How and when did you decide to become a writer?
It was shortly after my third child was born. I devoured the Twilight Series on the recommendation of my kids’ babysitter, which re-ignited my love for books. Prior to that, I was more into reading literary fiction, but this set me off on reading more paranormal. Following up the Twilight series, I read the Sookie Stackhouse series, but then after that, I started finding it more difficult to find the stories I wanted to read. That’s when I decided to start writing some of my own. I’d always wanted to write a book, but hadn’t expected to really pursue it as something I would do more than a few times. But that all changed by time I finished my first book.
You write mainly paranormal stories, did you choose this genre o, so to speak, this genre ‘chose you’?
This is definitely a “genre chose me” scenario. Before I set out to write my own books after having my third child, I had already tried writing a book many times before in my preferred reading genre: literary fiction. But I never finished more than a couple chapter of anything. Once I pursued writing paranormal, though, it was as though I couldn’t stop writing in the genre. Now paranormal aspects play a large role in whatever I write, even when I write some stories that are more dystopian leaning.
You have an established marketing company called ZERO ALCHEMY, that helps indie authors skyrocket their careers and reach 6 figures per year, when did you decide that helping other authors was your calling and how did you start?
That was another life situation that chose me, instead of the other way around. I’d just wanted to write books, but I was instantly successful. Landed agents, movie deals (though they didn’t come to anything in the end), and publishing deals with international publishers. Readers liked my books, and yet I saw so many authors struggling. So I started to help other authors. At first, I gave this help for free. I was making my money on books, so I didn’t mind. More and more people wanted my help, though, as the authors I was helping were becoming wildly successful – some of them are often in the top 100 on Amazon to this day, though I don’t work with them currently. (They don’t need me anymore, and that’s a good thing! It means I did my “job” well.)
Anyway, what I didn’t consider was that the more I helped people, paid or not, the less I had time for my own books. As such, my own production and marketing slipped, as I was always prioritizing my clients. My book sales fell, and to support my family, it became necessary to take on more clients. It became a cycle that, with time, meant I had created over 450 best-selling authors and dozens of six figure author careers for other people…while taking a huge hit to my own publishing career.
Needless to say, I failed to master “balance,” and a lot of my friends ask if I regret it.
The answer is no. I still write books when I have time. I’m still connected with my readers, who are amazing people, many of whom have become friends of mine over time. And more importantly, I’m part of something bigger than myself. I’m not just over here pumping out my own 6+ books a year for the readers I know…I’m helping with the production and exposure of hundreds of books a year, which means more great reads for authors than I could have provided on my own. That said, I am now pursuing balance, as I miss watching from the sidelines and want to have those experiences once again for myself.
You have a new paranormal series out, “The Cursed Key”, starring Olivia, a kick-ass archeologist. I loved the first book, having an archeology degree myself: Can you tell us more about it? How many books will there be in the series? How did you create this amazing character? Tell us all about your co-author too!
Well, this is a funny story! I had a client come to me who wanted help with a story idea, and I created the cursed key based on her wanting to write a paranormal book involving mages and past lives. These are two tropes I’ve written multiple times before, so I was eager to help. I suggested we do a sort of “Tomb Raider Style Urban Fantasy”, and she agreed at the time. From there, I spent about a week working on a complete story idea and overall story arc for the trilogy as a whole, but in the end, the author didn’t think the idea fit and wanted me to help her come up with something different instead. Since I had been the one to develop the idea and the idea hadn’t been paid for by the client (she traded in that for my time helping her with a different idea), I decided not to let it go to waste.
That’s when I pursued a coauthor for the project and came across Miranda Brock. Miranda is AMAZING, and I mean that in every way. She’s down to earth, totally cool, easy to work with, and a brilliant writer. We worked together flawlessly! And it was actually Miranda who came up with the actual plot (based on my idea) and Olivia’s character, using my methods for story development and my feedback as we went along.
There will be 3 books in this trilogy. Book 2 releases in 2 days, and book 3 will release (ideally) another 2 weeks after that. It’s in the editing phase now. Our hope is that readers who are enjoying the trilogy can binge read without having to wait too long for another release!
That was very interesting and insightful, thanks Rebecca! To buy The Cursed Key, simply click on the cover below: