Author Interview with C.F.E. Black

Pen Friends ~ Please welcome YA Author C.F.E. Black talking about her novel, THE VERITAS PROJECT, publishing journey, and so much more! I’m excited to have C.F.E here with us today. Her story is an inspiring one!

SP: Hi C.F.E! Thanks for joining us! Before we get into book stuff, we’d LOVE to know a bit about you and your writing journey?

My writing journey has been sort of like hiking down into the Grand Canyon. I sort of went down and am now climbing my way back out. All of it has been fun, though, and all of it has taught me invaluable things. After starting out with a small press, I’m grateful to be taking full control of my publishing journey now as I enter the indie author world! For anyone just starting out in writing or publishing, just know that every path is different, and every path is okay. There’s not one that’s right and there’s not one that will work. You decide what works for you and enjoy the journey!

SP: THE VERITAS PROJECT will come out March 16th 2021. Please add on Goodreads while waiting! Here’s the blurb:

All evening, I’ve been conscious of other eyes behind mine, other watchers in my brain. I’m ready to end that.

Valeria the Fifth is losing her identity. Part of an elite research collective, she is forced to share her thoughts every week with those around her. With her boss. With her friends. With her crush.

​And each week, she loses a little more of herself, a little more of what makes her unique, as she gains the knowledge and memories of her peers.

​But freedom to make her own choices will mean freedom to make her own mistakes too. And the price for some mistakes is higher than she can pay. 

SP: How long did it take you to write THE VERITAS PROJECT and how did this story come about? Where do you get your ideas?

I got the idea way back in 2011 during my first year teaching. I believe the idea of thought sharing came to me in a dream (how cliché, I know). Unfortunately, I didn’t really have the time (or didn’t make the time!) to write it until 2014-15. I think I let self-doubt and the lie that “writing isn’t a real job” hold me back for far too long. I tend to get ideas from really random places, like a line in a song, a comment on a podcast, or occasionally dreams.

SP: When did your interest in Sci-Fi begin? Have you always written Sci-fi?

I’ve loved sci-fi ever since my dad read Journey to the Center of the Earth to me at around age eight or nine. He read The Time Machine to my sister and I as well and brought me up “right” by watching Star Trek with us. He’s a super nerd, and I’m just like him. Then, when I taught Fahrenheit 451 to my 9th graders in 2014, I knew I just had to write a sci-fi/dystopian book. Bradbury is my hero. But I also have a deep love of fantasy and write in that genre as well.

SP: What made you decide to self-publish?

Oh boy! This was a tough one. I am so, so, so traditional. I do not consider myself a trail blazer or an entrepreneur. I prefer to take the roads most traveled and most predictable. And then I decided to become an indie author! The turning point came when I had released a book with a traditional publisher, a small press, and realized I could be doing everything they were doing, but if I did it, I’d have full control. It was not an easy choice, but it’s one I’m so glad I made!

SP: Everything about your book is so well done! How did you do it from marketing to cover design? How long did it take from deciding to self-publish to the release day?

Aw, thank you! After getting my rights back, I wanted to self-publish immediately. I hated thinking my book baby was not available anymore. But I thought better of it and spent about nine months learning everything I could about indie publishing. It’s such a huge amount of material to learn, it felt like I was getting another degree! But I love learning, and I heard a well-known author say that most jobs require degrees, so why not publishing?

I reached a point where I felt I’d learned everything I could from listening and had to put my learning to the test by doing. I know I’m not done learning the indie publishing thing, but I’m learning by doing now, which is always more fun! Once 2021 hit, I put my self-doubt aside and said I would self-publish within the first quarter of the year. Being in charge of my own deadlines was sort of weird. I picked mid-March and told myself I’d be ready by then, whatever it took. It has been so fun and way less stressful this time, despite how much work it is!

SP: What part of the writing process do you most enjoy? The first draft? The development in revision? The final touches?

Really, all of it. That first draft is electrifying, and us authors know how fun that is. But watching the story come together in editing is also so satisfying. I get to see the messy draft put on its dancing clothes, and that is almost just as fun as the first draft. Final touches are probably the least fun, because I know there’s always more I could do, but I just have to call it “done” eventually.

SP: Any writing tip you’d like to share?

Sure thing. A craft tip: Watch out for “filtering.” It’s something I never heard about until way into my writing journey. Google it if you don’t know what it is. You’ll be glad I told you.

And a general writing tip: Don’t let fear keep you from walking down this writing path. There’s no such thing as getting lost; there’s only the realization that you’re blazing your own trail.

A few fun questions. Is C.F.E. a…

SP: Plotter/pantster? 

PANTS all the way. But that’s too time consuming, so I’m trying to learn to plot.

SP: Last book you read? 

Currently reading The Well of Ascension by the wizard himself, Brandon Sanderson.

SP: Current dream vacation spot? 

Always, always, always Spain. I lived there in college and my heart is still there.

SP: Current favorite K-Drama? 

Okay, confession: I don’t watch TV. Like at all (unless it’s a BBC mystery, and only rarely then).

SP: Would you rather be a professional: Marine Biologist? Spy? Opera Singer? Brain Surgeon? OR? 

I’d be a GENETICIST. Yep. I’m obsessed with the genome. (Which is probably why my main character is a geneticist in TVP.)

SP: Fav childhood book?

My Side of the Mountain.

SP: So great having you and hope to see you again soon!

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