Today I'd like to introduce author Paige Tyler, who I first met in October at Romanticon. She has a new book out today called Dead Sexy, which is actually a zombie romance. Hmmm. You know I have to read that, just to see how she pulled it off!
Shoshanna: Hi Paige! Welcome to The Writer's Challenge. So, how long have you been writing?
Paige: I started writing in middle school, so back then I did it purely for pleasure. It wasn't until my creative writing teacher in high school suggested I think about making it a career that I started to think about getting published. Although I wrote every day and came up with story after story, I still didn't pursue it seriously. One of the problems was trying to figure out how to get anyone to look at my stories. I tried cold submissions and even sending my stuff to literary agencies, but those avenues never worked for me and I started to get a little disheartened. Luckily, that was about the time epubs were becoming popular, so I when I ran across a website asking for submissions, I decided to give it a shot. The publisher loved my stuff, and I've been writing every since. And while writing is my job now, I've never lost that love for it, so it's still a pleasure!
Shoshanna: Did you ever get rejection letters?
Paige: Ugh, yes! Well, not from epubs, but from print pubs and agents. They're disheartening, to say the least, but the stories that got rejected were picked up by other pubs, so it was all good. Just because one pub doesn't like something, that doesn't mean another won't. So, my new motto is do your best and forget the rest!
Shoshanna: And it's not like epubs don't reject 95%, maybe more, of what they get. So it sounds like maybe your books were good but not mainstream enough for a print pub to take on. That's one of the beautiful things about e-publishers - good stories get told. So, when did you make your first sale? How'd that feel?
Paige: I made my first sale over five years ago to an ePub called Blushing Books and it felt fantastic! My dream of becoming a romance writer came true and I totally did the happy dance! Actually, I still do it whenever a book gets contracted! LOL!
Shoshanna: Yeah, me too! Okay, and now you've written a zombie love story. How did you manage to make your zombie Hero sexy?Paige: First, to set the stage, I need to share a little something with you about myself. Well, about my hubby and me, actually. We love zombie movies, from the George Romero gems to and everything in between, including "Walking Dead," the new series on AMC. You just can't go wrong with a movie full of walking dead people, can you? Well, if you've ever seen a zombie movie (or even if you haven't), then you know the creatures aren't the heroes of the film. I mean, how can they be, right? They're all dead and decayed and downright unattractive, not to mention pretty damn scary. Which was why you can imagine my surprise when my hubby suggested I write an erotic romance about a zombie hero. I was like, you're kidding, right? What woman in her right mind would fall in love with a dead guy? No way could that possibly work, or so I thought.
Turns out, my hubby wasn't kidding. In fact, he started working up ideas for the story. "The hero didn't have to be a zombie all the time," he told me. "Think outside the box - take a little literary license!"Okay, I thought. I suppose I could be open minded. My hubby told me that in his out-of-the-box world, the hunky hero got cursed by an evil Voodoo priestess and only turns into a zombie sometimes.
"I'm listening," I said.
"And when he does go zombie, he doesn't have to be like the kind in the movies," my hubby added. "Well, he has to look like one, you know all dead and stuff, but he doesn't have to be a mindless creature or attack humans or eat anything gross."
So, brains are completely out, thanks goodness!
"Think Jensen Ackles or Jared Padelecki, with a really, really, really dark tan - (yes, my hubby knows I've got a thing for the Supernatural hunks!) - well, maybe more gray and black than tan, but you get the idea."
I thought about that for a minute. "So, the hero's dead, but he's still sexy, is that what you're saying?"
"Exactly," he said, giving me a grin as my eyes lit up with understanding.
By that point, my hubby had pretty much sold me on the idea. Of course, I knew if I ran with it, I was going to have to sell it to a publisher, and I knew that could be tough since the hero is a zombie. But I ran with it anyway and ended up with a full-length novel. And it came out pretty damn good, if I do say so myself! I still had to find a publisher for it, though.
About this same time, It just so happens that several of my other books were in the process of being picked up by Ellora's Cave and I thought what the heck? Why not pitch it to my editor there and see what she thinks? So I did, and she told me to send it to her. She was interested to see how I handled the whole zombie-thing. Well, long story, short, she liked it. A lot! My zombie romance with it's dead-sexy hero had a home! I was thrilled and my hubby walked around for a week with a smug, "I-told-you-so" look on his face.
I've been getting the word out there about DEAD SEXY ever since I signed the contract for it and I'm thrilled with the interest from readers who can't wait to get their hands on it! I can't wait for them to read it, too!
Now that I've revealed the story behind the story, I'd love for you to stop by by website and read the blurb and excerpt, as well as take a look at the trailer, just to your appetite for more!
Shoshanna: I can't wait to read it! One last question: Do you have a literary agent, do you want one?
Paige: I don't have an agent. There was a time that I did want an agent, though. Bad! But after a couple years of trying, unsuccessfully, I've changed my mind about it. I got tired of hearing the same thing, that they want something "different," and though they "loved" whatever book I sent them, it was too "different." Or that they "loved the book," but weren't "in love" with it. Books, that ePubs and readers absolutely love, by the way! The rejections did nothing but bring me down and make me doubt myself. Writing, something that I love with a passion, wasn't fun anymore. It wasn't worth it, so I said, forget it. I realized that I was doing it more for validation that for any other reason. I'm happy as an epubbed author and am lucky to not only be with some of the most amazing publishers, including Ellora's Cave, but to have the most amazing readers, as well!
I'm also on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter!
Shoshanna: Thanks for stopping by, Paige!