Author Interview: Stella Dawn on Stroke of Midnight

This is a recent interview I did with my girl Annie. It’s about a subject I know well: myself. Mainly, the awesome time I had writing my version of Cinderella as part of the Future Fairytales series. It also has some of my thoughts on writing, publishing, and making a living doing what you love. I hope you guys enjoy it!

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Hi Stella.

Hi Annie.

It feels a little weird to be interviewing you like this after working with you on your book, probably because I already know the answers to a lot of these questions.

That does sound a little awkward.

It is, but it also gives me some unique insight. Plus, all know if you fudge the truth.

Oh no.

Don’t worry, this is going to be fun.

Now I’m really nervous.

Don’t be. I’m going to be the one correcting the typos in this transcript, not you. Anyways, let’s get started. Tell me a little bit about your book, Stroke of Midnight.

Well, it actually wasn’t a book I intended to publish. I wrote the book several years ago when I first started writing. It actually had no science-fiction elements in it, and it wasn’t very unique. However, I finished the novella, and since it was an early book of mine is always had a place in my heart. Since then, I’ve self published a few books on my own under different names, as well as worked as a ghostwriter. I’ve seen a lot of improvement in my writing and some of my ghostwritten books have done very well. However, the books I published on my own were not successful, or had very limited success. This gave me an appreciation for working with a team instead of just on my own. I found that I really wanted guidance and someone who would be cheering for me as my career progressed. So when a friend of mine talked to me about her experience with you guys, I decided to give it a shot. Sorry for rambling, I was supposed to be talking about Stroke of Midnight.

That’s okay, I wanted to ask you about working with a small press too. We can come back to the book. What do you think is the main difference between working with a small press and working on your own?

Well, part of it is definitely working with an editor and a professional cover artist. Part of it is also working with someone who is managing — or maybe I should say helping to manage — my social media and website. When I was publishing before, I didn’t have either set up really and that was a big reason why I wasn’t able to really capitalize on the small amount of success I did have with my second book. While I love working with editors on story and have learned a lot, I also really like how you guys sit down with me and talk about my goals for my writing career and help me make a publishing plan for myself so I can realize those goals. I think that, as an author, I thought about things on a “book by book” basis instead of taking a more long-term approach. I feel like that’s the biggest thing I’m getting from working with you guys, is the way that my mindset towards publishing and writing is changing.

Do you like those changes?

Of course I do!

Good, so let’s go back to the book.

Oh yes, the book.

So it was an old book that you pulled off the shelf. And if I’m remembering correctly, it was also contemporary romance. What made you want to turn it into a Science Fiction Romance?

That’s a good question. I guess that the reason why is because the opportunity presented itself. All of the other writers in the Future Fairytales series are writers that I admire. All of them are very savvy business people too. When they were looking for people to write with them, I jumped at the opportunity. Now, at the same time, I was also working on a couple other books that Porete Press is going to publish very soon, so I didn’t want to write something from scratch. And as I said, I’ve always had a fondness for this story and I wanted to make it better and do something interesting and exciting with it. I just felt like it had more potential. As I started to work on it, I remembered why I started writing the first place, and had so much fun. The scifi elements allowed me to play with some stereotypical romance tropes in new ways, and the fairytale aspect allowed me to keep it very sweet and fun story. With fairytales, I like it when they either go dark or when they go humorous. I like it when people play with your expectations, especially if they can bring a unique twist to the really popular fairytale plot points. I didn’t really do that in my original story, but now I had the skills to do that. I ended up rewriting about 75% of the novella, but the bare-bones are still there and it’s fun to see how much I’ve improved since I started writing.

That sounds really fun.

It was really fun.

I know, I remember how excited you were to start this project. I guess that’s an example of a question that I’m asking that already know the answer to.

Well, it’s probably the most important question. Writing should be fun.

His writing always been fun for you?

Some days are more fun than others, but I’m always thankful and excited. Even when I do ghostwriting, I have an energy that I just never had when I was doing my other jobs. Part of that was because I was working for myself for the first time in my life, but I think that another part was because I was able to do something creative. My writing time is some of my favorite time. Even when it’s difficult, it gets my mind working in different ways. I love looking at the world from different points of view and thinking about things in terms of growth and story — especially when that story has a happy ending!

I guess that’s what you write romance.

Yeah, that’s definitely why. I do read books that aren’t romance, but I think that writing them would be just too much for me. If I’m going to spend that much time with my characters, I’m going to start liking them, and I’m going to want to leave them in a good place. Plus, there’s enough bad stuff going on in the world every day. If I want tragedy, I’ll read the news. To be frank, I never want tragedy, but I do think that it’s important to not ignore all the bad things that are happening in the world. However, it’s also important to stay hopeful. People can make big changes every day to their own lives and to the lives of people around them. I guess that’s what really draws me to romance. I like how the characters can face just about anything but come out stronger and better than they were before. That kind of optimism is really important when you go out to face the world.

I agree! What a great way of putting it. So I guess this means you’re not gonna stop writing?

You already know the answer that.

Yeah, I do. I’m just trying to segue into talking about your next projects.

Well, I’ve got some more scifi romance books coming out pretty soon. They feature hot alien dudes and strong human women.

Sounds awesome.

It is awesome.

Awesome is a good place to leave this interview. Thanks for taking the time to talk with me.

Thanks for having me.

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Hi, this is Stella. Hope you guys enjoyed the interview. I’ve republished the full interview here with permission from my publisher, Porete Press. You can read the original here.

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Stroke of Midnight

Cindy isn’t interested in princes and thinks that happily ever after is nothing more than a fairytale. But the other shoe is about to drop, because the only way for her to rescue her stepsisters from their wicked stepmother is to sneak into the ball and outmaneuver the one man she cannot stand — the arrogant, selfish, and sexy-as-sin king. Soon, she’s at risk of becoming a pawn in her own game, for the king is ruthlessly pursuing his own agenda. He’s determined to teach her a lesson before the night is through: at the stroke of midnight, nothing is forbidden. Turns out their unforgettable tryst is the least of their surprises. Do you know what’s more inconvenient than a misplaced glass slipper? Unplanned pregnancy.

Available from Amazon.com

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