Today we have a magical author interview, just in time for Christmas.
Ever dreamed of having control over an element? Ava Sparks didn’t. She was just a normal girl without a passing thought that there could be something out there other than humans. Until her seventeenth birthday.
In a moment of panic, something unthinkable happens: lightning surged out of her hands. Soon after, she is swept away into the world of elementals. At Westville Boarding School, she is drawn into a society full of dark secrets, power, and rivalry, and she must find her place in the battle Ms. Masters, the leader of the elementals, is set on instigating against humans.
Aided by her best friend Harper McGee, she realizes her true potential and the benefits of wielding lightning. However, reoccurring nightmares are testing the limits of her sanity and the fact that an unavoidable darkness follows the lightning doesn't help. When the past and present starts to collide, secrets are revealed and fate is hard to avoid. Throw in the infuriating, but mouth-watering, Nathan Yates and life is no longer easy. She instantly feels drawn to him, no matter how rude he is or how hard he pushes her away.
How long did it take you to write Dark Lightning?
It took me three months to write it and then a few more to edit it. Once I started writing, I couldn’t stop. The elusive society of elements began to unfold in front of my eyes. From the fiery Olivia, to the intelligent Harper, the intriguing, yet irritating Nathan, and of course Ava, the main character who’s trying to find her place in the elemental world.
Where did you get the inspiration from?
I was inspired to write this novel by a dream I had one night. Once I started writing it, my mom and Gran encouraged me to keep working at it.
This story tells the tale of Ava Sparks, who doesn’t find out about the existence of elementals until her powers develop at the age of seventeen. The leader of the elementals, Ms. Masters, immediately seeks out Ava for her power over lightning, which is a rare thing in their world. Masters is trying to start a war against the humans, and what leader doesn’t want a strong soldier? Ava has spent her whole life thinking she was a human, so she struggles with confronting Masters about not wanting to be a part of the war. She learns that a bit of insanity comes with power. The more she uses lightning, the darker her mind becomes. With Nathan confusing her even more, Ava is thankful to have met Harper. Harper helps steer her through the right paths.
What is your favourite book?
My favorite book is To Catch a Pirate by Jade Parker. The main character is attacked by pirates in the beginning of the book. After she escapes, she devotes her time searching for the pirates who burned her ship, stealing the king’s gold, and had her father thrown in prison. Of course there’s a twist of romance in there. What good book doesn’t involve a touch romance?
When did you first realise you wanted to be an author?
I was probably about 8 or 9 when I started writing. It was simple things at first. Didn't really have a plot. As I got older, I learned more about plots and was able to actually develop one. I've always written short stories but this is the first time I've ever written a full-length novel.
What did you do to prepare your novel for publication?
I read it over and over again. My Gran had read it too. I had to step away from it for about a year before I could really edit it. I didn’t have a professional edit it because I edited it over and over and so did my Gran. I felt that this was enough. I will probably have my next novel edited by a professional, so I know it is at its best.
What was the hardest part?
The cover. It was definitely the trickiest part. I designed it myself. CreateSpace has a free cover creator that you can use when publishing your book through them.
Did anything surprise you?
The amount of websites that are out there for authors to promote their books! Also, how supportive the literary society is. I've met many people who are kind and offer helpful words of advice.
Are you glad you went through with it?
I am. It's rewarding seeing something you've written out there for other people to experience.
What would you do differently next time?
I’d probably wait a little longer to tell my family. I was excited to tell them but not really mentally prepared for it. They were extremely excited, so it was a positive reaction, but my dad was trying to get me on a radio show. I kept telling him I wasn’t ready for that just yet because I hadn’t received any feedback yet. Next time, I will either be more prepared for the attention from them or just wait to tell them.
What is your best piece of advice?
It's easy to put a book out there for people to read, but it's difficult to get others to really know it's out there. Being a new author, the literary society doesn’t realise my work exists. Whether it’s an amazing novel or not, your name isn’t known so marketing is the key. You have to let people know your novel is out there and available for purchase.
Who would you recommend it to, and who would you deter from self-publishing?
I would recommend self-publishing to those who are going to work hard to get a good quality book out there. For those who want an agent to find a publisher and do the advertising, I wouldn't publish it yourself because it is hard work. However, it is all the more rewarding when people start reading it if you self-publish it.
What publishing tools did you use and how would you rate them?
I used both CreateSpace and Smashwords to publish my book. CreateSpace is a great way to publish the paperback edition of you novel. CreateSpace allows you to see your paperback edition through amazon and other retailers. Smashwords gets your ebook edition to many book sellers, such as iBooks, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and others.
Since you own the rights to your book, you can publish your book on both of these sites as long as you don’t sign up for KDP select. KDP select is through Amazon and it just means that your book is only sold through them, so be careful of this. I would use both of these publishers again.
Bethany Brown is the author of Dark Lightning. You can purchase her novel from Amazon, CreateSpace, or Barnes and Noble.