MY INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR SANDRA R. NEELEY!
What’s your name and what genre would you consider your books to be?
Sandra R Neeley, I write Paranormal Romance.
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
I’ve got one series currently in print, and four more I’m working on. My characters run my stories. They tell me their tales and I write them down.
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (historical novels, mysteries, sci-fi, children’s books, etc.)?
Well, Paranormal because Normal is highly overrated, and I’ve got way too much of it in my life. Romance, because who doesn’t dream of some fantasy lover at one point or another?
What kind of research did you do for this book?
I will routinely look up things for stories that I’m not familiar with. If my characters say they have to be in the stories, I’ll look up whatever it is so that it’s for the most part, accurate in their story. But remember, — I write Paranormal, so there really aren’t any rules. My world’s, my game.
Can you tell me about your Series?
Avaleigh’s Boys is the one that is currently available. This series follows a family of badass southern shifters who make their home in the backwoods and bayous of South Louisiana. They fight, cuss, love hard and battle all odds in search of their one true Mate; but always, they stand together. Family by choice, these Dragon, Bear, Wolf and Lion shifters will steal your heart and sweep you away to accompany them on their journeys.
Do you have a favorite book out of this series?
Yes, Maverik’s Ashes, Book 4.
Where did you get the inspiration/idea for your series?
I’ve had these stories and these people in my head for years. Finally their voices got so loud that I could no longer drown them out.
Was it always meant to become a series?
Yes. There are always more stories to tell.
What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
I work a full time job. So I am relegated to writing on the weekends or evenings only. Usually, when I’m at home, if an idea hits me, I run for the laptop and start typing. If I’m typing my family pretty much knows to not interrupt too much until I take a break. If I’m not at home, I carry a journal that I will snatch up and scribble furiously in so that I don’t lose the scene the character is showing me…they show me scenes like a movie, I write them down, they become a book. I write in my living room, on my laptop. I write until the scene is complete, or until I run out of scenes to write.
Do you have a new book in the making and if so, what’s the name of your upcoming book?
I do. I’m currently writing two — the first books in two of my new series’. I won’t give you the book names, but I’ll give you the series names. One is Whispers From the Bayou and I have a couple of chapters started in this one. The other is Haven, I’ve got about half a dozen chapters in this one.
How important are character names to you in your books? Is there a special meaning to any of the names?
My characters give me their names. I’ve only had to come up with two names, and both times they were for evil characters. Lurin’s name is made from the word lure. He lured in his victims. Slaterly’s name is made from a synonym of the word slovenly.
Where do your ideas come from?
Is there a genre that you’ve been wanting to experiment with?
Paranormal is wide open, it can cover anything that isn’t the norm. So I’m content to stay in that genre. But, within that genre’ I am writing Shifters, Aliens, Supernaturals of any type I can imagine, and a species that I dreamed up, among others.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Putting yourself out there. It’s hard to put your inner most thoughts, ideas and fantasies into the hands of the public for them to experience. Not everyone realizes that these stories are a part of our inner psyche. No matter who the author is, no matter the book they’ve written, the genre’, the length or brevity of the book; it’s someone’s thoughts, on paper for your perusal. They’ve laid themselves bare. Be kind, people.
What do you think of book trailers?
Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book? I love book trailers. They’re really entertaining. I do not as of yet have one for the new books. But I have a couple for the other series that a very dear friend made for me.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
My kids. My kids are phenomenal people. They are my best accomplishment. Other than that, it would have to be that I had the courage to even finish a book and put it out there for others to see. It’s scary.
What’s the best thing about being an author?
Watching others get enjoyment from your words. Watching them fall in love with the characters that came to life through your words. There is no great reward than knowing you moved someone to smile, you warmed their heart.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Still writing, loving every moment of it.
Have you always liked to write?
Yes. I wrote really bad poetry as a child and tried my hand at short stories as an adolescent. But I was forcing it so it never flowed well. Only as an adult have I learned to listen to my inner Muse and write what they are showing me.
What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Write your heart. Do not try to adhere to a format, or a formula for writing a successful book. You need to write what you’re passionate about. If you do that, your emotion will come through and the right readers will find you. If you hold back, or write because you want a bestseller, or choose a particular genre’ because there aren’t as many writers in it vs. because you love it, you’ll fall flat. But if you write with your heart your emotion will pull at the readers and they’ll love what you do.
If you didn’t like writing books, or weren’t any good at it, what would you like to do for a living?
Artist, at one time I loved to sketch and draw.
Do you read reviews of your book(s)?
Do you respond to them, good or bad? How do you deal with the bad? Yes, I do read them. I do not respond to them. I’ve been fortunate that there have only been a small number of bad reviews. But you know? Not every book is for every person. At least they gave my people and my worlds a try. Sure it hurts, these stories are a part of me, but I try to not dwell on it. And if they’ve offered any constructive criticism, I try to learn from it.
What is your least favourite part of the writing / publishing process?
Editing! I hate editing!
What are you working on now?
Four new series — Variant, Haven, Whispers From the Bayou, and Riley’s Pride. As well as several short stories for anthologies I’ve been fortunate enough to be invited to take part in.
Can you give us a few tasty morsels from your work-in-progress?
Here’s a bit of Book 1 from Whispers From the Bayou. Unedited, Copyrighted to me 2018, subject to change. ***Caroleena ran as quickly as she could despite the tree limbs snatching at her hair and tearing her clothing. The night was black as pitch, which made the eerie glow of their torches easy to pick out in the distance. Her heart pounded in her chest, the adrenalin and fear a live thing in her breast. She plunged into the icy, muddy water of the bayou, scrambling up the opposite bank and into the thicket of trees and brambles. The woods were alive around her, but she had no time to worry about the creatures that may lay in wait for her, the men on her trail were much more dangerous. She ran headlong into the huge web of a banana spider and shrieked as the web wrapped around her. As she turned in a circle, swiping the thing from her hair and face, she whimpered aloud, “I don’t deserve this!” Then glanced over her shoulder at the glow of the torches following her path, one in particular out ahead of the others hot on her trail, “Just leave me alone!” she rushed out on a harsh whisper. She could hear the splash of the man following her as he entered the bayou she’d just crossed; hopelessness suffused her, she’d never make it in time. Just as she gave up and sank to her knees on the wet, muddy ground, a clawed hand covered her mouth from behind, and a huge arm wrapped around her middle at the same time, yanking her backward into a grove of the ancient moss-covered cypress trees that grew naturally in the swamps. She would have fought harder had it not been for the soothing, shushing coo that was being muttered right at her ear. Suddenly she realized that she was being lifted into the air, held tight against the hard chest of whatever had her in its arms. Instinctively she wrapped her hands around the dark grey flesh of the arm that held her securely, lest she be dropped to the ground from the treetop, which was where she was so obviously being taken…
Why did you choose to write in your genre?
If you write in more than one, how do you balance them? They are all Paranormal, way too much normal in the world. It’s no trouble to balance them, I write what my characters — my people, show me to write. Some days it’s one, some days it’s another. I just go where my Muse guides me.
Where did your love of books come from?
I’ve read all my life, I’m a voracious reader. Or, I was before I started writing — I don’t have as much free time for reading anymore.
Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
Those that come to mind first are Laurann Dohner, Susan Bliler, Jeanette Lynn, Eve Langlais, C.A. Storm, and they are by no means the only ones. The list goes on and on and on.
Of all the characters you have created, which is your favourite and why?
Maverik is my favorite. He’s a very snarky, self-assured, will whoop your ass if you mess with is family, Wolf shifter who has a heart of gold and a sarcastic sense of humor. He’s appointed himself “Head Muse” and though his story is finished, he’s still with me. Organizing the other people and their stories yet to be told. It’s impossible not to love Maverik.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
What is your writing Kryptonite?
So far, I’ve not found any. My mind tends to wander regardless of what I’m feeling and that leads to a scene. Oh, wait! Phone calls! I hate the damn telephone! It will shatter a scene every time it rings.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I write what my people show me, I don’t try to guide it in any direction. I do not prescribe to any formula.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
So many have helped me along the way. Most of us in the Indie community help to promote one another. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t sharing my friend’s books, they are all so good! Jeanette Lynn is a dear friend who is also my Sheldon with a Red Pen — she helps me to edit my books as well always being there for me, no matter what I need. Jennifer Julie Miller shares my work almost more than I do. C.A. Storm, Liberty Parker, Autumn Sand, LS Anders, Mackenzie Raye, Rose Ardent, are a few more that I not only consider friend but look up to as well. There are so many that this would never end if I named them all. Each has been so supportive in their own way. But let me tell you, it’s not just authors that deserve recognition. It’s the people who work behind the scenes; the PA’s, the bloggers, the book lovers and promoters that actually keep us in front of the readers. My PA is Sara White, she’s also become my best friend and confidante — I’d be lost without her. My cover creator is Cindy Lawrence Falk and this woman is so damn talented! My street team and fan group who promote me ceaselessly, and my beta team as well. And the people who create platforms for us to showcase our books on — the reader groups, the promo groups, these people deserve so much recognition. Most of what they do they do for the love of the written word. Most of them do not receive monetary gain for supporting us.
If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
Well, That Didn’t Go As Planned.
What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?
You’ve about covered them all.
Where can your fans find you and follow??
Here are all my links:
Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/Sandra-R-Neeley/e/B01M65OZ1J/
Book+Main Bites @sneeleywrites
I’m Not A Dragon’s Mate! http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MAXX68A
Bane’s Heart http://www.amazon.com/dp/B06X167GMB
Kaid’s Queen https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07235YPSD
Maverik’s Ashes https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075RRXFNB
Bam’s Ever https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079X46ZDN
Signed books: https://goo.gl/forms/PR5lfFMv5Glm0YUV2
Thank you for taking your time to do this interview ❤️