Today we’re talking with New York Times Bestselling author Yasmine Galenorn, the author of over 30 novels, including the Otherworld series.
Q: Yasmine, can you tell us a little about your road to publication. Did you always want to be a writer or were there a few bumps along the way?
A: I always wanted to be a writer, since I was three years old, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t bumps along the way. I wrote seven novels (in the closet now), and received over 600 rejection slips before I got my first book contract in 1996. I also was with a man who couldn’t handle the idea of me ever being a success and that impeded me a lot. But I kept going, and even though at times I was discouraged, I did not let the bumps and rejections stop me.
Q: You’ve said in the past that you write for yourself and your readers. Can you explain what that means to you and how it impacts your writing?
A: That means I don’t write to market. I don’t take suggestions from readers. The only person who has a voice on what I’m writing is my editor—and she and I work very well together. So, I write the books the way I need to write them. I write to my vision and my books find the audience they are meant for. If you try to shift your work to match anybody else’s expectations, you will fail. The book will read stiff. You have to write to your own vision for the book to ring true—and trust me, readers can feel when you aren’t writing from your heart/gut/instinct.
Q: Can you explain a little about the differences between urban fantasy, paranormal and straight fantasy stories?
A: My definition is: ‘straight’ fantasy is more like Tolkien, fully sent in an alternative world. Paranormal can be contemporary but with paranormal aspects like a ghost or werewolves, etc., and can be standalone or a series. Urban fantasy is more contemporary, with magical/paranormal aspects as a strong factor, and usually will be a series, and most often—not always but usually—has a strong female lead with a group ensemble of characters.
Q: What drew you to writing dark urban fantasy novels?
A: I love the genre, I love dark faerie tales, I love writing mystical, magical books set in alternative contemporary settings. The paranormal aspects are so engrained in me that I can’t imagine writing anything else, for the most part.
Q: I love hearing about the research you’ve done for your novels. What do you think research has added to stories about the weird and unusual?
A: My research in mythology allows me to know what’s out there, and where I need to create new creatures that I can’t find and/or switch up. Sometimes my research takes me into very dark and/or bizarre areas and I’ll sit here, staring at the screen, thinking What the hell, people really DO this kind of stuff? You would not believe some of the odd fetishes people have! ~laughs~
Q: What do you wish you’d known starting out that you know now?
A: You have to take promotion into your own hands. Don’t wait for the publisher to do it. I knew it would take time to find an agent/publisher, didn’t know how long but I knew I had to pay my dues first in time and sweat. But the promotion thing? BIG mistake in waiting for others to help. I also wish I’d been quicker in getting on Twitter, etc.. But—authors MUST remember: do NOT spam people on Twitter, etc. I see so many authors who…all they do is pimp their books and sorry, that’s just a turn off. I unfollow people who beg me to buy their books/promo their books but never ever show any sign of doing the same for other authors, or who never say anything other than “BUY MY BOOK!”
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about your next release [which is always on my MUST BUY list]?
A: Night Vision, book four of the Indigo Court Series, comes out on July 2, 2013.
Eons ago, vampires tried to turn the dark Fae in order to harness their magic, only to create a demonic enemy more powerful than they could have imagined. Now, even with Myst, the Queen of the Indigo Court, temporarily out of action, the new Queens of the Golden Wood finds themselves facing incredible danger…
Destined to become the Fae Queens of Winter and Summer, Wind Witch Cicely and her cousin Rhiannon are eager to assume their roles and marry the loves of their lives. But while Myst hides in the shadows, seeking to regroup her forces, a closer danger is lurking. Renegade vampires Geoffrey and Leo manage to free the Blood Oracle and set him upon New Forest, Washington. Not satisfied with wreaking havoc on the town, Leo ups the ante by kidnapping Rhiannon. Now, Cicely must lead her forces in a bloody battle to save her cousin before everything they’ve worked for crumbles to dust.
Q: Any final words of wisdom for other writers?
A: Not every word you write will be worth publishing. Don’t ever insist your work is set in stone—everything can be edited and revised. Every author NEEDS an editor. A good one. Don’t be afraid of the time it takes to pay your dues—if you expect this gig to turn into your day job from the first word you write, you’ll be sorely disappointed. Network wisely. Remember: the author you dis in public today may hear about it and refuse to give you much needed help tomorrow. Learn with each book—remember what your editor tells you and apply it in writing the next book. Nobody owes you anything—a contract, a blurb, a sale. Earn them by writing a great book, by being a cooperative author, by networking and being friendly, by learning how to wisely promote. Never engage with reviewers—never argue about bad reviews. Learn the business side of the industry and learn it well—and don’t be lazy, do the legwork yourself. You have to learn how to research anyway.
Every single author I know on a personal basis, who has succeeded in this industry, works their butts off. I work 60-80 hours a week. This is not a career for the faint of heart or the thin skinned. We earn our success. So roll up the sleeves, sit in the chair and get those hands on the keyboard. Because while I cannot guarantee success, I can guarantee that if you quit, you will fail.
New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and USA Todaybestselling author Yasmine Galenorn writes urban fantasy for Berkley: both the Otherworld Series and the Indigo Court Series, and will soon be writing a spinoff of Otherworld, called the Fly By Night Series. In the past, she wrote mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime, and nonfiction metaphysical books.
Yasmine has been in the Craft for 30+ years, is a shamanic witch, and describes her life as a blend of teacups and tattoos. She lives in Kirkland WA with her husband Samwise and their cats. Yasmine can be reached via herWebsite, on Facebook, and on Twitter.