In today’s episode of Interviews With Authors we have the incredible pleasure of hearing from horror, mystery, and thriller author Belinda S. Frisch.
Here is the interview:
What inspired you to write and self publish your first book?
I’ve been a reader and a writer since I was a young. I wrote teen angst poetry and bad short stories as an outlet in my early teens. Writing a novel was a different animal and I started out doing it to prove to myself that I could.
Self-publishing was becoming all the rage for indie-minded folks back in 2011 when I released my novella Dead Spell and I did it as much because I enjoy writing as because I wanted to see if anyone enjoyed reading it.
What books have most influenced your life?
Influenced. That’s a tough question. Anne Rice novels most inspired me to write. She was the first author I couldn’t get enough of back in the 90’s. “Belinda”, one of her lesser known, non-horror novels was my favorite. Coincidence that it’s my name, too.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor/inspiration?
Another tough question. There are so many great authors and so many reasons to call them an inspiration, whether it be professional, personal, or what they do with their fame.
Dennis Lehane’s career inspires me because he does multiple formats well. I’m a huge fan of movies and his stories translate so amazingly to the big screen.
J.K. Rowling’s success and generosity in the face of what I understand to be an adverse personal history is an inspiration on a personal level. She is really giving back.
Stephen King, same thing. His books and movies defined a genre and he is always doing for others.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Are you a full-time writer?
If yes, what were you doing before you became a full-time writer?
Before I wrote FT, I worked as a Certified Professional Coder. My specialty was Evaluation and Management auditing and I spent a lot of time training physicians to write better documentation. My first published work was actually a textbook, “Correct Coding for Medicare, Compliance, and Reimbursement” published in 2005 by Cengage Publishing.
Do you remember the first thing that you ever wrote?
Sadly, no. But I’m sure it was terrible.
How do decide what to write about?
I write the story asking to be told. Sometimes it’s horror, sometimes it’s a mystery, and once in a while, though not often, it’s romantic. I just go wherever my brain takes me.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your own writing?
The most challenging thing for me is sitting down and getting out word count. I see these people who write a novel in a month and I think, if I can do one in six, I feel like an over-achiever. I’m slow, methodical, and a ruthless self-editor. It’s a wonder I ever finish a book.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Plotter, most definitely. I have to have a road map, or I’ll never get where I’m going and I’ll take way too many detours to get there. I learned that with my first novella, Dead Spell, which is in the process of being rebooted. I wrote the thing four times over and I’m not sure I still knew where I was going on the last time through. Lesson learned.
What is your writing routine?
Writing routine? I do a lot of scratching out of ideas, index cards and character studies before I start with the rough chapters. I’m a linear writer and I work in organized drafts. Typically four times through will get the book done.
If you’re talking about my daily writing routine, that starts with a cup of coffee and catching up on marketing/reviews, interviews, tours, social networking, and checking stats. After the business end is dealt with, I’ll usually do a chapter or two. I started a “One Hour One Thousand Words” group on Facebook where on the hour (or half) you announce that you’re getting ready to sprint, the goal being to reach 1,000 words in the hour. We all report back how we did at the end of the time and we support each other to keep us on track.
How many words do you write per day?
Depends on the day. 0-3,000.
Do you have your books professionally edited?
If so, who do you work with?
Who designed your cover(s)?
I have done my own with the exception of the Strandville Zombie Series done by Sarah Hansen of Okay Creations.
Do you have a marketing plan or are you more a “shoot from the hip” type of author/marketer?
I’d say it’s a mix. I have a rough idea of what’s worked in the past, but continue to look for new ways to market.
What is one thing that you think has contributed the most towards your book sales?
Reviews are probably the best thing for sales. The more I get, the more sales follow.
Anything you plan on doing differently in the near future to increase book sales?
I’ve currently changed my plan to include more book bloggers. Despite the fact that they’re all buried under mountains of e-books, they are the best at spreading the word and well worth waiting for.
What advice would you give someone just starting out or considering going the self publishing route?
Don’t get blinded by the rare unicorn that is the overnight success. It’s easy to see that someone made a million dollars and think, “Boy, I can do that. I write.” It’s not nearly as easy as it looks. Self-publishing is a hard road and it takes patience and persistence.
What current projects are you working on?
I actually just released my latest project in November, Fatal Reaction, a novel that’s mystery, medical thriller, and a bit of romance, which is out of character for me. As I mentioned, I’m rebooting Dead Spell, my first novella, and re-releasing it as a full length novel. After that, there are three projects nagging me. I’m not sure, yet, which will win.
Do you have any favorite self-publishing/writing blogs or training courses?
Some great sites are:
Any other thoughts you would like to leave with readers?
Review, review, review. Authors put hundreds or more hours into writing a book and word of mouth is the best way for us to reach a broader audience. You don’t have to me a master wordsmith, but your opinion matters. Amazon and Goodreads are the sites I think have the most visibility, but a the importance of a good review can’t be over-stated. (Mike says: Check Out This Post I Wrote About Getting More Reviews Ethically)
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001JRZT72
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/12CyWuI
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/14z6NEZ
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/YUcrsK
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/106EZDc
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GO4P8EY
Amazon UK: http://ow.ly/rpznc
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Mike’s Takeaways From The Interview
First, I love seeing other horror/suspense authors doing well. I really love when authors’ backgrounds bleed into their work. I don’t know how much Belinda does pull from her medical knowledge, but I imagine her previous experience is what makes her books so believable.
What I loved most about Belinda and what she is doing with her work is how much of her work is done with other people. Having come from the world of marketing and business I can attest that there is additional power that comes to those who work WITH people. It is very difficult to be a successful recluse. As a writer I just want to spend most of my days locked in a closet typing – but real business happens when people get together and do stuff.
I always love hearing from authors who do a lot of plotting and who are meticulous with their work. I am trying to incorporate more of that in my own writing and I love picking up tidbits here and there like Belinda has supplied.
I just want to say one final thank you to Belinda for this incredible interview and for the insights that she shared with us all.
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