Author Rebecca Hamilton joins us today to shed some new light on what inspired her to write The Forever Girl, what it’s like to have an agent, and the inevitability of being trolled when your book starts selling.
WELCOME, REBECCA HAMILTON!
Amazon Contemporary Fantasy Bestseller
of The Forever Girl
Winston: Today we’re talking to Rebecca Hamilton, author of The Forever Girl, a paranormal romance about young Sophia Parsons, a practicing Wiccan whose life changes forever when a spell she casts goes wrong and mysterious people begin to show up in her small Rocky Mountain town. Thanks for stopping by for a moment, Becca. With a husband, three children, a book climbing up the sales charts, and a publishing company to run, I’m sure you’re quite busy these days. How do you manage it all?
Rebecca: Thank you for having me here, Winston! How do I manage it all? Well, not very well, I have to admit. It takes a lot of work to carve out time for writing. Prioritizing and time management are key—and unfortunately those are two things I’ve never done well. I’ve always been more the type to just glide through life, no real schedule, just winging it day to day. With the kids being homeschooled and my part time job and other people’s schedules to worry about with the publishing company, along with my eldest son’s autism therapies, it’s extremely important that I have a schedule and stick to it. One thing I am learning to do is to be careful what else I add to my plate.
Winston: The Object’s readers need books to keep them occupied while they wait for us to release a new episode. Tell us a little about The Forever Girl, what inspired it, what kinds of readers would enjoy it.
Rebecca: I’ve never shared this before, but it was my kid’s babysitter who encouraged me to write a book. My youngest was an infant at the time and we were talking about bucket list things we wanted to do. One of mine was to write a book. She and I are both huge book lovers and were always trading book recommendations. She insisted I try writing a book, and she was my first beta reader. Too kind of a beta reader, but maybe at that time it was good encouragement for me to keep writing.
I’ve always admired the Wiccan religion (and practiced it for a while, though now I am agnostic), and really wanted to write a story that incorporated that. I also wanted to write unusual characters, as I come from an unusual family full of people who see the world differently. Most notably, of course, is my son. Autistics see the world in different ways, and I always thought they aren’t always necessarily wrong. Just a different way to look at things. Those were the kind of characters I wanted to write. Not autistics (though I’ve written those types of characters, too) but just people in general who aren’t “mainstream”.
Other than the Wiccan aspects, which influenced my choice to explore elements in the paranormal world, and wanting to write unique characters, I also had an “idea” of what the book would be about. Sadly, or not, one of the characters took over and changed the main plot event of the story. I can’t share what the original plot idea was, however, because that will be a major plot point in the next book Sophia narrates. : )
Winston: The Forever Girl is the first in a series. How many will there be total? What can you tell us about Her Sweetest Downfall (A Forever Girl Journal), due out in July, 2012?
Rebecca: There will be 7 books in the series total. 3 will feature Sophia as the lead, and will represent Sophia’s journey as the triple goddess in stages: maiden, mother, and crone. The other 4 characters will meet Sophia in the final novel for the big showdown. Her Sweetest Downfall, in a way, is a prequel to the series, shown through the eyes of one of The Forever Girl’s supporting characters (Ophelia). I’m a bit nervous about the release of this book, but my beta readers so far seem to have enjoyed it.
Winston: You’ve managed to do what many unknown authors dream of doing: forming a fan base, building momentum in book sales, and establishing a small online celebrity status. What advice would you give other aspiring self-published authors?
Rebecca: Celebrity status?! I don’t think so. I have just made a lot of friends and met a lot of really cool people . . . and maybe a stalker or two O.o The best advice I can give is to persevere, be friendly, and support others. Maybe I believe in Karma a little bit : )
Winston: The popularity of The Forever Girl seems to have stirred up a handful of cynics from forums on sites like Amazon, Goodreads, and Absolute Write. With the surge of indie authors that came with Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing program, more and more authors use social media to build a fan base and naturally accrue Amazon reviews by people with no review history. Forum trolls immediately label these as “fake” or “sock puppet” reviews. Do you feel there are online communities of people who make a hobby of attacking indie writers?
Rebecca: I’d get murderized (metaphorically) if I said yes. I did notice the accusations, however, and so I went through all the reviews and found the ones that I knew who they came from. I made a “database” that matches the reviews to the twitter account users or bloggers who posted them. Part of that list is live somewhere on my blog. I guess the only thing I find odd about it is that they don’t accuse the drive by 1 or 2 star reviews by non-verified buyers as being fake (despite those reviewers also having no review history) but they will name the 4 and 5 stars as fake, despite there being evidence provided the reviews came from real people, who not only had existing twitters or blogs, but were also verified buyers.
What it comes down to, I think, is that some people need that negativity in their life. Does it suck when they want to include you in that negativity? Yes. But really the only thing you can do is be open and honest and show your readers and potential readers that they can trust you. Even though my honestly and forthrightness sometimes creates controversy, it’s important to me that I am an open book to me readers. Should I have to prove my reviews are real? No. But I do it because I DO think that readers have the right to know if reviews are real or not. I do, however, think that such accusations should be proven before being made, as it comes across as selfish rather than trying to help other readers, and that’s who reviews should be for: other readers who are thinking about buying the book.
Winston: All your hours toiling away to promote your book have certainly paid off, and recently you signed with an agent, Rossano Trentin. Tell us a little about this experience.
Rebecca: It was pretty awesome! I remember getting the email and thinking: someone must be playing a prank on me! I was familiar with Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, and could not believe the agent who represented that novel could possibly be interested in an indie like me. When he offered me representation, I was thrilled. We really connected and his goals for me and my goals for myself are complimentary. He really keeps me excited about my book and the future of my writing career and the Forever Girl series.
Winston: Please keep us updated on your progress. We’re predicting that future Forever Girl releases will climb even higher in the charts than the current one, and soon we’ll be seeing you in the Top 100 Amazon Bestsellers. Thanks again for stopping by The Object.
Rebecca: Thanks again for having me and for believing in me and my writing : )
Rebecca Hamilton writes Paranormal and Urban Fantasy, Horror, and Literary Fiction. She lives in Florida with her husband and three kids, along with multiple writing personalities that range from morbid to literary. She enjoys dancing with her kids to television show theme songs and would love the beach if it weren’t for the sand. Having a child diagnosed with autism has inspired her to illuminate the world through the eyes of characters who see things differently.
To learn more about Rebecca visit her at http://www.beccahamiltonbooks.com/
Find Rebecca on Twitter @InkMuse
FOR EACH COPY OF THE FOREVER GIRL PURCHASED
BETWEEN JULY 1ST AND 14TH
REBECCA WILL DONATE $1 TO AUTISTIC ADVOCACY
See her website for more details.
- The Object Interviews Author Colleen Hoover (theobjectserial.wordpress.com)