Author B. Roman (aka Barbara Roman) has been in the creative arts since childhood. She began singing professionally as a vocalist in Philadelphia, PA and she performs with swing bands and pop music combos to this day. Her music has always informed her writing subject matter in both fiction and non-fiction works. She is also a composer and lyricist.
Her professional writing career began back in 1971 as a fine arts publicist, newspaper feature writer, and author of books on the power of music as well as numerous children’s stories.
B. Roman is the author of the inspirational trilogy for the YA market, “The Moon Singer”, and the suspense fiction, “Whatever Became of Sin.” Her children’s book, “Hubert in Heaven” is available in book and audio book formats.
Her mantra as an author is “never give up – success is always just around the corner.”
What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book(s), but nobody has? Write it out here, and then answer it.
Why do you write such lofty subjects for children?
I think children have a much higher mind than they are given credit for. If important information is presented in an entertaining and creative way children will respond. They just have to be introduced to it. The stories of C.S. Lewis and J. R. Tolkien are hugely successful fantasies with deeply philosophical messages. Even the Star Wars films were inspired by the writings of Joseph Campbell. We need to constantly strike a balance to all the low-minded junk that proliferates in products for kids today.
What is your writing process? Do you follow a regular routine or do you have any weird, funny, or unusual habits while writing and what are they?
What routine? I work a day job almost full time so I make a special effort to get in my writing time on days off or in the evenings. I sometimes drag my laptop into bed and write and edit; other times I go to a coffee shop/bookstore to get a different ambience for energy and focus. I have also taken my notebooks to a bench by the beach for empowerment and inspiration. Before I had a laptop I wrote everything on yellow legal tablets. I still do that sometimes before I transfer it to my computer.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
Well, my head is always spinning with story ideas and plot refinements. But I do lose mental and physical energy at times which makes it difficult to put words on paper. Sometimes I’ll go for a walk or run errands, sometimes I go to a movie – and fresh ideas and plot solutions pop into my head when I’m not focused on writing. Having music in the background – classical or New Age type music – really helps to get the creative juices flowing.
What is the single most important piece of advice for aspiring authors?
Write because you are compelled to say something, to create something, not for the “market.” Then write some more.
What are your current/future projects?
I currently have five books available on Amazon. The Moon Singer Trilogy, a suspense fiction “Whatever Became of Sin?”, and a children’s book (as Barbara Roman) “Hubert in Heaven, available in book and audio book formats. I have 3 more completed children’s books that I hope to have published this year, and I’m working on a prequel to the Moon Singer trilogy, as well as another suspense fiction.
The link to my author page on Creativia Publishing has details on each book as well as personal insights: http://www.creativia.org/the-power-of-music-and-magical-adventures-author-b-roman.html
Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?
For years I have been writing about metaphysical subjects because it just seems to be the way I am wired. I’m very interested in the power of music, crystal energy, reincarnation, the Tarot, psychic phenomena etc. But I also love reading courtroom dramas and good mystery stories which Is what, I suppose, inspired me to shift gears and write in a different genre. The latter seems to ground me from all of that higher consciousness stuff!
What do you think is the future for independent authors and do you think it will continue to be easy for anyone to be a published author?
I don’t have a crystal ball about that, but more and more people are Indie. Is it easy? Well anyone can self publish but getting noticed is more and more difficult. You have to be willing to work for it, to do the marketing, which most writer just hate!
Are you traditional or self-published, and what process did you go through to get your book published?
I originally self-published my first four books and was kind of getting nowhere. Against my better judgment (I’m a Social Media Luddite), I created a Facebook page and joined some author groups where I heard about Creativia Publishing. I queried them and they offered to represent me. They are very supportive and collaborative with me. They do a lot of promotion for their authors but we still have to back them up with our own marketing efforts.
Have you ever changed a title, book cover, or even the content of your book after it was published? What was that process like?
Once Creativia took over my books they designed brand new covers which were sorely needed. We refined the titles of the books for continuity. It was the best thing that could happen to the books. The content of the stories was never changed, but the publisher went through the manuscripts for any formatting errors and cleaned those up for the digital editions.
What are your marketing, advertising, promotion strategies and which one(s) have worked the best for you? If you had to share your most valuable promotion tip, what would that be?
I’m still trying to find the best one!! There are many services out there that say they will promote your book but charge a very hefty fee for little result. I don’t mind paying for some ads or promotion within reason. I research carefully, check with other authors as to what avenues have worked for them. But whatever you do it should have a global reach. You have to find customers in every nook and cranny on Earth. I regularly post on about ten carefully chosen Facebook groups and Tweet just about every day, and try to get new followers constantly – especially ones that humungous numbers of their own followers.
If you are a self-published author, which platform do you prefer? (Amazon, Smashwords, Lulu, Author House, or something not mentioned), and why?
I originally self-published on Lulu and Amazon’s Create Space, as well as Smashwords, but my publisher is an authorized Amazon publishing house so they have an exclusive right now.
What field or genre would you classify your book(s) and what attracted you to write in that field or genre?
We are promoting the Trilogy as fantasy, paranormal, coming of age, metaphysical, inspirational; I’ve always been interested in those subjects. The mystery is, of course, fiction, mystery, thriller, etc. – because I love stories about people making bad decisions and paying the consequences.
Do you have a target amount of words/pages for each of your books or do you just know when enough is enough?
My books are quick reads, about 150 pages. I just write until the story is done and no more. I’m not good at writing 500 page sagas. Maybe it’s my penchant for stage plays and films you have to get to the point in short order or people get bored (or maybe it’s me who gets bored. Ha!).
How do you think you have evolved as a person/author because of your writing and do you believe your writing has helped others, how/why?
Through the years I have written so many different types of articles, books and stories and know that my work has struck a chord, an Aha! moment, with some people. So that’s gratifying. As for me, I have definitely evolved to know that much of the time I am writing to grow as a person, to know deep down who I am and why I write what I write. So I have my own Aha! moments.
How much influence do you believe a title, cover, content, page numbers have in purchasing decisions of potential buyers/readers?
Covers are what attracts the reader. They are so important that some book sites for authors have Cover Wars where readers vote for their favorite. The title should be intriguing but it’s difficult to be unique because there can be other books out there with the same title and completely different content. Of course, it’s what’s between the covers that closes the sale.
Do you believe there is value in a Press Release, have you used any press release service, and what have your experiences been?
Haven’t done a press release in years and year, when I was working as a journalist and PR rep. Everything we do today is a press release of sorts blogs, interviews, book descriptions, author pages, etc.
Do you believe there is value in a review? Do you believe they are under rated, over rated, or don’t matter at all?
Reviews are vital and very hard to get when you are new or unknown. In order to be noticed or featured at all on some promotion or book sites they require a minimum number of reviews be posted. This is the hardest slog of all. But the more you have – good or bad – the more people might be inclined to take a look at your work.
What are your thoughts on authors doing review swaps, paying for reviews, or reviews that just don’t seem right for the book?
I don’t mind authors swapping reviews as long as they take great care to select only books that interest them. Paying for reviews is sometimes necessary because even the most well-intentioned “free” reviewer is overwhelmed with requests. But the review MUST pertain to the book content otherwise what’s the point?
With self publishing being so easy these days, do you believe there is an over abundance of books out there and how do you sort through all the hype or copycats?
There definitely is an over abundance of books out there. Millions of books. Books by great authors and bad ones. You just promote and promote and hope you can break through.
What is your biggest fear about having a book published?
That no one buys it. I know not everyone will like what I write or “get” the subject matter, but there are readers out there for me. I just have to find them or make it easier for them to find me.
If you have multiple books published what do you feel is your greatest work, why?
I haven’t written my “greatest work” yet! But of the adventure trilogy I think Book 3, “The Wind Rose,” is the best. It delves much deeper into the concepts of music’s power, and how our hero (who is a deaf teen) is able to actually hear his own soul song thus allowing him to complete his mission of saving his loved ones from a catastrophic event. This book also answers a lot of the metaphysical questions and theories that are threaded through all three books.
What is the intended audience for you book?
Originally I intended the trilogy for children, or rather “sophisticated” young readers, without talking down to them. Of course, this group usually likes wizards and vampires and teen killing machines. So I’m hoping adults will be the ones who really are attracted to the books and will introduce their kids to them.
Give us a fun fact about your book(s)?
I own a Singer crystal, shaped like a small sailboat, that inspired the Moon Singer trilogy’s first adventure, The Crystal Clipper. I found this unique crystal at a workshop (actually, it found me – which is what crystals are programmed to do). In pondering its energy, a story began to take shape and guided me through writing all of the adventures. Young David Nickerson came by his own Singer because it was meant for him; he is the one true owner of the Singer crystal which manifests into the Moon Singer ship and transports David through endless reaches of time and space. Because the sacred gem holds all of the secrets and knowledge of the universe, it is David’s vehicle to learn about life, courage, selflessness and unconditional love.
If you had the chance to get one message out there to reach readers all over the world, what would that message be?
Give more stories with a “higher consciousness” a chance. They can be just as entertaining and enlightening and valuable as the dark and violent fare we are inundated with in pop culture today. We need more “Life of Pi” type stories, so why not try The Moon Singer Trilogy?
Do you find it easier to connect with your readers with the advances in technology we have today like social media? What platform do you prefer, and why?
What makes a good story, why?
Characters that you care about and can relate to even if their world is completely different from your own reality. Whether it’s a book, a TV show or a movie, a fantasy or a comedy, it’s the characters that give the plot its significance.
What is the easiest/hardest scene for you to write, why? (Love, action, fight, death, racy, controversial, etc…)
I absolutely cannot write grisly, violent scenes – my mind doesn’t go there at all. I can write “implied” violence and emotional conflict but that’s about it. I’m even worse at writing explicit passion so there is no graphic sex in my books. I prefer the old school of writing when much is left to the imagination.
Were your characters based off real life people/events or did you make it all up?
No, I made them all up. Or rather, I was “gifted” with them. Never underestimate the unexpected sources of inspiration that come your way. Be open to every thought and idea and see where it goes from there.
What are the most important elements of good writing? According to you, what tools are must-haves for writers?
You need to be organized; writing requires painstaking detail, making sure no questions in the plot are unanswered and that even the most incredulous story is credible. Most of all you have to be honest with yourself and why you write. I do it because even my earliest memories were of my desire to put words on paper. I’ve written news, essays, poetry, song lyrics, children’s stories and novels because they capture my imagination and my heart. But be prepared for your heart to be broken. Then put it back together and keep on keeping on.
What book(s), author(s), or significant life event(s) have had a positive or negative influence in your life that inspired you to begin writing?
As a child I read every Grimm’s Fairy Tales, every picture book, every kids series (like Nancy Drew, etc), but also read the great poets like Whitman and James Whitcomb Riley, etc.; and Great American Plays by Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller, on and on. My favorite contemporary books are by John Grisham, Anne Perry, Colleen McCullough, to name a few. And there have been many New Age/Metaphysical books that have helped to open up my channels of inspiration such as “The Power of Myth” by Joseph Campbell.
What are your thoughts about eBooks vs. print books?
Love those physical print books that you can hold in your hand, underline, dog ear and feel! But digital is such a part of our lives, if it helps to sell your stories then I’m all for it.
Do you view writing as a career, labor of love, hobby, creative outlet, therapy, or something else?
Labor (emphasis Labor) of love, creative outlet, compulsion. It’s now a business, too, since there is time, money and marketing involved.
Were there any challenges (research, literary, psychological, or logistical) in bringing your book to life?
There are always challenges to making your story credible. I had to research extensively on deafness, crystal power, and the paranormal subjects that make my trilogy characters ring true. Even in the mystery, which is set in New Orleans, there was a lot of research about the Cajun culture and the city itself that went into bringing the book to life. Sometimes you research volumes just to write a paragraph.
Do you proofread/edit your own books or do you send them off to an editor? If you send them off to an editor, who/what have you had the best experience with?
I proofread them myself because I have been a writer so long and have also edited copy for newspapers and magazines. So far my books have been accepted as is and my publisher hasn’t recommended professional editing.
Do you have a subject/genre you would never write about, why?
Horror. Satanic cultures. Anything super dark and terrifying.
What motivates you to write and where does your inspiration come from?
As I have said, I am just wired that way. I have a very interesting day job, a son and grandchildren, but what I keep going back to is writing. My inspiration comes from seeing my ideas manifest into something tangible. And knowing that the more I write the better I will be. No one is born a great writer. You must keep improving. That is inspiring.
What makes your book stand out from the crowd?
Gosh. Do they? I sure hope so! I hope it’s my sincerity in how I handle the content.
Do you design your own cover? If not who does, why?
I did my own covers when I self published just to get them out. But professional covers are a must. My new editions were done by my publisher’s creative team and they are run by me for final approval (although I do defer to my publisher’s expertise as to what will look good to a reader).
What is your most/least favorite part of the writing process, why?
The marketing. The business. That’s all writing, too, but it’s functional and not inspirational.
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