Vera originally started her career on a popular fanfiction website, where she still frequently posts and supports her fellow writers. She writes romance, YA, and currently New Adult. She loves to read, is an avid walker, and loves a good episode or two of Maury. She is currently nursing an addiction to 90’s R&B that she probably won’t go to rehab for.
Vera is from Palm Springs, CA and currently resides in Los Angeles, with her husband, Maks, cat Sushi, and son, Bear.
1) First, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me! When did you know that writing is what you were called to do? What is it about being a writer that you love the most? What about being a writer frustrates you the most?
I realized it when I was a child, around 10. I wrote a story, a tall tale, my classmates loved it, my teacher loved it, and I decided right then and there, that’s what I wanted to do forever. I took a break for a long while, but it was because I had adults telling me there was no future in writing. I picked it back up some years ago and never looked back.
I love creating different worlds and different characters…just escaping for a period of time. Too many authors write stories that I can’t visualize and it sucks because I spent a good part of a story trying to imagine what someone looks like or what place they’re at. I tend to use real places, but also take some liberties with said places.
If someone lives in L.A., well, that’s broad. If I describe exactly what their neighborhood looks like, it’s clear I’m talking about a wealthy one, or a upper middle-class neighborhood. Sometimes, I talk about a hood one as well. Not everyone can be a rich magnate, LOL.
What frustrates me about being a writer…well, there are a lot of things, LOL. Writer’s Block is a big one. Sometimes it’ll last for a few days, sometimes it’ll last for a few months. I literally just got out of one that lasted a good chunk of the dumpster fire known as 2020.
2) Can you tell us a little about your book(s) and where our readers can find out more about them and you?
My newest book is called Finesse. It’s about an Ivy League drug lord, who just happens to be the son of a U.S. Senator. He starts a relationship with a young coffee shop owner who wants nothing to do with his lifestyle, but there are other reasons why he chose her. She’s sitting on a goldmine unbeknownst to her, but the streets are fully aware. Sex, drugs, and coffee in a neat little package.
The book is available on Amazon, Apple, Barnes &Noble website, and Smashwords. A free extended snippet is on wattpad.
3) Where do you draw your inspiration from for the stories that you manage to weave together and the characters that you create?
I draw inspiration literally from everywhere. A song. A show. A movie. A person. An advertisement. Real conversations with friends. Everywhere.
4) Do you have a schedule for when you write? Do you outline your novels? How long does it generally take you to finish a novel? What projects are you currently working on?
I try to write whenever I can, honestly! As a mother of a young son, a stay at-home wife, and I also help take care of my parents, it’s a challenge more than ever! I do try to write for at least an hour every day. It’s amazing how much I get done within that hour!
I do outline. I didn’t used to and my stories were kinda all over the place. Now, it’s not to say I stick to the outline because I surely don’t, LOL. But it gives me an idea where I need to go and what I need to do.
I’m currently working on the finale to Finesse, called Wifey. I’m also about to start the third part to State of Affairs.
5) What’s the first book you ever read that really moved you emotionally? Who is your favorite author to read? What book are you currently reading?
The first book that moved me? This might be a silly answer but I think it was Where the Red Fern Grows. I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t read it or haven’t read it in a long time, but yeah, that book got me as a child.
My favorite authors to read are a couple – I’m in love with Sidney Sheldon’s work. I also love Walter Mosley. People are surprised when I tell them I read a lot of YA authors. I’m currently reading A Love Of My Own by E. Lynn Harris.
6) What has been your most significant achievement as a writer thus far? Where do you see yourself within your career in the next five years?
My most significant achievement as a writer…hmmm…I think it has been expanding my brand. I wrote a screenplay several years ago, and entered into some competitions. I didn’t go too far, but that wasn’t the point. I wanted to see if I could do it and I did it.
I hope to be a show runner in the next five years. The goal has been and will always be to have my work on the small screen. I’m going into screenplays now so that’s my focus. I’m actually starting my first movie screenplay and yikes!
7) How have you dealt with rejection within your writing career? What is your advice for other writers to better be able to cope or navigate their way through the publishing process, be it traditional or self-publishing?
Oh honey, I still get rejected, LOL. You just have to develop a thick skin, that’s all. Sometimes everyone can love your work and it’ll take one person that’ll say, ‘Nope, that’s not it!’ It doesn’t mean your work is bad; it just means it wasn’t what they – whoever they are – wanted.
My advice to other authors is just be patient. It can be incredibly frustrating, but just be patient.
8) Do you find it hard to juggle the creative side of being a writer against the business side of being a writer, in terms of marketing and promotion and things of that nature? How hard has it been (or easy) for you to build up your author platform?
Honestly, I hire out for the marketing part. I really don’t have time nor the want to do it. I tried doing it myself and I spent way too much money and time. Hiring out was the best decision.
It hasn’t been hard to build my author platform, but I’m also not just on Facebook or Instagram. I rarely talk about my work on Twitter. I feel if authors just limit their focus to a niche, they’re missing out on a whole new audience who would appreciate their work. Expanding is the best thing an author can do because you never know who will read it! My audience ranges from teens to adults.
9) So many writers say that they hate reading their own work. Do you ever enjoy reading your own work back to yourself after it’s out there for the rest of the world?
Oh, I love my reading my work, LOL. I read it all the time! I even impress myself and be like, ‘This chick can write a book!’ I also love to read it to see how far I’ve grown as a writer. Sometimes it’s cringe-worthy, but sometimes I can say, ‘This book kicked all sorts of booty!’
10) Do you believe that there is ever a point in life where it’s too late for an aspiring writer to become successful in this industry? Do you feel a late start would hinder their chances?
It’s never too late to pursue your dreams. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER TOO LATE! I would hate someone to give up on their dreams because they think the time has come and gone. A lot of creative artists didn’t get their start until way later. Never too late!
11) I feel like writing is a remarkable tool to help people not only express themselves, but also to cope emotionally and mentally. I know for me I write to be and feel more authentic. What unique quality is there about you, about your art, that you feel represents your authenticity? How does writing help you to be more empowered in your purpose?
Hmm….that’s a very good question! I usually keep everything private, which I know some of the readers hate, but it’s also to prevent anyone seeing what I wrote and decide because they don’t like what they read, they’re automatically going to hate the story. I think that’s mad silly. One paragraph doesn’t represent an entire book.
I stopped caring about what people think – did that a long time ago – and became more focused on my craft. There’s always room for improvement and I try to outdo every book. My biggest competition has been and will always be me.