Interview with A.R. Vagnetti
Author of Forgotten Storm
Where are you from originally and where do you reside now?
I’m was born and raised a desert rat from Tucson, Az. As I’ve gotten older, though, the summer heat in Arizona became too much, so now I spend my summers in the beautiful Upper Peninsula of Michigan and continue to winter in Tucson.
If you currently reside somewhere besides where you were born, what’s the story that lead from there to here?
Growing up, I never ventured farther than Tennessee, but when I met my husband, who is originally from Michigan, he took me back there one summer for vacation, and I fell in love with all the greenery and water. Which eventually led to us buying a summer place.
What made you decide to write and publish your first book?
I wrote my first book over 20 years ago. It was romantic suspense, and it was just horrible. LOL. I threw it in the closet, never to be seen again– Although I’ve threatened to take it out one day and rewrite it. I still had a passion for writing, with characters and stories vying for my attention inside my brain, but work and life got in the way, and I didn’t get back into writing until a little over three years ago. I was fortunate enough to retire early, and suddenly I had time on my hands to write.
I went into this journey, never imagining I would become a published author. I just wrote the story and characters who wouldn’t leave me the hell alone.
How would you describe your books to first time readers?
Forgotten Storm is the first book in my Storm Series. The short version; it’s a paranormal romance about a courageous young woman struggling to overcome an abusive past while a seductive vampire forces her to battle her fears, accept her destiny foretold in an ancient prophecy, and trust him with her heart.
The extended version; (Blurb)
Blues singer, Nicole Giordano is haunted by nightmares from a past she can’t remember. Moving from town to town and always looking over her shoulder, her only comfort is the seductive man who soothes her dreams, Logan Moretti. He guides her every move, claiming to be her Guardian.
But when Logan suddenly appears in the flesh on her doorstep, it triggers an explosion of suppressed memories: her mother’s hatred, her father’s abuse, the existence of Other species, and her ultimate destiny, a century-old prophecy.
With the help of their friends, Nicole and Logan fight to stay hidden until the prophesied time, when she will come face to face with her greatest fear, all the while struggling to control their raging desire for each other. A desire that, if unleashed, could destroy them all.
Who do you feel is most likely to connect with the topics you write about?
Well, I think women are most likely my audience, although I’ve received feedback from numerous men who loved the story. I believe Nicole and Logan will resonate with a variety of readers. They will root for them, laugh, and cry with them, and become embroiled in their struggles to thwart their enemies and revel in their passion for each other.
What unexpected or surprising thing did you learn during the process of writing and publishing?
Oh boy! Do I have to choose one? I guess the biggest surprise for me was how deeply I connected with my main character Nicole. Her proud, fierce, and sarcastic attitude masks a deep chasm of pain and insecurities, and one of the ways she learns to open up and let everything that’s broiling inside out, is through song. Her singing allows her an avenue to show her conflicting emotions in a way she can’t in her day to day life.
I discovered while writing her, Nicole is a part of me, a reflection of my soul. Without the singing, of course, and times fifty. 🙂
If you could, what advice would you give to your past self before embarking on this journey?
Build my author platform and write all four books before seeking a publisher. It’s so true when they say; hindsight is 20/20. I was just so impatient to get started that I never stopped to consider all the different aspects of being an “author.” And going into it, I had little experience with writing. My first book was a huge learning curve for me, hence the reason it took me three years to finish. So I guess I would also tell myself to take more writing courses than I did.
How many people would you ideally like to reach with your books?
Well, as many as I can, of course. But, in all honesty, if my story touches just one person, one who connects with my characters, relates to their struggles, and finds comfort in understanding; no matter what you are going through in your life, or what issues weigh you down, seek support in those who love you. Going it alone is not always the best choice. If my book accomplishes that, it wouldn’t matter whether I sold one or a thousand books.
What has been the biggest challenge and frustration during the process to date?
Yikes! Again, must I pick just one? Besides marketing, I would have to say my lack of knowledge on the publishing side of things. I had no clue going in what to expect. What was a good deal or a bad one? Thank God I found the #writingcommunity on twitter. They were, and continue to be, such an unending plethora of information and support. I was also lucky enough to find a wonderful publisher who connected with Forgotten Storm beyond my expectations.
What’s your biggest strengths when it comes to book a) writing, b) publishing and c) marketing?
A) My biggest strength lies in writing sex and fight scenes. When I’m writing those, they seem to flow from someplace deep in my brain straight to my fingertips with lightning speed. I don’t stop and analyze every sentence or worry about which direction to take. They stream live through my brain like an erotic movie.
B) I’m not sure I possess any strengths in the publishing department, but I’ll throw live events out there. Before and after the launch of Forgotten Storm, I participated in numerous events in Michigan with great success. I hope to continue that here in Tucson with the couple of book signings I have lined up.
C)That’s an easy one. My biggest strength in marketing is the connections I’ve made in the #writingcommunity on Twitter and Instagram. I can’t tell you how supportive and encouraging it is. I was invited to join an awesome bunch of writers/authors in a group called Inappropriate Acres. They welcomed me with open arms, and I couldn’t be more grateful.
What’s your biggest weakness when it comes to book a) writing, b) publishing and c) marketing?
Weaknesses. I hate talking about those. LOL
A) I’m still learning every day about the nuances of the English language. So many rules it boggles my mind. I rely on software to help me navigate through all that, because let’s face it, not everyone is an English Major. 🙂
B)Impatience! LOL, I never understood all that was involved in the whole publishing process. I thought once I submitted my book, voila, three months later, my book was out. Nope. Totally wrong. There is so much more involved in getting a submitted manuscript transformed into a completely polished book.
C)Knowing what avenue will grant me the most exposure for my target audience. It is determining which marketing strategy will be the best bang for the buck and get my book in front of readers. It’s overwhelming at times, and since I strive to always give 100% to anything I embark on, I struggle with all the unknowns.
When do you think you will write your next book?
Forgotten Storm is the first book of four in my Storm Series, although each book is a standalone read. Book 2, Forbidden Storm, is already in my publisher’s hands. I’m currently deep into book 3, Fiery Storm, and I’m hoping to have the first draft finished by the end of this year. Then she’s off to the editors and betas. If all goes well, I would like to submit Fiery Storm by March at the lastest. Then it’s on to the last book in the series, Fractured Storm.
Are you self published or did you use a hybrid publisher, or a traditional publisher?
Going through the querying process, I was fortunate enough to have several publishers who were interested in my manuscript. Still, I chose Kyanite Publishing, a small independent press because they connected so profoundly with Forgotten Storm. I knew they would work hard to help polish her while at the same time, maintaining my author’s voice. I’ve been thrilled with my choice.
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