Victoria Limbert, author of the Twin Soul novels, talks about her approach to writing and her plans for the future.
Why do you write? Is it something you’ve always done, or always wanted to do? Or is it something that you started fairly recently?
There are two main reasons why I write. The first one, the main reason, was due to bullying in school. In the earlier years I was bullied quite badly. I discovered a new world when I sat down, picked up a pen and began to write. I found that I could create worlds where people were strong against all the odds. It was fun to pretend I was these characters; facing hopeless situations, fighting strong beasts and falling in love with the handsome stranger. It was purely escapism. A way to get away from life’s problems, or at least simply cope with them.
As I grew older, and more problems were thrown my way, I looked back on those childhood stories and turned them in to full length novels which I hope to succeed with in the future.
The second reason I write is because of my dad and his love for Stephen King, Dean Koontz and David Gemmel. He would become so immersed in the storyworld that my mum was forced to shout him at least five times before he could drag himself away from the book. I realized then that I wanted to do that. I wanted to write words so powerful, so meaningful, that those reading them would have to physically drag themselves out of the world I have created. Almost like some fantastical prison.
Tell me a little about your books.
The Twin Soul Novels is a series I am writing (Book One is out on Amazon called Lilith) about a young girl called Annette Anderson. She began her life normally, as any child, with a crush on a handsome boy, defying her parents to run and see him, but, after suffering a traumatic event a darker world was opened up to her, one far less innocent. She began to see horrific monsters, felt the heat of Hell’s flames and believed she had been cursed by God with the Sight for being ‘impure and dirty’.
After years of seeing these evil things she turned to alcohol, drugs and sex, any manner of sin to take away the visions for a short while. This behavior attracted the attention of demons. One in particular. The She-Demon Lilith. Surprisingly when Lilith tried to enter Annette’s body, her human soul fought against the demon, entrapping them within her body where they are forced to reside on a shaky truce in order to survive both the human and demon worlds. Annette, who hoped for a quick death at the bottom of a bottle or with drugs in her system, is dismayed to find out her life, as long as she is entwined with Lilith, is eternal.
Lilith, the first book, centers on a spate of grisly murders which are turning human attention towards the demon worlds. Annette and Lilith must find out who is slaughtering humans and stop them before Hell spills over and the human’s world becomes a nightmare of monsters and evil. Annette has vowed to protect the human race, while being tied to the demons.
Are there any authors who inspire you?
Many! My gosh, where do I start? I read so many books and love much of what comes my way, but if I was to narrow it down I would say for early inspiration it was David Gemmel and the Eddings brothers, then as I grew up I discovered Laurell.K.Hamilton and she knocked me off my feet! Her Anita Blake novels were all I would read for quite some time. I would read them in a few hours and spend months praying for her to write the next one.
Though a child’s mind began the adventures of Annette and Lilith, it was truly an adults mind, with the inspiration of Laurell. K. Hamilton, which shaped and developed their characters and the story. That woman made me laugh and blush constantly. For the magical elements in the books I write, Cassandra Clare has great influence as does Lauren Kate.
How do you write? Do you make yourself write a certain number of words per day?
I really should start planning time to write, but honestly, though I do try and write everyday, I don’t hold myself to any plan. It is something I need to do, but I am such a Noob in the Indie scene, I am definitely learning as I go. Usually I like to be organized, I like to plan, but my imagination doesn’t play fair. I say to myself ‘right Vicky, here is the computer, we have an hour, let’s write something great!’ then I sit at the computer staring blankly, feeling the pressure. Then, I will be doing something unrelated, cleaning, watching a program on TV or talking to a customer at work then Bang! I have a great idea and I have to write it down. I will then spend several hours writing, editing, re-writing and I look up at the clock and it’s the early hours of the morning.
Did you try to get a conventional publisher or agent interested before you opted for self-publishing?
For quite some time yes. Honestly, the first time I ever tried I was very naive. I sent off dozens of e-mails and letters without a cover letter, a query letter or anything. I was very new, though I try to learn my lessons quite quickly. I then researched it, and spent hours reading through the guidelines for submissions and realized each company like things in different ways. Some wanted to see only 3 chapters of my manuscript, others wanted to entire thing, others wanted short synopsis and cover letters, and others wanted a certain amount of words.
I spent years doing this, following every tip, reading lots of forums for more information and received many rejections, nice comments on my writing and lots of advice. It was only a few months ago I got sucked in to Indie publishing and still hope one day to find a traditional publisher as I have many books I am working on with many more ideas.
What goals have you set yourself? Do you want to sell a certain number of books in 2012? Is there some way you measure success, on your own terms?
Although sales are very important, and it’s always nice to earn money from my writing, any money I get is a bonus for doing what I love. I measure my success on weather people enjoy my books, on whether they love them and want to read more. It means I have accomplished what I set out to do as a child who was quite badly bullied. I succeeded in creating a world where others can escape the trials of life for a few short hours. I haven’t set myself a target, for now I just want to enjoy the experience and learn more about the Indie scene. Maybe in the future I will settle on a new target.
How have you marketed your books? Have you used social media (Twitter, Facebook etc)? Have you paid for any advertising (Facebook Ads, Google Ads etc)? And how did it go?
I have my own website where I market my books, write book reviews for others and have a blog where I write about things I have discovered on my journey. I have my own Facebook fanpage which is doing extremely well and Twitter, Goodreads and the new site ‘Your Book Launch’ is where I do the majority of marketing. If I could figure out how to use Pinterest I would be there aswell. I have an Amazon author page and I am making lots of great friends who I treasure.
Away from Amazon, have you had much luck with other outlets? Do you use Smashwords, Barnes & Noble etc?
Currently I am on the KDP Select promotion on Amazon. I have only had my book for sale for just under a month so I have yet to figure out if the KDPselect is working for me. After the 90 days, if I don’t feel its working, I have plans to join Smashwords and there are some great independent sites out there that are helping Indie authors which I would like to research further.
What’s next? Are you working on anything at the moment? Do you have anything new coming out in 2012?
Lilith is currently on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk and on the KDP Select. I am currently writing the second book in the Twin Soul series which I am hoping will be ready towards the end of this year, as it seems I already have people who cant wait to read it. Their reviews have been fantastic. I also have an epic fantasy in the works which I hoping will be out early next year and a series of short post apocalyptic stories which are steadily coming to life. There is so much I want to do, but right now Twin Souls are my priority.