Just Published. Sasha is a brand new published author!! In fact, I've heard her talk about still having that 'new author smell'. Big, huge, super congrats, Sasha!! It's amazing how small a world it really is because Sasha and I now share an editor at EC. How cool is that? So...let's talk about your first published book:
Title: In the Light of Day
Genre: M/M Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Date Published: 3/24/2011
Jaren’s birthday weekend isn’t going as planned. Instead of being in the arms of the man he fell hard for, he’s alone at his lake cabin. With a bottle of wine. When Cooper shows up on his doorstep, all appears right with the world. Until Jaren realizes the real reason Cooper is there.
Cooper didn’t mean to fall for someone he was working a case with. And certainly not a man. Cooper always thought he was straight, but posing as gay lovers to infiltrate a pornography ring had felt all too real. Now he has feelings for the sexy younger man. Strong ones. Just as he’s prepared to drive to the cabin and give Jaren a birthday in bed he’ll never forget, Cooper gets word the criminal they put away has escaped—and is coming after Jaren.
Jaren finally has the man of his dreams where he wants him, but for all the wrong reasons. He can trust Cooper to guard his body, but what about his heart?
Certainly a different kind of story, but it sounds fascinating! Sasha, how would you describe what you write?
This is harder than most would think. I'm all over the place in terms of genre (romance, mystery, YA) though these days I'm firmly focused on erotic romance. I have a tendency to write ladies with smart mouths and tender hearts and men I could fall in love with (even the ones who mainly love other men).
So what’s your writing process in a nutshell?
I'm some sort of plotter - pantser hybrid. A plontser? Pantter? I have to have an idea of where the story is going, or I completely flounder. I can write an obscene amount of words about nothing at all. :) I call these my sign posts, and they are typically scenes. But I don't know how these scenes connect, and I often find that I need even more scenes to fill out the entire story.
What has your submission history looked like? Rejections? Manuscripts written? Number of years ‘seriously writing’, etc.?
This is either going to make people love me, or want to throw shoes at me. I've been seriously writing for about two years. Light is actually the first story I've finished that wasn't tied to school work and school has been a WHILE for me. I'm an excellent starter, but I need to work on my finishing skills.
I entered Tawny Taylor's Some Like It Hot writing contest (my first writing contest) and I won. The prize was a full request, and at the end of all that I sold. So with the first story I've finished in more than 10 years, I entered my first writing contest and earned my first contract.
Ah, a fairy tale story LOL. Did you deliberately target Ellora's Cave?
About five years ago, I was in Borders looking for a romance novel. I found these an Ellora's Cave Cavemen Anthology and took a chance. This was my first time ever reading an erotic romance novella and at the end of the story (The Changling by Callista Arman) I was wound up. It was sexy and edgy and unlike anything I read and I remember thinking that maybe, ONE day I'd like to write for EC. All the stories I had been plot-ansting seemed too explicit for traditional NY publishing, but here was proof that they could find a home.
I always love these. What’s your ‘call’ story?
I'm a supreme dork. I tend to get good news and then sit on it. It took me nearly ten minutes to open the email when it arrived and I reread the acceptance email six times before I believed it -- I gave plenty of time for the retraction to come in. I told one person because I didn't want to go through the agony of waiting alone, and then told my crit group almost a week later, all while still waiting for the axe to fall. I didn't officially announce to anyone else (or Twitter) until after the contract had been finalized. My sis and I did dinner to celebrate and I've started a tradition of nail polishes. I got a special color after sending in the full, another for selling and still another when the book came out. It's a small treat and something I can carry with me in my ever day life that reminds me of Light.
Did you have an agent when you sold? Now?
I do not have an agent, and as of right now, I'm not really targeting traditional NY Publishing.
What’s it like working with a publisher and editor? Are revisions really as bad as you hear :)?
This was both more painful and less painful than I imagined. I was super nervous knowing someone who doesn't already KNOW and love me was reading the work. What if she hated it? What if she wanted me to change big important parts that I thought were integral? What if she thought it needed a complete overhaul?! In short I panicked.
My editor is a peach. The edits 100% made the book better and I asked questions (buckets of them) to make sure I got it right. I did have to do some rewriting and I really sweated over the few new scenes I had to insert. It's one thing when you're writing to please yourself and another when you're trying to make it appeal to a wider audience.
Yeah, our editor really is awesome, huh? How did you feel the first time you saw your cover? Of course I know this, but how much input did you have?
I never thought of my cover until I was staring at the Cover Art form trying to think of what to say. I knew what it shouldn't have (rockets, farm land, clowns), but was at a total lost of what it should have. Covers are a huge part of whether or not people take a chance on your book, and for it to be out of my hands made me nervous. But it's perfect. I saw it while I was at work (oh Blackberry I can't quit you!) and squealed.
What was release day like for you?
I was dreading it. Someone warned me that I might have nightmares a few nights before and I did. I dreamed that they discovered it was a mistake and canceled the release. I must have cruised the EC site at least twenty times! I had to go into my day job, and it was a riot seeing people tweet me and cue the book on Good Reads.
How did you end up marketing your book?
I'm still learning my way with this. I decided against a huge blogging blitz because quite frankly I get exhausted when an author wants me to visit her day after day after day after a release. At this point, I'm doing a few guest blogs and interviews, which I've spread out over a few weeks. I also joined a m/m group on Good Reads and I know that my interactions there have gotten my book in front of people as well. I'll also be participating in the Summer Reading Trail with an excerpt to get people interested in Light. I'm planning to attend a couple of conferences this year and will be doing swag. I'm very interest in the Romance Trade Cards that have popped up.
Sounds very common sense! What’s the most surprising thing you've learned during the publishing process?
How quick and painless it could be. I know my story is not the typical, and I was ready for it take years to get a yes and even longer after that to go from start to finish on edits. I struggled with edits -- mainly because I wanted everything to be JUUUUST right, but in the end I enjoyed the process.
So, what do you think were the factors that got you published?
*insert panicked face here* I've read a fair amount of M/M, but I've never read a romantic suspense, so that right there makes Light different. I also think I've packed a lot story into a pretty quick read. And LUCK! I'm a firm believer in luck. You can have the right story, but if it's not the right place and time, it won't matter.
Yeah, sometimes it's all about the timing. What’s your 5 year plan look like?
*impersonates a deer in headlights* I like to tell people I'm so new at this, I still squeak. I don't have a five year plan as of right now, but it is on my list of things to do this year. This year's goal however, is to get five other books subbed during the calendar year. We'll see if I can do that in between bouts of panic.
LOL. You'll be fine! So, what’s next for you?
I'm currently working at another M/M story, this time a straight contemp. I wrote Light as an experiment and this book will be as well. I'm writing a story without any beasties, dead bodies or rockets?! Yeah, color me surprised as well.
What’s the best advice you can impart to writers aspiring to be published?
Take the chance. You never know when you'll have the right story at the right time. And just keep trying. It only takes one yes.
Well said!! Now for some fun! If you were stranded on a desert island but could only take 1 thing from each of the following categories, what would it be & why:
Person My sister. We live ten minutes from each other, see each other a couple times a week, and still manage several hours on the phone a week. Besides, she gets my crazy sense of humor.
Animal I'd get a Welsh Corgi puppy. Hopefully with all that sand, my allergies won't act up.
Food Hmmmm. If we're talking type then Chinese. If we're talking kind, then pizza because you can have it a billion ways and never get tired of it.
Book *whimpers* This has to be the cruelest question here! If just one, Jasper Fforde's The Fourth Bear (Urban Fantasy Mystery and it's hilarious). I'd probably try to see if I could Gillian's Island a Kindle though. I'm not going to lie.
Music Maroon 5's Songs About Jane Cd. Love every single track! But, again, see the Gillian Note above, only sub iPod for Kindle
Personal Item I'm going to cheat and bring my Blackberry, thus allowing me access to email, ebooks and twitter
OK, but that sucker isn't going to last long LOL! Sasha, thanks so much for being here today. Loved your insight and loved hearing more about how you came to be published. Wishing you many, many more sales and awesome books! If anyone would like to learn more about Sasha, this is where she hangs out on the web: