Bound!

A while back, I had the good fortune to participate in a book launch for fellow Iowa author Stormy Smith. Today she’s back to tell us more about herself and her books.

Hi, Stormy! What can you tell us about yourself?

Stormy-Bio-Pic-200x300I am 33 and live in a suburb of Des Moines with my husband and two cats. I met my husband three months into our freshman year of college and we have been together for fifteen years this year! I work a day job and am currently pursuing my Masters degree from Drake University.

I love hot tea, dark chocolate and all things salty! I have a marketing background, have always read fantasy and wish every day that Iowa was on a coast.

At times like this, I wish it was on a southern coast. 🙂 And the Bound series?  What’s it all about?

The Bound series is all about finding yourself and becoming the person you were meant to be. I intentionally chose to write in the new adult age range because I feel like that 18-22 timeframe is when you experience freedom (both the good and the bad of it) for the first time. I wanted to remind my older readers what that time was like, and give true YA a preview of what was to come. I wanted to provide an outlet that showed them you could still make some wrong choices and come out on the other side if you leaned on your family and friends to help get you through.

The story itself focuses on Amelia Bradbury, a girl who knows she has magic but has always been told she has to control it and keep it in check. She’s given a brief few years to go to college and live her own life before she’s supposed to fulfill her end of a betrothal. During that time she finds her first best friend, a sassy southern girl named Bethany, and her first crush – Aidan. Her magic also starts to grow and become something out of her control. As Amelia learns more about the truth of her power and who she’s meant to be, she has to decide if she’ll follow her heart or fulfill her duty to her people.

What about Bound by Prophecy?

Bound_by_Phrophecy_1400x2100_px_300dpi_F-copy-683x1024Bound by Prophecy is book three in the Bound series. This first trilogy in the series is a complete story arc, but I’ve left doors open to continue to world. In this book you will learn the true origin of the Immortals and see the culmination of my characters’ growth. I put a lot into my secondary characters and they are just as crucial to the storylines as Amelia and Aidan.

Who or what inspired you to write it?

This series was inspired by the Star-Crossed Series by Rachel Higginson. It’s a favorite of mine and it was on a road trip, in the car alone by myself, when my story first appeared. I was thinking about Rachel’s books and the questions kept popping up in my head, “What if this would have happened instead? What if she had these powers instead of those powers?” All those questions led me straight to my own book. I had never known I wanted to write books, but now I can’t imagine doing anything else.

What challenges did you face while writing the story?

BBD_Kindle_cover-642x1024I had no idea how to write a book when I first started Bound by Duty! And I didn’t plot anything. I just sat down and wrote it. I ended up tossing about 80% of that first draft. As I learned to trust my gut, and myself, the story became clearer and the characters defined themselves fully in my mind. With all three books, I didn’t outline and I’ve learned it just isn’t my way. But, the story unfolded as it needed to and I’m really happy with how it has gone.

My other main challenge was simply time. With still having a job and school, it’s a lot of time to both write the books and market them. With each additional book I put out, there’s more to do to ensure people know they are out there and can find them.

Will the series continue beyond this book?

It will! I already wrote a short holiday novella (but don’t read it unless you’ve read the first three books), and plan to continue writing in this world. But, I am taking a break and writing something new before I come back to Bound.

When did you start writing?

I’ve always been a writer of some sort. English was my favorite class, I wrote for my high school and college newspapers, I ended up working in an ad agency and landed in public relations. Writing is truly who I am. But, I only started writing books in July of 2013. I published Bound by Duty in July 2014 and that is the day I officially became an author!

What motivates you to write?

The characters and their stories are so vivid in my mind; it is impossible not to share them. Their stories have to be told and no one can tell them but me. As long as the stories keep coming, I will keep writing them down.

What is your favorite part of the writing process?  Least favorite?

1440107902I’m an oddball in that I HATE the first draft and I LOVE editing. But it is my nature to love fixing things. That first draft is always so messy and it frustrates me that I have to just keep pushing forward and let it stay that way. But, when I get to editing the light bulbs keep coming on and the story digs deeper, becomes more clear and truly comes together.

What made you decide to self-publish?

I’m impatient. Haha. I didn’t want to wait for an agent to like my book, and for them to shop it, and then someone else to put it in their queue. It was done and I wanted it out there. Also, it was my first book and I had no idea if I totally sucked at this whole writing thing. So, I figured I would just do this series myself and see how it went. If it went well, then eventually I could use that success to leverage something else.

Do you have any advice for new authors?

Two pieces, actually.

One – don’t worry about ANYTHING until you write the book. Not marketing, not how you want to publish, not what people will think. Just write the book you want to write. The one you would want to read. Let the other stuff come later.

Two – know that when you do finish the book, that you are becoming an entrepreneur. Being an author means building a business and you have to invest in a business for it to succeed. You have to pay a good cover designer and a good editor. Your book will not succeed without those two things. You have to invest in marketing to break through the clutter of authors out there. You have to establish yourself and engage with your readers. Being an author means being a business owner.

Finally, if you could recommend one book, what would it be and why?

You know, I can’t. Because I am someone who believes that there is a book for every person and situation. There are books I need when I’m sad, or ones I need when I need to laugh, or escape, or sit inside a world that is nothing like the one we live in. I could give you a book for each one of those situations, but I can’t give you just one.

What I can tell you is that I have a go-to series I read, and reread, all the time. It’s the dream series by Nora Roberts. And it reminds me that good things come from the struggle of life and it is always worth going after your dreams, as long as you have the people you love by your side.

About the Bound series

Bound by Duty: Amelia grew up in a world of half-truths. She knows she’s an Elder, but has no idea what that means. Her father reminds her daily that she must maintain control, but he refuses to explain why. Even worse, she’s betrothed to the prince of the Immortals and doesn’t even know his name.

Finally breaking free to live a few normal years at a community college, the last thing Amelia expects is to find her best friend in a cheeky southern girl, or fall for a self-assured human who sees her for who she is, not what she will become.

As she learns more about herself, Amelia realizes the line between love and duty is a thin one. As her power continues to increase exponentially and her questions are slowly answered, Amelia must make the ultimate choice. The question is, will her head win the battle, or her heart?

Bound by Spells: Aidan Montgomery hadn’t been prepared for Amelia Bradbury to walk in and then out of his life. He also hadn’t expected to find the powerful magic hidden deep within him for the last nineteen years, but he’s embracing it — finding more control and more answers every day. Now, with the help of Amelia’s best friend, Bethany, Aidan is on a quest to understand his destiny and find Amelia.

Amelia decided to stand by her duty, which meant walking away from her first chance at love. Trapped in Cresthaven at the Queen’s mercy, she spends her days with Micah — an ally she still holds at arm’s length — struggling to manage her heartbreak while keeping her mind focused on the task at hand. As she continues to unlock the secrets of the Keeper power, Queen Julia’s true motives reveal themselves, forcing Amelia to decide, yet again, how much she’s willing to sacrifice.

Will Aidan get to Amelia before it’s too late, or will the very power that sustains them keep them apart?

Bound by Prophecy: Amelia Bradbury is finally free from Queen Julia and Cresthaven, but she isn’t safe. The Keeper power runs rampant inside her, and only an ultimate act of selflessness will be able to contain the darkness threatening Amelia’s sanity and the future of the Immortal race.

Aidan Montgomery refuses to give up on Amelia. Once she’s rescued from the Keeper’s hold, he intends to prove his love is more than a side effect of the prophecy, even if doing so leads him away from his pack on a journey that will irrevocably change them both.

When the past and present collide, and the shocking origin of the Immortals is revealed, Amelia and Aidan are forced back to Cresthaven to end a war that never should have started.

About Stormy Smith

A word nerd from the very beginning, Stormy Smith has always had her nose in a book or a pen in her hand. From a journalism degree to a public relations career, manipulating words has always been her forte. She never expected her love of stories to translate into writing them, but one day the words were there and couldn’t be stopped.

Stormy lives in Iowa’s capital with her husband and two crazy cats. When she isn’t working on, or thinking about, her books, Stormy’s favorite places include bar patios, live music shows, her yoga mat or anywhere she can relax with her husband or girlfriends.

You can connect with Stormy on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads.

(c) 2015. All rights reserved.

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