A hearty welcome to Courtney Conant, today’s featured debut author and a new voice in the paranormal/urban fantasy genre. There’s a book giveaway going on right now for Courtney’s book, The Blood Moon of Winter, over at Goodreads, but you have to act fast! The promotion ends February 17, 2011.
Name of book: The Blood Moon of Winter
Book genre: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy
Date published: January 28, 2011
What is your book about? Upon discovering the world in her dreams is actually real, Lilyana is torn by indecision. She is the only one who can save the dying land of Makayra. Yet, to do so, she must leave all she has ever known. She must choose whether her new found love is enough to keep her from performing a duty that has been thrust upon her. To quote one of my reviewers, “The Blood Moon of Winter is an imaginative tale that blends reality with fantasy, darkness with light, and the underlying need to follow one’s heart no matter where it leads.”
What was the most challenging part of the writing process? Making myself stop and sleep! Once I started writing it, I couldn’t stop. The story just kept coming, and I was afraid that if I stopped, I’d lose what was coming next.
What motivates you to write? It’s just something I’ve always done. I started writing around the age of 4 and kept doing it. I had a very active imagination as a child, and since I couldn’t draw for the life of me, I decided to paint the pictures that I saw in my head with words.
Did you experience writer’s block? I had writer’s block for about 10 years. I know it’s a long time but there was a reason… Growing up, I saved everything that I wrote. My words were my pride and joy. My family moved to Arizona when I was 16. I had two boxes filled with things that I had written. When we moved, somehow my boxes got pulled from the truck and placed back inside the house. I don’t know who did it or why, but it happened. My dad was still living in Michigan, because of work, so at least we still had the house. When we got to Arizona, I discovered my writing was missing. My dad swore that when he came back down, he would bring the boxes with him. A few weeks before his trip down, the house burned to the ground and everything was lost. I was completely destroyed and couldn’t write after that. This novel is the first thing that I wrote after the long absence. I’m so glad that I finally got over the hump of writer’s block/depression.
Finding NaNoWriMo was my savior. After many attempts to write, to get past the block, I had given up. On Oct. 30th, 2008, I came across the National Novel Writing Month contest and was intrigued. I never thought that I’d be able to complete a novel, let alone in 30 days, but I figured I’d give it a shot. I guess the push of a deadline was just what I needed. The contest gave me a goal and a date to finish it by. It helped to give me back my dedication to writing.
So you wrote this novel in 30 days? I wrote the novel in 17 days. Once the block broke, the words just flowed out of me and flooded my computer. I’m surprised that I didn’t break the keyboard from working it so much in such a short time.
Why did you decide to self-publish? That was a tough decision to make. I sent queries out to publishers and agents, trying to go the traditional route. Every step of the way, I was told that I had a great concept and that they would be interested in representing me. All I had to do was make my book longer. My novel was complete at 60k words (short and sweet) but because of the genre, they wouldn’t take it unless it was at least 80k. I tried over and over to add in the words that were being requested to no avail. Each attempt that I made took away from the story and changed it in ways that I didn’t like. It also altered the way I had planned for the sequel to go. It took two years for me to finally make the hard choice of either changing the story in a way that I didn’t like or keeping it as it was and publishing it myself. I decided that I’d be happier if I kept the story as is. I’m glad that I finally chose to self-publish. Having to promote it myself is difficult, but fun! I’m getting to meet all sorts of interesting people along the way that are going through the same situation. It’s a long road to walk, but I’m going to enjoy every step!
What is the biggest misconception about writing a book? Just because you write a novel doesn’t mean that it will sell. For me, writing it was the easy part. Getting an agent and publisher is another story. It’s a business, just like any other. There are no guarantees. And while self-publishing might be easy, selling the book is not. It takes a lot of work and a lot of time that most people don’t have. Indie authors have to be prepared to do whatever it takes to make a name for themselves.
What was your favorite aspect of writing this book? My favorite part was being able to sit in bed and have coffee and wine and whatever else I wanted delivered to me, so that I didn’t have to get up and stop! If my ex-husband ever did anything right, that was definitely it.
Oprah has famously said that there is no such thing as luck, without preparation and a moment of opportunity. Would you agree or disagree with regard to your own success as a writer? I definitely disagree with her statement. I think it was luck that led me to NaNoWriMo at that time. I wasn’t looking for anything about writing, but somehow stumbled across it. I did not prepare myself to write my novel. All I had was an opening sentence, and the entire book wrote itself through me. Maybe that was my “moment of opportunity” as she claims, but I think that luck was definitely on my side. The word pool decided that it was time for a storm, and the waves splashed me, inspiring me to create a new world.