This time I'm thrilled to be interviewing the amazing Elicia Hyder, Amazon best-selling author of The Soul Summoner. On Wattpad she is also a star. Her debut novel, The Bed She Made, has been at #1 of the ChickLit hotlist for several weeks now and is about to reach the million reads milestone any minute.
Today, she will share with us what it takes to become a successful indie writer and will also tell us about her recent and exciting encounter with two of the most prominent American writers of our time: Stephen King and John Grisham. If we didn't like her so much, we would be all green with envy!
Thank you so much for taking the time for this little chat. Tell me a little about yourself. Who is Elicia?
Well, I'm a lot of things. I'm a mom, a wife, a writer, a survivor.
A little bit about your writing history now: how did you come to writing in the first place? Did anyone influence or encourage you to become a writer?
I've always been an avid reader, but even more than that, I've always been a crazy dreamer, both asleep and awake. I'm pretty sure I spent all of ages 12-16 lost in a cloud somewhere, fantasizing about what I wished my life was like. I started writing those daydreams down, and a few of my friends did too. We would share our stories only with each other. It was like my very own writers group.
The Bed She Made and its prequel, To Be Her First, have some autobiographical elements in them. How about The Soul Summoner and The Detective — where do you get the inspiration for these stories and their characters from?
The Soul Summoner was actually birthed out of a joke. My best friend has always said I have my main character's ability to be able to talk about someone and make them show up. It's happened so many times that it's a little creepy. I told my husband about it a few years ago. That same weekend we were discussing a friend of ours from high school that neither of us had seen or heard from in a decade. The very next day I got a friend request from that guy on Facebook. It still gives me chills to think about it.
What kind of writer are you? Are the plot and subplots completely planned from the start or you’re a ‘pantser’ and just let it flow?
I have to say I'm a pantser, but I do a ton of plotting in my head before I ever start writing. So I have a general idea of where the story is headed when I start typing. Now that I'm finishing up The Soul Summoner series, I have to do a lot more note-taking and outlining than I've ever done before. The Soul Summoner will consist of four books (at least for now), and they all tie in together, so I have to keep track of many details throughout the whole series. But for the most part, I simply start with one idea and let it snowball.
You’ve become a quite successful self-published author and I have to congratulate you for that. You’re celebrity now and we’re all so very proud of you! In just a few lines, what advice would you give to writers who decide to go that route as well?
I don't know about being a celebrity, but thank you. My biggest advice is: DON'T QUIT. It's easy to get discouraged by the amount of time and money it takes to self-publish the right way. It's also very discouraging when your sales fluctuate. Find a good network of indie authors to encourage you and learn as much as you can about marketing books.
Okay, you're not a celebrity, but you do hang out with them, so I have to ask you this: how does it feel to have met Stephen King and John Grisham in person?
How do I feel? Well... I still can't get this stupid smile off my face. The reporter from the newspaper said, "I want to get a photo of the three best-selling authors in the room tonight." And oh my gosh, she meant me! There I was sandwiched between two of the biggest authors in history. I made the local news in Sarasota and Stephen King hugged me... I mean, there is no way to put into words exactly how I feel.
And I’m curious now: how did Stephen King react when you showed him that image with your book at #1 on the Amazon Best Seller list and his book at #2?
He laughed and said, "You beat me!" Then he said Congratulations. I thanked him for his book On Writing because it has had the biggest influence on my career and he got a tad emotional and hugged me. My friend got it on video and the journalist got pictures. That moment is right up there with my wedding day and my kids being born.
How do you balance marketing one book and writing the next?
It may not be the answer you want to hear, but I work about 15 hours a day. Sometimes seven days a week. True story. I've published four books in the past six months and have written two during that time, so it's possible if you're willing to put in the hours. Hopefully this year I'll be able to outsource more of the workload, but it's easily a full time job for a few people.
You’ve got FIVE children! And how do you balance life and writing?
I couldn't do it without my husband. He moves mountains for me and sacrifices so much so that I can do all that I do. He also makes sure that I do have balance, often reminding me when it's time to eat or go to bed. Someday I hope to buy him a golf course to say thank you. ;)
Thank you so much again, Elicia, not only for your time, but also for all the advice and knowledge that you share with us, on Wattpad. You're very generous.
Elicia's Official Website
You can also find Elicia on FACEBOOK, TWITTER and WATTPAD.