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International Author Series: Sasha White, Canada

During the last couple of months, I read several books written by authors who live outside the U.S. I know from our contests that there are many international readers but I didn't quite grasp the breadth of the international author. Authorial success and continued contracts rely primarily upon sucess within the U.S. The NYTimes, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Oprah, Starbucks, Daily Show and all of those other book power brokers, are U.S. entities.

Even the simple things like the cost of postage and more obvious things, like the cost of plane tickets for bookstore signings impose barriers which US based authors don’t face. Today Sasha White shares her thoughts about writing books for US audiences and market to US audiences in the face of geographic and cultural barriers.

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Sasha White is a strong voice in an emerging market of erotica for women. Ms. White’ latest release, Lush, is unapologetically set in Canada. Lush features three stories set against the backdrop of an art gallery where a gallery owner, jewelry designer and a photographer surrender to the sensuality that surrounds them. Her extensive backlist can be accessed through her website.

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Do you have modify the language in the books to exclude colloquialisms from your native tongue?

Nope. But I do make sure when I use a term that is Canadian, I explain it. Like in BOUND, which takes place partly in a casino, there is talk of Loonies, which are Canadian Dollar coins.

Where do you prefer the books you read to be set?

It doesn’t really matter to me, as long as the author does a good job either bringing me into it completely so I can visualize it and feel what it would be like ~ or if the setting is so far in the background that it doesn’t effect the story. Which is usually how I see my own work. I set my stories in places I’ve been, and I can visualize them in my mind, but in all honestly, it’s rare for it to matter where the setting is in my stories. The characters are the story, and I hope they are universal enough that readers don;t care if they are Canadian, American, Greek, or from Pluto.

How does living outside the U.S. affect your ability to research your books?

It doesn’t. The Internet is an amazing thing, and people are wonderfully helpful.

Because of the expense of travel, you can’t do many book signings or in person appearances at American bookstores or meet in person with American readers. The cost of mailings is also more expensive. Do you find these to be disadvantages? If so, what can you do to ameliorate that disadvantage?

Yes, I do find that to be a disadvantage. I’d love to do more signings. Some bookstores here will do them, but they are just not a big thing, and there aren’t enough authors locally, in my city sat least, to organize group signings to make it a bigger event. But what can you do? I make sure I go to one US conference a year, so I can meet more readers and sign, but I’m always around on my website and chat loop, so I hope readers know that they can always find me and get to know me that way if they want.

Postage is a PITA. It is very expensive to do any sort of mailings. However, it’s also a business write off. *shrug*

As a writer who lives outside the US , do you attempt to make the characters to suit a more US based audience? Are there cultural differences that need to be addressed in a book?

No, I write my characters to suit myself, and readers. The story is built organically from the characters. Plus, I’m in Canada, which is not the U.S, it’s also not hugely different culturally from many of the States. There are some differences of course, but nothing that I fell effects the stories I’m writing right now.

What promotional efforts have you found to be most successful in reaching the US audience, other than writing an appealing book?

Probably my website. I keep it up to date, and blog regularly. My website is full of behind the scenes, free reads, photo’s and news, so there is tons of fun stuff for readers on there.

Like I said, I do go to one conference a year in the U.S (This year it’s Romantic Times in Houston) but when I go those, I’m either meeting people who I’ve talked to online, or who don;t hang out on line but have read the books. So I think I have a good balance between a conference, and my website.

If there is one thing that you could change about the publishing industry, what would it be?

Well, to be honest, I don;t know enough about the industry to say anything intelligent here. I know what I do, and what i need to do, and I do my best to focus on only those things. I find that when I did try to learn more and get involved more, it just distracted me from my writing, and drove me a little crazy. So, I stick with only my own aspect of things.

What is your biggest challenge as a writer living outside of the US? What have you done to overcome it?

Not having many local authors to talk to in person. And I don’t think this is a Canadian thing, but more of an Edmonton thing. There is no local writers group that I can join. There is one in Calgary, but thats a 3 hour drive each way, and I’m not into that.

What have I done to overcome it? LOL I force my family to listen me talk writing, and I even drag them into plotting and brainstorming occasionally, and I’ve developed some very good friendships with other writers online.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

13 Comments

  1. Lucinda Betts
    Apr 02, 2007 @ 08:19:32

    Hey Sasha,

    Great interview! I think that one of the best things that happened to me as a writer was getting paired with you and Bonnie for PURE SEX. (That sounds kinkier than it is!) You taught me a whole lot about the industry and marketting. Thanks!

    SWAK,
    Lucinda

  2. Sasha
    Apr 02, 2007 @ 10:01:46

    LOL It does sound a little kinky, but that’s okay. I like a little kink. *wink*

    And thank You! Congrats on your win with THE BET too!!

  3. Bonnie Edwards
    Apr 02, 2007 @ 13:35:00

    Natch, I’m here, too! Very impressive win Lucinda and THE BET deserved it. Mighty sharp dialogue. (g)

    Sasha, you’re right on with the Canadian author situation. There are still some publishing houses who will not publish out-of-US settings though…unless they’re historical of course.

    My first sale some years ago occurred only after I moved a book south of the border at an editor’s request.

    I’d like to think things are changing, and obviously you’re proving it with every story set in Canada.

    Kudos to you both…and yes, Pure Sex was wonderful for me, too. (g)

    Bonnie

  4. Vivi Anna
    Apr 02, 2007 @ 13:46:38

    Woot! Canucks rule!!!

    Just to add to Sasha’s awesome interview, I personally think Canadians are in the closet about reading romance and erotica. I find genre fiction frowned upon in this country. There are a ton of great romance, sci-fi/fantasy and horror writers here but they are not well known. I think Canada needs to embrace their artists more. Then we wouldn’t all move down to the states to be recognized and make money.

  5. Debbie Ellison
    Apr 02, 2007 @ 13:51:51

    I can’t tell you how excited I am that somebody is finally paying attention to Sasha and her work. Every time I read one of her books I’m reminded about what a great author she really is.

    My favorite book of Sasha’s so far is Bound. I identified with Katie and as I was reading Bound I understood exactly how she felt and felt it with her. And Joe (hero) well there isn’t enough written about Joe. This book is not about sex, it has family obligations, it has friends and all the other things that happen to you and me. But it is HOT!!! In my opinion the longer the story, the more I like it. But again Sasha has proven me wrong in my judgement of longer is better because LUSH just released and OMG! How can she make me care about characters when the story is so short? LUSH has 3 very hot and very believable stories in it.

    She is so amazing and I hope you readers branch out and take a chance on Sasha’s work because you will join our ever growing group of fans and just so you know – author’s don’t come anymore generous than Sasha White. She gives her books away in contests all the time and other goodies as well.

    She truly is a GEM and I”m so happy that I found her. She makes my day great all the time!

  6. Sasha
    Apr 02, 2007 @ 14:40:15

    Hey Bonnie, and VIvi!! WHoo Hoo Canadian authros speaking up. *grin*

    I agree with you VIvi, about genre fiction in Canada in general. I’m not sure why it is, because Canadians read a lot, butwe don;t seem to get too fired up over the authors?? I think maybe becasue of the very few times I’ve seen booksingings – of any type- they’ve been very low key affairs. No one up here celebrates the authors success in a way that actually draws attention to it. At least not in this city. LOL

  7. Sasha
    Apr 02, 2007 @ 14:41:17

    Hey Debbie! Thank You so much…and yes, there are more singel titles coming soon. The next one is set to release in August.

  8. Danielle
    Apr 02, 2007 @ 14:51:06

    Just wanted to drop by and say HI and let you know how much I enjoyed your story in Cops and Lush…great stories. Looking forward to reading more books by you in the future.

  9. Sasha
    Apr 02, 2007 @ 15:40:25

    Hey Danielle, THANKS

  10. CindyS
    Apr 02, 2007 @ 17:16:23

    As a Canadian, I do have to say that we are a low key bunch. There’s a reason some of the famous people come up here for vacations, we don’t bug them for autographs or anything in case we impose ;)

    CindyS

  11. Erin the Innocent
    Apr 02, 2007 @ 18:46:20

    :) Fantastic interview Sasha :)

    (I have nothing intelligent to add besides that LOL)

    ~Erin

  12. Laura
    Apr 02, 2007 @ 22:53:32

    Thanks for the interview, Sasha. I actually just went on a SW glom-buy at Amazon and I’m waiting for some of your backlist to get here! I read Bound a while back, and loved it-the b/d elements weren’t the whole story, and they were realistic. And HOT. I also just finished Lush, and boy do I need some carpentry work done around the house…….
    One question: Do you ever plan to revisit Jake and Miranda from Gypsy Heart?
    Thanks, and btw you live in the most beautiful part of the world, IMHO.

  13. Wednesday Web Wanderer « Milady Insanity
    Apr 04, 2007 @ 09:24:48

    […] have more Sasha at Dear Author, as part of their International Authors […]

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