Interview with Beth Elisa Harris International Best Selling author of “Vision”.
1.Your name: Beth Elisa Harris
2.Short Bio: International Best Selling author of “Vision” – the first novel in the Clear Trilogy. Contributor to Best Seller “Indie Chicks Anthology.” Weekly blog team for WoMen’s Literary Café, a community site uniting authors and readers. OPI nail polish junkie, foodie and pop culture nerd.
3.When and why did you begin writing?
It was the perfect outlet in grade school for my fertile imagination. I wrote all sorts of stories through high school. I planned on being a novelist, but somewhere in college and life it didn’t quite happen. I was paid to write and promote others, occasionally submitted queries to agents, dabbled with ideas here and there. It wasn’t until 2009 when a story line I had carried with me for ten years unfolded in my head during a life-altering event. I haven’t stopped since and “Vision” was published in August 2011.
4.What inspired you to write your first book?
Our family discovered some fascinating family history – origins from the Scottish island of Colonsay. We are descendents of the MacPhie clan and were ostracized from the island by another clan. My warped mind ran with it. It’s the back story of “Vision.”
5. Did it take a long time to get your first book published?
When I knew I would publish, I had started to research independent options under the umbrella of our media company. I had not heard about the handful of successful Indie authors yet, but I knew I didn’t want to spend months on end sending queries to agents. I believed in my work, and searching for a third party who also believed in my work seemed like a needle in a haystack. I needed to steer my own ship. It took a little over a year to get the finished product on the market from inception to publication. There was a huge learning curve involved. If I may shamelessly self-promote but only because it’s on topic, I chat at length about this subject in my weekly blog for WoMen’s Literary Café. It’s good reading! All the WLC blogs are gems.
6. How do you market your work?
I’ve learned so much after the first round. Marketing starts before the release. Books need to be sent months in advance for PR and reviews so they can accompany the launch. Goodreads is a great way to advertise. They have affordable ad campaigns that always produce great results. Their giveaways are fruitful too, and great for building pre-release buzz. For “Vision” I had a couple extensive blog tours and some local bookstore appearances. Aside from all the social media tools (Twitter, Facebook, Google, Goodreads, etc.), my association with WoMen’s Literary Café has boosted name recognition. I also use free and paid ads on book sites with a robust following. I’ve also been featured in a couple of newspapers. We just launched my web site, http://bethelisaharris.com and also take advantage of sponsored programs from retail sites such as Amazon. And of course great supporters like you who host our interviews! I think it all works in tandem.
7. What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
Someone compared “Vision” to a jazz piece because the story is so unique and multi-layered (humbling), but here goes: A paranormal, historical, romance touched with humor, the human condition, good versus evil and unconditional love.
8. How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
The better part of a year, and primarily because I can’t spend every waking hour writing, especially since now a great deal of time is focused on marketing. With that said, I think authors should pace themselves and make sure their work is well-written and flawlessly edited, as much as that is possible, before releasing it to the world.
9. What genre would you place your books into?
The “Vision” trilogy is paranormal, historical, romance for all ages. It’s actually getting great reviews from male readers. But I don’t want to get locked into one genre. My story concepts vary in target readership.
10. Where do you get your book plot ideas from?
For Vision, I mentioned the family history piece above coupled with my fascination with the sixth sense, the human connection, and from there how someone with a strong ability could be vulnerable for exploitation. Other book plot ideas can be random, stuff I find fascinating and perhaps relate directly or indirectly to my own experiences.
11. Do you have writing routine?
When you write your first book, it’s such a pure time because you are 100% engaged with no other obligations. Then you publish, and the game changes. Now I find I must schedule writing time into my day. So…short answer, I try to write at least an hour each day. A good day is basically all day. Right now, the pressure is on to finish “Soul Herder” so I am forcing more time to write in my schedule.
12. Have you ever suffered from a "writer's block"? What did you do to get past the "block"?
I have not, and actually have the opposite problem – an over abundance of ideas, word structures, stories, etc.
13. Are there any specific authors whose writing styles or subject matter inspired your book?
When you are a voracious reader who writes, your classroom are the books you read. However, if you try to imitate another writing style, you smother your authentic, true writer voice and that’s not good. It takes much practice to find your voice…10,000 hours according to Malcolm Gladwell, author of Outliers. Finding your voice and not comparing it to other writers is key to writing freely.
14. What are you currently reading?
You caught me in between books because I’m in total writing mode! I just finished Deadly Reunion by Amy Manemann.
15. Are there any New Authors you are interested in for us to watch out for?
I encourage readers to visit WoMen’s Literary Café at www.womensliterarycafe.com, founded by best selling author Melissa Foster. There are so many amazing new authors there with skyrocketing sales and really unique books.
16. What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
Write, read, write, read, write…even if you don’t publish right away. Be open to criticism and really study the writing styles of successful authors from the genre(s) you are interested in pursuing. When you are ready to publish, make sure your work is polished to perfection. Not everyone will like your work, or they may like some of it and not all of it, and you WILL get bad reviews. But you never want anyone to say they couldn’t read what you wrote because the grammar, for example, was too bad. And don’t rush because you’re excited to be an author. You will be soon enough, just make sure you are prepared. Know the business first.
17. Do you have another project in the works? If so, what is it?
Working on the second book in the Clear Trilogy, “Soul Herder” then will finish the third. I have another book “Flyers” half done, and several other concepts underway.
18. How can people get in touch with you?
b) Your Facebook page? Facebook
c) Your Goodreads author page? Goodreads
d) Your Twitter details? @Bethelisaharris
e) Your G+ page? Beth Elisa Harris
f) Your book trailer? http://bit.ly/j0TNfu
20. Where can the readers buy your books?
Vision can be purchased/ordered through retail bookstores and ordered through Amazon. Here are the links.
Thank you so much & good luck with all your books.
Thank you Magda, and thank you so much for allowing me to chat with your bloggers.