Audra is the author of the Watcher series. Below this post we review book two in the series: Abomination.
Do you work at home in a quiet room or utter chaos?
I have three boys, so utter chaos is the norm, definitely.
Some writers go to a coffee shop that doesn’t have wi-fi. Where and how do you think you are the most productive?
I am most productive when I’m well-rested and my mind isn’t preoccupied with life’s stresses. It really doesn’t matter where I am at that point, as long as my mind is free to daydream I can write pretty much anywhere, anytime – while my monkey boys are bouncing off the walls around me, driving them to baseball games, in the waiting room of the doctor’s office. Even if I don’t have a computer in front of me, I can work through story arcs, dialogue, etc. in my head. The tricky part is making sure I write it all down before I forget it.
What writers do you admire?
I think Beverly Cleary is still my favorite, because her characters are so well-crafted. When I first read Ramona the Brave, I swore that woman had reached in and stolen my eight-year-old soul. I want to write characters like that, steal people’s souls. I also enjoy Stephen King because I love a well-crafted scary story. And Tolkien of course. He’s the one who get me hooked on the fantasy genre.
What’s the most recent book you’ve read?
I just finished a novella called Forget Me by Suza Bella. It’s the first in a series, with a doppelganger as the protagonist. It had an edgy feel and had some supernatural critters that were new to me, which was a nice twist on the paranormal thing.
Why this book, this genre?
I wrote Abomination as a sequel to my first fantasy novel, Watcher. The characters weren’t finished; they had more stories to tell, and so I kept going. I love the fantasy genre for the escapism factor. When I really need a vacation, I spend some time in my fantasy world for a true change of pace.
What was your favorite scene in this book and why?
I thoroughly enjoyed writing the scenes with little Willow and Ethan. Willow’s know-it-all princess personality wrote itself, and she played well against Ethan’s somber, practical nature. I particularly like the scenes where she questions the cultural extremes Ethan adheres to, and it rattles him.
When was that point in your life that you realized that being an author wasn’t a hobby, but a realistic business to support yourself?
Being an author became more than a hobby to me the day I signed my first publishing contract. I began working with professionals and meeting deadlines. I haven’t gotten to the point where I can quit my day job, but I enjoy my day job so it’s all good.
If you were to write a letter to yourself of five years ago… what would you warn, or encourage yourself about, or tell yourself to do differently.
I haven’t the power to change the things I’d like to, even if I had warning, but I suppose I would encourage myself to worry less and enjoy life more. Worrying never accomplishes anything; it’s energy that can be better spent.
What has been the biggest surprise to you in terms of the ‘business’ end of being a writer?
Marketing my books has been more fun than I imagined – but actually racking up sales is much more difficult than I figured. Lots of people are willing to interact with you on-line, but precious few will actually push that “buy” button!
Many writers are struggling to find a balance. How do you divide your writing time? For example, 10% research and outlining, 30% rough draft, 10% workshop/writing clubs/Beta, 20% re-working, editing, 20% marketing. 10% eating chocolate.
I’ve never really broken it down like that before. I’d estimate research & outlining take 5-10% of my time, drafts 35%, critique group/workshopping another 5-10%, rewriting/editing another 25-30%, and marketing takes up the last 15-25%. I eat chocolate pretty much 100% of the time.
What would you like your readers to know about this book or you in general?
My stories revolve around my lively characters, and this story is no exception. A princess with the gift of debate, an angry adolescent caught between his father and his rigid culture, a powerful king and queen suddenly helpless to save their daughter, and some truly diabolical villains hatching plots that will endanger them all.