Thursday, September 22, 2011

Interview with Author E. A. West

CANCELLED is free on Smashwords CODE WR45A but only through tomorrow!

Today's post is super special becasue I have blogging buddy and new author E. A. West with me. This is her first interview and I feel honored to have her around. Her book Cancelled is now available on Smashwords and Kindle.

For those who don't know, tell us about your book, Cancelled.

CANCELLED is the first title in my Red Ink Collection, stories that echo the real-life romantic wrecks we gossip about at the brunch table. Johnathan Michaels is a robotics engineer in love with his business partner, Alexis Rodriguez. It's finally good timing for them to begin a relationship, and they bond over saving their company's first multi-million dollar defense contract. But just as they capitalize on the three years of friendship and transition to a romance, a previous one-night stand visits Johnathan to return his shirt. Pregnant. And it's his. From there, Johnathan struggles to sort out his love life with one woman as his fiancée, and another as the future mother of his child.

What inspired you to write this book?

Directly, a man I sat next to on a plane around Christmas 2006 when I was flying my stepson back to his mom in Texas. We were trading stories, and his drama definitely beat mine, hands down. He had a six month child, but he wasn't married to the mother.

His wife had wanted to separate, and they both dated other people. After a few months, they repaired their marriage. Only, the woman he was dating was pregnant. My jaw literally dropped when he told me his wife was there, at the hospital, as another woman gave birth to his son! Like I said, his drama beat my drama.

Indirectly, I am a stepmother. My stepson is an amazing young man, and believe it or not, he saved the ending of my novel! When I met my husband in 2003 and found out he not only had an ex-wife, but a three-year-old, I can't say I was jumping for joy. No one dreams of Prince Charming coming with a visitation schedule. CANCELLED, and the other stories I have planned, reflect many of the real feelings people face when they have a non-traditional romantic situation on their hands.

Why did you choose to self-publish?

I decided in January of this year I was going to write a novel and by September, my debut novel was selling copies. I devoured as many fiction writing books as I could, including Writing Fiction for Dummies, and researched my options. Originally, I was going to seek traditional publishing. But after selling hundreds of articles in three years, making 65% of the price I set, and selling more than 80% of the titles, the royalty break down of traditional publishing made me mouth vomit. I've sold my writing on my own before, quite successfully, I knew I could do it again!

The economics of traditional publishing made sense when we didn't have real-time inventorying and most document transfers were by mail, not a push of a button. But times have changed and are changing. I'm afraid if I was a lucky one to make it out of the slush pile, I would be lost in the current shuffle. Once traditional publishing has settled down, and I have more fiction writing experience under my belt, I will be more comfortable holding my own in a publishing relationship with an agent or publisher. And that's a big IF I'm a good fit for the agent or publisher.

What author has influenced you the most?

This is a hard question. Purposely setting out to break the rules of traditional romances and chick-lit, I don't think my book imitates anyone. While I think, and hope, I have my own style, different aspects of various authors have inspired me to give writing fiction a chance. Stephenie Meyer, while not the best mechanical writer in the world, really demonstrates that we forget stories are for the reader. What the reader wants, the reader gets! I enjoyed Twilight less for the paranormal aspect and more for the reminder of what it felt like being a high-school overachiever and everything feeling like a life or death moment.

Sophie Kinsella's Shopaholic series saved me from the melancholy of one of my husband's naval deployments. Her stand alone titles are hit or miss with me, but I recently read Mini-Shopaholic and having a two-year-old myself, laughed to tears. I know it's not going to win me any cool points with other writers to name commercially successful writers, and I do have favorite literary fiction authors, but at this point in my life, when I read, I want to be entertained. As a mom, I never get the remote control, so reading is my escape.

Tell us about the character that was favorite to write.

I loved writing the scenes with Anna, Johnathan's stepmother. I first began making notes about the story in 2009 when I was struggling with infertility and we had just fought for custody of my stepson. In some ways, not many, Anna represents the "bright-side" I was thinking could be my life if I never received the opportunity to have additional children. Getting pregnant with my daughter didn't change who Anna is as a character, and I definitely teared up writing the scene near the end of the book when Johnathan demands to read his father's will. I can't say more about that because it will give too much away.

Just for fun: Do you like to cook? If so, what is your favorite food? If not, what is your favorite restaurant?

I DO! But not bake. I can't bake. If you read the banana bread post on my reader site, you'll understand why. :) I am a great sauce maker. My favorite dish to cook is probably tarragon chicken with rice and steamed asparagus on the side. Don't ask me for a recipe, it's a pinch of this and a dash of that! LOL.

Elizabeth Ann West is a Jane-of-all-trades, mistress to none. Herdebut novel  is a contemporary romancewith a twist, told from a male point-of-view. It is available in all majorebook formats for $2.99.


P. S. This is one last reminder to be here tomorrow for the giveaway of AWESOME.
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