When I needed advice on how to kill off a character (in my novel) with arsenic I knew Faye was the person to ask. She had been getting away with murder! – through her writing. We first met through an on-line writing group – quite a few years back – and she sent me a long document on the ins and outs the poison’s history use etc, We laughed about what it might seem if the email had been intercepted. This was Pre 9/11 when the world seemed considerably more innocent.
I found Faye’s decision to self publish via Amazon Kindle intriguing and interesting. I have been most impressed with her dedication to her writing, and I thought she was a woman who could teach us a few things.
Faye, thank you for your time today. We would like to get to know you a little, please share a little of your background. Family, education, travel, interests, etc.
Well, Jane, I’m divorced and have three children (two girls and one boy) and two
grandchildren (one boy and one girl). I live alone with my three cats here in the foothills
of Upstate South Carolina. I have some college credits and graduated from Respiratory
Therapy school and also Echocardiogram school. I worked in Respiratory Therapy as a
Registered Respiratory Therapist for 14 years and as an Echocardiogram Technician for
13 years. My travels have been exclusive to the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. As for interests,
I love reading, writing, crochet, knitting, and movies.
I have only ever known you as a writer, when did you first realize you loved writing? Were you/are you a big reader? See questions
10 and 11.
Gosh, I’ve been writing since I was in high school. Of course, any writing I did was not
serious and was on and off, according to what was going on in my life. I’ve been reading
since I was old enough to go to the library and have read mysteries/suspense ever since
then. I still love to read and I read every day, though I don’t have as much time for it.
When did you start writing? What was your 1st ever publication?
I started writing when I was in high school, but I didn’t start writing seriously until about
15 years ago. My first ever publication was a short story, Witness to a Murder, which I
managed to get published in Catfish Stew, a South Carolina Writers Workshop anthology.
I wrote numerous critiques when I was a member of the local chapter of SCWW, which was
published in their newsletter, Printed Matters. Also, I had some articles published in
SCWW’s newsletter. Then in May of 2011 I self-published my first novel, To Tell the Truth.
I thought you most courageous stepping into the self-publication world. What was your greatest hurdle getting your first book published. Both professionally and Personally.
Personally my biggest hurdle was having the courage to actually start the publication process.
I had no self-confidence in myself because I had very little encouragement and an abundance
of criticism. Ironically, it was the criticism that made me determined to do it. Professionally
my hurdles lay in the actual publication process as I knew nothing whatsoever about it.
Is passion keeping you going, the original desire that got you started…how do you maintain
Oh, goodness, yes! Writing is my passion. I love it. I think the fact that I love writing so much
is the factor that keeps my passion alive. I like getting into my characters’ heads.
Let’s go back a bit, why did you decide to self-publish?
I was trying to get with a traditional publisher, but I started to pay attention to other’s
experiences with this, and frankly, I was not happy with what I was hearing. Some
mentioned how they had no say in their book covers, or in the blurb on the back cover.
I even heard one author mention she had no say in the title of her book. Now don’t get me
wrong. Not all publishers do these things, but there were just too many authors who were
complaining about these things. Also, I really don’t like working under a deadline except
my own. So that left me with self-publishing. I did a lot of research because there are so
many self-publishing companies who take your money and don’t honor what they say they
will do for you. I have not had any problems or complaints with Createspace.
Faye please take us through the process from when you decided.
Well, once I decided that I was going with self-publishing, I did a good bit of research. A
friend of mine recommended Createspace. I went to that website and read up on it. They
made it fairly easy, but before I could download my book, I needed a book cover and my
manuscript formatted to PDF. I did quick last review of my manuscript, and my friend,
Elysabeth Eldering, recommended an illustrator who could do both. I contacted her, sent
my manuscript to her, and answered all her questions. I told her my idea of what I wanted
for a book cover. A couple of weeks she sent both to me. My book cover knocked me off my
feet. This young lady designed a book cover that depicted the strong woman who my main
character turned out to be. Not only that, but she looked just like Anna, my main character,
I then went through the steps Createspace laid out for me and downloaded my
book and book cover. It wasn’t long before Amazon had my book up on their site. Amazon
owns Createspace so your book is automatically placed on Amazon. I went through
Amazon’s procedure for putting my book on Kindle. So with that done, I had my illustrator
create for me a template for a bookmark and a poster for marketing purposes. I set up my
book signing (the bookstore did the press release) at our local bookstore, Fiction Addiction
here in Greenville, S.C. Since then they have taken my books on consignment, and I’ve
sold a good many books through them. I keep her supplied with my books and also have my
books at another bookstore.
I set up a Facebook page for my book and a twitter account. Also,
I set up an author’s website (www.fayemtollison.com). Another promotion thing was to have
business cards printed, which I carry with me. Then Amazon came up their KDP program
where their prime readers can borrow books for free, but the authors get paid a royalty.
Another promotional thing I did was join Books In Sync, who work putting my books out
there. They also have contests. In fact, I received notice this morning that my book cover
won the Books In Sync book cover contest for August 2012. I’ve worked hard at getting my
book and name out there with talks to book clubs, interviews such as this one, and guest
blogs (I’ve done several of these and have more scheduled). I have four blogs I’m writing,
and I’ve been invited to do a guest talk radio blog. Not sure yet just when this is happening or
the link to it.
As you can see, I’ staying very busy. I’m not on the best seller list yet, but I’ve
not had a month I haven’t sold some books, so my progress is slow, but it’s happening.
That’s fantastic Faye. I understand now you are working on a sequel?
Well, Jane, I’m not sure you would call it a sequel, but it is a spin-off of the first book. The
same two main characters, but where Anna Kayce was the main character in the first book,
John Mentz will be the main character in the second book. Also the first book was a
romantic suspense. The Bible Murders will be a mystery.
What matters most to you, the journey or the destination?
That is a hard one. Both have been an adventure. I guess I would have to say the journey. It
was a great learning experience. I’m sure I have more to learn. The destination is the end of
that journey so you have to go on to the next book to continue the journey. You start all over
but on the next level.
What would your best advice be to other writers, to other women writers?
Persistence. Never give up your dream.
Who are your favorite authors?
There are so many, but the two who really influenced me are M.C. Beaton and Dan Brown.
Beaton taught me the importance of interesting characters. Brown showed me to keep your
readers’ interest with lots of good action.
What classic book of literature do you love:
Having always loved mysteries/suspense, you will probably be surprised at my answer.
There were three that I dearly loved: Phantom of the Opera, Tales of Two Cities, and
‘Anna Kacey had faced many difficulties in her life and had carried some heavy responsibilities. When she met Senator Kenneth Levall, her world soared. At least until it collapsed. Until that fateful day when the gun she held fired…’
Faye has company as she writes.
Lastly Faye, these are the famous 10 Questions adapted from James Lipton’s ‘Inside the Actors Studio’
1. What is your favorite word?
2. What is your least favorite word?
3. What annoys you?
4. Bookshops or libraries?
5. What sound do you love?
The sound of a bird singing.
6. Cats or dogs?
7. Describe the city you live in. One word.
8. What profession would you NOT like to do?
9. Chocolate or not chocolate?
10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
Faye, I’d like to thank you for your time and wish you all the best for your next book, and continuing success for your first Publication. It has been lovely to get to know you.
Find Faye and her books:
Author’s website: www.fayemtollison.com
Faye M. Tollison
Sisters In Crime
Author of: To Tell the Truth
Upcoming book: The Bible Murders
Member of: Sisters In Crime
Writers on the Move