First Sale Stories: Tempest Knight, "Enduring Promise"
Lynda: What’s the name of your first book?
Tempest: “Enduring Promise”
Lynda: When was it published?
Tempest: June, 2006
Lynda: Which publishing house?
Tempest: Cobblestone Press
Lynda: What’s it about?
Tempest: It's a haunting yet very passionate story of a love that will last an eternity and a promise that will endure beyond death.
Before Armand died by the hands of a vampire-hunting mob, he vowed Giselle Dubois he’d find a way to return to her on All Hallows' Eve. But after three centuries of waiting, her hopes have vanished, and feeling lonely, she is about to walk into the sunlight and end her life on All Hallows' Eve. Until Armand wanders into Giselle's house. Except now he’s now thirty-five-year-old photographer Evan Harris. And he doesn’t remember her. She must awake his memories before dawn using every single sensual means at her disposal. But would he be the same man she knew and loved?
Lynda: What was the inspiration for the book?
Tempest: The title, “Enduring Promise.” I knew from the beginning I wanted to write a vampire story, but I didn't have any details in mind. But as soon as I found "the title," it was like magic. I could see Evan and Giselle acting the scenes in my mind's eye. I love those moments when it all comes together.
Lynda: Is it part of a series?
Tempest: Sort of. While I was working on the edits of "Enduring Promise," two more vampire stories popped in my head regarding their schiavi di sesso. Actually, one is a vampire story, the other is a faery story. Anyway, I'd not call it a series per se. The only thing they have in common is the theme.
Lynda: What do you like most about your main characters?
Tempest: Armand/Evan is hot and sexy. His love and devotion for Giselle surpasses time and space. He's the kind of man every woman dreams of in every way. Although she's a vampire, Giselle is sensitive and vulnerable, especially when it comes to her love for Evan, a human.
Lynda: What’s your favorite aspect of the book?
Tempest: It was fun to work on the steamy love scenes. It was something I'd never done before so it was a challenge.
Lynda: How long have you been writing fiction?
Tempest: I began to take my writing seriously about 4 years ago after I did some career moves that allowed me to have more spare time.
Lynda: Is this your first paranormal manuscript?
Tempest: No. I wrote a much longer one two years ago for the NaNo Challenge. That one was a blast. I might have to sit and edit it someday.
Lynda: Is paranormal your main focus?
Tempest: Definitely. I can't seem to get away from it. Even when I've tried to write pure contemporary stories, somehow the paranormal element sneaks in. The funny thing is that it flows so easily and naturally from me that I don't notice it until my critique partners point it out to me.
Lynda: What attracts you about the paranormal characters you write about?
Tempest: What is not to like about them? *wg* The potential to develop these characters goes beyond most of the scope of what you usually have with "normal people." I can make them do things we can't normally do, and that's a lot of fun. Also, this brings further potential conflicts into a plot. An extra edge.
Lynda: How long did it take to sell your book, from the time you finished your manuscript?
Tempest: Hmm... That depends. The original version of "Enduring Promise" was for a competition. When it didn't win, I expanded it for another competition. Again, when it didn't win, I expanded it even more to fit Cobblestone's guidelines. I finished editing it on a Monday afternoon and sent it to Cobblestone. About 7 hours later I had an email from Sable Grey, one of the publishers, accepting my story.
Lynda: Do you recommend that a pre-published writer focus on finding an agent first, or do you think it’s OK to submit directly to the publisher?
Tempest: That depends if you want to go NY publish or epublish. If you're interested in the first, there are publishers who accept un-agented material and there are those who don't. So before you make any decision, think about what you want out of your writing career. Study the market. See which publisher is best suited for your books. If they don't require you to have an agent, then submit away. If they do require an agent, then do a good research and study which agent can help you further your career. Having an agent doesn't guarantee a sale. I'm sure you've heard of horror stories of writers who have wasted years with agents who didn't do anything for their careers. So before you tie yourself to someone who can mess up your career, make sure he/she is the right agent for you. Now, if you're planning to submit to epublishers, then you don't need an agent. Everything is pretty straight forward in this world, so you and your lawyer can handle it just fine.
Lynda: Thinking about the notion of “It’s always darkest before the dawn,” what was the lowest point in the process for you? Was there a time you almost gave up?
Tempest: I'd say at the end of the editing process. It became a true hell. There were times when I came very close to push the "delete" button and erase the whole story.
Lynda: What was the process of revisions/rewrites like?
Tempest: It was hellish. I went through 5 rounds of critiques. But then again, I had to do that because the story went from being 6,000-words long to twice that many. I wanted this story to be almost perfect before I submitted it.
Lynda: What was it like, working with the editor at your publishing house?
Tempest: Leanne Salter was truly amazing. We had a great rapport. She made editing hell less hellish. *lol*
Lynda: Do you have any words of wisdom for us regarding rewrites/revisions?
Tempest: Patience. Lots of patience. Writing a story is easy. Editing is not. No wonder it's called editing hell, right? So be patient when you're revising your story. I know sometimes it's too much and you feel overwhelmed. So put the story away for a while, and come back to it later. Also trust your instincts. I know I'm starting to sound like Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda here but it's true. *lol*
Lynda: Do you get a lot of help marketing your book, or do you have to do it yourself?
Tempest: Cobblestone Press has a list of places where they submit ebooks. Any other review place outside that, it's up to me to submit. They have a nice website featuring the latest releases, and they sell our ebooks through it. In order to draw attention to new releases and authors, they hold the authors & publishers chats every Friday night (from 7pm to 9pm Central) for the new releases. Readers can come and chat with us. The chats are pretty fun! Besides that, Cobblestone has a Yahoogroup so it adds further interaction between readers and authors.
Lynda: What’s your best marketing advice?
Tempest: Keep your name out there. It's like your brand. Create a website and make sure to update it regularly. Now the trend is to have a blog and a webpage in MySpace, so go for it too. They are easy to set up and free.
Lynda: Did you have input about your cover?
Tempest: Oh yes! Cobblestone Press sent me a form to fill out with almost every detail. I also sent pics of my ideas so the graphic artist, Sable Grey, could see what I had in mind. Then we worked things out, seeing what worked and what didn't.
Lynda: What are your writing plans for the future?
Tempest: I'm juggling a lot of projects at the same time. I'm working on a wereanimal story for an anthology which I'm developing with two wonderful paranormal writers, Cassandra Curtis and Vivienne King. I'm also developing a few other stories which hopefully I'll see published on 2007. I've had offers from other publishers to send them some of my stories so I'm totally thrilled. Then I'm writing flash fiction stories for Midnight Moon Cafe blog and soon I'll also have a short-short out with them.
Lynda: What advice would you give to all the pre-published writers out there?
Tempest: Learn your craft well. Take as many workshops as you can and put into practice what you've learned. But most important, keep writing. You know what they say, "practice makes perfect." The more you write, the easier it becomes. Also read. Reading will jog your imagination. And last, don't give up. Find your niche and stick with it. The last is the hardest part to do. It took me a while to find my niche. I tried to write in different subgenres before I found one that I could feel comfortable with it.
Lynda: How can readers find out more about you?
Tempest: They can check out my personal website at http://www.tempestknight.com/. Also they can join Midnight Moon Café Newletter at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/midnightmooncafe/ to keep up to date . Now, if they’re looking to have some fun, go by my Midnight Moon Cafe blog athttp://midnightmooncafe.blogspot.com/. And finally, they can find me at http://www.myspace.com/tempestknight. Feel free to add me to your list of friends.
Thanks for having me here!