2021 Reading Challenge

2021 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 3 books toward her goal of 245 books.
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An Introduction to T.L. Brown

Today I’m BEYOND pleased to introduce you to T.L. Brown – the author behind the brilliant Door to Door series. I’ve reviewed the first two books – Door to Door and Through the Door – on here, but this is your chance to meet the woman behind the series! Enjoy…

About T.L. Brown

T.L. Brown (WriterTracyBrown.com) is the author of the Door to Door Paranormal Mystery series. Her second book, Through the Door, was just released May 31, 2021. You can find it on Amazon where the ebook is now available as a part of Amazon Unlimited for short period of time: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B095L5F6NZ (The paperback is available at the regular price.) Tracy was thrilled to be able to sit down and share more about herself and her books here at All Things Jill-Elizabeth. 

Tell us a little about yourself: 
My name is Tracy Brown, and I live in Upstate New York. I’m originally from Western New York about 80 miles south of Buffalo, but after college I moved to Rochester. I now reside in the beautiful Finger Lakes Region. I love it here! My husband and I garden and keep chickens. There is always work to be done, but we love our lives. 
I began writing when I was very young. I loved to read and eventually, I moved my childhood game of “play pretend” onto paper. I started to make up stories and never looked back. When I was a teenager and young adult, writing fiction was how I processed my experiences in the world – and probably provided some escapism from teenage angst. I worked out how I felt on paper. I suppose I still do that sometimes through my characters, but they are certainly their own “beings.”

Tell us about the Door to Door Paranormal Mystery Series: 
I started writing book one, Door to Door, almost 10 years ago. My husband and I were returning from a trip to Long Island, and I filled him in on an idea for a story. He kept asking good questions. When I got back home, I started to write. My manuscript focused on an ordinary woman named Emily Swift who learns of this fantastical legacy when she turns thirty and her late father’s travel journal shows up unexpectedly on her doorstep. This “opens the door” to a whole new world called the Empire where certain women and men can travel just by stepping through a door. But, since life is never easy in a book, Emily comes face-to-face with much danger as she tries to sort out who she is and what happened to her father. 

Add to it a slew of quirky characters – both helpful and not – and Emily eventually finds herself in a race to recover a magical gemstone to prevent absolute power from falling into the wrong hands. At the same time, she’s trying to balance a “normal life” with the extraordinary one. She’s not always successful. 

Even though Emily has some success in book one (Door to Door), in the next book, Through the Door, she really struggles. She needs to sort out who is friend and who is foe, while counting on her true friends for help. She makes some hard choices and her loved ones also end up in danger. She’s learned that with her extraordinary abilities comes great responsibility. Emily has to balance the magical with the mundane. It’s tough. She struggles sometimes to do her best. She’s very human. Flawed.

I was pleased with the second book, Through the Door, because Emily learned not all is as it seems, and is willing to reach out for help. She’s even willing to form unexpected alliances. But I liked Through the Door in particular because I was able to bring out more secondary characters like Tara and Rabbit. Tara definitely got to shine, and we got a little peek into a darker side of Rabbit – something I’d hoped to bring out in this book. Emily’s mother, Lydia, was such a sweetheart to write this time around. She’s just so lovely! And Templeton – her nemesis – who played a big role in Door to Door, took a “step back” in Through the Door. However, he’s not one to keep under a hat (pun intended) for long. He’ll be back in a big way in book three, Doors Wide Open (due out later this year). 

Doors Wide Open (book three) will answer some big questions introduced in Door to Door (book one). I hope to also craft some more secrets and storylines that will bleed over into another series. Some of the Door to Door Paranormal Mystery characters need their own set of books. I’m cooking on a couple of ideas, as well as a prequel novella featuring Emily’s parents (Daniel Swift and Lydia McKay Swift) in a “how they met” story. I need more hours in a day! 

Will Doors Wide Open be the last in the Door to Door Paranormal Mystery Series? 
Yes, that’s the plan. While I’m loathe to say I’d never add a book four, it’s unlikely. But I hope to bring Emily along as a guest character in the other series I’m planning. But it won’t be her show. 

Will Templeton ever have his own book or series? 
I think Templeton’s tough to write in the first person, and that’s how I prefer to write. He hides his thoughts from me. He’s certainly one of my favorite characters, but he’s work. 

Earlier you said you started writing Door to Door about 10 years ago, but you just published it in October 2020. Can you tell us more about that?
I worked on Door to Door hard in the early years but kept rewriting and editing. Honestly, I burned out. I needed a break. I didn’t intend on such a long one, but there you have it. Then, two things happened in 2020: a pandemic began, and I read A.J. Hackwith’s The Library of the Unwritten (Hell’s Library, Book 1). All I could think was: What if Templeton escaped my unfinished book? I’d never get him back in and then what? Oh, and if your blog readers haven’t read Hackwith’s first two books in the Hell’s Library series, they definitely should pick up copies! 

You’re an indie author by choice. Can you tell us more about that? 
Sure. When I was writing Door to Door, I’d planned on querying to find an agent and thought I’d travel the traditional publishing path – assuming I would connect with an agent who wanted to represent me and a publisher who wanted to put Door to Door out into the world. I spent hours writing my query letters, synopsis, and reading everything I could to learn how to “do it right.” Honestly, that contributed to my burnout back then. It just didn’t feel good. 

In 2020 when I finished Door to Door, I didn’t even give it a second thought: I knew I was going to self-publish and go for being an “Indie Author.” And that’s what I did. I learned everything I could before pulling the trigger and publishing my first book on Amazon. I’m still learning. Every day. 

Both traditionally published authors and independent authors work hard and sometimes non-stop. Most new authors must spend a boatload of time marketing and networking, and it doesn’t matter if you are trad-published or not. 

Unless you have a lot of money and staff who can convey your “voice” honestly for you, you’ll spend a ton of time in social media. 

As an indie author, I do have more creative control (which I enjoy), and also get to dive into the business side of being an author: the data and analytics of sales, ads, marketing, bookkeeping, etc. That feeds another part of my brain. And, as an indie author, I pretty much have to do it all. I do hire an artist for my covers, though. It’s expensive, but I love what’s been produced. 

Are you getting rich then? 
*laughs* No! Writing is an expensive hobby. But I love what I’m doing. LOVE. IT.

How can readers and friends support indie authors?
Awesome question! While it might seem obvious, it comes down to this: 

  1. Buy the books – and if a book is offered first on pre-sale, order it in advance during that pre-sale! It makes a big difference in helping us reach more readers! 
  2. Tell people about our books! Share books and authors in social media. Readers love book recommendations. Help them find us by sharing on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and so on. Like and follow us in social media. Re-post our posts!
  3. THIS IS SO IMPORTANT: If you liked the book, please-please-please leave an honest review on Amazon and on Goodreads (if you’re on Goodreads). DEFINITELY leave reviews on Amazon. Those reviews are the lifeblood of our success. You don’t have to go into great detail or write anything fancy. Just a few sentences about why you liked the book and (hopefully) a 5-star rating. But be honest! 

Indie authors can’t do it without support from readers (and other writers). We need you. 

What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?
There IS so much advice out there – read it with an open mind. I can be very literal sometimes and when I read a list of “shoulds” I can drive myself nuts trying to do everything right. I think that’s part of the reason why I burnt out so many years ago. Then it took time to come back. Those are lost years. I shed my regrets, but I wish I could’ve gotten my work out there sooner – for me, for my husband who loves my stories, for my readers who seem to love them too. And for Emily and the other characters. 

So, my advice: Write. Write with all your heart! Sometimes it will be awesome, sometimes not. But write it. Then share it. Share it even when you cringe inside. We all do a little bit. It’s putting our bare souls out there, after all. But don’t let that stop you. 

Find other writers to talk to, to share with. Find them and listen – and contribute! Support and celebrate them! Walk away from any author or writer who makes you feel bad. Criticism is helpful, but it should also come from a kind heart. I recommend the writing community on Instagram. I have met some great writers and the most supportive group there. Join Instagram and look up hash tags like #WritingCommunity or #WritersOfInstagram or #IndieAuthors. 

On a nuts-and-bolts side, Amazon makes it pretty easy for indie authors to publish a book on their platform, Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). Look into it and learn about it. 

Any last thoughts?
Thank you so much for the opportunity to be a part of All Things Jill-Elizabeth! I’m grateful to be able to share here. And if anyone has a question for me, they can drop a comment here below or pop on over to WriterTracyBrown.com. I’ll do my best to answer! 

Social Media and Amazon

Door to Door Paranormal Mystery Series on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B093CJG3J4 

Tracy (a/k/a T.L. Brown) can be found in these social media channels: 

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