Thursday Word-Slingers – Guest Denise Grover Swank

My guest today is Denise Grover Swank and she’s giving away a $10 Amazon gift card. Usual rules apply, 1 week for comments, winner announced next Friday! Take it away, Denise!

1)                  How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing off and on my entire life, but I got serious about my writing about six years ago.

2)                  How many balls do you juggle on a daily basis, and how do you manage to keep them all in the air (usually), (ball = work, writing, family, etc.)

Oh dear.  A lot. Some mornings I wake up in a bit of a panic wondering if I’ll get everything done that day.  I have six kids, but only four my time and attention. The oldest has moved out and my twenty-one year old son is self-sufficient. Writing is my work now, but I consider it two full time jobs. There’s the business side and there’s the writing side. It’s tough trying to balance the two some days. Then there’s the running a house full of kids as a single parent. The house gets messy at times. Thank goodness I just hired  someone to start cleaning my house every other week!

3)                  When is your next release due out and can you tell the audience about it?

My newest release is Sacrificeand it just came out last Friday, March 23. It’s the third book in my The Chosen series. Chosen and Hunted, the second book, have done better than I ever hoped for! I hope Sacrifice is loved just as much.
 And then I’m re-launching my humorous southern mystery, Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes with its new cover. It also has paranormal aspects. Rose, the main character, sees visions which land her into a heap of trouble at the beginning of the book. I’ll be running a two day free promo on Amazon on April 5 and 6.
4)                  It looks like the majority of your books have a bit of the paranormal, though I do see a couple which look to be mysteries as well. What is it about the two genres that you like so much?
I have three series with different genres right now—urban fantasy (The Chosen series), a young adult science fiction romance (On the Otherside series) and a humorous southern mystery series (Rose Gardner Mysteries).  All three have these things in common: There’s some type of mystery, thriller moments (less so in the Rose Gardner Mysteries), romance and a fantasy element.  The Chosen and On the Otherside series are more in common than Rose. They are darker while Rose is laugh out loud funny. But I like writing the two extremes. After my soul goes to deep and dark places, it’s like someone threw open the windows to air it out a bit.
 Why both paranormal and mystery? Hmm… I love to daydream as a kid and my daydreams were fantastical. I also prefer some type of fantasy or paranormal to the books I read. I’m not much into contemporaries. I read and write to escape my contemporary life. I think my childhood daydreams carry over into that. Why mystery? I think it’s because I love to question things. I love to try to figure things out. When I wrote my first mystery (an unpublished mess chained to my hard drive) I wondered if I could do it. It was a challenge for me. Now everything I write has some type of mystery element.

5)                  Do you think you’ll move to another genre, and if yes, what to and when?

I won’t say I won’t write another genre, but I don’t have any plans to right now. (I do have an unfinished middle grade urban fantasy on my hard drive I’d love to pick back up someday.)
 I’ll be starting a new series in May, which will be an urban fantasy with a romance. My main character Eli will carry throughout the series. I’m still getting to know her in my head, but so far I am loving her and can’t wait to get started writing. At the moment, I’m struggling with whether to write it in third person (like The Chosen series) or in first. I’m leaning toward first.

6)                  I’m sure you’ve gotten the question before, but why did you decide to self-publish? Have you had good success with it, and would you ever consider a mainstream publisher if you got the opportunity?

I decided to self-publish my first book, Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes, because no one wanted it. I’d get requests, but they always came back with very generic rejections. “Great voice/great plot/great characters but not for me. I had no idea what to fix, yet my twenty-plus beta readers LOVED it. So, in the spring of 2011 I decided why not try to self-publish it and see what happened?  It was a TON of work. More than I anticipated, but I am so thankful I took that scary leap. I released Twenty-Eight in July 2011 and I’ve sold nearly 8000 copies so far. I hope to really boost sales with my new cover and putting it for free on Amazon on April 5 and 6. Twenty-Eight has 50 reviews on Amazon with an average rating of 4.7.
 Then there’s my The Chosen series. I published Chosen after receiving multiple rejections that said “Love the story but don’t think I can sell it.” Yet again, my beta readers loved it like rabid dogs. After I had success with Twenty-Eight the very first month I released it, I decided to publish Chosenand its already written second book, Hunted. I released Chosen in September and Hunted in November. I’ve sold over 32,000 copies of Chosen in six months and 18,000 copies of Hunted in four months and I’ve had one foreign rights offer.  I just released the third book in the series, Sacrifice, last week.
 Deciding to self-publish was one of the best decisions I ever made. I’m building a reader base. I get to know my readers on Twitter and Facebook (my platform) and I’m not only making money, but significant money I wouldn’t have made if I’d sold either series in a traditional book deal.
 Still, I hope to get a traditional book deal. That’s why I’m writing a new series for my new agent (who found me and approached me because of Chosen’s success) to shop to traditional publishers. I’d like to grab the attention of readers who don’t buy their books on Amazon. I’d like to see my book on a Barnes & Noble bookshelf. It’s a business decision. A calculated one. I suspect I’ll lose money on the books I sell in a traditional deal, but I’m counting on the payoff of new readers. 

7)                  Silliness 1: Sweet or sour?

Sweet J

8)                  Silliness 2: Chocolate or vanilla ice cream?

Chocolate! Vanilla is wasted calories. (TM – I thoroughly agree)

 FAN INFO
DeniseGroverSwank@gmail.com  I LOVE reader email and respond to all!
Do you have a website, twitter, or blog? If yes, I’ll be happy to post any/all with the interview.
Blurb
Sacrifice
She was dead. 

No. She only wished she was. 

Everything Emma loves has been ripped away—Jake, Will, and her unborn baby. Within minutes of confronting her new reality, Emma is thrust in the middle of a war between two supernatural beings and she’s the prize. Raphael convinces Emma that Will is dead and that he’s the only hope for saving her son, but she resents Raphael’s dangerous supernatural hold over her. After a revelation from Alex, Emma suspects the only way to escape Raphael’s control is to find the fourth element—Water. 

He was losing his mind. 


You can’t love someone you don’t know. 

The Vinco Potentia thinks Will knows something about a woman he doesn’t remember. Will’s only memory of Emma is their few minutes together in the forest, but he is consumed with emotions for her—love and belonging. When James shows up and helps Will escape, his story seems off and Will wonders what he’s hiding. So while James wants to find way to sever Will’s connection to Emma, but Will’s not convinced he wants to be free. 

You are not bound to destiny. 

The book stolen from the Vinco Potentia holds the key to a new set of rules and everyone involved will stop at nothing to get it. Torn between her destiny and her desires, Emma will face her biggest sacrifice yet.


Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes
For Rose Gardner, working at the DMV on a Friday afternoon is bad even before she sees a vision of herself dead. She’s had plenty of visions, usually boring ones like someone’s toilet’s overflowed, but she’s never seen one of herself before. When her overbearing momma winds up murdered on her sofa instead, two things are certain: There isn’t enough hydrogen peroxide in the state of Arkansas to get that stain out, and Rose is the prime suspect.

Rose realizes she’s wasted twenty-four years of living and makes a list on the back of a Wal-Mart receipt: twenty-eight things she wants to accomplish before her vision comes true. She’s well on her way with the help of her next door neighbor Joe, who has no trouble teaching Rose the rules of drinking, but won’t help with number fifteen– do more with a man. Joe’s new to town, but it doesn’t take a vision for Rose to realize he’s got plenty secrets of his own. 

Somebody thinks Rose has something they want and they’ll do anything to get it. Her house is broken into, someone else she knows is murdered, and suddenly, dying a virgin in the Fenton County jail isn’t her biggest worry after all.


And there you have it! Ms. Denise Grover Swank! I know I liked hearing about her books. Now get to commenting so you can win the gift card, or else go out and buy the blasted books anyway! 🙂

No, I haven’t forgotten the Katee Robert contest. I’ll be announcing the winner later today. My apologies for the delay.

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6 Comments

  1. Rabid dogs??? *taps foot* Really? Okay, maybe there was a bit of a – desperation – to read the next installments but that's only because they were absolutely incredible! *runs off to get rabies shot* 🙂

    Like

  2. ROFL! I had some beta readers of Chosen would email me from time to time asking for Hunted. At that time, it wasn't even written yet. That was another reason I self-published. I wanted to complete the series. I'd created this world and left it unfinished. I needed closure and from my emails and Facebook comments, my readers did too.

    Like

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