Mercedes Siler joins us today! The first book in her series of short stories is available now and FREE to Kindle Unlimited subscribers! Head over to Amazon to check out The Girl in the Front of the Room (A Story of My Life Book 1) !
Tell us about you! Can you share some interesting tidbits we may not know?
Mercedes lives in beautiful, sunny, Southern California with her wonderfully supportive husband, perfectly silly 8-year-old boy and twin 5-year-old girls. And their guinea pig, Sandy. Mercedes reads everything she comes across, from cereal boxes to steamy Kindle romances. She mostly only wakes up in the morning because she knows it’s the only way to get her next cup of coffee and some kid hugs. She’s brand new at the writing/publishing game. It’s going to be a journey and she hopes that you’ll come along with her.
What inspired you to start writing?
The first time I wrote a book was in second grade. It was a school project and my story was called THE PRINCESS AND THE HAPPY ENDING. It was a romance. I don’t think I ever made the conscious decision to write or not, I just did. My first serious effort was a couple of short stories in middle school based on a dream I had. And then I read ANTHEM by Ayn Rand and started writing a story inspired by that. I let a friend read it during our child development class in ninth grade and she loved it. I never thought about being an actual author until I went to the John Steinbeck museum on a trip with the family. Seeing all the writing books in the gift shop kind of flipped a switch, but even that got side-lined by life until I was in my early twenties.
Other than writing, what are some of your passions in life?
My kids are my greatest passion. Otherwise, I love reading and coffee. I like traveling and don’t do as much as I would like.
What was your debut novel, and how has your writing process changed since your debut?
I self-published in 2015 before I knew enough to be successful. I took it down as soon as I realized how much I really didn’t know about the business. I have been working on re-releasing it ever since and have a goal of early 2018. I also just started writing short stories. I’ve always found them a lot more tedious than full-length novels but I am really starting to enjoy them.
What is your favorite part of the writing/publishing process and why?
My favorite part is the first round of edits after finishing the first draft. I love finding sentences and paragraphs I don’t even remember writing. I also like seeing the change from loose to tight copy.
What is your most challenging part of the writing/publishing process and what do you do to make it easier?
I think marketing and finding real readers is the toughest part. I am naturally super shy, so I find pushing myself to be out there very difficult. But it can be fun, too. Especially when you make connections with like-minded people.
What does a typical day look like for you? How do you find balance?
I wake up and take kids to school way too early after being up way too late. I usually get home from work at almost midnight. I usually go back to bed, then I’m disappointed in myself for sleeping too late. Then I take an hour for what I call “correspondence,” which is really just fancy talk for wasting time on social media. Now, since I am not working on a full-length novel, I will write a short story using a story prompt. Then it’s time for my husband to come home for lunch and we eat lunch together and watch Youtube videos. Then I pick up the kids, get homework done, start dinner, eat, and then go to work. Finding balance is hard.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
I don’t think my younger self would listen. She was very headstrong and trying to make the best of things the only way she knew how. But I would tell her to experience more and journal those experiences. I would also tell her to get used to talking about herself and her stories and to stop feeling weird about it. And that it doesn’t have to be perfect, just keep at it.
What do you love about writing romance?
Kissing scenes, butterflies in your tummy, boys being vulnerable, new experiences, happily ever afters. All of it.
What kinds of things do you find romantic in real life?
I love reading little slices of life stories that inspire fictional stories. Like, there that popular video of the girl flirting with her male nurse while she was still doped up from surgery, and he was so sweet about it, that made my little romance writer heart flutter. I also like the everyday hero stories during disasters. Whenever I read those I’m like, “That’s how romance novels start!”
Do you read your book reviews? If so, how do they affect your writing (if at all)?
I haven’t had a lot of reviews, but I have had beta feedback and critiques. Most of the bad stuff I already know is a weak spot so having it confirmed is good, that way I can fix it. I do give myself time to pout about a bad critique. Everyone wants to be amazing on their first try, me included. Usually a bad critique on a problem area helps me to figure out how to make that piece stronger or clearer. There are also times where the story just isn’t for someone, and that is totally okay too.
What is the craziest, funniest, or most surprising thing that has happened to you since publishing your first book?
I found out I had a review on Goodreads months after I had taken my book off Amazon. The reviewer said the sex scenes were hot. That was surprising and fun.
I just published a short story called THE GIRL IN THE FRONT OF THE ROOM. It is the first in what will be a serial of short stories following River, a young, single mom who was a mean girl in high school. My goal for the serial is to evaluate the expectations of women, femininity, and feminism. The story was inspired by the Social Distortion song “Story of my Life.” In the song, the narrator talks about the girl in the front of the room who probably didn’t even know he existed. I wanted to write a story from her point of view and she took on a life of her own. You should totally read it.
Is there any other news you would like to share?
My goal is to release a short story every two months and publish my novel at the beginning of 2018.
Five Facts Just for Fun!
1. What’s your favorite ’90s jam?
Anything by Sublime.
2. What was the last gift you gave someone?
I made my husband lunch?
3. What were you like as a kid?
Outgoing and fun on good days, pouty when things didn’t go my way. (My son is just like me.)
4. What was the last thing you binge-watched & what did you think of it?
I’m currently watching Silicon Valley. I am getting tired of Richard messing upevery good thing that happens to them.
5. What is the one thing (other than your loved ones) that you cannot live without?