Monday, September 11, 2006
AUTHOR INTRO: Nikki Arana
See Ya On The Net: Please give the readers a brief bio on you the person and the writer.
Nikki Arana: I live in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho with my husband of thirty years, Antonio, and my two grown sons. I was a real estate broker for thirty-two years, but this year I have put my writing first. I write Inspirational fiction, and I’ve written four books for Revell, one romance and three women’s fiction. My agent, Natasha Kern, is currently shopping a new women’s fiction series I’ve written a proposal for.
See Ya On The Net: Tell us about your current book?
ARANA: My most recent release is The Fragrance of Roses, number three in the Regalo Grande series. It came out in August. It is the story of a young boy with cancer and the desperate search to find a blood match for him so he can receive a peripheral blood stem cell transplant. But it is also a story of how God hears and answers our prayers, sometimes in unexpected ways. I just submitted a fourth, stand alone book to Revell, As I Have Loved You, that will come out early summer 2007.
See Ya On The Net: What would you like your readers to take away from your book?
ARANA: All of my books deal with contemporary or social issues. In The Fragrance of Roses there are a couple of things that I hope the reader takes away. One is regarding prayer. Without supernatural insight we can’t see how God is working. We must just faith into his infinite love, wisdom and caring for our lives, and the lives of those we pray for. In this book I suggest to the reader that there is more than one way to view the outcome of this particular situation. The second thing is that I hope to raise public awareness about the need for more minorities to donate to blood banks and marrow registries. Because minorities are underrepresented in marrow registries, it makes it more difficult to find a peripheral blood stem cell match for minorities who need a transplant.
See Ya On The Net: How are you marketing your book and what are your thoughts about the importance of marketing for authors?
ARANA: In my opinion, marketing is as important as getting the book published. Without exposure you can have the best book on the shelf, but no one will know about it. This requires that the publisher be behind you. Authors can only do so much. The one thing I did that I think made a difference was I hired a publicist to set up a national radio campaign. That provided me with exposure to thousands and thousands of people I would have never reached. And I never left my house! My publisher backed me up by providing books for the radio stations to review and give away.
See Ya On The Net: What advice would you offer on learning the craft of writing?
ARANA: Educating yourself is so important. Conferences can be expensive; fortunately there is a lot you can do even if you have a tight budget. Look on the internet for classes. Try to build a reference library. If you can save two or three dollars a week, you can build a nice library in six months. Just consider it investing in your career. I’ll tell you my favorite writing books in a minute. They are in my reference library.
See Ya On The Net: What writing business advice would you offer other writers?
ARANA: First, realize that writing is a business. It is extremely unlikely that you’re going to just sit down, write a book and quickly get it placed somewhere. First, you need to get educated about the craft of writing. We may be gifted with words, but the craft of commercial fiction goes far beyond that. Take classes and read books about writing. Second, you need to study the market, study the publishers of the genre you write. Make choices about submitting that are based on an analysis of information. People are startled when they learn that I have sold or had accepted everything I’ve ever submitted. But that’s how I did it. If you write what the publisher is looking for, and if it’s well written, they’ll buy it.
See Ya On The Net: Name your top five writing books of all time.
ARANA: This is tough because the top five books I would have listed while I was writing book one are different than the top five books I would list as I write book five. So, keeping that in mind:
The Writer’s Journey by Vogel
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Browne and King
Goal, Motivation & Conflict by Dixon
Scene & Structure by Bickham
Techniques of the Selling Writer by Swain
See Ya In The Net: What was the last book to keep you up at night reading it?
ARANA: The Complete Works of Oswald Chambers. I’m serious. I love his writings. They give you so much to think about.
See Ya On The Net: What resources do you use on the net?
ARANA: I use Dictionary.com everyday and I frequently query the American Christian Fiction Writers loop. But most of my resources are developed to fit the book I’m writing. I usually e-mail to the “Contact Us” address given on a website that I think might have helpful information. I say I’m an author and I need some information about such and such. Then I ask if they can help me, or direct me to someone who can. I have had amazing luck with this. For The Fragrance of Roses it led me to a research scientist in Europe who is at the top of his field in the very thing that I was writing about. He worked with me for ten months on that book. My second book I needed a public defender to help me. I connected to one through the Internet and she read all my paragraphs pertaining to that. Over and over, God has provided just who I needed, just when I needed them.
See Ya On The Net: How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
ARANA: I’d love to hear from your readers. Nikki@nikkiarana.com. Or visit my website: www.nikkiarana.com.