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The Comedy of Errors

Author Kristina Adams: "If you're not willing to market your book, you're not going to get anywhere."

31 October 19 interview: Anna Marshall

Local author Kristina Adams on her latest novel Behind the Spotlight, self-publishing, and what it’s like to deal with fibromyalgia as a writer…

How are you?
The other day I was really ill and just played with my friend’s cat and watched TV. Today, I'm not too bad. It's unpredictable and makes it difficult to plan things long term. Now I won't say that a book is going to come out on an exact date in case I need to move the deadline further ahead. If I'm feeling unwell, it's always better to take a week to rest rather than to force myself to keep working. The more you force yourself to keep going, the more likely you are to end up even more ill and then it ends up taking even longer to recover. 

I've just finished reading your new book Behind the Spotlight. Can you tell us a bit about the book and how it follows on from the series?
It's about a guy named Cameron who works in a music shop. He went to university but didn't graduate. He's at work one day and his ex walks in who is now a member of the world's biggest boy band. It's a spin-off from, and centres on tertiary characters from, the main series What Happens In... You can read it on its own or you can read it as part of the rest of the series.  

Many of the characters are either celebrities themselves or find themselves involved in celebrity culture. Would you say that you get most of your inspiration for the novels from the media, people you know, or a bit of both?
It's a mixture of both, I think. At the end of the day, celebrities are still human and that's why I like to write about them in this way. They are put on such a pedestal but they go through the same problems you and I go through, just amplified, because millions of people are watching them through a microscope. 

Were you consciously referring to location reference points in the novel from memory?
Yes. It really helps to bring it to life when it is somewhere that you are intimately familiar with. That's why I like setting books in Nottingham because then the place almost becomes a character in itself.  

You regularly hold workshops at Nottingham Writers’ Studio. Would you say that Nottingham is a great place to be a writer, or wanting to become one?
There are so many workshops at the Writers’ Studio, and outside of it, at Writing East Midlands, for example. A lot of people who come to the Writers’ Studio say is that they can meet likeminded people. You can talk about your characters as if they are real people and you won’t get that weird look you often get from someone who doesn't understand it. You get that support network as well and that can make such a difference to your confidence your skills.  

What type of response do you get from your audience usually?
People say that the characters feel real to them. Which obviously means a lot to me. I actually got a message from a reader a couple of days ago saying that Holly and Fayth felt so real to her. She was so invested in them that whilst on holiday she was completely ignoring the people around her, because she just wanted to keep reading! She couldn't wait to read the last in the series.

You did say that you weren't going to write any more in this series. Has that comment made you change your mind at all?
No, it’s one of those things where you don't want to outstay your welcome. I had actually meant to end the series with What Happens in Barcelona but there were so many loose ends in it that it needed one more book to tie all together. With the final book in the series, What Happens in Paphos, I thought I would set it somewhere a little less fashion-y and a bit more remote, so the characters could escape the drama from the last book, but it backfires for them and they don't end up escaping at all.  

Can you tell us a bit about your latest second non-fiction book released in July titled Writing Myths?
It's aimed at people who want a writing career but don't know where to start and don't know which direction to go in. Everything from the technical side of writing to the marketing and publishing. It has all of the myths broken down and shows you what it is actually like to be in the industry. I started doing this in 2016 and, even in those three years, a lot has changed. There was a lot more stigma around self-publishing back then but also there was much less competition. More competition means that if you’re not willing to market your book you’re not going to get anywhere.  

Which medium to you use mostly to market your books?
I use Facebook Advertising, mostly. Social media is only good when you are paying for it. If you tried to sell your books organically on social media it would take up so much of your time that you would end up doing more of that than actually writing. A blog is a great way to establish yourself in a particular area. I write about productivity as a writer on my blog which helps to sell my non-fiction books. But it you are just writing about your non-fiction book on your blog and you have no following, people aren't going to care about the backstory to your book. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is really important when you are blogging. Without it, your blog will die, but SEO is also time consuming. I was focusing on my non-fiction but my fiction has done so well this year that I've been focusing more on that. 

Behind the Spotlight is available on Amazon, Apple Books and Kobo

Kristina Adams website

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