Tell us a bit about yourself
Growing up, my first love was acting. I auditioned for, and got the role of Peter Rabbit in third grade. I always enjoyed writing stories though, and for many years I told people “I’m an actor who can write.” But now, I consider myself a writer and an actor—equally. When I need a break from writing for hours, I love to walk. I live in the Hudson Valley, NY and there is a beautiful nature walk along the shores of the Hudson River. But, with my hometown being Laguna Beach, California, I also love to swim in the ocean and lay on the beach.
How do you find time to write?
Well, since I ride the train into NYC round trip every day, which equals almost three hours—I write on the train! I also carve out about three to six hours every Saturday and Sunday. That, coupled with a full time office day job of forty hours a week makes it challenging to keep up the writing schedule. However, when I see the results of a moving, emotional chapter or paragraph—it’s all worth it!
What’s your publishing tips?
I began really focusing on one story. I got serious and attended writer’s conferences and live pitched literary agents. I also enrolled in online writing workshops and read as many agent and editor interviews I could. I finally decided to go beyond the literary agent submissions and try something different, especially since the agents couldn’t seem to put my book into a category. I wasn’t horror. I wasn’t romance, but I was something in between. The reassuring part was that more and more agents liked my plot and encouraged me to keep trying. After gathering a list of eBook publishers (listed on another writer’s blog) who didn’t require representation, I began new submissions. One of those publishers on that list was The Wild Rose Press. I worked with one of their editors for a year, and now I’m under contract with them. I’m very excited! So, I would advise budding writers to not get locked into just getting an agent. Having an agent is great and I hope to be in partnership with someone one day myself, but if I’d stuck to only that outcome—I’d still be unpublished today.
Any promotional and marketing tips?
Having just received my contract from The Wild Rose Press, I’m in the process of learning how to do promotion and marketing. I do have my own website which I built myself on Weebly.com for free. When I upgrade it, so that I can attach videos, etc. I’ll pay monthly. I’m not quite there yet, but soon. I’m on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, but I’ll have to add Pinterest and Google Plus.
Besides my own book promotion, I’ve begun blogging with a weekly “Creativity Cue” post, which is an inspirational pearl of wisdom for creativity. Some weeks it’s about writing and some weeks it’s about acting. I also love to speak to the concept of creative intuition. What stimulates a new story in your mind? What or who makes you feel giddy, frightened, playful, or sad? It’s something different that I like to throw in the mix of book marketing and has connected with many people on an emotional level.
That said—I look forward to becoming an engaging and fun marketing whiz in the near future!
Tell us about your recent book.
Years ago, after completing a screenwriting course online, I couldn’t stop thinking about a strong female psychic heroine who communicates with ghosts and saves innocent people from dark creatures as a Paranormal Cleanser. I began writing Bay of Darkness and over the years the story and heroine evolved tremendously. My lead character Vivien Kelly must face her own dark side by channeling an ancient Celtic life of treachery, war, and murder or she will not be able to defeat Dagda—a Celtic demon. Compelled to the Northern California town of Half Moon Bay, she finds Dagda’s creatures tormenting the locals—from a Fear Dorcha to the Headless Horseman. The Kelly Society is then born—her own paranormal cleansing team. Recruiting Shawn Wilson, a young psychic woman (who becomes Vivien’s protégé), John Patrick, a retired Celtic Mythology professor, and Jason Lee, an ace photographer—they go full force to stop evil. Vivien must also face a fear of opening her heart to love. After witnessing the murder of her fiancé and almost dying herself, she vows to stay on her own. But, when called upon to banish a Banshee, the gorgeous man who’s occupied Vivien’s psychic dreams for the past three years opens the door. Neal Harrington is also intensely drawn to her, but doesn’t know why. All is revealed, as Vivien must ultimately go face to face with the demon to save the modern world from plunging into darkness and living under Dagda’s rule.
And that is a peek into my paranormal adventure book Bay of Darkness, which will be published in 2019. The two books following will be a continuation of Vivien and her team’s story, but with new creatures, locations, challenges, and love stories.
Thank you for having me Olivia!
Starra’s Website: https://starraandrews.weebly.com
Starra’s Author Bio:
When Starra Andrews wasn't swimming the Pacific ocean in her hometown of Laguna Beach, California, she busied herself by writing fantasy stories and acting on stage. Having grown up watching Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone and Night Gallery shows on TV, Starra quickly fell in love with paranormal tales with a message of wisdom and love. Also, being a fan of romance novels and non-fiction ghost stories, she decided to marry the two and write paranormal novels of suspense, adventure, and intrigue with a strong romantic foundation. The sense of adventure inside her came from summers of camping with her family in Mexico (Baja California) and walking along beaches with no other footprints but hers, as her family members unpacked the camper and got ready to collect clams right off the shoreline for dinner. After attaining a B.A. degree in Theatre from University of California, Irvine, and a Professional Acting Certificate from LACC Acting Academy, an idea sparked for interviewing actors to help student actors entering the theatre arena. Starra’s non-fiction book The Pursuit of Acting; Working Actors Share Their Experience and Advice was published by Praeger Publishers/ABC CLIO. Then, her paranormal short story A Hasty Decision appeared in the online magazine for speculative fiction Aberrant Dreams, and when Llewellyn Worldwide Publishers asked for real paranormal encounter stories for their Scary Story Contest, she won first place. Starra is also a member of the International Thriller Writers, which hosts the Thrillerfest writers conference every year in NYC.
The beautiful Hudson Valley in upstate New York is where Starra now calls home. She loves being a quick train ride from New York City, but also enjoys country life. Her two tabby cats Audrey Hepburn and Vivien Leigh are her constant writing companions, and love to curl up on the table next to her laptop.
Her heroine, psychic/paranormal cleanser Vivien Kelly and her team are in a race to rid the modern world of deadly Celtic creatures in her book trilogy, The Kelly Society. Bay of Darkness is the first book of the series.