As you can see by the title, I’m here with Nenia Campbell, author of ten published books, including Fearscape, Cloak and Dagger, and Tantalized. Not only that, but she’s been reviewing long before she had published anything. So, of course, I had to get her thoughts on books and writing. Without further adieu, here are her answers:
1) How did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always loved writing. Then one day I realized, “Hey. I could do this for a living maybe.”
2) What are some of your favorite books?
It’d probably be easier to reel off my favorite kinds of books. I love nonfiction. I also like vintage books published between 1970-1989, especially bodice rippers, gothic novels and glitter-trash. Good fantasy, space-opera, and dystopians are also musts—especially if they are dark and gloomy and have strong female protagonists and dangerous heroes.
3) If you could be stuck with one writer, who would it be and why?
Em Wolf. She makes me laugh. I’ve known her for several years and love that girl. She can write a good fucked-up male hero, too, and that makes her aces in my book. 🙂
4) Are there any hidden messages in your books (besides the obligatory “Any hot guy you meet will end up trying to kill you and/or is a sociopath”?
“All hail Nenia, supreme benevolent dictator.” *cough* I mean, “Reading is power, kids!” (Whew.)
5) What are you going to work on after Tantalized?
One of the kerjillion books I’ve added to Goodreads already. I feel bad having them sitting there getting people excited if I’m not working on them. I need to work on Nostalgia Trip, just to prove I can write a male rom who isn’t a jerk and/or psycho, Detraction (just in case people start thinking I’m too soft from the former), and Black Beast, because I’m super excited about it. Also The Pocketbook of Sunshine and Rain because poetry.
6) Would you change anything in your published books that you didn’t think of when you were writing? If so, what?
Oh God. So many things. That’s why I try not to read them ever again. It’ll never match up with the shiny perfect copy that glitters so tauntingly in my head. ;~;
7) What are some of her major differences between indie publishing and traditional publishing? Which do you think you’d like better?
I think indie publishing lets you get away with things more traditional publishers wouldn’t touch. You’re not as bound by what’s popular. On the other hand, having a traditional publisher backing you means somebody high up thought you were good enough to stick with a brand and that’s nothing to sneeze at. Plus, if you’re independently published a lot of people are wary of you because of BBA activity, and that’s hard. I like being indie, but I wouldn’t mind getting a contract for traditional publishing. It definitely eliminates a lot of the hurdles that plague indie authors.
8) What was the hardest part in the writing process?
Getting over the fear that nobody would think my work was worth it.
9) What’s the easiest part in the writing process?
Self-hatred. There are so many times where I stop and have to force myself to go on because I’m like, “EMOTIONAL WRITER FEELS.” And I need to tell myself to shut up because emotional writer feels can be never ending and if you don’t get over yourself, you’ll never get anything done.
10) What’s the best part about writing?
Meeting awesome people like you. 😀
11) Where do you like to write/read?
I write at home. I’d be too afraid of someone peering at my computer screen and seeing the effed-up stuff I write if I were in public. I’ll read anywhere. Even on the potty. 😮
12) Do you write an outline? Or do you just jump in?
I just jump in. I usually end up writing all the main scenes first which is sort of a messy outline.
13) What were you like in school?
Very, very nerdy. And shy.
14) How much research do you do? And how do you like to research?
It depends! If I don’t know the answer to something, I try to Google it. Sometimes when reading nonfiction I get inspired by the facts I’ve read to write a book.
15) Do you have a writing schedule?
Whenever I’m not sleeping, working, or going out, I’m writing. Or looking at cat pictures. But I call that ‘motivational’, and it gets lumped into writing time. So does reading. That’s called ‘research.’ >_>
16) What’s your favorite book that you’ve written and who’s your favorite character?
I really like my science-fiction books. I’m a little sad that they’re the least-read, but I know that sci-fi isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Christina is probably one of my favorite characters because she’s ballsy and because her ethnic heritage and devout Catholicism made her one of the more challenging characters I’ve ever written. I also really like Catherine Pierce, who is the protagonist of my book Black Beast. She’s kind of a bad-ass.
17) How long does it take you to write a book?
Anywhere from three days to three years.
18) How do you get past the horrible thing called a Writer’s Block?
I try to read a lot. That usually helps. It’s like calling the Help Desk for your brain. If that doesn’t work I may put my WIP on hiatus and pull out one of my other projects instead.
19) What are your views on author stereotypes?
Like BBAs? I don’t know. I think they can be useful, but I also know that sometimes that kind of thing gets out of hand. I definitely like knowing whether the person my money is going to is a jerk or not, though.
20) How do you feel about people who don’t use correct grammar and punctuation?
On purpose? SHAME! On accident? Well, life is hard if you don’t have an editor running after you. Especially if you do a lot of your writing at 3 A.M.
21) Favorite food?
I like Japanese food and Thai a lot. Unagi sushi and coconut lime shrimp. Mmmmm.
22) Favorite drink?
Lemonade. I’ve made all kinds—pomegranate lemonade, mint lemonade, lemon-limeade. It’s probably one of the most refreshing drinks in the world.
23) Favorite part of the day?
24) Favorite activity?
I love shopping. Shopping for me can be an all-day event. I love used bookstores and thrift shops. I feel like used things have a lot of personality that fresh-off-the-press stuff doesn’t.
25) Favorite question you get asked? What’s your response?
“Will you be my Goodreads friend?”
I’m like, AWWW LET ME ADOPT YOU. <3
Unless it’s a creeper. And then I’m like,
GOWAI. THIS ISN’T A DATING SITE.
26) What are some dos and don’ts of being an indie author?
Be friendly and approachable.
Be as original as you can.
Take advantage of spell check.
Write multiple drafts.
Listen to your critics.
Stalk, harass, or insult your readers.
Encourage your readers to do the above.
Write a copy of a more successful book and expect it to sell.
Put on airs and act pretentious because you’re ‘a writer.’
27) What are your tips on writing well?
Lots and lots and lots of reading!
Also, punctuation: it matters; and it can make a huge difference—trust me!
28) Why do you think that, in the last few weeks, no independently published books have hit the NYT list? Do you feel this is some sort of trend- the increasing and decreasing on indie books?
I don’t really follow the NYT list, but no, that doesn’t surprise me. I think people are cottoning on to the fact that a lot of these new releases are just more of the same. Not that there’s any problem with that, but eat anything 24/7 and you’re bound to get sick of it.
29) How do you recommend establishing yourself as an author in the reviewing world?
Honestly! I am very lucky that I started out as a reviewer first. I got a reputation for being very honest, and I hold that very near and dear to my heart. I know a lot of other authors have problems and get accused of nepotism or sabotage, but that hasn’t been an issue for me.
30) Would you ever go traditional? And if so, why?
I think that would be wonderful! If only because the pay is a bit more consistent. I’d be sad to give up having all the control of my work, but honestly, it’s a little exhausting. Plus, hard copy ARCs and book-signings! It would be so amazing to have the resources to meet my lovely readers in person. <3
Thank you, Nenia! Good luck on all your unpublished works!