Today, I have Amazon Kindle best-selling author Tiana Warner on my blog to talk about her new young adult fantasy, Ice Crypt, where a teenage girl and a mermaid must unearth a legendary weapon in order to stop the war between humans and merpeople.
Tiana also shares where she got her inspiration for Ice Crypt, some words of wisdom about writing, and the joys of being a successful self-published author.
About Tiana Warner
Tiana Warner is the best-selling author of the Mermaids of Eriana Kwai trilogy. Her books have been recognized by Writer’s Digest, Foreword’s Top 10 Indie YA Books of 2014, and the Dante Rossetti Awards. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the University of British Columbia. She enjoys riding her horse, Bailey, and is an active supporter of animal welfare.
Welcome Tiana! I’m going to get right down to business here….
You’ve had a lot of success self-publishing your books, and on your blog you’ve written an excellent post on how to self-publish. What are some of the best things you’ve found about being self-published?
Having total control over your career as an author. More than writing a story, you determine what the cover looks like, when and where the book is published, how much it costs, how many copies you can donate. Being an indie author means running a business, one with huge potential for growth. It means taking charge of your platform and keeping your rights and royalties. It’s an incredibly exciting journey!
What are some of the worst?
Because there are no gatekeepers, you have to prove your worth when you self-publish. Tell someone you’re published and they go, “Wow, that’s amazing! Who’s your publisher?” and when you say “Me. I self-published,” they’re like, “Oh,” and maybe it’s just me being insecure, but I get the vibe that there’s a moment where they think, “So your book wasn’t good enough?” Of course, it’s not like that. In today’s competitive book market, self-publishing is a business strategy.
Your first book in the series, Ice Massacre, recently was a First Place Winner: Dante Rossetti Awards 2014 from Chanticleer Book reviews. Congratulations! Has that opened doors for you?
Thank you! It’s hard to measure exactly what prompts readers to buy a book, but yes, I think awards and professional reviews build credibility. It helps me get reviews by other professional reviewers, which in turn helps in other ways… It’s about building momentum. When someone is deciding what to read next, they go with a book that their peers say is good. Official praise helps, but the absolute best sales tool is word-of-mouth. It’s so important for readers to leave reviews and recommend books they like. That’s the only way a book becomes popular.
Who is your favorite character in Ice Crypt and why?
Picking one character over another feels like comparing mermaids and unicorns. They’re all my favourites in different ways. They all bring something essential and unique to the story. I guess Meela, as my protagonist, will always have a special place in my heart — but then, so will Lysi, and all of their friends. I do like the boys in this book. Ice Massacre was 99% female so I didn’t get to explore male characters that much. I loved writing Spio and Tanuu in this one.
What is the theme of Ice Crypt? Is it an extension of Ice Massacre, or a new one?
Secrets and personal struggles lead Ice Crypt to be more LGBT than Ice Massacre. Where Ice Massacre is about Meela trusting her feelings, Ice Crypt is about whether she can accept those feelings and share her true self with others.
What did you enjoy most about writing Ice Crypt?
Getting to dive deeper into Meela and Lysi’s worlds. Literally, in Lysi’s case. I watched hours of oceans documentaries and spent hours researching sea life online. It was so much fun. For Meela’s world, I loved exploring the history of Eriana Kwai and coming up with the legends that shape their culture. Eriana Kwai is a fictionalized version of Haida Gwaii, so I actually went there last summer to do a research trip. My best friend and I went hiking and explored ancient Haida villages and I took a notebook with me. It was incredible, inspiring, and helped give life to my fictional world.
As a writer, I’m always interested in where other authors get their ideas. From where did you get your inspiration for the Mermaids of Eriana Kwai series?
Disneyland. I was on a trip with my sister when I decided to write a book about mermaids. But I didn’t want to do the Ariel kind – I wanted to do the real legend. The one where they use their beauty to lure sailors to their deaths. From there, it was a series of “what if” questions that led me to the warriors of Eriana Kwai fighting for freedom from these vicious sea demons.
Do you have any words of advice/wisdom for other authors?
Sometimes writing and publishing gets stressful when you’re trying to meet deadlines, and you’re worried what people will think, and someone leaves a bad review, and you need to revise AGAIN, and AHHH!!! Always remember why you started writing in the first place. Remember that you love writing. Take a break if you need to. After the ramp-up to Ice Crypt’s publication, I’m pretty exhausted, so I’m taking a break to write a fanfiction. Really. And I’m having a blast.
Ice Crypt (the Mermaids of Eriana Kwai, Book 2)
From award-winning author Tiana Warner comes the sequel to Ice Massacre, the #1 Amazon Kindle Best Seller.
Meela has just returned from the Massacre—the annual attempt to wipe out the mermaids threatening her people’s survival. After forming an unlikely connection with Lysi, a mermaid she was trained to kill, Meela is determined to stop the war between humans and merpeople for good. She knows of a legendary weapon that could bring peace if she uses it against King Adaro, ruler of the Pacific Ocean. But her people have plans for future Massacres and refuse to help her uncover it.
While Meela works in secret to unearth the Host of Eriana, Lysi is held captive under Adaro’s tyranny. Sent to the battlefront, Lysi joins forces with a band of rebels that could either bring her freedom—or have her executed for treason.
Separated by the vast Pacific Ocean, Meela and Lysi must find a way to defeat King Adaro and end the war that has been keeping them apart.
- Ice Crypt is out July 25th in paperback and Kindle: http://amzn.to/28W1uWH
- Giveaway: Share a photo of your copy of Ice Crypt and you could win a $200 gift card. Details at https://tianawarner.com/novels/ice-crypt/.
Ice Massacre (the Mermaids of Eriana Kwai, Book 1)
Praise for Ice Massacre
★ “… thought provoking and intelligent … fresh and thoroughly entertaining … Warner does a fantastic job creating a tight plot and masterfully creates a sense of atmosphere through subtle yet potent descriptions … Ice Massacre is a truly exceptional book.”
– Foreword Clarion Reviews,
★ “Fascinating, unique, scary and written with a beautiful economy of words…”
– 23rd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards,
Perfect score; Honorable Mention
#1 Amazon Kindle Best Seller
First Place Winner: Dante Rossetti Awards 2014
Foreword 10 Best Indie YA novels of 2014
Foreword Reviews’ 2014 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Finalist
Get caught up with this Special Promo: Ice Massacre is on sale for 99c until July 31st (https://tianawarner.com/novels/ice-massacre/).