About Aurrora St. James:
Aurrora St. James is the author of sexy, medieval and paranormal romances. Her second book, Gavril of Aquina received Honorable Mention for the 2015 RONE award for best fantasy/sci-fi romance.
She has loved ghosts, graveyards, curses, gypsies, magic, vampires, and haunted houses for as long as she can remember. Not to mention archaeology, pirates, lost treasure, lost lands, and pretty much anything paranormal.
As she got older, she started reading her mom’s romance novels and developed a love for the happily ever after they promised, sexy heroes and the heroines who always got into too much trouble. Soon all of her daydreams centered around a boy, a girl, and an adventure. From there it was only natural to write those daydreams down and watch the stories unfold. Now she loves to incorporate all that magic and mayhem into a story where love can overcome anything.
She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest with her wonderful husband, co-dependent dog, and attached at the hip cat.
What inspires you to write?
There are so many things that inspire me to write. Initially, I think it was because I was unfulfilled when watching TV or movies. I wanted the hero and heroine to KISS already! Quit making me wait and dragging it out. Or when a show didn’t end the way I wanted it to.
Now, I am inspired by songs, books from other great authors, and still those unfulfilling TV shows. But mostly music. Sometimes I hear a song that captures the essence of one of my characters. When that happens, their entire story unfolds in my mind. I’m excited then and rush to write that down. (As a side note, this generally happens when I am driving. Alone. No where near a pen and paper.)
Tell us about your writing process.
I’m a plotter all the way. I use a whiteboard blocked out in to 20 chapters and flag the turning points of my story. I then fill in those blocks with colored post it notes with the details of the scenes that I know. (Think pink for the heroine and blue for the hero). I put them in the approximate chapter the scene happens and then try to fill in the blanks until a story unfolds. This method was taught to me by Cherry Adair and is called plotting by color. Check it out on her website.
I also create character sketches. Over the years, I’ve created my own character template that is a mishmash of what other authors use, making it work for me. Instead of delving into things like what their favorite food is and whether or not they like cats, I focus more on what past events made them who they are today. Then what they want now. What they will get through the story, and how that changes them.
Finally, I have a cork board filled with pictures of the people and places that populate my worlds. This hangs right above my computer so I always have a visual representation of the character or place I am writing about.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I definitely listen and talk to my characters. I’ve often joked that I have about 10 following me around that people can’t see. They are kind of mouthy. Just so you know.
They don’t just talk to me when I am writing, but any time of the day or night. Even in the bathroom. Talking back to them usually helps settle them down. It’s only a problem for me in public. You know, when people think that woman over there talking to herself is *crazy*.
What advice would you give other writers?
If you are a writer or want to become a writer, I have a few pieces of advice to share.
First (and foremost)- Believe in yourself. Know that what comes out of your fingers isn’t good or bad. It’s a start. Once you have the story down, once you’ve told it to yourself, you can make it shine. Make it really special and something that people will love. You have a story to tell and only you can tell it.
Second- Set a specific time every day and write, write, write. Don’t wait for inspiration to come to you. Go find it and drag it back to your chair.
Third- Read. A lot. Both writing craft books and fiction. I believe that you subconsciously soak in the skills of other writers and it makes you a better author.
Finally, and this is a big one- Don’t ever publish a story without sending it to a professional editor. You are too close to the story to see the holes or the errors. Your friends may tell you what is needed (or not), but unless they’ve taken a course in copy editing, they won’t be able to really make your book ready for publication. Remember, it costs money to publish a book. In time, you’ll make that money back. And if your book is well written and well edited, you will retain your fans and make them anxiously await the next book from you.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I spent several years pursuing traditional publishers for my books. The trouble was, everyone else was doing the same thing. So my books were lost amidst huge piles of other queries. Also, my paranormal book was written at a time when publishers weren’t taking paranormal anymore. The book market was totally flooded with them. My first book, which hasn’t been published, was a sci-fi romance which was a genre not popular at all with publishers.
After floundering and trying to land an agent, someone suggested self-publishing. At first I was against the idea, because I’d always been told that it wasn’t a good way to go. But then I had a conversation with a successful self-published author, and she changed my mind.
I’ve never been happier with the decision. I have control over my covers, the interior of my books, and the editing. Sure, it costs money. But the books go out when I think they are ready and I get much more money per book sold than I would with a traditional publisher, helping me make the money back.
Is there a draw back to self publishing? Sure. You aren’t on store shelves and everyone and their grandmother are self-publishing right now. But at the end of the day, I still have to put in all the work and do all the promotion for the book, just the same as if I went with a traditional publisher. Only I have the final say. That’s what matters to me.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
My magic 8 ball says to try back later. I think for awhile, self publishing will continue to grow. Especially in the romance market. Traditional publishing and small online ebook publishers will shrink. Many of both have folded already. As have many bookstores.
But I can’t believe that the self-publishing market place will sustain itself. In my own reading, there are 3 well-written books for every 10 that need an editor, stat. I think readers are beginning to lower their expectations of what makes a good book because of it. Maybe not consciously, but it seems to be happening.
I think we will soon see a hybrid of the current marketplace. Traditional publishers are going to have to come to terms that the old way of doing things is no longer working. And self-published authors will have to up their game if they want to be noticed by readers. (Myself included) I don’t know exactly what that will look like for the future, but I believe it is where we are heading.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: medieval romance with fantasy elements and paranormal romance
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit, to allow you, the reader, to hear the author in their own voice.