Hello Deanndra! Deanndra and I met at the Maynardville Public Library at the Thunder Road Author Rally recently. Tell me Deanndra, what made you decide to become a writer?
I didn’t actually “decide” to become a writer – I just am one. Writing chose me. It’s like an itch I couldn’t scratch, and if I don’t do it, I perish. It’s that simple.
I completely get that analogy. How long did it take to get published the first time and how did it happen?
Well, let’s see…I started writing my very first novel in 2000-2001, but it was lost and not found until 2013. By that time, I had already published three more books, the prequel and first two in my Love Under Construction series. It took me just as long as it takes to find a formatter, have a cover done, get it through an editor, upload it, and hit “publish.” And I never looked back.
I met some of your fans at Thunder Road and they raved about the Love Under Construction series. I may have to take a look at those books. Would you do anything different the next time? If so, what would it be?
Every time I publish a book, I do something differently. If I had to do it all over again, I would’ve gotten in on the self-publishing revolution at the very beginning. Unfortunately, I knew nothing about it until my friend, Shane, encouraged me to get the books out there. By then, it was 2013 and I was two years behind everyone else.
Not everyone. I was just published this year but I wrote my first story in 1992. It took me 24 years to get published! I went through the old fashioned way, by submitting my story to whomever was looking for what I wrote. Then I waited and waited and waited for a response. Then, some of my writer friends told me that it took a year after they got their contracts before the book was actually in print. I think this is why so many people embraced the self-publishing industry just when the big houses were struggling. Once they jumped in with both feet and were successful, a lot of people followed suit real quick. And I don’t think anyone is looking back. Tell me, what advice would you give to an aspiring author?
Write. If you’re not writing, you’re not a writer. I hear people say, “I’d love to write a book.” Then write it. There’s absolutely nothing standing in your way these days if you want to write and publish a book. But for the love of God, do not say, “Guess what? I just published my first book! I’m going to have it edited in two weeks!” Nooooooo. Don’t do this. Be a professional; do it right.
What (or who) inspires or influences your writing?
I write erotic romance, erotica, contemporary romance, paranormal romance, and sci-fi romance. Oddly, I don’t read in my own genre. I was influenced by the southern authors–Eudora Welty, Flannery O’Connor, Robert Faulkner, and others like Clyde Edgerton, Barbara Kingsolver, Sue Monk Kidd, Sena Jeter Naslund, Dan Brown…there are so many more. But I haven’t tried to copy their style. I’ve tried to copy their professionalism. And that’s paid off for me in big ways.
That’s a lot of inspiration there. So tell me, what are your latest releases and when/where can we find them?
All of my books can be found on http://www.deanndrahall.com, and buy links are all there. I publish to all major platforms as well as paperbacks through Amazon.
That’s great. Were you traditionally published or self-published and how did that go?
I’m entirely self-published. I’ve had people tell me I should look for a publisher, but why would I want someone telling me what they’re going to do with my book and then taking part of my profits when I can go directly to the retailer? My books sell. I make money at this. It’s not a hobby-it’s my full-time job. I couldn’t be happier, and I’m here to tell you that traditional publishing is highly overrated.
I agree on that! How long have you been writing professionally?
I’ve been writing my entire life, but I got serious about it in the fall of 2012 when my husband tried to read a very popular book and told me, “Honey, you write better than this.” And he was right–I do. I’d had a character in my head for 12 years, but I had no story for her and no one for her to interact with. I decided I’d find Nikki a story. Halfway into the writing of the book, I realized I had a series on my hands. That series is four books and a prequel and it’s spawned two more series, a bridge novella, and has a crossover into another series I’m working on. I have another eight-book series, the eighth book of which will come out next year, a three-book series that’s completed, and two independent novels, plus projects in the works with the collaboration of several other authors. I hit “publish” the first time in mid-2013 and last month I published my nineteenth title. I’ve got almost 40 in the pipes, everything from series in concept to almost-finished novels and series. This is my full-time job and I’m a busy girl
That’s amazing for three years in the business! My head is swimming at the thought of all those series. So what do you do for fun, Deanndra?
We love to kayak, hike, cook. I love to drive my Mustang convertible around town and up to the lakes. We go to wineries, breweries, and distilleries, and we’re particularly interested in the moonshine industry. And I especially love to spend time with my children, their partners, my friends, and my three miniature dachshunds. But I should let you know that I work some every day, and I usually work 14-18 hours a day, seven days a week.
I don’t know how you squeeze in time for fun, but if you are interested in moonshine, we have plenty of that in Sevier County, Tennessee. So, where do you live Deanndra?
I live in a suburb of Paducah, Kentucky, which is between Monkey’s Eyebrow and Possum Trot. (Yes, those are real names of real places, unfortunately.)
Well, I have heard of Possum Trot. Do you have any appearances or book signings scheduled this year? And where/when are they?
I recently had one in Nashville and I have another scheduled for October 8th at the Woodford County Library. Then there’s one on December 3rd, which is the Book Chicks Author Luncheon. Next year I’ll be doing at least six, maybe more, including RT.
Great! I’ll link to your website so everyone can check those out when you update the information. So, do you write under any other name besides your given name?
Deanndra Hall is not my real name, it’s my pen name. I write only under that. I have enough trouble keeping up with Deanndra Hall–I don’t need another pen name to keep up with!
I totally get that. Sometimes I forget who I am when I’m speaking with people. Thanks Deanndra, it’s been fun! You can find Deanndra at http://www/deanndrahall.com, or friend her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/deanndrahall, or Twitter: @deanndrahall, or substanceb.com/DeanndraHall.html