Abbi Glines is a sought-after author these days. Like many best selling indies these days, she has one foot planted in the traditionally pubbed world (her mature YA series The Vincent Boys was picked up Simon Pulse, a division of Simon and Schuster) while the other (for the moment, anyway), remains indie. Of course it helps that she is incredibly prolific.
Keri English: Congrats on hitting the IR Best Seller List and staying there! How does it feel to gain strong recognition for your work?
Abbi Glines: It is amazing. I love writing. It is who I am. Knowing that there are readers out there that want to read what I write is the best feeling in the world.
KE: So why did you decide to stay indie? And what might you do if you got an enormous offer from one of the big six… Or should I just say congrats?
AG: Well… um… Everyone already knows I signed with Simon Pulse (a division of Simon & Schuster) for The Vincent Boys. I may have just signed with a big six for the Sea Breeze series too (which includes the bestselling Because of Low)… but that isn’t announced just yet [ED Note: Deal just announced]. I have to wait on the publisher to announce it. So I guess the answer is, yes if the money is right I will sign.
KE: Do you identify with your characters? Especially in the case of early twenties experience, I could insert myself into Low’s shoes, or maybe empathize with hard working Sadie, or fragile Eva as she pushes Cage away. They are very real. Do you hear that often?
AG: I don’t always identify with my characters. Some of them are harder to write than others. The ones I understand are the easiest to write but might not be the most loved. I do however want readers to identify with my characters so I try very hard to keep the personality of each character I create true to who they are. There are things Low, Ashton, Lana, Eva, and Sadie did that I’d never have done, I don’t think. But then again I’ve never been in her shoes. (FYI: the character most like me is Pagan as far as personality goes.)
I do hear readers tell me that they can relate to a character. Something in their life is similar and the character’s reactions are something they completely understand. I love hearing that. It’s what I try so hard to accomplish.
KE: How do you decide how much your books will cost when they are available for purchase?
AG: I stick with $3.99 if I self publish. I started at $2.99 with The Vincent Boys but after that I raised it to $3.99 and stuck with it. I just think since there is no middleman then that’s a fair price.
AG: I love to have paper books on my shelves. But when reading I’ve become accustomed to the ease of my Kindle Fire. Just makes it easier to carry around all your favorite books.
KE: Often, writers have some fun background stories of times before the books. Off the top of your head, what can you tell us about yourself that we don’t already know? (Random is good!)
AG: Before I wrote books, I was obsessive about reading. So to feed this addiction I would walk through my house on a weekly basis and decide what item I could sell on Ebay that week to pay for the books I wanted to buy. This worked out well except for the times my husband would go looking for something of his that I’d sold… like his Nike tennis shoes, or his North Face jacket.
KE: Are your characters inspired by people in your real life?
AG: Sometimes but not often. Most of the time my characters are a mixture of many different personalities I’ve met over the years.
KE: Let’s talk about publicity, how do you market your books? I love the look of your webpage, and I see it is connected to Blogger. What came first, blogs or books for you?
AG: I connect with readers on Twitter and Facebook. This is the number one marketing tool I have. Word of mouth is the best thing a writer could hope for. Also holding contest and giveaways to get readers to share links and books for you. These are the best two marketing avenues out there.
Blogs. I blogged before I wrote. I decided I would set myself up a blog and write about random things. It was fun even if no one was reading it. Over time as things started to change, my blog changed but if you search back a few years ago you will find those random posts that I began with.
KE: The Sea Breeze Series begins with Sadie and Jax in Breathe and continues with Marcus Hardy’s life in Because of Low. After that, you move on to While it Lasts, where we see Cage York, who was also in Because of Low. These seem like brilliant tactics to ensure reader follow-up. How did you do it?
AG: When I wrote Breathe I had no plans whatsoever to write another story connected to it. I wrote The Vincent Boys next and intended for it to be a one book only deal too. I thought I would just write stand-alone books. Boy was I wrong. Readers fell in love with Marcus in Breathe. Even the bad reviews said “But I loved Marcus.” So I gave them a Marcus story and thought that would be it. However, once my critique partner, Tammara Webber read it she said, “I need a Cage story. You must write one.” So While It Lasts was born. Then at that point I figured Preston needed a story and the boys in Jackdown needed a story. Maybe even Dewayne needs a story. It all just happened.
KE: I’m always intrigued by successful YA author stories. It’s awesome to see young people thrilled to get the latest titles. (People will read again!) How did you become interested in the YA genre to begin with?
AG: I couldn’t get into writing adult romances. I tried and never finished them. So, I started reading several young adult contemporary romance authors and realized this was what I wanted to write. I sat down and wrote Breathe.
KE: If you were going to a deserted island and could only bring three personal possessions, what would they be?
AG: My pillow (because I could never sleep without it), my paperback copy of Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire (because my Kindle would lose power and I’d have no way to recharge so this way I could just reread Travis over and over), and my husband (because I’d be lost without him)
KE: Tell us about Existence. How did you get into Paranormal? It seems to work really well for you.
AG: I was discussing with my mom one day how we both believe that souls are used over and over again. Why would God make new ones all the time when he has perfectly good ones up there with him? It would get way too crowded in Heaven. This just makes no sense to me. Anyway, I started thinking about death and if souls are reused how that might go down. Would we be told right away that this was just another life? Would there be someone directing us? Because I completely believe in ghosts, so I wondered how we could keep from becoming a ghost. I’d want to live again. Then I decided death might not be an event but an actual being… the story was hatched. I like the paranormal world. It’s fun. I don’t read it a lot. I do like it though. It will be awhile before I dive back into it but I definitely intend to in the future.
KE: Say a little bit about The Vincent Boys. What’s different in comparison to the Sea Breeze Series, more maturity in the characters perhaps?
AG: The Vincent Boys is another south Alabama setting with teenage characters. They are in a more rural area. No vacationers invading their world. They have just the small group of people in their small town they’ve always had. It has a sexy feel to it. I decided instead of writing a teenage romance that mother’s want teens to read I would write one that teens want to read. It’s real. I was a teenager in a small southern town once and I decided to keep it real with this series.
KE: If you could give your readers one piece of advice about life as you see it, what would it be?
AG: Remember books are fantasy. Use them to escape reality. That’s what we do when we write them.
KE: If you could time travel back ten years, what would you say to yourself?
AG: Finish writing a book already! People will actually read it! I promise.
KE: You mention on your Amazon page that you husband is quite the daredevil. What is the wackiest situation you’ve found yourselves in and how are you still here to talk about it?
AG: Oh my. This is hard to pick from. There are so many.
Okay. When my first born was one year old my husband went and bought this expensive hiking backpack to carry our baby in then informed me we were going hiking in the Smokey Mountains. It was summer time. Black bears are all out and about in the Smokey Mountains in July. I explained this to my crazy husband who promised me we wouldn’t see a bear.
So, after buying a tent (that we never used) and buying hiking boots that we didn’t break in first we headed to Tennessee.
Day one of our hiking trip: My baby boy is on my husband’s back as we hike up some trail in the summer heat and low and behold in front of us is a full grown black bear. We stop and I instantly decide I will grab my baby and shove my stupid husband at the bear and run if that bear makes one move our way.
We stared the bear down. We waited as my baby clapped his hands and cried out “Bewah mommy” (which meant ‘bear mommy’) he was the only one of us excited about this up close experience.
Finally after hours (okay maybe seconds but whose counting) the bear turns and crawls up the mountainside. We stayed frozen in our spots until we were sure the bear was far away. Then I grabbed my husband’s hand and marched right back down that trail swearing that I was going to murder him with my own bare hands once we got our baby to safety.
KE: Wow! Any parting words of wisdom for your fellow indie authors? I know my ears are wide open!
AG: Keep writing. Connect with your readers. If they take the time to read your book they deserve an answer from you when they tweet you or Facebook you or email you. Don’t give up. Your bestseller is coming. I firmly believe a writer gets better with each book they write. Keep it up!
A special thank you to Abbi Glines for taking time out of her busy schedule to chat with us! We wish you the very best Abbi!