1. What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
I was born in the middle of a blizzard on a frigid January night in Nebraska. My parents were living in student housing at the University of Nebraska, and named me Derrolyn after the Cornhusker Homecoming Queen at the time (whohoo!). I was brought up in California, and now reside in the beautiful Sonoma County wine country.
2. Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I’ve always been a visual artist, and I like to draw, paint, sculpt, bead, and garden. I think of writing as painting with words, just as landscaping is painting with plants. I’m also kind of a serial-obsessive, so now that I’m immersed in writing, my garden is seriously overgrown, and I keep missing art-show deadlines!
3. Did it take a long time to get your first book published?
I sent out query letters to numerous publishing agents and only got one request for a partial that led nowhere. It was frustrating, because I knew my work was at least in the ballpark of what was being printed. I finally stopped sucking around waiting for the phone to ring, put on my big girl pants, and struck out on my own. From the moment I decided to embrace being an indie author, to having my books for sale on Amazon and B&N online, was only a few short days.
My visionary entrepreneur of a husband had been encouraging me to self-publish from the start, and all of his predictions about the rise of e-readers are slowly… eerily… coming true!
4. How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
My first book came flying out in a few months, followed closely by the second. I got kind of side-tracked with publicising the first two, slowing down book #3 considerably. Unfortunately, self-promotion comes with the indie territory, and I’m really not that into it. In the future, I can see the traditional publishing industry evolving into mostly marketing, with drastically less printing and distributing. There’s a furious battle for eyeballs going on, so I’m just going to keep my head down and work on writing better and better. The readers can decide.
5. What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
I really am in love with all the characters in the “Marina’s Tales” series, but when I eventually wrap up this series I have a few ideas simmering away on a back burner. One is a YA paranormal, another, a period (80s!) thriller with a much more adult point of view.
I have a not too distant ancestor who perpetrated one of the greatest scams in US history, (The Great Diamond Hoax), and if I ever become a good enough writer to do that story justice, I’d like to give it a try.
6. Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
I’m currently working on book #4 in the Marina’s Tales series, “The Turning Tides”.
7. What genre would you place your books into?
Young adult romance… er… young adult romantic suspense with a paranormal twist.
8. Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?
Yes, and with e-books it’s easy! Smashwords lets you generate code #s for downloads in any format, and in just the past sixth months I’ve noticed more and more book bloggers are open to reviewing e-books.
(Yes I love reviewing ebooks as long as they are readable on my kindle! lol)
9. Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
I admit to googling my name most mornings, and I must say, it’s showing up in the weirdest places!
10. What was the toughest/best review you have ever had?
I find most book reviewers to be fair, and I really do take constructive criticism about writing style to heart. Content critique doesn’t bother me- I’m old enough to know that you can’t please everyone! The worst is when you get a bad rating with no explanation, or a bad rating from someone who didn’t actually read the book!
All of the five star reviews I get put a smile on my face that lasts all day!
11. How do you come up with the Cover Designs for your book/books? Who designed the Cover of your books?
I’m a painter, but my artwork doesn’t exactly scream YA book cover. I bought some stock photography and got to know my Photoshop program a little better- I think I did OK, but there’s always room for improvement. Book #3 is actually a picture taken by one of my three daughters of her twin sister.
12. How do you market/promote your books?
I think I may be the last person on earth that is not on Facebook, and I don’t tweet either. I also type with one finger- how pathetic is that? Pretty much all I’ve been doing so far is asking book bloggers for honest reviews.
YA book bloggers are awesome!!!!
13. What do you do to unwind and relax?
I do live in the wine country…
14. Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you?
Absolutely. I take bits and pieces of people and events and mix them up in the blender of my imagination. I was a rebellious teen, and I left my parent’s home at an early age to make my own way in the world. When I finally wised up and went back to school, I studied art in college while working nights as a bartender at an airport hotel. Talk about characters!
15. Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books?
Bound book lovers hate to hear this, but yes I do. As e-readers continue to improve, and the prices come down, I think it’s inevitable. Printed daily newspapers will be the first to go the way of the buggy whip, and someday my kids will tell their children about how they had to haul heavy backpacks to school… uphill both ways… in a snowstorm.
16. Is there anything in your book/books you would change now if you could and what would it be?
I’m a seat of my pants writer, and as I move further into my series I’m more and more constrained by what I put down before. I suppose it would have helped to have had the whole thing outlined first, but that’s just not how I roll!
E-books bonus: any little typos that rear their ugly heads can be fixed immediately and re-uploaded!
17. What do you think about book trailers?
I think I’m probably going to have to get with the program and do one eventually. Not looking forward to it.
18. What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
If you want to do it, JUST DO IT, and don’t let anyone discourage you with their negativity and condescension.
19. Do you or would you ever use a pen name?
I haven’t, but if I ever write something (adultish) that might be embarrassing to my children I might. After all, I am a mother.
Goodreads: Goodreads Author Page
Check out my mermaid poll! : Derrolyn's mermaid poll
Thank you for taking the time out from your writing schedule to take part in this interview!