Author Interview: Claudia LeFeve
The interview series with members of my Twitter community continues with author Claudia LeFeve. Enjoy!
Author Claudia LeFeve
BIO: Claudia Lefeve was born and raised in the Gulf Coast border town of
Brownsville, Texas; a curious place where folks see curanderas in lieu
of shrinks, tortillas are served at every meal, and even gringos speak
Spanish. PARALLEL, the first book in The Travelers series, is her debut
YA speculative novel. She currently resides in Northern Virginia with
her husband and two pugs.
Website and blog: www.claudialefeve.com
Twitter ID: @claudialefeve
Goodreads: Claudia LeFeve
Q: Welcome, Claudia! Thanks for being here today. What is your genre? Why did you choose it?
CL: For me, discovering the 'what ifs' is what reading is all about, so I guess my writing can best be described as speculative fiction. I enjoy writing horror and paranormal, with just a dash of sci-fi (without being too sci-fi, if you know what I mean).
Q: How many books have you published? Are they traditionally published, self-published, or a combination?
CL: Three of my short stories (horror) have been published by small presses, so I guess that qualifies as traditional. On the non-traditional front, I have self-published a novella and my first YA novel.
Q: You grew up in Brownsville, TX and now live in Washington, D.C. How have these two very different cities influenced your writing style and plot choices?
CL: I don't know if living in two very distinct places has influenced my writing style, but it certainly helped shape my plot choices. Parallel, my YA paranormal, is set in the suburbs of D.C., in Alexandria, VA. My experiences living in the area, both personal and professional, helped to create my universe. I have another WIP that I'm currently working on which takes place in Texas, which incorporates all of the myth and folklore I grew up with as a child in South Texas. I really hope to introduce readers to a new brand of witches and things that go bump in the night.
Q: Do you sell copies of your novels, or other works, directly from your website?
CL: I don't sell any works on my website, although I probably should offer signed copies on my site.
Q: How much time do you spend on Twitter each week? Do you have a Facebook Fan Page?
CL: A year ago, I would have laughed at this question. I was so anti-twitter. Now I can't live without it. You can usually find me on twitter in the evenings or early in the mornings before work. I wish I could say the same for Facebook. I can barely catch up with my friends on my personal FB page, so I opted not to create an author one (for now).
Q: Do you blog? How often? Strictly professional or a blend of all things?
CL: I try to blog twice a week consisting of writing updates. For the last year, I've been actively involved in A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80), which is a writing challenge for "those who have a life". Part of the challenge is posting bi-weekly updates. I'm participating in my 5th round and I can't tell you how much I have accomplished because of the wonderful writers and friends I have met through ROW80.
Q: Do you have a motto or favorite quote you turn to on tough writing days?
CL: "You have to play to win". In other words, if we don't pursue our dreams, we'll never achieve them.
Q: Have you outsourced editing, cover design, formatting, web design, marketing, etc?
CL: Absolutely! I outsource almost everything. I have a very patient editor, a fabulous cover artist (although I think I constrict her awesome talent with my conservative ways), and my ebook formatter is my savior. Right now, my website (blog) is my own design, although I'm always looking for a good web/blog designer.
Q: Do you work with a writing group?
CL: I'm not part of any writing groups, but I am definitely open to the idea. If you hear of any, let me know!
Q: When you did you first decide to self-publish? How much time did it take to get from an idea to an ebook on Amazon?
CL: A couple of years ago I was working on a novel (one that will never see the light of day) and daydreaming about finding a publisher. I had already submitted some short stories, so I figured querying agents was the next step in selling my novel. Then one day I was browsing the Amazon threads on some good book suggestions, when I discovered indie authors! I had the proverbial breakthrough moment and began working on a new novel. It took about eight months to go from having an idea for a story and clicking the 'publish' button on Amazon.
Q: Have you published any of your work for free? Why or why not?
CL: I haven't offered any of my work for free, but I do a lot of giveaways to promote my work.
Q: What tips or advice would you offer to writers who are about to join the self-published community?
CL: It goes without saying that you need to revise and edit. Aside from that, do your research! Learn what you're getting into and the differences between self-publishing and traditional publishing. If you do go the indie route, remember, it's a business. It takes a lot of time and dedication, in addition to your writing.
Q: Is there another writer (or two) in the Twitterverse that you would recommend newbies follow?
CL: I don't really have any must-have follows on Twitter, but what I do recommend is for writers to branch out. Don't just follow writers!! They are great to follow for advice, but you also want people to take a chance on your book. I think a lot of folks forget that writers aren't the only ones who read. If you have a particular genre, try to find tweeps to follow that you think might be interested in your book. Also, you don't always have to tweet about writing! I've made some great friends (including writers and book bloggers) over tweets about food and tv. Be yourself! No one wants to see tweets about your book 24/7.
Q: What is coming up for you in the next few months?
CL: My second book in my series, Paradox, is almost finished, so I'll probably spend another month revising and editing before I send it out to beta's and my editor. I actually love the editing process because it's just dressing up and putting the final touches on your book.
Q: Do you have (or are planning to make) any audio books?
CL: I haven't done any research into how audio works, but I supposed it's the next step in the process.
Q: Have you done a blog tour? Any advice or cautions?
CL: My advice to those who are thinking of doing a blog tour is DO IT! Whether you set one up yourself or outsource it, it is a great way to get feedback from book bloggers and get the word out about your book(s). I did my book tour through Kismet Book Touring and I can't tell you how fabulous they were in setting up my tour. If a writer does decide to outsource the task of setting up a blog tour and aren't sure which one to choose, just remember not all tour sites are the same. Choose a service that you feel comfortable with...remember, they are the ones setting up your tour, picking which blogs you'll be featured on, and are in charge of damage control (missed posts, wrong links, misspelled name, etc.)!
Q: Do you work on more than one manuscript at a time?
CL: Right now, I'm working on two WIPs. One is the second book in my series and the other is an adult paranormal. When I'm stuck on a scene on one project, I just turn to the other.
Q: Do you use specialty software?
CL: Nope. I rely on good ol' Pages for Mac (or Word) and believe it or not, my Hotmail account! If I find myself staring at my WIP or my laptop isn't handy, I just type up individual scenes and email them to myself. I'm sure there's a program that does that, but I rather like my email method!
Q: Tell us about some of the hurdles you've cleared on the path to becoming an author. Did you have any idea at the start what the process really entails?
CL: As far as the process, I did my homework and tackled everything one step at a time. I found the publishing process to be rather easy...it's writing a book that's daunting.
Q: What is the best comment/compliment you have received about your work?
CL: I've gotten some great reviews from readers and reviewers, but my best moment was when a reader recently posted a question on Amazon asking when the next book in my series would be out. It really made me feel good to know that someone is out there, waiting to read my books.
Q: Let's flip things around for a moment. As a reader, what factors do you consider when deciding whether or not to purchase a book?
CL: Ever since I made the decision to self-publish and got a Kindle, I've purchased nothing but indie books for the past year. It always amazes me how many great books are out there that are self-published. Aside from that, I definitely look at the blurb and if it interests me, I'll buy it. I don't let reviews sway me, because I think there are a lot of folks who are just too critical...I mean, come on, you can't pick up a YA paranormal and expect it to be Proust. I'll admit, I am easily amused and entertained, so a book can have tons of 2 star reviews and I'll probably buy it and love it. Price does play a factor, as I read on average, 3-4 books a week. It can be an expensive habit, so I try to limit it to books priced at 0.99 - 3.99. If it's a must read, then I'll pay more.
Thank you, Claudia, for sharing your publishing experiences with us. We wish you continued success, and hope you'll come back and share updates with us in the summer!