SP: Hi Vanessa! We’re so excited to have you here on the Spinning Pen! We would love for you to tell us all a little bit about you and your writing journey. How did you get your start?
VB: Hi! Thank you so much! I’m so excited to be here! I first started writing after I graduated from grad school. I was confused as to where I wanted my life to go and used writing as a way to cope through some difficult times. It was a wonderful outlet and I never would’ve thought so many stories would emerge from that time.
SP: Awesome! Now for some bookish conversation…First off, congratulations on revealing the beautiful cover of your upcoming book, FORTIFIED, which we can now preorder! Can you tell us more about it?
Add official blurb:
Devora’s perfect future shatters. Instead of attending Vlacklear Academy, she is sent to the Fortress—a prison holding murderers and thieves that make up the soldiers in His Majesty’s Army. She fears it is the end of her.
Suppressing her forbidden Seeing abilities, Devora is thrust into the role of soldier, and must learn to defend herself while avoiding Warden Hazor and his ruthless right-hand man, Captain Blake.
When Devora’s Seeing abilities are exposed, she’s thrown into a tournament to win her right to live. She must turn to Captain Blake for help or be slaughtered like all the other Seers before her.
VB: Yes! I’m so excited about this book because it encompasses so many bookish themes I love. Fortified is inspired by the story of Deborah in the book of Judges, but mashed with inspiration of Mulan with a little sprinkling of Pride and Prejudice. It’s a wild mix of themes, but I love how they came together!
SP: Talk to us about fantasy and worldbuilding–how do you build your worlds?
VB: When I first started writing, it was difficult not to dump a whole bunch on information in the beginning of the story. Over time, I’ve learned to drip in little pieces of information about the world until the reader has the whole image without realizing it.
SP: As an award winning author of Heartmender, and its sequel, Heartbreaker, you already have two books under your belt. What was different about writing a new series? In which ways did you find that you grew as an author?
VB: At first I wasn’t sure if I could move on to new characters. I had grown close to Addie and the others in the Heartmaker Trilogy. But as I started writing about Devora, Captain Blake, and a slew of new characters, I began to fall more in love with them and couldn’t stop until I knew what happened in their stories.
I definitely feel like my style of writing has matured. I’ve learned how to describe emotions and action more fluidly than before.
SP: Can you tell us a bit more about your writing process?
VB: Haha, it’s a bit of a mess, which is completely the opposite of who I am as a person. I am an extreme type-A who runs off of lists and sticky notes. But when I write, I only know basic plot points and let the story unfold as I type. I’m a totally pantser all the way!
SP: What is one craft technique or marketing tip you would recommend to other writers?
VB: Reach out to other authors who write in similar genres as you. It doesn’t have to be exactly the same (i.e. you can both write YA not YA Fantasy). Create a community with others. My publisher now used to be one of my ARC readers for Heartmender! You never know where the relationships you make will lead!
SP: You recently signed with Quill and Flame publishers! Congratulations! What is one tip for writers interested in working with an indie press?
VB: Thank you so much! A tip would be to do your research on what presses you want to work. As an indie author, I work very close with my publisher and I’m so thankful we have a great relationship! When sending out proposals, be sure to only submit to places you really want to work with!
SP: Time for the lightning round! Early bird or night owl?
VB: Early bird!
SP: Most obscure hobby?
VB: I am secretly (not so secretly!) obsessed with Webtoons!
SP: Word you can never spell? This may be a trick question.
VB: Definitely. I always second guess myself on it 😛
SP: Alright, time’s up! We’re so sad to see you go! BUT…there’s way more where this came from. Where can we go to read more from you?
VB: Thank you so much for having me! This was so much fun! You can sign up for my newsletter for book updates and exciting things happening: HERE
All my books are sold where books are sold and you can get signed copies through the Quill & Flame Etsy shop!