I am very honoured and pleased that my first author interview was with Bambi Sommers! I consider Bambi to be a good friend, and I’m really excited to share this interview with you all!
Tell me a bit about yourself.
My name is Bambi Sommers and I live in Ohio in the United States. I’m married (23 years) and live with 4 cats. If I not writing or reading, you’ll find me knitting or maybe enjoying a good movie.
What was your favourite book growing up?
It’s funny, but I don’t remember reading a lot growing up. I mostly hung out with friends and my older brother. There were a bunch of neighbor kids and I grew up in the time before computers so we were always outside playing games. When I did read, I remember fairy tales and Dr. Seuss. I liked fantasy and books I could get lost in even back then.
Are there any authors you inspired to be like?
There are so many romance authors who are wonderful! Especially now that indie authors have arrived. I know I’d forget a bunch if I tried to name them all, but I will give a shout out to Lauren Layne, Marie Force and one of my new favs, Pippa Grant. I also love the fantasy style of Darynda Jones. But I never really wanted to emulate anyone. I’ve always just been me.
When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?
I’m still not sure I have realized that! Haha! I didn’t really set out to be. It just kind of fell in my lap and I fell in love with it. I didn’t actually start writing my first published book until December 2017. I got an email from Simon & Schuster during that Thanksgiving holiday weekend asking if I would like to enter their romance writing contest. I thought why not? It’s what I had been reading for about a year and I thought I could do it. So, I wrote my first book the month of December and sent it to them in January. I had no intention of winning but I found that I loved it so much, I studied self-publishing vs traditional. I knew I had to wait till they announced the winner on Valentine’s Day but as soon as they did, I self-published just a few days later. And, while I was waiting, I wrote the second in that trilogy and published it just a week later.
Can you tell me about the books you have written? Was there one you love writing more than the others?
My books are romance thrillers. My first was a trilogy called the IMPS trilogy. Justice Prevails (book 1), Phantom Rising (book 2), and Remembering Riley (book 3). Then I wrote Firebird 1 and 2. Firebird was a band which was introduced in the trilogy. Now, I’m doing a new series, Hart Investigations. I have 2 books out so far, Diesel (book 1) and Cody (book 2). I loved writing them all, but I had the most fun with my rock & roll men. They still make me swoon!
Are you working on any books/projects currently?
Doing a new series, Hart Investigations. It’s three brothers who worked undercover for the DEA but tired of it after years of traveling. They settle down in a smaller town and open up a PI business, bringing in another friend. I’m working on book 3 at this time and plan for it to be a 5-book series, but don’t hold me to that. Haha.
Who are/is your favourite character/s that you have created? Was this character based on someone you know/knew?
I love all my characters, even the criminals! But if I had to choose, I’d say Phantom from the 2nd book in the IMPS trilogy, Phantom Rising. It may be because I made him a little older and a little wiser, but still sexy! I also love my rock stars! Soldier is probably my fav, again if I had to choose. I have never based any of my characters on people I know. I’m afraid if I did this, it might give them limitations in my mind. I don’t know how other writers feel about this, but these people and places are completely made up and I can’t imagine ever changing that.
Do you often hear feedback from your readers? Has there been any feedback that stuck out the most?
I have had some terrific reviews and I appreciate it so much! If readers realized how much it means and how authors can live or die by reviews, I think they’d help out by doing that more often. I can’t say one comment has stood out as much as the people who tell me or write that the story grabbed them from the beginning! I really love writing that first paragraph!
How did you publish your book?
I self-published through Kindle on Amazon. When I was studying the differences between self and traditional publishing, the big difference that stood out to me was that once your book is launched, you are responsible for the marketing of said book. Even if you traditionally publish. Yes, they edit, print and give you the big launch, but after that, it’s still pretty much on you. Plus, they may price your book at more money, but you still end up getting about the same amount after they pay the editors, publishers, etc. If you self-publish, you can charge less and still get the same amount. You have more control over your book if you self-publish, too. One hundred percent say in the content and the cover. You don’t have their expertise behind you, but if you take the time, you can learn it yourself. I like working on my own timeline, too.
How did it feel when your first copies of your book came through?
When I was publishing my first book, I was positively giddy! Every step of the way, I was in awe of the publishing program for Kindle. It’s amazing to me that you can write a manuscript and upload it in a matter of minutes, along with a cover! You can even add an author picture. You can tweak the fonts and colors, then the program puts the finishing touches on it and makes it look professional! Amazing!
What was the hardest scene that you have had to write?
One of the women was explaining her psychopath brother and she told the story of him killing her puppy when they were children. I’m an animal lover but was into the story and just writing, not really thinking too much about it. After my brother read it, he talked about how hard it was to get through that part. It made me feel great that something I wrote touched him so much!
Have you ever had writers block? How did you get past it?
I’ve never had it and I’m knocking on wood right now! I do experience a bit of “where am I going with this?” in the middle of every book. EVERY book! I’m a complete pantser. I tried plotting once but it just doesn’t come naturally to me. So, as I’m going along, I may know where I want it to go, but not necessarily how I’m going to get it there. But I keep writing, and eventually it comes to me and then I can write right through to the end.
How long does it usually take you to write a book?
The first one was only a month, but I worked diligently on it every day. After writing 7, I would say I give myself 3 months per book now. This year, I promised myself I would put out 3 in this series. I’ve already put out one (Cody), I’m halfway through Gabe, which will be book 3 of the series and I plan to release it by the end of June and I want to release one more in the fall. Now that was the plan I made at the beginning of the year. That was before I took on the ghostwriting project of a friend’s memoir and the fact that I’m going to start offering editing services soon. So, we’ll see.
What is your most productive writing space/area?
I would love to tell you I have a great desk, but in reality, I mostly write on the couch with my feet up! I usually write in silence, but sometimes the tv or music is on low in the background. And I almost always have a cat on me!
What is your greatest achievement to date?
You ask some hard questions! Hahaha! Like everyone else, I’ve overcome some adversities in my life. I’ve learned to walk several times after learning I was born with both hips dislocated. I’ve had surgeries, body casts and braces. When I was 14 years old, an orthopaedic surgeon told me that I would not be able to walk by the time I reached 30. Well, I’m in my 60’s and I may not walk far, but I’m still on my own two feet. I would say that is my greatest achievement!
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Of course, all authors are going to say reading. It’s something that takes up a lot of a writer’s time. But I also love to knit. In fact, I love to knit socks! It still amazes me that you can manipulate strands of yarn to make such beautiful things. I also love to weave on my loom and work on stained glass projects (although it has been a while since I’ve had time to do this).
Do you have any tips for authors that are just starting out in their writing journey?
Be careful with your expectations. Yes, there’s money to be made, but don’t go into writing thinking you’re going to make millions and/or be famous. I guess that does happen to some people, but to the general author public, it doesn’t. The good news is I have had an income every month since I’ve published. Sometimes, it’s very small, but it’s an income! Do it because you love it!
Is there anything you’d like to add?
Don’t rush it. I rushed my first one and ended up re-publishing. It wasn’t edited correctly (I’ve since learned to do that well), the cover didn’t let the reader know what kind of book it was, and I wasn’t happy with the font. I thought it was too small. So, I ended up re-publishing my entire trilogy after fixing those things. I could have avoided this if I’d been patient. But that never has been one of my virtues. Good luck with whatever you decide to do! Thank you, Shanon, for allowing us, as authors, to have a say. You’ve always been so supportive and kind!
If anyone would like to reach out to me, or check out my books, here are a few links.
Amazon author page w/book links: amazon.com/author/bambisommers