[Guest Post] HOW I WROTE AND PUBLISHED THE DIVIDED NATION by ANGELA R. WATTS

Hello Lovelies! Today I have author Angela R. Watts on the blog sharing about her new novel which has released today! At the end of the post you will find all her social links and book summary below!

 

Every novel writing process, for me, is different. However, I’m a firm believer that every work I write should scare me in its own way. (Ironically, when I attended Realm Makers, Brent Weeks said the same thing. It was funny to have that mindset before hearing it from a NYT bestseller!) And The Divided Nation scared me from the start.

The Divided Nation began as a roleplay, which lasted for a couple years, but when my roleplay partner left for good and told me to do with the story as I wished… I was both lost and ecstatic. It wasn’t the first time a roleplay had gone “wrong”. But it was the first time the story didn’t leave my heart and it baffled me! After all, how could I do this story justice? It was a long series. I couldn’t handle that. “It isn’t the time,” I kept saying to myself. “Dystopian is hard, you will have to research so much.”

After a while, I told those voices to shut up and I listened to what God said. And the journey began. It started with a short Christmas prequel that I whipped up in one day during winter. I liked it. A lot. I couldn’t believe how much I’d enjoyed it, so I promptly got it ready to publish for that December. I had dipped my toes into the world I’d tried to avoid… and came out of the story absolutely in love. Emmanuel is currently free on Amazon but it is priceless to me. Why? Because it proved that these books are not out of my hands. God gave them to me. I just had to grab the bull by the horns. Emmanuel helped me do that on a super small scale.

I had pages and pages of notes, scribbles, snippets, plot ideas, character sheets, etc, for the series before I ever wrote a first draft of The Divided Nation by myself. I gathered all of this together, added some, wrote a real outline… And started writing the first draft in February 2019. Draft one took around a month to finish and I printed it out, wrote out all that needed changing, and started draft two.

After draft two, I self edited a great deal before… beta readers. The beta reader stage was quite a wild ride. Dystopian is a strange genre and not one many Christians read, or so I thought. I had betas loving the novel. I even brainstormed with a few and got epic ideas I hadn’t thought of before… Even if this meant replotting the whole series, but I don’t mind so much.

I wanted to self publish this novel with the new knowledge I had learned: a book should sell itself. How does it do that? 1. The story must be good. This is obviously up to interpretation, but make sure the book is solid, not tossed together. 2. The cover and formatting need to make people WANT that story even more. People like pretty things. If the story is good and the book is nice looking… You won’t have to work so hard later on.

So I hired a cover designer, formatter, and finally decided I’d take the wild ride of using KDP and Ingram to publish… and the rest is history. It took hours of work, hours of talking with the great people I hired to get what the book needed, and hours of research as I figured out Ingram. But it was all so worth it.

And now, I’ll take a moment to reflect on the big lesson that writing and publishing this novel taught me… Changing your lane. What do I mean? Well, all I’ve published thus far is Christian fiction. Clean content, by most standards, nothing too dark. Christian readers have generally enjoyed my previous works. The Divided Nation is different. I knew this from the start. It is one reason I was afraid to write and publish the series. Because these books aren’t limited to the Christian market. They aren’t super clean. They aren’t for people with faint hearts. So, what was I supposed to do? Most of my friends write and read Christian market fiction! And no one published dystopian anymore (that’s incorrect, by the way, I was just blind)!

I had a decision to make. I knew this novel was for readers in search of a story that shows the reality of the world without Jesus, of how every person is a sinner in need of Jesus… This book is for them. Not strictly for Christian readers or secular readers. I wanted it to be flexible. That’s why I decided to market this novel as general fiction with Christian content instead of Christian fiction! I’m so glad I did. This decision was encouraged when I attended Realm Makers this year. “Is it possible?” I asked Robert Liparulo. “To publish a novel with strong Christian content but market it for general audience?” He said it was, reminding me of all the authors who have done just that (TED DEKKER, ANYONE?) so I ran with it. I haven’t looked back. I encourage every single one of you… be bold. Even if it isn’t the norm, even if none of your friends are doing it, even if you don’t get a lot of support… Be true to God and your story. And run with it.

 

                                                 AUTHOR BIO

17597325Angela R. Watts is a Christian fiction author who strives to glorify the Lord in all she does. She’s a homeschooled highschooler living at Step By Step Sanctuary, Tennessee, though with Gypsy and Norwegian in her blood, she tends to travel. She’s been writing stories since she was little, but also enjoys chores, painting, and watching sunsets.

LINKS

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AngelaRWattsauthor/
Website: https://thepeculiarmessenger.wordpress.com/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Angela-R-Watts/e/B07F97JNMY?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1564688304&sr=8-1

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/angelarwattsauthor/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17597325.Angela_R_Watts

the divided nation_v7 (3)                                      SUMMARY

WHEN THE NATION DIVIDES, THE INFIDELS MUST RISE.

The United States has fallen. Three years after the 2024 presidential election and the declaration of martial law, the nation is at war against itself. Gangs battle, civilians struggle for survival, and officials of the United Nations  thrive. West Johnston, heir to the most powerful ganglord in the country, refuses to continue the family legacy. But, in order to defeat his father, he must become him: bloodthirsty and willing to do whatever it takes for control.

West gains control by helping fellow gangsters, Nate and Simon, when they form an alliance with one of the last remaining townships in America. After years of surviving and winter fast approaching, Springtown is in desperate need of supplies from the two teenagers. When the town leader’s daughter, Rene’, is kidnapped by an unknown rival, Nate and Simon risk their reputations to save her and the town they now love. But without help from West, their rescue mission will fail.

Told in multiple bold, abrasive narratives, THE DIVIDED NATION steps into a future where brotherhood bonds must be stronger than iron to survive a broken world, and faith without courage is dust in the wind.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/45150828-the-divided-nation

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Interview- S. Alex Martin

Hello Readers!

Adriana here with another interview from S. Alex Martin, author of Embassy

 

Could you tell us a bit about your novel?

EmbassyCover

 

Embassy follows Arman Lance, a 20 year old guy who’s down on life because he’s sick of where he lives, where he works, and having next-to-no friends. He wants to join the galaxy’s Embassy Program, which will let him board an expedition to Belvun, a forested planet where the girl he used to love lives. But when Arman enters the Embassy and journeys across the galaxy, he learns how he’s held himself back from appreciating his life.

 

 

 

 

What inspired you to write Embassy?

It began as a short story that I wrote for a magazine back in 2012. Though the magazine didn’t accept the submission, the editor encouraged me to broaden the story and turn it into a novel. I didn’t start writing the novel until January 2013, but it’s nothing like the original. Now it’s loosely based on a true story.

 

Did you write an outline before writing the novel?

Nope. I’m a pantser, not a plotter. I have vague ideas of what direction to head, but for the most part it’s trial and error.

 

What was the hardest part of writing your novel?

Honestly, coming up with names for fictional foods. It’s much more difficult than it sounds. The food isn’t a large part of the story, but my longest pauses were when I had to think of what to name a food Earth wouldn’t have.

 

What is one way you relate to your main character(s)?

As I said, Embassy is loosely based on a true story. The core themes are all things I learned in real life. So in that respect, I relate to Arman. The rest of the characters are all pieces of me. Glacia Haverns is my adrenaline-rush side, Victoria Hofhen is my responsible side, Officer Remmit is my brainiac and talkative sides, Orcher is my quiet, deep-thinking side…etc, etc. Combine all the main characters, and you have me.

 

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Live life and enjoy it. Take the next step. Be who you want to be. As Glacia says, “It doesn’t matter what we think we deserve. All that matters is what we choose.”

 

Did you learn anything from writing Embassy? What was it? 

In real-life, Embassy helped me get out of a very deep hole. My mental rock bottom. I don’t think anything could’ve tied me down the way Embassy did. I make a note of this in the dedication: ‘To anyone who needs a second chance.’ Knowing where I was just days before writing this novel, I think it’s the perfect dedication for this book. Even now I’m getting a little teary-eyed thinking about it, hahaha.

 

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Thematic-wise, I think John Green is my biggest influence. I love his style and his stories. I almost ran into him at the Pittsburgh Pirates playoff game back in 2013. Almost.

 

What is one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members?

My friends were there from the start. They’d come hang out as I sat and typed or edited for hours upon hours every day for months on end. I appreciate their patience and support, even now, almost two years after I started writing Embassy.

 

Do you have any advice for other writers out there who are looking into publishing or just writing a story in general?

Don’t just sit down and think you have something to say. Go out and live. Explore. Do something you’ve never done before. Go swimming in a lake, go climb a mountain, go walk through a forest. Volunteer somewhere. Cry over someone. Be human and experience your humanity. Then you’ll have a story to tell.

 

Where can we as readers stalk you on social media? (Pinterest, Goodread, FB, Blog etc etc.)

http://www.salexmartinauthor.blogspot.com

 

You can buy Embassy on that website, too, and all my social media links are in the header of the site.