Keller Authors and Friends Shine Locally and Nationally
Sep 24, 2015 06:33PM
● By Kevin
Paige Weaver (left) and Leslie Fear (right) - Keller authors.
Paige Weaver, also of Keller, has published five novels and has earned her way on both The New York Times and USA Today best seller list.
The two are friends and wish to inspire others in the area to follow potential dreams of self publishing. We caught up with them both to answer a few questions in a special Arts & Entertainment Q&A.
Southlake Style: Take us through the infancy of your self-publishing career... What inspired you to actually muster up the energy to do this and talk about some of the bumps along the way before achieving your successes and dreams.
Leslie Fear: Since my college days, I've always dabbled in writing, although, once marriage and motherhood took over, I put my writing on hold. Several years later, I discovered the world of independent authors and fell in love with so many of their amazing stories. However, very few readers knew these "indies" were out there. None of them had a big publishing house doing the marketing, publicity and retail distribution for them--but that's what inspired me three years ago to start an online blog called, The Indie Bookshelf. There, we review and cater only to independent authors and as a result have helped pave the way for new authors trying to make it in the independent publishing world. In addition, reviewing and critiquing books became my inspiration to start writing again, revisiting the stories I kept on paper or had tucked away in my head. Now, after years of learning the best way to find an editor, a cover designer and how to make my books available for paperback on Amazon, I've published two novels with a third paranormal romance to be released sometime next year.
Paige Weaver: From the time I was a little girl, I loved to write. In elementary school, I wrote stories in the margins of my workbooks and recounted to my family the adventures of my fictional characters. By the time I was in high school, I had written many full-length novels in spiral notebooks but I was afraid to share them with anyone. Fear of rejection kept me quiet but I continued to write throughout college and later while married and raising kids. Being a writer was only a dream for me. I never submitted my work to agents or publishers. I truly thought the publishing world was unreachable. But three years ago, I discovered self-publishing. For almost a year, I studied what it took to bring my book to life. I read online articles and blogs. I talked to other self-published authors. I studied the market. Then I decided to take the leap. I suddenly had no fear. I figured if nobody read my book, it would be okay. I would survive. At least I attempted to achieve my dream. That was better than never knowing.
My husband converted my book to an e-book format and I was lucky enough to sign on with the most sought after graphic artist in the business. After that it was a matter of figuring out how to upload my book onto sites such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble. There were a few bumps along the way, the majority of them dealing with online stores, but my book was published. To say I was surprised that my first book, Promise Me Darkness, hit the New York Times early on and was on the USA Today bestselling list twice is an understatement. I was speechless. My dream – the one thing I had been afraid of trying – had come true. I was an author.
SS: Talk about each of your books individually. Why this subject matter? What artistic style did you use? How did you come up with the ideas? Which one is your favorite? Why?
Fear: My first two novels Villere House and Bayou Grise' are paranormal romances, written in third person. Villere House takes place in New Orleans and is loaded with mystery and voodoo, with the main characters being Lottie and Xavier. Bayou Grise' is Nichole and Julien's story, also loaded with mystery and history which takes place at an historic planation house on the bayou. Incidentally, Xavier and Julien are brothers and their stories are a two book series, however, can also be read as standalones.
Almost every story I've written has had a paranormal element and when I pitched Villere House to my co-author, CD Hussey, she loved it! We went on to write Bayou Grise', which is probably my favorite of the two stories because I was more familiar with it's specific paranormal aspects. But honestly, they're both my babies and each have a special place in my heart.
Weaver: My first book, Promise Me Darkness, and the other books in the series are dystopian romance. I have always been fascinated with human beings’ obsession with end of the world events and how we would cope. What would we do? How would we survive? I wanted to combine that interest with my love of romance novels. What’s better fun than making my characters figure out how to survive and get along when society collapses? My third book, Sweet Destruction, is a stand-alone novel and is about two friends, Samantha and Walker, who discover that misunderstandings and terrible childhoods aren’t enough to give up on each other. In that book, there are bad guys, stolen cars, and some fast driving. It was fun delving into that world since it was very foreign to me.
I write all my books in first person because I want my readers to get lost in the book and feel like they are the main character. My artistic style is easy - I want one sentence to flow to the next and the next and so on. It has to be a continuous train of thought. I want the reader to read effortlessly. Like I said, I want the reader to get lost in my books, not have to stop and decipher what they just read.
I don’t have a favorite book of mine because they are all my babies. They are each special in their own unique way and I love their differences.
SS: Tell us more about yourself. I saw a few things on your Goodreads pages and Facebook pages, but let's hear more about where you came from and what else you do.
Fear: I've lived in Texas most of my life and besides writing, I am also a stay-at-home-mom and have two (wonderful) high school aged kids. That alone is a job in itself, trust me, I have friends with teenagers. I've been happily married to their dad for nineteen years and he is happily married to me. (I know this because I asked him an hour ago.) We also have a pug named, Molly. She keeps us quite entertained and we love her like another child. (Which she is since she takes turns sleeping, no, snoring in our beds.)
Weaver: I am a native Texan, born and raised in the Fort Worth area. I graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington and my background is in law but I became a stay-at-home mom when my first child was born. I have two children now and one high maintenance Australian Shepard dog. When I’m not writing, I’m running to dance lessons with my daughter, picking up my son from football practice, or getting lost in a Netflix series with my husband of nineteen years. I love to travel, read (of course!), and spend time with friends. I can also be crafty when I want to be. My daughter has dolls, clothes, stuffed animals, and other miscellaneous things I’ve sewn.
SS: What's the best thing, in your opinion, about living in this area? Is this a good area to promote your work? Do you frequently go on national tours when you publish a new book? How are other cities different than the Metroplex?
Fear: I think the best thing about living in the DFW area as an author is the fact that there are many independent authors living here as well. For the past three years, My blog, The Indie Bookshelf, has booked signings with local, out of state and even authors from other countries. The most recent was early August at the convention center in downtown Fort Worth. We sold nearly 700 tickets and helped promote over 50 independent authors. In addition, the last two years I was one of the signing authors with another blog called The Southern Belles. Their next signing will take place at the Anatole in Dallas on January 9th, 2016.
SS: How do you know each other? How has your relationship affected your personal and professional lives?
Fear: I met Paige at my blog's first book signing in August of 2013. Once we discovered we both lived in Keller, we were immediate friends. And I have to admit, it's really nice having a friend who's also an author whom I respect and can brainstorm and share ideas with. Well that and I dang near stalked her once I read her first book. It was beyond good and now I know where she lives. *insert evil laugh*
Weaver: Leslie and I met at a local book signing in 2013. We discovered we both live in Keller and are both similar in that we are busy stay-at-home moms and authors too. We clicked instantly and became friends quickly. It’s nice having a friend that not only shares my love of reading but also is a self-published writer too and understands the process that entails. We discuss books, the publishing industry, share ideas, and help each other when needed. Leslie is always positive and supportive plus her books leave me wanting more! I’m lucky to have met her and can’t wait to see what she comes up with next in her novels.
SS: Any last thoughts?
Fear: I'd love for readers to know my books are available at the Keller Public Library. Other than our author links on Facebook, Amazon and Goodreads, I also have a twitter page which is @lesliefear and the same for my Instagram.
Weaver: I’m a huge proponent of following your dreams and not listening to the negativity that might surround you. Be fearless. Take a chance. Listen to your heart and not what naysayers might say. If you’ve always wanted to write and publish, do your research, freshen up on your grammar skills, and write, write, write. Be prepared to work hard. It’s not always easy. There will be highs and lows. But the only person who can stop you from following your dreams and giving up is yourself.
Find Leslie on Facebook here, and on Amazon here.
Find Paige on Facebook here, and on Amazon here.