Welcome to my Authors 40+ Series – sharing the stories of amazing authors who published their first book over the age of 40. The series features talented, experienced and inspirational writers who share their (often non-conventional!) writing and publishing journeys honestly and articulately. Next to feature, is Devorah Fox!
1) What is the title and synopsis/premise of your first book and how old were you when you published it?
My first published fiction title was “The Lost King,” a riches-to-rags high fantasy tale that became the first in a series of The Bewildering Adventures of King Bewilliam. I was 61 when I published it.
2) Tell me about writing the book e.g. where did the idea come from / how long did it take / what did you learn along the way?
I started “The Lost King” as my first National Novel Writing Month project. NaNoWriMo challenges writers to write 50,000 words in 30 days. I thought that would be easy. It wasn’t but I did it. By the end of November 2010 I had a rough draft of about three-quarters of the story. Over the next 12 months I wrote the ending then rewrote and polished the story. Editing and proofreading followed.
The story was inspired by a friend’s predicament and my desire to depict a way for it to turn out happily ever after. (That proved to be harder than I anticipated. It’s taken four books to reach the end of one of the main character’s arcs.)
I’ve been a crime fiction reader my entire life so I was surprised to find myself writing high fantasy but that was how the story wanted to be told. Since then I’ve learned a lot about the fantasy genre and about writing serial fiction.
3) Tell me about your publishing journey step by step – what happened once the book was finished?
I published “The Lost King” somewhat by accident. I had written part of it as my National Novel Writing Month project. Createspace offered NaNoWriMo “winners” a coupon for a free print copy of their book. When the book was completed I cashed in that coupon. I thought that it would be nice to have a title with my name on it for my signed-by-the-author bookshelf. I didn’t realize when I clicked “publish” that it would make the book available for purchase. I was stunned to get email from my first fan telling me how much he enjoyed the book and asking when the next one would come out. The next one? Is there going to be a next one? I guess there is!
4) Who or what has helped you the most in becoming a published author?
Throughout my working life I’ve held several jobs in editing, graphic design, and layout so I know my way around publication production. That definitely gave me a leg up in self-publishing.
5) What are the main obstacles you faced / overcame when writing and publishing your book(s)?
An obstacle that I haven’t overcome is that I write slowly. Fantasy-fiction-writing Facebook friends report writing thousands, even tens of thousands of words a day. I don’t know how they do it and wish that I could, especially since I’m squeezing fiction writing into my laughingly-called spare time. I wish that I could write faster so that I could get my ideas out while they’re hot.
6) How do you promote/advertise your book(s)?
Honestly, I don’t advertise. I know, I know, I should. I have quite a few author friends who do. I simply can’t convince myself to spend money advertising for a sale on which I make 35 cents. I do however spend hours on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest (no Instagram or Snapchat yet). I blog, I send out a newsletter. I go on blog tours. I attend virtual and IRL conventions. I hold signing events for new book launches. I’ve facilitated workshops and was the guest author at book discussion club meetings. To be invited to serve in those capacities has been as much an honor as promotional opportunities.
7) How did you celebrate the incredible achievement of your first book being published?
I changed my birthday. I now celebrate on the December 14th anniversary of the publication of “The Lost King.” My rebirth as a fiction author is more meaningful to me than the day that I came into being. If anyone deserves to be celebrated for that particular achievement it would be my mother. She did all the work. All I did was to show up.
8) What advice would you give to other authors about to begin their publishing journey?
Join a writers group. If there isn’t one that meets locally, find one online. I continue to learn so much from the other members of writers groups to which I belong and read-and-critique from supportive writers is invaluable.
Also, read books and blog posts about craft written by other writers and take writing workshops whenever possible. There is always more to learn. I find that it keeps me from getting complacent about my writing.
9) Where is/are your book(s) currently available to read and where can people find you online?
Good portals for my titles are Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Devorah-Fox/e/B006L9BJAO and Smashwords at https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/mbapub. Some of my print titles are also available in libraries and bookstores. I have a blog at http://devorahfox.com and I enjoy connecting with people on Facebook and Twitter. I’m https://www.facebook.com/DevorahFoxAuthor and @devorah_fox respectively. The link to subscribe to my newsletter is http://eepurl.com/LrZGX.
10) Are you working on anything new we can look forward to in 2019?
The heroine of “Lady Blackwing,” a Fantasy/Science Fiction Mini, tackles her second adventure in “Lady Blackwing Gets Her Moniker.” It’s one of the stories in “Beyond the Mask”, a superhero anthology launching on January 29th 2019. Proceeds will go to Alex’s Lemonade Stand to benefit childhood cancer research. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07LFPSGX5
I’m at work on “Dying to Get Hung”, a sequel to my Mystery Mini “Murder by the Book”, and hope to get that out in 2019. If time permits, I’ll pick up any number of works-in-progress such as follow-ups to my thriller “Detour” or my mystery “The Zen Detective” or “Gilda, Wrangler of the Wild West,” which is fractured fairy tale.
Thank you for taking part in my Authors 40+ Series Devorah! If you are an author who published their first fiction or nonfiction book over the age of 40 and would like to be featured in this blog series just like Paul, Joanne, Paul, D.P., Reyna, Michael and Christina, please get in touch!