Santana Young has always been a hobby writer, last year someone convinced her to publish her work and when you read it you will be glad she did. She considers Indie publishing to be a bit like the wild west, there aren’t many rules and it’s a lot of touch work. But when you’ve accomplished something, you know you can be proud.
Welcome to the Manic Writer!
This is the September edition of my Indie Author Spotlight. If you are here, you are part of a network of readers and authors who love Indie/small press Authors. Each month I spotlight a new Indie/small press author. You get to ‘meet’ my featured author, and learn how they came to be an author, how they approach their craft and many other exciting facts. You’ll also be eligible for a sweepstakes in which I’ll give away one or more of their books so you can sample their work! What could be more exciting than that?
Last month I spotlighted JM Sullivan, who loves to retell classic stories like Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan. The sweepstakes is over but you can still check out her interview and her first book. I loved it, and my review is here.
You can enter the giveaway for a kindle copy of The Arena, Santana Young’s first novel by leaving a comment on this post. I’ll choose a random winner on October 1!
Santana Young has a B.A. in Anthropology and she uses that background for her world-building even though her focus area is archeology. Her favorite part of her degree was the anthropology classes where she handled and identified human and non-human bones.
She lives in Ohio with her husband of eleven years who she met on an anime forum, only to find out that they lived a mere twenty miles apart. They met up on Valentines day and have been together ever since.
She is involved with SCA, the Society for Creative Anachronism, and works as the current president for her local group, the Shire of Dernehealde. Her SCA persona is Lady Altani Unegen, and of Mongolian descent.
In her spare time she loves to check out medieval and ancient hats and study medieval combat to help create realistic melee weapon combat in her writing. I wonder if we’ll see any cool hats show up?
Santana doesn’t have a set writing routine though she does challenge herself to write daily, trying to beat her previous days word count each time. Music inspires her mind to dream up new characters and sometimes her husband role plays an idea with her to help get it flowing.
She outlines most of her stories but always allows room for inspiration while she’s writing. Her best recommendation for anyone wanting to know more about her outlining process is to check out Fantasy Fiction Formula by Deborah Chester, using Scrivener’s note card feature to outline with the freedom to move and change ideas as her story grows.
Santana chose to go Indie because she liked the idea of having full creative control and she had friends who had already gone indie before her. She makes her own covers and is launching a business to make them for others.
One thing that frustrates her about being an Indie author is finding a way to stand out in a way that people will notice her. She finds it discouraging that some authors will put their work out before it’s fully ready for publication. She believes every Indie author should work towards a quality product that includes professional editing, and quality covers.
Santana says that the best way to help other Indie authors is to talk about the books you loved, and of course post a review of them. Beyond that she suggests you make your favorite author a gift that was inspired by their work. She loves it when her readers tell her their theories. She admits she’s heard theories she loved and written them into her story before.
Santana’s first book is the Arena. It’s Book 1 in the Chronicles of Everen series. Book 2 is almost ready to release and I’m so excited to read it!
The Arena is a sort of Roman history meets space opera story and Santana Young does a great job of mixing those two genres together an a believable and interesting way. (Must be the anthropology degree!)
You can read my full review here and enter to win a free copy by commenting on this post. You don’t have to take my word on this book though, try Casia Schreyer’s also. And Santana had her main character, Duncan, interviewed. It will give you a great idea of what he’s like.
Her second book, Liberator, which will be Book 2 in the chronicle of Everen will be releasing this fall. She says that where The Arena took place in a gladiatorial arena, Liberator is more galaxy hopping with a Firefly feel to it. I can’t wait!
Santana says her biggest thanks go out to her sister and fellow Indie author EA Copen. She’s walked her through the process of writing and publishing an Indie book. She’s also the reason Santana writes since she started writing to copy her big sister who was writing. They differ in tone but they often trade notes and find they’ve dreamed up similar stories.
They are both talented writers that you should add to your list of authors to read. EA Copen was my Indie Author Spotlight in May if you’d like to know more about her.
Santana Young would like to thank her husband, who has helped her conceive characters and offered his thoughts when she has a scifi question. She says he’s an even bigger scifi nerd than she is!
Anika Willmanns, of Ravenborn Covers has helped her a lot as she developed her understanding of cover art and also created her first cover for The Arena.
Her final parting words for new authors?
Have pride in your work. Polish, edit and find a great cover artist. If money is an issue then find a trading group where you can trade your skill for one you don’t have and then put out a great quality book that you can be proud of.
Thanks for coming by The Manic Writer!
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