SL Figuhr was born in small town north of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania in 1975. She began writing at a young age, from the time a Catholic school nun first taught her how to put pencil to paper. While the dark subject matter of SL’s work may horrify the good sister today, SL remains grateful for the lessons she learned in her early education. SL’s novels examine to the dark and twisted possibilities of human nature, using elements of fantasy, paranormal, and post-apocalyptic literature. As of 2014, she has self-published two books in the Immortalibus Bella series: Immortalibus Bella and The Reaping.
Today SL lives in Charleston, South Carolina with her orange tabby, Butterrum, who insists on being part of her writing process. The pair hope to finish the third book in the Immortalibus Bella series sometime this year.
What inspires you to write?
I have a vivid imagination, and everyone and everything around me continuously feeds my thoughts. I write because I have to. It makes me happy to create people and places. If I’m not writing, I’m miserable.
Tell us about your writing process.
I try to write something each day, which could be ideas for another book, poetry, my current works in progress, etc.
If I’m feeling writer’s block, I’ll often go and start editing my rough drafts. This usually helps to get me in the mood to add new content. If that doesn’t do the trick, I’ll take a break and read a book, or watch a TV show until something sparks my interest and then I go back to writing.
When I start a new piece, I just open up a fresh file and start typing until I hit the proverbial wall. At which point, the piece gets set aside while I do other stuff. I always have several different story lines percolating at the back of my mind. When I find myself fixated on a particular line, I open the file back up and continue writing.
Some writer’s do make character sketches before hand, but I rarely do. The characters are nebulous at first, then they start to get stronger and develop into the final version. It is at this point I will write down the details, and their roles in the story arc.
What advice would you give other writers?
Read. Then read some more. I’m a firm believer that the more a person reads, the better they will become at writing. Also, don’t just read books in your favorite genre’s, but try to go outside of your comfort zone and pick works you normally wouldn’t. Many authors have a look inside feature, or a way to download a sample. This is a great tool for exposing oneself to new authors and genres. Another free option is to spend a few hours at the local library.
And, it goes without saying, write. Try to write something everyday, whether it’s a work in progress, or just random thoughts and scenes. You never know what can be re-used and re-worked for future books. Join writer’s groups, or take free writing courses to help elevate yourself. Someone once told me, even the bestsellers started out as amateurs. They got where they are not just with talent and luck, but by constantly pushing themselves to be better.
Lastly, when you think you’re ready to publish: find beta readers. Not friends and family, but people you trust who are impartial to your work. They will give a good basis for what works/doesn’t work. Then, if you do choose to re-write anything and get ready to publish, polish your work. Hire proofreaders and editors. If you’re on a budget, there are a ton of ways to utilize their talents.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I tried the traditional publishing route, but as my stuff is not written for the commercial masses, I received lots of rejection letters. It was at this point I decided to self-publish. I did a lot of research, lurked on boards learning what not to do. I interacted with other self-pubbed author’s as well.
I also made some mistakes along the way. The biggest of which was my first two editors. They didn’t catch what I had missed, so when I published, it was embarrassing. I had to pull the books and using the critic’s feedback, search again for another editor. This time, I found a wonderful woman who caught what I and other’s hadn’t. Luckily, not too many people had read the first attempt. But, I’m still building a base of people who’ve actually heard of me and like my work.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
The future of book publishing will likely keep changing, as reader’s tastes, time, and interests do. What form that may take, I don’t know, but I’m excited to see where it goes and meet the challenges which will appear.
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?
Dystopian, Fantasy, Paranormal
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print