Today’s featured debut author is Lili Tufel, who was kind enough to guest post for me last Thursday. Welcome back, Lili! The door is always open. :)
Name: Lili Tufel
Name of book: Sand
Book genre: Military Romance
Date Published: February 19, 2011
What is your day job? I work alongside my husband as a real estate agent in Miami, Florida.
What is your book about? Dallas is a Special Forces Lieutenant who is driven by his promise to protect the Colonel’s daughter Abby from an opium drug lord. He is torn between duty and his love for her, and when he discovers that the drug lord’s charming, murderous son has befriended Abby, there’s no limit to how far he is willing to go to protect her.
What did you find to be the most challenging part of the writing process? For me, the most challenging part of writing is the revision process. When I start a rough draft, I take my time writing less words-per-hour, but more definitive sentences. Revisions for me are always an exercise in frustration. A lot of effort goes into each and every scene. If I’m going to delete it during revision, I better have a good enough reason. I compare writing to having money. I work very hard for every dollar, so I am careful when I spend it. For example, if I am going to name a character I ask myself, Is this the name I am going to be okay with 30,000 words from now?
What motivates you to write? My motivation begins with a vision of a particular scene then another scene until they become part of a story. The more I go over the story in my mind, the more I get to know the characters. I become involved in the same way a person would become involved while watching a movie. Suddenly I feel a deep seeded desire to share the story and that is when I know I am ready to write.
Did you experience writer’s block? Yes, I experienced writer’s block, and my cure for it has always been to take a long walk. I’ve gotten to know myself well enough to where I can recognize when I’m coming down with writer’s block, sort of like coming down with the flu. As soon as the first symptom hits, I grab my schnauzer’s leash, and off we go.
How long did it take you to write this book? Seven months.
Why did you decide to self-publish this book? I decided to self-publish because of the subject matter in Sand. My novel is, of course, fiction, but it deals with realistic current events such as the war in Afghanistan. Because I write contemporary fiction, I can’t wait for my book to be published two years from now when the story may become a bit outdated. Although I do believe that the love story in Sand is timeless and can still be popular years to come.
What is the biggest misconception about writing a book? Not having enough time. I believe that you make the time for the things that are important to you. I remember many times having to explain to my kids how important it is for mommy to write her book. Now my kids are my biggest cheerleaders. They ask me, “What page are you on now, Mommy?” or “Did you finish the chapter, Mommy?”
What was your favorite aspect of the writing process for this book? Creating a scene that will stay with me for days. For example, if I’m cooking and I find myself sighing in love over a certain scene, I know I nailed it.
What tools/methods have you employed to promote your book? What advice would you give to writers regarding promotion? Social media is vital to promotion. As a real estate agent, I strive to build relationships with my clients who trust me and refer me to others. This is the same idea with social media. I strive to build relationships with my Twitter followers and my Facebook friends. If someone has taken the time to follow me on Twitter and read my blog, I make it a point to follow back and read their blog. My advice to writers is to take advantage of social networking – not just for self-promotion, but to build relationships.
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 agree. There is a level of preparation that is required for almost anything. I have worked very hard, and I dedicated a lot of time to research. To this day, I continue to actively seek opportunities while learning from those who have paved the road already. The luck part? Well, I believe that God is active in my life, and to me it’s not luck, it’s a Godincidence.