Vila SpiderHawk and her husband share a log home of their design in the woods of Pennsylvania where they live with their five cats and enjoy frequent visits with their many woodland friends. SpiderHawk, a retired teacher, is an avid gardener and a gourmet vegan cook.
You can find Vila at www.vilaspikerhawk.com
Order her book at Amazon
Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Vila. Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?
A: Thank you so much for having me.
I have five books currently on the market: Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones, which is a book of stories; three novels in the Forest Song series; and Forest Song Cookbook.
Q: What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?
A: Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones
Q: For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?
A: I didn’t receive any rejections on the first manuscript. I went to a publisher who was recommended to me and was published straight away. When that publisher changed direction, and Hidden Passages no longer fit with the kind of work it wanted, my current publisher picked the title up immediately. I have been very fortunate in that respect.
Q: How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?
A: I have yet to experience this, but knowing my personality, I’d probably pout for three and a half seconds and then submit to someone else.
Q: When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?
A: Spilled Candy Publishing put the first book out, and I went with them on the strength of a very strong recommendation from a fellow author.
Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?
A: I was actually surprised at how little I reacted to seeing my first book in print. I had already moved on the second book. Nonetheless, once I actually had the book in my hands, my husband and I went out to dinner to celebrate.
Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?
A: I went around to all the bookstores in the area with an eye toward doing signings. I designed and printed brochures that I distributed the way Hansel and Gretel distributed bread crumbs. And I joined My Space.
Q: If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?
A: No I don’t think so. It all worked out for the best I believe.
Q: Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?
A: I have been published five times. I find that the writing goes more quickly with each book, that I no longer have as much sloppy writing to clean up. This is important, because as the years have passed, my non-writing work load has increased dramatically, and so I must be more efficient in my writing.
Q: Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up? What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?
A: It all went very quickly. I don’t think I would have wanted it to go any faster. I needed time to be sure that the manuscript was exactly as I wanted it to be and that I, personally, was actually ready to be published. No, I am content with the pace at which it went.
Q: What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?
A: Each published book is, in my opinion, an accomplishment. However, what satisfies me most is when people write me to say that since they’ve read my work, they see things differently.
Q: If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?
A: Teaching. I used to be a French teacher, and I adored that work.
Q: Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?
A: Actually, it was the other way around. I retired from teaching and then wrote my first book. However, these two careers are not mutually exclusive. I could see writing and teaching simultaneously. I’d probably have to give up sleeping though.
Q: How do you see yourself in ten years?
A: I am 65 years old, and I come from a family who doesn’t seem to live much longer than 70. If I am alive in ten years I shall be happy. And if I am alive, I shall be writing.
Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?
A: Oh by all means, follow your bliss. What do you have to lose? The only way to fail is to refuse to try! If you love writing, pour everything you have into it. And above all, enjoy the process.