Interview with Alina Popescu
What genre do you write and why?
I don’t write in just one genre, although I seem to be drawn to fantasy, paranormal, and sci-fi. I get an idea for a story and whatever genre fits, that’s it!
My latest book is also my debut novel. The Edge of Hope (Bad Blood) is the first book of the Bad Blood trilogy and it’s got vampires, love stories, quite a few conflicts, and many trials for my characters. It’s my first baby and I’ve been working on it for a few years now.
What marketing methods are you using to promote your book?
I mostly use social media marketing for my books. Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, even Google+. I’ve tried a bit of advertising in the past to increase my page’s audience, but I found donating to giveaways is sometimes just as effective. Book groups have been great in getting the word out and meeting reviewers and hanging out with other authors and reviewing their books has helped me learn a lot.
What formats is the book available in?
The book is available in all major ebook formats (mobi, epub, pdf) and in paperback. I wanted to make sure people could read it without making changes in their habits.
Who are your favourite authors?
I am a total failure at picking favourites. Other than my favourite color and my favourite season, I’m a lost cause. Music, movies, books, there are way too many favourites to come up with at least a top ten. I tend to read books from all genres and written by authors from all continents, so talking about favourites usually takes half a day.
What advice do you have for other writers?
My top advice for any writer out there is to start taking themselves seriously. If you’re a writer, think of yourself as one, stop diminishing it. Introduce yourself to the world as a writer, interact with your readers and other authors, work on your stories and don’t give up. You’ll learn everything else you need or find people who can help you with it, but unless you see yourself as more than an amateur, other’s won’t get a chance to discover you.
What's your favourite quote about writing/for writers?
It’s not exactly a quote, it’s more of a social media meme... It basically made fun of all the very strange things you can find in a writer’s browsing history, from illnesses, and killing methods, to history and mythology, to photos of hot models to help you with visuals for your characters. We are our own kind of crazy, if you asked me, just think of all the voices in our head!
What's the best thing about being a writer?
Getting the stories in my head on paper and sharing them with the world. I can’t imagine life without that.
Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
The best place to start is my website and blog (http://alina-popescu.com) It’s where you can get to know me a bit, explore my books and what I’m currently working on, read my author interviews and reviews for everything I read. I’m also quite active on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/authoralinapopescu and https://www.facebook.com/alinaelenapopescu) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/alina_popescu).
Who is you favorite character in your book and why?
There are favorites in this book and favorites in the trilogy :) Alexa would always be close to my heart because we’re very much alike up to a point. I know many of you won’t agree with me, well, not yet, but Anthony is one of my favorites. Yes, I know he’s the baddie, but you’ll have to trust me on this one!
Why do you think readers are going to enjoy your book?
I think Alexa’s experience is very relatable. This is not your traditional paranormal romance, they don’t meet, fall in love, and get to a HEA. There are so many times when Alexa just doesn’t seem to make it work, but the main idea is to never give up. Life does go on and we need to keep on fighting. There are also sexy vampires and interesting twists, but basically, it’s a story about persevering, taking life full on, and accepting others as they are.
How long did it take you to write your book?
Alexa as a character has been around for about 6 years, but this variant of the story has been in the making for over three years. It also was the first ever book I worked on during a NaNoWriMo (back in 2010).
Who designed the cover?
The cover is the work of the very talented Patricia Revita (https://www.facebook.com/mprevita). I used one of her drawings for a short story I published for the fans of my Facebook page and later asked her to design the one for The Edge of Hope. She actually took the time to read my draft and come up with ideas. She was absolutely spot on and her version of Anthony was so close to what I’ve imagined he’d be like, I suspected her of being a mind reader.
Did you learn anything from writing your book that was unexpected?
Yes, I learned that sometimes the story takes you where you need to go, that you have to stop and listen to your characters and trust them enough to follow their lead.
Where can a reader purchase your book?
The book can be purchased pretty much everywhere, Amazon, Createspace, B&N, Smashwords, Kobo, Sony, All Romance… Wherever you prefer to buy your books, they probably have it.
What are you doing to market the book?
Promoting the book is an ongoing adventure. It started long before having it published and it’s not something that is ever done. I have had a huge release day party, I’m now knee deep in my blog tour, there are some book signings in my future. I also spend a lot of time attending online author events, interacting with my readers on social media, and getting the word out. I have a brilliant street team that’s been helping me with this and I’m thankful for them every minute of every day.
Who inspires you?
Friends, family, people I momentarily crossed paths with, mythical beings, fictional characters, a certain song at times, or maybe a certain mood. It can be a big event or something almost insignificant that triggers a story. For example, I got an idea for a book during a spinning class at the gym.
How do you research your books?
It depends on the books. For The Edge of Hope and the Bad Blood Trilogy, I did very little research. That’s because I have been in love with vampire books and movies all my life, I’ve read a lot on the topic and I actually worked on a paper on people who consider themselves vampires while in college. It also happens to take place in places I’ve visited quite a few times, or that I’ve researched for other purposes. In other cases, I spend hours looking for the information I need. Online, libraries, books, documentaries, wherever I can find the resources, I’m there.
What is your work in progress? Tell us about it.
There are several, actually. The Bad Blood trilogy is almost entirely drafted, so I am working on a werewolf story, a sci-fi novel, a few romances. I work on multiple books at the same time, depending on my inspiration. It’s also a great way to avoid a writer’s block and keep writing all the time.
What are your thoughts on self-publishing verses traditional publishing?
I think everyone should choose what best suits them. I actually had initially signed a contract with a small publisher, but after considering it further, I decided self-publishing was better for me. I am a PR and marketing consultant, so I had the knowledge and means to promote my own work, I found an amazing editor and a great designer, so I didn’t find it quite so challenging. I like being in control of what happens when.
Who or what inspired you to become a writer?
I’ve always loved books. My parents used to always read and I pestered them till they taught me. I started reading when I was about five and I’ve been writing my own stories since I was ten. Making up stories and telling/writing them was my favorite thing in the world and now it’s a part of me and my life. I can’t imagine ever giving it up.
Does your family support you in your writing career? How?
They’ve always supported me. I switched to writing in English years ago, so they can’t really read my books, but they love hearing about them. They’ve always encouraged me to pursue it and my dad actually said he’s buying 25 paperbacks just for himself. I’m supposed to sign them all :D
My friends have been amazing. They’ve stuck by me, beta reading, listening to me rant, cheering me on, it’s made me feel really blessed.
What are you currently reading?
While answering these questions I am reading Susan Mac Nicol’s Double Alchemy. I read a few books every week, so it will most definitely be something else by the time the interview is published.
What books or authors have most influenced your life?
Fram, the Polar Bear by Cezar Petrescu (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cezar_Petrescu) is the first book I’ve ever read. It was huge, it had great illustration, and a very interesting and touching storyline. It’s what got me hooked on books, so I’d say it’s influenced me more than anything else.
When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
Work and taking care of my dog tend to take up whatever’s left of my time. I should however say that I include promoting my books into my writing activities. That’s usually a few hours every day. Whatever time is left I use to read, go out with my friends, see my family, travel, go to the gym listen to my music, maybe even catch a movie.