It’s another busy Monday here on the website!
On this side, let’s welcome Karina Kantas. She’s a prolific author across genres and ages, and I’m thrilled to have her drop by and answer a few questions!
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
I have two more in the oven. Toxic 2, of which the first draft is finished. And In Times of Violence, the adult edition is 40% through the first draft. Then there will be Toxic 3 to finish the dystopian, sci-fi erotica, trilogy. Then I may work on another mafia novel, depending on how Broken Chains is received.
What did you do with your first advance?
Ha! The first payment I received for my writing was for a film review for a magazine. The cheque is still framed on the wall in my office. I never cashed it in.
Do you want each book to stand on its own or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
I have a four-book series called the OUTLAW. These are stand-alone books with a small mention or two that would thread the books together. But they are all separate reads about outlaw motorcycle clubs and their members. They are raw, gritty and violent.
I have Toxic, which is book one of a trilogy, book two is finished but my partner and I are too busy at the moment to do any read-throughs or edits. Then I have my award-winning YA fantasy PNR, duology. The other books are all stand-alone or collections of flash fiction and short stories. There’s even poetry in one of the collections called Undressed.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Don’t rush into publishing your work. Wait until you can afford a publisher, professional book cover designer, and pay for formatting.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
No. But I was warned to when I wrote my first erotica. I was warned I would lose readers and subscribers. But I was surprised that I didn’t lose as many as I thought I might. I write in most fiction genres, which means I have readers who like a mixture of fiction genres which is normal if you think about it.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
No. Never. I write for me. I hope my readers will enjoy my work, whatever I put out there. But I write for my pleasure. It’s not about what genre is popular. I write whatever genre I feel passionate about at that time.
What is the most unethical practice in the publishing industry?
I can’t stand that Amazon monopolizes the marketplace. They had the nerve to belatedly copy Wattpad, by releasing Kindle Vella. And that they are the worst place for paying royalties. There are so many things I dislike, especially the way Amazon treats authors is out of order. However, that’s where readers are more likely to buy their books.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
After I read S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders. I had a story to tell and so I wrote it as a short story, 18 pages. Years later, I picked it up and started to type it out, and when I finished one page, I realised I wrote 20 pages. It was magical. The way the story wrote itself. I was hooked.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
When I first started, most of my ideas came from nightmares. Then Lord of the Rings Trilogy inspired me to write Illusional Reality, duology. Then it was just films and books. I would get a passion for a certain genre of fiction, and I would overload myself with information and story ideas until I was ready and had enough research to write my own.
How do books get published?
Many of my books I have self-published through Lulu, Draft to Digital and Kindle Direct Publishing. I also have a contract with a hybrid publisher for my award-winning YA fantasy, Illusional Reality. And for my dystopian sci-fi erotica, which I co-authored. We have a contract standing by for the trilogy. I have spiced my version up, and my partner, Karen J Mossman, has kept hers clean. So, the reader gets the choice. All 6 books will be with a publisher, once we finish writing them.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I only have the weekends to write and promote my books as I spend 10 hrs. a day for five days a week helping authors with their books, marketing and promotions, social media management. I’m also a podcaster, YouTuber, BookTuber and Radio host. Oh, and I sing. I’m representing Greece in the finals of the WORLD karaoke championship.
How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?
I have 14 books published. They are all my babies, and I love them all, but there is something special about my new release, Broken Chains – a dark mafia romance.
Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
Don’t force yourself to write. Keep notes, a dream diary, write down anytime a scene comes into your head, write down the dialogue the characters are whispering, but don’t try to work on a story or book until you’re ready, and you will know when that is. It’s a term we call ‘being in the Zone’ That’s when everything comes together, everything starts making sense. You’re in a bubble, and nothing outside can break it. And then you write, and you keep writing until you’re out of the zone. That’s when the story flows, that’s when the writing is gold.
Do you like to create books for adults?
I love writing novels for adults, just as much as I love writing novels for YA. I’m a prolific author.
Thank you so much for dropping by today!
And now for some bonus content!
If only she had stuck to singing in bars.
If only the idea of wanting to become an author had never entered her mind.
If only she’d never met Alex.
That one meeting had caused an avalanche of fate to clash with a dangerous destiny that forced Liz Finely to become the most wanted woman in the world. Stalked by three deadly mafia bosses, Liz has to learn to survive. Passed from one brutal hand to another, tortured, and abused, it’s her blood, her name, which lands her in trouble each time.
Now it’s up to Liz to find the strength to accept and become who she’s meant to be, and finally, break the chains that bind her.
Please note: This book is adult only due to graphic scenes of sex and violence.
Liz was dreading meeting the “family” as he called them and certainly had no appetite. Her nerves were messed up and it wasn’t until Maria came into the room to help her dress, that she realised she had stayed in bed staring at the wall for hours. She had no idea it was so late. Her stomach churned.
“May I give you some advice?” Maria said softly in Italian. Liz nodded.
“Don’t speak unless they ask a question. Don’t look them in the eye. Keep your head down, eat quietly and be respectful. They don’t know you. They won’t trust you and you need to earn their respect, but they will expect respect from you right away.”
(Thank you. I understand)
Maria picked out a red knee-length skater dress. It was modest and covered her arms. Liz still has fading bruises on her face and her fingers were still sore and swollen. She had difficulty holding a hairbrush and her hands didn’t have the strength to get the tangles out of her hair, so Maria combed her hair and put it half up and half down, then curled the tips. Mascara and a little lip gloss finished off her look. Wearing flat silver shoes, she followed Maria downstairs and then stopped outside the office door.
“The Boss wants to speak with you before dinner.”
Maria touched Liz’s arm. “Good luck.”
“Grazie,” Liz answered, and took a deep breath before knocking on the door.
“Entra,” Marco called out.
Liz walked inside the office, with her head down and stood beside his desk.
“Please sit,” he said. “You may look up. Before we go to dinner there is one small matter we need to address. I’m sure you know what the Omertà is?”
Liz swallowed before answering. “It’s a code of silence.”
Marco nodded. “That is correct. Do you know what will happen if you break the Omertà?”
“I and anyone I have talked to about your business will be killed.”
Marco slid a piece of paper over to her and gave her his fountain pen. “Good, then sign and we can go to dinner.”
Her hands shook as she took the pen, knowing if she signed, she was giving her oath and life to the Italian mafia. Then again, if she refused to sign, Marco would probably pull out his gun and shoot her where she stood.
Taking a deep breath, she signed on the dotted line above Marco’s signature.