Legacy of a King is her first book which I read a while ago. I actually enjoyed it which was a surprise to me because of it mainly a romance book with some small twists of fantasy mixed in. If you’ve been following my blog you know I am not a huge fan of romance.
LF: Tell us about your book.
CS: Legacy of King is the first in a planned series of at least three novels. It is a light fantasy romance set on a planet that still embraces the feudal system. The Elderman’s War caused great upheaval in Greater Conica and changed the fates of many. Lili’s father lost his fortune and is forced to send his daughter to find a mate at the same event where the newly appointed king and queen are making arrangements for their children as the queen is deathly ill.
Lili must discover who she is as she is thrown into strange culture wrapped in politics and intrigue. Manipulated and threatened, she does her best to be someone worthy of her position. It is as she becomes this person that she makes the mistake of falling in love and that may destroy everything she has fought for.
I am often asked what inspired me, but I never have an answer. I suppose that is because there is not one thing. Writers are never sure when inspiration will hit. One awesome source was a visit to Oahu, which inspired the island and coastal regions. Interior Alaska, which inspired Lili’s home region of the West Fall. Another was my daughter (main inspiration for Lili), who was a freshman in high school (coming of age) when I began building the world of Conica and the cultures populating it.
LF: What is the dream?
CS: I live with this colorful world, cultures, and characters in my head. I have hopes and dreams for them. Like my children, I want people to love them as much as I do. When the first person told me “I love Cam,” it sent my heart a flutter. The dream is to do it justice so that others can enjoy it as well.
LF: Self-publishing vs traditional publishing?
CS: I can’t give an opinion on what traditional publishing is like (yet). I didn’t know what self-publishing was when I signed my contract. I was not considering publishing. Legacy of a King was the first novel I finished. I was looking for an estimate on editing and wanted to have it evaluated. They contacted me from that inquiry. In the end, I’m not sorry I self-published. I have learned more about the industry than I knew existed. They were helpful, and I was able to set my own deadlines, which is good for a floundering newbie like myself.
LF: What is the biggest thing you’ve learned so far on your Author journey?
CS: To take criticism and even incorporate some of it. Everyone has an opinion. I often thought “they know better than I do.” While their information was valuable, they don’t know a book as well as the writer. (I am not referring to agents, I imagine they will be as passionate about my writing as I am.)
Other than that, there are lots of people out there looking to prey on new authors. I receive calls asking me to pay for interviews, book signings, and reviews, or things I can do myself for free even if it is a little time-consuming. When I say, “I’m not interested at this time,” they are quite rude about telling me I’m going to fail if I am not willing to invest in marketing. It shook me at first, but I’ve learned to let it roll off me.
LF: Anything you would go back and change?
CS: Proofreading! While I had a couple of great editors, even after a professional it needs a proofreader, and I did not realize that.
I caved to opinions about my blurb and author bio (which they said was inappropriate because I mentioned my dog, Puk). I wish I had insisted on my version. It is currently being redesigned to include kick-ass reviews by Kirkus, BlueInk, and Clarion Foreword and I have already told them I would like the new cover to use my original, unedited material.
Applying for reviews earlier. From what I understand, reviewers are inundated by traditional publishers who submit in Oct for reviews. I would have preferred them done before I launched Legacy of a King. When it went live, I sold my first three books in Ga, Tx, and Wa. At that time, I had yet to receive my galley copy (in Alaska) for approval. I had approved PDF’s, but that is not the same.
LF: Are you still in shock that you published a book?
CS: I will think I’m accustomed to it then someone mentions it and I’m embarrassed and nervous all over again. I’m not sure the feeling will ever go away. I’m not sure I want it to.
LF: Plans for the future.
CS: I am currently seeking representation for the sequel Revenge of a Queen. I plan to publish traditionally, we’ll see if anyone is interested. I have a meeting with a literary agent in May to discuss the possibility of him representing me. If he passes, I have a list of literary agents my daughter says I am stalking.
LF: Anything else you would like to add?
CS: You never know what you are capable until you try.
If you think you have a story to tell, get it on paper (or a computer). Don’t edit until you have down everything you want. Keep learning and incorporating that knowledge until it is something you are proud of.
If you have written something but never let anyone read it…A character in Revenge of a Queen states that “Art is an exercise in generosity.” You are sharing a part of yourself. Be proud. Be brave. When you think you are ready, be really brave and find someone who isn’t afraid to hurt your feelings…Here is the tough part, you can use it to make your writing better, or you can let it tear you down. Use it! Maybe you’ll never do more than tell a bedtime story but maybe you are capable of more than you know.