E. Paige Burks, budding author of The Heart of the Guardian, is a graduate from Texas A&M University with a degree in Agricultural Communication and Journalism.
Her book, Return to Royalty, won the 2016 Author U Draft to Dream Award in the Young Adult category and has been nominated for USA Best Book Awards and International Book Awards.
When she is not writing fantasy and love stories, she enjoys Mexican food, singing out loud, cuddling with her cats, and taking long naps.
E. Paige Burks lives in Houston, Texas with her husband, four dogs, three cats, three horses, and a single bird named Ricki.
Over the years, what would you say has improved significantly in your writing?
I pay less attention to details and more attention to just telling the story. A lot of my earlier pieces were very wordy and flamboyant. After having attended college to be a journalist, I learned to write in more direct and succinct ways, which has really helped with the flow of my books.
Do you proofread and edit your work on your own or pay someone to do it for you?
I’ve had the fortune of having a professional editor look at my manuscript as part of the prize I won for Return to Royalty, but in the future I plan to pay someone to do it. I realized I missed a lot of things that the editor and proofreader caught because I know what it should say and not what it actually says.
Have you ever let any of your books stew for months or even a year?
Yes! Return to Royalty was started in 2007 when I was 17 years old. As I’ve gotten older and learned more about life, it’s made writing much easier. Return to Royalty has had many different versions and my MCs have worn many different hats over the years, but I think they’ve finally found the right niche.
What is your take on the importance of a good cover and title?
Cover is absolutely the most important piece of your book. If the cover doesn’t make a reader want to look at your synopsis or thumb through the first chapter, then it’s not doing its job. There is a lot of psychology that goes into how a shopper’s brain works, and it’s interesting to me that it starts with something so basic but so crucial. I think titles should reflect the work and be a draw as well, but they’re not as important as the cover. You know, first impressions and all that.
Do you attend literary lunches or events?
I attended a conference in Denver, CO last year. It’s the first one I’ve been to and was a really great learning opportunity. I’d love to go to more in the future.
How do you market yourself and your book?
I use lots of social media. I use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and WordPress. A lot of indie authors have trouble engaging their followers, which seems counterintuitive. If you like my page, why don’t you like my content? But I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one who struggles with this. I have also used Instafreebie to give away free copies of my book The Heart of the Guardian and I would consider that a success. I had 100 copies downloaded! I’ve just recently discovered the heaven-send that is Hootsuite. It controls when the things go where so that I don’t have to! I really like that. Frees up my time from having to post from one platform to another and forgetting about others.
Why do you write?
I write because I can’t not write. Writing and living in my imaginary headspace has become so much a part of me that it would drive me crazy if I were to ever try to stop! My characters are just extensions of me, but they feel more real than that to me. I read once that the difference between creative-types and mental patients is that creatives know they’re imagining things! From the inside it’s hard to describe and from the outside it’s hard to fathom.
How often do you write and what is your process?
I write as often as I can. I tend to have periods of time where I am more active than others, and I’ll spend weeks and months, and hours upon hours of the day, just obsessing over my ideas. I can’t be at peace until they’re written down. Then, I usually take a break and spend several weeks or more not writing at all. I don’t think that writing should be forced. You have to replenish your creative well every so often, whether it’s by reading, watching TV/movies, music, whatever. Only then can you produce anything. It’s great to practice daily, if you can, by journaling or doing writing prompts, but I don’t force myself to do this. Writing should never be a chore.
What writing advice can you give?
This seems opposite of what I said above, but write as much as you can! Write when you don’t feel like writing. Sometimes that’s the only thing that will break down any roadblocks you might encounter. Also, share your writing and don’t be afraid to ask for critiques. We can never get better if we don’t first accept that we’re not perfect. If you think your writing sucks and should be hidden forever, you’re probably doing something right. People who tout about how great their writing is are usually not very good. Just remember to be humble when you receive praise and kind when you receive criticism.
Can you create a short writing prompt?
It was a dark and stormy night, but bursts of lightning were flashing across the darkness. You blink, thinking the storm is playing tricks on your mind. A rift is beginning to open, splitting the sky.
Return to Royalty
by E. Paige Burks
Nyx Estrella is a princess from Gexalatia, a world on the other side of a portal. Unfortunately, she has no idea. Sent to Lucky, Texas, when she was a baby to protect her from the evil King Paraximus, her biggest concerns are grades and seeing her friends. She has no idea that she possesses magical abilities and that her reality is about to become really strange.
Jet Lamia is a war prisoner, sent from Gexalatia by the queen, Liana Estrella, to bring Nyx back home to the kingdom of Ymber. The portal only opens on the winter solstice, so Jet finds himself trapped on Earth, trying to blend in. Fortunately, he has help in the form of the queen’s chosen assistant, Seth Alvar. But playing well with others has never been one of Jet’s talents.
It is a race against the clock to tell Nyx her true identity and try to train her, while also keeping her alive. Nyx and Jet struggle to defeat the assassins sent to kill them both, while trying not to kill each other. Can this duo put their differences aside and return to Gexalatia?
Return to Royalty is still in the productions phase. It will be sold through IngramSpark, where it will be featured on their homepage for a week, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.
E. Paige Burks