November Author Spotlight: Zoe Winters

This month we have a pretty fantastic gal. A trailblazer through and through who is carving her way into the land of romance writing, kickin' butt and seriously taking names. I first came across this author as I was searching the net for my fellow authors' thoughts on self-publishing and the industry. I was pleased to find a great lady with much knowledge about the publishing industry and what will work for her as she makes way as an author sharing her stories to the world.

The trailblazer and spotlight author for this month is Zoe Winters. As she is celebrating her debut release, Kept (now available here as a free ebook), I wanted to pick Zoe's brain about her writing and the genre.

How would you describe the genre in which you do most of your writing? Paranormal romance. I'm not sure how to classify it further. Some of it has a quirky "chick lit" kind of flavor to it. But using the term "chick lit" is the kiss of death these days. Though it's mainly in third person, so it's more just quirky. Also I think it's a little darker than chick lit. I write mostly dominant growly heroes, and smartass heroines that are still vulnerable.

Who is your target audience? "Paranormal Romance readers." :P Okay, kidding, but not. Probably Buffy fans. or "people who would like Buffy." Because of how I discovered the genre in the first place, and how it's influenced my own reading.

What motivated you to start writing in this genre? hehe. Buffy. I am/was an uber Buffy fangirl. (It cracks me up how many paranormal romance authors are big Buffy fans.) And I started reading a LOT of Spuffy (Spike/Buffy) fanfic. I mean a lot a lot. hahaha. I was SUCH a geek. And then I started writing some of it. Which helped me get back into writing original fiction, because I'd been writing fiction since junior high on and off, but I couldn't ever "find" my genre. And when I got tired of Spuffy fanfic, I discovered paranormal romance, and I was in heaven. And so then I started writing it. And for the first time I know I'm writing what I really want to write.

What are your main concerns as a writer?
That no matter where I am, that I always keep growing as a writer. I hate when I read a series or a lot of books by one author, and the quality starts visibly going down after the third or fourth book. And I wonder what happened? Was it stress? Was it too hard to keep up with deadlines? Was it the editor's fault? Did the writer turn into a prima donna and suddenly no editor's pen can touch it? I don't know, but I think it's sad. And I don't want to write like that. I want to get better each time.

And then my other concern is: In a world of this many books, why should someone read me? And I'm not sure I have the answer to that. If I didn't write, the world would obviously go on. I don't know if I'm offering something "different" or "more of the same." But the pressure to be "different' and "good" is a whole lot of pressure for a mere mortal. Which is probably part of the reason I'm not really looking for a major publisher right now. I'm not emotionally ready for that kind of pressure.

How have your personal experiences influenced the direction of your writing?
I've always been that person that pissed someone off because I couldn't conform to what they wanted without asking a lot of questions. This kind of attitude toward life ultimately pushed me in the direction I'm going right now, which is indie publishing. Because I think it's important for writers to have choices. And while I "get" that a big New York publisher has much more reach than I have, I think it's really important for a fiction author now to build a platform first. And that means at the very least giving out free ebooks and podcasts. (which doesn't mean I won't start charging for anything, but I'll still have free stuff.) Seeking out traditional publishing, gets in the way of that for me right now, because agents want access to most things to try to sell them. I'm not sure asking for a reader's money should be the first course of action.

Even in a recession, time is more valuable. The question is: Do I want to make money immediately and have fewer readers, or do I want to give some stuff away and build a larger overall fanbase? And the second is the obvious winner for me.

Kept by Zoe Winters is now available here.
Learn more about the world within Kept at Zoe's wiki

Zoe is also at the forefront of a wonderful Indie Publishing website spurning a movement of authors interested in going indie. Learn about the pitfalls, advantages and industry stats of the publishing world over at The website is still under construction so sign up (there's a feeder on the left) to catch all the updates and new additions to the website.


Zoe Winters said...

Thanks for featuring me! :D

Rae Lori said...

My pleasure, Zoe! It was a blast. :-)

Juliana Stone said...

Nice interview Zoe! Good luck in all your endeavors!

Zoe Winters said...

Thanks, Juliana! :D