Monday, August 8, 2011

Author S.B. Niccum's Veiled Tour

UPDATE: We have a winner for the copy of Veiled. Thanks to all those who commented but...
ANGIE COTHRAN...you take the prize!

Today is an exciting day for me! I get to be the first stop in SB Niccum's book tour. She is the author of Veiled and if you haven't read this book yet, you should!

If you haven't, you are going to have an opportunity to win your very own copy today. After the interview, if you comment below you will be entered to win Veiled!

So let's get started shall we!

Silvina, thanks so much for letting me pick your brain today!
DB: Tell us a little about yourself and your book Veiled.              

SBN: Thanks for having me! Well, the first thing that comes to mind when I start talking about myself is the fact that I’m South American. I was born and raised in Argentina, my parents and grandparents as well.  So in spite of the fact that I don’t look it, I am Hispanic.  My family moved to the U.S. when I was fourteen years old and I spoke no English at that time.  It took me two years to learn it, so as you can imagine, high school was different for me.  I had to look up every word in the dictionary in order to do my homework. 
I ended up going to the University of Utah and studying Spanish Lit. mostly because I felt like a traitor to “La Raza” if I studied English Lit. 

Writing has been part of me since I was a little girl, and not having many friends in High School gave ample time to read a lot. 
I’ve always written things in English and Spanish.  But two years ago the idea for Veiled exploded in my head.  It was the first idea that came complete.  In the end I ended up using some of my earlier characters and ideas into Veiled. 

Veiled is the story of a soul (Tess) who is an un-embodied spirit who waits and trains for her mortality.  She has many apprehensions about mortality; she has watched other mortals and knows that life comes with many uncertainties—the main one being the Veil.  Once she crosses the veil into mortality she will lose all her memories of her pre-mortal life and naturally she wonders who she will be and how she will find her soul mate, Alex.  She is also very gifted; she has the gift of discernment that allows her to read auras and interpret thoughts or intentions.  She is chosen for an important mission in life, one that she must train carefully for.  A Seraph named Dayspring is assigned as her personal trainer and the action begins!
DB: I can’t imagine adding anything more challenging to high school (like a language barrier) than it already was. That must have been difficult, but the knowledge you’ve gained from it, I’m sure it was worth itJ

I know you have a second book in the works. Is there anything you can tell us about it and will there be more after it?
SBN: Living Soul is the sequel to Veiled and I’m currently finishing it up.  While Veiled is more of a fantasy, Living Soul is more of a Supernatural/ Paranormal story. 

Tess is now alive and trying to make sense of all the paranormal phenomena that surrounds her. She is also growing up in foster care and has no memory of her early childhood.  At school she meets a boy that she can swear she’s met before, but he also happens to be the most popular guy in school and half the student body likes him too!
While the theme for Veiled centered on preparation for having a good life; Living Soul focuses on the quest that mortals have for finding themselves (that person that we used to be, the person we wanted to be and we know we were).  I love the quote, “Life is not about finding yourself.  It’s about creating yourself.”  This is the message of Living Soul, intertwined with a lot of fun Supernatural and Paranormal YA stuff!

Endless will complete this series and it covers life after death.  Redemption, and dealing with the aftermath or our choices while alive. 
As a whole, with this series I hope to bring awareness to the blessing of life and the importance of how we spend it.

DB: This book sounds fantastic! I can’t wait!
Since the majority of my readers are writers themselves, I’d love to pick your brain about your writing as well as your mode of getting your book published.

Are you a plotter or a pantster when it comes to writing your stories?
SBN: I have to say that with Veiled, the story just bloomed in my head one day.  I had to fill in the gaps a lot, and I did that mostly by writing and re-writing.  I did find a way of working though, that I like.  I wake up early and write while the house is dark and quiet.  Then I plot the next scene while I clean the house or fold laundry.  But I am an outline freak, so I make a tentative chapter by chapter outline.  However if the story deviates, I’m okay with it.  I just correct my outline.  Having one makes me feel less paniky.

DB: I am an early morning writer too. I love getting up and having it done right at the start of the day.
About how long did it take you to write Veiled?

SBN: It took me a year from start to finish, then another six months to edit and another six months until it was published.
DB: Do you have a critique group or betas and what is your take on them?

SBN: I do now!  Back when I was still writing Veiled, I felt like I had to pull teeth to get people to read it!  No one (but my mother) wanted to take time off their busy schedule to read a manuscript of 138,000 words! Yikes!  I had to cut it down quite a bit.  Then I became friends with another writer mom, and we exchanged WIP’s.  It was great to have her opinion.  After that I posted a part of my book that I took out on my blog and a homeschooling mom (like me) from one of my yahoo groups asked to beta read the book.  I gladly let her do it and she was also very helpful. 
Once I got a publisher, two more people agreed to beta read and since the book has been out I have people (anxious people) wanting to beta read!  I feel very humbled every time someone says they liked my book. 

DB: It really is a great bookJ
Can you tell us why you chose to go the route of the small publisher and in the future will you stick with that or go another direction?

SBN: I started out by querying agents, and one of them told me that Speculative Christian Fiction was not “traditionally” published for the most part.  He steered me in the direction of a small press and told me to learn more about those. 
The press that he told me to query was bogged down with queries (big surprise!) and they were not taking any more.  During that time, my brother (who self published a non-fiction specific for his industry) told me to read a book that explained all the different types of publishing options available. 

I read up on the trends of the book industry and what Amazon’s e-publishing and Smashwords were doing to it.  I also read about traditional publishers and the realities of working with them, and of course the small press publishing houses that were popping up everywhere. 
I already knew that my chances for a traditional publisher were slim because of my genre, but I also knew that the traditional publisher’s demands on my time were not realistic for me.  I have kids that I homeschool and thankfully I don’t need a job.  I wanted to write and publish, but I didn’t want to leave my family to do so.  I wanted my life as it was + a published book. 

That pretty much left the small publishers and self-publishing available.  The idea of self-publishing was daunting, so I started looking into small publishers.  Luckily a friend of a friend patched me through to Linda Boulanger from TreasureLine Books & Publishing and one month later I was signing a contract. 
DB: Sounds like you did your homework. Linda is AWESOME by the way, for those looking for small publishersJ

Can you tell us a bit about the workings of getting your book published from start to finish with a small publisher?
SBN: Working with a small publisher has been very painless and easy.  The contract is simple; you split the royalties as you negotiate it.  They edit, typeset, form a cover, give you an ISBN and list your book through online booksellers such as Amazon, B&N.com and Smashwords.com and promote you on their web site and blogs. 

You get to work closely with the cover designer and do your own marketing.  If you want to be in an actual B & N bookstore, they will fill out all the paperwork for you.  Some of my fellow authors from TreasureLine have done so.  But to be honest, I don’t care for that.  I only have so much time in a day and I try not to get sucked into this world too much, or it’s no longer fun!  
DB: How much did you have to do with things like your cover art (which is beautiful!), editing, advertisement, etc?

SBN: Cover:  I actually blogged about this so you can go see how it was done!  http://spiritualsupernaturalparanormal.blogspot.com/2011/01/creating-book-cover.html
Editing:  After the last edit, I had two very meticulous friends comb through it one last time.  When I felt that  it was ready we got a proof ordered.

Advertising:  That’s pretty much my territory.  It’s been challenging and fun and sometimes frustrating.  But it is what it is!
DB: Last question and this one is just for fun…

Will you tell us something that we absolutely have to know about you?
I’m a foodie freak.  I went to culinary school and I’m obsessed with how things are processed.  For example:  who first tasted an olive and thought, “mm… I think I will soak this in a brine of lye and see what happens.”   Or, “I bet that if I squeeze this sour foul tasting thing between two rocks, awesome cooking oil will come out!”

So what you must know about me is: I will write about food in the future, and it will not be a cook book!  …not in the traditional way.
DB: Hmmm, now that is interesting. A book about food that is not a cook book. Can’t wait!

Silvina, thanks again for letting me be your first stop along this wild book journey of yours!
Readers, this book is such a fun, feel good read. You’ve got to pick one up you get a chance.

Also, if you have any questions for Silvina, ask away, she will be around today to answer any questions you may haveJ
And if you are interested in buying this book you can get it for $3.99 for your Kindle HERE and the actual book is $14.95 on Amazon HERE J

18 comments:

Michelle Fayard said...

Silvina, I love the themes of your debut book. I also enjoyed learning that you are from Argentina, as my husband’s father is from Buenos Aires. Thank you for this great interview, Deana.

unikorna said...

Congratulations and enjoy your success :). Kisses.

Donna K. Weaver said...

Great interview. Loved learning all that about Silvina.

S.B.Niccum said...

Thank you Michelle, Unikorna and Donna, for coming by and leaving me good wishes!

marcie_ann said...

Great interview, Deana! I loved learning more about our new friend Silvina and Veiled. I do have a question for you, Sil. What does your name mean and are you named after anybody?

Melodie said...

Thanks for sharing this, Deana and Silvina.

I saw a blurb for this book/ the cover a little while ago and put it on my TBR list. Would love to win..and best of luck with your first few months of sales!

Mandie said...

Great interview!

Alleged Author said...

Sigh...I wish I could get into writing chapter outlines. This sounds like a great read!

Angie Cothran said...

What a fun interview :) Veiled sound amazing, and it was interesting to hear about small publishers.

Jenny said...

Sounds like an interesting book. Thanks for sharing the interview.

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Christa said...

Silvina,

Your book seems lovely. Good luck with it.

S.B.Niccum said...

Marcie_ann, Silvina is derived from the Latin root word forest. My particular version means "Goddess of Woods", something my parents didn't know when they named me, but I bask in the fullness of it's meaning!

marcie_ann said...

Beautiful, Silvinia! :)

Leslie Rose said...

I'm fascinated both by the book and by the author. What a journey. And learning English in just 2 years. WOW.

Elizabeth Mueller said...

Silvina, it's great to learn more about you! I'm glad to hear that you're doing fine! <3


♥.•*¨Elizabeth¨*•.♥
Can Alex save Winter from the darkness that hunts her?
YA Paranormal Romance, Darkspell coming fall of 2011!

Deana said...

Silvina, youa re terrific for being here! I wish I could have been more of a part of this visit, but just like Jen's, my internet wasn't working with the move:(

For those who commented, I will be picking a winner today!

S.B.Niccum said...

...so you're human after all! I can't believe you posted at all while in the middle of a move! You are amazing and thank you again for having me!

Deana said...

Angie Cothran, you won the copy of Silvina's book! Congrats! I just sent you an email and Silvina, as soon as I get her address I will forward it on to you:)

Thanks to everyone who commented!