Our September Author Q&A features indie author, Grace Herbst. Check out her Instagram page and see for yourself her love of Disney, The Babysitter’s Club books and the escapades of her bestie, Molly.

Growing up in a small town in Illinois didn’t hinder Grace Herbst’s creativity or her passion for storytelling. Instead, she was even more inspired to write about the close-knit community of a small town. Since 2010, she has used her creativity to dive in to fanfiction and turned the worlds of television shows One Tree Hill and Grey’s Anatomy upside down.

Overcoming obstacles and seeing a light at the end of the tunnel has always been a prominent theme in her stories. When she’s not causing chaos in the fanfiction world or her original stories, she’s fighting off her weakness of chocolate. She currently resides outside of Detroit, Michigan with her Wonder Dog, Molly.

Getting to Know You

What motivated you to become an indie author?
I researched the pros and cons of both being traditionally published and self-published. For me, the pros of being self-published outweighed the pros for traditionally published. I wanted to have complete creative control. I wanted to write the story I wanted to write without following a certain trend. Yes, it was going to be challenging but I was prepared for the journey.

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
When I’m not writing, I am losing myself in a great book, or playing with my lovely writing companion: my dog Molly. I also have a part-time job that takes me away from writing, but I’m learning to balance my time to be productive.

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Using my creativity to come up with stories that people enjoy reading.

The Writing Process

What is your writing process?
I’m a proud pantser. For my first draft, I just write whatever comes out of my head. When it comes to my second draft, that’s when I really read my story and figure out what scenes go where. My third draft is when I include descriptions and actions. Then I send it to my editor before I write the fourth draft.

How do you get inspired to write?
I’ve always had a passion for writing. Ever since my childhood, I have been writing little stories. I have thought about pursuing my dream, but I didn’t know how to take that first step forward. It wasn’t until I began researching about the different options of publishing that I really pushed myself.

What’s your advice for aspiring writers?
I’ve learned this from another author: the first thing to do before you start this journey is to define your definition of success. Do you want to see your book on a bookshelf? Is your goal from this is to make lots of sales? Or do you (like me) want to focus on improving your craft and building a loyal fanbase? Answering the question will help you determine which path you want to go on.

Reading

What are your five favorite books, and why?
I don’t know if I can just choose five books. The Harry Potter series is up high on the list because I just fell in love with that world. The characters. Magic spells. The plot. I don’t think I could write a better plot than what the author did.

One of the more recent books I read that easily became one of my favorite books was The Rural Diaries by Hilarie Burton Morgan. I knew Hilarie as an actress, but I never knew her as a person. Her book really gave me a new perspective of her and it made me respect her even more.

The Shadow Demons saga is also on the list. It’s an urban fantasy series by Sarra Cannon, a self-published author. I have never been so addicted to reading a series before. I love fantasy so this was right up my alley. It has witches and demons. Twists and turns. They are page turners. I highly recommend the series if anyone loves urban fantasy.

How do you discover the books you read?
I always had gone to the library and look through books there. After I began self-publishing, I started to look at other self-published authors to see if I was interested in reading their books. The search also included social media once I joined bookstagram.  

What books are on your reading list this year?
I love Allison Brennan. Her next book is coming out soon: Cold as Ice (Lucy Kincaid #17). I’m looking forward to Jenn McKinlay’s next book in the Library Lover’s Mystery series: One for the Books. I am also interested in reading the Twisted Tales series that tells the “What if” Disney stories.

Behind Closed Doors Book 1: Brave New Girl

Skipping school. Drinking. Partying with a fake ID. Taking the school’s driver’s education car for a joyride. It was all fun and games until a car accident changed everything.

Now Ashley Meyer was determined to forget her wild sophomore year and start anew. No more hanging out with Roxanne Spencer. No more rebelling against her father and new stepmother. No more counseling. In a new town with new friends, Ashley hopes to leave her troubled past behind and move on to a more promising future.

But not everyone is welcoming to the new girl, and Ashley begins to wonder if moving to a new town really is the key to a better life…or whether things would be better if she went back to the city after all.

Take a look at where the series began with Brave New Girl.

What inspired you to write Confident New Chloe?
Without giving away the plot, I wanted to write a story about how one person’s actions had consequences that affected the whole family. And, I wanted to try and get everyone’s perspective on this event.            

Is there going to be a follow up to Confident New Chloe?
Confident New Chloe is my third book in my YA book series dealing with social issues. There are plans for a fourth book that I’m planning to publish in spring 2021.

Behind Closed Doors Book 3: Confident New Chloe will be available from Amazon very soon!

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