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Hello everyone! Today I have author Carmen Fox with me from UK. If you haven’t read her books yet, go and get some right away because she writes paranormal fiction with strong heroines that we literally can idolize! She just released the first in her new series “Champions of Elonia” called “Divide and Conquer” and is working on the sequel.  Carmen was kind enough to spend some time with me uncovering some of her writing secrets. So, without further ado, let me get right with the interview!

Hi Carmen, warm welcome! How are you today?

Thanks, Eva. I'm not too bad. Keeping my stress level right where I like it: high. How about you?

I am good too, thanks! So, what's keeping your stress levels high and please tell me it's helping you write the sequel of Divide & Conquer!

It is, actually. And hopefully, my sequel is going to be even better. I've just finished a high-intensity writing course that allows me to delve deeper into my characters. Character flaws, baby. That's what it's all about. Plus, I'm doing research on Pasadena, where most of the sequel is going to be set. Add to that the writing, my day job, promo for my next book, and you can see why my stress levels are soaring.

Woah! Thats a lot to take in a day. Writing course seems interesting. What was the your biggest take away? Do you think its worth paying a little bomb for a writing course?

It can be worth it, definitely. One thing I've picked up over the years is you can't just take any course. You must learn to walk before you can cha-cha-cha. My last course helped me use the character's personality flaw to define the turning points in a book. You want the perfect arc.
You can write stories without this precision, but the more you wander from the ideal, the higher the likelihood the book will feel "all over the place." It was a weakness of mine that my editor helped me with in Divide And Conquer, but I was determined to master this skill on my own.

Well said! But just good writing doesn't seem to cut the meat these days. How do get your book out there to people? Any marketing trick that really helped?

While sales is not something I can influence per se, marketing is about getting my name out, and this is actually something I enjoy. I've been active on social media for a while, which helps, and I've even done a few Facebook-specific campaigns. I devised a whole series of posts around my book's title. Here's one of them: "Divide and Conquer is not just the war cry of recent math graduates around the country. It is also the title of Carmen Fox's new urban fantasy."

I also do interviews and guest blogs. But there's nothing more powerful in terms of marketing than readers. I've been lucky to have found a handful of readers who really dig my work, and they've been helping me get the word out. They rock! In fact, any reader who leaves a review or tells a friend rocks!

That is great. Social media seems to be the buzzword aspiring writers hear all the time but let's face it. Its overwhelming. What's one advice you would like to give new writers joining the party?

First of all, nothing beats writing more books. That's the best form of marketing. But it alone will not suffice, so pick the social medium that speaks to you. You have to do this regularly, for the rest of your career, so make sure it's fun. I've met many wonderful people on Facebook, and frankly, not all will eventually become my readers. In fact, many are fellow writers, not readers at all, but they offer advice, support you in a way non-writer friends can't, they might tell you of opportunities or invite you to participate in reader events.

Makes sense. Do you design your own covers? How important do you think good looking designs are to marketing?

For Divide and Conquer, my input into the design was minimal. The first cover I was offered didn't appeal at all, so my publisher kindly arranged for a new one. It's nothing like the one I wanted, but it did meet one criterion. It has attitude, and plenty of it.

For my other venture, a sexy urban fantasy series, I had full control over the cover for its first book, Guarded. And it's everything I hoped it would be. Strong. Sexy. And appropriate for the genre.

What both covers have in common is that, despite the romance elements, only my lead characters are on the cover. No men. Very little clutter. Just strong women who can hold their own. Let's face it, we do judge a book by its cover. It is perhaps THE most powerful marketing tool we have at our disposal. So I want to get it right.

Cannot agree more! Carmen, I know you are busy. But how can I leave you without fishing out some more details about the sequel! Tell me more about it!

The sequel is called Hide and Seek, and the title defines the next stage in my characters' journeys. Lea had a hard time in book one, but she hasn't yet found what she was looking for. Mainly because she doesn't know what that is. When things get tough in her new life, she does what all heroes do. She hides.

Nieve, on the other hand, got everything she wanted. But is it enough? Clearly not, because she follows Lea down her rabbit hole and the upheaval that follows is nothing either of them could have foreseen. We're going to have more romance, higher stakes and more action.

I think it's going to be fun.

Sounds like a lot of fun! I, for one, cannot wait to get started on it! Do we have a release date yet?

I don't have a release date just yet, but I'm working on it. You can always check out my website www.carmen-fox.com for new releases and extras, or sign up for my newsletter.

Thank you so much for a great interview, Eva. This has been a blast.

Awesome. You are welcome! And thank you for your time.

 

 

 

 

 

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