#SPFBO7 Interview – Liza Street

Liza, welcome to Lavender Lass Books. Thank you for agreeing to this interview and best of luck in the competition!

Blood Bounty is the first book in the Charmslinger series. Here’s the blurb:

Gracie Boswell’s got a charmed bullet, a brand new posse, and a pack of outlaw vampires to kill.

The tiny town of Penance has a big vampire problem—and charmslinger Gracie Boswell aims to be the solution. A whole nest of vampires makes for a mighty fine bounty, though, and Gracie is far from the only charmslinger angling for the job. When a charming local layabout and an old competitor elbow their way into Gracie’s posse, she’s forced to at least pretend to play nice…but trust is scarce in the west, and smart bounty hunters always sleep with one eye open.

But Gracie doesn’t have much time to watch her fellow bounty hunters—Penance’s vampire nest is bigger and more organized than anyone suspected, and there’s at least one traitor in the town’s midst. Soon, Gracie finds herself in the unenviable position of leaning on her posse…and at least one of them isn’t what he claims to be.

USA Today best-selling author Liza Street continues to thrill with a brand new western gothic series of outlaw vampires, sinister fae, and good old-fashioned treachery. Pick up Blood Bounty for a wild ride through the dark and dangerous west!

And now to the interview:

1. Is this your first time entering #SPFBO? Why did you decide to enter this book?
Yes, this is my first time. I chose to enter Blood Bounty (Charmslinger, Book 1) because Olivia Atwater, who read it, made me strongly encouraged me suggested it. 😊 She’s been extremely encouraging and helpful for this entire series so far, and I’ve dubbed her the Boss of Charmslinger. If she tells me to run ads, I run ads. If she tells me to apply for a BookBub featured deal, I do that. If she tells me to toss it into the SPFBO ring, I do that, too.

In all seriousness, though, I’m grateful every day for Olivia, and I’m very excited to be a part of the SPFBO community!

2. Why do you write in the fantasy genre? What make this genre particularly appealing to you?
I love worldbuilding, first of all. Also, monsters appeal to me in a major way. I love nothing more than creating a new world where monsters and/or supernatural creatures exist, and characters are forced to interact with them. And sometimes the characters are the monsters, and that’s especially delicious.

An additional appeal is that in fantasy, I feel like there are no limits. I’m constrained only by a world of my own creation, and it’s incredibly freeing to set those rules and then watch my characters navigate them.

3. Why did you decide to self-publish?
I went through two agents and several fantasy manuscripts, but I never received an offer from a traditional publisher. While shopping around a fantasy manuscript, I asked my second agent if she’d mind if I tried self-publishing romance. With her blessing, I went for it and I loved the freedom. Then, when she left the industry, I decided not to seek new representation. I’ve never really looked back.

Since then, I’ve published a lot of romance, and only recently have I returned to writing fantasy.

4. Are there advantages to self-publishing? What about the challenges?
There are sooooo many advantages to self-publishing, it’s going to be hard to list them all. I’ll pick a few favorites.

1) I choose my projects. Nobody has to approve a new concept except for me.

2) I choose my publication dates. In tradpub, authors can wait more than two years before their books are published. I’m impatient and this would drive me mad.

3) There’s more flexibility in book length. I’m 100% certain tradpub would not have accepted my first 15k novelettes.

4) In indiepub, there are more opportunities for controlling and diversifying my income streams via reading apps, audio, translations, etc.

And yes, of course there are challenges, too. Self-publishing can be prohibitively expensive, and I recognize my privilege in being able to pursue it. I haven’t yet taken advantage of some of those opportunities mentioned above (like translations or much audio), because I don’t have the funds for that yet.

There are also challenges in having too much freedom. It can be hard to focus sometimes, and it’s hard to stay “on brand.”  

And there’s the challenge of not having a big business behind my books, helping to spread the word. That’s all on me.

5. Do you write (or plan to write) in any other genres?
Oh, yes. I primarily publish paranormal romance (and now fantasy).

6. What do you look for in a story? Especially in the fantasy genre? (Original ideas, plot lines, character development, world building, etc.?)
Despite writing in a series, I really appreciate a standalone fantasy novel. I love a strong, confident narrative voice that commands me to pay attention, a fast-paced plot, lush worldbuilding that works seamlessly with the action, and a dash of romance.

7. Are you working on a new book? Can you share any details?
I’m working on the fourth Charmslinger book, Blood Brothel. I finished the draft last week and I’m reading through. And…it’s a steaming mess, haha. But that’s sort of my process: write it, hate it, revise it, and then tolerate it. What I always enjoy, though, are the evolving dynamics between Gracie (the heroine) and the men in her posse. Their friendships fascinate me.

Also, the world of the Charmslinger series becomes clearer and clearer to me with every book I write, and I love that sense of discovery.

8. Do you have any advice you would offer to writers who plan to self-publish in the fantasy genre?
Write what you love! But make it a series!

You can find Liza Street’s book here! https://books2read.com/blood-bounty