JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Sarka-Jonae Miller, author of Between Boyfriends
“Between Boyfriends” is about a 21-year-old who realizes that she is way too boy crazy after her latest mistake callously dumps her. She discovers her unhealthy pattern of jumping from relationship to relationship with whomever she can get.
Jan’s mother then discovers that her daughter is no longer enrolled in college when a hot new guy from her massage school accidentally lets the secret slip. In response, Mrs. Weston cuts Jan off.
Now Jan has to figure out how to pay her bills, define herself without a guy and be a better person while surviving one hilarious situation after another. Life is tough when you don’t know who you are.
“Between Boyfriends” is a book for every woman who has ever felt unloved, who has ever put someone else down to make herself feel better (and felt terrible about it), who has ever tried to change to make a guy happy, and who doesn’t have the support system that everyone else takes for granted.
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the inspiration to write “Between Boyfriends”?
Sarka-Jonae Miller: Mainly from friends in high school and college. I knew a few girls who could never be single. They were always chasing some guy, talking about some guy and crying over some guy. They were never there for me or their other friends.
Every woman has a friend like that: someone who is never single. She is just between boyfriends. She’ll have a new guy within five minutes, yet you wish she would just stop dating and take some time to figure her life out.
So that is what Jan does: she vows to quit dating and figure out what started the whole mess in the first place.
JP: What sets “Between Boyfriends” apart from other books in the same genre?
SJ: I absolutely love chick lit. I truly do. But sometimes I get sick of main characters who are pretty perfect. They have these perfect, happily married parents. Their friends are super supportive. Maybe some guy did something horrible like cheat on them, and that hurts, but that is the worst thing that has ever happened to them.
I wanted to write a book that had the same light, breezy tone and humor that I adore from the genre, but dealt with a flawed main character who didn’t have a great childhood, doesn’t have everything going for her, and is willing to do some real work. I think Jan’s issues and flaws, plus the pace at which she deals with them, are what set “Between Boyfriends” apart from most other books in the genre.
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that led to “Between Boyfriends” getting out to the public?
SJ: I think as an author you really have to take the time and responsibility to learn how to market your books. For a long time, I just wanted to sit back and wait for an agent to accept my manuscript, find me a publisher and then together they would handle everything while I got to put all my energies into being creative.
Once I realized that wasn’t going to work, I scoured the web for articles on book promotion, I spent unknown hours building up a fan base on Facebook, getting thousands of Twitter followers, and blogging for no pay. I learned about advertising, keywords, guest posting, creating backlinks, running giveaways, and finding places to promote “Between Boyfriends”.
What helped me get exposure was looking at my book as a product and figuring out how to sell it, even though that went against my instincts as an author. Eventually, I found a publicist who helped me out, too. Never undervalue a great publicist.
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take you to start and finish “Between Boyfriends”?
SJ: I worked on “Between Boyfriends” over the course of 7 years. I wasn’t working on it daily the entire time, but I was writing, rewriting, and rewriting some more throughout most of that time.
My process was to sit down and just write. Although I believe that this is a valid writing style – as opposed to outlining and carefully planning a book out before beginning – it did create a story that was flat in some places. I sent it out to friends and later to literary agents and received some awesome, brutal feedback. I did some major rewrites and restructuring, and voila, I finally had a decent story.
For my next book, I’m tweaking my writing process for sure.
JP: What’s next for Sarka-Jonae?
SJ: I’m working on the sequel to “Between Boyfriends”. It was always meant to be a trilogy, so that is what I am planning. I actually went to Thailand, twice, for inspiration and “research.” I can’t say much more without giving away a lot about how the first book ends.
I’m also working on a fantasy novel and another chick lit novel, but I don’t have anything I’m ready to share yet. They both need more work.
“We’re having a JANuary sale. “Between Boyfriends” is only $0.99 until the end of the month. Check it out now.” ~ Sarka-Jonae Miller