Friday, January 10, 2014

Diana Anderson - An Author Interview in the HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Southern Author Diana Anderson. She is the author of the Southern Country Novel series.

Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Humor And Comedy, Romance

Website: Diana Anderson
Author's Blog: Entering Southern Country
Twitter: @DianaJAnderson1
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Google+: Check Out Google+
Facebook: Check Out Facebook
Pinterest: Check Out Pinterest

Author Description:
A native Oklahoman, Diana Anderson now lives with her husband and Jack Russell Terrier in northwestern Mississippi. Besides writing, she is a professional photographer and portrait artist. Her genre; Fiction/Southern Gothic/Humor/Mystery/Thriller/Suspense/Romance She spins tales with life experience, imagination, and fabrication. Real life experiences always enhance the story telling ability of any author and is a driving force in most stories.

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

First things first. Let’s start with what’s next. Rumor has it that you have another book on the horizon called Remember When. Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?

I’m hoping it [Remember When] will be released sometime this spring (2014).

Here is the blurb for Remember When:

The latest attack on Thera Logan life isn’t the first one and won’t be the last. Someone wants her dead, but until she realizes that these attacks aren’t just random acts of violence or mere coincidences, she leaves herself wide-open.

She moves from Seattle, Washington back to her hometown of Tahlequah, Oklahoma to live with her father and to recover from a divorce and the last attack on her life. She is surprised to find her old childhood sweetheart, Caleb Sutherland, has moved back home, too.

Old sparks fly until Caleb starts asking too many questions, and then the mystery surrounding Caleb’s return coinciding with hers draws her suspicion.

He’s not the only one asking too many questions. Her ex-husband, Nolan Logan, calls her, and then pops in for unexpected visits, and is being far too inquisitive.

Confusion fogs her world. What does Caleb really want? Why the sudden interest from her ex-husband, Nolan? And who is stalking her? What does she possess that is more important to someone than her life?

Her determination to find the answers to those questions will leave her fighting to stay alive when she uncovers them. In the end, she won’t know who she can trust. The only thing that will save her is to—remember when.

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?

It’s very important. I can’t allow myself to think that it’s all about selling my novels. Establishing a friendship is my priority. If they want my novel, they’ll buy it, but they don’t want it shoved down their throats. Of course I do have to plug my novels every now and then so people will know about them but mainly connecting with them is more important. I keep in mind that not every friend on Facebook or followers on Twitter would enjoy my novels. Some folks prefer another genre.

Twitter: Most followers I don’t know personally and many are fellow authors, but I enjoy interaction when time allows. Nobody is going to know who I am if I don’t get my name out there, so any interaction is good. Whether I’ve clicked favorite on someone’s post, or re-tweeted their post, or found some useful information online and tweeted the link, someone will notice and will start following me.

Facebook: I have many personal friends on Facebook as well as family, but most are friends I’ve acquired along the way. Many of them became my Facebook friend after I became a published author. As for my author page, some are authors who shared a like for a like and some are fans. I try to scroll through Facebook once or twice a day to read posts. I love interacting with my Facebook friends even though I don’t personally know most of them. I can honestly say that I’ve got some of the best friends on Facebook. If life is kicking my behind, I can be sure someone I don’t know will be in agreement with those that I do know in lifting me up in prayer. All I have to do is ask.

World Literary Cafe has been a tremendous help with my social media. For me it was very beneficial with getting a following on Twitter or likes to my author page on Facebook when I published my first novel.

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’m still waiting for the opportunity to have a book signing. I’d love for a reporter to interview me. I’d even be happy for my small town, once a week, newspaper to do an interview. As for speaking, I haven’t done standup comedy in years. Seriously, the last time I spoke in front of a group was at a church where I was a member. As a survivor of child abuse, that was the subject matter. Many of my novels contain the dark subject that was swept under the rug decades ago. The only personal appearances I make are once a week and are at the local Walmart. I wish I could tell you that I’ve arrived at being a very successful author, but I’m a work in progress.

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 do your own art, being a portrait artist? Do you get your readers involved in its development?

Thank you! It’s always nice to get a compliment on my book covers. As a professional photographer and artist, I use my photos and Photoshop to create the covers. As an example, the photo I used for Famous in a Small Town was taken late one evening. I was in my kitchen preparing supper and happened to glance out the kitchen window. The sky was a brilliant red. I didn’t have time to get my camera, knowing the opportunity to capture the evening sunset was short, so I grabbed my iPhone and hurried outside. That brilliant red sunset on the cover of my novel is original. The only thing I added was the font and the raven.

I love creating book covers. I may do several before deciding on which one to use. Occasionally I’ve ask readers for their opinion in helping me make the final decision.

What writer support groups do you belong to? Do they help with the writing, marketing and the publishing process?

I have joined several writers’ groups on Facebook. Writers Helping Writers is one group. You post a question and someone will offer help or their opinion from experience. I posted a question not too long ago about the use of paid ads for promoting a novel. The answers were varied, but helpful in making my decision. I follow many blogs that post articles on writing, marketing, and publishing. I found help in the Community link at Createspace, by doing a Google search, Facebook search, and on YouTube.

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 had a lot of exposure from offering Happy Valley, the first in the series of A Southern Country Novel, eBook for free. Readers who liked it have spread the word and have bought the second in the series, Mississippi Gambler. It’s been a trickle-down effect. Each time I offer it for free, I acquire new readers, both domestic and in other countries. I have seen the sales of my other books take off within weeks of my free offer.

I haven’t done a giveaway for the paperback. I have heard some good results and bad results from fellow authors who have gone that route. I’m still undecided.

My main goal in offering my novel for free was to get it noticed. At the time of my first giveaway, I needed exposure as a new author. Later it was useful when I launched a new novel to help get it noticed. When I have a giveaway, I love watching the numbers go up with downloads my novel is getting. The very thought that a stranger is reading my novel is special to me, and I’m honored that they’ve taken the time to read it.

The only obstacles I’ve run into were my own fault. I had some reviews suggesting that I needed to make corrections. I have since fixed those and have resubmitted that novel.

How do you start your book launch process for a new book? Give a brief outline of the steps you go through to get your book to market. What methods were the most successful?

I try to time my book launch with another of my eBooks that I’m offering for free. I contact several websites that will promote for free my free eBook. I have to do this a few weeks in advance to get on their list.

I change my background image on my Facebook author page to the image of my next book cover. I do the same with Twitter and Google+. I update my website by adding my new book. I post the book image and blurb on Facebook and ask friends and readers who have liked my novels to help spread the word by sharing with their friends about the upcoming freebie and my new book. Most are very helpful. I also use my blog, Google+, Pinterest, and if I have a book trailer ready, I upload it to YouTube. The day my book goes live, I do a shout out on Facebook and Twitter.

I would say that Facebook has helped most with my new book releases.

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’ve made requests for reviews on Facebook to those who have read my novels, and if anyone approaches me and tells me that they liked my novel, I ask them if they would mind leaving an honest review on Amazon.

I’ve never sought out professional reviews. I rely mostly on my reading audience.

Living in northwestern Mississippi, do you ever get to Tunica? It is one of my favorite places in the US. It has great food and is a unique setting for a murder mystery. (Snakes in the water and all.)

Yes. I’m not much of a gambler, but there are several casinos that have “all you can eat” crab legs buffet. My husband, a few friends, and I go every month or so. We also enjoy the bands. One time, while we were driving to Tunica, I got an idea for a novel. I keep a small notebook in my purse and immediately wrote down my idea. This was before I wrote Famous in a Small Town (An Entering Southern Country Novel) or even had any idea to write that novel. The idea I wrote down will be the second or third in that trilogy. It’s strange how that worked out.

A murder mystery set in Tunica is a thought and the addition of snakes is stuff nightmares are made of. Hmmm.

11. 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?

Thank you for checking out my book trailer and for your compliment.

I’ve found that it’s difficult to get my book trailer noticed as much as I’d like for it to be. It would be wonderful to have a book trailer go viral. I really don’t know how much impact my book trailers have had on any of my book sales. I have listed the links to my trailers on my Amazon profile, my website, Pinterest, and my blog.

I love making my book trailers and having a son that’s in a band is a plus. For Famous in a Small Town, I told him what I wanted a mix of Mississippi Delta blues with southern country and he, along with another member of the band, put it together for me. I went through a ton of photos I had on hand and made a selection of the ones I would use and placed copies of those in a labeled folder on my computer desktop. I used Photoshop to start the process of adding words to the photos. There are several scenes in the book trailer that aren’t photographs but my own creations using Photoshop. (I’ve learned a lot of what I know about Photoshop on YouTube. I’ve found some great tutorials there.) I use Windows Live Movie Maker. I place my photos in the sequence I want, add the music, and tweak it. After much scrutiny, if it’s approved by my closest family members and friends, then it’s launched on YouTube and Amazon. I think the best compliment I received from anyone about the Famous in a Small Town book trailer was it gave them chill bumps.

Author's Book List
A Vanilla Christmas
Vanilla Lillian Carver has had her share of disappointment and heartbreak, from a high school heart throb, to a broken engagement, and then being left at the altar. She’s made up her mind, she’s through with love. Well, that was her plan until the love of her life returns after disappearing twelve years earlier without even saying goodbye. Can she trust him again? Her heart says yes, but common sense says run in the other direction, because there are too many unanswered questions that she’s afraid to ask. Poor Lily! She’s running in circles.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Mississippi Gambler - A Southern Country Novel
When Jo Preston Lane was nineteen, she left home thinking that was the answer to her problem, but now, four years later, she must return and who she has to face is the least of her problems. To protect her family, she must keep all she has discovered five months ago a secret. She has little time to prepare for her great escape before her worst nightmare catches up with her. She can't afford to trust anyone, as her life truly depends on it. Not the police or the FBI.

Mississippi Gambler (A Southern Country Novel) is the second in the series.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Famous in a Small Town - An Entering Southern Country Novel
The quiet town of Cypress, Mississippi is turned upside down when a former citizen, Raven Sawyer, returns for a funeral. Raven’s fictional novel goes viral when the town folk realize that she’s the author, and soon they’re thinking that her book is not fiction but truth. Every little dirty detail is revealed in her book and has the people of Cypress wagging their tongues and shaking their heads at a few of the upper-class citizens and—the Sheriff.

All Raven wants is to get through the funeral and go back to New York, but Sheriff Cal Rayburn can’t allow her to leave after she discovers and turns over evidence that may be connected to a double homicide that he’s investigating. At least, that’s the excuse he’s giving her, and he’ll go to any length to keep her in Cypress until he can make her believe that the affair, that she thinks he had six years ago, never happened.

When more dead bodies turn up, Cal feels they’re connected to the double homicide, but with the evidence he has, he can’t make a connection. He’s left with more questions than answers. He’s told that Raven’s novel may have answers to questions that could help with his investigation, but what it reveals is more than what he wants to know.

Famous in a Small Town is book one of An Entering Southern Country Novel trilogy. It has murder, lies, fiction, and truth—and more twists and turns than the back roads of northwestern Mississippi. Enter at your own risk.

Book Trailer: Famous in a Small Town

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Faded Rose
After twelve years of a bad marriage, Rose Daniels makes the decision to get her life back. A decision that she will be second guessing after Mother Nature does a number on her, and the murder of a local woman has Rose’s small hometown eyeing her as the suspect. Rose isn’t the prime suspect, she’s the only suspect. Only her faith can save her, but to find that faith, layer upon layer of who she has become will have to be peeled away. With what she’s up against, it would be so much easier to give up, but giving up would be costly. It would cost her, her son and her life.

Book Trailer: Faded Rose

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Happy Valley - A Southern Country Novel
A year ago, Jo Preston was released and sent home from a mental institution. She has only vague memories of why she had been committed. Circumstances beyond her control will cause those memories to surface, one by one.

A tragedy, brought on by deceit, leaves her heartbroken and rejected. She is sent away to live with some rather peculiar relatives. Her fear of being institutionalized again has her desperate to keep her past hidden, but how long can she keep it a secret when her imagination begins playing tricks on her… or is it? A voice from her past resurfaces as well as the man who wants her secret to die with her.

This is a story about a young girl's heartbreak, rejection, fear, faith, and determination.

Happy Valley is the first in the series of A Southern Country Novel.

Order the Book From: Amazon
Author Recommended by: HBSystems Publications
Publisher of ebooks, writing industry blogger and the sponsor of the following blogs:
eBook Author’s Corner and
HBS Mystery Reader’s Circle

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