Raine Thomas is the award-winning author of bestselling Young Adult and New Adult fiction. Known for character-driven stories that inspire the imagination, Raine recently signed with multiple award-winning producer Chase Chenowith of Back Fence Productions to bring her popular Daughters of Saraqael trilogy to the big screen. She’s a proud indie author who is living the dream. When she isn’t writing or glued to e-mail or social networking sites, Raine can usually be found vacationing with her husband and daughter on one of Florida’s beautiful beaches or crossing the border to visit with her Canadian friends and relatives.
Time to chat with Raine!
What is your latest book?
My upcoming release (date TBD) is titled For Everly. It’s a New Adult Contemporary Romance novel about a bright and determined 22-year-old college student working on her doctorate in physical therapy and a 24-year-old professional baseball player struggling to recover from an injury before his team doctors and the media catch wind of it. Everly Wallace and Cole Parker are the main characters, and they’ve been so much fun to write!
Is your recent book part of a series?
For Everly is a standalone novel. This is the first standalone I’ve written, so I’m excited about it.
What else have you written?
I’ve written six YA fantasy/romance novels and one short story about the Estilorian plane. The books are broken up into two trilogies, the Daughters of Saraqael Trilogy (Becoming, Central and Foretold), and the Firstborn Trilogy (Defy, Shift and Elder). The short story is free on Amazon and is called The Prophecy. My first novel, Becoming, won an award in Nashville last year at the UtopYA Awards, as did the trailer for Defy. Switching from fantasy to contemporary has been a challenge, but I’m really enjoying it.
What do you think some of the greatest misconceptions about indie authors are?
I think the greatest misconception is that indie authors haven’t “paid their dues.” I’m not entirely sure what that means, but I assume that people who say it are referring to the fact that indie authors haven’t gone through the same steps as traditionally published authors to get their books on the market. While that’s true, I certainly disagree that indie authors haven’t worked at least as hard as a traditionally published author in achieving their publication goals. The “dues” might be different, but we’re all paying them.
How often do your characters surprise you by doing or saying something totally unexpected?
Every single time I write a book! I start with an outline, but I never stick to it. The characters always make the story their own. In For Everly, the main characters accidentally kissed not long after they met. It was totally “unscripted” and made my day.
Do you have any advice to a new author if they asked you whether to pursue the traditional route to publishing or to start out as an independent writer?
In my experience, all new authors can benefit from attempting the traditional route to publication. While many agents won’t give custom feedback for every submission, some do. Those are the ones who offer the most priceless criticism and/or praise about your book. Smart authors will take that feedback and make productive changes to their work.
Also, writing query letters is a humbling experience. They take a certain knack and plenty of research to do effectively. By going through the process of writing and submitting queries and synopses, authors get to know their books in a new light. This is also the first stage of learning to accept rejection. By attempting the traditional route to publications, authors can develop a thicker skin.
Having our work out there to be judged by strangers is often daunting for writers. Do you have any tips on handling a negative review?
The first few times you receive negative feedback about your book, it hurts. Most authors take every review personally, so negative criticism strikes the heart. What I suggest for new authors is to go to Amazon and look up your favorite books. Then read the reviews. You’ll see that even the books you find to be the most amazing examples of literature on the planet have negative reviews. There’s no pleasing every reader, so brush off the criticism and get back to writing!
We all know the old saying; you can’t judge a book by its cover. This is true. However, how much importance do you place on your book cover design?
I place a very high level of importance on my book cover design. My very first sales were a direct result of the fact that I used my book cover as my Twitter avatar. Without knowing anything about the book, people tweeted me asking where they could buy it. Readers absolutely judge books by their covers. Invest in a spectacular designer!
Have you ever started out to write one book and ended up with something completely different?
Funny enough, this happened to me after I published Elder (Firstborn Trilogy #1) at the end of December. I had every intention of writing a futuristic YA thriller series with a male protagonist named Parish. Then I sat down to begin fleshing out the world where Parish and his love interest, Azure, lived.
I couldn’t get past some of the most basic questions. As I struggled to think things through, another story that had been dancing around in the back of my mind kept pushing itself forward. I tried to ignore it, as I hadn’t planned on writing a New Adult Contemporary Romance…but I couldn’t. Thus, For Everly will be my next release. Sorry, Parish!
What’s the coolest surprise you’ve ever had?
The bridal shower hosted by my cohorts in my master’s degree program. I’m very hard to surprise, and they planned it to take place during class. I was completely blown away.
What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?
My husband recently had a pendant custom-made for me in the design of the emblem from our publishing company, Iambe Books, LLC. It’s both beautiful and a symbol of all we’ve achieved in the past couple years. I know I’ll treasure it for years to come.
If you could have one skill that you don’t currently have, what would it be?
I’d love to be craftier and more artistic. I thought I would get into scrapbooking, but I did one page and that was it for me. I’d love to be able to design my own book covers and swag, but I just don’t have the ability. I marvel over people with artistic talent!
What makes you angry?
Websites that pirate books. I know how much time, work and effort goes into publishing a book, whether it’s traditionally or indie published. Sites that sell books for profit without the authors’ consent make me quite angry.
What are three things you think we can all do to make the world a better place?
Pay it forward, treat others with kindness and read lots of books!
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