Today’s featured author, Erica Stanciu, holds a special place in my heart. She is the daughter of an old friend who had the gall to get married and move to a land far, far away (Philly, and then Las Vegas) when we were mere teenagers, leaving me to navigate college, adulthood and handball all on my own. It doesn’t surprise me that her little girl (one of three children) has grown into a talented, funny and smart young woman. The apple certainly doesn’t fall very far from the tree.
Name: Erica Stanciu
Name of book: Electrify Me
Book genre: Fantasy
Date published: December 12, 2011
Publisher: Amazon.com (self-published)
What is your day job? I hold down the fort we call home.
What is your book about? A young princess, by the name of Kaiya Fraust, is forced on a journey where she travels to different kingdoms who wield elemental powers. Along the way, she finds demons, dragons, relics, and mysterious figures who want her for themselves.
Why did you want to write this book? I was reading a book one day and hated the ending. A friend suggested I write my own book so I did. Four months later, Electrify Me was born.
What would you say is the most challenging part of writing a book? The editing. It’s necessary, but so tedious at the same time. I’m pretty sure I have my book memorized after reading it five times just to make sure it was mistake-free.
Did you conduct any kind of research in order to write Electrify Me? My research came from reading fantasy novels for thirteen years. That helped me create the setting, characters, their powers, and the different animals you see throughout the story.
What motivates you to write? To have my characters come alive in the pages of a book (or an e-reader). I have a feeling of constant restlessness until the next scene is down on paper. Even my dreams consist of the characters and what they should be doing.
Did you experience writer’s block? I experienced writer’s block towards the end. The best way for me to overcome it is start a short story. It takes my mind away from the other characters for a bit. When I eventually come back to my original story, my mind feels refreshed and ready to tackle the novel once again.
How long did it take you to write this book? Three months to write it, and two months to edit.
Why did you decide to self-publish? I received a handful of rejections and started to feel stuck. I poured my heart into a story only to wait six weeks for an agency to say, “We’re not taking on any new clients. Have a good day.” Instead of throwing a pity party and retiring my manuscript, I decided that self-publishing was the best route for me.
Was the self-publishing process easier or more difficult than you thought it would be? Amazon makes it very easy to self-publish. They walk you through the steps to convert your work into the proper form. The rest is just submitting and waiting. It’s actually not difficult at all.
How did you decide on your book cover concept? Well, my mother, the coolest person alive, helped me design it. She’s a genius when it comes to Photoshop. The concept of silver eyes and a bolt of lightning was created, because I think simplicity intrigues readers.
What is the biggest misconception about writing a book? Almost everyone has an idea for a great novel, but actually setting scenes, creating dialogue and writing amazing plot twists takes real time and effort. Not many people have the time and patience for something like that. It’s a very hard process, but rewarding once the novel is finished.
What was your favorite aspect of the writing process for this book? Writing the scenes where the readers will say, “No way! I can’t believe that happened.” I get so excited putting those thoughts into words that it sometimes feels like my fingers are tripping over each other.
What tools/methods have you employed to promote your book? I’ve been honing my writing skills on Wattpad.com, a website where authors can post their work and have it read by people for no cost. In eight months, I have gathered more than four thousand fans who have been my biggest supporters (besides my family). A lot of them bought my book and told their friends to buy it. Promoting takes time and energy that can leave you drained, but don’t give up. Create a website, promote on blogs, use social media, and eventually you’ll see the sales skyrocket.
How has life changed for you since the publication of your book? I’ve realized that becoming an author is my true goal in life. Writing is a passion of mine that I can’t go a day without doing. Self-publishing really helped me realize that.
Do you find yourself obsessively checking sales stats? I have to admit that I do. I set a goal for the first month of publication, and I won’t stop looking obsessively until I reach that goal.
Are there plans to write another book? Electrify Me is going to be a four-book series, and I’m currently writing the second one.
My favorite last question: Oprah once 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 completely agree. There were many opportunities that presented themselves to me, but I wouldn’t have been ready to take the plunge without the proper preparation.