I am so excited to sit down with Vania M. Rheault and discuss her newly released book, Don’t Run Away. Book 1 of a trilogy, here’s the blurb:
They say you can’t run from your problems . . .
But that doesn’t stop Dane Montgomery from trying. Bitter, disillusioned, and burnt out, he needs a break, and he hires Nikki Halstead to be the manager of his running shoe store. Sparks fly, and despite her reluctance and his misgivings, Dane pursues her.
Nikki Halstead swore she would never date her boss, and for a time, she succeeds. But after a horrifying incident, Nikki is reminded of what matters most, and she decides to trust Dane with her heart. What she doesn’t count on is having to deal with the demons of his past.
When an old flame makes an unexpected appearance, Dane will have to decide if Nikki is worth fighting for, or if he’ll keep running and let his past determine his future.
Grab a cup of coffee, a warm blanket and settle in with me as Vania shares with us her story, wisdom, and friendly personality.
KT: This first question seems cliché, but I have to ask. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
V: I remember in sixth grade we were assigned to write a short story. I suppose that was when I realized I liked writing. In junior high, I would always do my English homework at the last minute because I knew I could get a good grade with just a few scribbled sentences. Your question may be cliché, but so is my answer. I knew since I was I kid I wanted to be a writer.
KT: Can you tell us a little bit about how this story came about and was it originally going to be part of a trilogy?
V: Before I spent most of my time writing, I was a big-time runner. I ran a half-marathon in the fall of 2015. The idea of writing a series based on the running community where I live seemed natural, and the plot just kind of came to me. I was writing a five-book fantasy series at the time. I was almost done with book 5 but I decided to stop and write Don’t Run Away for NaNoWriMo in 2015. I hadn’t heard of the “contest” before, but a woman from my work introduced me to it and her writing group. The book is actually dedicated to the members of that group. I spent a lot of time with them that month.
KT: When you’re not writing, what other roles do you tackle and master in your everyday life?
V: I preach that you need to treat your writing career as a business if you want to succeed. I like to walk the talk, so yeah, whenever I’m not writing, I’m listening to a podcast, reading a book about self-publishing, editing for someone, or writing on my blog. Writing and the business around it has pretty much consumed me, so if I think about my writing as a business I don’t have any “free” time.
KT: On a typical day, when most things are going right in the world, what is your writing schedule like?
V: Right now, I’m more in the editing of my books than actually writing, but if I can sit down and write, I’ll get the kids to school and then sit down at the computer before I’ve even showered. I’ve come to realize that the best time for me to write is between 9 am and 1 pm. It’s the same with editing. Then I eat, take a shower, and move into the other parts of my career like writing a blog post or answering Twitter notifications. Sometimes I’ll prep for my chat I host on Twitter. The tone of my day changes in the afternoon, and I find I can concentrate better in the morning.
KT: Have you entered or won any writing awards with other writing pieces?
V: In high school, I won a couple things: coupons to local business, etc. Things the school hosted to get you excited about writing. In college one of my poems was accepted into a book I doubt you could find any more. Recently, though it isn’t an award, one of my short stories was accepted into an anthology. I was happy about that.
KT: Many people have writing quirks, mine is everything has to be clean or I can’t write, what writing quirks do you have?
V: I suppose my biggest is that I need to know I have a big chunk of time to write. I like to get into a groove, and it’s difficult for me to find it if I know I’m going to have to stop or be interrupted. I can’t take ten minutes and hammer out 300 words then stop for the day. I can’t work like that.
KT: What inspired this trilogy?
V: It wasn’t supposed to be a trilogy. It was a stand-alone, but I fell in love with a secondary character. So, he got his own book, naturally. But mostly I was involved in the running community here; I liked the camaraderie of the runners. It’s a lot like the writing community. Everyone supports everyone else.
KT: Everyday life can be hectic, especially with how the world is today; despite that, what things do you enjoy doing when you aren’t writing?
V: I like to go for walks. I don’t run anymore, but I still enjoy being outside. I usually listen to a podcast though. When I used to run, I would run with music and plot books. I miss that, but I can’t bring myself to stop listening to podcasts. There’s some great information about the publishing industry out there.
KT: Writing can be a form of therapy, healing, and a teachable lesson; did you learn anything about yourself during your time of writing, Don’t Run Away?
V: I learned I don’t like to be around people when I write. Writing is definitely a solitary endeavor for me. I also learned that I have little patience for staying with a character for too long. I worked on Don’t Run Away and the other two books for the last two years. I’m tired of the whole lot, and I can’t wait to write something new.
KT: You’ve said that this book was first written years ago during Nanowrimo, and you’ve been vocal on your blog about your feelings with that; what were the downsides to doing this first story during that crazy month?
V: Lots of downsides. I live in MN where it’s cold, so going out to meet with the group was a pain in the neck. It’s a lot easier to stay home in your jammies with a cup of coffee. I have more going on than maybe someone else as well. My daughter’s birthday is in November, and mine is, too. Those take time, and my husband has a large family; we celebrate Thanksgiving all month long. I also try to get all my Christmas shopping done in October and November before the stores get crazy.
KT: Lastly, another cliché question but needs to be asked; what advice do you have for other indie authors, especially when it’s so easy to want to give up on the craft?
V: You can’t do anything without books. (Can you bold this for me, please? LOL)
KT: Happy too! Ha!
V: Write your books then worry about the rest. People think I’m crazy when they hear I won’t do any advertising until I write and publish a backlist. I think it’s smart. When you throw money at one book without a backlist, you advertise that one book. Then what? Your readers have nowhere else to go, and they drop off. If you have a backlist, every new reader you pick up through advertising has, hopefully, 5-10 books to read, if they like you. Haven’t you ever zipped through a backlist of a writer because you love his/her work?
KT: Yes! And I find myself disappointed when there’s nothing else to read.
V: Exactly! When you write a series, no one will wait for you for two years to write the next book. Drop them all at once or minimal time between. Thousands of books are published every second, and people’s attention spans are shorter than a toddler’s. Think like a reader when you write and publish your work.
Thank you for taking time to share a bit of yourself with me, Vania, I wish you much success with Don’t Run Away, and the others to follow.
Readers, stick around and enter the giveaway…a chance to win a gift basket (box) with your very own copy of, Don’t Run Away.
Purchase your copy of Don’t Run Away, on Amazon Here!
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I look forward to hearing your comments!