I’m excited to announce my friend Tima Maria Lacoba’s first ever, official Blog Tour for her debut book, Bloodgifted, the start of the Dantonville series. The blog tour is run by Chic Lit Plus. See below for all the different bloggers featuring Tima on their site. It runs from March 3rd to 24th.
I’ve been impressed with Chic Lit Plus, and am discovering new writers and ideas when I log on.
My review and interview with Tima follows, but first here’s the bloggers’list:
March 3rd – Chick Lit Plus—Review
March 4th – Sweetsbooks—Review, Q&A and an Excerpt from Bloodgifted
March 5th – Christy’s Written Word Love – Excerpt
March 7th – Chick Lit Club Connect – Guest Post
March 10th – Wonderland Avenue – Review
March 11th – Storm Goddess Book Reviews – Review
March 13th – Bookworm Bridgette’s World – Excerpt
March 14th – Step into Fiction – Review
March 17th – A Novel Thought—Review and Q&A
March 19th – Books Reviews by Dee—Guest Post and Excerpt
March 21st – PJ Byer Writer Blog—Review and Q&A
March 24th – Samantha March—Q&A and Excerpt
Tima writes, “Each one of those Q&As asked something completely different, and a few really made me think. One asked me for a playlist, which is something I would never have thought of. Yet most of BLOODGIFTED was written while listening to my favourite pieces of music that set my mind in the right mood for a particular scene. To find which one asked for that, you’ll have to check them all out!
So, if you’re planning on following the Tour—and I would LOVE everyone to—you’ll discover something different about me each day.
I’ll be updating this page daily, so you can simply click on the links and it’ll take you straight to the site.
Happy Blog Tour!”
Hi, This is PJByer again! I’m really happy to feature Tima on my blog. Her paranormal book is a well-written, exciting romance, and the main characters of Laura and Alec will grab you. I especially love the historical context as well as the contemporary setting in Sydney. We love reading about our city!!
Tima is a hard-working writer, and is well into the second book in the Dantonville series, Bloodpledge. As well, she has written a short story, Laura’s Locket, free on Amazon, to flesh out an early part of Laura’s story. Tima’s own story of the genesis of these books and her roller coaster ride in the world of self-publishing, make fascinating reading. Not only is she writing, but also is busy promoting her work on social media. I’m learning a great deal in this area from Tima, too.
So without further ado, here’s my Q & A with Tima.
1. Congratulations on the publication and success so far of Bloodgifted, ranked 67,000 on Amazon (AU). What was the spark that started off this story?
There were two things—the first was my visiting the Roman site of Vindobala in Britain when I was doing research for my MPhil. It was abandoned in the mid 3rd century, and no one as yet has come up with a convincing argument. So, I created my own! Secondly, someone once remarked—very kindly—that I looked young for my age and I laughingly replied it’s vampire blood! That’s how it began.
2.Paranormal is a very popular genre now. How does your book stand out in the market, what makes it different? And who do you see as your readers?
I agree, it is a saturated market, but it’ll always have a cult following. It’s been popular since Bram Stoker published Dracula in the late 19th century.
BLOODGIFTED is different in that it deals with an ancient curse that turned a group of Roman soldiers into vampires who must wait 1800 years for their freedom. It’s a story of redemption, love and sacrifice, and of course, a love story.
Originally I aimed this at the New Adult market as the protagonists are in their twenties, but I found anyone from sixteen to sixty had enjoyed reading it.
3. The romance between Laura and Alec is central to the novel – what was uppermost in your mind as you shaped the arc of this relationship?
To show how love can develop when both parties least expect it, and even when they’re both reluctant to be involved with each other. It’s a pleasant and, at the same time, frightening surprise. Laura and Alec fight it all the way—to no avail!
4.Do you have a favourite character? Why?
Alec, of course. He’s my ideal man, and we all know they don’t exist. That why I had to invent him! He’s loyal, responsible, and has a self-sacrificing nature, which Luc takes advantage of. He also had a dry sense of humour, which Laura can’t resist, and of course when he falls in love it’s forever.
Yet he has flaws, one that almost gets Laura killed—he can misjudge a situation, which he then does his utmost to rectify.
But then who wants a perfect hero!
5.Australian readers love the Sydney setting, and overseas readers are fascinated by our city. What are some of the key places in the novel that you loved writing about?
Sydney is a beautiful city, so it was fun to showcase it. I specifically chose some city locations, such as St Andrews Cathedral for Alec and Laura’s first encounter; and the lower end of Pitt St, near Circular Quay for Alec’s penthouse apartment. It’s a gorgeous spot near The Rocks and Opera House.
For Laura’s family home I chose one of the upper-middle class suburbs in southern Sydney—Earlwood. There are some lovely homes in the area.
Laura’s flat is in Rozelle, which together with Balmain, is one of the trendy inner-city suburbs, close to the city, where many professionals choose to live. House prices there are among the most expensive in the country.
Luc’s house, naturally, had to be in one of the wealthiest suburbs in Sydney—one with million dollar harbour views and its own boat jetty. As a real-estate magnate—and a vampire—security and secrecy is paramount, and that is only possible living in an area with large houses and extensive grounds. So it had to be somewhere on the North Shore.
6. With your archaeology and teaching background, you did much research. Share with us some interesting historical aspects in the book.
I love the period of the Late Roman Empire, so I had to find a way to incorporate it into my book. Being a Roman-Britain specialist, and after discovering what happened in Vindobala in the mid 3rd century, it seemed only natural I’d begin my story there. Most of our evidence for that period of British history is archaeological, as it’s on the cusp of the so-called Dark Ages.
The Romans had legionary forts stationed throughout Britain, and a string of auxiliary forts along Hadrian’s Wall to keep out the Picts. It was a violent time in which barbarian raiders from the North (the Picts) often attacked Roman settlements for slaves and booty. Soldiers from all parts of the Empire were stationed there to prevent these raids; not always successfully.
This is the era in which begins my story, then fast forwards to the twenty-first century.
7. Despite being offered a publishing deal, you chose to self-publish. Can you tell us a little about this journey, if you recommend it and what main lessons you have learned, so far.
I was offered a publishing deal, but the contract didn’t suit me. Unfortunately, publishers take a huge slice of the profits and most authors are left with the last 3-7%. As a result I decided to ‘go indie’ – independent. It’s a lot of work—and commitment—as indie authors do all our own publishing, marketing and publicity. On the other hand, we keep most of the profits.
After publishing my first book, and recently a short story on Amazon, Smashords, iTunes/iBooks and other online retailers, I realised just how much work is involved. Sometimes I think it would be nice to have a publisher do it for me. Ideally, eventually I’d like to be a hybrid author—a combination of traditionally published and indie pubbed. Each author has to choose what works best for them at the time.
8. What, so far, has/have been a highlight/s in the writing and publication of Bloodgifted? Similarly, what particular challenge/s have you faced?
I loved writing ‘Bloodgifted.’ The story seemed to pour out of me, and I laughed and cried in equal proportions. Compared to publication and the subsequent marketing of the book, the writing was easy, and I think most writers would agree with that—it’s the most challenging aspect of being a writer today. Whether you’re with a traditional publisher or indie, today’s authors need to have a professional platform established well ahead of publication. By that I mean, a Facebook author page; twitter; Goodreads page; Linkedin; pinterest; tumblr… etc. It seems endless nowadays. But that’s where you’ll find your readers, and hopefully, loyal fans.
9. What’s next in The Dantonville Legacy? Tell us briefly about your short story Laura’s Locket, plus the sequel to Bloodgifted and the books you plan after that.
Book 2 in the series—Bloodpledge—is already underway. I’ve written 75% and hope to have it completed by the end of March/early April for a June release. My editor needs at least 4-5 weeks to go through it.
‘Laura’s Locket’ is a short story based on an incident referred to in ‘Bloodgifted.’ It fills in details of a brief relationship my heroine, Laura, experienced when she was a teen, and the fated repercussions of that relationship many years later.
To find out, you’ll have to read ‘Bloodgifted!’
At the moment I’m planning on at least 8-10 books in this series—the first three will centre on Alec and Laura, while the rest will feature the other characters (Alec’s friends). Each guy will have his own story. I’m also considering setting book 4 in 3rd century Roman Britain—where the story actually originates. So, it looks like a historical novel will be included in the series.
10. Finally, there are many prospective writers out there toiling away on their manuscripts. Could you share any hints or advice with them, like the value of being in a writers’ group, your daily writing routine, and/or using social media to promote your work.
Join a writers’ group. Can’t stress that enough. Any literary work needs to be critiqued and edited, as writing can be a lonely profession and you don’t see your own errors. Having a supportive peer group of like-minded people will keep you stimulated.
How much time you spend writing is up to each individual—what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another. I prefer mornings; my mind is fresh and the ideas keep coming. By the afternoon I’m exhausted and I go for a walk, do the shopping, gardening… any activity that gets my body moving.
Social media can suck your time, so I tend not to spend too much time on it. Mornings I check my facebook and update my status – chat with friends (after all, it is SOCIAL media), then send a few tweets (the occasional promo, which I link to my Amazon book page/website). That’s it.
It’s good if you can sign up to a blog tour, which will give your book exposure. There are some good ones out there who’ll do a review, author/character interview and/or author bio. I’m doing this one in March with ChikLitPlus. Their readership following is amazing!
Hopefully it’ll result in a few sales.
Okay, that’s it!
Thanks for all those fabulous questions, Peita.