Join us every Friday as we spotlight various members in the Savvy Authors Community. We'll introduce you to volunteers, members active in the Savvy writing community, and recently published authors from Our Authors, as well as editors and agents.
Today we sit down with dark urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance author Rachel Firasek. Rachel has won the hearts of her readers with mesmerizing characters and her ability to deliver satisfying, emotion packed stories. Her upcoming novella release, Creating Fate
, Book 1 of the Unspun Trilogy, will be available July, 2012.
What drew you to the mythology of the phoenix as the basis for your “Curse of the Phoenix” series?
Actually, I flipped a Tarot card.
I had the romance story in my head, but I couldn't figure out what my PR plot line would be, so I consulted the cards. The first one I flipped was a phoenix. Voila. Done. My research led me to Osiris, and the Egyptian lore for the phoenix is just so beautiful, I had to tell their story.
What is your daily writing schedule, and do you work from an outline or wing it?
I'm a total pantser. I get up at 5:00am to shower and dress for the day job and then I write for an hour...well, I write for half a hour and hit my social media networks for a half hour. After the day job and commute, I pet the family on the head and it hit it again by 7:00 and try to stay focused for another 3 hours. I feel very accomplished when I can get in 3 solid writing hours.
“Piper’s Fury” tells the story of Piper, an empath who helps police find killers, and your readers have really connected with her. What do you think it is about Piper that resonates with women?
She really touches the woman who has never quite fit in and I think that's true for most of us at some point in our lives. Piper matures through the book and I think...no I know that at 24 I did a lot of growing up. I love to watch her journey. She makes mistakes and admits to them. I'm not sure what else to say about her. To date, she's my favorite heroine.
Who are some of your favorite authors and in what way did any of them influence your own writing?
Jeaniene Frost is my fave PR author. I love her ability to really develop a character. Hmmm...Laurell K Hamilton is another fave. I love the walls that she knocks down in fiction.
When you finish with edits you send your work out to beta readers. How has that helped you, would you recommend it to other writers and how do you go about finding good beta readers?
I think critiques and beta reads are really important. As the author, I'm too close to my stories and I don't see all of the flaws. I've worked under deadlines when I didn't have time for critiques and I really felt sorry for my editor. We had some major work to do in edits that could have been caught long before she had to deal with them if I had the time for betas. As far as finding the right people, I think it changes as you grow. I have a few people that I trust implicitly to really give me a good crit and I try to do the same for them. Mostly I look for people who aren't afraid to tell me the truth. Liking every paragraph won't help me...I look for people who question me and aren't afraid to tell me when I'm just being lazy.
You have just wrapped up work on “Creating Fate”, the first novella in a trilogy collaboration with Berinn Rae and Elle J. Rossi, due to release July, 2012. Can you give us a peek inside this story and some back ground on how the series came about?
Oh, I'll try to keep this short, but it's a great story. Berinn is one of my fellow Crescent Moon Press authors, that's how we met. We've been friends for the past year or two, and she's besties with Elle. Those two cooked up this series idea and invited me to be their third...or first Fate. I was in between projects at the time and jumped at the chance to work on this Indie series. The three Fates are goddesses in charge of life. My character, Clotho AKA Chloe is the creator of life, Berinn's character Lacey measures the length of life, and Elle's character Attie brings death. Each book is a stand alone with the same world to tie the series together, so it won't matter which one you read first.
Creating Fate--Short blurb.
Clotho, the Fate responsible for creating life, has lost all faith in humanity. A sexy undercover cop may be the only one that can bring her back from her tears.
What are your thoughts on the importance of networking for writers, new and experienced, at sites like SavvyAuthors, especially in the changing environment of publishing?
I think it's important to network with other authors, but I try to focus more of my time marketing to readers. I'm still building my reader base, so every opportunity I can get, I take. I used to spend hours on Savvy, and it helped so much when I began writing...but as you produce more books, there are more demands on your time and places like Savvy--that are dear to my heart--get pushed to the side. So much so, that if I don't see an email from someone announcing a great blog, I don't get to the article page as often as I'd like.
I still take the classes, though. I've taken several this year and will continue to take them. Savvy is great for learning! I don't really consider myself experienced yet, and someday when I don't have the day job, I hope to be able to submit more time to places like Savvy.
You create book trailers for your own books and for other authors. Can you talk about how you got started doing this?
I don't really get started at anything, I just jump in. I wanted to make trailers, so I watched a lot of trailers, found some different programs, learned about music and RF laws, and went to town. It's a lot of work and takes quite a bit of time, but when I get it right, it's great!
Trailers are probably not going to sell your books, but they are a great conversation piece. Okay, they may sell a few books.
Mostly I like using them to express what I see visually in my head when I'm writing. And, they make a lovely addition to your social marketing for a new release. I've had a trailer or two made by other people and they were great, but there was something missing. It felt very robotic---it was missing me.
When I do a trailer for another author, I'm a little bit intrusive into their stories. I want to read at least the first three chapters to get the feel of the book. The atmosphere is the most important thing in a trailer. I try to make them so that the viewer will have questions, hoping this will prompt them to check out the book. I saw a comment on Facebook about a trailer I made for Brooke Moss and her new book "The Carny"
. The viewer told Brooke that the trailer was lovely, but it didn't say much about the book and she had to go to the publisher site to check out the story. I was hooping and hollaring! Score! Guess what is on the publisher's site...the pre-sale button. We can't put the buy button on Youtube.
Having just completed your edits, what advice would you give to new writers on their work, prior to submitting?
Make sure those first three chapters are mint and make you want to read more. I've been doing some freelance editing and that is one of the first things that make me stomp my feet. There is only one first impression and it has to be intriguing. After you get the intro perfect, edit the rest, and revise, and read, and let others read. And when you're all done. READ IT OUT LOUD. THE WHOLE THING. You will catch more problems when you think it's perfect if you read it out loud. Have someone listen while you read it out loud. Make someone read it to you. Whatever. Just get it out loud. I promise, this will help you more than anything else.
You enjoy posting snippets from your work, often comments from the hero. Do you fall at least a little bit in love with each hero you write?
Oh, Ria, I know why you're asking this. I do! I fall for each of them. Dane, the Creating Fate
hero is alpha on the outside, but not so much on the inside and it's a beautiful conflict for him. He's also very witty, but has a bad-boy language problem.
I post snippets because it helps sales. Bottom line. It's also a great way to start up conversation. When my twitter feed or Facebook fan page grows dull, I pop a quote on there. It instantly has the girls talking. I post mostly hero quotes because the ladies love this. They don't get all gushy when I post the heroine's. It's all about the right marketing and you can thank Misa Ramirez for teaching me all about the hero quotes.
Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us today! You can learn more about Rachel by going to her website, or Facebook, and you can also follow her on Twitter
For more information on our Spotlights, feel free to leave a comment or private message me from my profile page.
Rachel Firasek grew up in the South, and despite the gentle pace, she harassed life at full steam. Her curiosity about mythology, human nature, and the chemical imbalance we call love led her to writing. Her stories began with macabre war poems and shifted to enchanted fairy tales, before she settled on a blending of the two. Today, you’ll find her tucked on a small parcel of land, surrounded by bleating sheep and barking dogs, with her husband and children. She entertains them all with her wacky sense of humor or animated reenactments of bad Eighties dance moves.
Creating Fate: She gave away her heart…
Giving her heart to a mortal wasn't something the First Fate planned. Losing him nearly shattered her soul. Upon his death, Clotho swore never to love—or weave life—again. Hoping she'll change her mind before it's too late, Zeus commands the spinner of life to take a much needed vacation from her immortal responsibilities.
He had to hide his...
Dane is close to cracking the drug ring he's spent the last two years infiltrating, but needs to perform one last heist to meet the head man and prevent an impending war. An undercover agent, he’s now on the run from drug lords, thieves and with the very woman whose tears make him forget his purpose.
Together they’ll find a way back from the dark. Chloe will have to put her trust in the man she believes may have killed her fiance, or face an eternity on Earth. Without the desire for life, hope could slip through the cracks of time if he doesn’t love away her sorrow.
Ria Boulay, Spotlight On Editor, writes paranormal romance and young adult. A former paralegal now working as a judicial secretary, she previously spent six years as the general manager and editorial writer for a large, metaphysical website. With her husband and two utterly impertinent Italian Greyhounds, she divides her time between New Hampshire and Cape Cod. When not writing, she spends her spare time rescuing homeless gargoyles and relaxes by riding her Harley.