Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!
My pen name is Rose Auburn and my romantic suspense novel, Cobwebs of Youth, was published in 2017.
Aside from writing, I am a freelance Editorial Reviewer and currently review for two online publications based in the US. I also review by request for mainly independent authors through my website. I live in London, England.
What inspires/inspired your creativity?
Relatively small things – a face, an overhead snatch of conversation, the view from a window, just simple, random observations that spark creativity and you begin to mentally build a story around that prompt or include it in a narrative already running in your head. Occasionally, ideas have been triggered by dreams.
Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?
I think title is very important, it’s similar to naming your child; it has to make sense, relate to the narrative and be memorable. I’m not always a fan of sub-headings on covers, I think it’s important that a reader has a swift and immediate sense of the book by cover and title.
If you can make a positive connection straightaway then your book is more likely to be read. For that reason, I do think it’s worth investing in a professional cover with excellent, crisp artwork/graphics and carefully considering the appeal of your title. I always wait until I have finished writing to finalise the title although I often have an idea for it. Writing takes you in a very different direction to where you believe you’re headed and will often throw up its own intrinsic title somewhere along the way.
How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?
I am a rather sensitive, introspective person, in common with most writers, so I do struggle not to take negativity personally and subsequently dwell on it. However, reading is probably one of the most subjective activities and, as long as the review is genuine and constructive, then you have to take on board the feedback. It does not matter how brilliant your work is, it will not be for everyone and you have to respect that.
I think the issues arise when you receive negative reviews that are poorly written and/or are deliberately dismissive. Decent, genuine reviews are the absolutely lifeblood of independent authors. I experience both sides being an indie author and working as an editorial reviewer; there are ways of being diplomatically honest rather than just trashing someone’s work that they’ve poured everything into.
What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?
The best was the overwhelming sense of achievement I felt, both when writing my novel and obviously once completed. The most surprising are the writers I have met along the way. I did not realise that there is a whole community of independent authors who are wonderfully supportive and that was quite a revelation.
The worst was realising how naïve I was when I self-published; writing the book was nothing compared to the marketing and promotion that you have to undertake in an attempt to get your book noticed. It’s brutal, relentless and, occasionally, pointless.
Nonetheless, when you make a sale and/or receive a great review, it suddenly makes it all worthwhile like the sun coming out from behind a cloud.
Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?
For as long as I can remember, I have always occupied myself with stories in my head that I’ve made up. They are just the soundtrack to my everyday life. Primarily, I begin to write because I wanted to actually read them on the page and see my characters and ideas spring to life and be able to revisit them. You then wonder if they are good enough for a wider audience and that self-doubt can really hamper creativity. So, when I initially write, I try to do so just for personal satisfaction (or at least tell myself that) in order to feel unhindered. Once a story is drafted and I start editing, I then consider the narrative from a reader’s perspective and try to be more objectively focussed.
What are your plans for future books?
I finished my second novel, Rosalie & Mika, which is set in Portugal, last year. It’s much shorter than Cobwebs of Youth and darker in tone. Although I would still describe it as romantic suspense, the genre definitely leans more toward literary fiction. I am aiming to publish before the end of the year when I get a free moment between reading and reviewing! I also have a collection of short stories in the pipeline and another dark suspense which has the working title of Black Glitter.
Tell us some quirky facts about yourself
My pen name is taken from a very minor character in Somerset Maugham’s Ashenden books and I chose it because I have red hair and the initials are the same as my actual name. I don’t own a smartphone. I love martial arts films and I drink a lot of milk.