After interviewing Fay Bec about her debut novel, Hidden Beneath The Embers, I also asked if she’d answer some questions for the future authors, trying to navigate the self-publishing world. And she graciously agreed! As a busy, homeschooling mama to 4, she was able to not only fall in love with reading, but also write and publish her first book in the span of a year! So let’s dive into some of her writing and self-publishing advice!!
1. Let’s start with setting the mood, what does your writing space look like when you’re completely in the zone?
Fay – Drinking coffee or maybe wine? Music, shows in the background, or maybe complete silence? I have learned wine and writing do not mix for me! Lol but I write on my laptop. I have tried going out to write but I get too distracted. So, for me it’s at home, in bed or on the couch after my kids go to bed. And music, blasting in my ears! Can’t do it any other way.
2. What’s one thing you wish you knew before starting your writing/self-publishing journey?
Fay – Plans may have to change, and that’s okay. I had this idea in my head of what it should look like and was discouraged many times when I couldn’t make certain things happen for this book. Self-publishing it a lot of work. And when it’s your first book, be okay with adjusting your plans. It’s a lot to learn and go through. Reach out to other indie authors, including me, and ask questions. Even though we all have to go through our own obstacles with publishing, you are not alone and have people in the amazing indie author community that can help give you advice. Take time to research, take notes, and account for some extra time in your process to get everything situated.
3. Biggest piece of self-publishing advice?
Fay – Research! Ask questions to other indie authors. Interview editors and get sample edits to make sure you like the editor’s style. You are going to work with for the next 4-6 months. Same with designers for the cover. Checkout their art, have conversations, and talk about your timeline. You will be putting money out for this. I’ve seen people do it on lower budgets, and others who put out just as much as I did. Which was about $7,000 at this point. But you can still find a team of people to work with on your budget. Just take it one step at a time, and don’t be afraid to ask questions when you have them. Use your voice through the entire process. This is your baby; you make the calls on every little detail!
4. What was the hardest part about your writing process?
Fay – Oh man my biggest struggle was actually during proofreading. I hired someone who helped, yes. But in many areas, the edits made my book not sound like me. I was back in editing for over a week to correct and fix the book. I was worried about having to push my date and worked around the clock to make sure my writing style was back within the book. I doubted just about every word at that point, and cried a lot. Thankfully my main editor, another proof reader, and some early ARC’s helped me get the book in order. It’s so important to know who you are working with and understand their editing style, because there are different kinds, just like writing styles. There is nothing wrong with taking advice, but it’s your book, don’t doubt yourself and your story. Listen to your gut feeling through the process.
5. What advice would you give to a writer working on their first book?
Fay – Write the shitty first draft! I was so afraid of failing from the get go. But after hearing that, I felt like it was a pass to make mistakes! Your first draft isn’t supposed to be perfect. That’s what editing is for. The more you write, the more you will learn your style of writing, and you will grow as a writer. Tell the imposter syndrome to get in the back seat and write your story! If this is heavy on your heart and sparking passion inside you, that means someone out there needs your book. Even if it’s for one person! Do it for the one!
6. Are you a plotter or pantser?
Fay – Plotter for fantasy. I need to know what’s going on there. I am currently being a panster on another book idea right now and I have no idea if it’s going to play out right. it feels so weird! I like to know what’s going to happen, even if its vague. It’s a small structure I can use while writing to stay somewhat on course, but let’s face it, the characters pull you around.
7. At what point did you consider yourself an author?
Fay – When I saw my book up on amazon for pre order, and giving out ARC’s. I felt like it was finally safe to say the word, but up until then, I just said I was a writer, which we all are. I think the closer you get to Pub Day, you just have to claim it. You are a writer, but also an author now, which still feels surreal.
8. How did you celebrate when you finally finished the final draft?
Fay – Wine! But I was also working on other things so I didn’t really have time to step back and celebrate. I still don’t even think its hit me that I published a book, even with the 6 copies I have at my house of proof’s. Lol! I think I’m going to plan something for Pub Day, whether it’s a Facetime call with friends or a night out with hubby.
Connect with Fay and purchase your copy of Hidden Beneath The Embers
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I’ve been following Fay’s writing journey on Instagram for a good portion of the year, and when I decided to start doing Indie author interviews on the blog, I knew I had to see if she would be interested! Not only does her personality shine through her posts, she also shares the highs and lows of writing her first novel. Her energy is contagious, but she’s also been nothing but kind, hilarious, and so welcoming in the bookstagram and writergram community. And not to mention, the world she created in Hidden Beneath the Embers already has me impatiently waiting on the sequel.
Let’s dive in and get to know a little more about Fay and her debut novel, Hidden Beneath The Embers!
1. To start off, tell us a little about yourself. Outside of being an author, who is Fay?
Fay – Well, I am 29 years old and live in Florida. I’ve lived in many places including Germany for a couple years. My husband was military and it’s where we started our family. We now have four children, which I stay home with and homeschool. I absolutely love music, binging tv shows, drawing, writing, and reading!
2. What originally inspired your idea to write HBTE?
Fay – I have always wanted to write, but never thought I could. After getting on bookstagram, I got to see other amazing indie authors that inspired me to just write. It all started with just being something for me. And here we are! But major inspiration was a TV show called The Originals and the ACOTAR book series. I had two scenes in my mind for the book, and began plotting around them to create HBTE. I wanted to take a unique spin on the lore everyone knew and loved, and make it my own, to bring the story alive.
3. So, Davyna is a freaking badass, where did your inspiration for her come from?
Fay – Davyna was everything I wish I could have been in challenging moments I went through. So, a lot of her development was pulled from personal experience and feelings. But I also wanted to pull from other characters I knew and loved for her strength. I wanted to show how strong she was, but even under that armor, we could see her fear and pain. No one, not even the toughest of characters are without heartbreak, and for her it was what drove her to get the answers she needed.
4. Where did the inspiration for Valyner come from?
Fay – So, the name Valyner came from doing a little research online about Fae. I changed the spelling but kept the meaning the same: the lands of the undying fae. I knew I wanted different courts within the land and those were a random idea one night that just stuck. I couldn’t imagine not having the 6 courts be the names they are today.
5. How did you come up with the title?
Fay – I knew I wanted embers in the title. And I wish I still had the list of names I was thinking of. But I actually was talking to my best friend, Ali, and she was the one who gave me the idea for Hidden Beneath The Embers. I sat on it for a few days and just knew, it was the name!
6. The HBTE playlist is incredible, I’ve had it on repeat for almost 2 weeks now!Did youdevelop the playlist as you were writing, or did you already have most of the songscompiled together before you started?
Fay – I had many on the playlist when I started, but as I got deeper into the book, I found more songs and added them on. I can’t tell you how many times I had to keep a song on repeat to write a scene or chapter. Or went back to add in something I felt inspired me because of the lyrics. I can’t write without music. It really helps me during the process.
7. What was your favorite part about writing this story and bringing it to life?
Fay – Probably all the music and Pinterest images I found. It’s crazy how you can see something in an image or hear a line in a song, and it just sparks something for a scene. After that it was editing with my editor, Stevi. She was literally the most amazing person to work with! And always helped me see a scene a different way. Whether it was on how to bring more emotion, or making sure the fictive dream stood engaged for the readers. She made me a better writer! Hands down.
8. If HBTE was created into a movie, who would play some of the main characters?
Fay – Please, Phoebe Tokin, play Davyna!!! I honestly haven’t given much thought to who else I would want to play other characters LOL. I just have a major girl crush on Phoebe!
Thank you Fay for letting us get to know you little better!
Stay tuned for Pt 2 of this interview in a few weeks, where we go a little deeper into Hidden Beneath The Embers!! (There may or may not be a few spoilers in part 2, so make sure you go read the book first!!!)
And if you’re a writer, curious about writing a book and/or the self-publishing process, be sure to head to the Self-Publishing Tips page, where Fay answers a few questions about what the process looked like for her!
And be sure to check out our review of Hidden Beneath the Embers, here.
Connect with Fay and purchase your copy of Hidden Beneath The Embers