This week, Andrea L. Staum joins us for a #SPFBO Author Interview. Andrea is the author of the Dragonchild Lore series and contributed to several best selling anthologies. She's a trained motorcycle technician with an Associates in Supervisory Management, is an amateur home renovator, and somehow manages to find time to write. She lives in south-central Wisconsin with her husband, three 'unique' cats.
What drew you to self-publishing?
I get into modes of thinking “hey I can do that” and go ahead and do it. That’s what happened when it came to publishing. I got a coupon for CreateSpace after NaNoWriMo and went with it. This line of thinking is also how I created a Tardis dress complete with corset despite never having sewn anything before.
Why did you enter #spfbo?
A fellow author posted the link to it and the “hey I can do that” attitude popped back up. Blood of the Sire is a strong beginning for Dragonchild Lore and this opportunity to get it known by a broader audience was hard to pass up. I really didn’t realize the extent of what I was getting myself into. The reach of this is astounding!
What advice do you have for anyone new to self-publishing?
Hone your craft! There are a lot of stories and books that could use more time to percolate and become amazing. It’s okay to take your time and write a great story. The “publish” button is a tempting siren, but if you push things out before their ready it’ll be noted, and you’re sunk before you set out.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I write my stories as they come to me and I don’t know what exactly they’ll be until the words are on the page or screen. I don’t follow writing trends because by the time you write for them and push out the work the trend is almost over. Regardless, there are readers out there who want different things so even if there isn’t a select audience being catered to there is someone out there who will enjoy and pass along their reactions.
Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?
Yes. There are different styles and genres of writing. Emotion doesn’t have to drive the book if the plot is done well and the characters can be imagined as real people. The issue is if authors try to fake it and it comes out forced and stilted. Even emotionally driven authors can get into bad habits of over-emoting and lose the plot and story.
What authors did you dislike at first but grew into?
Jane Austin. There are certain authors, many of which are considered classic that I avoid out of rebellion. Austin was one of them. Period romances aren’t really my cup of tea either. That being said I have about an hour’s drive to and from work, so I listen to books on tape, and after watching Pride and Prejudice with Zombies (all because Matt Smith was in it), I figured I should understand the inspiration material. I was astounded by the depth involved and ended up listening to not just Pride and Prejudice but Sense and Sensibility and Emma. I didn’t expect to like these stories at all but as I went through I realize I need to drop some of my own prejudices.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
I have a crochet owl that I carry in my purse. I had my readers give suggestions for the name, and I drew out the different options, and I now have Tiberius Whoosevelt. He travels around with me, and I photograph our adventures. He’s been to both the east and west coast. He has also met Bruce Campbell, David Tennant, Cary Elwes, Alex Kingston, and Jewel Staite!
How do you select the names of your characters?
I like looking at the meaning behind names, and sometimes that becomes a tiny Easter egg in the story that only I know about. Sometimes I’ll use name generators if I don’t really know what I want and I’ll cycle through until something pops up and I’ll tool around with it to make it fit the character. Otherwise, the characters come with a name and often too much personality with it.
Does your family support your career as a writer?
Very much so. I am fortunate that my husband is very supportive and goes through drafts for me. My dad always supported me, and while he has always been critical about technique, it only made me more aware of faults in the story that I could improve. My mom is one of my biggest supporters and often reads my books on her lunch breaks, so others see it.
Learn more about Andrea and her upcoming projects by following her here: