Our first Author In The Zone of 2011 is Nina Croft.
Hi Nina. Welcome to Author In The Zone. Tell us a little about yourself?
My name’s Nina Croft and a long time ago, I used to be an accountant. I really didn’t like it. So, I planned my escape. After a few years spent wandering the world, I have now settled to an almost hermit-like existence on a remote, and rather ramshackle, almond farm, on a mountaintop, in southern Spain. Here, I alternate my time between gazing at the scenery, writing romance, and picking the occasional nut (when funds run alarmingly low).
Sound idyllic. How long have you been writing?
A long, long time, but seriously – with a view to getting published – around four years.
Give us a little background to your writing work to date?
I started off trying to write contemporary romance. I got some positive feedback—they liked my writing style, but I wasn’t getting the stories quite right, not enough internal conflict. So I decided to try something where more external conflict was allowed and encouraged. I’m also a strong believer in writing the sort of things you enjoy reading, and as I was reading a lot of paranormal romance and urban fantasy at the time, I decided to have a go. And I loved it.
Although I do write mainly paranormal, I love to try different things and my first novella to be published - in January 2010 - was actually a Space Opera romance, Tiger of Talmare. I had four other novellas published in 2010, all paranormal romance, but my latest work is a full length thriller.
Where does your interest in the paranormal stem from?
When I think of the books that stand out in my mind from my childhood, there were a lot of paranormal and fantasy. One of my first favorites was Weirdstone of Brisingamen. I also loved the Lord of the Rings and later, Anne Rice’s, Interview with a Vampire had a big impact on me.
Who are your favourite writers?
They tend to change, but this year Laurell K Hamilton, Brent Weeks, Joe Abercrombie, Patricia Briggs, Manna Francis….
Do you have a process when writing?
No. I’m sure I’ll get one eventually – or maybe not.
I keep telling myself that I’m still trying to work out what works best for me. But I think the truth, is I just have a low boredom threshold, and I hate routines, so I try something different each time. Currently, I’m a manic plotter. I recently discovered some software for writers called, ywriter. It’s great, you can plot scene by scene, and it gives you pretty color coded story boards and things. I used it for my nano story, and whenever I got stuck, I’d go and play with it.
What's the last book you read?
JD Robb’s, Naked in Death, recommended by one of my crit partners. It’s a sort of futuristic murder mystery, and I loved it, which is great because there are loads of books in the series. I love finding authors I’ve not read before who’ve written masses.
How do you market your writing?
Well, here I am. Is this going to work?
And I did buy my other half a ‘Nina Croft’ T-shirt for Christmas. He’s going to wear it around our local village (population approximately 300 – all over 80 and no English speakers). I’m expecting an enormous boost in my sales figures!
The truth is I find the whole marketing thing a complete mystery. But I’m doing my best to solve it. I have a website, but not a blog. I’ve been resisting it – as I find blogging incredibly hard. But I’ve been doing some guest blogs and author interviews and things.
My current strategy is to concentrate on getting stuff out there. I figure it’s the best way of getting my name recognized. I’m probably deluding myself, but at least it means I get to spend most of my time writing.
Do you do your own editing?
I revise and self-edit before I submit anything to a publisher. I also have a fantastic group of critique partners who help enormously. But all my books have been edited by an external editor as part of the publishing process.
One of the reasons I would not, at this time, consider self-publishing is I would have to pay an editor – my grammar is pretty crappy. But I think all writers need an external editor, as it’s so hard to see your own work clearly. Mind you, I think you also have to realize that editors aren’t always right. If you feel strongly about something then you need to stand your ground. If you don’t feel strongly then they probably are right after all.
What's your view on self publishing via traditional publishing?
I personally would not self publish. At the moment. But then, I write romance and there are a lot of ebook publishers around, that deal with the genre. If you have written something of publishable standard then you will find a home for it. And I’d personally rather go this route than self-publish.
I do recognize that other genres might be more difficult, but again, there are so many epublishers now willing to take the chance on new authors. Because the epublishing process is so much cheaper that traditional print publishing, epublishers are willing to take more risks with the types of books they publish. Which is great for writers and readers.
Where can book lovers find examples of your work?
You can find links to my books on my website
Tiger of Talmare – Shadowfire Press (January 2010)
The Prophecy – Harlequin Nocturne Bites (February 2010)
The Darkness – Harlequin Nocturne Bites (October 2010)
Bound to Night –The Wild Rose Press (August 2010)
Mid-Winter Magic – Decadent Publishing (November 2010)
What advice would you offer new writers?
Don’t let rejection get you down. It’s a part of life, a very painful one, but you have to learn to deal with and even gain from the experience. When you get to the point where you start getting feedback on your rejections it’s great – you know you’re getting somewhere.
Also, you can’t know immediately what works best for you – so don’t be afraid to experiment, try different things, write in different genres, but most of all write the sort of things you love to read.
Thanks Nina. I think I'm still in search of my own little almond farm somewhere. Best of luck in 2011.