Tell us a little about yourself and what inspired you to start writing.
I'm a mom of three, and I'm homeschooling two of them this year. I've always loved books and words. I've written since I was younger, but didn't write my first book until I took a NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) challenge and pounded out a 50,000 word novel. After that, I went into the wash cycle of querying agents, finding agents, submitting books...three books/agents/submissions later, I self-published.
What projects are you currently working on?
I should be working harder! I'm letting ideas formulate/rough drafting for my second Viking novel, Forest Child. I'm also ruminating on my second mystery, Trial by Twelve. I'm hoping I'll have at least one book ready by next year (2015).
I understand your newest release Miranda Warning, is a Christian mystery novel. Could you tell us a little about it?
Yes, I'd love to! All my novels are written from a Christian worldview, which means there are themes Christians will recognize, but I also try to gear my novels so unsaved readers can enjoy them without feeling "preached at." So I'm basically a crossover author. I have both Christian and non-Christian characters in all my books.
Miranda Warning is really close to my heart because it's set in my home state, West Virginia. My main character, Tess Spencer, has had a rough childhood. She's also fairly newly married and pregnant. I just thought it would be so fun to write a pregnant sleuth. I would describe my mysteries as borderline cozy--set in a small town, amateur sleuth, no cursing/sex scenes. But my mysteries also have a paranormal element and psychological element to them, as they are more character-based. So I don't label them cozy, per se. I love psychological mysteries, like Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.
I'm excited to write this Murder in the Mountains Series because the characters are so fun. I love showing the good relationship Tess has with her in-laws, who live right next door. And her relationship with her husband Thomas, which is in those newly married years, is going to grow/change throughout the series.
Out of all your books, who is your favorite character and why?
That is the hardest question. Every character I write, I have to get into their heads 100%, since I write first-person point of view. So I feel very close to Gudrid in God's Daughter (my Viking historical), although I'm only like her in some ways. I also feel very close to Tess Spencer. One of my favorite characters is Nikki Jo, Tess Spencer's mother-in-law.
What made you decide to self publish?
After spending about six years submitting books, one of which took about a year and a HALF to hear the final rejection on, I realized I wasn't getting any younger and my writing career was stalled. I didn't want to write a book that would be trendy, I wanted to produce the books I had. Editors had enjoyed the books, but marketing generally shot them down for one reason or another (wrong time period, etc). I realized I wanted to assume all that marketing "risk" and get my books to the readers I knew were there for this time period (Vikings) or for this genre (mystery, versus romantic suspense).
After your experience with self publishing so far, what advice would you give to new authors taking this publishing route?
My best advice is always "Don't rush it." Make sure all your ducks are in a row first--edits complete, early readers lined up, platform in place, excellent cover art ready to roll, etc. Every book is a page in your author repertoire, and if you produce a shoddy one, it will be hard to convince readers to come back to you for book two. Put in the very best effort you can with the budget you have. Indie publishing can go VERY low-budget--I know my first book was produced with nearly no costs. But definitely outsource things you're not good at--cover art, formatting, edits, etc.
I have an entire page on my blog of posts on self-publishing. One great thing about indies is that we're ready to share our experiences. Feel free to check it out here.
About the Author:
Heather Day Gilbert enjoys writing stories about authentic, believable marriages. Seventeen years of marriage to her sweet Yankee husband have given her some perspective, as well as eleven years spent homeschooling. Heather regularly posts on Novel Rocket about self-publishing.
You can find Heather at her website, Heather Day Gilbert--Author, and at her Facebook Author Page, as well as Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and Goodreads. Her Viking novel, God's Daughter, is an Amazon bestseller. You can find it on Amazon and Audible.com. Her Appalachian mystery, Miranda Warning, is on Amazon, Nook, Kobo, and Deeper Shopping.