This month I will be featuring New Adult Author, Deirdre Riordan Hall, who I had the pleasure of meeting on #NALitChat on Thursday nights! I was very excited when she agreed to be my featured author for the month of May, not only that she’s my official featured author. If you’ve been a long time follower you know that I on occasion do a Feature Friday for an author. Now I’m giving two Fridays to one author per month, this means you get to see an interview AND get a fabulous teaser. The author will also have a feature in my NEW monthly Newsletter. The first one comes out Sunday May 11th! Enough about me, I present to you the amazing Deirdre Riordan Hall–talented writer and crafter! (More on that later!) Oh, and don’t forget to check back next week for the Books Behind the Author!
1) You’ve traveled a lot, how has that inspired your writing?
Traveling is an intensely sensory experience: the smell of baking bread first thing in the morning on the streets of Paris, the crunch and grind of tour buses circling the Colosseum in Rome, the azure Mediterranean along the Turkish coast…and even closer to home in the US (I just returned from California—red eye early this morning) there is such a incredible diversity of people, places, smells, sights, and tastes and. It translates so clearly in my mind to creating a world on the page.
2) It looks like you’ve held a couple of different jobs, do you have a day job now, or do you now write full time?
I am a part-time yoga teacher (and full-time mother!) but at present, I’m thankful to be able to say that most of the working hours (and then some) in my day are dedicated to writing.
3) Being an independent author is not an easy route. What made you choose to self-published?
It certainly isn’t an easy route. I learn new things daily. I’ve been in the query ring for years and received the glint of some promising opportunities to work with agents and too many rejections to count. (Some authors balk at twenty, fifty, one hundred passes. Nope. I fly high above those numbers. But I won’t give up. Writing is my heart’s desire and like flowing water, I’ll find a way through. Although, I’ll admit some of my early attempts at querying were simply a matter of a particular manuscript not being ready for the public eye. Other MSs tackle some controversial issues; I think that can be intriguing for some agents, but can also be scary when much of traditional publishing is routed along the dollar line. In the end, I was at a crossroads, and took the leap because I’m nothing if unconventional. Also, Jessica Park has been an immense inspiration. I could go on and on, but I’ll add that the creative control I have is satisfying (think covers, etc.)and I’m really thankful to have entered this world of self-publishing.
4) If the opportunity presented itself, would you go the traditional publishing route?
If the agent was a good match and we shared a vision, yes, I most certainly would. Above I mentioned enjoying the creativity I’m allowed, but I also value the pros and would entrust them to represent my work beautifully.
5) Your debut novel, To the Sea, begins with a heavy top, the death of a spouse. How did you handle writing this? Do you have any personal experience with this sort of loss, or did you just write from the perspective of what if it happened to me?
Ooh, good question and one I hadn’t given much thought to. I wrote from the perspective of a young woman, already fraught with confusion about who she was, though tucking it under a Dolce and Gabbana blouse, and being thrust into a situation where she had no choice but to sink or swim. I think we find out a lot about ourselves in the quiet moments, but looking back the loud ones create the greatest opportunities for transformation.
6) It appears this novel also has a bit of a love triangle. Tell us more.
I was a late bloomer to Twilight and YA in general (so thankful my bestie Christine for getting me into it) and Bella’s interaction with her two fellas really didn’t resonate with me. I couldn’t relate…and don’t know many girls who do… but after writing Jamie and Ian’s characters (MC Kira’s love interests) in To the Sea it became clear that they serve as a juxtaposition; she could go for the carnal lust relationship or deep and abiding love. Also, ahem, they serve her in other ways too.
7) What would you classify the ‘heat’ level of your novels and your writing?
Lol. For real. That term makes me laugh (and blush.) Compared to other books I’ve read I’d say it is mature, but certainly appropriate for experienced young women. The themes run deeper than a young teen might grasp and the intimate scenes are moderately descriptive. I’ve been told that Ian is the guy of a gal’s dreams and Jamie is the stuff of fantasy. Wink wink.
8) It looks like this series concentrates on surfing and the ocean; will most of your novels follow this same story line? If not, what story lines do you have in the works?
I love the ocean in its beauty, power, serenity, and ferocity. Same with stories, they arc similarly, but To the Sea is the first novel in the Follow your Bliss series followed by novelette (book #2) Surfaced (picking up with Jamie’s thread.)
After that, we travel In the Desert with book #3 out in June! This is a rock-and-roll romance and ties in to To the Sea, but we meet a new female lead. I’m very excited to share it with readers. Followed by tie-in novelette (book #4) Mirrored for August. T
Then we go On the Mountain (book #5) in October. The last novelette is Kindled (book #6) and that launches in December.
After this foray into new adult, I’m going to take a breather and release a YA early 2015 and then in the summer we will venture back to the ocean with another new adult. I also have three fantasies on deck.
9) I’m a sucker for covers, and yours are quite beautiful. Did you design them? How do they reflect each of the stories?
Thank you!!! That’s so sweet. Yep. It’s all me. I take responsibility for whether they’re garish or lovely. He he. In the next book, In the Desert, there will definitely be a more desert-y theme with burnt-orangey hues, road-trip, and following the compass of the heart. Stay tuned, the designs are in the works!
10) What advice would you give someone who is looking to self-publish?
This is a tough one, but the best advice I can give is be sure you love writing (and everything that goes along with it) and are willing to commit to it like a partner. There will be ups and downs, crises, tragedy, and heart-swelling, tear-spilling moments along the path from page to print. Since self-publishing is an option for everyone, but we clearly don’t want to dilute the market with less-than passionate work, it’s important to truly go all in if self-pubbing is an avenue a writer wants to take. In addition to crafting a story this means marketing, self-promoting, and being open to new opportunities. It can be overwhelming and isn’t a decision to be made lightly.
I’ll add that the self-pub community is pretty darn amazing. To that end, I’m honored to have gone this route.
Coffee or Tea?
I’m so not fun. Water.
Candles or Fragrance Plug-Ins?
Ha ha. Sticky Bumps coconut candles (it smells like surf-wax.)
Dogs or Cats?
A couple of both.
Chocolate or Vanilla?
Again, I’m no fun. I have some wacky allergies and can’t have either, but if I could, I’d do a twist.
Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner?
Sweet or Salty?
Salty. Tortilla chips and salsa (or guac) are my vice.
Thank you Cassie for such a sweetly-thoughtful interview!
Deirdre Riordan Hall is the author of upper young adult and new adult fiction. She spends her days with her family, writing (what else?!) at the custom-made desk her husband crafted, or seaside, pretending she’s a mermaid. For a full biography you can go HERE.
My website & blog: http://www.deirdreriordanhall.com*All the things.
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/deirdrespark *This is my jam.
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DeirdreRiordanHall *Join me here.
Instagram: http://instagram.com/deirdrespark *Photog one of my loves.
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/deirdrespark *I’m a pin-a-holic.
Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/deirdreriordanhall *Discover ocean & fiction inspired treasures based on the novel To the Sea.
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/DeirdreRiordanHall *Let’s share our fave books.
I mentioned that Deirdre is also a talented crafter! That being said she has a fabulous Etsy store, which she is giveaway one item from along with a copy of To the Sea or Surfaced– your choice!
a Rafflecopter giveaway