May 10th, 2019
I asked Savanna where she would like to chat:
A light breeze blows from the ocean, bringing the scent of salt and sunscreen with it. My hair tickles my face, and I push it back behind my ear in hopes it will stay this time. The waves roar as they rush up to meet the shore, and the foam drags sand back into its depths. Children splash around in the water, yelling at each other, and someone under a rainbow umbrella nearby has reggae music playing on their iPod. I sink back in my beach chair to take it all in and relax; to breathe.
The sun kisses my skin, and I bury my feet in the sand for relief, the particles trickling down the crevices of my toes. I take a sip of Coke and smile at Laura as she approaches and takes the empty seat next to me.
Laura Mae: Hello Savanna! How are you today?
Savanna Roberts: I’m doing well, Laura! How about you?
L: I’m wonderful, thanks for asking! Anything exciting happen today?
S: I got some blogging done today! That’s always exciting. My husband and I have a couple trips planned in May and June, so I wanted to be sure I had enough blog content for those two months.
L: Oh nice! Two months?! That sounds amazing. May I ask what you blog about?
S: Absolutely! I do a few various things on my blog, but mostly post book reviews and other writing related topics. Sometimes I share my thoughts about certain holidays, events, family traditions, things like that. I’m trying to focus on interviewing other authors the next couple of months though!
L: Lovely! I like that you talk about more than just writing. You gotta let people know you’re a person behind the words too! And I recommend the interview thing. I love doing it!
S: I couldn’t agree more! There is a lot of writing topics I can discuss, but I also want to be real and authentic with other things too. One of my favorite blog posts was discussing various Christmas traditions I had growing up and how my husband and I have kept some but have also changed some, or created our own. It was a super fun post! And yes, I’ve enjoyed getting to know the authors I’ve interviewed so far! They are such sweet people.
L: That’s so great! So , Savanna, I’m going to assume you have a WIP? Would you mind talking to us about that?
S: Yes, I do! I’m currently working on a fantasy duology. The first book, Villager, is currently with beta readers and I’m probably looking at a release date sometime in June or July. The second book – currently untitled – is just starting its first round of edits! It’s a very political intrigue tale with a medieval and tropical fantasy mashup vibe. It also has some romance sprinkled in because I’m a total romantic at heart.
L: Nice! How long have you been working on the duology?
S: I started Villager last October and ended up finishing the first draft by the end of November! The second book took me a little longer – started in December but didn’t finish until March. I guess that roughly equates to about 5-6 months including editing and plotting it out originally.
L: Holy cow! That’s incredible! Very motivated, or very organized? Do you have a secret? Haha!
S: Very organized – I’m a huge plotter, haha! But I also work two jobs outside of writing because writing full time isn’t financially viable for me right now. Since I don’t have as much time as I would like for writing, I have to be super productive when I do sit down to work!
L: Way to go girl! Now, is the Villager your debut novel or have you published others?
S: Villager will actually be my third novel! I published my debut, Smoke and Mirrors, back in November of 2018, and I published a novella, Je Te Veux, in February.
L: Very inspirational! You are a go-getter! So happy for you! And I’m guessing that you are self-published as well. What was the biggest reason you chose that over traditional?
S: Thank you! One of the biggest reasons was time. I had just gotten married a couple months before I released my debut. I love how flexible self-publishing is – you set your own deadlines; you don’t have a huge publisher looming over your shoulder getting angry if you miss a due date. I wanted to really be able to balance my writing and publishing with my personal life. I didn’t want to feel as though I needed to sacrifice one or the other. Another big reason is because I’m in control of everything – pricing, cover, marketing. The marketing bit has been tricky, but I love learning new things! Self-publishing, while hard at times, is definitely the best choice for me right now.
L: I agree! Marketing is difficult I think for anyone starting out, even with new businesses. But it’s good you’re willing to learn! You seem like you have been writing for a while then. How long has it been and do you remember the first thing you ever wrote?
S: My parents say I wrote little stories as soon as I learned how to spell! I was an avid reader as a child, so I accredit my early love of writing to that. However, I didn’t start writing seriously until I was ten years old. I hand-wrote a 132 page book about scavenger hunts and deceit. It was very poorly done – virtually no plot and the characters were awful, haha! But it felt like such a huge accomplishment at the time. I remember calling family and friends to tell them, and I was like “This is it! This is what I want to do!”
L: Oh my god! That’s adorable!! 132 pages is a lot, even if it makes no sense! Mine weren’t longer than like 20 pages. Haha! That’s really cool. So what would you say is your favorite thing to write as far as characters, description, dialogue, that sort of thing?
S: Definitely characters! I am a huge character-driven author. I have a semi-secret love of psychology so I love to experiment with that in my books with my characters and their backstories, even if it goes somewhat unnoticed. Characters have to be diverse and have their own personalities, goals, and thoughts, or else they drive me crazy.
L: Haha! I hear you on that. They are very important! And speaking of characters, who are some of your favorites? Literary or from tv/movies.
S: I love the entire cast of characters from Six of Crows! All of them have such individual personalities and their group dynamics are great. I also love Amani and Jin from Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton. Jin is a sassy mess and Amani is bad-ass but also shows her feelings, which is really refreshing. Eli and Victor from Vicious by VE Scwab – anti-heroes forever! Johnny Cade from my all time favorite book, The Outsiders. And definitely Benjamin Mee and Kelly from the movie We Bought a Zoo!
L: Nice! I’ve heard so many good things about Six of Crows. Is one of those your favorite book too? Or do you have an all time favorite book?
S: The Outsiders will forever be my all-time favorite, but Six of Crows, Rebel of the Sands, The Cruel Prince, and The Night Circus are my other favorite books. An honorable mention would be Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon.
L: Oh, yes, I heard the Night Circus is really good too! Another one to add to my TBR. Haha! So Savanna, do you have any habits when it comes to your writing? Either music or snack foods that are a must?
S: I love to have a cup of earl gray tea with honey or a coffee while I write! Snacks it varies… I have to have something sweet and something salty!
L: I love early gray tea! So besides writing a publishing books left and write, what else do you enjoy doing in your free time. When you get some, that is!
S: I love to read in my free time! I also enjoy blogging and studying marketing. When I’m not doing those things, I’m normally spending time with Hubby and our two fur babies. We have two cats – Chip and Queso – and they are precious.
L: Oh my goodness I love those cat names!! Seriously adorable! I’m a sucker for cats so… Haha!
S: Haha, thank you! Hubby was from Houston and addicted to Tex-Mex, so when we named both cats, they got named after his favorite foods. Kind of quirky, but we’re weird like that, haha!
L: I love it. Haha! It’s been so good chatting and getting to know you, Savanna! Thank you again for talking with me today. Is there anything you would like to pass on to your fellow writers who might be struggling to start?
S: Thank you so much! I’ve loved getting to chat with you as well. For my fellow writers out there: remember to write your story for yourself first and foremost, never for anyone else. You need your story before your audience does, and you start writing with that in mind, it will really help with self-doubt and perfectionism. And a final note of encouragement: you got this! I believe in you!
L: Great advice! Thanks again! I hope you have a great rest of your night!
S: You as well!
Savanna Roberts lives in Park City, Utah with her wonderful husband and their snuggly cats, Chip and Queso. She has a fetish with socks and a psychotic obsession with coffee. She began writing seriously when she was ten years old, after she completed a short novel involving scavenger hunts and deceit. When she’s not writing, her passions include collecting Nutcrackers, burying her nose in a book, or falling down Pinterest wormholes.
Smoke and Mirrors – 2107. Newburgh, New York. Winter is coming, more brutal than ever. The American people are starving and freezing to death. Meanwhile, the Jun police force continues to exert their power over everyone. They hoard food for themselves, get drunk on Elixir, and kill without mercy. The financial capital, New York City, ruled by the Chang Council, is the only refuge – but it would be suicide to make the sixty mile trek on foot during the winter. Miriam needs to escape her past, and the walls of New York City are all that will keep it at bay. Christina is very sick and requires the warmth and medicine New York City provides. Penn wants the easy-going, protected life that comes with freedom from the Jun. Calvin lost his parents to the same sickness that now grips his sister, and he can’t afford to lose someone else. Rhianna just wants to have fun with the only family she’s ever known and is excited to go outside and experience the world. Deric wants to save the ragtag group of orphans he calls his family, but he fears the price of the journey will be too high. But when a tragic event happens to one of his family members, Deric decides to risk the journey to New York City in hopes that his family will finally have the safety and protection they deserve. It will be dangerous, but the group is willing to face it together. If only their pasts would stay buried in the snow…
Buy it here!
Je Te Veux – What if every 1,000 years the Greek gods and goddesses were reincarnated to complete a task on earth?And what if the god of peace and the goddess of chaos met up and fell in love?When Sara and Tom wake up in Paris and are given their assignments, neither one expects to have any complications. Both are prepared to complete their tasks and move on with their lives. But after a chance encounter, they choose to risk their destinies for the love that they have found.The only thing is, gods aren’t meant to live on borrowed time. And the consequences for their actions could very well destroy them both.
Buy it here!