Today I am happy to chat with the very talented and beautiful author Bianca Sloane. I read this book a few months ago and I have to tell you, it was one of the best books I have had the pleasure of enjoying. If you love puzzles and you like it when the author fools you all the way to the last page, you can’t go wrong with “Live and Let Die.”
Please welcome Bianca!
Bianca Sloane is a freelance writer living in Chicago. When she’s not writing, she’s watching Bravo TV, Investigation Discovery, reading or cooking. “Live and Let Die” is her first novel.
A Lovely Interview With Bianca Sloane
Tell us a little about your background, your current life and your most recent book.
I’m originally from the South – I was born in Little Rock, Ark. and lived in Texas when I was younger. However, I’ve lived in Chicago off and on for the past 20 years and consider it my home, blizzards and all.
“>In terms of my professional background, I worked in the PR and advertising industry for about 12 years before striking out on my own a few years ago to try my hand as a freelance writer. I work mostly with corporate clients, writing a variety of materials such as press releases, bylined articles and speeches.
Currently, I live on the north side of Chicago, am single in a sea of marrieds with a raging shoe addiction, a love of monthly brunches with my girlfriends and an unhealthy obsession with all things Real Housewives.
My debut novel, “Live and Let Die,” which I released in 2012, is a psychological thriller about a woman who disappears and is later murdered. Her sister, who was out of the country at the time, starts to realize there are a lot of things about her sister’s death that don’t make sense and the more she digs, the more sinister things become.
When did you first realise that you were interested in writing and what inspired you to write?
I’ve always been a writer – I was that kid pecking out fanfiction for TV shows, movies and books on an ancient typewriter. I was always writing stories in my head, jotting things down on random scraps of paper or in a notebook. I wrote for the school paper in college and even now, when writing press releases, it’s interesting to figure out the best way to tell the story.
I’ve always drawn inspiration from everything around me, from a TV show to a conversation overheard on the street. You just never know where a good story will come from.
Did you have any reservations about publishing your work?
I did have some reservations about publishing my work. Writers, like all artists, have fragile egos, so it can be daunting to open up your soul to scrutiny from the public. Also, “Live and Let Die,” is quite different from a lot of what is available in the suspense/thriller genre— it’s not about a quirky detective, a police procedural or even romantic suspense. I worried people wouldn’t “get” it. However, readers have really responded to it because of how different it is, which has been so exciting for me.
What has been the most difficult part of marketing your work?
Probably the most difficult part of marketing my work has been training myself to think differently about promotion and marketing. Since my background is in public relations, I’m used to writing a press release and pitching it to a reporter or inviting a reporter to cover an event or doing any number of “traditional” PR activities. I’m finding that “PR” works a bit differently in the eBook world – things like blog tours, blog hops and podcasts are huge. I’m learning more everyday about these methods and am always thinking of ways I can combine them with more “traditional” PR.
One thing that doesn’t change, is the power of relationships; relationships with your readers, other authors, bloggers, reviewers, etc. The package may look a little different, but the gift is the same.
What are you working on right now?
Right now, I am actually working on two new releases, both suspense novels; “Every Breath You Take,” is about a man’s obsession with an old girlfriend and the other, title TBD, details an extramarital affair and its deadly consequences.
Why did you choose the genre you picked for your novel?
I have always loved reading mysteries, stretching back to Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew, right up to Gillian Flynn and Kate Atkinson. So, when it came to my own writing, I was naturally drawn to stories about crime and mystery. However, rather than serial killers or straight whodunits, I like to explore the dark side of love; in other words, how people are driven to commit heinous acts, all in the name of this extremely complex emotion.
What is the last thing you read and did you enjoy it?
I actually didn’t care for the last book I read, a mystery novel by a favorite author – it wasn’t their best work, so I don’t want to say – but I will say that I’m currently reading “What the Dead Know,” by Laura Lippman, and it’s just terrific. She really knows how to get inside the heads of her characters and their motivations.
What do you think the future of publishing is? Will there always be traditional houses?
I think the future of publishing is exciting; we’ve entered the realm where the reader can decide, vs. gatekeepers in New York, about what is an interesting/commercial viable work, and as a result, some really fresh and original voices have emerged. Without this brave new indie world, they – and other writers – might not have ever had the opportunity to share their work.
However, new gatekeepers are in order and I think book bloggers will begin to fill that role. They are much more accessible and a lot less jaded than the old guard, but are still quite discerning about what they like.
I think we’ll see more “big name” authors break away from traditional publishing as we know it now and take greater creative control of their careers. I think way off in the future, traditional publishing houses will function more like distribution houses, rather than production houses. They have the relationships and muscle to get books on the shelves, because, despite the rise in eBooks, I don’t think print books are on their way out anytime soon. People still love the feel of a book.
Any advice for other writers who have not yet taken the plunge and published?
Do your homework and don’t take shortcuts. Publishing is a confusing business with a lot of nuances and you have to educate yourself about its ins and outs. At the same time, we’re living in the information age – the resources are yours for the taking. There’s no excuse to claim ignorance. J.A. Konrath’s book, “A Newbie’s Guide To Publishing” is a comprehensive and powerful guidebook and I recommend all aspiring authors start there – and read all of it. Stephen King’s “On Writing” is an invaluable book on the craft and should also be required reading.
Finding a good critique partner and honest beta readers is also key. Really listen to what they have to say and keep your ego out of it.
I would also say, find the money and hire a professional proofreader. It’s just not a good idea to proof your own work, because you will miss something. Also, unless you’re a graphic designer or really good at formatting, hire professionals to handle these tasks. With a little bit of research, you can find reasonably priced experts who will give you great value for your money.
Be nice to your readers, reviewers and other authors. Not everyone will like your work and that’s okay. Resist the urge to send them nasty messages or track them down and slash their tires.
And always, start writing the next book.
If you could be one of the characters in your book who would it be and why?
Even though she is the total opposite of me, the character of Sondra in “Live and Let Die,” is just such a badass, that I wouldn’t mind stepping into her shoes for a day. She’s a smoker, a nail-biter and a slob; she’s also smart, tenacious and just cool. I dig her.
Where can we find you and any final thoughts?
Readers can find me at any of the places below; I’m an active tweeter and have been known to waste copious amounts of time on Pinterest.
I love to hear from readers!
Finally, I’m really grateful for the indie author movement and the opportunities it has opened up for so many, myself included. I’m having a blast.
*Bianca–Thank you so much for agreeing to the interview with Readful Things. I am super excited to read your next book. You have a permanent residence on my bookshelf!