James Moushon was so sweet to interview me for HBS. Check it out and let me know what you think. If you have a second, please share it on social media too. I’ve copied the interview below, but the link is also right here ▼.
P.J. Fiala – An Author Interview at the HBS Author’s Spotlight
Author: P.J. Fiala
Author Genre: Romance
Website: PJ Fiala
Author’s Blog: PJ Fiala
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Google+: Check Out Google+
Facebook: Check Out Facebook
Pinterest: Check Out Pinterest
Amazon Author Profile
I am a wife of thirty years, a mother of four grown children and the grandmother of four lovely grandchildren. When not writing a new story, I can be found riding my motorcycle and exploring this fabulous country of ours. My writing revolves around people anyone would love to spend time with. No self-absorbed billionaires for me.
Earning my Bachelor’s Degree later in life fulfilled a dream for me. Then, I found the courage to write and I haven’t looked back. I have several published books and continue to write daily. I have served as the VP of Communications for WisRWA and devote a large amount of my time to helping other authors slog their way through this thing called publishing. I love to hear from fans, so look me up and touch base.
I come from a family of veterans. My grandfather, father, brother, two of my sons, and one daughter-in-law are all veterans. Needless to say, I am proud to be an American and proud of the service my amazing family has given.
SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author
Congratulations on your book: Missing the Point. What do you have on the drawing board next? Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?
My next book is Securing Kiera’s Love. SKL is the second book in the Second Chances series and is about David Haggerty and Kiera Donnelly and as the series name suggests, is a “second chance love story”. Here’s the rough blurb:
Can love be renewed after a thirty-year separation?
David Haggerty longed for many years for his lost love, Kiera. Now in his fifties he believes it will never happen. He’s been married and divorced and now finds solace in his security business.
Kiera loved David with all her heart, but life took over. She was the only one who could save her father’s life. But, to do that, she had to leave David. Battered and broken, Kiera sees David again after more than thirty years. Will he forgive her? Can he?
I’m expecting that this book will release in July/August. After that, I have the next book in the Chandler County Series, Missing Desire releasing in October and an addition in a continuing anthology, Stories of Sun, Sand & Sea, a Christmas anthology releasing in November.
You have a good following on twitter. Since you started before the social media buzz, what impact has social media relationships had on your current success? How did you build your following in your niche? How much has it changed your book launch process?
Thank you. I’ve worked very hard to build my following on all platforms. With over 21,000 followers on twitter, several thousand on Facebook and several more thousands on Pinterest, Google+, Instagram, etc., it’s almost been a full time job. But, the single most important key to anything is consistency. I post regularly and by regularly I mean every day. Readers and followers just want to know what’s going on today. I don’t go over board and share too much, but little snippets. I also share my fellow authors’ books and blogs, so the networking helps too.
As far as it changing my book launch process, I can’t say that it has all that much. I still do the same things I’ve always done: Tease about a release a few weeks before it happens. Have teasers created once I have a cover. Share snippets of the story on my website. Hire a blog tour company for release week and then release.
You do a lot of book signings, interviews, speaking and personal appearances. When and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?
I’ll be in Deadwood SD next – June 10th for Wild Deadwood Reads. I’m looking forward to it because I love Deadwood and my husband and I are bringing our motorcycles and extending our trip out there so we can ride during the week.
Readers should always check my website first, that’s my home base. I post things on my website before they go anywhere else. I’m a regular blogger and I have a large newsletter following. I share recipes, the crazy things going on in my life, giveaways, stories and so much more. I can also be reached from my website – at the bottom of the page is the “Contact Me” box and I answer every email. I also have my appearances posted on my website too.
How does your book cover creation process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach? Do you get your readers involved in its development?
I have two cover designers, Kim Killion and Designs by Dana who do my covers. I usually begin with a picture that reminds me of my couple and tell my designers what the background should be based on the story. Then, they will do mock ups and from there, I will suggest or ask for changes if any until we have a perfect final product. I have a strong group of core readers/fans and I get them involved in the process all the time. I also get them involved in the stories, creating characters, professions for my characters and more. They enjoy it and I love how they come up with interesting things for me to write about.
You have written a novella called Sapphire Falls: We’re Going to Make It . Can you tell us if it has had an impact on the sales of your novels? Are shorty’s one of your styles of writing or are they created to give readers a sample of your work? Do you feel short reads are a product of our email and smart phone age?
I was honored to be included in the Sapphire Falls Kindle World which is a creation of Erin Nicholas. The word length for We’re Going to Make It and all of the Sapphire Falls books was determined by Kindle so we had to stay within a word count. I’m sure Kindle has studies and knows what readers are gravitating too these days. As a general rule, my stories are longer and it was a challenge to write and wrap up a story in only 30,000 words, but in the end the story came out great.
I suppose our what I call, “microwave society” has a lot to do with story length in the shorter works. I term it microwave, because with information at our finger tips and things moving faster and faster, studies have shown our attention spans are also shorter, so it makes sense, right?
What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in any other type of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this? Did you run into any obstacles?
I’ve given away so many books it crosses my eyes. It’s difficult to stand out in todays world. There are many, many writers and I feel like a drop in the ocean. So, my first book in the Rolling Thunder series, is currently free. My feeling is that a new reader will be able to read a free book and decide from there if they want to purchase any more. It’s been largely a positive experience, though as with anything free, there are always trolls that will pick it up just so they can write a bad review and move on. It’s a fact of this business. I don’t mean that all bad reviews are troll reviews, I just mean a troll review is one that is negative and spiteful without any substance. A 1 star review that will explain what the reader didn’t like has more meaning. It also shows potential readers what wasn’t liked. For instance, one of my books got a 1 star review because the reader didn’t like that the character was an architect. So, a potential reader can look at that review and decide for themselves if reading about a character who is an architect will irritate them.
I’ve not run into obstacles other than the ones mentioned above. Mostly I find readers happy and excited to win a free book and grateful when they receive it. And, it makes me feel good to send someone a free book.
Do you maintain a reader list? What are the methods you use to find your readers and create the list and the relationship? Do you use social media, forums, newsletters and/or support groups to build your list?
I mainly use my newsletters and cross promotions with other authors to build my list. That and readers will meet me and decide to follow me or like my books and decide to follow me. That’s why I blog regularly and keep my website current and active. I think it’s so important.
You have a great blog. You do a great job keeping readers informed, marketing your books and helping other writers gain exposure. What is your primary goal? And where in the world do you find the time to create great novels, take care of the social media and maintain your blog?
Ugh, the time – all I can say is I’m dedicated and determined to build this business and make it successful and profitable enough that I can write full time. As I mentioned earlier, I get up at 4:30 a.m. and begin my day by checking on all of my social media sites. I tweet, and make sure my latest blog posts posted to the correct areas. Then, I check my Facebook groups. I am the admin of many author groups for various projects and I check those to make sure there are no questions and that everyone has everything they need for the project we’re working on. Then, I’ll write a blog post, answer interview questions or plan out marketing projects. I also have a part-time VA, Tessa, who helps me monitor certain sites and she creates all of my marketing materials. I am very organized, though there is always room for improvement, but everything goes on my calendar and I check my calendar often. I like to blog ahead a couple of weeks and that allows me cushion in case of a time crunch.
My primary goal in all of this is keeping my readers engaged and informed, and offering them free books when I can. So I partner up with fellow authors in my same genre to offer my newsletter subscribers with free books several times per month. Then the recipes are fun, and readers tell me they open my newsletter to see if they want to make something different for supper. (I have a search feature on my website and you can search “Recipes” and my full recipe line up with be able to be viewed.) Mostly, I want those who honor me with their email address to feel as though they are benefitting in some way by following me.
What is your method of getting reviews for your novels? Do you seek professional reviews, use social media or do you rely on your reading audience to supply them?
When I started I chased reviews and begged readers to write them. Then Amazon started removing reviews and I was devastated. Amazon continues to remove reviews from my books all the time, I have no control over it and I don’t know why my books are targeted in this way. I haven’t sought a review in a couple of years now. Except, last year I did submit Moving to You to InD’tale Magazine for a review and I’m proud to say not only did they give it 4 stars, it has been nominated for a RONE award. I’m super excited about that nomination. Voting will begin on May 15th and run through May 21, 2017 for readers. If I earn enough votes from readers in that first round, it will then go on to Editors and Publishers for their votes. After that round, the final 3 will be notified and invited to attend the awards in California in November.
Here’s the link on the voting: http://www.indtale.com/2017-rone-awards
Now, I just hope that readers will appreciate my books and honor me with a review.
I like the idea of Author bundles. You are a part of a novel bundle called Love in Times of War. What was the impact on your other sales? What was the main objective of bundling your works with other romance authors? How did you put something like that together? (What a great group of authors. Featured on HBS Author’s Spotlight)
It is a great group of authors. I was approached by the organizer, Uvi Poznansky, to join the bundle. My books are usually a bit steamy and she asked that I take Moving to Forever and tone it down to fit in the collection, which I did. I always think collaborations are important. Each author in the collection is introducing me to their readers and I them. So, it’s a phenomenal way to reach new readers. The trouble with a bundle like this one, is that one person has to upload the collection and continue to monitor its sales on behalf of the whole group. I’m the organizer of a few other bundles and it can become time consuming, but Uvi does a marvelous job of it.
Sam McKenzie has everything he needs in his professional life. Bluegrass Security is going strong, he just purchased a home for the first time in his life, he even got himself a dog. Personally, however, life was a bit unsettled. His growing crush on Stevie Jorgenson was unrequited – he just didn’t know why. She seemed to enjoy spending time with him, he’d caught her staring more than once, but yet, she seemed wary to take it to the next level.
Stevie Jorgenson had worked her entire life trying to step from the shadow of her wealthy family, including the family horse business. Excelling at the police academy and then making detective in Chandler County had been hard work. Now, her growing attraction to Sam McKenzie was beginning to shade her with its shadow. The trouble was his biggest client was her father’s rival in business and that could make things messy. The other issue was his client was also a dirty dealer and she had to uphold the law. How can they make it on opposite sides of the track?
Nothing terrifies Samantha Powell more than starting over, but after devoting three decades to a troubled man and an unhappy marriage, Sam finds the courage to seek her own happiness. She imagines a nice quiet life filled with friends, family, and a career that leaves no room for relationship drama. Unfortunately, no one told the alluring Grayson Kinkaide.
After escaping a bad marriage of his own, Grayson realizes his soul mate is still out there and his heart is set on Sam. Their instant attraction begins a steamy affair, but the women of Grayson’s past aren’t ready to let him go. Grayson must convince Sam that she is the only one for him.
Moving to You – Rolling Thunder Series, Book 5
JT Sheppard is the last man standing in his family. That is, his father and brothers have fallen in love and married or are close to it; but, that’s not for him. He’s served his country in the Marines in Afghanistan and now it’s his time to have fun and enjoy life, unencumbered. He finally has the chance to show his dad that he can design award-winning bikes, and he’s determined to win the big showdown in Sturgis.
Kayden Leathers is a tough little gal with an entrepreneurial spirit and a zest for life, even though life hasn’t always been her friend. Raising her little girl on her own and keeping her dad’s bar running has become daily routine. Deciding to take her life in a different direction, she began developing her dream business; now all she needed was a little luck and a lot of help.
Kayden’s ex has some rough friends and they want her dad’s bar. Chasing away the clientele and putting her father in the hospital is just the beginning. JT wants to help Kayden, but in doing so finds out things aren’t always what they seem. As JT and Kayden get to know each other, they realize they have more in common than either dreamed. But trouble lurks around every corner. Can love conquer all?
Moving to Desire – Rolling Thunder Series, Book 4
Gunnar Sheppard’s father left him and his mom when he was only a month old. Now that his mom has married, he has a whole new family in his life, including two biological half-sisters, and he’s hoping his heritage of a cheating, no-good father and a box of pictures his stepmother gave him after he died can be put to rest. That’s where the problems begin.
Emma Drake has gone through some hard times. She’s been stalked, cheated on, and fired. Returning home to her sister is both a balm and a burden. Her history with bikers isn’t stellar and when she meets Gunnar, the sizzling, sexy biker in the parking lot, she’s more than a bit unsure of him.
Gunnar and Emma recognize the spark between them instantly, but both have battles to fight that could harm the other. They need to find a way to keep the growing attraction strong and battle the events that keep forcing their way between them. Both are determined to rid themselves of the ugliness of the past. But finding a way to do that and not harm the other in the process seems too much to handle.
Moving to Forever – Rolling Thunder Series, Book 3 – The Rolling Thunder Series
Returning home from war a changed man is difficult for Danny Schaefer. Losing his leg and then his girlfriend made him feel like he’d never be whole again. Then he meets Tammy Davis, a vivacious beauty burdened with a secret betrayal that has left her shaken and wary. Tammy mends her wounds by painting; Danny is searching for his own way.
When they meet the sparks fly, but both desire to take it slow. Tammy’s job is uncertain, her new boss wants more than her superior work product and she finds herself torn between love and duty. As Danny discovers a way to heal, he finds himself in the fight of his life – a fight for Tammy’s heart.
Moving to Hope – Rolling Thunder Series, Book 2
Working at Rolling Thunder Motorcycles has been enough for Ryder, until now. He’s always been the shy, quiet one. He watched his father find love and didn’t think it was possible for him. Until he met Molly. Something stirred inside of him, but would he take the leap out of his shell to ask her out?
Molly has always been head strong and devoted to her work. Building up her photography business has always been top priority. Vowing to avoid making the same mistakes as her mother, she put love on the back burner. That is until she’s hired to shoot a wedding and the groom’s son catches her off guard.
Is Molly ready to take that leap and realize not all men are the same? Will Ryder and Molly be able to move past their own insecurities and calm the storm that rages inside them?
Moving to Love – Rolling Thunder Series, Book 1
Iraq veteran and motorcycle shop owner Jeremiah “Dog” Sheppard is looking forward to the annual Veterans Ride benefit for local vets, but this year he might be rewarded with more than the usual satisfaction of doing a good deed. When he asks the stunning single mother of one of his employees to help with the charity event, he finds himself facing a greater challenge than expected.
Joci James is happy to use her graphic design and marketing savvy to help a good cause but charity might not be her only motivator. She cannot deny a mutual attraction but her bruised heart is closed for business, even to her son’s good-looking boss. Fortunately, the tenacious Jeremiah never gives up without a fight.