Safa Shaqsy’s interview with Candice Spammer.
Hi Candice, it’s a pleasure to have you here. I have a few questions for you to answer, so that I post it on my blog. First of all, let’s start with the most important question.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I would love to see my name on the bestseller lists. I think that’s what every author aspires to.
Which writers inspire you?
Dorothy Koomson; Jodi Picoult; Nicholas Sparks; Sylvia Plath; Shakespeare to name a few.
So, what have you written?
I’ve written many poems and some short stories. Misled is my very first full-length novel. I’ve also written an autobiography which I hope to finish one day.
Where can we buy or see them?
Misled can be purchased in South Africa directly from me (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) or here: http://readerswarehouse.co.za/misled-c-j-spammer-9780620725446 or internationally on Lulu.com (http://www.lulu.com/shop/cj-spammer/misled/ebook/product-22880632.html)
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
Sara is a wonderful character whom I fell head over heels in love with. She’s quirky, awkward and a little bit funny. She also suffers from Bipolar which has influenced a number of decisions she has made in her life. As the reader, you will have conflicting feelings about Sara when you discover the secret she has kept for 8 years, and how she has misled everyone in her life.
What are you working on at the minute?
I’m busy writing the sequel to Misled.
What genre are your books?
Primarily Chick Lit / contemporary fiction - but I think anyone will enjoy it.
What draws you to this genre?
I just find it easy to write. In fact, the book pretty much wrote itself. My characters sort of took over.
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
I haven’t thought about that… I think, maybe Kristen Stewart or possibly Emma Stone
When did you decide to become a writer?
I don’t think it was a conscious decision - it’s just something I’ve always done.
Why do you write?
I love words. The English language is so complicated, yet so beautiful. The way one can evoke emotions simply by stringing along some words. I write to make others feel. It gives me great pleasure when someone tells me they felt so attached to the characters I created that they wanted to invite them over for dinner.
What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?
Again, it wasn’t a conscious decision. When an idea forms in my head, I am compelled to capture it in black and white.
Do you write full-time or part-time?
Part-time. I have a day job, but I would love to write full-time one day.
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
I write whenever I have a spare minute - literally.
Do you write every day, 5 days a week or as and when?
I do; it’s easier to write in my break times at work. My weekends are usually quite busy (I have 2 young boys).
Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?
I try to write a chapter a day.
Where do the your ideas come from?
They usually just pop into my head of their own volition.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
I try to stick to an outline - I like structure and I like to know where I’m headed. But most of the time I just have to go with it.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
Not having enough time / being able to write fast enough.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
I worked on Misled sporadically for 3 years; but it took about 6 months to write the bulk of it and have it ready to publish.
Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
Read. The more you read, the more inspiration you are likely to acquire.
Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?
I love to read, but between my day job, my family, and writing, I don’t get much time to read. I love Dorothy Koomson, but also love to read debut novels from new authors.
For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
Always print. I love the feel and sound of turning the pages. I look at a computer screen all day; the last thing I want is to read a book on one too.
Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?
I get my mom to proof every chapter as soon as I’ve written it, but I do everything else myself. I just don’t trust anyone else to do it.
Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?
I try to write the whole book without editing too much as I go (although I often fail at this); then, when it’s complete, I’ll go back and read / edit from page 1.
Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about.
I love Google. For Misled I simply looked for a mother / daughter silhouette; and for the sequel I looked for a silhouette of a couple. The pictures I found fit the books perfectly.
Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
I absolutely do. The saying “Never judge a book by its cover” is just a saying. I totally judge books by their covers - the same way I choose a product off the supermarket shelf with the best packaging.
How are you publishing this book and why?
Indie 100% - I’m too impatient to wait for responses from traditional publishers.
What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?
The initial financial outlay, and trying to market the books are a bit hectic. But the satisfaction in seeing something you created in print (knowing you did it all yourself), and seeing the results / response from readers whom you obtained from your own personal efforts… it’s incredible.
How do you market your books?
Social media: Twitter / Facebook / LinkedIN / Goodreads
What do you do to get book reviews?
I ask everyone who reads the book to write a review for me if they enjoyed the story.
Did you do a press release, Goodreads book launch or anything else to promote your work and did it work?
I have a giveaway scheduled on Goodreads starting tomorrow, and I ran a competition on Facebook for a free, signed copy of the book. The women who won that competition wrote a lovely review on her blog for me: https://thebookwormbuddy.blogspot.co.za/2016/09/misled-by-cj-spammer.html
Did you get interviewed by local press/radio for your book launch?
Reader’s Warehouse did an interview with me for their blog: http://readerswarehouseblog.co.za/index.php/2016/09/15/tackling-the-topic-of-mental-illness-in-misled-by-c-j-spammer/
Do you think that giving books away free works and why?
In order to get people reading who may not have otherwise purchased the book, yes, I think giveaways are a good way to get your book out there.
Did you format your own book?
Yes, with a little help from a consultant.
In what formats is your book available?
Print / PDF / ebook
How do you relax?
Listening to music / walking / spending time outdoors / reading / watching movies & series
What is your favourite book and why?
Goodnight, Beautiful by Dorothy Koomson - it made a huge impression and gave me some ideas for Misled.
What is your favourite film and why?
The Notebook - for so many reasons.
Where can you see yourself in 5 years time?
I imagine myself as a bestselling author, writing full-time.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Don’t stop. Write for yourself more than for others. Don’t sacrifice your vision for the masses.
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Book Links: (* American, UK, etc.) http://www.lulu.com/shop/cj-spammer/misled/ebook/product-22880632.html
Thank you for taking the time to answer the questions. This interview will be posted on my blog!
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