Every once in a while, I break my Wednesday and Thursday traditions and go crazy by interviewing an author on a completely different day. I know, insanity. AND OH SO FUN!
Aria said to me, “Thanks so much for having me, Margaret! It’s great chatting with a fellow romance author & Flash! Friday enthusiast ;),” to which I have to say, the pleasure is entirely mine. We romance authors have to stick together (especially since the world of flash is often populated with tragedies and not-so-happy endings. At least the flash I’ve read.)!
And … here we go! Enjoy!
Why romance? What draws you to this genre over others? When people criticize you about your reading/writing genre of choice (and if they don’t, I need to hang around with your people), what do you say?
Romance as a genre allows us to genuinely delve into people’s psyches and personalities; we can get to know people from all walks of life, in all sorts of situations, who nevertheless all experience that fundamental human desire of finding love—and then we get to see them do that! We get to see characters through the tough times and to an uplifting point in their story. Happy endings leave readers upbeat, which is that extra little benefit to romance.
People around me absolutely criticize the genre, but I’m actually lucky that many of those closest to me make an effort to read romance novels following my recommendations. Some have still never read a romance novel and consider the genre beneath them, or lacking intellectual value, so I just point out all the benefits of romance; that many classics (like Pride & Prejudice) would be classified as romance if they were published today; and that these people are likely thinking about stereotypes from bad romance novels, since they’ve never actually bothered to read the genre themselves. I sometimes add that the only rules in romance are that it has to be about a central couple finding love and it has to end happily, so the range within the genre is as broad as within all of fiction—which means the only way someone could not like the entire genre is if they’re somehow categorically opposed to a happy ending. Most people recognize how silly that is.
How long did it take you get Mortal Musings from head to page to printed book?
All told, from the very first word written to publication, it’s been almost 10 years! That’s a scary thought. But from the moment I picked up the old, unfinished draft and started over, it’s been just over two years.
Tell us about Mortal Musings’ journey to publication. As a fellow indie author, I want to know all the steps you took, and why you felt indie was the right way for this book.
This journey has been so long and complex… Skipping past discouragement from established authors that led me to shelving the story and forward to when I picked it back up, I went through the pretty normal stages of writing and revising (and revising, and revising). I did query a few agents with this book, but everywhere I turned, agents were saying that paranormal romance wasn’t selling and they weren’t acquiring. So, I moved on to querying some publishers.
Mortal Musings received several offers, and I spent almost 6 months evaluating and negotiating those. But ultimately, those offers didn’t work out, for business reasons and for creative ones. (One editor suggested I add toilet humor! Not really my style.) A common theme I was hearing from the publishers, though, was that they didn’t want any substantive changes. So the manuscript was pretty much ready, there was just the question of the business side.
It was intimidating, but I’ve thought for a while now that the smartest path for modern-day authors was hybrid—indie and traditional. It seemed like this book was being pushed away from the traditional path, and truly what I care about is getting the story in readers’ hands, so I chose to bet on myself. A lot of research and quite a bit of work later, Mortal Musings is finally available to readers!
What’s the hardest thing you find about being an indie author? What’s the most enjoyable?
The most difficult thing is knowing that every decision is entirely in your hands, which means you’re responsible for every success or failure. It can be paralyzing, but I try to remember no one moment is life-or-death and there’s always something to be learned from the results, good or bad.
The best is the same with indie and traditional publishing—seeing readers loving the story!
Flash or even short fiction really allows you to focus in on a particular situation or character, and like poetry, it forces you to be concise yet evocative at once. For me, it’s almost like running drills, since we should aim for that same efficiency in whatever we write, but it’s also a wonderful opportunity to create something whole in one or two writing sessions, as opposed to the longer term of novels.
What’s up next from you?
I don’t know! Publishing is so unpredictable, I am not yet sure which story will be available next. I will continue to write and hopefully to publish in one way or another. Anyone interested can stay up to date on my next steps through my blog or social media.
The must-know on Mortal Musings:
Muse Alexandra has had it with the arrogant, ungrateful humans she is obligated to inspire. When the internal ranting of her latest charge pushes her past reason, she disregards the rules and forces her own words through his fingers, and is instantly entrapped in mortal form. With no magic, no identity, and no resources, Allie has no alternative but to navigate the mortal realm, depending entirely on her reluctant host while discerning what exactly caused her transformation — and how to reverse it.
Brett doesn’t have a chance to consider the words that mysteriously showed up on his screen; he’s too distracted by the stunning woman who appeared in his office out of nowhere. Before his brain can catch up, Brett’s uninvited guest becomes enmeshed in his everyday life. Her artless innocence gradually lessens his suspicions. Most importantly, the writer’s block that’s been plaguing him dissolves under the fantasies the naively beguiling Alexandra inspires.
All too soon, the forced proximity sparks a confounding awareness neither writer nor muse are able to resist.
Find Mortal Musings here!:
Autographed paperbacks: http://selz.co/1JRFBES
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0122H197G
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0122H197G
Amazon CAN: http://www.amazon.ca/dp/B0122H197G
A Bit About Aria:
Since then, Aria has run a literary magazine, earned her degree in Creative Writing (as well as in French and Russian literatures), and been published here and there. Her novels Mending Heartstrings and Mortal Musings are now available for purchase. Though her first kiss technically came from a bear cub, and no fairytale transformation followed, Aria still believes magic can happen when the right people come together—if they don’t get in their own way, that is.
Other than all things literary, Aria loves spending time with her family, including her two unbearably adorable nieces. She also dabbles in painting, dancing, playing violin, and, given the opportunity, Epicureanism.
Want to connect with Aria? She’s here!:
Thanks for visiting with us today, Aria! I’m looking forward to reading Mortal Musings (yes, I already have a copy in my grubby little hands. Well, okay, in my less-grubby little iPad) and wish you the best success with it!