I grew up in a small town in southeast Idaho with a view of the Grand Teton Mountains out my front window and a huge garden out back that always “needed to be weeded.”
I’m from a large family with many siblings. I think it goes without saying that there was never a dull moment growing up. I enjoyed plenty of neighborhood baseball games on the weekends and playing “No bears are out tonight”, a night-time hide-and-seek game during the summer months. Winters were harsh, but the deep snow made for lots of sledding, skiing, and snowmobiling opportunities.
Some of my interests include: cooking up new recipes, bar-b-queuing, reading, hiking, biking, fishing, camping, gardening (much shorter rows), and spending time with my husband and my family of three adult children. I’m a movie quoter, quite sarcastic, and I like to combine words during conversations to humor other people. I love puns and being funny–I guess you could say I’m punny.
I didn’t grow up dreaming about being an author. Regretfully, I didn’t do well in English class, and the only book report I scored an A on was for a book I didn’t read. However, I’ve always loved telling stories, keeping a captive audience (or at least trying to.) I have a vivid imagination and dream some pretty crazy things at night. In the early 2000s, inspired by J.K. Rowling’s personal journey as an author, I started writing my stories down. After filling an entire tablet with one story, I decided to type it out. That’s where I discovered a different aspect of my brain. Handwriting versus typing seemed to access a different level of creativity. Words I didn’t normally say would come out of my fingers and onto the screen, and because I could type fairly fast, I was able to get the bulk of my story down quicker.
The question remained, though: was my story good enough to be published? My family and friends all liked it, but I needed to hear from someone unbiased. I began the long process of submitting to literary agents and waiting for a response. For anyone who doesn’t understand the process, ideally–and in a perfect world–a literary agent will be intrigued with the author’s one-page query letter describing the book, then they’ll ask for some or all of the manuscript to determine if the work is something they can pitch successfully to a publisher. That’s not what happened to me. The literary agents I submitted to simply “passed” or said “not for me”, without one request for additional material. I figured my query letter wasn’t catchy enough, or my credentials weren’t impressive, or perhaps my genre wasn’t sellable. Whatever the problem was, I would figure out a way to overcome it. I wasn’t going to give up.
Fast-forward a few years and three books later, I decided to go in a different direction. I still needed feedback from unbiased readers. So, I learned all about e-books and self-publishing, then launched my books online through Smashwords and Amazon. Smashwords forwarded my books to many different outlets like Barnes&Noble, iTunes, Kobo, Diesel, and more, helping my books reach around the globe. Downloads started coming in and the overall response was positive. My spirits were buoyed–and I was relieved. However, the feedback pointed out the books needed an edit. I found Linda Stirling, a professional editor and writer’s group director. From her, I learned how to write, or should I say how to re-write my books.
I’ve met many wonderful, influential people along the way who have helped shape my writing. Presently, The Unaltered series is my main focus. The series genre is young adult fantasy/supernatural powers/romance written for ages 13 and up. The completed series will have ten books. A Diamond in My Pocket, book one, ranked high on Barnes&Noble’s Teen Bestseller list for over two years and also on iTunes iBookstore in the fantasy genre. On Feb. 5th, 2013, iBookstore launched a new feature called Breakout Books. A Diamond in My Pocket was included in the inaugural list as a breakout book. Book one has continued to rank well, hitting number one in eleven countries globally. Books two and three, A Diamond in My Heart and The Diamond of Freedom, have also reached number one on Amazon in multiple countries. Books four, five, and six: The Diamond Bearers’ Destiny, The Diamond Bearer’s Secret, and The Diamond Bearers’ Rising all reached bestseller status immediately after release. Book six hit number one on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in May 2018. Globally, The Unaltered series has had over 325,000 downloads from 51 countries, with several thousand reviews, holding approximately 4.5 out of 5 stars. The series has caught the attention of some big names and hopefully sometime in the future, we’ll see this story on the screen either streaming or big screen.
I have other books I’m working on; and as soon as I figure out how to clone myself and how to pull money out of thin air, I’ll get those completed and published. You see, as an indie author, it’s not enough to just write a book and put it out there for hungry readers to read. The book has to be marketed and promoted, too, and all of that is done by me. I’m my own boss. I’m also my own financial backer. It’s not easy or cheap to publish books. Marketing and advertising is also costly. In my case, after trying to go the traditional publishing route and coming up empty-handed, I was left with no other choice but to self-publish if I wanted to have my books read.
The take-home point is: nothing is impossible if you want it bad enough (well, almost. I doubt I could ever be an astronaut, even if I wanted it bad enough.) Don’t let others discourage you from following your dreams. Keep an open mind and use common sense. I enjoy helping other authors work through the struggles of success on the Internet. I also love helping young writers with suggestions and encouragement. If you’d like to pick my brain, feel free to drop me a note using the contact form. I’ll do my best to respond promptly.
Watch Lorena’s Video Interview on Wine, Women, Words Podcast.
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