Life of Riley: Writing, wedding planning…That’s major multi-tasking. How are you able to juggle all of these hats?

Raine Thomas: This is a great question. I can’t tell you how often people say that what I do for a living sounds so “glamorous.” But the truth is, it’s a challenge balancing two careers!

I work at least 40 hours a week on the wedding planning side of things (largely Monday through Friday, unless I’m coordinating a weekend wedding). Then I spend my early evenings with my husband and daughter, up until my daughter goes to bed. After that, it’s time to work on my author tasks. Most of my writing takes place late at night and over the weekends. I haven’t had a full night’s sleep (not to mention a real day off) in quite some time. Doesn’t sound very glamorous, right? But I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

Riley: I know you started writing at a very young age. How did you nurture that love of writing to make it as a successful young adult author?

Thomas: Yes, it was my fourth-grade literacy fair when I became addicted to writing. My cousin helped nurture this, begging me each summer to create a story and write more of it every day so that she could read it. Thanks to her, I learned how to keep a story flowing and see it through to the end.

Those early efforts taught me that I could write complete novels. I then earned my bachelor’s degree in English with a focus in Creative Writing, which taught me more of the mechanics of writing effective stories as well as how to handle critiques. My master’s degree in humanities then opened my eyes to how the arts have impacted literature over the years, and how much all of the arts overlap…from book “sound tracks” to the gorgeous covers and all of the research that goes into writing, they all interconnect. I’ve used much of what I learned in school in the course of my writing career.

Riley: What does it mean to you to be an Indie Author?

Thomas: It means that I control my destiny. That’s really the bottom line when it comes to self-publishing. For good or bad, I have control over the content of my books, the designs of the covers, the price format, all sales and marketing efforts, my social media platform, connecting with reviewers…well, the list goes on and on. It’s a tremendous responsibility. If I don’t achieve success, I have no one at which to point the finger of blame besides myself. Right now, having that control has worked really well for me, so I love being an Indie Author!

Riley: How have you embraced social media as a valuable platform for your work?

Thomas: If it wasn’t for social media, the only sales of my books would probably have been to my friends and family. One of the first (and best) things I did before making the decision to go Indie was reading John Locke’s How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months. In it, he discusses the value of Twitter. I hated the idea of joining Twitter, not really understanding how it worked. Because of that book, however, I joined Twitter…and almost instantly built a fan base. I’ve since joined a number of other social networking sites, too. Social media had the biggest hand in getting my writing career off the ground, no question.

Riley: Tell readers about your latest book, Defy.

Thomas: Defy is the first book in my upcoming Firstborn trilogy. This trilogy is a follow-up to my Daughters of Saraqael trilogy, though it contains a glossary intended to bring new readers up to speed. The story follows Tate, the firstborn daughter of Skye and Caleb from my book, Foretold. Here’s a summary:

Seventeen-year-old Tate is about to make her parents’ dreams come true. Unfortunately for her, their dreams foretell her death.

Eager to explore more of the Estilorian plane and prove her abilities, Tate goes against her parents’ wishes and leaves the area of protection surrounding her home. Her choice puts her on a deadly path…one that leaves her alone, severely injured and battling for her life.

Her possible savior arrives in the form of Zachariah, a male who has removed himself from Estilorian society for more than fifty years. Fighting an unexpected connection to Tate, he must decide whether saving her life is worth destroying his.

As Tate struggles to find a way home, she ends up drawn into a dark Mercesti plot involving multiple murders and a powerful ancient artifact. With the unpredictable Zachariah as her only source for aid, she’ll soon find out if her abilities are strong enough to help her defy her Fate.

Riley: Best advice for writers?

Thomas: Never, ever give up! There are so many stories out there of authors who struggled for years to make their dreams come true, and then they finally did it. Whether you intend to go the traditional route or publish independently, research like crazy, hone your craft, and produce the best work possible. It will all pay off in the end.

Riley: Who’s your favorite author? Favorite book of all time?

Thomas: My favorite author is Nora Roberts. She has the ability to make me laugh out loud and cry like an infant, something no other writer does quite as well for me. I don’t have one favorite book, but Nora’s “In Death” series written as J.D. Robb is definitely my favorite. I’ll re-read the entire series every other year or so.

Riley: The art work for your books is quite beautiful. Could you tell us about the artist and how you connected?

Thomas: Thanks! My cover artist is the brilliant Devan Edwards of Nimbi Design. I met Devan through a mutual friend. That friend has some graphic design knowledge, so I approached her about designing my Daughters of Saraqael covers. She wasn’t very comfortable with the idea of doing book covers, though, and connected me with Devan. The rest, as they say, is history!

Raine Thomas

Bio: Raine Thomas is the author of a bestselling series of YA fantasy romance novels about the Estilorian plane, including the Daughters of Saraqael trilogy and the upcoming Firstborn trilogy. She is a proud member of Romance Writers of America and is a contributing blogger to The Writer’s Voice. When she isn’t planning weddings, writing or glued to social networking sites, she can usually be found on one of Florida’s beautiful beaches with her husband and daughter or crossing the border to visit with her Canadian friends and relatives.

Ways readers can connect with Raine Thomas:

Twitter (http://twitter/Raine_Thomas)

Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/rainethomas)

Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/raine_thomas/)

Website (http://rainethomas.com)

Blog (http://RaineThomas.com/blog/)

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