I belong to a few writer forums online via Facebook and LinkedIn. Sometimes an author will talk about their book release or part of their process strikes me. In this interview, we’ll meet Sophia Delanner, who self-published her first book through her own publishing company entity Infinity House.
Jennifer Bowen: Tell us about your book, what sparked you to write it?
Sophia Delanner: My novel, ABOUT ANNA…, is about three generations of Russian women living in a shabby-chic neighborhood in New York City. Anna, who has always lived in the shadow of her narcissistic parent, is almost forty and a single mother of a teenage daughter. When she meets David, their love seems timeless and everlasting, but both of their pasts just might destroy their future. I wrote this novel for every child struggling with the ramifications of being raised by a narcissistic parent, and especially for all the daughters of narcissistic mothers. I grew up with such a mother, and even after the years of therapy I’ll always have a huge hole in my life where my mother’s love and affection should have been. It makes me so sad to think about all the years I wasted believing that I am wrong, instead of knowing that there was something very wrong with the way I was raised. While ruminating on the subject of life and researching the ways to deal with it, I stumbled upon a set of characters who demanded to be given a chance to live and to open up a conversation about certain aspects of life that are problematic.
JB: Before “About Anna…” had you written before?
SD: No, “About Anna. . .” is my first novel.
JB: What was your writing process for it? Did you work on it alone, in a writers group, in workshops, etc.?
SD: All of the above. I was a member of writers groups and workshops, and it helped to a degree. But as it was said, “Writing is a lonely business.” I had to do a lot of research. Through the years I’ve met quite a number of people, including some of my friends, whose family circumstances were not dissimilar to mine, and whose stories helped further development of my characters. I also had to go through a few tons of books on psychology in attempt to rationalize the motivation behind people’s behavior, especially the parental narcissism. It’s a complex issue since in most cultures motherhood is considered a sacred institution and therefore is generally not discussed in a negative light.
JB: Tell us about your decision to self-publish and starting Infinity House?
SD: After my novel was written and edited, I approached several literary agents, but after 4-5 months of waiting for the response it made more sense to self-publish. Self-publishing gave me a greater control over both the content and the form. Funny enough, I was approached by a few agents during and after my novel was published, but I thought I should stay the course for now, and later…who knows?
JB: What did you do to prepare for publication in terms of editing, cover art, author website, etc.?
SD: I hired several editors to make sure that my novel is as mistake-free as possible. I’m an experienced Graphic Designer, so I designed the cover and the insides for both the paperback and the ebook myself. I also designed my website.
JB: In what forms can we find your book and where?
SD: My novel is available in both trade paperback and ebook formats. The ebook is available through all the major retailers, the paperback is available through the Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-are Million, etc. Some of the links are on my website www.sophiadelanner.com. I might put more links in at the later date.
JB: What are you doing to market the book? What worked best?
SD: My novel was released recently. I’m a newcomer to marketing, which I started a little late in the process—after my book was published. I’m working hard to get my book reviewed by bloggers and writers, plus I’ve had the pleasure of being interviewed by radio hosts all over the country—both in my native language and English. I’m using social media platforms like Facebook and Goodreads to share my love of good books, literature and my own story to new readers everyday. I’m building my writing brand and platforms through “word of mouth” marketing.
JB: Are you writing anything new, or just focusing on the marketing of “About Anna…”?
SD: Marketing is an all-consuming business, and the majority of my time is dedicated to it. At the same time, I’m also writing my next novel. I thought I would mine the Russian immigrant motif one more time. I’ll be taking the reader south of Manhattan—to the place affectionately called “Little Odessa”—Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. This time it’s a story of two sisters and their husbands with their adventures—real and self-imposed—in the world of modern Russian businessmen in America, Brighton Beach style.
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Jennifer Bowen, QueenBee/CEO, of BookHive Corp.