We're thrilled to welcome Jamie Foley to Lands Uncharted today! Jamie is the author of the Sentinel Trilogy, plus she knows a ton about web design and marketing, and is just a really fun person :) She took the time to answer some questions for us about herself and her writing:
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Howdy! I’m a workaholic marketing specialist/webmaster/graphic artist/indie publisher/author. Apparently that’s a thing…?
I live in central Texas with my Irish cowboy husband, hyperactive toddler, and snuggle-bunny Australian Shepherd. We’re rabid gamers and unashamed nerds.
What prompted you to start writing? Are you one of those authors who knew you were meant to write since childhood, or did it come as a discovery later in life?
I knew I loved to create stories since childhood—apparently I won the “storyteller award” in second grade, but not sure if that was for lying. What? I never lie.
But I doubted myself so badly in high school—I was never good at English, and apparently I thought that was a requirement for being a good author. (This is why we have editors, right?) Thus my education and professional path of webmaster.
God had other plans. Even as I was working for a publisher (Thomas Nelson/HarperCollins), He bashed me on the head until I resigned and began full-time writing. It’s been hard work, but His blessings are undeniable, and I couldn’t be happier.
Which fictional character (book or movie) do you most relate to, and why?
Hmm, probably Starfire from Teen Titans. I’ve always felt a bit socially awkward—like I didn’t belong, but happy to be wherever I was and proud of my nerdy self. I love to have fun and delight in my friends, but make me angry and some planet’s gonna explode.
What are your go-to foods or beverages while writing?
Super boring answer… but I’m addicted to water. Yes, just plain, filtered water. But it must be in my Yeti, which must always be full. And preferably cold, but with no ice.
… I have issues.
Why did you choose to write YA fantasy?
Because that’s what I love to read! And because there was a serious lack of clean Christian adventure/action/fantasy when I was growing up. Nowadays the YA section is full of stuff most sheltered kids aren’t allowed to read, and I want to fill that hole. My books are free of sex and cussing, but hopefully just as much fun as the mainstream epics.
What advice would you share with an aspiring author?
Decide if you want to write for pleasure or for business. It’s OK just to write for pleasure and not publish everything, just like it’s OK to be a hobby artist or musician!
But if you do want to be a career writer, realize that you’re starting a small business—and all small business require a monetary investment and a start-up period of a few years. Be willing to learn, save up, and sacrifice. Surround yourself with professionals—from top editors to bestselling authors to award-winning cover designers to marketing gurus—and I promise your hard work will pay off.
We're all about exploring new worlds here at Lands Uncharted - if you could choose one place to visit, real or fictional, where would you go?
Do I have to choose one?? Well… then it would probably be Narnia. Assuming that I couldn’t go back in time and visit Rome, or ancient Earth before the flood. Or Rivendell. Or Kashyyyk… sorry.
Your Sentinel trilogy involves some fascinating world-building, what inspired you to write it?
Oh, lots of things! Each country in the world of Alani is based on some collaboration of Earth cultures or locations I’ve visited and love, or historical time periods, or some awesome fantasy people from another work.
Valinor is loosely based upon the United Kingdom. The people of LaKota are inspired by Scottish clans, Native American tribes, and traditions of early Israel. The island of Malaan is similar in its customs to Imperial Japan. And the deadly forests of Katrosi weren’t fully settled until later in the world’s lifeline, making it similar to America in its melting pot of cultures.
I try to keep my world-building based in historical fact, but ooooh, how much fun it is to scheme! >:3
Which aspects of indie publishing have been the most challenging and most rewarding?
It’s challenging to supply your own funds for crafting a professional
work all by yourself, but if you know it’s what you want to do as a
career and you save up, you’ll find that most all of the pros out there
are happy to work with indie authors. Learning the ropes is tough at
first, but boy, is it worth it!
One bonus of indie publishing is
that you can be a little more… out there… than some publishers might
approve of. Yes, you should definitely hire a professional editor or
two, but at the end of the day, you get to make the call when your work
is ready for the world to see.
Another reward is when the
monetary investment returns and you don’t have to pay any middle-men.
But if you can land a contract with one of the Big 5 publishers, signing
that baby would definitely be worth it!
Can you tell us anything about your work-in-progress?
Oh yes, I just finished writing a chapter of The Sentinel Trilogy book 2: Arbiter this morning!
In this story, the heroes are torn apart from one another—half-way across the world. Jet is the main character, but we also get perspectives from his little sister Aleah, a healer who doesn’t know who to trust, Darien, who learns more about his long-lost parents than he ever wanted to know, and a charming new villain whose job is to make slaves out of the super-powered heroes—and he’s very good at his job.
I’m expecting the cover to come in from Kirk DouPonce any day now, so sign up for the newsletter on jamiesfoley.com for the latest updates and a free novella—the prequel to the Trilogy. :)
In addition to an author and web designer, you're also a pro at marketing! Please share your favorite marketing tip.
That depends on what business you’re in! In general, though, just be you on your blog and social media. People crave what’s genuine, so don’t be afraid to speak your mind. Be consistent, be unique, and be honest.
And if you’re an author, check out marketing sites and email lists that can promote your book to their audience for you. Small sites like My Book Cave, justkindlebooks, and Book Barbarian don’t charge much but they can hit just as hard as the big guns like BookBub and Freebooksy. Offer your book for free for a day and rack up those reviews.
And if you want more detailed marketing advice for your writing career, shoot me an email. I don’t bite. ;)
No visit to Lands Uncharted is complete without Top 3s! Give us a Top 3 list, in the category of your choice.
How about… the top 3 fantastical places you would NEVER want to visit! Mine would be Mustafar, the Dead Marshes, and pretty much the entire Game of Thrones world. Hehe!
Thank you so much for visiting, Jamie! You can check out my reviews of her awesome books, Sentinel and Viper, here. You can learn more about Jamie at her website, jamiesfoley.com, or by connecting with her on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.