Author Interview: Aurrora St. James
About the author:
Aurrora St. James is the author of sexy, paranormal romances. Her second book, Gavril of Aquina, received Honorable Mention for the 2015 RONE award for best fantasy/sci-fi romance.
She has loved ghosts, graveyards, curses, gypsies, magic, vampires, and haunted houses for as long as she can remember. Not to mention archaeology, pirates, lost treasure, lost lands, and pretty much anything paranormal.
Aurrora loves to hear from her readers. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or her website www.aurrorastjames.com.
What inspires you to write romantic fiction?
When I first started reading romantic fiction, I was drawn not only to the romance, passion, and adventure, but also to the message of hope. The characters I read about were able to overcome any obstacle as they fell in love. They became better people as I turned the page, working through their personal flaws, and as a result were happier with themselves and their lives. Not to mention that, when I was single, it gave me hope that there were good, decent men out there and showed me how a woman should be treated.
As I began writing romantic fiction, these are the elements that I wanted ALL of my stories to have. I wanted to share stories that would give readers the same things that I wanted to read about. Stories that not only transported the reader to another place or time, but of love, hope, and happiness.
Tell us about how you write.
I'm pretty sure I should own stock in 3M. I write with a LOT of post-it notes. I have a white board with chapter marks and reminder notes I've added for the plot and internal turning points. Then, as I plot out the story, I add more sticky notes with what happens in each chapter. I also do pretty detailed character sheets. I don't want to begin writing until I have a solid understand of each character that will have a viewpoint in the story. I also print out pictures that are my inspiration for clothing, scenery, characters, etc. and pin them on my cork board to look at while writing. Finally, I put together a playlist of songs that speak to me about the book and characters.
Once I have a general plot, inspiration, characters, and music, I get to writing. Of course, things always change, but that's the fun of writing. What I think will happen, sometimes the characters throw something at me I didn't see coming, and that always makes for a better story!
Do you listen to or talk to to your characters?
I listen to my characters. I see what they are up to in my mind's eye and write what I see and hear. Although, sometimes if they are not speaking to me, I do talk to (aka threaten) them. 🙂
What advice would you give other romance writers?
Always write what you love (not necessarily what you know. – that's what research is for). Always have an editor. Read, read, read. Read the genre you write in, the genre you don't write in, and loads of books on the techniques of writing. Learn your craft and keep practicing, keep improving. Don't just throw words on the page, write "the end" and publish- you'll be doing both your readers and yourself a disservice. And finally- don't give up. Whether you self publish, traditional publish, hybrid publish, or anything in between – this profession takes A LOT of perseverance.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I tried the traditional publishing route for years without success. Looking back, I realize that a big part of that was because I was pretty green as a writer. I needed to keep practicing my craft. Another author I was chatting with said she was having very good success self-publishing and talked up all the benefits. I decided to take the self-publishing plunge and I'm so glad I did. I think I would have been pretty discouraged to continue to get rejection after rejection through traditional publishing.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
This is something I think about a lot, actually. I'm not sure where it is going, but I DO know that it won't stay the way it is. I think that the self-publishing industry isn't sustainable at its current level. I think we're close to 1 million ISBNs issued every year. That is a crazy amount of new books published every year, and a big chunk of those are for romance. (I think it's still at like 40% or something.)
There are so many self-published romances right now, that it's really difficult to get your name out to readers. To rise above the other authors enough that people recognize your name. Not to mention that there are all levels of quality in the books. Some are good quality, some not so much.
At the same time, I recently heard that the traditional publishing houses are decreasing their romance lines. Not to mention that their pay rates are a lot lower than self-publishing and that it's still difficult to get a publishing contract.
What's the future? I don't know. I don't even know what my future is when it comes to publishing. But one thing I know for certain… romance novels will always sell, because of the hope and happiness they provide.
Which romance sub-genere(s) fit your stories best?
paranormal romance, fantasy romance, and medieval romance
My books are available in the following formats: