I recently discovered another fun, paranormal series on BookBub from author Nikki Jefford entitled, Entangled: Spellbound #1. This series is all about witches, but was much different than what I'm used to reading. I found the overall concept really refreshing and am eager to read the rest of the series. Here is my review I left on amazon and goodreads. I gave it five stars.
"This teen witch story surprised me. While there was plenty of magic involved, I enjoyed the emphasis on Gray's power struggle with her sister, and the developing relationship between her and Raj. The dialogue is witty, and the magical elements explored in the book were intriguing. The end was predictable...not in a bad way, but in a, I-really-hope-this-is-where-the-plot-is-headed kind of way.
I think I would have enjoyed a little more world building in the witch department, but I think the conflict was more centered on the sisters rather than any kind of struggle to feel normal or become well adjusted as a witch attending a mostly human school. Plus, I haven't read the rest of the series yet, so I have no idea if the author goes into more detail about the magical world Gray and Raj are a part of or not.
Either way, I gave this a five because I was pleasantly surprised by how entertaining it was and how well edited and written the novel was. The story is original, and I am definitely going to purchase the rest of the books in the series."
After falling in love with the first book in the series I knew I needed to contact Nikki and beg her for an interview. She graciously agreed, and I am happy to introduce you to author Nikki Jefford. Here's some fun information about Nikki.
"Nikki Jefford loves fictional bad boys and heroines who kick butt. Books, travel, TV series, hiking, writing and motorcycle riding are her favorite escapes. She loves meeting people from all walks of life, from around the globe, and wouldn’t trade her French husband in for anyone – not even Spike!
She is the author of the YA mature Spellbound Trilogy (book one, Entangled, is free at all major eBook retailers) and new adult Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter series."
Me: Tell me about the first thing you ever wrote. Did you know at the time you wanted to be an author?
Nikki: Most likely it involved a girl with magical powers. I knew for sure I wanted to be an author in 5th grade when my teacher pointed out that I had a talent. But deep down I always knew. I was a loner out of the gates, more caught up in my imagination than the real world.
Me: Being caught up in your imagination is a great way to be, and a great way to start! How did you develop the story for your Spellbound series?
Nikki: It started out as a novella for an anthology, but there was so much there it turned into three books. I did a lot of brainstorming, What If’s? What if there were twin sisters and one died, but the mom couldn’t accept that? What if she was a witch and could try and do something about it? Even if she could, what’s the price? What if there were suddenly two Graylees? What if one of them fell under a love spell with the last guy she’d ever want to love?
Me: Talk to me about your writing process. Is there a method to the madness?
Nikki: It’s really just putting in the time. Morning is my most productive writing time with five interrupted hours, but those are hard to come by.
Me: I hear you. Plenty going on in your life, I'm sure. What inspired Graylee’s character?
Nikki: I needed a young woman who was strong and sarcastic, who wouldn’t wait around for prince charming to save the day. She could use his help, sure, but ultimately it’s up to her to save herself.
Me: That's definitely what drew me to Graylee's character in the first place. Finally, a strong teen I can root for. What inspires you? How do you brainstorm writing ideas?
Nikki: These days, TV shows! Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Supernatural, Veronica Mars, Bones – they get the wheels turning in my brain, especially when it comes to commercial fiction series.
My goal is to give readers unforgettable, fun, flawed characters and exciting, fast-paced stories. I brainstorm in notebooks, making lists of what could happen/needs to happen in the story and go from there.
Me: You certainly accomplished that goal with your book, Entangled. What do you find most challenging about being an author?
Nikki: Getting noticed. Not only do you have to compete with movies, TV, games and the internet, but now—according to an article on Tech Crunch—a new book is published on Amazon at the rate of one every five minutes. It can be exhausting rising above the noise.
Me: What do you find most rewarding about being an author?
Nikki: Creating characters and stories. The writing, itself, is the biggest reward. It’s my most happy place. Sometimes I have to remind myself of that when I start stressing about deadlines and sales. I never want my books to become something I have to rush out.
Shout outs from readers are equally rewarding. Hearing from someone who was able to escape life’s stresses, even for a short time, through your stories is the ultimate reward!
Me: When it comes to marketing—this is for any authors reading this—what marketing strategies have you found to be most effective?
Nikki: Interacting with readers is very important, especially if you’re just starting out or building a strong fan base. Your first readers are going to be the ones who believe in you most and want to promote your work. Reader recommendations are invaluable.
Building an email list!
Advanced planning is important. Creating multiple campaigns around the launch of your new release. For example, with Bad Blood, Aurora Sky #3, I did a Facebook event leading up to publication, teaser graphics/excerpts, email blast to my subscribers, a BookBub ad on the first in the series and Xpresso Blog Tour. Those are the basics.
Look for other interesting ways to promote your book or series. Get others involved. I’ve done things like interview my Spellbound cover designer, Aurora Sky cover model and, just recently, a live video interview with my Aurora Sky audiobook narrator.
For the release of Enchantment, Spellbound #3, I did a week-long blog event with guest reviewers from popular book blogs offering review tips. I got nearly 1,000 direct views on each of those posts. Not only was the information useful to readers (and encouraged review writing – win!), but I involved bloggers who then helped promote the event.
Get as creative as you can and make it fun for readers.
Me: Wow. That was incredibly helpful, and has definitely given me a few ideas. Are you in a writing group? If so, how has that enhanced your career as an author?
Nikki: No, but I have attended plenty of workshops and conferences, starting in 1997, and they were invaluable. For online writing classes, I can’t recommend Gotham highly enough. I’ve seen classmates go on to get awesome publishing deals and the feedback you receive from their instructors is top notch.
Me: Thanks for that recommendation. I will have to look into their classes. Are there any writing or marketing “How To’s” out there that you have found to be a useful resource?
Nikki: Two of my current favorites are Joanna Penn’s The Creative Penn and David Gaughran’s Let’s Get Visible blog. (Both also wrote very helpful marketing books: “Let’s Get Visible” by David Gaughran – I have 100’s of new email subscribers thanks to his advice! And “How to Market a Book” by Joanna Penn.)
Me: Wonderful. Hold on a sec while I buy these books immediately. LOL I love finding new tips for marketing! What do you hope your readers will take away from your books?
Nikki: Aside from entertainment and a good laugh, I hope readers will feel empowered. Fiction sometimes gets a bad rap for setting unrealistic expectations when it comes to love and romance. For me, it set the bar high on what characteristics my real life hero would have and I ended up finding the love of my life. Why settle for anything less? There were always book boyfriends to keep me company in the meantime. It also taught me strength of character, to never back down, and stand up for myself. If my stories come even close to doing that for readers than I have succeeded.
Me: I love your attitude and your own fairy tale ending...or should I say beginning. Marriage is one awesome adventure. If you could have a little sit down with any author who has ever lived, who would you visit with and why?
Nikki: Jane Austen. She’s one of my favorite authors. I’d ask her about family and her romantic life in the 18th and 19th century. I love history, so hearing a first-hand account from one of my idols would be the ultimate.
Me: I think you and I must share the same obsession when it comes to Jane Austen. What events and sales do you have coming up for you and your books?
Nikki: October 18, 2014 – Signing at Seattle Emerald City RWA Writers’ Conference Book Fair
March 27-29, 2015 Seattle Emerald City Comicon
June 18-21, 2015 Nashville utopYA
Me: What is your next project we can look forward to?
Nikki: Editing Hunting Season, Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter #4 for a November release.
Me: Is there any advice you would like to share with our readers and authors?
Nikki: Life’s short. Don’t take it too seriously. Don’t compare yourself to others. There’s only one you. Be the best version of yourself and enjoy the adventure!
I'd like to thank Nikki Jefford for joining me on my blog. She's a busy woman, but was so gracious to respond to my request. Please support this fantastic author by snapping up her first book from the spellbound series, Entangled. It's free, folks! Take a look at the entire series here.