Tell me a bit about yourself….
My name is Cheyenne Stoddard. I am a 24-year-old mother and recently published author. I’m a very open-minded person and I love to learn new things. I have four beautiful children. Two boys, Zeke and Gabe. Two girls, Ava and Savannah. I have an adoring fiancé who supports me more than anyone else in my life. My passion for writing and art dwells deep.
What genre/s do you write in?
I write in a mix of genres. LGBTQ+, Romance, supernatural, horror, drama, and mystery. The better the mix, the better the story in my opinion.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing for thirteen years. I started very young and used writing as an outlet.
Do you have any published books or articles? Tell me a bit about these and what publishing route you took.
Yes. Earlier this year the first book in my series, Helpless, was published. I worked with Palmetto publishing. They helped with editing and designs. Then they sent me through Ingram Spark as I chose to self-publish. I chose Palmetto to help with editing and design for two reasons. They are one of the best. And having their logo on my book has actually helped me sell more.
Here is the blurb for book one: Talon Adams desperately wants to live in a world where his skin has no say in how he is viewed and how he is treated. Every day he is faced with fierce hatred and abuse at home and at school. His parents describe his birth as a curse. His teachers and classmates see him as a freak. Talon was born albino, and he is demonized for it. He lives in a small Ohio village with less than 1,400 people. To them he's evil and unnatural, even the system is against him. His twin brother, Tyler was born with "Normal" skin. He plays a big part in Talon's mistreatment by constantly setting him up for failure. A new boy moves into town and to him, Talon is the epitome of beauty. He works hard to gain Talon's trust and affections, but he has secrets. Dark secrets that could scare Talon off. He tries his best to keep his past hidden, however certain people won't let that happen.
Did you use an editor? If so, who?
I used Palmetto Publishing, who by the way, I highly recommend.
Did you use a book formatter and cover designer?
Did you self-publish or get traditionally published? How did this go for you?
I self-published. I like to maintain control. So far, it has been an amazing experience.
How do you market your work and promote your brand? (Include links) Most of my promotion has to be done by me since I am self -published. I create ads, teasers, videos. I have an official Helpless page and a blog. I also do interviews and promos with other authors.
What social media and writing platforms would you recommend?
I highly recommend using Facebook and Instagram. I get a lot of feedback and fans from both sites. If you’re a beginner, you can always use Wattpad. That’s where I started out. You can type your story and get feedback from people as you go. BlogSpot is a very good site as well to create a blog for your story and your characters.
Do you use an agent?
I do not, however; I don’t advise against it either.
Do you use paid advertising? If so, what?
Yes. Yes. Yes. I believe this is crucial. You pay money to make money in this world, and it certainly has helped me. When book one was published, I immediately sold 200 copies because I advertised the heck out of it. I still do. On the facebook page, I released a trailer for book two: Retaliation. Which is currently in the works and to be expected early next year.
Do you have a blog or website?
I have a blog and a website, both links are listed above.
What inspires you most to write?
That’s a toughie. I have a lot of inspirations. What inspires me the most is the people that read them. The messages and fan art I have received are truly mind-blowing. It drives me to continue my work and to get better.
What do you do to help with writer's block?
I struggle with this a lot. Writer's block usually comes when I start to feel down or if I work myself too hard. I step back from my work and let myself rest. I let my inspiration find me again. I never force it. You can’t force a good story. It has to come naturally.
How do you plan your writing and start?
I come up with an outline. Like most writers, I make sure I know where I’m going. If it changes along the way, that’s fine too, as long as it works with the main idea. I start off in a notebook. Then I type it. That way it’s been written at least twice before I send it to an editor. Keep in mind that I’ve actually been working on this series for nine years. I’ve rewritten it countless times. I can be a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to my story, but I believe in this case, it’s a good thing.
Is writing your full-time job? If not, what else do you do?
No. My main time consumer is taking care of my family and my home. My writing comes second to that. Always. However, I always find the time for my passion no matter what. Even if I have to get up a bit earlier or stay up a bit later.
What are you working on at the moment?
Right now I am working on book two of my Helpless series. It’s rightfully called Retaliation. My character, Talon Adams is back to take the justice he deserves.
What is your target audience?
My main audience is Young Adult/Adult
My books aren’t for the faint of heart. They can get rather dark and descriptive. They are meant to be this way. They have topics like abuse, sexual abuse, harassment, bullying, body hate/shaming, depression, and anxiety. PTSD and so on.
How long does it take you to write a book?
Now that I have officially decided to publish, I also decided to write each book over. Book one took one year to write and type. Book two will most likely take just as long.
When did you first discover you enjoyed writing?
When I was about 11 years old, I had a lot of anger and sadness in me because of my childhood. Writing helped me get a lot of that out. Once I started writing, I never turned back. In a way, it kept me alive.
What is your writing schedule look like?
Writing schedule? What’s that? Lol I don’t really have a set schedule. Usually, it’s whenever I find the time. I manage to get some in most days. Either at night or when the kids are napping. When my fiancé is home, it’s easier because he takes the kids and allows me to get good chunks done. I appreciate him greatly for that.
What does your family think about your writing?
I am not very close with my family. Those who have read it have told me they loved it. My brother and my sister are the only two I am close to. Both of them bought signed copies from me. My biggest support system is my fiancé and his family.
What do you do when you are not writing?
I take care of my kids. Watch my favorite shows such as Hannibal or Umbrella Academy. I also spend some time drawing too. I draw all of my own characters and even post them on the sites sometimes.
Where do you get information and ideas for your writing?
I do a lot of research. I mean A LOT. I have notebooks filled with notes and plotlines. Scene ideas and character descriptions. I have had to study Greek and Norse Mythology, Demonology, Languages, and personality quirks. A lot goes into my series, which makes it so enjoyable to write. (And read, as I’ve heard from my readers.)
What do you think makes a good story?
Good characters. A plot that makes sense. A story that makes you feel what the characters feel. If a story can make you cry, laugh out loud, or even throw the book in frustration, it’s a good story. As I said, a good story is never forced. They can be relatable or draw empathy from the reader. The villain, if there is one, needs to have a big draw in too, nothing ruins a good story like a badly written or lazy villain. They are one character that you should put a lot of time into. As well as your main character.
It has been a pleasure interviewing you, Cheyenne, you and your writing are an inspiration.
If you would like to be interviewed for this blog, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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