Friday, August 19, 2011

Interview with Indie Author Extraordinaire Sarra Cannon!

I am thrilled to represent the cabinet in welcoming Sarra Cannon today! Sarra launched her ebook career in October of 2010 with Beautiful Demons, the first in her Demon series that will be coming to a climactic finish with the release of her fifth book, Shadow Demons, sometime this fall. Sarra's books pop up onto the Amazon top 100 list for the kindle, and make her fans salivate for the next! As one of those hungry fans, I've put together a few questions for Sarra, and she'll also be dropping in throughout the day to answer any questions you might have!

Q: Since we're at the cabinet, here, tell us what personal treasures you'd put out on display if you had a cabinet of cuirosities and wonders? Would they show off your finds from around the world, or come from connections a little closer to home?

I wish I could have a cabinet of memories on display. I am one of those people who always remembers to bring my camera, but never remembers to take any pictures! I wish I could find a way to get my memories out of my head and into a cabinet to put some of the best ones on display. Memories are really so much more important to me than any physical thing. Of course, if I had a real cabinet of treasures, I would fill it with my most coveted Hello Kitty items. I'm a bit of an addict!

Q: Anywhere you've always wanted to visit, but haven't been yet? If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you pick?

I have always wanted to go to India. I am a huge Beatles fan and they found so much inspiration for their music in India. I wonder if I would find some inspiration of my own there, too. Hmm. If I could live anywhere in the world, I would probably want to split my time between New York City and a private tropical island somewhere. I love the water and the beach, but I'm also such a nightowl. I adore cities where things are open 24/7!

Q: Pick one: Homemade ice cream, rich chocolate truffles, a lemon tart, fresh fruit and vanilla custard, or your favorite kind of pie. Do you have any memories you attach to that dessert? Funny stories?

Okay, now I'm hungry! I have such a sweet tooth, so all of those sound good to me. Yum! I would probably have to choose the rich chocolate though. Just because, well... it's chocolate! As far as memories go, I don't have any about chocolate, but I have fond memories of summers in Georgia where we went out to pick fresh blackberries in the woods around my house. We'd bring home huge buckets full of them and make cobblers, jams, and sometimes just eat them with a little bit of milk and sugar. Blackberries always make me think of innocence and being young.

Now a couple questions about your books:
Q: Tell us where you got the idea for Peachville High, the setting of your demon books. Was it something that came in a flash of inspiration, or did you built it up layer on layer?

Peachville High is very much based on my experiences growing up in Hawkinsville, a small town in Middle Georgia. Except we were the Red Devils not the Demons. And as far as I know, none of the cheerleaders were witches. The rest of the story came in layers.

Q: Do you have a favorite character in your demon books? Who do you wish you could give a little more screen time, but can't?

I guess it's the obvious answer, but Harper is by far my favorite character. She seems so real to me, and sometimes when I'm writing, it's like she's sitting there next to me telling me her story. I love that she's not perfect, but she's also not afraid to question things.

If I could, I would give more screentime to Courtney. She's definitely an interesting character. So quiet, yet such an extraordinary gift of being able to 'recharge' other witches' powers. I think there's way more to her than meets the eye. I'm hoping to bring more of her story into Demons Forever, but I'm not sure it's going to fit. Maybe I'll have to write a short story about her afterward!

Q: If Harper Madison (teen witch extraordinaire and prima in the making) knew she'd be locked up in a little room all day and could only take one book for entertainment, what would she take? What about the irresistable Jackson?

It's funny because I don't picture Harper as being much of a reader. She's more of a daydreamer when she's alone and sometimes she likes to draw, although she's nowhere near as good at it as Jackson. She might bring along a book like 'The Zombie Survival Guide'. I think she'd get a kick out of coming up with a plan for what to do in case of the zombie apocalypse.

With Jackson, it's the opposite. I think he's an avid reader. I picture him loving the classics and rereading his favorite books over and over. For some reason, and I know this is weird, I picture his favorite book being 'The Count of Monte Cristo'. He's the type of person who would admire someone who beat seemingly impossible odds and went on to get his revenge on those who had wronged him.

Q: Your books have a lot of cool magic in them--which came first, the rules and history of the magic system or the stories? How did you keep them integrated without getting them tangled?

The story and the characters definitely came first. The magic sort of surprised me as I went along. And it still does, to be honest! I keep the rules written down in a big notebook so that I can try to keep them straight.

And now a few hot topic questions--ebooks.
Q: You've had some pretty terrific success as an indie author. Tell us what you wish you'd known earlier, and what you might have done differently.

I wish I'd known that it was okay to trust my own instincts. I wish I hadn't spent so much of my early writing days worrying about how to get an agent or an editor to notice my work. I wrote in a constant state of fear and self-doubt. As an indie author, though, I don't need to worry about editors or agents. I only have to think about readers and about story. I wish I'd known all along that those were the only things that really matter.

Q: Can you tell us about your approach to promotion, and what's worked best for you?

My approach to promotion has simply been to write more books! It's so easy to get caught up in social media and blogging and trying to figure out a way to get your name out there, but in the end, the most valuable use of my time is working on my next book. I have spent some time reaching out to book bloggers (who, by the way, have all been amazing and so nice), and I have also just tried to be myself and promote when I had the time, but for the most part, I spend my time writing and that's worked best for me so far.

Q: Do you ever plan to do a 'live' tour, so you can meet your fans in person? What about a party or event?

I would LOVE to get a chance to meet my fans in person! I haven't given much thought to doing a tour. It's hard to believe there are enough people out there who would show up! Maybe if I ever hit it big enough to sell a hundred thousand books or more, hehe. I was actually just invited to do my very first book signing back in my hometown in Georgia for their Fall Festival this year. I'm hoping to get my books out in print by then so I can do it.

Q: What tips would you provide an indie author just starting out?

My number one tip would be to simply keep writing. Trust yourself and write what you love. Work hard and don't obsess over sales numbers if things are going slow. Just keep writing and keep learning. That's the most important thing.

There you have it! Trust your instincts, eat lots of chocolate, write from inside yourself, and meet Sarra in person this fall! In the meantime, ask her any questions you have in the comments, and she'll do her best to answer them. Sarra is savvy about all the pros, cons and how to of ebook publishing and has been very generous with her knowledge!


  1. Great interview!

    Sarra, I'm wondering what element of your stories gets your fans the most excited, what do they comment on the most?

  2. I am so happy to get to say that someone else TOLD Me to eat lots of chocolate. ;)

    Trusting your instincts is very important! Great lesson learned. :)

  3. Patesden - Thanks!

    Even though the romance between Harper and Jackson is just one piece of the story, it's definitely the one thing my fans comment on the most! Everyone wants to know more about the mysterious Jackson, hehe.

    Aimee - thanks for commenting! Chocolate is always in order.

  4. Writing more books is definitely the best thing you can do! This interview made me hungry..

  5. LOL, thanks JL. And speaking of more books, can't wait for more from you!

  6. Welcome to the Cabinet, Sarra! My question is about your writing life. Book 5 in your series will be released this fall, just a year after Book 1. How fast do you write? How many hours in a day? And who do you go to for editing advice? Also, any hints on what readers can expect after his series?

  7. Sarra recently gave our RWA chapter a fantastic program on self-publishing. Though I have 5 e-books with 2 publishers out, I plan to start uploading my own within the month. Thanks, Sarra!

  8. Laura - I try to write at least two or three hours every day, which usually means about two thousand words a day on average. My books are on the short side with SHADOW DEMONS (Book 4) just over 60,000 words, so I can write my entire rough draft in one month if I work hard, then it takes about a month or two to revise and edit (which for me means rewriting, lol!).

    I rely on my husband as a first reader, but my main editing advice comes from my amazing critique group. The four of us meet every other week at my house to discuss our writing, and I don't think I could do it without them.

    After this series, I am starting a new series, which I anticipate will be much longer than this one. It's a story about the zombie apocalypse told through the eyes of five different teenagers who have suddenly come into some strange abilities. They must discover the purpose for their new magic before it's too late. My first book in the series, tentatively named PANDEMIC, will be out before Christmas this year.

    And thank you so much Cabinet ladies for having me!!!

  9. Nancy - way to go girl! You can do it!

  10. Thanks again for coming to the cabinet, Sarra! Your new series has me intrigued, since I'm planning a series with seven girls who're exploring new abilities in order to avert the apocalypse! lol 'Course, my girls are sirens and living on a cursed island, but zombies sound cool, too!

  11. Thank you so much Suzanne and the rest of the Cabinet of Curiosities writers. I really appreciate the opportunity to tell more about myself and my books here at your site!

  12. Enjoyed this interview very much. Thank you!

    Good luck at the book signing this fall, Sarra.

  13. Very nice interview Suzanne.
    Sarra, I really appreciate what you said about wishing you'd trusted yourself sooner. I'm trying to do just that. Thanks!