Tell me a bit about yourself….
I’m 38, married with 2 sons and I live in England. I was born in South Africa and lived in New Zealand for 10 years before moving back to England 3 years ago.
What genre/s do you write in?
I’m a Romance author. I write emotional stories with a bit of steam *wink*
How long have you been writing?
In high school, I used to write poems, but as I got older and life got busier, I didn’t continue. It wasn’t until 2 years ago that I decided to finally take the leap and write the story that I’ve wanted to tell for so many years.
Do you have any published books or articles? Tell me a bit about these and what publishing route you took.
Yes, I have published a duology known as the Us Duology. The Power of Us is the 1st book and The Perseverance of Us completes the duology. This duology is an emotional, immersive story that centers around two characters who each battle their own demons. Cassidy struggles with self-doubt and Harly wrestles with survivor's guilt. You can expect swoon, emotional rollercoasters, and passionate love from these books.
I self-published. Mainly because my books are long – much longer than the average romance books, but that’s how I wanted to tell the story. Self-publishing has given me the freedom to maintain all rights and choose how I market my books.
Both books are available on Amazon and FREE in Kindle Unlimited.
Did you use an editor? If so who?
Absolutely! There is no way I could have published without the support from Leo at The Books Savant. I went in search of a beta reader on Goodreads when I completed my first draft of The Power of Us and found Leo, not knowing at the time just how important she would become to my writing journey. She’s been amazingly supportive and encouraging; I’m proud to say we’re close friends now.
Did you use a book formatter and cover designer?
Yes! My covers were designed by The Books Savant as well and they also formatted my 2nd book, The Perseverance of Us. I used a different formatter for The Power of Us but unfortunately; he wasn’t available for the 2nd book.
Did you self-publish? How did this go for you?
I chose to self-publish because of the length of my books. Most romance novels average around 60k – 80k words. Mine is 130k words each. So there’s no way a traditional publisher would have accepted it. I decided early on that I would self-publish because I wanted to tell the story a specific way and I’m happy with the end result.
It hasn’t been stress-free lol. While the publishing process itself on Amazon is pretty straight-forward, the marketing that comes after feels like a full-time job! But I must say, I have discovered the most amazing, supportive book community on Instagram and I’ve come to know some wonderful people who offer their time to help spread the word.
How do you market your work and promote your brand?(Include links)
I have several social media accounts, but I’m mostly active on Instagram and Facebook. I also have a website where readers can learn about my books and also read some reviews. I also have a profile on Goodreads.
What social media and writing platforms would you recommend?
Instagram is my favorite social media platform to use. The book community is so supportive and everyone is just lovely. Facebook is always good and has quite a few writing groups where everyone is really friendly and supportive as well. Some groups I belong to are so funny! The posts make me chuckle several times a day. Tiktok is becoming very popular, so I would definitely recommend being active on there (it’s something I need to work on this year).
Do you use an agent?
No, I self-published and did it all myself.
Do you use paid advertising? If so what?
Sometimes. I’ve found advertising in newsletters quite effective, and I also use social media to promote my posts. Especially when I’m running giveaways. I really need to learn how to use Amazon advertising!
Do you have a blog or website?
Yes. My website is https://www.skylarshoar.com/
What inspires you most to write?
I love telling stories. I love to create characters in a way that readers feel like they know them. There’s nothing better than losing yourself in a fictional world to drown out everyday life, and I want to provide that escape.
What do you do to help with writer's block?
I step away and clear my mind by reading. When I’m working on a novel, I never read the same genre that I write in. I try to read non-fiction or something wildly different from the story that I’m working on. I also do a lot of critiques work for other authors, and I find this helps to lift the fog when I’ve hit a wall.
How do you plan your writing and start?
I just write. I know many authors have outlines and set rules that they follow, but it doesn’t work for me. I have an idea and I run with it. I always have a notepad close by so I can write any key points as they pop into my head during the day. I do most of my writing at night when the kids are in bed and all the chores have been done.
Is writing your full-time job? If not what else do you do?
I’m a stay-at-home mum, so that’s my full-time job haha. As above, I write at night or on weekends when I have some spare time.
What are you working on at the moment?
Currently, I’m working on my 3rd novel. It’s a romance with a sci-fi twist, told exclusively from a male point of view. This is quite unusual for the romance genre, so I’m excited and petrified at the same time haha. But it’s how I want to tell the story.
What is your target audience?
Anyone over the age of 18 who loves romance. My books are emotional reads so if you’re a romantic who loves a HEA and you want all the feels, then my books are for you!
How long does it take you to write a book?
That depends on what’s going on in my life. The Us Duology took me just over a year to complete. But then covid hit and things have been strenuous with lockdowns and homeschooling. I aim to have my 3rd book published by the end of 2021.
When did you first discover you enjoyed writing?
In high school.
What is your writing schedule look like?
I try to write a little each night, on weekends I have more time, but I also have a family with whom I love to spend time.
What does your family think about you writing?
My husband is extremely supportive. He’s used to me tapping away on the keyboard at night. My oldest son, he’s 8, knows that I’ve written 2 books, but he doesn’t know what they’re about lol.
What do you do when you are not writing?
I love to bake. We’re a family of chocolate lovers, so there’s always a reason to bake a good cake! And of course, I love to read and make scrapbooks.
Where do you get information and ideas for your writing?
The ideas just pop into my head. From there, as the story progresses, I research topics to make the story realistic and authentic. Google is my friend!
What do you think makes a good story?
Relatable characters. A good plot goes a long way, but if readers can’t connect to the characters, then I don’t think they’ll bother reading. When I read, I want to feel like I know the characters personally and I want to relate to them on some level.
Thank you Skylar shoar for your interview.