How Charlotte’s Web Inspired an Indie Author
1) What is your Author name; use your Pen name if you have one.
2) What is your genre and what drew you to it?
I write fantasy. Mostly because I love describing fantastical, magical, and mysterious worlds, and being able to make my own rules– and bend or break them. I love portal fantasy where characters travel to a whole new world where anything is possible. I don’t need to research as many real-life things such as a technical issue or space travel. Although, I may or may not be guilty of falling in love with plumeria trees during my research. I may or may not own 30 of them now and need an intervention…
3) What is the best time of day for you to write?
I am definitely an afternoon/evening writer. I’ve never been a morning person my entire life. I need to have “must do’s” checked off my list to let my brain wander to a far-off land.
4) Which character of yours is your favorite and why?
We all love our main characters, as do I, but a character that seems to always steal the show with readers and give me the biggest giggle and smile while writing them is Mama D’lo. The best way I describe her is a Caribbean Effie (from the Hunger Games). She is a mythological character who is half serpent and half well-endowed woman who lives in and protects all the waterways on the island. She is quite fond of Talin and seems to delight in the most dangerous of activities.
5) What is the hardest challenge in being a writer?
KEEPING A SCHEDULE! I still work full time to pay the bills, and I work in healthcare at night, so my circadian clock is always changing. Days off consist of catching up on sleep, chores and errands, and spending time with family as I never see them on days I work. So setting a writing schedule will be paramount in the upcoming new year!
6) Did you receive encouragement from a mentor, family member, teacher, coach…?
Yes, although I’ve always loved to write. I started with poetry in school and was asked to write for the school newsletter. From there I graduated to creative writing classes and writing for a local newspaper. I’d always “wanted to write a book”, but never knew what about. My husband, Regelim, knew this and finally pushed me a bit to get started. I researched independent publishing for one or two years before even putting down words. But a trip to the island of Antigua for our wedding sent my brain into “That would make a really cool story” mode. Now that I have two books published and the prequel to be released any day now, my mind has started to collect ideas for a new series when the first is complete. I just had to take that first leap to get the juices flowing.
7) Was there a pivotal point or experience that impacted your decision to take writing seriously?
I think once one publishes that first book (it’s scary!) and you learn the process, learn about others who have gone before you do the same thing and you see that it can be a viable income, that’s when I decided “I need to get serious” about this. To be a full-time author, one must act like a full time author.
8) What is the one thing you wish you knew at the beginning of your writing journey?
Is this a trick question? :) If I had to pick just one, I would say have two or three books ready to go before publishing the first one. You can find errors in consistency in the story (and change them) avoiding multiple uploads from those editing changes, as well as brand your covers better and be able to release books faster to keep your momentum with fans. My first two books were a year apart and did not do me many favors in building a following. Now it’s time to play that game called “catch up”!
9) Who did you dedicate your first book to and why?
“Everyone who believed in me”. I couldn’t decide on one single person as so many people encouraged and helped me follow through. Maybe future books I will get more specific.
10) What is your favorite book and why?
There are actually two books I would say. First, as a kid, “Charlotte’s Web”. I never liked to read much, unless it was about animals or nature. And, wow, this had talking animals! But, I just recall the emotions that were evoked in me when that one very special character passed away (no spoilers if you haven’t ever picked up this CLASSIC). As an adult, I still tear up thinking about it.
So, I love to add emotion in my books. But as I started my author journey, I’ve really enjoyed the “Queens of Renthia'' series by Sarah Beth Durst. I love the elements of nature fighting back and her description of the unusual world the characters live in. It prompted me to get serious about writing my own book. “The Hunger Games” comes in a close third runner up.
11) If you could take one item out of any book that you have ever read, what would it be or why?
Another trick question… Oddly enough, it would be a talking animal in a book I DNF’ed that I really thought I would love when I bought it and was signed by the author.
12) If you had to write in any other genre, what would that be and why?
Romance. That would be a strictly business-related decision because it is the single best-selling genre. It is my goal to become a full-time writer and this seems to be working well for many a romance writer!
13) Do you own any interesting ‘bookish’ memorabilia or clothes? If so, what?
Not for mainstream books, but for my own books, yes! I have had several jewelry pieces commissioned from an artist in Wales who has designed some beautiful pieces to match each of my book covers. They are wire wrapped stones, glass, jewels, wood or beads and no lie, EVERY time I wear one I get comments about how beautiful they are. Which, of course, leads to conversation of what it is and MY BOOKS. You never know where that conversation will take you.
14) What is the name of your book/series? Tell me a little bit about them.
Talin and the Tree is the series name. There will be 5 books, plus the prequel. Two are published currently and the prequel will be available to newsletter subscribers as a free ebook early 2023. (So join the list now to know when!)
The series follows Talin, a bullied teen who lives on a Caribbean island. After running from his intoxicated stepfather, he hides out in a sacred tree and falls into an underground world that was only believed to be folklore in the past. He soon meets many of the folklore characters from the Caribbean and how closely he is intertwined with them. He learns he has been destined to be the islands next Healer. The only problem is, he doesn’t believe that folklore is real, and he is at the center of it all.
It is geared toward a young adult audience but would be suited for an upper-middle grade reader and those who consider themselves young at heart (my biggest fans actually!)
You can find an assortment of ebook, paperback, and large print versions on most major retailers. Book 1’s audiobook will also be released the first part of 2023 with plans to keep releasing audiobooks for the remainder of the series!
15) Do you have a website? If so, what is it?
www.authorstephaniedossantos.com You can sign up for the prequel here when it is released, and newsletter subs are always the first to know about everything I am up to.
16) Where can we find and follow you? (Name your social media platforms.)
@authorstephaniedossantos on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok (same ID for all).
17) Is there anything important that you would want my readers to know about you?
I am most excited about my first audiobook that will be releasing very soon! It was a blast hearing all of the characters come to life! I love to engage with my readers so don’t be shy to drop me a message!