Updated: Mar 3
It's Indie Author Sunday! Every other Sunday, we're posting an interview with a different indie author along with posts about them on all our social media accounts. This week it's L.S. Fellows, the author of Magical Memories.
WW: Tell us about your experience with Indie publishing?
LSF: I didn’t start writing with the intention of publishing. For me, the challenge of completing NaNoWriMo was all I’d set my mind on. Until they raised the question: “What next?” As an avid reader, I answered an ad on Goodreads to join an online writing group. In there I found critique partners to read my work, and suddenly publishing was not so strange a concept. Many of those members are among my best friends now, not just as writers but as genuine ‘real-life’ friends. With their help, I managed to steer my way through to self-publishing a couple of books, each of which is stronger as a result of their input and experience.
Since then, I like to think I’ve learnt a lot about the craft, about formatting, distribution channels and the like. I no longer fear the process, just question the quality of my ideas and stories.
WW: Tell us about your book.
LSF: Magic O’Clock is the story of a father and daughter relationship. The daughter visits her father daily at the care home where he now resides because of dementia. He no longer knows her, but she lives in hope of one last glimmer of recognition from him. Each day, at 3pm, he ‘magically’ shakes off the disease and tells stories to fellow residents in the home; stories which offer her hope that he hasn’t forgotten everything.
My next story, to be released in October, is the sequel. Magical Memories tells the story of his inevitable death, and how the daughter and her siblings cope with their grief.
WW: What made you want to write in the genre of your book?
LSF: I remember seeing the advice to ‘write what you know’, and while this story is fictional in nature, there are elements of my own experience within it.
To be honest, it’s not my usual genre. I tend to write mysteries and non-romantic women’s fiction.
Again, I wrote this as a challenge, this time to see if I could write a story that would move people on an emotional level.
WW: What has been your favourite part of being an Indie Author?
LSF: The feedback from beta-readers really excites me. As the first ‘readers’ of my stories, they are the ones who give me the confidence to press the publish button.
I also love it when my friends and neighbours ask me if I’ve written anything new, even though most of them haven’t read anything I’ve done so far. The fact that they consider me an author is enough.
WW: What do you wish you knew before going the indie-publish route?
LSF: I’m kind of glad I went into without knowing too much. Learning ‘on the job’ means nothing is too daunting or out of reach.
WW: What books or authors have inspired you?
LSF: Tess Gerritsen’s books are among my favourites (one of the few authors whose books I seek out when they’re released). Also, British author Colin Dexter (he of Morse, Lewis & Endeavour fame) and the cosy Aurora Teagarden series by Charlaine Harris. They have each inspired me towards writing a series. The ability to fully develop my characters over time really appeals.
WW: Are you working on anything now?
LSF: Oh dear, way too many things. I am midway through the second book of a series about two newly-qualified Private Investigators who want to specialise in art and culture crime. Being new to the business, they find themselves looking for lost dogs and cheating partners until they take on a case about a painting stolen from a local hotel.
I’m also co-writing a series about a vengeful female serial killer with an author friend to be published next year. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking – another challenge ;)
On top of that, I’m expanding upon a couple of stories I wrote for the Writer’s Games last year – so, a huge thank you for the ideas.
I could go on, but I won’t.
WW: What does your writing space look like?
LSF: Cluttered, but organised (until I turn the fan on).
WW: What is your writing process like?
LSF: I try to write something every day. Some time it’s just a blog post, or a ten-minute character or plot sketch. It varies according to how much time or inclination I have. Until recently, I’ve been a pantser, so my stories tended to stray off track on a regular basis. Lately, I’m making the effort to outline properly, in the hope it will make me more productive. I am planning a story for November’s NaNo that will test the theory.
WW: What advice would you give writers looking at indie publishing?
LSF: I chose to self-publish for two reasons. Firstly, I came to writing late in life, and I didn’t have the patience to go through the querying stage, or to find an agent or a publisher. Secondly, with no creative writing experience behind me, I doubted any agent would look at my work anyway.
Indie publishing gives me the freedom to write the stories I want to write when I want to write them. I don’t feel overwhelmed by the idea of publishing. It’s a happy side effect of doing something I enjoy.
It is by no means the easy option, nor is it without cost, both financial and in terms of time. But there are groups out there to offer support, guidance, and a shoulder to cry on. Every Indie author I know is a professional – they follow the same procedures as a traditional publishing company. You have to be prepared to put in the hours. There are no short cuts.
WW: How connected are you to the indie publishing community? What is that experience like?
LSF: As I mentioned before, online writing groups have been invaluable to me. My circle is small, but friendly, and hugely knowledgeable – including writers, formatters, cover designers, and reviewers. I’ve recently turned to blogging as a book reviewer myself, so my reading list has grown out of control, but it has also opened up new avenues for me as a writer.
WW: What platforms do you use to promote your work?
LSF: I tend to focus my promo posts on my blog, Facebook, and Twitter. I’m doing my first blog tour in October to coincide with my next release, and within my writing groups we cross-promote each other’s books too.
I have used a couple of paid promotion services, the most successful being the Fussy Librarian.
You can find both of L.S. Fellows's books on Amazon: