Author Q&A: Sariah Wilson
Romance author Sariah Wilson may never have jumped out of a plane or climbed Mount Everest (as she makes clear in her Amazon author bio), but she does have an adventurous spirit.
When her editor asked her to take on a project without providing any details, she said yes. And that’s how she became one of the first authors to produce a Kindle in Motion book, complete with an animated cover and film clips.
Writing Royal Design was only the beginning; Wilson also accepted the offer to be involved in the production process too.
First came the character descriptions, with celebrity comparisons, and sifting through the pile of photos that came back in response from the talent agency.
Once the finalists had been plucked from that pool, Wilson got to watch their screen tests and help choose the winners. And while she wasn’t physically present during filming, the director kept her up to date on everything that went into it.
It was a whirlwind of secrecy, but Wilson is thrilled with the results and excited to share her experience with other authors and Fussy readers.
SADYE: Amazon asked you to participate in Kindle in Motion, not the other way around. Do you know why you were picked?
SARIAH: I think there were a couple of things that led me to be asked.
The first was that my editor knew I would deliver on time, and the other reason is that even though I write adult sweet contemporary romance, that I tend to have a “younger” voice, and the idea was that Kindle in Motion would primarily appeal to a younger market.
I hadn't heard of it at all before Chris Werner approached me. And Royal Design was one of the very first Kindle in Motion books.
SADYE: Do you think the animated cover gives you an advantage in the marketplace?
SARIAH: My guess would be that yes, the animated cover gives me an advantage. When you have a page of covers, the moving cover’s going to catch your eye.
It’s hard to make a genre cover stand out, and I think this helps. (And it feels very Harry Potter-ish to me, which I think is the coolest.)
SADYE: Are you getting a sense for the general attitude toward the animated cover?
SARIAH: I’ve had people who've absolutely loved it, people who’ve hated it and complained about it (even though Amazon immediately gives you the option to turn the animations off), and people who are ambivalent to it.
With it being so new, it may be something that takes a while to either become mainstream or an innovative idea that dies off because readers don't prefer it. I think it’s too soon to tell.
SADYE: Do you have any idea what it cost?
SARIAH: Montlake Romance, Amazon Publishing’s romance line, footed the entire bill and I have absolutely no idea what it cost them. My guess is a lot, but I honestly don't know.
There were so many people involved in both the cast and crew and sets and wardrobe and hair/makeup and cross-country flights, etc., and all of that had to be paid for. I’m very grateful they did, though. :)
Static versions of the cover and inside pages — you can watch a video preview on Amazon.
SADYE: You knew Royal Design would have visuals before you began working on it. How was the writing process different?
SARIAH: It was a very different writing process for me. I’m typically a visual-type storyteller to begin with — I see and hear the scenes happening in my head and try to catch them on paper — but it’s entirely different when you know you're writing something that is specifically going to be filmed.
I was asked to mark scenes and/or sentences that I thought would make good clips as I wrote. It was definitely more challenging, trying to balance out telling the story and making sure there were enough visuals for the film crew.
Fortunately I had a fantastic director/producer (Timoney Korbar) who managed to find all kinds of scenes that I hadn't even thought of.
In fact, one of my favorite clips is kind of a throwaway line about how the hero would touch the heroine while they're joking around and then immediately withdraw his hand because he remembered himself. She filmed that, and I absolutely adore it.
Or she took a joking/bantering scene between the hero and heroine and turned that into a clip about secondary character James Cruz, and the first time I saw it I literally laughed out loud. I had never thought of that as something to be filmed, and she made it hilarious.
SADYE: Would you do it again if cost weren’t an issue?
SARIAH: In a heartbeat. In fact, while we were doing this, I kept asking, “When can we do this again? Can I write another one of these?” It was such a blast.
There’s something so powerful and amazing about watching actors become your characters, and bring things to screen that you can’t necessarily bring to the written page. Enzo kisses Bellamy much better onscreen than he does in the story.
If I had to pay for it — if I had the money, I absolutely would. I’m someone who loves visual storytelling (TV and movies) and would do it all the time if I could (along with all the written storytelling!).
SADYE: What advice would you give to an author who receives the Kindle in Motion invite?
SARIAH: If Amazon offers to make your book a Kindle in Motion, you should do it. ... It really was so much fun to see it all come together and then come to life.
There’s some belief from some people at Amazon that Kindle in Motion is the future of books. It will be interesting to see if that is true.
And if it is, whether at some point Amazon will provide the means for indie authors to participate, much as they have with audio books and ACX.
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