Monday, January 7, 2013

Sarah Woodbury - HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Historical Fiction Author Sarah Woodbury. She is the author of the Gareth and Gwen Medieval Mysteries. Also, Sarah is a member of the well-known writer's group, the Indie Chicks.

Author Genre: Historical Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Romance

Website: Sarah Woodbury - Writing Historical Fiction and Fantasy
Author's Blog: Sarah Woodbury blog
Twitter: @SarahWoodbury
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Author Description: With two historian parents, Sarah couldn’t help but develop an interest in the past. She went on to get more than enough education herself (in anthropology) and began writing fiction when the stories in her head overflowed and demanded she let them out. While her ancestry is Welsh, she only visited Wales for the first time while in college. She has been in love with the country, language, and people ever since. She even convinced her husband to give all four of their children Welsh names. She makes her home in Oregon.

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

You have been quite successful with all of your books getting in the top Amazon rankings. What is next for us? Can you give us a tease about what is on the drawing board and what your timetable is?

I am currently working on the next book in The After Cilmeri Series, Exiles in Time. I’m aiming for a March 1, 2013 release date. After that, I intent to finish the 3rd book in my Gareth and Gwen Medieval Mysteries.

Your main genre is Historical fiction. Where do you find your audience? What kinds of groups are you active with that give you a gateway to your target market?

I belong to several groups, Pasttimes Books and Historical Fiction ebooks. In some ways, those groups are more a way for me to connect with other writers than a way to reach an audience. Word of mouth is still the best way to find people who like my books, along with my web page, at which I blog several times a week about Dark Age and Medieval Wales I would also say that historical fiction isn’t the category into which my readers would put my books—that would be time travel romance, historical fantasy, and medieval mysteries.

I noticed as I reviewed your books that Daughter of Time and The Bard's Daughter Kindle versions are free on Amazon. Can you discuss the strategy behind doing that? Explain to our author audience the process you had to go through with Amazon to list your books for free?

I chose to give away those books for free because they are prequels to their respective series. I think it is helpful to readers (as with libraries) to be able to pick up a free book as an entry into a series. If they like it, great. If not, reading it cost them nothing but time. I began with giving the books away for free via Smashwords distribution system. Amazon price matched to free shortly thereafter.

I watched your YouTube videos of Wales which are really interesting. Have you used book trailers in your marketing? I think Welsh music in the background would be a great touch. Do you plan on using your videos to piece together a book trailer for future books?

I would love to put together some book trailers. Early on in my career, I made one for a book which has never been released. I even have a designer I would trust with it. It’s a matter of making it a priority, which I haven’t yet.

Your covers are all well done. Do your readers have any input into their design? Tell us how you convey your cover ideas to your artists?

Aren’t those covers great? My cover artist is Christine DeMaio-Rice at flipcitybooks. In the early days, I made my own covers and my books sold despite them ? When a new book is about ready to be released, Christine and I chat about my vision for the cover, add in her thoughts, and then she sends me mockups. Often I have already spent time surfing the internet for what might be available in terms of images. It is not unusual to end up with something very different from what I originally envisioned because Christine is very good at what she does and she steers me away from what would never really work!

How big a role does Twitter, Facebook and other social media play in your marketing effort? What kinds of traditional things do you do? How do your books play in the Wales/UK market?

It is so very hard to tell what role any social media platform plays in selling books. The best way to sell books, as I said earlier, is through word of mouth, but in order to get word of mouth going, you have to sell some books! These days, I keep up with my Facebook author page and my blog, though in many cases, readers find those sites after they’ve already read one of my books. I would say the single most effective marketing strategy for me has been giving away books. As to the UK/Wales market, my books are not huge sellers in the UK, but I sell hundreds of books a month just on Amazon UK and I feel that audience is growing. I have gotten email from Welsh readers who have been very complimentary.

Have you considered converting your books to the Welsh or any other language besides English?

I would love for my books to be translated. However, I haven’t yet pursued it.

I have asked this question several times. I am very impressed with the group Indie Chicks which you are apart. It is an extraordinary group of ladies. In fact, I have had several authors already in the Author’s Spotlight. I had to include the group’s book in the list below. (Proceeds donated to various charitable organizations.)

How did you get involved with the group? What are the major benefits you personally have received working with the members?

Belonging to the Indie Chicks has been a wonderful addition to my experience as an author over the last two years. They are a great bunch of women, all of whom are very professional. Cheryl Shireman @cherylshireman, the group’s organizer, invited me to join early on. She and I released our first books at about the same time, and had gotten to know each other through other writers’ groups. The best part about belonging to the Indie Chicks is the friends I’ve made and what I’ve learned from working with such a great group of women.

Author's Book List
Children of Time
The After Cilmeri Series Book Four
November 1288. Bereft of a king or rightful heir, England hurtles towards civil war for the second time in a generation. When David, Prince of Wales, and his wife, Lili, travel to London to attend the wedding of William de Bohun and Princess Joan, they have no intention of involving themselves in local politics.

But as infighting leads to murder, David and Lili find themselves at the center of a far-reaching conspiracy. Trapped between history and legend, they must decide how much they are willing to sacrifice to save not only their own country, but the people of England as well.

Meanwhile, back in Wales, Llywelyn and Meg discover that time is no barrier to either adventure or trouble …
Buy Page: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Smashwords - iTunes
The Bard's Daughter
A Gareth and Gwen Medieval Mystery
The Bard's Daughter is a 22,000 word prequel to the Gareth and Gwen Medieval Mysteries:

As a Bard's daughter, Gwen has spent her life traveling from castle to castle and village to village with her family, following the music. In the winter of 1141, Gwen's family is contracted to provide the entertainment for the coming-of-age celebration of a lord's son. But before the celebration can begin, Gwen's father is found over the body of his friend, with a harp string as the murder weapon and blood on his hands.

With the lord of the castle uninterested in finding the true killer, it is up to Gwen to clear her father's name before her father's music is silenced … forever.
Buy Page: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - iTunes
Crossroads in Time
The After Cilmeri Series Book Three
Three years have passed since the events chronicled in Prince of Time ...

Anna has made a place for herself in thirteenth century Wales as a wife, mother, and healer. David has taken more of the kingdom's rule on his shoulders, even as his relationship with Lili has caused friction with his father, King Llywelyn. The King wants his son to seek a political marriage that will benefit his country--and possibly place the crown of England on David's head.

England and Wales have shared a border and an uneasy peace for three long years.

And that peace is about to be broken …
Buy Page: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Smashwords - iTunes
The Uninvited Guest
A Gareth and Gwen Medieval Mystery
The Uninvited Guest is the second Gareth and Gwen Medieval Mystery:

It is the winter of 1143 and all is not well in the court of Owain, King of north Wales. His future in-laws are untrustworthy, the Norman lords on his eastern border are restless, and among his wedding guests lurks a cold-blooded killer. Gareth and Gwen have marriage plans of their own, but their love will have to wait while the pair race to separate truth from lies, friends from foes, and unravel the mystery before King Owain--and his new bride--fall victim to their uninvited guest.
Buy Page: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Smashwords - iTunes
The Good Knight: A Medieval Mystery
An enthralling story, sympathetic characters and a visit to another time, another culture. What more can you ask of an author? -- Medieval Mysteries (

Intrigue, suspicion, and rivalry among the royal princes casts a shadow on the court of Owain, king of north Wales...

The year is 1143 and King Owain seeks to unite his daughter in marriage with an allied king. But when the groom is murdered on the way to his wedding, the bride's brother tasks his two best detectives--Gareth, a knight, and Gwen, the daughter of the court bard--with bringing the killer to justice.

And once blame for the murder falls on Gareth himself, Gwen must continue her search for the truth alone, finding unlikely allies in foreign lands, and ultimately uncovering a conspiracy that will shake the political foundations of Wales.
Buy Page: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - iTunes
Prince of Time
The After Cilmeri Series Book Two
Two teenagers are catapulted back in time to alter history and save the medieval kingdom of Wales ...

David and his man-at-arms, Ieuan, find themselves alone and on the run from a company of English soldiers who've sworn vengeance for the recent death of their king. Meanwhile, Llywelyn lays on his deathbed, wounded by a traitor's arrow. And once again, it is David and Anna, and all that they represent, that holds the key to the survival of Wales.
Buy Page: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - iTunes
Footsteps in Time: A Time Travel Fantasy
The After Cilmeri Series Book One
In December of 1282, English soldiers ambushed and murdered Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, the Prince of Wales. His death marked the end of Wales as an independent nation and the beginning of over seven hundred years under the English boot.

Footsteps in Time is the story of what might have happened had Llywelyn lived.

And what happens to the two teenagers who save him.
Buy Page: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - iTunes
Winds of Time
The After Cilmeri Series
Winds of Time is a 20,000 word novella from the After Cilmeri series:

Meg had thought that taking a commuter flight from Pasco, Washington to Boise, Idaho would be a simple matter. But nothing is simple for Meg when it comes to travel, and especially not when she finds herself in the Middle Ages again instead of in a plane crash on a mountain side in Oregon.

And when the pilot takes off without her in a quest to return to the twenty-first century, Meg will need every last bit of maturity and knowledge she gained in the sixteen years she spent in the modern world--to survive even a day in this one.

A note from the author: This story was started many years ago, as part of Footsteps in Time. When it came down to it, however, the story didn't fit with what was happening with David and Anna, and had to be put aside. Happily, I am now able to share, in ebook form, the story of Meg's return to the Middle Ages. Thus, Winds of Time takes place between Part 1 and Part 2 of Footsteps in Time, Book One in the After Cilmeri Series. I think you will enjoy Winds of Time more if you read Footsteps in Time first. Diolch yn fawr (thank you)! -Sarah
Buy Page: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Smashwords - iTunes
Daughter of Time: A Time Travel Romance
The After Cilmeri Series
While a time-travel romance, the relationship between Meg and Prince Llewlyn of Wales is not cliché. It's truly two people struggling to overcome their different backgrounds and the current political climate of 13th century Wales to follow their hearts. The completely fresh storyline of a Daughter of Time is one of the strongest aspects of this story.

Daughter of Time is a sweetheart style romance in that the sexual scenes take place off stage, and an enjoyable look at chivalry in a way that explains how functional it was for the time period, and not just a cliché romantic notion modern readers have about knights in shining armor.

Daughter of Time is appropriate for readers from young teens to adults and is a prequel to the After Cilmeri series:

A medieval man with an uncertain destiny, Llywelyn, the Prince of Wales, faces treachery and deceit at the hands of friends and foes alike …

A modern woman with a troubled past, Meg's life is in tatters when she slips through time and into medieval Wales …

Only by working together can Meg and Llywelyn navigate the shifting allegiances that threaten the very existence of Wales--and create their own history that defies the laws of time.
Buy Page: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - iTunes
Indie Chicks: 25 Independent Women 25 Personal Stories
This exciting anthology contains stories from twenty-five women from different parts of the world. Their ages differ, as do their backgrounds and locations, but one thing they all have in common is a spirit of independence and a determination to not only succeed, but prevail. Whether their struggles are to maintain balance between motherhood and career, escape from an abusive relationship, or to step out in faith and pursue a dream, all of these women have forged their own path. As women, one of our most powerful "gifts" is the ability to encourage one another.

This book is an effort to encourage women across the world. These twenty-five women share stories that will make you laugh, inspire you, and maybe even make you cry. Their hope is that these stories will inspire YOUR independent spirit and allow you to live the life you were meant to live.

All proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to various charitable organizations.
Buy Page: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Author Recommended by: HBSystems Publications
Publisher of ebooks, writing industry blogger and the sponsor of the HBS Author's Spotlight plus the blog: eBook Author’s Corner. Check out the index of other Spotlight authors. Spotlight Index.

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