Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Straight From the Mouth of 'Storm of Arranon' Robynn E. Sheahan

I have always been a reader. I love books. When I’m not able to read, I listen to audio books. I started writing while working as a Paramedic/Firefighter in Northern California. Trust me, it’s not like it appears on TV. There was plenty of time for books, mostly reading them. I didn't seriously start writing until I moved to my ranch in Oregon. While waiting for lambs to be born in the middle of the night, I would head back to the house for an hour or two and sit down at the computer. Before I knew it, I had a manuscript. Not a good one, but a start.I joined critique groups and attended writer's conferences. I was on the fast track to learning. 

In 2013, I received an honorable mention in Writer’s Digest’s Self Published book awards for MG/YA. I guess I am learning something!

Ideas from dreams follow me into warm sunny days or the quiet of falling snow. “What ifs” feed a vivid imagination. Even mistyped phrases may lead to an "aha" moment. Brain storming sessions standing in windy, dark parking lots with fellow writers release thoughts that pry at the corners of my mind, grasping for purchase. Sometimes the ideas pursue me, with persistence.

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Thanks for letting us interrogate you!  Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author?

I love writing. That creative release sooths my spirit and, well, let’s face it, makes me tolerable to be around. When I hear that people enjoy reading my books, that’s the best, like getting a cupcake with sprinkles.

Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be?  I mean what are the perks and what are the demands?

The writing is great, especially when I’m in the zone, and reality, including time, doesn’t exist.
I like reading the reviews for many reasons. I know, not supposed to, but it’s good to know what I’m doing right, and what I could improve on. 

The most difficult part of being an author for me is promotion and marketing. This takes time and honestly, I’d rather be writing more books.

Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like?

I submitted to traditional publishers for a year and received nothing but rejection letters. It’s okay. I handled it well. Sniff, sniff. I then decided to self-publish, and have no complaints. The process was quite straightforward and the company I used is professional and very helpful. 

I continued to submit my work to publishers and earlier this year, I signed a contract with a smallish-medium sized press. Is that a thing? Smallish-medium? Looking forward to the experience of working with a publisher for book four in the series.

What’s the snarkiest thing you can say about the publishing industry?

Oh, I totally have something!

I’ve attended several writer’s conferences, signed up for slots of time to sit with an agent or publisher, and left those short, intense, (oh my gosh, so intense), meetings excited after glowing and positive feedback. 

Hope rising, I returned home and followed the instructions given me by the agent or publisher to submit the requested material. 

The rejection letters flowed in, no explanation on the part of the agent or publisher requesting the material as to why. Under the circumstances, even a brief reason would be appreciated. 

This is total supposition on my part, but those agents and publisher are compensated to be at the conference and maybe they feel obligated to request further chapters they wouldn’t normally ask for? 

After three conferences, I quit signing up for agent and publisher meetings. 

Now I’m not saying writers aren’t discovered at conferences. I just wonder about . . . things.

Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you?

My mom thinks I’m awesome. Well, she’s my mom. My sister’s reading the second edition of Storm of Arranon and she told me just last night, “Don’t take this the wrong way, but I forget what a good writer you are sometimes, how tight and exciting the story is, and how much I like your characters. Especially Jaer.” Awwww, thanks, sis. 

And, yeah, duh. Jaer. Let me wipe the drool off my chin here.

Not in a relationship at the moment, so . . . that’s not an issue.

What was the craziest or insane thing that happened to you in the book publishing process?

Crazy or Insane, hmmmm. So far, publishing has gone smoothly and I can’t think of anything. Except maybe the happy dance I do every time I get that first proof of a printed book.

How about the social networks?  Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid?

I like FaceBook. A little too much sometimes. I know Twitter is a great resource, I’m just Twitter illiterate, or maybe a better word is challenged.

Book sales.  Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)?  How are you making the sales happen for you?

Sheesh, I check my stats daily. During promos, I check several times a day. Don’t judge me.

I’m working on a FaceBook ad. 

I have more free day promos planned through KDP. 

There’s a giveaway for Storm of Arranon on Goodreads open until September 25th

I’m trying anything and everything just to get the books out there and noticed.

I pay attention to what works for other authors and keep records of what has worked for me so I can share this information. (In fact, my new publisher wants me to work with their other authors on marketing and promotion. No pressure. Yeah right.)

Then it’s up to the readers. Reviews and word of mouth sell fiction books.

What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?


Okay, too much sugar for you today!  Here’s a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in.  Now…can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above doesn’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way?

Okay, fine. No more cupcakes. 

I believe I’m right where I’m supposed to be, doing what I’m supposed to do. I love where I am, writing my stories, and helping others write theirs. I’ve been blessed with an ability to write and happy to share what I know. I wouldn’t change a thing.

The lyrics of Colton Dixon’s song – Through All Of It - pretty much sums it up for me.

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