About Scarlet Darkwood:
I’ve always enjoyed writing, even from a young age. Unlike many authors who say they wrote lots of short stories when they were young, I didn’t. I self-published my first book, Pleasure House, in 2012, and published three more after that. In February 2015, I was accepted by Booktrope Publishing, and they willingly accepted my self-published work. My Pleasure House Tales will eventually include eight books, five of which are available now.
Soon my first supernatural romance will be released, Words We Never Speak, and this is one book that truly contains facets of personal experience, more so than the other books I’ve written. I’m in the process of completing another novel, Mad Betrayal. I write in the following genres: Erotica, Supernatural Romance, Romance, Gothic, Horror, Noir, usually writing works that are darker in nature. Someone recently described my work as “Avant Garde.” I adore twisted and unusual themes.
I love reading, walking, jewelry-crafting, and I used to engage in ballroom dance. You’ll see dance scenes or reference to dance in many of my books. I’m married, live in the Southeastern region of the United States, and my children are two four-legged, fur-baby girls.
What inspires you to write?
Sometimes the oddest things will inspire me to write. I don’t use the writing prompts people see in books or online. I use experiences or scenes in real life. I can look at a computer tech’s fingers glossing over a mouse pad and come up with an idea for a story. I can see a cabin in the woods, or hear something on television that sparks interest.
Honestly, I never thought I’d be writing books. I just didn’t think it was something I could do, but after reading some books on writing, the urge hit me one day, and I sat down and wrote a few opening scenes to my first book, which didn’t get completed until about four years later. This happened only because ideas for other books burned more in my mind.
Tell us about your writing process.
I absolutely have to have some kind of framework from which I place ideas on the screen. I’m a mix of pantster/planner, meaning that I have to have a general idea of where I want to go with plotlines, but I can add the meat of the story as I go. The more I write, the easier I find it to tweak sections of my book and to come up with new sections if I have to scrap old ones.
First drafts are rarely good, and I use beta readers for everything I write, even if it’s just one person. I’ve now been fortunate enough to participate in a writer’s workshop where I can have several people critique my work. All books are edited, and by the time a book is published, it should be pretty clean and easy to read.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Honestly, I was taught that as the author, I have total control over my story, and to never let characters take over, because if an author’s not careful, too much going on can ruin a story. So no, I don’t let my characters speak or whisper in my ear. For me, it’s just not necessary.
If I feel stuck or at a loss on how a scene should go, or where I’m wanting a plotline to go, I’ll use tarot cards, coffee table books, anything I can visualize to give me inspiration. Actually, sometimes right before I drift off to sleep or just before I’m fully awake are my best times for coming up with prose, dialogue, or scenes.
What advice would you give other writers?
My first advice is to read some books on writing, how to create characters, plot, dialogue, worlds, language. There now are tons of books on Amazon where a new writer can research all this. Holly Lisle offers on-line writing course that are more than affordable and have payment plans. There’s really no excuse for not studying up on how to create a nice novel.
The other thing I might suggest is that a writer create a few pieces of work before they publish, just so readers have the opportunity to read more of you if they wish. And please try to find beta readers to look over your work. You need more than just you as the author looking at your book. You’re too close, and what makes perfectly good sense to you will often fall flat for a reader.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
Luckily for me, I created my work in the glorious age of self-publishing, when authors could by-pass gatekeepers. I first cut my teeth on self-publishing when I self-published my first book on how to create a jewelry-crafting business. After that book, I created its companion, a book on how to design jewelry. I sold the books in my retail shop, and did not put them on Amazon.
My first five books were self-published, and two of them I made available as print books via CreateSpace. On a lark, and on the suggestion of an internet friend, I submitted my work to Booktrope Publishing and received an acceptance letter five days later. Less than a year later, five books were either published or re-released by Booktrope.
The only reason I decided to go the route I did with a publisher is because I wanted the extra support and people available for ideas and motivation (not to write), but for marketing suggestions. Booktrope is a hybrid publisher, meaning you are able to continue some aspects of self-publishing (like choosing your own cover designer and editor), but you must be accepted just like a traditional Big Five would accept you. From what I’ve heard, Booktrope is highly selective, and rejects much of what is submitted as well. It was a happy day for me when I got accepted!
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think the future of book publishing looks bright and open, but with big players like Amazon, who rule the roost in platforms, it will also be precarious. The author is never sure what will happen next, marketing plans will need to be fine-tuned and more aggressive, and the road lays wide open for new tech companies to create newer and more innovative platforms that what is available presently.
There are more opportunities than ever to have your work published, but when people say they are going to write a book, I’m not sure they really know what’s involved and some of the disheartening moments that can occur. You have to want to write more than anything, and losing yourself in your next book project should almost be an all-consuming obsession.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: Erotica, Horror, Supernatural Romance, Romance, Noir, Gothic
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.