Please introduce yourself and your books.
Hi, I’m Gina. I wrote my first poem at six years old, discovered romance novels through “Tiger Eyes” by Judy Blume in junior high, wrote fan letters to Danielle Steele a few years later, wrote song lyrics for fun, started entering flash fiction contests, and then one day it dawned on me – I was born to write.
My fantasy romance series is called Natural Gifts. It’s about how seemingly ordinary people can have extraordinary gifts. My couples gifts come alive when they meet their soulmates. Their bonds are tested, their abilities sharpen, their love grows and shows them new parts of themselves, and we get to be there for the whole thing!
And because real life can be a fantasy as well, I have published two non-fiction books about self-healing: “Keep It Simple: Permission to Illuminate Your Life Easily, Effortlessly, & Joyfully”, and ‘The Reiki Cafe Reiki III (ART) Manual.”
How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?
I sulk. Curse in my head. Question the opinions offered. When that passes I take a good look at what was said and decide what I should do about it. I have critique groups and partners so I go through this often. I have almost surpassed the cursing part. Progress!
A tip I can offer is to gather at least three opinions on the same work to weigh the value of what is said. If that line I love gets two or more objections, then I have to let it go. It hurts, but it makes for better books.
Tell us some quirky facts about yourself.
1. I’ve gone from reading one book at a time, to two, and was at four until I finished one. Three books at a time seems to be my happy place. For now. Maybe it will go back to one, or maybe I’ll be asked this question again years later and scoff that I was only reading three at a time.
2. I put the milk (non-dairy by necessity) into the bowl before I add the cereal. On the rare occasion I want a bowl of cereal. If the cereal is soggy I have to force myself to finish it.
3. I’ve picked out a pen name if I write children’s books in the future.
4. Words excite me. For real. I’ll explore a compelling word, leaving the book I read it in, and return to the book when I’ve satisfied my curiosity.
What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?
We’ll start with the best. The best is bringing a story from concept to a finished book that can potentially be enjoyed for lifetimes to come.
The worst was taking several legal workshops and finding out how much I didn’t know that I didn’t know. Revisions are still in progress and have derailed my publishing momentum temporarily. Word to the wise, join a writing organization that offers these workshops. I’m with RWA and I love them.
The most surprising is that I’m going stronger than ever, nine years later. Every book teaches me how to be a better author and keeps me hungry to surpass my last skill upgrade.
Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?
I have so many! For titles, I suggest looking at top book selling sites and typing in key words for your genre. String a couple of those together in your title if you can and you will have hopefully have some organic search traffic.
Your title and cover should fit your genre.
If you have a series, try to match the titles so it’s obvious which books go in which series. It makes it easier for readers to tell each other about your books and can even be a talking point that makes your titles and series memorable.
What’s inside the cover can only be seen if your title and cover are compelling, so view your cover as an advertising cost.
Make your own covers only if you are very good at them. Otherwise, find a cover artist in your price range or buy pre-made covers which can cost as little as $30 for ebook. That’s the lowest I’ve found that were handled professionally and looked good.
If you’re writing fantasy, go for jewel tones on your cover. I heard this in a cover workshop and I know that the next time I put new covers on my Natural Gifts series, the colors will be brighter.
Research best sellers in your genre and look at their titles and covers. They have a lot in common and can help guide you. Don’t copy, but be inspired and make it your own.
How has your creation process improved over time?
Calming down and not putting so much pressure on myself is how I finally finished my first novel manuscript in 2009. I was drowning in craft and my progress was halted until I gave myself a new challenge: how much fun can I have writing this story? Can these characters and this story delight me? That’s when I broke through and wrote a story I still love today.
Now I study craft and use resources like The Emotion Thesaurus to tone up other writing muscles.
Learning that I work best in time blocks was also a revelation that propels me forward. Three to four days each week I block out two solid hours for writing, including stretching breaks.
If pressure weighs in on me then I will play music and dance around until my head is clear.
I have a whole arsenal of steps to take me from start to finish. Steps based on what works for me that are built out of many articles read, every workshop taken, every podcast listened to, and every author friend who has taken the time to weigh in on their process.
The best improvement I can cite is that I now have a creation process!
What are your plans for future books?
My most immediate plan is to turn my sci-fi romance video short story series, “Saving It All”, into an ebook.
Almost simultaneously, I am writing book 5 in my Natural Gift series.
And if that’s not enough, I’m also working on my next short story video, “Owl Vs. Animal Charmers”, which features Stan and Lucy from book 2 in my Natural Gifts series, “Desert Sunrise”.
Briganti writes fantasy and sci-fi romance along with self-help
non-fiction from her adopted home in north Texas. Her constant
companion is a special soul who masquerades as a dog.
Visit her blog, www.ginabriganti.com, for short story videos, book trailers, newsletter sign up, and whatever else she thinks up.