WINNER UPDATE: Congratulations to Jules for winning the signed trilogy and wristband!
I’ll never forget how often book #1 (Reason To Breathe) in the Breathing Series was recommended to me (back when I first went crazy over these awesome, intense indie reads). But the recommendations always came with a warning… beware of the crazy ending. Sobbing tears were a BIG thing for many, but readers also knew that book #2 was in the works, and were clamoring for it.
I was DYING to read #1 and purchased it as soon as I found out about it, but was forced to scroll past it as I waited patiently for book #2. And when #2 (Barely Breathing) finally came out I *squeeeeeed* with delight. I was finally getting on the “Breathing” bandwagon, and let me tell you…. WHOA!! Book #1′s ending rocked my world, but I was lucky since I didn’t have to suffer like you guys did to find out… “the rest”. Dark and intense, and emotionally addicting and I moved right onto the sequel, smug with my incredible luck, until I hit the end of book #2 and realized, while a gentler cliffhanger, it was a cliffhanger nonetheless. His last thought gave me shivers.
(oh and you can check out my book reviews right here):
- Book Review – Reason to Breathe #1 by Rebecca Donovan
- Book Review – Barely Breathing #2 by Rebecca Donovan
And now, we finally get relief, because book #3 (Out Of Breath) is out as we speak, and my “Breathing” world is now complete. And not only that! We get to hear from the author herself, as she let’s us into her indie writing world & experience, and gives us a look at her “Breathing” inspiration. Let’s welcome author Rebecca Donovan!!
Maryse: Hi Rebecca!! Wow, such fantastic books. They were some of my first “darker” reads and I was blown away by the harrowing depths you reached, when it came to your characters. When did you first realize you first wanted to be a writer?
Rebecca: I’ve always been a writer. I had an overactive imagination as a child, and the moment I could record the stories I’d act out, I did. Those stories transitioned into journal entries as I got older. I was always writing. For the longest time I planned to become a journalist, and even won the Edward R. Murrow scholarship in journalism upon graduating high school.
Maryse: A born writer! Tell me about your decision to write this deep and harrowing tale. (How did this story come to you?)
Rebecca: I allowed this story to play like a movie in my head, and I did everything I could to capture it with my words, to transport readers into the pages of the book where they could see, feel, and hurt along with Emma.
The story itself was inspired by my work with troubled teens. After abandoning my Journalism major, I graduated with a degree in Psychology, and witnessed firsthand the trauma of children growing up in abusive homes. And then Emma and Evan appeared to me during a sleepless night while I was doing anything I could to fall asleep, even forcing a dream. Let’s just say, I never fell asleep that night.
Maryse: Wow and what a dream that must have been. I’m thrilled that you let us all into their story. When did you decide you wanted to officially publish Barely Breathing?
Rebecca: There were always three parts to Emma’s story from the very beginning—I knew the end of OUT OF BREATH before I began writing REASON TO BREATHE. The characters and story needed to be fully flushed out in BARELY BREATHING and OUT OF BREATH, so I chose to write those two books again from scratch. The moment I self-published REASON TO BREATHE, I began to rewrite BARELY BREATHING. I was still working full time, so I had to work like crazy to meet the release date I gave the readers. I’d never worked under a deadline before!
Maryse: There was some clamoring. LOL!!! I mean how you left it… *eeeeeeep*! I’m usually not too worried about cliffhanger endings (if everyone loved the book, I’ll jump right in, anyway), but the way the readers were reacting to the end of your book?! Yep, I held off, and decided to “treat” myself to both books at the same time when #2 released.
Did you think you had to be a traditionally published writer to achieve the level of success your books have already achieved as indie releases?
Rebecca: I had always envisioned my books on the shelves of bookstores and libraries, so I wanted to be traditionally published initially. When I took the leap of faith to self-publish, I did so believing if REASON TO BREATHE was successful enough as an eBook it would be noticed by a publisher and I could fulfill the dream of having my books line the shelves in stores. Guess what? It’s happened!
Maryse: It sure did!! What prompted you to independently publish books #1 & #2?
Rebecca: About two years after writing the series, I read an article revealing eBooks were outselling paperback books four-to-one. I looked into what it took to be independently published, and when I realized the only risk was trusting the world with my words, I took the steps necessary to make it happen.
Maryse: And we’re so happy you took that risk. Describe your experience as an indie author? Any surprises along the way?
Rebecca: I will always be an Indie Author at heart—pressing “publish” was exhilarating, terrifying and beyond gratifying! I not only became an “author,” I also became a brand… a business. I was in full control of my fate through every aspect, starting with my product. Would people love me or hate me? Was I talented enough for people to want to talk about it? Would readers want to read about such a heavy topic?
I was surprised by my own perseverance. I had a hard time with the first few not-so-nice reviews, but I realized I wasn’t ever going to be anything else other than a writer. So I had to suck it up and accept all that came along with it. And I am so very happy I did!
Maryse: What other channels in the “self published book-world” did you use to promote your books?
Rebecca: I started slowly with promotions and social media. I was not an author who created a platform before my book was completed. I didn’t actually know I was going to self-publish until I did. Then I created a Facebook page, a Website, eventually a Twitter account. I didn’t even create my own Goodreads pages for the books. Readers did. My editor, Elizabeth, stumbled across them. I didn’t even know what Goodreads was! I fumbled through the social media outlets and soon discovered readers wanted a way to reach me, and I loved interacting with them. I feel like I went through this entire process backwards… ha!
Maryse: But it worked! It grew “organically” and we (readers) were only too happy to be a part of it.
I’d love to hear about what prompted your decision to eventually traditionally publish your series via Amazon’s publishing company.
Rebecca: I’m not going to lie, it took me a while to make the final decision to go with Amazon Children’s Publishing. They were the first publisher to reach out to me. I was enticed by all they could offer through their site, but going to New York City and sitting down at their conference table to speak with the ENTIRE team on my project sealed the deal. (They even had a Mt. Dew waiting for me!) Their commitment and enthusiasm to seeing this series published was contagious. Although I knew it would be more challenging to get my books in stores due to Amazon being a direct competitor of many retailers (I’d read plenty of articles on the subject) I always believed it would happen, regardless of who my publisher was. And now I’m in every Wal-Mart in North America! And those are not the only shelves I’m occupying!
Maryse: How awesome (and exciting) it must be to see your books right there on those great big shelves for anyone to peruse.
What are some of your favorite indie books? Any recommendations?
Rebecca: I have been fortunate to befriend so many talented and wonderful authors. Most of them started out independently published and have since been picked up by publishers. We talk. We share experiences. We even discuss whether or not to go back to being Indie. It’s an ever-evolving topic, and it’s a completely personal decision. With that being said, I admire every one of them and support their decisions.
Some of my favorite Indie (or Indie-to-published) books are:
The Opportunist by Tarryn Fisher. No one can write characters I love to hate more than this talented, angsty writer.
The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay. There is so much raw beauty and heartache in every word.
Slammed by Colleen Hoover. I’m continuing to learn life lessons from Colleen and I’ve been waiting for my jar of stars for some time now. I go to her blog to be showered with wisdom… or her hilarious bad luck stories!
There are so many more who have trapped me in their worlds, and I am a willing prisoner to their craft.
I love EVERY one of those books, too! Thank you SO much Rebecca! What fantastic insight, and I appreciate you taking the time to chat with me today!
Now for the giveaway:
Rebecca has the entire Trilogy signed for one lucky commenter! And she’s throwing in this cute bracelet/strap (see it below).
How to enter for a chance to win this awesome prize package: Just leave a comment below, and tomorrow night (Friday July 12th 2013) by 10pm EST, I will randomly select one winner.
The winner will be contacted and will have 48hrs to respond with a mailing address, so if you are picked, do not delay or you will lose your chance. The book will be sent directly from the author.
P.S. This giveaway is open to everyone (International!! YAY!!).