Award Winning Author A. Lonergan

About This Episode

From A. Lonergan’s About Me Page: Allyssa’s life wasn’t always happily ever after, because of this she knows that sometimes the best stories aren’t… At least not immediately. She knows that sometimes real life comes with grit and darkness, so her stories do too. She loves to read anything and everything she can get her hands on, but she has an extra soft spot for fantasy. She lives in southern Louisiana where the food is amazing, the people like their tea sweet, and the stories are full of soul. In episode 164 of Local Leaders: The podcast Allyssa covers the challenges of writing 21 books by the age of 27 as well as covering her books in detail.

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Transcript (Beta)

hi this is crystal hardison from southeastern livingston center i’m the director and you are listening to local leaders the podcast

hey everyone it’s jim chapman with local leaders of the podcast and i want to make you aware of a fantastic deal they have going on right now at fit body boot camp in denham springs louisiana if you go to the link get fit denim springs dot com slash local leaders you can get thirty dollars off of the regular price of 129 for 30 days of classes go to the link click it sign up 30 day classes for only 99 through that link it’s a special deal offered to all of our listeners at local leaders the podcast hey everyone and welcome to another edition of local leaders the podcast and today i have a lady sitting across from me that i wrote a little intro for i did research on her as i like to do on this show and so alyssa’s life wasn’t always happily ever after because of this she knows that sometimes the best stories are not at least not immediately she knows that sometimes real life comes with grit and darkness so her stories do too she loves to read anything and everything she can get her hands on but she has an extra soft spot for fantasy she lives in south southern louisiana where the food is amazing the people like their tea sweet and the stories are full of soul now what i just read you was from the lady sitting right across from me’s about me page on her website fadedinfantasy.com alyssa day who writes under the pen name a lonergan has had 21 books published at the age of 27 in the ultra popular genre of fantasy when she started why she started and what drives her to write is only part of her story so today we’ll get answers to those questions and much more so with that awesome introduction welcome alyssa to local leaders podcast thank you so much i’m so excited i’m excited too and out of breath from that from that intro i actually went to your uh website love it um it clicked on me about me and i’m like i wonder when she’s gonna realize that she actually wrote that not me so uh uh and you are a very special uh personality we did a little pre-meeting and i was just really touched by your story um and your amazing ability to write 21 books already and you’re only 27. that’s amazing yeah it’s a little strange to think about it i’ll tell you you know some people their whole lives if they can write one book they’re you know they’re like man if i could just write a book and so you’ve done already done 21 of those and you’re not stopping anytime soon right no no way so we’re going to get into all of that with you but i’m going to talk a little bit about you personally you’ve been married to eight years to your high school sweetheart now that already sounds like a book right there it sounds like you’re writing your own book there it was a little bit enemies to lovers all the way yeah one of your books yes so well you have a seven-year-old son very good and here get this y’all she can write 80 words per minute yeah now is that typing is that um you know when you say right you’re talking freehand or typing no typing wow 80 words a minute to put that in perspective folks because i did research the average is 36 words per minute yeah okay i sprint with some other authors we do it over discord and um it times you while you’re right yeah and i’m always like blasting through over 67 70 words per minute and they look competitive i really am and they get so mad but i’d like annihilate 10 000 words in just a few hours and they’re like at 300. wow that is i mean i was thinking about that last night and i’m like that is a word every like half second i mean it just about it’s quick it’s fast my brain like fires yeah at a different level yeah and like you definitely got the keyboard memorized i mean yeah i’ve destroyed like two keyboards my husband says i try to like pound through the keys he gets mad

whenever you get angry it’s worse

she’s typing again yeah so really impressed me right there so obviously you write 21 books you get pretty good at typing there’s no doubt about that in all likelihood now you can speed read also so not only can you type fast you can read fast which i guess would be required now tell me about that how did you where was the point in your life where you’re like man i can read pretty fast when how did you discover that um i really i don’t know uh i just started reading i liked horror uh rl stein was like yes he was my favorite author um was that the goosebumps guy yes yeah but i liked the fear street novels though i loved the the prologues i love i loved everything like he took this whole world and just i don’t know like made like 30 or 45 books and i read every single one of them um and i think it was when i did ar tests for the first time that i was like getting tons of ar points and i was finishing them rather quickly and i knew how to comprehend them that i was like oh hey i think i’m i don’t think this is average like i don’t think this is what other people do yeah the teachers probably were like you’re not really reading you know 14 books yeah they would get aggravated they’d take my books from me i mean that’s so funny yeah uh yeah and you know enter you bring up r.l stein so my favorite books at you know at a young age were like this you remember the witch way books where you would choose your own adventure and so you would read like a chapter and then it would say if you want to go left and open the door turn to page 63 if you want to go right turn to page 72 oh you’ve got to check those out i’m going to have to yeah that sounds very interesting so i can adventure book and you can the story changes depending on the choices you make because you turn to a specific page and you can like die or you can or you can go through the whole story if you make all the right choices that’s wild it’s cool yeah i don’t think they do many of those anymore and when you go on ebay try to buy them they’re they’re expensive they’re like about 50 bucks they’re like collectors items yeah because i’ve never heard of anybody who writes flicks yeah choose your own adventure books i want to look that up yeah definitely used to love those things and then they had these books that were monsters books so you it was like king kong or whatever and have a picture of king kong on the front of it and you would read and be like a story i just remember reading those when i was a little like candy man every day it was crazy um anyway let’s get back to your books uh first of all you live in watson i do uh so right down the road from where we’re recording right now local gal and uh and all of that stuff and the community one of the reasons i really was excited about getting you on was you are such a a kind of you know i call you a gym in the community you’re someone that is you very unique in your accomplishments especially i mean you’re not 80. you know what i mean like um for your age you have accomplished so much and i thought it’s very important to get that out there so we want to get into your writing now you started writing books at the age of 14. what kind of led you into that um i had written songs in poetry for for a few years i was really into that i needed this outlet for how depressed i was and upset with my life and i was bullied really badly in school so uh i needed just something to help me feel yeah um and that was that um it wasn’t until i attempted suicide uh when i was 14 that i started writing wow yeah writing kind of saved your life in a way right i mean when you start writing these books at that very young age and when did when when did you kind of show your work to somebody say you wrote something and was it a boyfriend or was it a teacher or did you just kind of keep it all inside um i i think i shared it with a friend because one of my friends from middle school actually she reached out to me a few days ago and she was telling me about how she’s reading my books and she was so proud of me um for continuing to do what i love because she always loved my books then and i’m thinking wait i shared those on loose leaf paper what yeah that’s how you were writing them back then on lace leaf wow like actual manuscripts yes that’s probably why i have uh the beginning stages of carpal tunnel bj pawn and gunn and denham springs wants to buy your wanted gold jewelry gold coins and gold bullion with 30 years of experience operating in the livingston parish area b.j palm wants to be your source when selling your gold so stop by bj pawn today for a no obligation offer b.j pawn a proud sponsor of local leaders the podcast

even at that age you’re you know you’re writing these books and obviously well i would think i don’t know maybe you knew but at that age did you already kind of know i’m going to be a writer that was a goal of yours or or was it more or less just because you enjoyed doing it um i think that the dream was definitely there that i i wanted to i just didn’t know like i didn’t think that it was ever going to be possible for me like i just thought hard to believe yeah like i’m not good enough you know imposter syndrome is i didn’t even know what that was until last year but i’ve been dealing with it my whole life like you’re just you know you’re not a big deal like don’t put yourself out there don’t you know do what you’re doing yes you know right yeah that’s a great point yeah so so you’re doing it and you’re just you know it’s it’s almost like therapy to you and in the back of your mind maybe you’re thinking maybe i’ll be able to do something this seems pretty good it was like it was just a dream it was like something like you know being a celebrity i just never thought that i would get to a place that it would actually happen yeah i just i college the plan was finish high school go to college get a degree do something like be a doctor a lawyer you know do something not creative yes being creative wasn’t like a big thing in my family um that wasn’t like a career option yeah that’s a great way to put it yeah and you know uh you’re certainly a creative person you can you know people have personalities about them and even down to your hair which i love absolutely dig your hair um but uh that’s part of your creative personality right and and uh and you stand out in a good way and those things are it very important uh when you have that type of personality that had come out and people see that and i would almost say it’s it’s subconsciously um just in the way you are and and who you are but one of those ways that you got that out is through your writing and you know what blows my mind is i when i think about getting a book published for example that’s the part that blows my mind like uh oh yeah i’m not intimidated about writing it i think i could write it it’s after that like okay so i wrote this thing what do i do now you know and and uh so we’re going to get into some options with you and and another company that you have a little later on and and kind of talk about that but you know you write these books i guess we’ll skip to when did you get your first book published and what book was it um my first book published was i think it was in 2015 or 2016. it was around that time i had a little baby um and what age were you at that point i think i was 20 or 21. yeah yeah wow um because i had my little boy when i was 19. and so he was like a year old or two years old at that point but um it was actually a romance it was an erotic awesome so weird admitting that over this um what was it called it was called games games um and it was under a different pen name um which i’m not even gonna say on here it’s not published anymore i took it off it’s gone it does not exist it was mainly just to get my foot in the door i knew people who wrote books and who’d published i knew lots of romance authors and i thought this is how i do it yeah i’ve gotta write a romance and i gotta i gotta just get in the door with them thinking like the whole book world is the same which it is not yeah no i found out later when i tried to write my first fantasy young adult fantasy from there yeah and i was like oh my gosh this is completely different completely different world the designers are different the marketing is different the you know the demographics everything that comes down to writing a book was drastically just strange right because i was so used to um the writing erotica and writing romance that when it wasn’t like a passion for me it wasn’t something that i enjoyed it wasn’t it was something that i was actually highly embarrassed of i did not want my family to know about it or my community to know about it you’d be surprised who reads that no i i know that now i have a tick tock i i have book talk so um i definitely see especially now now that i i write predominantly fantasy um i really see the differences and i’m like how did i even like why did i think that i could even do that right right because it is it’s such a switch writing the book is only like half the battle right i mean that’s almost you don’t want to say the easy part because that is the hard part but um you got a lot of work yet to do once it’s written um yeah i uh i get lots of messages i get lots of people who who message me like hey i’m thinking about writing a book or uh you know just you know people looking for advice sure and i’m like hey i look at the message and i’m like you’re thinking about writing a book okay well what kind of book are you thinking about writing um and then i’m like i can’t really do anything for you until you write the book like i can’t i can’t i have no advice you have to just do it you just have to sit down and and quiet your mind or hey play music sometimes i play music i have i actually have a playlist for uh my newest series that’s releasing next month be real yeah it’s a workout playlist i’ve got it on spotify and i’m going to link it when the book releases oh that’s awesome yeah so like everybody is different in their writing process and their creative process you see painters who like jam out to you know screamo or classical everybody has like a different like get in the zone yes thing yes yes absolutely and and writers are no exception that may surprise some people they may think they’re locked up in a closet and they’re you know they’re writing inspiration yeah they’re like the guy on uh the shining or whatever and you know they need inspiration just like everybody else and music inspires i mean and sometimes it’ll put you in kind of a mood out i would imagine i can’t not listen to hardy like at all because him and morgan wallin i it’s like something about like the heartbreaker mute like you know a heartbreaker country and i hear it and i’m like oh there goes a contemporary sweet small town romance yeah and the story just i’m like i can’t listen to it unless i’m ready to get in the zone to write something out of what i’ve been writing right yeah that’s awesome that’s awesome so you get um at some point you get a book published and um you know millions of dollars right start pouring in is that not how that works no not even in traditional publishing does it work not even john grisham maybe if you’re like brandon uh what is steven k sanderson brandon oh yeah like him who did a kickstarter and it for a book that he hadn’t even written yet he just like had this premise and he’s like hey here here it is and he i think he raised like three million dollars wow it was the most insane thing i’ve ever seen in the publishing world ever yeah is it cut through the publishing world can it be there is a lot of drama you get i mean you know i think in any profession there’s drama where you where people are think they’re very entitled to certain things um they’re entitled that somebody uh tried to trademark the word cocky got away with it four years ago yeah and then started sending cease and desist letters to every single uh author on amazon that had cocky in the title or in the blurb and that’s so exciting but it it somebody english language word but people do it people do the craziest things and somebody else tried to trademark another word uh very common one a few months ago there there’s just like or you get a huge following or you you get like a cult following yeah and i don’t know if i i don’t think i have that are you totally i’m part of your cult

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sandra richard a proud sponsor of local leaders podcast some of the publishing companies seem like and look you maybe not can say this but i can seem like they kind of screw people over a little bit to say the least i mean some of them 100 yeah you know they get a big chunk of the pie to say the least i follow um a traditional author on tick tock and she’s talked a lot about like what they’ve done um to her and she said you get like a chunk of money like for the story and then after that you have to sell a certain amount of books just to get to a hardback and then after that like if you want to get another chunk of money like you only see a little bit each time you sell a certain amount of books yes so once you stop selling or like if you just sell one or two like you really don’t see money ever again and that’s why i’m indie because i don’t want to have to deal with somebody else telling me hey your book is we’re only going to do ebooks or uh we don’t like this idea so we’re going to go this way with it or you know don’t give them that control right that’s uh um and when you say go indy would that be like you’re your own publisher basically yeah okay yeah very good and very smart move i think that uh nobody else has the right to value your book other than you and the reader right right you know that’s that’s my feeling i think that another thing that is cutthroat too um just to go back to that uh is some authors are just really jealous i think that that’s in every profession that people just get jealous when they see you succeed so i’ve dealt with a lot of authors try to hurt me try to you know they review my books um they haven’t read them or that hey they have read them and i think that that’s so tacky to read a book in your genre and then to leave a bad review um yeah just don’t leave any reviews right like just don’t speak it there’s no point like you have a public platform and you’re tearing people down for no reason like i would never do that in the beginning i did do it i i wasn’t doing it to hurt other people i just didn’t like the book so i’m like hey i have a platform i’m gonna review and then i was like and then i got my first one star review yes and i was like oh no what did i do i i hurt these people so i went back and i deleted every single review and i only give five star reviews to the books that i i truly love and um actually my newsletter i will sometimes go back and all and i’ll say hey i loved these books i really really liked these books these are the books that are similar to mine or hey they’re not similar to mine but hey you might like them anyways yeah 100 and you know they’re i mean something may not may or may not be your cup of tea it doesn’t mean it’s a bad piece of work right not every book is for everybody period i mean some of the biggest classics of all time you’ve got someone that says i didn’t enjoy it jorge that was trash yeah i mean who are you gone with the wind is trash

maybe you’re in the minority yeah yeah yeah you know or whatever so let’s talk about uh your book specifically and i want to kind of bring up your series um because you do write and and kind of popular in your genre especially uh as well as others is series uh series books so you might have book one two book two book three two in particular for you the the demi chronicles um and also the crimson pack trilogy yeah and then i noticed your new book is part of a crimson something else crimson what is it it’s the crimson pack rogue yes yes i’m interested already so um when you’re writing do you start out with the series in mind or does it just kind of morph into that no i don’t have so um transfixed that one the louisiana india author project in 2019 yes was a dream yes i woke up and i was like i gotta write this down oh my gosh i gotta write this down i had no plans to write a witch book in new orleans um but this dream like just catapulted me into this whole different universe and i hadn’t planned on it being a four book um series in fact i’ve thought about kind of compiling it making it a duology mainly because at the time i thought that books were a certain length so i was like that’s my deadline i didn’t try to push past it like i didn’t try to like go the extra mile yeah um so you’re talking like words so many words i got you so i did like the absolute minimum and i look at them and i’m like those books are so little oh my gosh like uh and so i have thought about like i designed the covers on those actually the newest covers uh and i’ve thought about going back and redesigning it and just doing a duology but i have so much on my plate with all of my other books that i’m just kind of like that’s fine yeah you can wait it’s fine you’re only one person yes but those series is uh you know they they are popular and it’s i guess another question for you is and this might seem silly to you to even ask but do you know the ending of the book before you know the beginning sometimes really wow that’s intriguing so the book that releases next month the witch and the wolf which is the crimson pack rogues which is a spin-off from my crimson pack trilogy um it i knew the ending i knew how i was going to like i knew i didn’t know like the last sentence but i knew like how it was what i was going to reveal reveal because i do like a cliffhanger yeah me too cliffy’s or everybody hates them but like it’s just it’s a thing like it’s it’s gonna dry you know drives a tv series too the tv series ends on a cliffhanger people just don’t really get mad as hard i guess but yeah there are people who leave like one star reviews for people who have cliffhangers in their books oh my gosh that’s like silly i loved the book but i give one star reviews for cliffhangers excuse me um silly but yeah so i knew how i was gonna end it i knew the idea but i didn’t really i i didn’t know where i was going to end it so i just finished typing the end the other day yeah and uh and i sat there with my editor i’m like sending her voice memos over facebook and i’m like i hope that i ended it in the right place because i had no idea where i was going to stop it yeah but i knew like it was coming to a close let me yeah and that’s you know i know two people two people i’ve met in life that are actually good friends of mine that read the ending verse i know a few people that seems absolutely nuts and i’m like why do you do that well what if something happens to me and i never know the end like i die or something i’m like that is a really dark way of looking yes but they think like and they want they don’t like surprises they want to know the end first some anxiety i understand yes i tried that in high school reading the last line of the book and it gave me more questions than the answers and i was so confused and i was like i don’t know if i want to read this yeah i couldn’t believe it people actually do that yeah i have to get hooked i do too and i’ve got to live through the book and and you know a well-written book in my opinion you basically you know you get engrossed in it to the point you feel like you’re there you feel like you can relate to the characters and you care about the characters and all of that so from an author’s standpoint um do you kind of live in your characters a little bit like they say actors i’ll give you an example i will this is interesting so there’s several actors that are well known and when they’re doing a movie and they have to be a character you know they’ll almost go not like if it’s a take on that yes to the point that they have to take a break after that film to get back to reality because they become that character i read that about heath ledger yes um i read that that was that was very hard for him and that was why everything happened yeah but i definitely do live through my characters and it’s very uh strange because i grieve with them um in one of my newest books she loses somebody very special to her and i lost my football last year so i grieved with this character i grieved through her loss i got extra sassy i got super snarky my husband’s like this isn’t you and i’m like what happened

nine million people in my head so yeah you don’t really know who i am anyway yeah that’s so funny but yeah i uh i’ve lived through i’ve definitely lived through my characters uh it’s very it’s very strange it’s very different um but i have taken on a lot of personality traits that i’ve written and i kind of have to stop myself like okay you’re taking it too far yeah yeah i get it but look man that that makes for great writing you know when you’re really living in those characters and um you don’t have to tell me if you have done this you don’t have to tell me which character it is but have you ever written a book and let’s say there’s a character in it and you’ve looked at it and said oh my gosh that’s me that’s i just wrote about myself several yeah interesting so i feel like i write myself into a lot of the books um my experience is the things that i’ve gone through or like uh i was explaining it to my therapist a few weeks ago like i feel like i can imagine realities for myself like my husband wanted to be a navy seal diver um so like yeah i wrote euphoria um i had this dream like that i was gonna be alone through my pregnancy that i he was gonna leave me and he was gonna be a seal and so like a reality like kind of formed from that like a different um idea of what my life could have been yeah oh that is so interesting and look y’all um i’ll show it to the camera if you’re listening you just giggle it but it’s called euphoria and it’s about a navy seal diver and uh and a small town in small town louisiana yes and he has great hair as you can see right there us bald head guys now here even on dudes yes we do uh so interesting book it sounds like and it is part of us the brothers bound series yeah so they’re each standalone um so this focuses on i think it’s it’s elise and jace sorry it’s been a few years i can never once once the book is done you’ve only got like four trillion characters probably so i forgive you the book is done it’s really hard for me to remember things about it like it’s like it’s gone yeah yeah so you probably almost have to separate yourself out of it yeah 100 hey when it comes to podcasting local business i want perfection and when it comes to banking i want personal service and that’s why i bank with hancock whitney hancock whitney bank not only provides me with a local business banker but also the experience and knowledge only a bank with a history of over 100 years can provide with over 230 branches in the gulf south hancock whitney can service all of your banking needs including commercial lending small and large business accounts personal bank accounts and much more for more information visit hancockwhitney.com hancock whitney bank your dream their mission so um yeah and this one it’s jason elise and then it goes on to another character which is derek and um i can’t think i think it’s uh it’s a native american this one’s like native american-based i really wanted to focus on different cultures i loved making my books like diver uh culturally diverse yeah so um yeah it’s about a runaway navajo woman who experienced a lot of abuse as a child and she ran away um and she experienced a lot of abuse through that runaway and she meets derek this navy seal of course another navy seal she is super grumpy

she’s got a lot of secrets she’s got a lot of secrets um and so it’s like a tortured past kind of book like you you just really have no idea what’s gonna happen that’s sound awesome thank you but yeah so those are standalones i am planning on writing i already wrote the third book actually it’s finished uh really yeah i was actually i was going to have a cover made and then i miscarried um and so the project kind of just didn’t feel like i was ready for it yeah um timing was yeah awful so um i never i haven’t done anything with third book but my editor is breathing down my throat this is my favorite book you’ve ever written you need to put it out to the world i’m like okay britney okay yeah chill out

she’s gonna watch this and be like oh my god so let me let me ask you you know speaking of editors like when i think of editors i think of someone that hey you need commas here you need hyphens here you don’t need hyphens here whatever uh you you know you’re grammatically incorrect in this sentence

do they try to change the book no uh some editors do i am very fortunate to have the best editor yeah um she just gives me suggestions so like she’ll highlight it and say the wording doesn’t flow very well here um or she’ll say you know like i’ve worded it in some direction so she’ll retype it in like a highlight so i can choose if i want to take her advice or not but for the most part i just really suck at commas and hyphens and dashes and semicolons totally 400 edits and that is all they are yeah the grammar police are all over me all the time and i’m like look you know and she catches typos too like just things like that yeah very cool and as long as they don’t like say i don’t think he should have died at the end you know or whatever in a book i mean i do ask her advice yeah because she she was a fan verse she was a reader first she loved my books and believed in me um and so i do i want her opinion i want her to tell me am i going too far is this too much is the care are my fans going to hate me am i going to get blacklisted from this that’s so funny well and and uh so you’ve got some great options and and one of the things that’s really appealing about what you write is is you know you have several different subjects there so maybe you’re someone that is into fantasy and you love it to death and you’re a harry potter guy or gal whatever um or maybe you’re not maybe you’re someone that’s into like romance navy seal type stuff and look you got something for them right yeah i write heart books i write the books that keep me up at night i don’t really write to what’s popular and hey i probably lose a couple thousand dollars a month by not writing to trend but which which what would be considered trend like 50 shades type stuff no like monster romance monster romance what the heck is monster give me an example uh like so uh tentacles uh octop pumpkins yeah that is a huge uh i’ve seen so in the fantasy world like uh what krampus there was a krampus one that came out on i read the i was like oh the cover looks really great and krampus i don’t i don’t really know anything about that and so i read the like the um they give a like a symbol for a warning like a trigger warning page and it’s like not human anatomy and i was like you were like oh my god

i was like okay you know not every book is for everybody this one is not for me that’s it yeah so uh that and like blood play and stuff like that yeah things like that are very popular right now um just like very taboo things uh also smut spicy spicy spicy books book talk is the spice this is the spicy spot um and i don’t write that so it’s very hard for me when people are like i want i want the [ __ ] book oh yeah yeah i don’t i don’t write that sorry sorry sorry you’re sorry you know who you are you ain’t getting that kind of book yeah uh that is very that is very popular you write great books thank you um in great genres as well i mean fantasy is is a huge genre and it’s popular right i mean i think it’s like right under romance romance is the top number one selling genre yeah um and then i think fantasy is like maybe two or three it’s very high up there very good so what speaking of that what has been your most successful series or book that you’ve written so far if you had to pick and i know they’re hard to pick i have two actually like i have a back list that doesn’t really sell very well which is like transfixed um which is the which is new orleans it was a great name i and i loved i loved it was transfixed fixated and raptured and or captivated and enraptured yeah um and i uh that one doesn’t sell very well uh that series uh my fairy tale retellings don’t sell very well they’re gonna sell well now we’re gonna promote the heck out of them these sell my small like sweet small town romances they sell so well at like book signings yes um but my best sellers are like my crimson pack trilogy um and my tales from the mirror realm which is my high fantasy adventure romance yeah so um the crimson pack it was the i feel like it’s what propelled me like that is what changed my life as an author yeah and it was actually a dream too so yeah and you can see the and i’ll put this on the screen too so people can see it but uh the artwork is appealing yeah and uh you know even the choice of font oh i love typography yes so everything about it’s appealing and we were talking about before the show folks even the feel of the book it’s just a it’s a matte finish soft feel and look that matters when you’re reading um not everybody reads off a kindle it’s an experience me being one i want to read a book something i can put a bookmark in i’m just not that guy i’m not the kindle guy not the kid i like convenience yeah um so that’s another thing about your books that really appeal to me is the just the feel they feel like a nice book to read and then you get into the story and it’s great so uh rocking and rolling with that

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now in your questionnaire i asked you for your perspective on something people may not understand about you and i wanted to kind of quote you on this i thought it was really good um or are about you and your business and you said it’s very emotionally taxing to release books it’s literally a brain baby i love that description that is released into the wild and people love to pick it apart it’s hard to get over the hurdle of people’s opinion all you want is for your work to be loved but not every book is for everyone and we kind of touched on that earlier but you know negativity essentially what i get out of that is is it’s hard for people to understand the uh the effect that negativity has not only on just you and personally but these you know when you can leave a bad review on something that maybe just wasn’t for you it doesn’t mean it’s a bad book maybe it just wasn’t for you for whatever reason um you’re really affecting that person’s livelihood no matter who it is i’m not opposed to bad reviews um i think it’s just it hurts um but like i feel like they can always be uh worded differently like i didn’t like a book that i read a few weeks ago it’s a very very popular book um not an indie book but uh i don’t like friends to lovers that is not a trope that i enjoy and so i didn’t like it for that reason and so i’ve talked about it i’m like if you like friends to lovers if you’ve loved the other stories in the series you are going to love this book but like it’s just not for me yeah and i feel like people can just be more tactful but like good reads which is like the place where authors go to die

that’s what it is it’s a competition on who can write the most scathing review and hurt people the most and i feel like that is such a huge thing that people don’t realize like authors are leaving we’re people are quitting because people are expecting us to put out books faster they’re expecting an alternate ending they’re expecting you to not end a book certain way and they’re mad when they’re not getting what they perceive to be i guess they’re mad because they don’t understand why an author is not listening to them or like it’s our stories yeah it’s my story yeah that’s right and and the only person’s opinion that i listen to are my beta readers and my editor and everybody else like i just kind of have to i’ll read the constructive criticism because i get it like some people said you know i feel like this could have been these could have been two books okay so i will look into it as i’m writing my other books where could i where did i describe too much where did i not describe enough um so i do like hearing those things but i don’t like it in a way that people are mean yeah you can you can give criticism you can you can help an author but like there’s no reason to like pick somebody apart no it’s well it’s not constructive at that point right because that person just goes they either tune it out or they take it so personal that it it has the wrong effect anyway um there’s a way to be constructive and tell someone you could have done this better yeah or maybe this you know maybe in the future you should do this there’s another thing to attack somebody they’re two totally different things right or like i love getting messages from my readers um like if you see a grammatical area like just message the author like i can’t tell you how many authors out there would rather get a message about like hey a typo or something missing than to get this scathing review and you can’t reply to reviews on amazon you can’t say hey i saw your review and i edited it and i edited the book again or i had it run through again editing is so expensive and things slip through the cracks i mean we’re human yeah and everything is expensive i mean look uh there’s an isbn number on the on the back of a lot of books and uh people would be surprised to know that’s the probably one of the most expensive parts of writing it’s 80 a book around there and probably the cost went up since i looked last um and that’s another reason why i’ve been exclusive with amazon for so long is because they’ve offered me more but they’ve decided to not offer as much lately so i am looking at going wide and being on other platforms um i’m looking at barnes noble and i’m looking at at the i don’t like exclusivity that amazon offers so i would like to branch out i feel like i’m missing a a large group of readers i agree because people hate kindle or people hate kindle unlimited so i’m i’m ready to branch out definitely you know and that would be some advice i would i would give anyone is is uh definitely diversify because uh look in this podcast we do audio versions and we do audio video versions why do we do that because we have listeners that listen only on apple podcast and we have people that watch on youtube or maybe they listen on youtube but we’re not going to alienate and not do video because uh you know we’re alienating our youtube audience at that point so we do both you give people options some people they don’t like amazon i mean maybe they’re just people that don’t you know they’re local book supporters um and those people want to support local businesses they want to go into a bookstore local and buy your book uh mr and you know who i’m talking about cavalier so

in that situation you want to make sure that that you’re available to anyone you never want to be unavailable someone that wants to read your book or listen to your book and that brings me to another point books have changed right um it used to be you wanted a book you either went and ordered it off amazon or you went into barnes and noble and you but you got a book now you can listen to them right yeah audiobook yeah so when you first really got i guess found your stride in writing was audio books a big thing at that point or did it kind of spring did you kind of see that transition um audio books became really popular over the last few years at least like in indy in the indie world um so i saw all these authors like yeah people are telling me i don’t want to read your book unless i can listen to it i don’t i don’t i’m sorry some people are like that and hey that’s totally okay like i’m not dogging but it is so expensive like 250 dollars per finished hour and sometimes more the male narrators are so expensive it’s like they know they’ve got this masculine beautiful voice and they’re like thank you for that by the way and so they know like they know like i’ve got the goods and this is what this is what female readers want yeah um and so it’s like it’s like the female gays

yes so uh yeah so i mean it’s just it’s very expensive but uh so that’s why i didn’t do it for so long yeah interesting um and also i have so many books that i didn’t know where i wanted to start either well um you know we record audio books right here at local leaders of the podcast and uh and we’d love to narrate even and we’re not nowhere near that cost i can tell you

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but uh uh yeah it it has definitely become like something people are doing listening to books look life is getting busier uh people don’t have the time they used to to sit down and read a physical book even on a kindle um they want to listen to it while they’re in traffic quite frankly i like listening to audiences in the car i like listening to audiobooks while i’m folding laundry yeah because i can’t like fold laundry and read like that just takes a lot of focus i probably could do it but look i’m not i’m not an overachiever in that way yeah well with me i’m just so add it’s like i i have to be doing something while i’m doing something while i’m doing something and i can put them headphones in and listen to a book and like i don’t know wash clothes or whatever i’m doing at that particular time um and kill two birds with one stone and then pick up in the physical book yes a little bit later yeah and i do that i actually will listen to an audio book and have the physical book yeah a lot of people do that that’s very good it’s very common yeah interesting i didn’t think that i thought i was weird no you’re not weird why do i have the physical book when i’m listening but i just feel like i gotta have both i have my editor she listens and reads the physical book make sure everything lines up perfect very good very good um so question here do you have any books available on audio formats yes so take me which is the first book in the crimson pack trilogy um it released on audible and i think it’s on itunes it’s like it’s there’s a few different places yeah um it released like a few months ago oh very good um and the second one redeem me is actually in production right now excellent so you look at her go look at her go it was a little bit more difficult because i have three points of views i like to write dual point uh pov so um i had a different so tracy in this series she gets her own book the witch and the wolf which releases next month but uh or this month it’s this month it’s this month 20th the 20th of this morning look at me um but i wanted a woman of color because that is what tracy is so i took i searched high and low and i found um i found a great uh narrator and so that’s why it i’ve got one who speaks for jade and one who speaks for rafe and one who speaks for tracy so it’s a little bit more great set of names too rafe i know i love that name i don’t think i’ve ever heard that right really yeah i like that name i dig that um so there you go people if you’re interested in audio virgin she does have some and and and uh hopefully more you know to be working on it as they go along she’s working on it um what about like kendall kennel facts out there if they want to get your books they’re all on kindle unless they’re all on kindle good um some of them you just have to buy the ebook but most of them are on kindle unlimited yep very good very good now um also in your questionnaire ask you some ways in which you kind of stand out in your writing and i want to quote that too because it was very good you said i want to say authenticity no matter what i am true to my no matter what i am true to myself you missed a comma or i want to add one there one of the two no matter what i am true to myself my books and my brand i don’t hide any any i don’t hide behind my phone or my computer screen there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that but i put myself out there not just my books it’s me and that’s what you’re doing today like a lot of authors you know they’re not comfortable kind of coming out of the shadows yeah it’s a it’s a profession where you stay behind your computer like um in the indie world we have we have book signings all the time um i have i tried to sign up for as many as i physically could this year i was so excited to get out there and meet readers and new people and i love meeting people but i can see that that is not very common most authors do not want to meet new people they’re just content with writing the book getting it out and that being it they’re predominantly introverts yeah um and so i like i think i’m an amnivert like i’m both yeah converted extroverted like some things about myself yeah you have a good vocabulary imagine that thank you um so speaking of that speaking of meeting you know your fans and things of that nature who have you ever met any famous authors that you were like oh my gosh uh i met kelly armstrong okay um she is a huge author uh and her books got me through high school they kept me like it was my escapism um and they fueled me and i actually so i met her at um ball gowns and books event in australia sydney australia in 2020 right before the pandemic hit we were literally on the plane when it was announced that it was a pandemic coming home oh very good you’re like oh my gosh what’s happening don’t worry the world is ending yeah uh we’re all like over over the ocean and we’re like what’s going on um but uh i so i met her and i cried like you changed my life she she changed um just how i saw the book world because she writes adult paranormal but she also wrote young adult paranormal as well okay um so i saw how she wrote like heart novels pretty much yeah but yeah so i cried and i was like can i please hug you and she’s like sure and i know that she was so taken back but that was like my headlining um like author experience but i have really really good friends of my husband when i was writing the questionnaire and uh he was i said well who influences me like who and he’s like well you have some really big authors that you’re really good friends with and i’m like oh my gosh yeah but like do they but i don’t want to say that they influence me right like because i don’t i think that it’s just there’s so many people um but they are i have some really good author friends who i call them like my book besties yeah and they make like 50 dollars a month um off of their books so i would say like that’s a pretty big deal yeah i mean they’re successful yeah yeah that’s huge yeah very good and right in in you know in life you either have one or the other you have positive influences or negative influences and and uh you know you can kind of see that you become kind of who you surround yourself with sometimes right they there is like there is some some type of something that backs it up that says um you are the five people you hang out with yeah so like me and my husband we have become the same person he’s super weird and i’m more standoffish and like my best friends we’re all readers we’re uh they’re either authors or they’re readers um and i’m sorry but if you’re not one of those it’s really hard to be friends right exactly well i’m a reader it’s good uh so you know another thing on that point is uh that we were just talking about because i just thought of this but a good example of that is if someone is let’s say it’s a a lady and she’s going through a divorce and she’s got like four friends and you know she’s talking about this and and uh always complaining about her husband well the next thing you know her problems become your problems i used to tell people that all the time i don’t let other people’s problems become mine right i think i can’t own that you know what i mean i got my own things i’m dealing with people who complain will always complain and like i don’t want to i try to stay around really positive people like if people talk a lot of drama i’m kind of like uh i can be petty i’m sure all of us can all of us but i don’t like i can’t surround myself in it it’ll drag me into this deep dark pit and i can’t afford to go to that place i have attempted suicide too many times like my mental health is so so freaking important to me i can’t afford to let somebody else drag me down to their dark place like i’m sorry but your issues like i will give advice but if all you do is rant and complain chances are you’re gonna stay there you you can’t live a happy positive life if your mind is riddled with negativity and hatred you’re digging a deeper hole for yourself right right yeah you gotta you gotta climb out anyway anyway like you gotta dig out whatever you can’t stay there yeah somebody told me that once um you can be upset and you can unload and unpack but you can’t stay there you keep your suitcase out and you be ready to leave um you can have your pity party but you’re just not allowed to stay there you can’t live there love it love it and great great advice um uh for sure you know and and so many people need to learn that that uh it’s okay it’s okay to have the moments but don’t sit there right you know have your moment and then it’s time to get up dust yourself off and get back in the game right it’s like getting back on the horse yes 100 i love that um so how valuable would you say social media has been in your business so freaking valuable oh my gosh i can’t when i saw that question on the questionnaire i was like oh my gosh i have never um i don’t think anything else could have helped me like i it helped with my makeup business when i was doing that um i gained a massive following and a massive platform just from makeup and going live and talking to people and making posts about my infertility and things that we were experiencing in our lives just relatability um and so when it was time for my books to really be my all uh social media just took it yeah there was nothing that like really uh held back at that point it just soared um i wouldn’t i actually wouldn’t have known about the louisiana indie author project yeah competition i can’t even remember who tagged me on it but the uh east baton rouge library had made a post about it yeah and somebody tagged me on it and i was like i’m i’m doing it yes and i and i got them the letter in the mail like hey you won i was like as you should have what very good who me no yeah yeah yeah you did you back good and they wouldn’t have known without social media no you wouldn’t have and and you know for an indie author social media is the equalizer right to me and looking on the outside looking in i see that as your way of being as big as a john grisham or as big as a stephen king or you name it i mean you can compete on that level right because you’re promoting money well it is and you’ve got to spend a little money on on social media as well in order to base those posts and things but you can get your message out completely free all it is is relying on those people to share it for you word of mouth is a huge thing huge um a friend of mine actually made a post about one of my books the other day um i didn’t know she was reading it i’d given it to her for free like i don’t know in october so she made a post about it and i sold 17 books that day and that is one of my books that it’s my backlist it does not sell and i like looked at my numbers last night and i was like what the heck i was like it had to have been that because like it was only transfixed yeah and that is what she’d been reading yeah so um yeah if you are a business owner and you’re not implementing social media you are doing yourself and your business the biggest disservice like you have to that is where people are at that is what people are doing that is where people are looking for their news their entertainment it’s the first thing they pull up in the morning when they wake up accept it or not say it’s crazy or not it’s probably not but it doesn’t matter people that’s what they do that is the statistic and if you want to reach them you better get on facebook you better you know learn you a social media person whatever you got to do but get on social media yeah yeah i did it all myself from the bottom up 100 and do a podcast yeah that i highly recommend fit blends of denim springs can help you with everything from meal prep to supplements i love it that they serve breakfast all day in addition to the best ultra healthy wraps you can really get anywhere in livingston parish they are home of the five dollar smoothie friday 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um so now uh one of the other ways in which you can get out is through book signings as you discussed and uh and of course being a local podcast and you know we always promote local things local authors things like that um i can see you at like the fact that you’re not at the library just signing books like crazy to your hand hurts you get carpal tunnel doing it just blows my mind because you are such an amazing author you have accomplished so much i mean 21 books folks i’m gonna say it again she’s got a great one coming out um and one thing i’m gonna do is we’re gonna we’re gonna introduce you to the um to the director of the livingston parish libraries who is a a personality all in and of itself trust me i love it he knows who he is but uh but we’re gonna we’re gonna because i think he can help kind of get that message out where it’s convenient for people to come to you and and meet you you’re such an amazing personality um and so excited to do that and help you out any way i can there now all of this stuff this this young lady does and guess what she has time for another company right so she she also has a publishing company called night shade nightshade press nightshade for us tell me about that um so when i set out a few years ago to publish books um i thought i’m gonna be in every bookstore and i’m gonna do the things and i am going to be successful and i am not going to stop until i get there um and i approached a local bookstore and i was told well you can do consignment because those isbn numbers are expensive and i already had a few books out and look it’s expensive to get a cover it’s expensive to do the edits it is expensive to to market everything that goes into one book and people pay 3.99 for an e-book and like 14.99 for a paperback it takes a lot to recoup those numbers yeah and so um at the time i just i could not afford an isbn like it just at the end of the day i was like my books aren’t selling that well like it was family and friends yeah um and so i just thought i can’t i can’t like it it’s not it’s not feasible anything else and i am bills aren’t going to get paid so uh i said okay well i’m just i can’t offer what the local bookstore wants they want an isbn and they want to be able to have a return policy on their books which is typical it’s very common in bookstores if a book doesn’t sell like which is still weird to me even though it’s typical because i’m like i mean what if somebody reads the book in three days and brings it back and says i want to return it i mean not that everybody’s like that but it’s like it’s trending on tick tock right now they don’t have return policies on like underwear why would they have it on a book well hey people read the entire world maybe it’s a weird comparison but that’s what i think of i mean you can’t people think you worn drawers and then bring them back anyway well um so i think it’s just mainly they want a return policy on a book if the books have not sold like oh so that’s exciting but amazon is the only retailer who allows ebooks to be returned okay so i’ve had people come and they’ve read every single book in the series i see it there’s no way that you’re that somebody’s returning all three books you’ve read all three books you return it no like it’s different if you read a third of the book and you’re like this isn’t for me and you want to return it please don’t return books that you’ve read completely yeah it’s stealing literally amazon takes money from us when that happens wow yeah i’ve logged on and had a negative balance before and i’m like oh i love you i love you all so much um but yeah so they wanted the return policy and i at the time i was small potatoes um and so i could not offer that so i last year i sat down with my husband and i was like all right so how can i do this how can i get in there how can i what what can i do so we my husband had started in like a small automotive business at that time which he’s not doing now he was like i hate working on other people’s vehicles um but so i saw him do like his llc and doing all the things that he needed to do and i was like okay i can do it too so i said i’m gonna then i’m gonna sit down with an entertainment a lawyer and i’m gonna get forms felt like you know i’m gonna find out the legalities right of what i need to offer these local bookstores so that i can get my books in there yes so i can have them printed sent to myself and then i can distribute them yes so um i so that that’s why i did that and then i started doing stickers and i opened up an etsy i saw that business i saw your cute little stickers i actually looked at your etsy store yesterday oh my gosh it hasn’t checked it out on etsy yeah it hasn’t been as much lately because we moved and sure moving takes everything out of you but uh yeah so i wanted something that i could do merch um the being a reader because i’m a reader first yeah uh it is the experience it is the the cover art i have i have i have like character art done it is just everything i’ve seen authors who’d put art in the books who who there’s a whole thing and i’m like wow it’s so expensive but i love it so i uh it’s about the experience and when i sat out with the nightshade press i said i want the full experience i want to do uh merch i want to have sweatshirts i want to have the gang you know like in search of alpha male 1 you know like yes just stuff like that enemies to lovers sweatshirts like looking for my enemy whatever i wanted all i just wanted it to come full circle so when i started that it was just mainly just to to get my name out there some more yeah yeah your smart check thanks very good and and look that’s diversifying that’s that is uh probably one of the top three keys to business it’s always diversify i always have a method of if this part of your business isn’t clicking at that time this one may be and that’s that’s just your natural business acumen kicking in and for me it’s due or die like this is this is it this ain’t no die yeah yeah it’s just dude you know you’re not a quitter but like that’s like the thought process is like if i don’t do this if i don’t sell books if i don’t like keep going keep it it will affect me it’ll affect my family you know like this is my livelihood this is my legacy oh i like that it sounds like a book yeah yes um and let me ask you because believe it or not we’ve been going an hour and ten minutes or it seems like about five minutes doesn’t it yeah so i want to ask you this um how much do you love writing someone asked it’s in my blood it is my lifeblood it is everything that i am yeah i honestly i don’t think it’s a it’s a love at this point i think it’s just it’s just me yeah and i love me yeah yeah well you’re awesome who couldn’t love you yeah so um well people say i’m obnoxious oh wow oh well don’t listen to them um i can tell you i am absolutely honored to have you on i think you’re a ultra just a personality a unique person thank you in every way shape or form and you’re a huge asset to this community i’m proud to have met you and consider you a friend and uh and really we’re you know we’re just kind of starting you come back on here anytime you want oh my gosh but we’re gonna we’re gonna help you any way we can to kind of you know use our contacts to maybe get you out there a little further in in the community because i think it all kind of starts in your community and branches out from there well i don’t feel like i’m as known in the community um i feel like i’m i have readers in australia curators my actually my biggest market is in the uk um i make more money there but uh i i feel like i made it when somebody on facebook i didn’t know i was commenting in a group like a weight loss group yeah and she’s like oh my gosh you’re the one who writes those books yeah i was like you are oh my gosh yes that’s me but like yeah so i don’t feel like i’m i don’t feel like i’m well known here in the community because i feel like i’ve put myself out so much on social media and i don’t have a lot of friends who are local right so it is a little bit harder to get local yeah when you’re just you know just focused on getting your name out there absolutely 100 and it’s all steps so and we’re going to help you through those steps here and uh and all of that sort of stuff so again i appreciate you coming on love for you to come on soon because there was so much i did not cover now i do want to story and long winded yeah what i do want to but a beautiful story and it was great um i do want to say you have a brand new book coming out you kind of touched on it earlier on the 20th the witch and the wolf yes the crimson pack rogues the crimson pack rogue so y’all look for that i’m going to link all the information you need to the description of this episode uh so all you got to do is scroll down click where can they find you on facebook facebook tick tock instagram yeah goodreads yep yep where the place that authors go to die everywhere i’m just i’m just about everywhere just about everywhere so just google it a lonergan yeah longer again okay it’s okay i want to say alone i know it’s you say it like you spell it i’m gonna get that for the next episode so uh thank you so much for coming on it’s been a pleasure i do want to thank all the listeners viewers and the sponsors for all you do for us here local leaders podcast we could not do any of this without all of you really we appreciate it and until next time i’m jim chapman reminding you love your community support local business and local authors just like this young lady sitting across from me and keep leaving thank you very much

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