With a publishing industry that is ever in flux, it can be hard for an aspiring author to figure out what information is relevant and what she needs to do to be successful. Recognizing this, literary agent Andrea Hurst and writer/blogger Cherise Hensley present a series of weekly interviews with publishing industry specialists. The AUTHORNOMICS Series features literary agents, editors, authors, marketing experts and more talking about their opinions on the publishing industry, writing, and what a writer needs to know.
AUTHORNOMICS Interview with Patricia Sands
A confessed travel fanatic, best-selling author Patricia Sands lives in Toronto, Canada, when she isn’t somewhere else, and calls the south of France her second home. I Promise You This, Book 3 in her award-winning Love in Provence trilogy, was published May 17, 2016.
Find out more at Patricia’s Facebook Author Page, Amazon Author Page or her website. There are links to her books, social media, and a monthly newsletter that has special giveaways and sneak peeks at her next book.
What inspired you to choose being an author as a career choice and write women’s fiction?
My story is probably different from most others that you hear. I began writing my first novel, The Bridge Club, shortly after I turned sixty. (Yikes, I always have a little nervous twitch when I say that age out loud!) I began writing it for my real-life Bridge Club, a group of ten women with whom I’ve been friends since we were all turning twenty. One thing led to another as people read excerpts of my manuscript and I was encouraged to fictionalize and publish it as a novel. Thanks to the response, and the fact that I realized I loved writing fiction, my new career began. I like writing to my demographic and telling women’s stories. A recurring theme is that it is never too late to begin something new in life. I’m proof!
Do you write every day? What is your process like? Do you have particular ways you stay motivated?
I do write every day. I wake up early and can’t wait to get to the keyboard. I usually dive right into my current manuscript and later I take some time to check emails and social media. Of course, the latter is an enormous time suck and it takes discipline to turn it off and get back to writing. I’ve been a photographer all my life and use my photos a lot on my blog, on Facebook and in my monthly newsletter. My new addiction is Instagram (@patricialsands) and I usually spend an hour on that at night (in bed, on my phone … if the truth be known). I’m a nighthawk so it’s a great way to end the day.
I love writing and everything that goes with it, so I honestly have no trouble staying motivated. Having said that, I also play tennis a couple of times a week and spend time with our large blended family (7 grown children plus partners, 6 grandchildren … so far). Fortunately, they all all live quite close by. Friendships are very important to me and there’s always time to go to lunch or golf with girlfriends. It may sound weird, but everything I do inspires me to keep writing.
You call yourself a travel fanatic, and visit the south of France quite regularly and incorporate this setting into your Love in Provence Series. What is it about this location that drew you to set your books there?
Now that’s a dangerous question! You don’t really want to get me started on the south of France! I’ll attempt to be brief. I first fell in love with that part of the world when I backpacked with friends after university in 1967. I’ve been fortunate to return often and for the past twenty years, my husband and I spend extended time there in spring, summer or fall … it varies from year to year. The beauty, history, culture, cuisine (and a long list of other things) make me want to share my love of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur with readers.
In 2015 you went from being exclusively an indie author, to signing with Amazon’s Lake Union Publishing imprint. How has this affected your writing career? Do you find being a hybrid author beneficial?
I was surprised and delighted when Lake Union invited me to sign with them. I had been a very happy indie author and will probably still self-publish from time to time. However, the editorial support and guidance Lake Union offers is excellent and the team they assigned to assist with the publication of my books is amazing … professional, collaborative and knowledgeable. I feel very fortunate to be working with them.
Your latest book, I Promise You This speaks to allowing your heart to lead the way. You can talk more about the theme and your connection to it?
I Promise You This is Book 3 in the Love in Provence series. The general theme that runs through the series concerns making changes in mid-life: listen to your heart and don’t be afraid to follow it. That is something in which I am a big believer. I often speak about this to women’s groups and I know it will always be something I write about.
Can you tell us a little about the book trailer for your Love in Provence series? What advice do you have for authors thinking about making their own book trailers?
That trailer began as the one for The Promise of Provence. When I wrote that book I didn’t realize it would become a series, but the reader response was enormous and everyone wanted to know more about the characters. It was a pleasure to continue the story and we realized the trailer really applied to the whole series so we only had to make a few changes. The photography is all mine with some video clips added by the company that produced the trailer. They were great to work with and it was a very personal experience. We worked closely together to get exactly the feel I wanted. I think making trailers is a great idea, but I do recommend working with people who can add their technical expertise. I’m happy to share the name of the company I used if anyone wants to email me about it.
How important do you feel social media is for marketing your books? Have book giveaways been an effective marketing tool for you?
Before I signed with Lake Union, all of my marketing began with social media. Whenever I was using a promotion site, those links would be shared on all my social media platforms. I think one of the most important things is to connect with lots of writers and readers. It was a wonderful surprise for me to learn how connected and supportive writers and readers are and how we all help each other.
Book giveaways are fun to do, but the most effective marketing tool is to keep writing good books. Encouraging readers to share their thoughts in reviews is also extremely beneficial.
What is next for you on the author horizon?
I plan to write another trilogy following the same characters from the Love in Provence novels, but with a slightly different twist. Part of the reason is because I still have more to share about them and the other part is because I am constantly hearing from readers saying they want more. How nice is that?
However, first I’m going to finish a stand-alone novel that is insisting I write it! It is also set in France, but a different part of the country than my series. The character became so strong in my head, I had to stop the series story I was writing and focus on this. As a writer, you know what I mean when I say the character starting taking charge of what I was doing! That is such a cool part of writing fiction, isn’t it? I love it! It’s a great time to be a writer!
Thanks for interviewing with us, Patricia!
Andrea Hurst has over 25 years experience as a published author, developmental editor for publishers, and skilled literary agent. She works with both major and regional publishing houses, and her client list includes emerging new voices and New York Times best-selling authors. Andrea represents high profile Adult Nonfiction and well crafted fiction. Her clients and their books have appeared on the Oprah Show, Ellen DeGeneres Show, Good Morning America, National Geographic network and in the New York Times.
Cherise Hensley has an M.A. in English from the University of Idaho, where she taught composition courses. She graduated from Whitworth University with a B.A. in English and marketing and also has a copy editing certification from UC San Diego. She has interned with Andrea Hurst Literary Management as well as the Rock & Sling literary journal and has been involved in the production of other print media such as newspapers, magazines, and yearbooks. Cherise is a teacher, an editor, and a writer, who loves discovering new books to distract her from everyday life.