I was extremely lucky enough to not only meet her and get all my books signed, but I managed to score an interview with her (many thanks to Simon & Schuster Australia for this opportunity).
The reason why it's taken me so long to get this interview up is because it's long. I recorded it and it went for 25 minutes. Transcribing this took a lot of time, concentration and rewinding. Typing it up has taken me HOURS. I'm so sorry to the people that have been waiting ages for this LOL. The whole transcribed interview is about 3000 words.
I pretty much wrote what Abbi said, word for word as I believe you (her loyal readers) would want to see everything Abbi had to say. I wanted to keep this as genuine as possible and let those of you who haven't met Abbi, get a glimpse of her voice. She has an awesome sense of humour, she was so funny and easy to talk to!
We tended to stray from the question at times, but this turned out to benefit everybody as I got a LOT of extra information I wasn't counting on!
Enjoy peoples (:
Interview - Sunday June 9 at Books Kinokuniya, Sydney
NB: At places where I've cut in, I've put a J: and resume Abbi's words with A:
Words/phrases in [ ] brackets refer to something I wrote in
Book Related Questions
Q1. What was it like starting out as a self-published author and getting word out about your books? Was it hard to get a reader base? How has that developed over time to your success today?
It was very to get readers. No one knows who you are. I worked really hard at getting bloggers and reviewers to read my books and I got lucky enough that a few of the larger bloggers that gave me a chance, loved it [Breathe] enough to start suggesting it to other bloggers. That’s how I really started, it was all word of mouth.
Now, I don’t have to work nearly as hard at getting my name out. Word of mouth is the best advertisement a writer can have; it’s the best marketing tool.
I wouldn’t be where I’m at today without bloggers. Bloggers have put many of the indie and self-published authors on the map because of their support of the books, support of bloggers, sharing and getting the word out because we can’t afford the type of advertisement of the big traditional publishing houses.
Starting out, it was definitely word of mouth and a lot of persistence *laughs*
Q2. Going off that, what’s the transition been like going from a best-selling self-published author to a best-selling published author?
Well I’m still both because I continue to hold some self-published books. Fallen Too Far, Never Too Far and Forever Too Far in the States are self-published. I only signed them here [Australia] and in the UK because I can’t get them into your bookstores, like I can a self-published book in the States. I wanted y’all to have to be able to get the print without having to pay exorbitant shipping fees. I continue to stay self-published in some things.
Traditionally published is easier, you have a team helping you promote your books, you have a team helping you get it edited, making it the best product it can be. You’re not on your own anymore, you have people backing you, helping you, supporting you – and having a big house to do that is incredible and helpful. I’m at a place now where I need that because I write too fast, I can’t just do it all by myself anymore, so it’s extremely helpful but I like both sides. I like having control, so I like to hold on to a few books myself. But as for Australia and the United Kingdom and some other places – I’ve signed with Germany, Spain, France, Israel, Mexico – all different areas and I couldn’t put them there if I kept them self-published, they wouldn’t make it there.
Q3. Your male main characters all have very unique names, I’ve never heard of them before. Are they common in the US or were you aiming for something unusual? (Dank, Cage, Rush, Jax)
Jax is a common name, Cage is becoming more common.
Dank is never heard of. I got Dank because Dankmar means “famous for his spirit” and I felt like Death should have a name that meant something.
Rush. A friend of mine was talking about a kid she used to babysit and his name was Rush. I loved that name and I went home and wrote it down and I said “I swear, the next book I write the guy’s name is going to be Rush” and the next book I wrote was Fallen Too Far.
I look for unique names that haven’t been used a million times.
Beau and Sawyer are very common names in the US. Preston and Marcus are not unique names either.
My only unique names are Dank and Rush, everything else has been used.
J: The names aren’t unpronounceable, but when you read you think “oh what does that mean”. I could pronounce them but I’d never heard of the names before!
A: I guess I should say Leif is not a common name in the States either. It’s been heard but the story behind that is, at the time, a friend was at my house and I said “I need a unique guy name”.
Her husband said “What about Leif?”, and I said “Oh yeah that works”.
Literally, that’s how I came up with Leif. So it’s not like an in-depth thing for me, it just happened.
Q4. I’m so excited to read the new Breathe – it’s a lot steamier now I’ve heard. Other than changes to your writing style, was the initial Breathe cleaner because Sadie was still in high school?
It was initially because it was my first book and I didn’t think I could write sex. And I was scared of it. So I decided I would write a young adult book so I didn’t have to write sex. I got accused of it being cheesy and sweet in reviews and it pissed me off. That was how Beau Vincent was born. I decided, “Fine, I’m going to write a book and it ain’t going to be cheesy and sweet”. And with him I played around and pushed things a little further and realised “Ok! I can do this”.
So I went and made my characters older after that, and I started pushing them to older ages so I wouldn’t feel bad about writing them steamier and that’s kind of how I started the New Adult thing… Before it ever existed.
Existence is actually the second book I wrote because I signed both of them [Breathe and Existence] at the same time with the indie publisher. Although there is cursing in Existence, there is no steam in it either. It’s extremely clean. By the time I wrote Predestined I was already pushing the limits with Because of Low so I pushed Predestined a little bit. With Ceaseless the final book it’s very steamy but they’re in college at that point. It progresses and you can tell it progresses with my writing. As I wrote each one I was pushing it more and more but Existence is kind of like Breathe as they’re both clean.
Q5. What was the premise behind Sea Breeze: why Breathe and how did it start?
Sea Breeze started because I thought I was going to write just one book which was Breathe and I was hoping that someone would buy it and read it. I thought, if I could get one hundred people to read this book I would have accomplished something.
I didn’t expect Existence to do so well and I didn’t know if I would ever write another book after those two.
I wanted to write about the coast I live on in the south in Alabama but I didn’t want to use the exact towns. I wanted a fictional town so I created Sea Breeze. It is patterned after Orange Beach, I just changed things a little and made it fictional but I’m picturing that area in my head.
As for the Too Far series, Rosemary Beach, that’s actually a real coastal town. I took fictional liberties, there is no Kerrington Country Club and you’re probably not going to find Woods or Rush there although they do have a club. Probably a bunch of older men playing golf.
That’s kind of how I came up with those areas – they’re patterned after places I enjoy to go.
Q6. Do you decide to write books on secondary characters from the beginning (like Woods’ story when you started writing Fallen Too Far) or due to reader response?
Reader response. When I sat down to write Fallen Too Far it was going to be a standalone and I was going to go back to writing Sea Breeze. I was writing and I realised that when I got to the point at the end of Fallen Too Far, I needed to end it. It had gotten pretty long, 75000 words, and I typically don’t write a book that long, and it was going to take another 75000 words to fix the mess I had put them in. So I decided I’m going to end this bad.
I sent Colleen Hoover a text and said “I need to talk to you” and I called and we talked about it (she was writing Hopeless at the time).
I said “I’m about to end this book horribly and everyone’s going to hate me”.
She said, “End it horribly, they will get over it. You write fast.”
So I did and I wrote Never Too Far and I was going to end the series there and that didn’t happen either because everyone wanted more.
I had no idea I would write Woods’ story; I didn’t think I would write Grant’s story. The readers loved them and I thought “I love these settings, I love these characters, I would love to give them a story”.
J: I absolutely loved Woods! He was definitely my favourite in Fallen Too Far.
A: There’s always that one character that stands out more to a reader than main characters and they get a fanbase of their own.
Cage York was never meant to have a story, he was just supposed to be in Because of Low. Tammara Webber is a critique partner of mine – J: I LOVE Easy – A: and she read Because of Low and she said “Abbi you have to write Cage York a story, that’s all I care about in this book”.
Tammara is who everyone can thank for While It Lasts.
Q7. How do you come up with the more distressing situations or backgrounds for characters and put yourself in their shoes – are some based on personal experiences and do you need to be in a particular mood or mindset to write these situations?
The area in which I grew up in Alabama, unfortunately there are many kids in these situations. And I grew up with friends and classmates in situations like these. It didn’t happen to me but I was able to watch how it affected them. When you grow up in a small town you’re with that same kid from kindergarten until you graduate high school. I watched their lives and I have family members from my dad’s side of the family who don’t come from good areas or good backgrounds. I guess because that’s so normal and average where I live in Alabama, that it was easier to write backgrounds like that – rough parents, rough situations because I’ve watched it and I’ve heard it and I’ve seen it.
My mother is always horrified when I write scenes and parents like this ‘cause she’s like “people are going to think I’m awful!” I’m like “no mum, I don’t really write a mum like you because that would be boring”.
I try to give it a more interesting turn. I try to think of difficult situations because you need the drama and the angst to the story because if everything’s like the Brady Brunch you kind of get bored.
Q8. What is it like writing from a male POV and creating their characters?
I think like a guy, apparently. All my life, I’ve always had a good relationship with guys and my best friends were guys because I understood them better.
I was never good with girl drama (surprisingly enough since I write girl drama), I just understood guys’ thoughts better and I’m not silly enough to believe that they’re not thinking the things they’re thinking. Because that’s what they’re thinking. They’re not very deep individuals most of the time, there are deep individuals and there are deep guys but a lot of guys are normally thinking that they want a beer and they want to have sex – at least in the United States and in the South – and they’ll admit to you that’s what they’re thinking if you ask them. (That’s probably why I haven’t written guys outside of the South because I’m not sure what they’re thinking.)
Sometimes it’s easier for me to write a guy’s point of view than it is a girl’s.
I’ve questioned several guys, luckily my brother-in-law recently turned 21 so I’ve asked him a lot over the past few years (and his friends). I’ll say “if you’re in this situation, what would you be thinking?” Just to make sure I’m right and they always give me the same answers. It helps keep it real.
Q9. Can you tell us how many books you have planned for each series? (I know Fallen Too Far is about to end but the spin-offs are still ongoing).
- Right now for Fallen Too Far I have the three books.
- Twisted Perfection (the Perfection series) will have two.
- Grant’s series will get two books and Chance will be the series name for that because it’s Take a Chance and One More Chance.
- Sea Breeze is probably going to end at six for a while. I’m going to stop there because I have other ideas I want to get to.
- The Vincent Boys will have one more book, so there will be three for that series. But I don’t know when that will happen.
[I'll put a list at the end of the interview of the reading order of Abbi's books]
That’s all I know for sure that’s going to happen right now.
[I proceeded to have a mini-freak out here and ask Abbi to back-track on book three of The Vincent Boys]
Well, the third book is not what you’re thinking it is. The third book will be called My Vincent Boys and although a full-sized book, it’s a prequel. It will start from the time Beau and Ashton meet on the playground fighting and go all the way through their growing up together. It’ll be told in Beau, Ashton and Sawyer’s points of views. You’ll get to hear when Sawyer first asked Ashton out, what he was thinking, his feelings about Beau and Ashton, how Beau handled it – Beau dating other girls in high school and watching Sawyer and Ashton. It will go all the way up until Ashton sees Sawyer leave for the camping trip, before The Vincent Boys start. It will give you everything; covering all the tid-bits you heard from their points of view through their years growing up. The whole story will be told. I was just going to write it for myself because I wanted to have that book and that story and I mentioned it to my publisher and they were like “no you’re writing that book for everybody else too”. But there won’t be any more after this full-sized prequel.
[Release date for My Vincent Boys is late 2014 but this is all speculation based on Abbi’s other books and works in progress]
After Forever Too Far releases, that will be my last self-published book, even in the States. I’ve signed the next six books I write with publishers.
Q10. What would be your favourite characters – 1 girl and 1 boy out of all your YA books?
My favourite guy is Cage because I like to write him. He’s fun, he has no filter on his mouth or his thoughts or his actions.
My favourite girl is Pagan because she has my thoughts. She reacts to things the way I would react, she thinks about things the way I do. She has my personality, my other girls do not.
Q11. What have you enjoyed most about Melbourne and Sydney (and Australia) so far?
Melbourne… It’s beautiful. It almost reminded me of England – the structures are very old school, completely different from Sydney. I love the arcades, they were beautiful once I realised what they were. I loved going in those areas… The shopping… It was a quaint area.
Sydney… Almost makes us feel like we’re back in the States. It’s very big, got fabulous shopping. The water’s everywhere which is something we miss because we live on the water. It’s a beautiful area – the water, the boats, the big bridge we walked over last night to see Vivid [Pyrmont Bridge guys :D], it’s just a very cool area.
They’re both beautiful cities but completely different and I wouldn’t have expected them to be so different.
Q12. Have you tried Vegemite yet?
Yes I have. And I didn’t fix it myself. Everyone was telling me “you didn’t like it because you put too much on” but no I did not. I had a blogger in Melbourne fix it for me, it was a very light scraping, with some butter and I did not like it. I tried to eat a whole fourth of a piece of bread but it’s just too salty even just that little bit.
I’m trying very hard to try all the things you all have here. I tried the meat pie at the footy and the meat pie is not good. I did not like the meat pie!
J: In our defence, I think those places sell very bad food…
A: bad footy? Yeah well – um bad footy *laughs* - bad food at the footy! I imagine that they do because our football and basketball games don’t have good food either. However, I just don’t think I’d like a meat pie anywhere because I’m not big on the meat being in the pastry. But I had it because I wanted to say I’d tried it. [Bwahaha sorry Abbi I had to put the bad footy thing in, it was too funny!]
J: You don’t have meat pies in America?
A: No. No meat pies. I didn’t know what a meat pie was until we got here. We only do sweet pies. We’ve got chicken pot pie but not meat pie. Maybe somewhere other than the South they have meat pies but I’m a Southern girl and even though it’s the United States, the north part and the south part are completely different.
Q13. Something you do in your spare time other than reading, creating hot guys and being the Glines Kids’ personal chauffeur.
I shop. I have a shopping addiction. I like to go to the movies… We go to the beach a lot. We have a boat and we like to take our boat out, they fish and I watch them – I’m not a fisher. We spend a lot of time on the water. I don’t have much else to do, I don’t really have hobbies. Writing and reading consume me with hobbies.
Q14. Tea or coffee?
Coffee. I love tea too, it’s hard but coffee wins.
Q15. Ebooks or physical copies?
Ebooks because I can carry all my books with me wherever I go and if it’s a physical copy I can’t. If it’s a book I love and I get a signed copy from the author it’s for my bookshelf – I’m not going to read the physical copy, I’ll read the ebook. I’m not one of those book sniffers, I just want to read the books.
Thank you so much Abbi for your time, and Simon & Schuster Australia for organising this interview <3
About Abbi Glinnes
Abbi now lives in the quaint southern town of Fairhope, Alabama with her three children and husband Keith (the high school sweetheart she chased after). Her life is never dull and Keith always makes sure there is another “experience” for them to explore.
Books published by Abbi include The Vincent Boys and the USA TODAY bestseller The Vincent Brothers, Breathe, Because of Low, the USA TODAY bestsellers While It Lasts and Just For Now, The Existence Trilogy that includes the USA Today Bestseller Ceaseless, andThe New York Times bestseller and Wall Street Journal bestseller Fallen Too Far. Currently she is working on Never Too Far, the sequel to Fallen too Far.
When Abbi isn’t locked away in her office typing away she is hauling her kids to and from their many social activities. You could say her second job is the Glines Kids personal chauffeur. It’s a rather illustrious job.
Find her at the following places:
Reading Order for Abbi's Books
All links will take you to the relevant Goodreads page. Abbi's books can be purchased on Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, iBooks and The Book Depository.
Sea Breeze series (Contemporary) - most likely stopping at 6 books | all the characters in the Sea Breeze series appear in all the other books within the seriesE.g. Marcus was first introduced in Breathe but his main story is Because of Low
#1 Breathe - Sadie and Jax's story
#2 Because of Low - (Wil)Low and Marcus' story
#3 While It Lasts - Eva and Cage's story
#4 Just For Now - Amanda and Preston's story
#5 Sometimes It Lasts - Eva and Cage's story set some time after the events of While It Lasts
#6 A Little Misbehavin' - Jason's story (Jax's brother)
Existence trilogy (Paranormal) - completed | Pagan and Dank's story
#2.5 Leif - an Existence novella
Too Far (Contemporary) - completed (Rush's POV to be released in 2014) | Blair and Rush's story
Perfection (Contemporary) - complete as of Sept. 2013 when Simple Perfection releases | Woods and Della's story - Woods is a secondary character from the Too Far series
Chance (Contemporary) - to be completed approx. 2014 | Grant's story - Grant is another secondary character from the Too Far series
The Vincent Brothers (Contemporary) - to be completed approx. 2014 | Ashton, Beau, Sawyer and Lana's stories
#3 My Vincent Boys - prequel to The Vincent Brothers
And now yay giveaway time! I've got two giveaways to do because I'm feeling exceedingly generous. Note that the books are NOT signed and I'm doing this giveaway of my own discretion.
1. Physical copy of Fallen Too Far - Australia only
2. Physical copy of the new Breathe - International (woohoo)
Please read the rules VERY carefully for the following two giveaways
- You must be 13 years or older to enter - technically I should be making this 17+ due to the content of the books but I don't think I can stop this. Be warned though, the books I'll be giving away contain explicit content (sexual content, mature language etc.)
- Winners must reply within 48h
- The Fallen Too Far giveaway is AUSTRALIA ONLY
- The Breathe giveaway (for a copy of the new Breathe) is open INTERNATIONALLY - as long as The Book Depository ships to your country. Check here