#1 Amazon bestselling author Mia Hoddell lives in the UK with her family and two cats. She spends most of her time writing or reading, loves anything romantic, and has an overactive imagination that keeps her up until the early hours of the morning.
Mia has written over ten titles including her Seasons of Change series, the Chequered Flag series, the Elemental Killers series, and her standalone novels False Finder and Not Enough.
Her favourite genres are contemporary romance or romantic suspense, and with an ever growing list of ideas she is trying to keep up with the speed at which her imagination generates them. She also designs book covers on her website M Designs.
1.What got you into writing / what made you sit down and actually start something?I can’t remember a time when I haven’t been writing. I had my first poem published in an anthology at the age of fourteen and after that I started to take things more seriously. I published my first novel at sixteen and since then haven’t stopped. There wasn’t a single thing that made me sit down and write; it was something I fell into. I enjoy creating things and just started to type one day. I had no idea what I was doing at first, but it was something I quickly grew to love. There’s also the fact that if I don’t write I would drive myself crazy from all of the thoughts and ideas racing around in my head.
2.What is a usual writing day like for you, how is it structured?
It really depends on what stage of the process I’m at. I write full time so I tend to pick it up whenever the mood strikes me rather than have a structured day. However, when I’m writing a first draft I will do a minimum of 3,000 words a day. I also set deadlines, which in my eyes aren’t flexible so even if it seems to everyone else I don’t have a structure, I am continually working. I’m a bit of a workaholic…but then again, writing doesn’t really feel like work.
3.Do you get writers block? If so, how do you overcome it?
I can honestly say I’ve never suffered from writer’s block in all the years I’ve been writing. I think it’s down to the fact I spend weeks sorting out the book in my mind before I jump on in and begin typing.
4.Are you a plotter or panster when it comes to writing a story?
It depends on the genre. If I’m writing anything with a paranormal element, such as False Finder, then I create a detailed plan. There are too many things that need figuring out in advance with a book like that for me to make it up as I go. When it comes to romance or contemporary novels, I’m probably a bit of both. I spend around 2 weeks figuring out everything in my head and making notes before I start writing, yet they aren’t incredibly detailed. Usually, I plan out the major scenes and then figure out how they link one chapter at a time as I write.
5.Are you traditionally or self-published?I’m both self-published and published with the indie press Limitless Publishing LLC.
6. What was the publishing process like for you? Any advice to aspiring authors?
I’m very much self-taught. I’ve learned by doing things the hard way and finding out what does and doesn’t work by experimenting. I’m still learning and developing now. My advice to aspiring authors would be to not expect results overnight. Publishing is a long and forever changing game filled with ups and downs. Finding a good team of people you work well with and trust to help you through it makes the process easier. It takes time to find the right matches, but it’s worth it. My team probably wants to strangle me at times, and my friends think I’m crazy for some of the questions I ask them, but I know they’re there for me.
7.What has been your highlight since becoming a published author?
There are two main highlights for me. The first is receiving a paperback copy in the post for the first time and being able to hold it. It’s at that point everything starts to feel real for me, and to see your work in print in an indescribable feeling. The second highlight is getting positive reviews from readers or emails from fans telling me how much they loved one of my books.
8.Can you share a little of your most recent book with us, including genre and targeted audience? My new release is a full-length, standalone contemporary romance aimed at the Upper YA and NA markets. It’s called Not Enough, and I’ve pasted the blurb below. Neve Colvin isn’t good enough. As an introvert, her life is a never-ending list of labels and criticism. Pressures to change come from everyone—including the one person she thought would love her unconditionally … her mother. All Neve wants is acceptance, but surrounded by extroverts it’s a wish that’s nearly impossible to fulfil. For Neve there’s only one solution: anyone disapproving must go. Even if it means only one person will remain. That person is her lifelong friend Blake Reynolds. He’s seen the fights with her mum, the breakdowns caused by attacks on her personality, and the battles for acceptance. Each time she is left shattered and questioning who she is, he’s the one to collect the pieces of her broken heart. Shielding her from the cruelty is his only concern. But how can he protect her when Neve is concealing a secret so dark? Blake thinks he knows everything about her, and with their relationship developing, he assumes Neve trusts him fully. However, there is one memory Neve is too ashamed of to share. Revealing it will test Blake’s loyalty beyond what she could ever ask, and Blake is the only friend she can’t afford to lose. He’s the one person capable of dragging her from the darkness plaguing her, but with pressures to conform increasing, even Blake may not be enough to pull her back this time.
9.What tip would you give to new authors when trying to build a fan-base / get followers and market their books? (What to do and what not to do.)Don’t expect it to happen overnight or with your first release. Growing a fan-base and your followers is one of the hardest things to do. It takes time and effort. In the industry as it stands now, most people want a release around every 2 months. I know that’s not possible for everyone, but keeping a constant stream of books coming out is the easiest way to keep your audience interested in you. I’ve also found by doing things myself (contacting bloggers and readers) the relationships are easier to form than going through a tour company. It has taken me years to formulate a list and hours of emailing, but I’ve always seen a better response from bloggers when I reach out personally than by using a company.
10.How long on average does it take you to write a book?Usually I can write a first draft in 3-4 weeks. When I’m in writing mode I stick to a target of 3,000 words minimum every day, so it gets written pretty fast.
11.Tell us about the book cover/s, how the designing came about, whether you had much input etc. The cover was created by me since I’m also a graphic designer on a separate website, M Designs. It came about after three weeks of searching for the perfect image. When I found the one that’s on the cover I knew it was the one, and from there it was just a matter of having fun with colours, fonts, and concepts. I was overjoyed when all of my betas and editors came back with positive feedback.
12.Apart from writing, what do you do in your spare time?I like anything creative. At the moment most of my free time is spent either reading—as I review for four of the top publishers and many smaller presses—or making swag. I’m also slowly making swag for the signings I have coming up in Cardiff (2016), and London and Birmingham (2017). Like I said above, I’m also a graphic designer so I love photography as a way to get me out of the house and creating things on Photoshop.