Friday, April 3, 2015

Indie Author: Elizabeth Maria Naranjo

Today's Indie Author is the lovely Elizabeth Maria Naranjo, who's debut novel The Fourth Wall was released last summer from WiDo Publishing.

Elizabeth Maria Naranjo — The Fourth Wall

How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I have poems and journals from as early as the second grade and lots of song lyrics and short stories from junior high.

What’s the most rewarding thing about going indie?
A small press can be wonderful because of the collaboration. For example, I was asked for input on my book cover, with the understanding that the designer had final say. But just being asked, “What are your ideas for the cover? What do you envision for it, what’s important to you?” is something special about working with a smaller press. 

What inspired your book?
My own experience with lucid dreaming as a child inspired the book. When brainstorming the idea for The Fourth Wall I thought: What if a young girl who is dealing with something terrible had the ability to lucid dream? She could build an alternate world in her dreams and leave that terrible thing behind. But there would have to be a cost to keeping secrets from yourself. You could lose what’s real. 

What’s the blurb for
The Fourth Wall?
When Marin was little and monsters chased her through nightmares, she learned to weave her own dreams. Her mother called the lucid dreaming a gift, and when an accident takes her mother and leaves her brother an empty shell, Marin uses this gift to spin a new reality. One without time or sorrow. A world without memory. 
But just when Marin thinks she’s safe in her fantasy world, the monsters come back and her dream turns to a nightmare. Something in the dream doesn’t want Marin to wake up. In order to heal herself and her family, Marin must face the truth she’s forgotten and conquer what lies behind the fourth wall.

We wants it, precious! Where can we buy your book?
You must first answer this riddle. Just kidding. The Fourth Wall can be purchased from any bookstore, or it can be ordered from Amazon. It’s also available on Kindle here

What project are you working on now?
I’m working on a few short stories at the moment. I’ve toyed with the idea of trying to publish a short story collection, but I have no coherent theme or subject. My writing’s all over the place. 

What are three books that have shaped you as a writer?
Oh that’s tough. I’m just going to type out the first three that come to mind. The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver, The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, and Different Seasons by Stephen King. 

Are you a plotter or a pantser or an all-of-the-above-er? What is your writing process?
I’m a pantser, all the way. When writing a story, whatever the length, I have a general idea of what it’s about and I almost always know how it ends. The ending is clearest to me. But the scenes that encompass plot points along the way just occur naturally as I write. 

What advice would you give to a writer about to take the plunge into indie publishing?
Do your research. Look for a small press that’s been around several years, releases new titles on a regular basis, and has a professional looking website. Study their covers and if you can, get a copy of one of their books. Even download a Kindle sample to check the quality. Obviously if the writing is amateurish or is riddled with typos, this is not the publisher for you. Call your local bookstore and see if they’re able to order one of this publisher’s books—if not, distribution may be a problem. Check the website Writer Beware for any comments regarding the publisher. And do NOT under any circumstance pay a publisher. If they ask you for any money then they are not a small press, they are a vanity press. 

How do you take your caffeine?
In coffee. And in large doses.

Thanks so much for participating in the interview series, Elizabeth! Best of luck as you continue promoting The Fourth Wall!


Elizabeth’s short stories and essays have appeared in Brevity Magazine, The Portland Review, Literary Mama, Hospital Drive, and a few other places. Her debut novel, The Fourth Wall, was released in June 2014 through WiDo Publishing.

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