Wednesday, May 6, 2015

D.R. Ransdell - An Author Interview in the HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author D.R. Ransdell. She writes Mystery, Travel and Romance novels plus short stories.

Author Genre: Mystery, Travel, Romance

Website: Author D.R. Ransdell
Author's Blog: Author D.R. Ransdell - Author News Blog
Twitter: @dr_ransdell
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Google+: Check Out Google+
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Amazon Author Profile

Author Description:
D.R. Ransdell teaches writing in Tucson, Arizona, where she moonlights as a mariachi player. Travel is her passion, so she spends vacations traipsing around new countries, experimenting with new languages, and dancing to new music. She shares her house with five cats, whose bird-chasing and lizard-eating activities add color to her stories.

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

What do you have on the drawing board next? Do you have another book on the horizon? Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?

Dizzy in Durango will come out in the fall. After his adventures in Greece, Andy Veracruz goes to Mexico to catch up with Rachel. Along the way, he meets a woman who asks him to watch her bag--but then she disappears. He's so perplexed that he starts inquiring about her. As usual, such inquiries never lead Andy in a comfortable direction!

You do a lot of book signings, interviews, speaking and personal appearances. When and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?

Since I'm also a teacher, I'm on a school schedule, which means I'm about to head out for the summer. I'm fortunate enough to have a teaching gig for Orvieto, Italy, where I'll be with the Arizona in Italy Summer Study Abroad Program. After that I'll head to Illinois to see my relatives and do some waterskiing! But I'll be back to doing readings and such in the fall.

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?

For Mariachi Murder the publisher offered me a few possibilities, I ran them past readers, and then we chose one of the favorite options. For Island Casualty, the publisher offered me one option--because she got it right the first time! That cover fell into place. For Thai Twist, the publisher asked for ideas--and then very ably put things together. The cover is based on the Grand Palace in Bangkok, and that's one of the first places the characters visit.

You have written several short stories. I liked the one about the Pink House Cats. Can you tell us if they 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?

I haven't seen an impact on sales, but since you're always trying to develop a readership, any kind of writing is useful! Once in a while I have a good idea for a short story and run with it. Most of the time I'm wrapped up in longer projects, so a short story is a nice break.

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

I belong to two national organizations: Sisters in Crime and Romance Writers of America. I also belong to the local chapters of those groups as well as Arizona Mystery Writers. All three organizations offer monthly meetings. Typically those consist of a speaker who talks about nitty-gritty aspects of police work or romance writing followed by some kind of writing workshop. It's great to have a chance to exchange information with other authors. Often we swap books to get extra reviews or simply compare notes about difficult aspects of our work.

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 often given away books as part of a promotion or to get reviews. That's a very popular way to get your name noticed! Before you have time to develop a big platform, you have to compete with lots of other authors. Giving away books gives you the chance to stand out.

Do you maintain a reader list? What are the methods you use to find your readers and create the list and the relationship? Do you use social media, forums, newsletters and/or support groups to build your list?

Building a reader list is a slow process! Generally I "meet" someone on Facebook, etc., and then ask if they'd like to receive my bi-annual newsletter. I divide my social media time between FB, Twitter, Google+, and Goodreads.

You have a great blog. You do a great job keeping readers informed, marketing your books and providing useful information about 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?

Doing a blog gives me a chance to reach out to a bigger audience, entertain people quickly, and reminisce about travel locations and other fun things I've been involved with. This week's blog was about a play I saw about Picasso. Creating art and creating stories are quite similar, yet I wouldn't have sat down to think about that if I hadn't been looking for material to blog about. Writing a blog keeps me on the lookout for interesting new things. Finding the time is a big challenge. Luckily, I don't sleep much! Any unannounced visitors find the house a complete mess.

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?

There are a lot of blog reviewers out there, so I usually send out lots of queries. For Dizzy in Durango I'll also seek out professional reviews. I'll also be asking all the people in the mystery chapters I attend for volunteers. Usually people are incredibly generous about swapping reviews. That's one of the loveliest parts of the whole deal--finding other authors who share their experiences and their insights and try to help you out.

This year’s Tucson Festival of Books was a great event, enjoyed by thousands. A Book festival is a unique selling situation. How did you prepare for the festival? Did it meet your goals? If you had to do something different next year, what would that be? (Here you are hanging out with Lala Corriere and R.P. Dahlke.)

The Tucson Festival of Books was a great chance to interact with readers, writers, and passersby. To prepare for the festival I made a very complex schedule. I spent time in the Tucson Sisters in Crime booth, the Phoenix Sisters in Crime booth, and the booth run by my mystery publisher, Oak Tree Press. I also got to speak on a panel. I made time to see one author--Robert Crais, who is one of my favorites. The festival is great--I just wish it were twice as long and that there were two of me!

Author's Book List
Island Casualty - An Andy Veracruz Mystery
When Andy Veracruz heads to Greece for a holiday, the mariachi player expects to spend afternoons swimming and nights making love. At an outdoor cafĂ©, he meets a fellow traveler who accidentally leaves behind a package. Before Andy can return it, the man is found floating in the harbor, and Andy and his girlfriend are run off the road by whizzing bullets. To protect his friends, Andy starts doing undercover work by substituting in a bouzouki band, but further “accidents” call for drastic measures. The more Andy becomes entangled in the complicated web that connects the island’s inhabitants, the more he realizes he must rip apart the whole story before he’ll be free to go back home.

In Island Casualty, the second Andy Veracruz mystery, Andy accepts the invitation of a friend who is working at a taverna on a Greek island. He’s hoping Rachel can help him forget the one he could not save, but life on a small island is much different from life in Squid Bay. Instead of a relaxing vacation, Andy finds secret engagements and crazy islanders. As the savior of everyone except himself, Andy is soon involved in it all, but justice is not always black and white.

Order the Book From: Amazon
Thai Twist - A Cultural Romance
When high school graduate Gina Campanello wins a trip to Thailand, the last thing she wants is to visit a bunch of temples and museums with her gung-ho older sister. Luckily, before Gina leaves Tucson, a neighbor gives her the mission of delivering a small stone elephant to a long-lost relative.

When Gina and Rachel hit Bangkok, Rachel carts her sister from Wat Pho to the Grand Palace, but all Gina can think of is Koon Somchai, the estranged engineer she has promised to track down. By the time she leaves Bangkok, she’s no closer to her goal.

In Chiang Mai, the second city of the girls’ tour, Gina finally gets some leads after consulting with natives. She visits the local engineering school and writes furious emails to recent graduates. The problem is that by the time she narrows down her search, she’s about to board a plane for the beautiful beaches of Phuket.

While Rachel enjoys lovely ocean views and leisurely afternoons in the pool, Gina can’t stop thinking about the mysterious man she was supposed to find. When the man’s grandson is able to arrange transportation for her return to Chiang Mai, Gina can’t turn down the offer, no matter the personal cost.

Order the Book From: Amazon
Mariachi Murder - An Andy Veracruz Mystery Book 1
Andy Veracruz is content with his life as the leader of a mariachi band, but when his lover is accused of murder, he has no choice but to defend her. In the process he faces the loss of his strongest loyalties as well as his entire career.

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

Check out the index of other Spotlight authors. Spotlight Index.

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