I’ve had the absolute joy of connecting with the indie published author I’m about to introduce you to. She’s been a fabulous resource when it comes to self-publishing. I respect how she’s constantly looking for ways to grow her audience and help fellow writers.
Thrilled to have you get to know more about Heather Day Gilbert and her most recent book, Trial by Twelve!
Now for the interview ~Wendy: What is your favorite part about the writing process?
Heather: Ooh, tough! I love brainstorming but I also like when I can finally get in there and start getting words on the page. I think the best thing is when the story and characters start to take on a life of their own and start filling in the blanks for me. :)
W: You’ve independently published four books. Can you share a little bit about your experience writing and releasing each?
H: I'd be glad to! For my debut novel (Viking historical God's Daughter), I went all-out. I went out on a limb many times, asking reviewers/endorsers to read, and I'm so thankful I did. I also gave away a LOT of books, which I just realized when we did taxes this year!
For my second novel (contemporary mystery Miranda Warning), I did many of the same pre-buzz marketing techniques, but not all. I tried to do a reduced blog tour and give away fewer books. I also didn't fixate on getting a slew of endorsers because my readers said once they find an author they like, they don't even read endorsements.
For my third book (non-fiction Indie Publishing Handbook: Four Key Elements for the Self-Publisher), it took far less time to get out because it's a very short book! I did ask many indie authors to contribute to the bonus chapter at the end that discusses their best indie advice, and I was blessed with some lovely endorsements. I didn't push that book as much, marketing-wise, because I was already writing my next mystery. :)
My fourth novel was my second mystery, Trial by Twelve. That was faster to write as it's only about 55,000 words, compared to the 82,000 for my first. I'm planning for all the following mysteries in A Murder in the Mountains series to be around 50-55k, because I really love writing books that length. I love reading them, too! I'm doing giveaways with this one, but not doing a Goodreads giveaway this time around (I think!). I'm not doing a massive blog tour, but I've approached previous reviewers and offered early reader copies and they have been enthusiastic about reviewing this one too (thankfully!).
With my second mystery, it was basically my first "sophomore effort" in a series. So I was so fearful my readers wouldn't find it measured up to the first. Thank the Lord, many are saying they liked it better and they are enjoying getting to know the characters even more. I'm so thrilled because I was scared it might go the other way! I feel like with each book, I'm getting to know my readers better, which is such an amazing, almost symbiotic feeling.W: Best writing advice you’ve ever received?
H: "The ones who don't give up are the ones who get published." An agent told me that once, and it's true--even if it doesn't mean you're traditionally published. If you don't give up, your books will finally get out there. If you give up, it's all over (but trust me, I've thought of giving up many times!).
W: Please share why you’d love for people to read your latest novel, Trial by Twelve.
H: If you enjoy small-town, amateur sleuths and psychological mysteries, Trial by Twelve is a novel you'd probably enjoy. You can read it without reading the first in series, but you might want to so you learn a bit more back-story on the characters who appear.
Tess Spencer is a married sleuth, so I love delving into her (very realistic) relationship with her lawyer husband, Thomas, and with her new baby, whose name we learn in this book! It's also fun to bring her in-law relationships to life on the page. As for her immediate family...let's just say they have some problems! But those issues will also morph as the series goes on. Basically it's interesting to hang out with these people you feel like you know. :)
HEATHER DAY GILBERT enjoys writing stories about authentic, believable marriages. Born and raised in the West Virginia mountains, she believes that bittersweet, generational stories are in her blood. A graduate of Bob Jones University, Heather has been married for eighteen years and has three children.
Heather's Viking historical novel, God's Daughter, was an Amazon Norse Bestseller for an entire year. She is also the author of Miranda Warning, Book One in A Murder in the Mountains Series, and the Indie Publishing Handbook: Four Key Elements for the Self-Publisher.
You can find Heather online here:
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/heatherdaygilbert
Trial by Twelve Blurb:
Tess Spencer loves her low-key job at the Crystal Mountain Spa, which allows her plenty of down-time with her one-year old daughter and lawyer husband, Thomas. But when a pool installation turns up eight skeletons in the spa's back yard, Tess becomes entangled in a sleuthing job destined to go awry.
As the investigation gets underway, someone dumps a fresh body near the excavated burial site, confirming unspeakable fears. A serial killer has returned to Buckneck, West Virginia...a skilled hunter with a unique taste in prey.
When Tess agrees to help the cunning Detective Tucker gather clues from the inside, she discovers the posh spa hides more than dead bodies. Even as she sifts through layers of deceit, Tess realizes too late that the killer's sights have zeroed in on her.
Unpredictable psychological mystery replete with memorable characters, Trial by Twelve is Book Two in A Murder in the Mountains series.