Bookstr was able to get an interview with Sandy Williams, the lovely author of A Void Of Magic. The book was published by Brimfire Press on the 27th of July, 2021, and it features the story of a hotel for supernatural beings and all the problems that arise surrounding it and its main character, Kennedy Rain.
Here are some questions we had!
1. How many books have you written, and which is your favorite?
Thanks for the questions! I’ve written a total of nine novels, two of which are unpublished. As for my favorite…oh, man. It’s really hard to choose. I think I have to pick The Shadow Reader because it was the book that landed me an agent and a publishing deal. Plus, I’m kind of sort of in love with Aren and Kyol. 😊
2. Your most recent novel is A Void Of Magic, how did you come up with the concept for it?
I really have no idea. I think I might have put together little snippets of experiences and then added a paranormal element? In college, I dated a guy who was the manager of a hotel, and I remember one night when they were overbooked, the front desk called him, and he totally took care of the problem. A guy who does his job well is super attractive to me, so that stayed in my mind and made me think about how hotels operate. My brain loves learning about how things work behind the scenes, so I started speculating about how hotels are run and then added in a fun paranormal element.
3. I know you’re planning a sequel; can you share a tiny bit about your plans for it?
Ooh, it’s going to be great! I don’t outline my books, so I only have snippets of scenes in my head for the rest of the series, but there will be lots of action and danger and terrible things that happen. And kissing. There will definitely be kissing. Kennedy is going to shake things up in the paranormal world.
4. What is a significant way your book has changed since the first draft?
Readers would have HATED Kennedy if they’d read my early drafts! She came off as too stupid to live. She also did not stand her ground as much as she does in the book now. That was the hardest part of the book for me, making her a strong character when she is just a normal human surrounded by super strong and fast and sexy paranorms. I owe my beta readers sooo much for pointing out her weaknesses. Sometimes those things are just so hard to see on my own.
5. How long did it take you to write this book?
That’s hard to say. I had the idea for this book back in 2013. It stayed in the back of my mind while I wrote my sci-fi romance trilogy. When I finally sat down and concentrated on this book, though, I think it took me less than a year for the first draft (I know. I’m slow.) I expected to publish it sooner but, well, Kennedy seriously needed a personality makeover. lol
6. What do the words “writer’s block” mean to you?
Well, it feels like I have writer’s block every moment of every day. I’m such a slow writer. I can sit in front of my computer and it might take me an hour to write a paragraph. It just sometimes takes a while to find the right words and cadence for a scene. I envy the writers who can type out a book a month!
7. How do you process and deal with negative book reviews?
Oh, I love negative reviews. I mean, positive ones are better, but for some reason, negative reviews don’t bother me. I think that might be because I have self-esteem issues and pretty much agree with everything the negative reviews say. My favorite review of all time was for The Shadow Reader. Someone wrote, “Eh, not that great.” It made me laugh. I know. I’m weird!
8. What is the most difficult part of your writing process?
All of it. I probably shouldn’t say that. I should say something like, “Oh, the story wrote itself,” or, “the characters took charge of the plot,” or, “it was easy once I got into the groove.” But the truth is, every part of writing is hard for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love being a writer, and I love every one of my books, but it’s not easy for me. 😊
9. How long have you been writing or when did you start?
I started writing in elementary school. In junior high, I basically wrote a copycat Vampire Diaries, only I never made it beyond a few chapters. It was probably toward the latter part of college that I really sat down and tried to finish something. That was a sci-fi romance similar to Shades of Treason, but I didn’t make it past 67,000 words. I started finishing books after college, and first submitted to agents in 2008. The Shadow Reader was my third completed novel, and I feel so lucky I didn’t have to get a bajillion rejection letters to get it published.
10. What advice would you give to a writer working on their first book?
Finish it. Then write the next book. 😊
11. What, to you, are the most important elements of good writing?
Word flow. An odd answer, I know, but the way a story sounds in my head is so important to my enjoyment. I want to be immersed in the story and the world and the characters. If there are too many typos or mistakes, or if the pacing of the sentences doesn’t feel write, it pulls me out of the story.
12. How do you develop your plot and characters?
I don’t, lol. My books would probably be better if I did, but I always start with a general idea for a story and I think on it a while. During this thinking time (which could be months or years while I’m writing other books), I’ll get flashes of scenes that I want to include. When I finally sit down to write, I then have to figure out what happens in between all those scenes. I discover my characters the same way. Deagan, for example. I had no idea he existed until he and Kennedy met. Same thing with Lorn from The Shadow Reader. Now those guys are two of my favorite characters.
13. How do you use social media as an author?
Gah, social media is my archnemesis! I’ve been on Facebook forever, but I’ve never been able to regularly post. But I freaking love Facebook and am on there every single day because of the groups. There’s so much to learn in them! And I love learning. Now, I’m taking a peek at TikTok. I’m pretty sure I won’t regularly post there either. I’m just not that interesting of a person, and because I write so slowly, I don’t have much to talk about. But maybe I’ll surprise myself. I love being on Facebook and Instagram and TikTok as a reader.
14. What’s your favorite and least favorite part of publishing?
Favorite part of publishing . . . reading my reviews! I love reviews, whether good or bad, and the more people who read my books, the more real my characters feel. It’s like my readers bring them to life! My least favorite part of publishing is the comparison-itis. I know I shouldn’t do it, but it’s so hard not to look at other authors and be jealous of how fast they can write or how great their books are or how much their readers adore them.