Today I have the chance to let you meet author Christina Lasater. I want to thank Christina for the chance to pick her brain on her first year of publishing … and for willingly agreeing to share her journey with us all.
Christina just published her first novel, THE LAST DAWN, a futuristic novel that takes the reader on the journey to the end of the Earth and into a brave new dawn.
Linked at the bottom is a very special code that will let you all download and read THE LAST DAWN for free through Smashwords for a limited time, until Monday 2.20.2012!
Tell us what your first year of publishing has been like? What was the pit and what was the peak?
I haven’t quite made it to a year since I decided to publish/have been published but so far it has been exciting. The pit has been just how time consuming it was. When I decided to publish, I chose Smashwords, CreateSpace and Amazon all of which required different formats for the manuscript; it was tedious work. The peak was seeing my novel go “live” on those websites and when people began to purchase their copies.
Before you became the writer you are today, with your first novel officially published, where did you see yourself landing? Did you think you’d be traditionally published or were always planning to go it alone into the Indie Universe?
Years ago when I decided that I wanted to be published, I always imagined having traditionally published novel. I dreamed of being published with one of those major publishing houses. Up until a few months ago, I had little knowledge of Indie publishing. I knew that it was going to be a lot of hard work and I would be alone in my adventure but I saw it as a challenge that I wanted to try.
Did you query? If so, what was that experience like you as a first time novelist? What was the nicest thing an agent said … and what was the most disheartening? How did you deal with it?
I didn’t query since I chose the Indie path.
Hindsight is always 20/20 … if you could go back and rewrite the journey towards publication, what would you do differently? What would you do the same?
I don’t think there is anything that I would have done differently except for taking so long to reach my goal. Before I decided it was time to crack down on myself and to stop procrastinating and to set that goal, I had already been working on my novel for almost a year and a half. I was ready to get it finished. I had already planned out my novel but I needed to plan out exactly when I wanted it to be finished. I created a strict schedule, doing so much every day and every week. Being so focused on what I had to do every day helped me to finish on time.
If you could pass on one piece of knowledge to other writers just starting out what would that advice be?
Do your research. Research your options, traditional or Indie publishing, to get a good understanding of what you are about to enter. One of those options just will not suit you even if it is something you had your heart set on doing and that’s okay. Don’t let that discourage you.
New writers always face fear … what was your greatest fear about publishing your first novel?
Exposing my writing to the world. Last year I began writing articles for Examiner.com & Yahoo! Contributor Network. I finally mustered up some courage to release a piece of fiction on Yahoo! and it was completely terrifying. Up until that point, I had never let anyone read any fiction I have ever written. When I received positive feedback from readers, it helped quell those fears and encouraged me to continue sharing my works of fiction with others. It helped me to convince myself to finish and publish The Last Dawn.
How did you come across the idea and decide that, yes, this will be my first book, this is how I will launch my career?
About two years ago when the 2012 Doomsday talk started, it had me thinking about what could happen when the world does end. I was also taking a writing course around that time. I had an assignment to submit a proposal and the first three chapters of a book and chose The Last Dawn idea. My teacher replied that she liked the idea and that it was a promising topic. Months after the course was over, the idea was still stuck in my head and I was becoming obsessed with turning it into an actual novel. I had never before been so passionate about my writing like I was when I was creating The Last Dawn. I just knew that if I couldn’t stop thinking about this project, I had to finish to it.
What about the story THE LAST DAWN kept you focused as a writer, kept you telling the story to the finish line?
I was personally interested in the topic; the unknown of space, lost love, etc. I’m a hopeless romantic and into the whole could there be life outside of Earth thing so when I could combine the two, it was perfect for me.
What is the message you hope your readers will walk away with after finishing the book and setting it aside?
To let your imagination run wild, that is what fiction is all about. The concept of The Last Dawn might seem silly to others but if I would have held onto that belief that others wouldn’t like it, I never would have published it. Don’t be afraid to write anything, even if you think no one else will like it.
Are you currently working on a follow up or are you taking time to breathe?
I have a few different projects in the works and I’m hoping to get one out by the end of this year. I’m not one to be able to take a little time out because that is when I get writer’s block. My idea of taking time to breathe is writing a few articles on Yahoo! Contributor Network in between my fiction projects.
Thank you to everyone who supports Indie authors and for giving us a chance in such a difficult business. We all have to start somewhere and I am happy in my decision by taking this path.
Tell us about your novel, THE LAST DAWN …
The back cover of my novel is just the synopsis:
“The Last Dawn begins in late 2055 during the last few days of Earth. As Earth’s demise is imminent, Madison Weatherly and her former flame, James, reunite. Only a few hours remain for life on the dying planet when the entire population is dispersed throughout the universe. As Madison tries to adjust to a new life on a new planet and far away from her love, the desire to be with him never wavers. When an unexpected opportunity comes to leave her planet to find him, Madison takes off on a risky adventure through the galaxies.”
Snippet from The Last Dawn:
“Pandemonium is breaking out across the globe. Riots are coming in from all major cities. Police are out in full force arresting demonstrators and attempting to calm the panic…”
Speechless and in shock, Madison Weatherly turns off the news report. She does not want to believe what President Mona Paterson has just announced during her televised speech. Although Madison, along with the rest of the population, knew this day was coming, it still does not feel real. Five years have passed since Intergalactic Officials first visited Earth and they seemed to have flown by. The end of the world scenario has always felt like a future generation’s problem, not reality in 2055.
Flying cars and time travel machines do not exist; life is the same now as it has been for almost a century. An occasional visit from aliens is the only futuristic element seen now-a-days. The aliens do not have giant heads and creepy green skin as vintage movies portray; they are human like everyone else. The officials visit during government elections and world leader conventions. Madison has never seen any of them is person; they land and take off under the radar, not wanting to cause any commotion.
Nerves begin to eat away at her as she searches for her emergency pack of cigarettes. Hidden under the miscellaneous items in her kitchen junk drawer, she fishes them out. She quit smoking several years earlier after meeting her boyfriend, Rick North, who despises the habit. He’s none the wiser about her emergency habit. These days, the only time Madison retreats for a smoke is during rough and drawn out trials when her nerves get the best of her. Or, you know, when the world was about to end.
As a reminder, if you have not downloaded your free copy of The Last Dawn from Smashwords, the code is: RK73W. I have chosen to distribute my novel exclusively through Amazon for the next 90 days starting Monday, February 20th. At that point, my novel will temporarily be taken off the Smashwords website.