I'm a big fan of anyone who takes charge of their own dreams and makes them into a reality. And no one does that better than the indie author. I'm proud to be a part of this community, because the whole industry is filled with helpful, supportive, brilliant people who are out to accomplish their dreams, no matter what. They're self aware, generous, responsive, innovative thinkers who take responsibility for their own path in life. What's not to love? 

This week I'm putting a spotlight on one indie author in particular, my new friend K.C. O'Neill. She's recently released her book, "Just Parker," now available on Amazon. Put it on your Kindle and give it a read. But before that, get an inside peek into its development and promotion, and the author behind it.


Tell me a little about your book. What's the basic plot and setting?
The story is set at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. At it's most basic, it's about two people trying to manage the unexpected turns their lives have taken, and at the same time they manage to forge a relationship which is something kind of big and scary for both of them. There are a lot of bumps and potholes along the journey.

What inspired this story? Is there a personal connection to it?
In the story, Parker, the female protagonist, is taking care of her terminally ill mother. On top of that, her mom is, generally, a pretty crappy person. A lot of that emotion and angst came from my own relationship with my father, who passed away almost three years ago after a somewhat quick but ugly battle with pancreatic cancer. Him and I had a pretty rocky relationship while I was growing up so when he got sick, I felt a lot of conflicting emotions and writing this book was a great way to work some of them out. 

Besides that though, I put a little bit of myself into each character I write. So, sure, this story grew from things that I personally experienced, but at the same time I have a pretty personal connection with everything that I write.

Who is your protagonist, and what makes him or her interesting?
The story is written from two POV's, so there's really two. Parker, the female protagonist, has been through so much and I just think that the way that she tries to keep going and always do what she thinks is the right thing is really commendable in a way. She can be shortsighted but ultimately she has a big heart and she's easy to love. Ash, the male protagonist, is something else entirely. His story remains hidden right up until the last few chapters so I don't want to give too much away, but he's dealing with something that would rock the foundation of the strongest person you know, and even if you don't entirely agree with his actions, I think it's really hard to say that he's not doing his best to fix his life and turn things around. I love him, for that.

Who is the ideal reader for this book?
Anyone who loves a good romance, first and foremost, but it's more than that. You know, I love this genre because to me, people are the most interesting thing in the world. I love knowing how they think and why they do the things they do, and romance novels are one of my favorite ways to get to know people. So ultimately, if you're a people person, there's something to take away from my story.


Why indie publishing? Did you explore other options?
I spent a lot of time looking at what the other writers in my genre were doing, honestly. New Adult is this new exciting thing and a lot of the best voices are going the indie route to get the books out there. Even authors who've done both or who use an even mix are more and more switching back to indie publishing, so it just seemed like the best choice for me. I think the freedom it gives you is incredible. And there's also something empowering in knowing that every success (or failure) that comes my way is a direct result of my effort and ability. I like being able to hold myself accountable and this way I can.


What's the biggest challenge an indie author faces?
In my experience so far, the biggest thing is really just getting your work discovered by readers, but that said, there are some really fantastic tools nowadays that help you do that. I have to say, the entire publishing process has been so much easier than I ever would have thought. Sure, there have been a few challenges but for the most part, I've been pleasantly surprised by how simple it seemed.

How are you promoting your work? Do you have a marketing strategy?
First and foremost, I sent out a lot of messages to book bloggers. I think that's one of the most important tools for any indie author - reviews are critical. I also use a lot of social media and Facebook is probably my biggest promoter. Their ads make it really easy to get people viewing your posts so I've definitely been taking advantage of that. Goodreads is pretty great too. I'm doing a giveaway through them and it's gotten me a lot of To Be Read adds, which is definitely exciting.

Who or what are the biggest influences on your work?
Honestly, the best answer I can give to this is life. I'm inspired and influenced by things I read or hear as well as by things that happen in my own life. That said, I probably wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the work of authors like Jamie McGuire, Cora Carmack and Colleen Hoover. They really turned New Adult into what it is now, which is a community of readers and authors that I'm proud to be a part of.

How do you work? What's the basic process you go through to produce a book?
I start with an idea. Usually a line or scene that just pops into my head and grows on itself. I tend to write the first ten chapters or so and then I'll usually map out the rest of the story. On a day by day basis, I'll usually read a chapter or two and do some revisions and then I pick up right where I left off. I absolutely cannot write out of chronological order because, trust me, I've tried but it never goes well. From there, I let the characters define the little things because to me, they're real people who just happen to live in my head.

Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what kind, and how loud?
Most of the time, I'm listening to music when I write. I actually make playlists for each story that I'm working on and I'll either listen to those or I'll start a radio station based off of a certain song that really sets the mood that I'm going for. My musical taste ranges all over so those playlists are strange and varied. I can tell you that the Just Parker playlist has songs from Johnny Cash, Death Cab for Cutie, Night Ranger and more, so definitely strange and varied.

Do you have an office or some other writing space?
If you wanted a photo, it'd have to be a slideshow because I take my laptop everywhere. I write a lot in bed because hey, when you're writing romance... Besides that though, I write all over my house and even outside, so long as the temperature is above about 40 degrees. Changing spaces helps me combat writer's block a lot, so I like to switch up my view as much as possible.

Visit Katrina onine at katrinaoneill.com

On Facebook: facebook.com/KCONeillWrites

And on Twitter: @TrinaMarieOh

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Kevin Tumlinson is the author of numerous novels, novellas, and non-fiction books, and the host of the Wordslinger Podcast. Try three of his best books for free when you download his starter library at kevintumlinson.com/starterlibrary.


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