About Lili Tufel
If you could have coffee with any 3 authors, living or dead, who would they be?
I would love to have coffee with my great, great (not sure how many greats, I should call my mom and ask) grandfather Juan Jose Botero (1840-1926), who wrote a famous Spanish literary classic, Lejos Del Nido. University students in Colombia have done their thesis on his literary work. I think it would be a very inspirational cup of coffee!
I would absolutely love to have coffee with Saint John of the Cross. I’m not sure if the humble Saint would drink the coffee but only to be in his presence is enough for me. The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross is my all time favorite next to the Bible. I have so many questions about his Dark Night of the Soul, I’m afraid I’d find myself begging to spend more time.
J.R.R. Tolkien is my third pick. I normally don’t enjoy reading books in the fantasy genre but I will always make the exception for Tolkien.
If you could only take one book, food item and drink with you to a deserted island what would they be?
My New Jerusalem Bible (J.R.R. Tolkien is on the list of original collaborators in the translation and literary revision), bread, and wine. I know I’d survive with a little help and the multiplication of loaves!
What about you would surprise your readers?
I was double-Dutch champion in jump rope.
What was your favorite book as a teenager, and why?
While my sister was reading and loving Anne Rice books, I was reading Leo Buscaglia, Loving Each Other. I’ve always gravitated towards non-fiction self-help type books.
What is your perfect day as an author?
A perfect day is when I am able to create a scene that will stay with me for days. For example, if I’m cooking and I find myself sighing in love over a certain scene, I know I nailed it.
If you could be any fictional character who would it be?
Where did the inspiration for your book come from?
I basically wanted to explore in a novel what it would be like for an active duty US Army Ranger to fall in love with the Colonel’s daughter during war time and how much he would be willing to sacrifice for that love.
I did extensive research before writing Sand. I spent a lot of time reading military blogs. I interviewed and spoke to several military folks because I wanted the story to be realistic. In Sand, I mention very real topics, such as TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), which has been the signature wound of the war in Afghanistan.
In the end the story is simply a product of my imagination.
Writers are often surprised by something that happens in their book. Perhaps a character says or does something you did not think they would, or something you thought would only be a couple of paragraphs turns into 10 pages. What surprised you about your book?
Are you kidding me? This story is non-stop action. If I’m bored, then I know my readers are bored. If I’m feeling a rush of excitement then I know my readers will have their pulse racing. Sand is full of surprises that surprised me as I wrote them. The shock ending was my favorite, what a rush!
Who is your favorite character? Why?
My favorite is Captain Javier “Javi” Santos. I wrote Javi referencing my husband’s personality. Although my husband is not in the military, I did reference his characteristics and sense of humor a lot.
What would you like readers to take away from the book?
“Pulse racing, non-stop action, kick-butt hero, shock ending, plus a real romance” have been some of the reviews describing Sand. Another reviewer wrote, “I stayed up till 4 a.m. to finish the story.” This is exactly what I have wanted the readers to experience. Sand is like a ride at the fair.
About Lili’s Writing Process & Publishing
You have three children. How do you find time to write? What is your writing process like?
I believe that you make the time for the things that are important to you. I remember many times having to explain to my kids how important it is for mommy to write her book. Now my kids are my biggest cheerleaders. They ask me, ‘What page are you on now, Mommy?’ or ‘Did you finish the chapter, Mommy?’
What are your most and least favorite parts of the writing process? Why?
My favorite part is the very beginning when the motivation begins. A vision of a particular scene then another scene start to become part of a story. The more I go over the story in my mind, the more I get to know the characters. I become involved in the same way a person would become involved while watching a movie. Suddenly I feel a deep-seated desire to share the story and that is when I know I am ready to write.
The most challenging part of writing is the revision process. When I start a rough draft, I take my time writing fewer words-per-hour, but more definitive sentences. Revisions for me are always an exercise in frustration. A lot of effort goes into each and every scene. If I’m going to delete it during revision, I better have a good enough reason. I compare writing to having money. I work very hard for every dollar, so I am careful when I spend it.
Sand is a romantic thriller. Did you plot before you began writing? If not, how did you keep the story moving forward without getting on track?
I plot first. I research first. I always build a solid foundation before I begin writing. For example, if I am going to name a character I ask myself, Is this the name I am going to be okay with 30,000 words from now?
What have you done to actively market the book? What have you found most successful? Why? How do you quantify – in other words, how do determine if a strategy is successful?
I strive to build relationships with my Twitter followers and my Facebook friends. If someone has taken the time to follow me on Twitter and read my blog, I make it a point to follow back and read their blog. My advice to writers is to take advantage of social networking but not just for self promotion; care enough to follow people back on Twitter and blogs, read and comment and build relationships.
Building relationships through social media is not a strategy that I made up. These blueprints for success have been drawn by other successful indie authors. All I’m doing is following their lead. In my opinion, a strategy is successful when it can be duplicated.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Social Media is crucial. Be genuine and build relationships.
About Lili Tufel
Lili Tufel is the author of Sand, a romantic thriller. She is a mom and a civilian who supports military wives. Sand is Lili’s debut novel. Her second novel, Letters from the King will be released later this year. Lili lives in Miami, FL with her husband, three children, and their dog, Luna. Follow her blog.
- Library Girl Reads and Reviews: The bright lights of Social Media with Lili Tufel (Guest Post)