Friday, May 22, 2015

Indie Author: Tara Winters

Happy Friday, everyone! Today we have indie author Tara Winters with us!

Tara Winters ~ Hidden Heritage Series
Author Web Page:
Twitter: @TaraWinters41

How long have you been writing?
I have been writing for about 22 years. I started with children's novels and was doing the illustrations on those as well. I still have those children's stories but grew restless writing the smaller content. I wanted to write a novel so I plunged into my first fantasy novel back in the late 1990's and finished that in 2002. I did send out queries on it for a while but when you work full time, the time invested in searching out agents and publishers is time you'd rather be simply writing. I started my next novel a few years later and got through about 11 chapters of that when I did a complete turn around and decided to make it more of a paranormal than a fantasy. This was the birth of the Hidden Heritage books which was originally written as one LARGE book!

What’s the most rewarding thing about going indie?
The best thing about going indie is that once you have gone through and put together the best product you can, the whole process is yours to own. I went directly to the editor, the cover designer, the formatter and my web designer. I had always dreamed about getting published and a large house picking up my books but the more authors you meet that went through the process, the pros and cons are definitely leveling out. As an Indie author, you can design the book and the message and control all aspects of your own product. 

What inspired your books?
My first novel was inspired by walking through Mystic Seaport in CT. I loved imagining how life may have been and the hustle and bustle. I wanted to write a story where I could let my imagination take wings but was struggling with how to tie a story about a seaport village and my love for f the paranormal and creepy. Someday, I will haul that original novel out and finish the edits on it!  My second book, which is the Hidden Heritage series, was originally inspired by the image of a young girl, her hand reaching through a ring of fire and the only thing you can see on the either side is a hand reaching for her. Funny enough, that was not the image I went with for my book covers!! 

What’s the blurb for your Hidden Heritage trilogy?
Dark HollowTabitha Devins spent 18 years waiting for her mother to tell her whom her father was, where her mother had disappeared to all those years ago and perhaps shed some light on how she got magical abilities. 
Now it is the summer of her high school graduation and she plans on saving every penny she can earn to get off to college, leave the island of Porta Negra and her mother's secrets behind her. As she sees a sliver of freedom in her future, her mother disappears once again with only a cryptic note. The clues lead Tabitha to the glen known as Dark Hollow where her mother originally disappeared. 
Tabitha delves into the nest of secrets her mother left and finds a world she never knew existed with a race of people with magical abilities much like her own.  As she searches this new world for her mother, she discovers that her father has been looking for her as well. 
Before she can head off to meet him, she finds herself caught between a magical race of people discouraging her from meeting her father and the onset of a dark drama back on her island home which could keep her from ever being able to return home.

We wants it, precious! Where can we buy your books?
Dark Hollow is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Kobo. Dark Legacy is exclusively on Amazon right now. I am testing the market there to see if it is worth it to have the exclusive rights on one site or spread it around! 
LinksDark Hollow 
           Dark Legacy

What project are you working on now?
The 3rd book in the series: Dark Sacrifice. I had thought to have it out but the writing took an unexpected turn and I had to follow it!  I would rather be a little late with a great product than rush and put out something I feel should be revise.

What are three books that have shaped you as a writer?
My favorite series as a kid was the Chronicles of Narnia. I loved that C.S Lewis wrote in a voice directly to the reader and his characters were flawed and made mistakes!  I loved that I could always count on reading about people that were less than perfect! David Eddings fantasy novels: The Belgariad and The Mallorian were all-time favorites of mine but my most recent absolute favorite series has to be Michael Sullivan's The Ryria Chronicles. I love his writing and his characters and he was initially an Indie published author. Of course, those are some of my favorites but I always fell back on Stephen King, Robin Cook, John Saul and Terry Brooks. 

Are you a plotter or a pantser or an all-of-the-above-er? What is your writing process?
I do plot with the very best of intentions but the truth is, as I write, the story and characters take on a life of their own and I find myself forever re-writing and re-shaping to accommodate twists and turns that I had not seen coming. I love hitting a scene and then finding a whole new avenue is streaming than what I had planned. I have the ending of book 3 already done but the truth is, as I revise and shape the book itself, I am not sure what will evolve!!

What advice would you give to a writer about to take the plunge into indie publishing?
The first and most important thing would be to make sure you have made your product the very best that you can. Rewrite, edit and review your work over and over before even submitting to an editor. Spend the money to get your book professionally edited and a cover done by a professional that understands the rules and the requirements. I have been so disappointed in downloading an indie book only to find that it is riddled with mistakes, misspelled words and grammatical errors. Let's face it, there are plenty of books (and traditionally published are included in this list) that have some errors and typos (and mine did) but use professional editors and beta readers to catch as many of them as you can!  Put out the very best quality product that you can!

How do you take your caffeine?
I am a huge coffee drinker and i Love tea!  I do not, however drink soda so my 'caffeine' fix comes from coffee and tea but I have to be honest here, I am a decaf drinker. If you meet me in person, I am pretty high energy and a little spastic.. if you see me on caffeine, I have to be peeled off the ceiling!!

Tara Winters has written 2 books in the Hidden Heritage Series: Book One: Dark Hollow and Book Two: Dark Legacy. Book Three: Dark Sacrifice is scheduled for 2015 release. She lives North of Boston with her husband, daughter and a very large lapdog. When not writing, she loves to hike, walk the dog, jog ( on occasion!), READ!!! and oh, yeah, by the way, is a marketing manager for a healthcare manufacturer. 

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