Today our blog puts the Spotlight on bestselling Mystery and Suspense Author Robin Mahle. She is an author the Redwood Violet suspense series.
Mystery, Suspense, Crime
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"I write because my characters tell me to!"
Robin's short story, LONG JOURNEY HOME, was released in 2011 and became an Amazon Bestseller, both in the US and the UK.
And with the release of her debut novel, REDWOOD VIOLET, the first in the series, she is thrilled that it too, has become an Amazon Bestseller.
Now, the fans of the Redwood Violet series can look forward to the release of book two, ALL THE SHINY THINGS, set to launch on September 27th, 2013!
Bestselling Author, Robin Mahle, lives with her husband and two children in Arizona. Robin found her passion for writing, which later became her second career, after spending nearly 20 years in the construction industry.
Having always been a lover of books, Robin attributes her creativity to the wonderful overseas adventures she has shared with her husband of 14 years. Backpacking (or certainly close to it), throughout Europe and having lived in England, opened her mind and with that came a steady stream of story ideas inspired by her author- idols in the thriller/suspense genre.
SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author
Congratulations on your book: All the Shiny Things. What do you have on the drawing board next? Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?
I am working on another mystery/suspense now, but it is still very early days. All I can say is that it is a departure from the Redwood Violet series in the sense that it has a supernatural theme. I’m really excited about it and my goal is for a February release. I’ll have to keep you posted as I’m not quite ready for any teasers just yet.
You have a good following on twitter. How important have your social media relationships been? How did you build your following in your niche? Did you use forums, newsletters and methods like that?
Social media is certainly a challenge and I do struggle to stay on top of it. As far as building a following, I work very hard at the relationship aspect of Twitter. I think the best way to gain followers is to engage other users, talk to them, makes your posts informative and interesting. I rarely ever tweet about my books unless it’s to inform of a new release or a temporary sale. I’m not one to spam my followers with links to buy my books. I think that makes a difference. Sometimes I get annoyed when my timeline is filled with advertisements. I don’t think I’m quite as good at staying on top of my Facebook page posts, though. That is strictly fan-based and I only want to put interesting information on my wall and to be honest, the life of a writer isn’t all that interesting, right? Well, not my life, anyway ? I do truly enjoy replying to the readers though. I get so excited when I get comments.
Do you do book signings, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? If so, when and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?
I haven’t done a book signing just yet, but I am working something out with one of the main libraries in my city. I have just recently been approached, so we’re still coordinating on dates. But, once I have something set up, I will announce it on my Facebook page and Twitter. I admit I am very nervous that no one will show up (LOL!). As far as keeping up with any events I have scheduled, my website is a great place to start! The great thing about social media is that there are no shortages of ways to get in touch with me. I have a contact form on my website and of course I have Facebook and Twitter.
You have great covers. They carry a theme and your brand with them. How does your book cover creation process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach? Do you get your readers involved in its development?
You know, I have an absolutely fantastic cover artist, Laura at LLPix Photography. I really only give her a basic idea of what I’m looking for and she sends over the most fabulous covers. To be honest, I think I only had two revisions to my last cover. She nailed it pretty much right off the bat. I love that she has developed a theme as it relates to the font style she’s chosen for me. I think I will carry that theme, at least, part of it, to the next cover. As you know, branding is everything and if people recognize my name on one of my covers because of the style, then I’ve accomplished my goal! I seem to be learning a lot as I go along, so maybe the next time I will try to engage my readers and perhaps ask for input on my covers. That is a great way to get them involved in the process.
You have a great book trailer. (See link below.) It looks very professional. Do you know how much impact it has had on your book’s success? Tell us about the process that you used to create your trailer? Do you use the trailer in your character development? Are the pictures and background the way you see your characters and scenes?
Thank you. But the biggest challenge has been in getting views of the trailer. I struggle with promotional tools and their effectiveness. It’s really one of the hardest things for an indie author, I think. After all, I wasn’t a Marketing major and I can’t say it has really contributed to the book’s success. I managed my way through its creation and I do like it; I think it sets the tone for the series. The images are what I believe the main character, Katie, would have seen in her dreams. But, I’d love to learn how to utilize it as a true marketing tool.
You have published a short story. Can you tell us if it had an impact on the sales of your novels? Are shorty’s one of your styles of writing or are they created to give readers a sample of your work?
My short story, Long Journey Home, was really my first work of any real length. Prior to that, I wrote articles and moved up to essays and then the short story. I wouldn’t say it’s had much impact on sales of my novels, but I can tell you that since I’ve published the second book in the Redwood Violet series, sales of my short story have increased fairly significantly. I enjoy writing them, but I don’t know if I’ve got another in me; not right now, anyway. It was sort of like dipping my toe in the water. Now, I’m all in!
What writer support groups do you belong to? Do they help with the writing, marketing and the publishing process?
I hate to admit this, but I don’t belong to any writer groups. I hope to someday, though. I have a hard time keeping up with my day job, my family, social media and actually writing novels. I’m stretched pretty thin right now, but I can see light at the end of the tunnel and once I’m there, I plan on taking full vantage of those resources because I believe they are invaluable. I want to learn from those that came before me and publishing is a brave new world that I wouldn’t choose to tackle alone!
What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in any other type of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this? Did you run into any obstacles?
I’ve run free promotions through KDP twice. The first time was about a month after I released book one in the series. It was moderately successful, but since I didn’t have any other novels published, any following I could have gained just withered away. The second time was at the release of book two. That was, what I would classify, as a major success. Redwood Violet reached number 2 in the Top 100 free on Amazon and was downloaded a whopping 53,000 times! I was honestly shocked. And, that really propelled book two where it still remains fairly high on the rankings, even six or so weeks later. I do believe that BookBub played a major part in the success of the free offering the second time around. I haven’t really tried any other type of giveaways, except when I was running my book blog tour, but I would like to find other advertising tools that are effective both from a cost standpoint and sales standpoint. I know there is some disagreement in the indie community about offering freebies, but for me, since I only have two books out and I am building a readership, it has been a great tool and I will do it again.
You have a great blog. You do a great job keeping readers informed, marketing your books and providing useful information to other writers. What is your primary goal? And where in the world do you find the time to create great novels, take care of the social media and maintain your blog?
Boy, you make me sound like some kind of author-superhero! Thank you! But it is difficult and I’m not nearly as up to speed with the whole blogging thing as some of my colleagues. I should be posting much more often, but I need to write novels or all the blogging in the world isn’t going to do me a bit of good. My goal is to simply give readers a glimpse of who I am and tell them a little about my writing process. If they like what they read, maybe they’ll pick up one of my books. It’s all about building relationships!
Do you publish your books in other languages? How is your audience abroad? How do you reach your audience in the UK?
Not as of yet, no, I don’t publish my books in other languages, but it’s something I’d like to explore. My audience abroad consists of a few family members I have in the UK, but I hope it will grow! I’m active on Goodreads and I have met quite a few British and Canadian folk on there. Maybe they will help to spread the word?
What is your method of getting reviews for your novels? Do you seek professional reviews, use social media or do you rely on your reading audience to supply them?
I hired a book blog review tour host for book one and I was extremely disappointed with the results. Not that I got bad reviews or anything, it was just that there was little follow through. After that, I just relied on reader reviews. They really are the best kind. They don’t feel the need to draft a synopsis of the entire story in their review; they just tell it like it is, good or bad. I doubt I would seek professional reviews; they are far too costly for a newbie like me.
Author's Book List
All the Shiny Things
- Redwood Violet II
The endless nightmare has been brought to life and it’s too late to turn back, but Katie and Marshall are no longer fighting the battle alone.
In this second installment of the Redwood Violet series, the last piece in this horrifying puzzle has been revealed and the case grows beyond what they could have imagined. Now, the FBI wants control of the investigation.
While Katie enters into a dangerous game of cat and mouse with the man who taunts the authorities at every turn, her frustration grows. Soon, an unexpected alliance forms as Katie takes matters into her own hands.
But Marshall knows she’s risking too much and sides with the FBI. Protective custody seems to be her only option as her abductor develops a new found interest in those she holds closest to her heart.
Now the authorities have precious little time to find the killer before he takes another life. Who will it be this time?
Order the Book From: Amazon
- Barnes and Noble
Katie Reid is living the quintessential Southern California life. A dream job and her college sweetheart Spencer, top it all off. But the nightmares that have been haunting her for months are getting worse.
After seeking help from Dr. Reyes, it becomes apparent that Katie is dealing with something much deeper and much more sinister. Her only solution is to delve into a past that no one wants her to remember.
With the horrific discovery of a secret kept hidden for years, Katie is drawn into a world mired in evil and lost innocence. And only with the help of Detective Marshall Avery will she be able to channel her pain and anger.
But, will he be able to contain Katie’s desire for vengeance that has begun to unravel her perfect life?
The first in a two-part series, Redwood Violet will keep you firmly in its grip and refuse to let go!
"Redwood Violet is one of those books you should not open unless you have time to read it because you won't want to put this book down. From page one I was hooked on this fascinating mystery/crime solving read."
Order the Book From: Amazon
- Barnes and Noble
Long Journey Home
Emma Williams was eager to start her new job at the Queen’s Head pub. Soon after, however, she finds herself caught in the middle of its diabolical past. Now forced to face the surreal events arising in the present, she must find the courage to help Jamila; the young victim from a bygone era.
With the help of her best friend Sarah, the quest begins as they unravel the dark and unsavory history of the old English pub.
In the midst of everything, Emma falls for the handsome chef, Liam. Reluctantly, she lets him in this supernatural world in which she is now involved.
Order the Book From: Amazon
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