Lia Ramsay Interview
Lia Ramsay Author BIO:
I am a transgender asexual disabled artist from Ontario Canada.
Tell us something about your books, including your genre and your characters and/or themes.
My book is zany sci-fi with existentialist themes of global warming war, corruption, covid, desperation, suffering, and heroics despite those odds.
Where are you based?
Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.
Latest releases and upcoming titles?
My latest release is Canadian Heroes Collection, a bilingual collection of my similarly themed short stories.
What are you currently working on?
Learning how to market effectively.
What inspires you to write?
Usually, whatever I’m reading, or ideas from family. In CHC’s case I read all of Berserk and Halo: Shadows of Reach, then got some ideas from my mom and real life stuff.
When and why did you get into writing fantasy?
I started writing in High school, mostly so I could express my oh-so-deep feelings, (not) in poetry form, then I fell in love and wrote my first book in honour of my ex. She rejected it.
Who are your favourite fantasy writers/ fantasy authors?
Terry Goodkind (RIP)
What is your favourite fantasy series and why?
Probably Game of Thrones despite how it all ended. I’m attracted to adult content with good writing.
What are your favourite fantasy genres?
Action and Adventure.
Who are some of your all-time favourite fantasy characters? And why do you think they became your favourites?
Tyrion Lannister, because he used to be so smart. And Aloy from Horizon Zero Dawn, because I love badass redheads.
Do you follow any fantasy entertainment outside of books? (Video Games, Boardgames, Comics etc)
I play video games.
What’s going on in the next few months? Anything on the Horizon?
My birthday is November ninth, other than that I have a book promotion opportunity coming up on November sixteenth so I plan on doing some advertising to go with it.
What kind of books did you read that contributed to your upbringing, as far as fantasy and science-fiction?
I grew up reading Goosebumps which had a light sci-fi leaning at times, then I read all of Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series as a teen.
Was your upbringing pretty geeky?
Yes, I was a gamer.
Why should anyone read your book?
My book is Terminator meets Avengers in a futuristic sci-fi. I’d describe it as lively, existentialist whilst verging on zany, Science Fiction… It’s in the same family as Hitchhiker’s Guide and Terry Prachett’s works. Marvel fans will love it.
The writing process ( Inspiration, discipline, planning, software, editing)
Do you have a process, do you plan or do you fly by the seat of your pants?
I write ideas down in shorthand in a text document on my desktop, then start writing, and delete the text document once a story is done. I find it fun to re-read my ideas vs. the finished product.
How has your writing process changed since you first started writing?
When I started I flew by the seat of my pants, nowadays some consideration goes into actually developing ideas. Which makes writing easier.
How long does it normally take you to write a fantasy novel, and what proportion of the time is spent doing what?
Since I have no day job I can put in over eight hour days and have a project done draft one in a week. Granted I prefer to write short stories rather than full novels. After that, I take a few days to re-read and edit before sending it off to my editor whom takes a couple of days to do two passes maybe.
What is your favourite part of the writing process?
The feeling of words flowing from my arthritis-ridden fingers; being immersed in my story distracts from the intense pain.
Have your previous vocations influenced your writing?
I took a creative writing class in college, it didn’t teach me much. I finished with an eighty score.
Do you involve other people in your writing, as collaborators or editors? How do you make this work?
I hire Jacqui Corn-Uys as my editor, she’s expedient and professional. I just email her the document for a quote, pay upfront, and she gets to work.
As far as writing goes, what do you use? Software, Apps, Hardware etc?
I use LibreOffice via PortableApps on my Dell XPS 8930 which has a core i5 9400 cpu, sixteen gigabytes of ram and an Nvidia Geforce GTX 1650 graphics card.
Do you do a lot of research for each book? If so how do you conduct your research?
Rarely, but if I do I just Google stuff.
How do you overcome blank writing spells?
I just force myself to write. Inspiration won’t always find one, sometimes one must find it themselves.
A number of fantasy/sci-fi authors have bee known to use art, music, exercise, alcohol and even drugs as a way to find inspiration to enter the zone! Do you use any tools to enter into your creative headspace?
Do you prefer to write in silence and or have some sort of sound in the background?
I write in silence.
Publishing (formatting, cover design, formats, marketing)
Formatting I have done by draft2digital.com, cover design I tend to do myself with a stock image and Paint. I typically publish in ebook only, but full books get a paperback. Marketing I do with Facebook groups and Amazon ads. When it’s time to publish I use Amazon KDP.
Describe the road you took to publishing your first novel? And how that has changed.
I’ve always followed the same process: Write, have the work edited, get a cover, format with d2d, and publish. What changed is after my transition I deleted all of my old stuff because it sucked, and learned to use finances intelligently. I’m $6700 in the hole over my old books because I spent, for example, $600 on a cover when now a great stock image can be had for $15. I also flushed hundreds into editorial reviews, Bookbub, Facebook, and Amazon ads for a book that really wasn’t worth it, but I was blind and stupid. So, what changed is I wrote something others said was way better than my old stuff, and followed that up by only spending hundreds on all-important editing.
Will your next book be traditional or indie published?
Indie, always indie. I don’t know that an agent would ever take me on and I like that Amazon lets me keep my rights.
Would you recommend self-publishing to aspiring authors, or would you suggest a more traditional path?
I only have indie experience, but these days I’d say traditional publishing is overrated. One can release a book that’s just as professional with the right time, dedication, and careful investment.
What sort of input do you give to formatting, cover design, marketing?
Not much, I mostly just write a blurb that I then copy and paste into appropriate groups for marketing, the rest is either simple Paint work, or automated.
What do you do pre and post-release to help get your books noticed?
I just post about my book a lot.
Marketing is so important nowadays, what’s your best advice to fellow authors?
Save Money! Spamming in Facebook groups gets one only so far, if anywhere at all. A fellow author told me they need a minimum $50/month in Amazon ads budget to compete.
What legal publishing advice can you give?
None, I have no legal background. Anything one does is at their own risk.
How did you decide the pricing of your material; how did you go about promotion/advertising and distribution of your work?
I look at what books in my genre are going for on Amazon then price a little below that since I’m nothing special, but at the same time, I don’t want to underplay the market.
Advice on making an impact in today’s busy Scifi and Fantasy markets.
I can’t say I’ve made an impact yet, but I’m guessing the best anyone can do is just keep trying. Failed art is only a start.
Most prized fantasy book in your collection?
I have paperbacks of Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series in my closet.
Do you read digital, paperback or hardback or do you listen to audiobooks?
I read digitally.
What are some difficulties you’ve experienced in your writing career; how do you handle book critiques/criticism?
I once got a video review where the gentleman yelled that I must’ve been dropped on the head when I wrote one book. I had untreated PTSD, so in a roundabout way he might as well have been right. I try to take critiques in stride and assess their validity vs. their vitriol. Then I carry on writing.
What are the best experiences in your writing career?
My very first book got a five star review from a verified best selling author. Not bad for a crappy glorified love letter to my ex.
What are some encouraging words you’d give to another author/writer?
Just write. Only you can write your works, so they’re a little special already.
Get in touch with Author Lia Ramsay
Any final words for the readers? (Anything, open platform)
Thanks so much for reading this, and my book if you do so. It means a lot. I know it takes kindness to give a nobody’s work like mine a chance, so thanks again.