SANDRA EDWARDS WRITES in a in a variety of genre: contemporary, paranormal (mostly time travel and reincarnation themes), and hardboiled suspense with romantic elements. She's an active member of Romance Writers of America (RWA) and has won or been a finalist in numerous RWA-sponsored contests. She lives in the Lake Tahoe area with her husband, two kids, four dogs and one very temperamental feline.
Mike: Thank you for joining me today, Sandra. You have a very interesting variety of writing. Is there a common link among them all?
Sandra: Thanks for having me, Mike. I do write in various genres. But the thing they all have in common is that these genres are tangled with strong romantic elements. I write both single titles and series. Whether or not a book ends up as a single title or part of a series depends upon the story.
M: Can you give me a brief overview of some of your work?
S: Crazy for You is contemporary romance and is the first book I wrote (back in the 80s) and was originally intended as a single title. Over the years a sequel has been trying to emerge, and because this is one of my most popular books, I’ve started developing the sequel idea.
Incredible Dreams is a paranormal time travel romance that was born from my love of a good ghost story and my fascination with the 1940s. At this point, I have no plans for a sequel to this book, although I do have other time travel books in the works.
As for series works, Soul Searchers is a suspense series with paranormal elements. I’ve got a new series coming up. The Time Brokers combines one of my favorite genres (time travel) with the very hot paranormal element of vampires. The first book Staked brings a new twist to the vampire theme and will release this summer.
M: What started you writing?
S: I think I was probably born a writer, as I started spinning verbal tales at an early age, but it wasn’t until I was about 12 or 13 that I actually started writing them down. I wrote short stories in school to amuse my friends.
M: How did you get your first book published?
S: I’m an Indie author whose story is like so many others I know. I’ve won/finaled in plethora of RWA-sponsored contests and received numerous “requests from editors” via the contests, only to later receive rejections. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard, “your writing is too outside the box”.
JA Konrath [author of the Jack Daniels Mystery Series – Mike] is the reason I decided to go Indie (in July 2010), and I don’t regret that decision at all. To date I’ve sold around 30,000 copies of my books on Kindle and Nook.
M: I take it that all of your books are available as ebooks, correct? Are any available in traditional paper format?
S: Yes, all my books are available in ebook formats. Crazy For You, Secondary Targets and Incredible Dreams are available in print (via Amazon). Broken Wings (a novella) and Vegas, Baby (books 1 & 2 in the Soul Searchers series) will release in print later this summer as a 2-pack edition.
M: There has been a lot of discussion on this site, mainly by my co-writer Robyn Gioia about ebooks. Can you explain the process of producing an independent e-book?
S: A lot of work goes into producing ebooks independently. Since the entire process is on the author’s shoulders, it helps to be a bit of a control freak. Having your book edited by someone other than yourself is a must. If you don’t know one or two good editors, you’ll have to pay someone. Then there’s cover art. I’ve created some of my covers, others I’ve paid for. There are great cover artists out there who have reasonable rates. Once you have a professional-looking cover and a thoroughly edited manuscript, you’ll need someone to format it for the various e-readers. I do my own formatting (and I can be hired to format for Kindle and Nook). Once you upload to KDP (Kindle), PubIt (Nook) and Smashwords (which distributes to various outlets), your work isn’t done. People can only buy a book if they know about it. Marketing is a must (what works and what doesn’t is debatable, at best). It should be noted that even if you go the traditional route through a publisher, you’re still going to have to do the marketing yourself. Publishers rarely sink marketing dollars into new authors these days. So either way, the marketing’s going to be up to the author.
M: As an independent, how do you market your books?
S: I try to get myself on as many blogs as I can. I do cover/banner spots at various websites. I’m a regular visitor to a few reader-friendly forums such as kindleboards.com, nookboards.com and mobilereads.com.
M: How can someone purchase one of your books for find out more about them?
S: My books are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and various other outlets via Smashwords, including Sony, Kobo, Apple and Diesel. Links to Amazon, BN and Smashwords for each book can be found at my website.
M: Getting down to the actual writing: what are your writing habits? In other words, do you write each day, morning, evening, etc.?
S: My days are pretty routine. I spend a couple of hours in the morning addressing promo. I spend time as needed for technical things like formatting. My afternoons and evenings are usually spent writing and swapping critiques and beta reads with some of my author friends.
M: Anything upcoming?
S: Yes, as referenced above, the first book in the Time Brokers series titled Staked will release this summer. I’m also participating in a month-long blog tour in May. At the end of the tour I’ll award a new Kindle 3 to one lucky follower.
M: Can you tell me how that contest will work? There are more than a few folks here who would like a new Kindle.
S: Anyone interested in entering the contest will need to follow the blog tour (blog stops are listed at my website) during the month of May. Two or three questions will be posted about the participating authors (or their books) at each of the blog stops and will include a link to where the answers can be found. At the end of the blog tour everyone who sends me (via email) the correct answers to all the questions will be entered into a drawing for the Kindle 3 and a great starter library from the participating authors (approximately twenty books will be gifted to the winner). More info about the contest is available at my website.
M: Besides writing and taking care of two kids, four dogs, a cat (and a husband) do you have any hobbies? Or do you have any spare time?
S: I rarely have free time, but when I carve out a little block of it, video games (specifically RPGs) are my weakness. I especially love to play the Final Fantasy and Star Ocean series.