Saturday, October 27, 2012

Maree Ward-Russell - HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author Maree Ward Russell. She is a YA Mystery & Thriller Author. Also she has the first in a new series being released soon called: The Transient - The Castle Trilogy.

Author Genre: Young Adult, Mystery & Thrillers, Teen Fiction & Fantasy

Author's Blog: M.W. Russell Author
Website: M.W. Russell Author
Twitter: @mibbymw
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook
Pinterest: Check Out Pinterest

Author Description: Maree Ward-Russell was born in New Plymouth, New Zealand in 1965. She currently resides in Auckland, in a home with a sea view across Auckland Harbour. She has two crazy cats, four fussy budgies and an army of teenagers to feed. By day she has been known to pick daffodils in the rain and by night she can be found stalking graveyards for creepy photos.

When not writing and looking after family she dreams of Dragons and Demons in the dark. She has been a Registered Nurse for twenty-six years and has an Advanced Diploma in Novel Writing from the New Zealand Business Institute.

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author
I have seen two of your covers and they are great. In Roses At Dusk you gave credit to Kathy LaVergne (Editor) and Patti Roberts (Illustrator). I like the idea giving credit a lot. To many author miss that opportunity. You will have two more books in your trilogy. When will we get to see those covers?
At this point in time, my illustrations will be done by Patti Roberts from Paradox Book Cover Designs http:// Patti has a good understanding of my vision and my needs as well as a high sense of professionalism, delivering a quality product every time. She has currently got covers in the pipeline for the follow up books in the Castle series and Snowdrops Wilt at Dawn (sequel to Roses at Dusk) also has its front cover completed.

I like your blog especially the interview with Carlie Cullen. I want to ask you the same question you asked Carlie: What are your thoughts on book trailers?
I love them. I think if done well, they are yet another avenue for attracting readers – especially as the visual medium is always so effective. I'm a very visual person, so I can see the benefits. Patti and I are also currently looking at book trailers for both my existing series.

You have a large twitter following (over 12K) and it increasing over 10% a month. How much does social media fit into your marketing plans? Do you make a conscious effort to expand the numbers? How do you keep up with all the tweets that must come your way?
Social media is all of my marketing plan. Living in New Zealand has its geographical limitations – especially when your target market is on the opposite side of the world. Twitter and Facebook have become vital for me to reach the masses, without them I would be lost. To some degree I do make a conscious effort to target. At least once a month, I actively seek to follow people who I believe would enjoy what I do, but following is not enough – you must be prepared to engage with your followers.

A reciprocal relationship is the key. And at 12k plus – this does have its challenges. Twice I day I sit down and devote my time to answering specific tweets and Facebook messages directly, but I have had to build a system that works. Due to the numbers, I no longer respond to direct messages on twitter – but rather just those tjat come through interactive tweets. Otherwise, I would have no time to write!

I have had several Spotlight blogs with authors from outside the US. Can you tell how much your audience is split between New Zealand and the US? Do you have a different marketing approach to the readers in your area vs. in other countries? How do you get exposure in the US? Do you do any traditional marketing like book signing, conferences, etc.?
I would say at least 75% of my readers would be from the US. The remainder would be mostly the UK, with a small amount situated in Australia and NZ. Kiwis, by in large are still coming to grips, with the concept of e-books or buying your paperback on line; so find the idea of not walking into the bookstore to get their copy, a little strange.

It is also a pretty parochial market here, with our most successful authors that sell well within our country, writing mostly about NZ things. Therefore, for those of us in the realm of other genres, especially paranormal – the market is elsewhere, with the US taking the biggest slice.

That does pose some problems with marketing. With book signings etc, that does present obvious difficulties on exactly where to start. Something I am still trying to solve. I think as the popularity of the work increases, then opportunities may well present themselves in the US, with invitations coming to do signings. It is still early. That means for the US and UK markets, my marketing is mostly social media based, whereas here – mostly Facebook and word of mouth. I am currently researching one or two ideas that are outside the square!

Do you belong to any author groups besides Goodreads? Support groups can be fun to belong too. Do you have any that help in the marketing?
Yes – I belong to at least another five author groups – all set up by authors, with support, advice and some self-promotion in mind. My biggest enemy to the cause, in these areas is time. With a large family, a day job and endless amounts of self-marketing to do, I feel at times I don't get as much benefit from these groups, or participate as much as I should. However, when I do – they are invaluable and I have met many wonderful people along the way.

I am conscious however of oversaturation of my work through social media marketing, so I try to make an effort not to do too many group promotional activities, so as to not bombard my audience and drive them away. Spamming annoys everybody.

Going along with your great covers, have you considered taking your storylines and mixing graphics with color and creating an ebook for young readers like a teaser for their later years?
Actually, until very recently, I hadn't. That was until just weeks ago, I saw one done quite expertly. Our rugby All Black's captain – Richie McCaw has just released a biography for adults and at the same time, the publishing company has released a version for small kids – right in their language and graphics. It has been well done and a clever marketing ploy in this case, as to most NZ kids, Richie is somewhat of a hero, and no doubt as these young ones get older, they will progress to buy the older version.

Whether that would work in the case of my darker paranormal reads – I don't know. That is, in a way, why I have written the Castle series (Including the Transient, The Soul Keeper, The Darkest Angel). These stories are really a younger prequel to the Demonic Series (Roses at Dusk and Snowdrops Wilt at Dawn.) The Castle series tells a far more innocent story, involving the afterlife and throughout, as things progress, the evil characters slowly emerge. They then come into their own in The Demonic series in a much older, darker way.

Author's Book List
Snowdrops Wilt at Dawn

Coming in 2013

Roses At Dusk (The Demonic Series)
What do you do when the one you trust can no longer be trusted? Where do you turn when the one you gave your heart to, your body, your blood, the murky depths of your soul, defies mortality's rules? What do you do...YOU RUN!

Hannah Malcolm has been through more in her short lifetime than any young woman should have to bear. So after the well publicised death of her family, Hannah decides to leave the bustling streets of Chicago and seek refuge, in the sleepy seaside town of Bar Harbor, in Maine. A new job, new friends and a quaint cottage on the cliff overlooking the sparkling waters of Frenchman Bay give her just the opportunity she needs.

But complications have always been a speciality of Hannah's and Bar Harbor is to be no exception. The town is reeling after an unexplained murder and several random assaults, which have small degrees of separation from her. One disaster after the next begin to swirl at Hannah's feet and to add to her worries her new found man is starting to appear not quite as he seems.

Bone chilling and a lesson in trust Roses at Dusk is a psychological thriller with a paranormal twist that will have you questioning your judgement with everyone you meet.
Amazon Buy Page -- Barnes and Noble Buy Page
The Transient - The Castle Trilogy (Book 1)
Coming Soon - November 2012 Release
Book One - The Transient. Melodie Gibson never had many friends in her life — that is, not until she moved from Australia to New York. Now, they fill her every waking moment. Fresh off the plane from the other side of the world, Melodie and her widowed father have moved into Heartworth Castle, an imposing manor-turned-Bed & Breakfast in upstate New York that he inherited from a distant aunt. But it’s no ordinary castle. Full of hidden secrets and layers of history, Heartworth has its ghosts—literally.

Dripping with atmosphere, adventure and epic romance, THE TRANSIENT is the first instalment in the completed “Castle Trilogy” which creates an original mythology with roots in classical and biblical literature, where the afterlife is as complicated as the present, and the rules are just as hard to follow.

It centres around Melodie, a socially awkward teenager, and Joseph, a “Transient ghost” that can take human form and who was murdered by a spurned love in the latter stages of the Civil War. No one is supposed to be able to see Joseph—but Melodie Gibson does. This unexplained contact sparks a passionate romance between the two. As Mel settles into her new American home and begins making mortal friends, she falls for Joseph, but not before the Governance and some old enemies of Joseph’s begin to materialize against them. Apparently, not everyone is happy about their new found love.

THE TRANSIENT is only the first instalment; the final two novels are THE SOUL KEEPER and THE DARKEST ANGEL
Author Recommended by: HBSystems Publications
Publisher of ebooks, writing industry blogger and the sponsor of the HBS Author's Spotlight plus the blog: eBook Author's Corner

1 comment:

  1. Maree, I don't know how you do it! I only have two teenagers to fit around. Looking forward to that cocktail, then you can tell me all about it. :)