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Indie Author Sunday: Laila Winters

Updated: Sep 8, 2022

It's Indie Author 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 Laila Winters, the author of Sins of the Sea.

WW: Tell us about your experience with Indie publishing?

LW: My upcoming novel, Sins of the Sea, is the second book I’ve self-published. It’s being published using Amazon’s Kindle Direct program, and it’s the same route I went for my first book. It’s been a rocky but fun road, but I’ve ultimately enjoyed the experience.

WW: Tell us about your book.

LW: Sins of the Sea is a magical, high-seas adventure that tells the story of Sol Rosebone, a princess on the run to escape an arranged marriage, and Fynn Cardinal, a charming pirate with a secret.

Here’s the book’s summary from GoodReads:

The Sonamire Empire and the Kingdom of Dyn have been at war for as long as anyone can remember. But when the fighting comes to an end, Sonamire’s seventeen-year-old princess, Sol Rosebone, suddenly finds herself as the political bridge between their territories. Betrothed to an enemy prince known to kill men for sport, Sol flees from her home with nothing more than a direwolf trained to protect her, and Magic she can't control.

When the irresistibly charming—and only slightly arrogant—Fynn Cardinal rescues her from a man intending to sell her as a slave, Sol is whisked away onto a pirate ship known as the Refuge. Fynn’s rag-tag crew of runaway teens welcomes her with open arms, but only because Sol’s keeping secrets: she doesn’t tell them about her Magic, and she certainly doesn’t tell them she’s a princess. As the Captain of the Refuge, Fynn’s keeping secrets of his own. All he’s ever wanted was to sail the Emerald Sea and search for the legendary Dragon’s Heart, the rumored source of all Magic. In a race to find the Heart before Sol's wicked betrothed, who plans to use its power to eradicate Sonamire from existence, Fynn drags Sol along to aid in his hunt for the treasure. But Fynn soon realizes there might be more to Sol than meets the eye, and she might just be the key to finding what Fynn has been looking for.

WW: What made you want to write in this genre?

LW: Of all the genres, fantasy is my favorite to read. It’s easy for me to get lost in magical words that are so unlike our own. Because of that, I wanted to be a part of the magic; I wanted to create my own worlds with my own magic systems, and maybe toss in a few mythical creatures or two (as you’ll learn in Sins, Direwolves and dragons are my favorites).

WW: What has been your favorite part of being an Indie Author?

LW: As silly as it sounds, my favorite part is getting my hands dirty and doing all the hard work. I really enjoy marketing and promoting Sins, and I designed a cover that I really enjoy and am proud of. I also like being immersed in the writing community and connecting with other indie writers.

WW: What do you wish you knew before going the indie-publish route?

LW: I wish I’d known the controversies that came with being indie published. It wouldn’t have changed my decision, but I could have better prepared myself for the, “You’re not a REAL author / no one is going to take you seriously” argument.

WW: What books or authors have inspired you?

LW: So, so, SO many! Traditionally, Holly Black, Susan Dennard, Sarah J. Maas, Nina Varela, Brigid Kemmerer, and Natalie C. Parker are some of my influences. From the indie world, Melanie Reed and Shannon Rohrer are both incredible people and incredibly inspirational.

WW: Are you working on anything now?

LW: I am! I’m taking a bit of a break from the Sins world before starting book 2. In the meantime, I’m working on a fun, slightly gothic, and incredibly queer YA where an unwanted princess guards the door to Hell and falls in love with the gladiator meant to replace her.

WW: What does your writing space look like?

LW: It… is messy. And small. For Sins, I had a nice desk surrounded by books and dry-erase boards where I could plot to my heart’s content. But due to an unfortunate life change, I’m now crammed into a small room with no desk, a bed, 6 bookcases (only 4 of which have books), and no wall space due to storage bins. It’s not ideal, and it’s chaotic, but I’m making it work.

WW: What is your writing process like?

LW: I wish I had an actual process. I tend to make things up as I go along, only really plotting the major events of a novel. Where those events go, no one knows, not until I decide where to stick them. It’s only slightly less chaotic than my writing space.

WW: What advice would you give writers looking at indie publishing?

LW: Do your research, and be prepared for the people who stick up their noses at you. It happens. But also make sure that the work you’re putting out there is something you’re absolutely proud of. My first book was something I was proud of at first, but after a while I realized I’d made a mistake—the book wasn’t ready to be published in the state it was in. Don’t pull a Laila; be proud of what you’re putting out there, and make sure it’s your best.

WW: How connected are you to the indie publishing community? What is that experience like?

LW: I used to be a lot more involved than I am now. I was always in the tags, always interacting with people, and was always the first to offer advice when I could. But it got to be a bit too overwhelming for me, and so now I’ve taken a step back and just kind of quietly watch from the sidelines, championing everyone from afar.

WW: What platforms do you use to promote your work?

LW: I really only use Twitter and my blog, and sometimes Instagram when I remember that I have it.

Twitter: @LailaWinters


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