Author – Alana Siegel
THE CHARM (Olivia Hart and the Gifted Program, #1)
THE RETREAT (Olivia Hart and the Gifted Program, #2)
young adult, fantasy, romance, and adventure
Date of publication:
THE CHARM was published on December 12, 2011.
THE RETREAT was published on August 12, 2012
Who or what inspired you to write in this genre?
Reading has always been my passion. I am an avid young adult, fantasy reader, and I escape to Hogwarts, Forks, Camp Halfblood, or District 12 for a few hours each day. I love getting lost in an adventure with characters who feel like old friends. I began writing THE CHARM because I had a story of my own. I wanted to extend the reading adventure and share it with others.
Tell me about your story(s):
Olivia Hart and the Gifted Program is a series that follows high school kids with special powers as they deal with everyday teenage drama and supernatural plot twists. Olivia is easy to identify with, and she reminds the reader of the overemotional adolescent years that form who we become in adulthood. Nothing will prepare her, however, for the discovery that she can compel people with her mind. Imagine how different high school would have been if you had the ability to charm your way out of trouble.
How long did it take you to write this book?
Writing has always been a hobby that was maintained on long train rides in and out of Manhattan between the hours spent at my day job. I wrote the novel, THE CHARM, by writing emails to myself on an iPad. Then, I would piece it all together over the weekends. An engagement ring, a move 3,000 miles across the country, and one adorable kitten named Zeus later, the final edit of THE RETREAT, book 2, was conceived. Both books took about four years to complete.
How did you find a publisher?(if applicable)
I didn’t find a publisher, however, I found two terrific editors instead. Olivia’s world wouldn’t be the same without the help I received from Carol Weber and Maria Johnson. Detail oriented and professional, they were spot on with their analysis of my work and supportive friends throughout the whole process.
Carol Weber’s website: http://www.carolscorrections.weebly.com
Maria Johnson’s blog: http://maria7627.wordpress.com
What made you self publish? (if applicable)
The publishing industry is changing for the better. Great books can now be read by the masses without getting tangled up in the politics of the publishing industry. With websites to post book reviews, the end users (the readers) are now the final judges of a book, instead of the large publishing houses.
How have you promoted your book and what is most successful?
Joining twitter, I was able to contact thousands of authors, and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that they were welcoming and willing to help. They retweeted my novel to their followers, shared my story on their blog, and passed along helpful tips and advice. Goodreads is also a fantastic place to connect with fellow readers and writers.
How do you combat writer’s block, if you indeed experience it?
Since writing is a hobby, writers block isn’t a main concern. Instead, the issue is writing receives lower priority on my list of things to do, even if I would rather spend the afternoon escaping to my bedroom with my laptop. It is hard to budget the time when you work in finance (just found out I passed level 3 of the CFA exam!), have a wedding to plan, and relationships to maintain. However, the lapse of time just makes it sweeter when I actually key my thoughts into the computer.
What other writing do you do?
I try to post on my tumblr blog every few weeks (http:// makeeverymisadventureanadventure.tumblr.com). The entries usually relate to writing, fantasy, or pop culture. Oftentimes, I ask fellow authors to share their thoughts.
What methods do you use to plan/write your book?
Writing is the easy part. Lately I have been debating the best methods for publishing. I use Kindle Select Publishing, which allows me to promote the book for free 5 out of every 90 days. The concern is that you need to be publish exclusively with Amazon and may miss out on other markets – nook, smashwords, etc. I recently came across a company called Pubslush that works like American Idol for books, letting potential readers vote on their favorite ideas. If you win, the company publishes your books. Plus, for every book you sell, a copy is given to a child without access to books in a third world country – similar to the concept for TOMS and their shoes. How cool is that?
What piece of advice would you give to debut writers?
If you turn writing into a hobby instead of a job, you will find instant gratification. Enjoy the journey, and never give up.
Are you currently writing another book?
I am spending a few weeks marketing THE RETREAT, but I have a story arc for an Olivia Hart trilogy (possibly more). I am also toying with the idea of creating a Kickstarter campaign to earn support to write/film a web series of Olivia’s journey. Who knows, maybe The Gifted Program will be the next Pretty Little Liars or True Blood tv show!
Where can a reader purchase your book?
My books can be purchased on Amazon as ebooks.
THE CHARM http://amzn.to/THE-CHARM
THE RETREAT http://bit.ly/THE-RETREAT
Don’t have an ereader? Download the free ereader app for any computer or smartphone! http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&docId=1000493771
BLOG http:// makeeverymisadventureanadventure.tumblr.com
Thank you Alana for taking part in this interview. It is my hope that readers and aspiring authors will learn something from your experience and writing. Good luck in all your writing endeavors.