Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Interview with author of Songstone, Lena Goldfinch

1. Who inspired you to complete your novel and publish? 

I've been inspired to finish by all the writer friends in my life. I'm
also inspired by my kids, who think it's pretty cool that their mom
writes books. (If I don't finish, what kind of example am I setting
for them? ;))

For the most part, I'm just stubborn and I'm a teensy bit obsessive.
If I set out to do something and I don't finish it I feel awful. I
avoid feeling awful. LOL

To tell the truth, Songstone was one a book that I set aside over and
over because it was emotionally draining to write. (As an adoptive
mom, I was using a fantasy setting to explore some painful issues of
adoption.) Many times I'd ask myself if I wanted to quit. I referred
to it--somewhat jokingly--as that "stupid book." As in: I need to
finish this stupid book before I can work on SHINY NEW PROJECT.
*sheepish smile* Time after time, I decided I needed to finish or I
wouldn't be happy.

When I did finish, I felt I'd accomplished the impossible. I'm glad,
because I truly love this book. I love the characters. Kita is a
deeply flawed character at the start of the book. She's immature and
angry--with good reason!--but she also has this vulnerable quality and
a toughness about her that makes you stick it out with her. (At least,
I hope so!) She took over the story. Pono is, well, Pono is wonderful.
Where he came from I don't know. I'm just glad he came. Kita needed
him. The story needed him. I get the most reader comments about him as
a matter of fact!

As for publishing, I'd recently self-published a novella (The Language
of Souls, first published by a small press). When I got my rights
back, I knew I wanted to rewrite it and self-publish it. I loved the
whole process (mostly ;)). I had so much to learn, but it was
fulfilling and fun. So much so that I then self-published a
full-length YA fantasy novel, Aire, which had been considered by a
couple of publishers (ending with "positive" rejections, one of which
was a life-changing rejection from an editor who loved the story but
didn't get buy-in from her publisher.)

With Songstone, I knew in my heart I'd be disappointed if I didn't get
to do everything myself (and when I say "everything myself," I mean
with the help of Amber and Thyra, two wonderful freelance editors I
work with for content, copy editing, and proof reading, and with the
support of Lisa Amowitz, a generous soul who mentors me in cover
design, and with the continuing support of fabulous critique partners,
beta readers, and my family and friends.

2.What advice would you give to aspiring authors regarding the
publishing and marketing process?

First, master the craft of writing. You need to write. You need to
write a lot. You need to finish things. Seek out input and revise.
Write some more. Try different genres. Do whatever you need to do to
find your voice and your niche. Ex. I've been writing for many years.
I worked on my craft. I entered writing contests and was fortunate
enough to be a finalist in a few (which was fun!). I polished my work,
sought out critique partners, went to writers' conferences, workshops,
and retreats. I joined writers' organizations. I learned how to write
query letters and synopses. (Very useful skills for when you write
your own book descriptions! Although, that's a skill in itself to
master.) I submitted my work to publishers and agents; I was with one
agent for several years. I read continually on writing craft and
publishing, and I connect with other writers.

My path to publication was definitely "a long and winding road." ;)

Everyone needs to find their own path, wherever it leads. Work at it.
Don't give up. Treat it like a job. Treat it like your passion. Love
it. Stick with it even when you feel discouraged. Develop a mental
toughness when it comes to rejections (or negative reviews). Above
all, maintain a pliable heart, because you'll need that the most to
write from an authentic emotional place.

As for marketing, I'm no expert. (I'm not an expert on any of this!
I'm only able to share from my own experiences.) I'd say a website or
blogsite is a must-have to deliver info about you and your books. I
also belong to two group author blogs. I love working as part of a
collective. I've experimented with pay-per-click ads on Goodreads.
I've also experimented with updating book descriptions and finding the
right categories and keywords for my books on Amazon. I'm constantly
reading blogs on what works and try out what makes sense to me. The
most successful marketing for me so far has been offering up free
books on Kindle.

3. What would you tell authors to "Start Now" concerning social media?"

First, try what looks most accessible to you. You don't have to learn
how to navigate five sites at once, but do explore and try different
things, even if at first you don't think it's something you'd be
interested in. For instance, I recently tried Pinterest and discovered
I like it. It's not something I do every day, but I love posting (aka
"pinning") world-building photos that relate to my books. Your boards
don't have to be fancy. For example, I pin to a catch-all board called
"Stuff I Like." I also have one devoted--just for fun--to shoes and
sandals. ;-) On the business side, I have a boards for my cover
designs. So, if you like the idea of posting photos too, then
Pinterest or Facebook could be great for you.

I'm also active on Goodreads groups. I'm not there just posting to
push my books; I have shelves for the books I'm reading for pleasure,
and I post reviews. It helps me keep track of what I've read and is a
great way to share books with others who like the same types of books.
I write YA, so I love participating in groups for YA readers,
especially ones with Read for Review threads. Authors generally offer
up 10-20 free copies of their ebooks. In exchange, members sign up to
"read & review" the books, giving their honest opinion (whether it's a
one-star or five-star review, and everything in between). I've found
Goodreads members aren't shy about posting their honest opinions, in
the very best way, and I've connected with some awesome readers there.

Goodreads Tips: Read and follow each group's rules for authors. Be
genuine and friendly with anyone you come into contact with. Have fun.

You can explore and mix and match with social media, and, wherever you
decide to do, just be you.  (Well, you with the awareness that you're
in the public eye, and everything you post on the Internet is
forever--even if you delete it!) In other words, be authentic. Post
about stuff that's meaningful or fun to you. If something feels too
far out of your comfort zone, then maybe it's not for you. AND THAT'S
OKAY. Social media is about connecting with people--not selling stuff.
Sure, share about your books occasionally and squeal with excitement
when you have a new release, but most importantly interact. This is
yet another form of finding your own path.

Thank you, Lena, for the wonderful insight into publishing and marketing from an author's perspective! The next stop on Lena's Blog Tour is tomorrow at the blog: West of Newberry Street. 


Kita can meld song into stone. In a world with no written word, storytelling—the ability to meld 
(or magically impress) song into stone—is greatly honored. The village honors her master as 
their medicine man, but Kita knows he's secretly a sorcerer who practices black magic using 
drops of her blood. She fears he’ll use her beautiful gift for a killing spell, so she conceals it from him. Each day, his magic tightens around her neck like a rope. His spells blind the villagers, so they can’t see him for what he really is.

Not that anyone would want to help her. She was found in the forest as a baby and would have 
died if a village girl hadn't brought her home. But the villagers saw Kita's unusual coloring and 
decided she belonged to the mysterious tribe who lives in the forests of the volcano, a people 
feared for their mystical powers. So they fear her too. Now seventeen, she can barely admit her 
deepest longing: to know who she really is and where she belongs.

Then Pono, a young journeyman, arrives from the other side of the island. He's come to fulfill 
a pact between their villages: to escort a storyteller back to his village—a storyteller who'll be 
chosen at the great assembly. Finally, in Pono, Kita sees her one slim chance at freedom and 
she'll risk her life to take it.

A dark, twisty tale of sorcery, tummy-tingling romance, and adventure, inspired by the folklore of New Zealand's Māori people.

Lena Goldfinch

About the Author 

Lena lives in a scenic small town in Massachusetts with her husband, two kids, and a very 
spoiled Black Lab. She writes fiction for young adults, mostly light fantasy with a healthy dose 
of "sigh-worthy" romance. You can visit her online at www.lenagoldfinch.blogspot.com.

Author’s Links:

Website: http://lenagoldfinch.blogspot.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lena_goldfinch

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/lenagoldfinc

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4412038.Lena_Goldfinch

Newsletter sign-up: http://lenagoldfinch.us5.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=d20c77e0f3ef8dff993ecfcf7&id=6b1c2994d1 


  1. Lena is a wealth of information and an absolutely fabulous mentor! I've been so blessed to work with her on book stuff. :)

    I'll echo Lena and say thanks for hosting her, Jana! We appreciate you being a part of the blog tour!


  2. It was my honor! Thank you for the interview Lena!