too. Sometimes if I see people reach for a bad book, I might “accidentally” bump into them and caution them to buy another book. Maybe even mine. 🙂
Well, it depends which book you are talking about! I’ll list them here.
Iwishacana/Acanawishi – My newest soon-to-be released book took me altogether 9 years. I started this series in high school but then I stopped writing it back in high school. Then years later I picked it back up, switched the main character to her daughter, and continued the series. Then I found out that I couldn’t give it to the agents or publishers half done and the original Iwishacana book was so badly written that it would take me a lifetime to rewrite and reboot it. Therefore, I decided to combine the two books but then that didn’t work either. A lot of readers got confused between the mother and daughter and how the whole wish land worked. So I had to rewrite the entire series from the main character’s point of view. Wow, that was a mouthful!
Everblossom: A Short Story and Poetry Anthology took about a year give or take a few months. Last year I took four Creative Writing classes and during this time, I wrote a lot of short stories for the first time and I enjoyed it. Then I noticed that all of them have this pattern, so I decided after a lot of pushing from my professor, to self-publish it. Additionally, I took this great opportunity to introduce my poetry that I felt never got the chance to be enjoyed and probably wouldn’t ever be traditionally published, therefore I included certain poems that provided wonderful transitions from one short story to another, then from the end of each section into the next.
Angel Diaries is still a work in progress, but all together it’ll probably be 5 years give or take a few months. It all depends how fast I can get through editing it, handing it to my favourite editor Ricki, getting through the multiple stages of editing then editing it for the last time and releasing it to the public. I’ve worked with Angel Diaries since my last year of high school and into my freshman year of college and I’ve working on it off and on ever since. With this book, I really veered off my light fantasy track and jumped into a darker fantasy angle but I am so thrilled with the results and I can’t wait to self publish this one for the public. I know if readers really wanted to buy it before I really edited it (not to mention, I was offered publication) then I know a lot of readers will want to buy it now. I can’t wait to see to release it. I’m also working on Angel Diaries 2. 🙂 I’m going to try to finish it in five months using this author‘s technique, 10k words a day!
Obviously, if I’m going to self-publish the rest of my books, I need to speed up my writing process without losing the quality. Therefore, that’s what I’m going to work on for the next semester (incidentally, my last full-time semester of college) is trying to up my word count, keeping consistent and not side track on my book, and keep writing and/or editing every single day. That way I can keep my fans happy and I don’t have to spend forever on one book! Or multiple books.
I actually had A LOT of input since I created the cover of sorts. I picked up a stock image, photo shopped it and viola! The cover of Iwishacana/Acanawishi was born. You can check out all the details about my bookshopping adventure on my blog.
I also just created my other cover for Iwishacana/Acanawishi 2.
The only cover I haven’t had any hand in creating and/or picking out is Angel Diaries since I couldn’t find a photo to suit the complexities of that YA novel. From the beginning, I’ve had plenty of input. I filled out a questionnaire about what my book was about and what I looking for, I picked out the model, and when the final product came to me, I could make changes to it. Like in one instance, the font bothered me since it seemed so indie amateur, so I asked him to change it, along with some of textures of the book.
I think the key though in all good business relationships, whether it’s a book cover or editing is great communication and having a clear understanding of expectations. Know what you’re getting BEFORE you agree to pay for a service. Know the price. Know what you’re getting. And when you come against problems, watch for their reaction. If they get defensive then that’s a bad sign. If they are more than willing to make you, as the customer, happy no matter what, that’s a wonderful sign. In the beginning, they’ll treat you nice. But once you continue to work with them through a month long process, watch their emails. Listen to the tone. If the tone turns down on the polite scale, then you know that they were faking it the entire way just to get their pay check. Then you also know not to use their services, especially if they promised you one thing but changed their mind along the way.
Overall, I say every author should have enough input in order to be happy with their cover. And if the cover artists, editors, or formatters are not acting in a professional manner or they are doing what they want instead of listening to what you want, then there’s an issue you need to address. Just remember: It’s your money. Make sure you get your monies worth.
I would like to thank you for the great opportunity to be on your fabulous blog! 🙂
Hello, my name is Larissa Hinton. I’m a grad student at Hampton University and hopefully by next year, I’ll be a full time secondary English teacher. In the morning, I’ll be a teacher but at night I’ll become an author. Reference isn’t working for you?
Lol, anyway, most of the fiction I write really comes from a life of reading of what I love to read. Some of it, comes from a dark place which I never knew existed until college. Ah, gotta love college. Always discovering new sides of yourself.
If you want to know more about me and my sarcasm, you can just check out my blog and click on FAQ’s. Thanks for reading my super short bio!
Iwishacana/Acanawishi by Larissa Hinton
Where rules are meant to be broken.
Anissa is constantly on the run from the police and can’t seem to stay out of trouble.
Secrets are meant to be kept.
Until Anissa hides Florence in her bedroom and her mother finds out. There’s only one thing left to do: Send her to Juvenile Cop Camp to erase all of her crimes on her record.
And everything is not what it seems.
There’s only one problem: Anissa is innocent. Welcome to Iwishacana.
Want to win a copy of the book?
I have one ebook copy of Iwishacana/Acanawishi by Larissa Hinton to give to one lucky reader. To enter, simply leave a comment answering the following question:
Giveaway open worldwide until midnight EST Dec 27, 2011.