Author Vivienne Hart #interview

Please give a warm welcome to

Tell us a bit about yourself… 

I have my MFA in Creative Writing, and I write all things magical and mysterious. Captivated by fairy tales from a young age, I gradually began to create my own worlds filled with fantastic creatures and monstrous beasts, and it’s my great joy to now share those worlds through my books.

In addition to spinning a good story, my loves include chocolate, reading good books, and taking as many bubble baths as I can. When I’m not writing, you can find me roaming around the southern U.S. with my husband and two very fluffy cats. I’m the redhead in pajamas.

Have you always wanted to become an author? 

Yes. I love making up characters and worlds, and I think writing is the thing I’m best at. I’ve had a series of boring jobs, and I’ve also worked with books in various other capacities, including publishing, but none of it really spoke to me. My favorite thing is getting out a pen and paper and playing around with weird ideas, mashing up things that seem like they don’t go together, and finding ways to use my favorite words. I really love words, and I have a lot of fun molding them into tales.

I’m an only child with two creative parents: my dad made up endlessly hilarious bedtime stories when I was little, and my mom was great at helping me with unique homework projects, like creating board games and building dioramas. So I think I inherited that creative spirit, and because I was the only kid in my house, I spent a lot of time in my head, making up stories and worlds. I also saw a UFO when I was about eight, and I think that instilled a sense of possibility in the fantastic that has stayed with me. (I’m not saying I had an alien encounter, but I definitely saw something weird, round, and unidentified hovering in the sky!)

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What was your inspiration for your current book/series? 

I have a deep and abiding love for and interest in fairy tales. When I was getting my MFA, I did my graduate project on fairy tales and the enduring nature of retellings. Then I had the opportunity to explore alien romance, so I thought it would be really interesting and fun to take traditional tales we all know and give them a science fiction spin. Hence, my Interstellar Fairy Tales series was born. The first book, Aura Awakened, is out now. The second book in the series, Zella Unlocked, will be in Alien Embrace. It’s a space retelling of Rapunzel, complete with a xenophobic colony, a detention tower, and an alien military force. There are more books to come in the series, so interested readers should stay tuned to my newsletter or social media for updates.

What are you working on now? 

A few different things. Zella Unlocked releases in August 2021, so I’m busy putting the finishing touches on it and gearing up for promotional stuff. I’m also working on the other books in the Interstellar Fairy Tales series, as well as some non-SFR fairy tale projects and some standalone SFR books. I have years’ worth of books planned; I wish I could write faster so I could release them all right away. I’m working on epic fantasies, paranormal mysteries, urban fantasies set on other worlds, different kinds of retellings, and so much more!

Coming Soon

Do you have any quirks while working? 

I almost never work at a desk. I’ve always been this way, and I don’t really know why, other than I find desks/tables inherently uncomfortable. Instead, I make work nests. I’ll settle on the couch or bed with a bunch of pillows, my favorite throw blanket, and some water. I snuggle into my nest and get lost in worlds and words.

I also can’t write to music. I know a lot of authors like to create a playlist for each project to help them set the mood and tone of the book, but that doesn’t work for me. I’m so connected to words that I immediately get distracted by the lyrics, which interfere with the words I’m trying to write. I suppose I could write to instrumental music, but honestly, it’s just not for me. I will write to rain and storm sounds, though.

What are your hopes for the future? 

I hope that I can continue to do this as my career for many years to come, that I continue to find new readers, and that my books resonate with people. I love telling stories, and I genuinely hope that more and more people discover my books and love reading them.

Do you have any advice for new authors about the publishing world? 

When it comes to indie publishing, authors have a lot more control than they do in the traditional publishing world. You don’t have to get through the gatekeeping of agents, editors, and publishers, and you can (mostly) control royalties, covers, release schedule, and more. All of that is really alluring. However, indie publishing comes with its own challenges. You may have all the control, but you also have to do all the work. There are no agents or PR teams backing you and spreading the word. 

A career in indie publishing is about so much more than just writing. I was naïve when I started and thought that as long as I could tell a story and had solid writing mechanics, I could be successful. But if you want to truly succeed and make a living, you have to learn how to run a business. There are so many behind-the-scenes business factors to consider: popular trends, writing to market, bookfunnels, how and when to offer freebies and giveaways, newsletter networking, social media, marketing and advertising, and more. I’m still learning about the business part of the indie publishing industry every day. New authors should be aware of how much work it really takes!

Do you have anything to say to your followers?

First and foremost, thank you for sticking with me and reading my books! I wouldn’t be able to write for my job if it weren’t for my readers, and I’m so grateful to them. I’m always encouraging readers to sign up for my newsletter, because I don’t spam and I do offer news, updates, cover reveals, giveaways, freebies, and more! I try to make sure my newsletter always has something valuable for the subscribers, to serve as a thank you for supporting me.

I’d also ask readers to take the time to review their favorite books, especially on Amazon. Positive ratings and reviews help authors immensely; conversely, three stars or fewer can be very damaging to an author’s career and visibility on the platform. If you don’t enjoy a book, that’s more than fine, but if you genuinely like it, I encourage you to go give it four or five stars. It’s more important and beneficial than many readers realize, especially for indie authors. Also, if you find errors or typos in a book, it’s best to reach out to the author privately. Reporting it to Amazon can get the book permanently removed from the site, which is something many readers don’t realize. They’re trying to be helpful, but might inadvertently damage the author’s platform. 

That’s part of what I meant before when I said that indie publishing as a business is more complex than many people realize. Authors can’t just write whatever they want and expect it to sell, and they’re often forced to rely on factors outside of their control — like reviews — to be successful. The relationship between authors and readers is a symbiotic one, so I always try to give readers the best bang for their buck, but also ask them to be aware of how their actions — even small ones! — can help or harm indie authors.

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