Deanna R. Sweeney: “I have learned very quickly that the real work starts when the book is finished.” 

Legions of Lilith – The Awakening received a 4+ star review, making it an IndieReader Approved title.

Following find an interview with author Deanna R. Sweeney.

What is the name of the book and when was it published?

The name of my novel is Legions of Lilith – The Awakening. It was published in April 2017. The Awakening is the first book in the Legions of Lilith trilogy. The second book, Ghosts of the Past, is complete and I have already gotten the first edits back from my editor. I am hoping that it will be in print and available by Christmas 2018.

What’s the book’s first line? 

The mighty Mississippi River, beautiful and powerful, was home to a generous amount of history and hidden secrets.

What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”. 

The book is a supernatural thriller with both fantasy and mystery aspects. It follows a young woman named Veronica as her life is thrown into a series of suspicious deaths, brutal murders and waking nightmares which make her face who and what she truly is.

What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event? 

I have always been a writer as a hobby and even got a children’s short story published in our local newspaper when I was ten years old. I have several stories that I have written over the years that were put away in a trunk to collect dust once I had finished them. I had always just written because it was something I enjoyed doing for myself and never thought that I would ever pursue getting them published or that anyone outside my family would be interested in reading them. One day at work during a break while I was messing around and writing a few lines of The Awakening, my co-worker asked if she could read what I was working on. I reluctantly relinquished my laptop and waited nervously for her reaction. The scene she read was one of the more bloody scenes in my book where the murder scene is discovered by the police and I wasn’t sure how she would react. To my surprise, she asked me if she could read the whole thing once it was done. She said it was incredible and asked me why she didn’t know until then that I could write like that. I told her I only wrote for myself. She pestered me for months after that about it until I finally gave in and sent my completed book into a publisher. Much to my surprise, I was offered a contract and the rest is history. I have my co-worker to thank, who shall remain anonymous at her request, for this new journey I am on.

What’s the main reason someone should really read this book? 

The reason anyone should read anything is because they love the journey that the written word can provide. Within the pages of books are countless adventures, experiences, history, points of view, and knowledge. Being able to read is like having the superpower to go anywhere and experience anything through anyone’s eyes from the comfort of your armchair or bed or wherever you like to do your reading.

What’s the most distinctive thing about the main character?  Who-real or fictional-would you say the character reminds you of? 

The most distinctive thing about the main character is her ability to see and hear spirits and the disturbing visions that plague her. She struggles with who she is as opposed to who she lets the rest of the world see. I think that in this struggle, she is very similar to most of us. Everyone struggles with their “image” or “identity” at some point in their lives.

If they made your book into a movie, who would you like to see play the main character(s)?

I would love to see Saoirse Ronan play the part of Veronica. She is undeniably talented and I feel that she would really bring to life the unique personality that this character has.

When did you first decide to become an author?

I’ve been writing since I was a small child and never really thought I wanted to publish my works but was recently persuaded to give it a try. I am glad I did.

Is this the first book you’ve written?

This is not the first book I’ve written but it is the first novel I have published. I have many more that I am going to dust off and polish up for possible publishing in the future.

What do you do for work when you’re not writing?

I spent quite a few years in the army and as an Occupational Health and Safety Professional after I left the army. I obtained my degree and my CRSP designation and thought that would be my career but I got tired of being away from home all the time and missing being a part of my kids growing up. I decided to slow down a bit and I now own several rental properties that I manage and maintain. I am renovating a commercial building as well that is of historical significance in my community (built in 1913) and plan on opening my own restaurant in the space.

How much time do you generally spend on your writing?

I write every spare second that I get and when I am not physically writing, I find myself planning and organizing plot lines in my head. It really is a never ending thing for me. Even when I am out shopping or just doing other errands around town I am a constant “people watcher” and have gotten several ideas for characters from these observations. My notebook and pen are never far away when I need to capture an idea.

What’s the best and the hardest part of being an indie?   

By indie I assume you mean self published author? Although I did not self publish and have a contract with a publisher I think that every author shares similar challenges when it comes to marketing and getting their book out there, especially if it is their first book. I have learned very quickly that the real work starts when the book is finished.

What’s a great piece of advice that you can share with fellow indie authors?

The success of the book depends on the author and the publisher working as a team and putting equal effort into selling the product. Don’t sit back on your heels and wait for the readers to come to you. Get out there and get in front of people as much as possible. Do book signings, book readings, workshops, public speaking, organize giveaways, volunteer and raise money for charities, do everything and anything you can to get noticed. When you and your publisher run out of ideas, start over and do it again. Be ruthless and relentless in marketing your product and yourself as the author.

Would you go traditional if a publisher came calling?  If so, why?  

My publisher is really good to work with and I wouldn’t change a thing.

Is there something in particular that motivates you?

I just love to write but I also love to read. If my stories can bring some joy to other readers and fuel or even spark their love of the written word then I feel blessed.

Which writer, living or dead, do you most admire?

J.R.R Tolkien was a literary genius. The way he was able to weave such intricately detailed worlds was incredible. He was a true talent and I wish that we could have seen more from him before his unfortunate passing.

Which book do you wish you could have written?

The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King was my favourite book as a youngster and still is. I am on my fourth copy of the book which is already getting rather worn. I must admit that it may be time to replace it again. I cannot recall how many times I have read it or say why it resonates so much with me but if I had to pick a book that I wish I had written, it would be The Eyes of the Dragon.


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