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Sabrina Furminger [Self-Publishing Interview Series]

Today we are pleased to welcome Sabrina Furminger to the blog to give us her perspective on writing and self-publishing her first novel, The Healer. For more on Sabrina (who is also an AMAZING Indie Ninja, by the way), visit her website or give her a shout on Twitter!

On Writing

  • What is your earliest writing memory?
    • When I was six-years-old, my grandmother gave me her old typewriter—one of those lumbering contraptions from the 1940s. I spent hours in front of that iron maiden, tapping out poems, plays and parables with a lofty sense of purpose. It was the most prolific period of my life.
  • What does your writing space look like?
    • My writing table—an antique secretary desk I salvaged from a desolate thrift shop—is located next to a big window. I spend a lot of time staring out the window, wondering when the words will come.
  • Describe your writing process. Is it structured (scheduled time devoted to writing and word count goals) or more free-form (when inspiration strikes)?
    • I admire those disciplined writers who rise at dawn each day and write 1,000 words before their first cup of coffee. I just can’t do that. I can’t force myself to be creative. I need to be gripped by the muse, and when that happens, I can’t sleep until every word of the story has vacated my brain. When I’m in the zone, I write in coffee shops, on the bus, and between meetings. Once I have a first draft in my hands, I let it simmer for two or three weeks, and then I read, re-read, drink coffee, curse and edit until my eyes bleed. I read each sentence out loud to test the melody, rhythm and flow of my story. I have a team of professional beta-readers who give me their brutally honest opinions; I want to hear what works and where I’ve failed, and then I make adjustments accordingly. I choose to be precious about story and not necessarily the words I use to tell it, and so I play with the words until I’m satisfied that they’re communicating my story with razor-sharp accuracy.

On The Healer

  • What made you decide to write The Healer?
    • The Healer is based on a recurring dream I had for more than a decade, in which I’d watch helplessly as injury would befall my friends and pets, but then I would discover I had the power to heal their wounds with my hands. I’d wake from these dreams full of questions: what would I do if I actually had this gift? What kind of life would I lead? How would society view my abilities? What dangers would I face? After I received a life-altering Reiki session from my uncle, himself a certified energy healer, I decided to finally explore my recurring dream.I also love a good love story (the kind that makes your heart ache), and a hazy romantic figure that eventually took the form of Victor Morgan has lurked on the edge of my consciousness for years. I needed to “meet” him, and now that I’ve built him out in words, I’m in love with him more than ever.Interestingly enough, since I completed the first draft of The Healer, I haven’t dreamt about healing. I miss those dreams.
  • What drew you to the genre of sci-fi chicklit?
    • I wrote the kind of novel I love to read: an estrogen-charged narrative—complete with tragedy-laced romance, tears, and a gritty search for identity—that also happens to be a little bit out-of-this-world.
  • Who is The Healer for? That is, who is your target audience? How did you decide to target this group(s)?
    • The novel seems to resonate most strongly with women between the ages of 18 and 40 who love romance, paranormal adventure, and urban fantasy. I’m a member of this group—so I guess you could say I wrote the book for myself!

On Self-Publishing

  • What made you decide to self-publish? What has been the most difficult part of the process?
    • Self-publishing was my first choice. I love The Healer, and I didn’t want it to languish in an unending series of slush piles. The publishing industry as we know it is dying; publishing houses are closing their doors at a record pace. I do not mourn these closures. I see it as an opportunity to appeal directly to my potential readers. Self-publishing gives the author complete control over the process. Self-publishing is the future, and the future is now.As for the most difficult part of the process—well, despite the proven market viability of self-published authors, there’s still a stigma associated with the so-called “vanity press.” I’ve been asked by friends, family and professional contacts if I chose the self-publishing route because I couldn’t find a publisher for my novel (which simply wasn’t the case). I’ve been doing my best to stamp out the misconceptions, mostly through media interviews about self-publishing (such as this one with CISL AM 650’s DottoTech). I hope the quality of the book speaks for itself.
  • What advice would you give to other indie authors?
    • It’s not enough to have written what you think is the best book ever. Share it with learned friends. Hire an editor. Have someone proofread it, and then have someone else proofread it. Self-publishing is not an excuse for shoddy editing. The last thing you want is to read a review on Amazon about how the book would have been okay if not for all the grammar and spelling errors. I’ve seen this happen. It’s sad!
  • Do you have any other projects in the works?
    • I have an idea I hope to flesh out during NaNoWriMo (if my ten-month-old baby lets me). It’s based on Uplifted, a short story I wrote for Luna Station Quarterly. I’m eager to see where it takes me.

Hot Seat Questions

Now it’s time for the just-for-fun Duolit Hot Seat questions. Let’s learn a little more about Sabrina, outside of her life as a writer and self-publisher.

  1. If you could have any superhero power, which would you choose?
    I’d want the power to heal grievous wounds (despite what my protagonist goes through in The Healer).
  2. What’s your favorite junk food?
    Poutine (a delicacy from my home province: fries coated with gravy and cheese curds).
  3. Pencil, pen or computer?
    A black felt-tipped pen.
  4. If you could be any fictional character, who would you be?
    Arwen from The Lord of The Rings. She is gracious and fearless.
  5. What’s your favorite TV show?
    It’s a four-way tie: Are You Being Served?, M*A*S*H, The X-Files, and Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Thanks again for a great interview, Sabrina! Stories such as Sabrina’s are an inspiration for all indie authors, as well as a great opportunity to learn from another’s experiences. For more on Sabrina and The Healer, be sure to visit her website or leave a question in the comments below. 

  • I am in serious envy of the writers who can remember dreams that make stories. I could not remember my dreams if my life depended on it. I keep hearing about incredible ideas that come from dreams.

    On a side note… Am I the only one who has seen “So You Want to Write a Novel?” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9fc-crEFDw) and immediately thought of the dog saying, “It’s science fiction crossed with chic-lit crossed with literary fiction,” when “sci-fi chiclit” got mentioned? ROFL. Now all you need to do is add a epilogue in the literary fiction vein. 😉 But seriously, it sounds like an intriguing cross.

    • Toni

      I’m envious of those who remember their dreams, too (unless they’re bad ones, of course) — what a rich canvas to draw upon for ideas! Thanks for the comment (and for sharing the video)!

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