Hi everyone! I’m very lucky to be interviewing today Shonah Stevens, author of Sunday’s Child.
Thank you for agreeing to this interview. Would you kindly tell us a bit about your background?
At what age did you decide you wanted to become an author?
Thank you Eleanor, it’s a pleasure to be with you today. I started writing poetry at around 8 years of age. I wanted to become an author in my thirties and sent a manuscript off to a publishing house in the UK via snail mail. Of course it was rejected!
My next attempt was when Amazon brought out their digital publishing arm. I published 3 nonfiction books which did quite well for a few years without any promotions. I don’t think anyone one did serious promoting in those days. Of course, the competition was a lot less!
Did you have to do any research before you started writing this book?
I didn’t have to do too much research as by books are based in Australia, so I was already familiar with the setting. I did research some of our Australian criminal law as it pertains to police procedures and private detectives.
What have you written so far?
I’ve written 4 novellas, which I combined into a box set. This is my first full length novel, with a second on the way.
What’s it about?
Sunday’s Child is about the kidnap of a young boy from a pre-school camp. The camp was in a remote area and no one witnessed the kidnap. There is no ransom demand and virtually no clues. The police have precious little to go on, so the distraught mother hires a private detective to help.
The bulk of the story is our detective and his police sergeant friend being led up blind alley after blind alley. It’s not until the boy is found that the horrible truth comes out.
What prompted you to write this book?
The idea came to me quite out of the blue. I have read a few kidnapping type stories and just thought, what if the plot was completely turned around?
How do you get through the dreaded writer’s block?
I’m lucky, I don’t have writer’s block in the classic sense. If I get stuck, I just free-write for a while until the muse returns!
Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?
Yes. It needed a lot of re-writing before I sent it to the editor.
What are your thoughts on writing a book series?
I think it’s the only way to go. If readers like your first book, they may go on to buy the whole series. It’s good to have the same main character too, so that he can grow and develop as the series progresses.
Do you read much and if so, who are your favorite authors?
I read endlessly! Mostly mystery fiction and some self-help books. My favorite authors are Sue Grafton, Mary Higgins Clark, Melinda Leigh, Angela Marsons, Joanna Penn, Elizabeth George, Celina Grace and Agatha Christie.
What do you do to get book reviews?
Grovel, beg and plead! At least for the first few. After that they tend to come in organically.
Have you received any bad reviews before and how did you handle it?
No, I’ve been lucky so far. If I did I would probably feel shattered for a couple of days and them go and thank the reviewer for their feedback.
Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future?
Biggest mistake I’ve made in the past was not marketing. These days I use sites such as Free Booksy and blog sites. I’m building up a Twitter following too. I must also mention my great Facebook friends as well. I’ve just started to use Amazon Sponsored Ads which seem to be working – sort of!
How do you relax?
I read and walk, sometimes at the same time!
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Don’t get sidetracked. Stick to your strengths. Don’t worry about what others are doing.
If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
Probably Angela Marsons – ‘The Silent Scream’. Her characters are so real and her stories keep you guessing.
What is your greatest dream?
To have around 10 or more books on Kindle and Create Space, and to have a few best sellers.
What do you love or hate the most about being a writer?
I love writing. It exercises my imagination. I even like editing. What I really, really hate is marketing!
How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Just follow the links below –
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Shonah-Stevens/e/B01FAH8Z40