Tell us your name. What is your age?
I’m Sable Sylvan and I’m 23 (yes, twenty-three) years old.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I live in the Boston area with my boyfriend and our friends.
A little about myself…
I write bearanormal romance: paranormal romance with bear shifters, BBWs, and in every series, a ménage, billionaires, male strippers, hot sauce, or something else gets tossed into the mix!
I graduated from college in 2016 with a degree in English Literature. My creative writing, graphic design, web design, ecommerce store, and other coding is all done by me by hand. At the time of this writing, I have never paid for paid marketing or ads. The only thing I buy is editing, graphic design components like stock photos and themes, and I pay my mailing list fee.
I’ve been writing on the Amazon platform since I was 19. I’ve been a Kindle Unlimited All-Star (September 2015), with an author rank in the top 100 overall, #4 in paranormal romance.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I just finished up a five book series, “The Feminine Mesquite”, which was focused on bear shifters, BBWs, BDSM, and BBQ. There’s a line of five hot sauces and five sweet teas that goes along with this series, which you can find at www.shopsablesylvan.com
I’m working on “Bear Buns: Denver”, which is a spinoff of my “The Twelve Dancing Bears” series, which was set in Seattle and focused on an all-male all-shifter strip club. “Bear Buns: Denver” will feature male strippers and ménage, but this time, all the heroines work at the club (in positions such as chef, makeup artist, theater manager).
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve always loved books, especially fiction with fantasy and romance. When Twilight came out, I was in middle and high school, and it was huge. It was my generation’s Titanic. I fell in love with paranormal romance and continued reading it into college.
In college, at age 19, I learned about Amazon’s KDP program and realized I could make more money with self publishing than I could at a retail job or doing work study. I always wanted to make money from art, because it allows me to just focus on making art, and the launch of KDP changed everything for me.
The money I earned from KDP helped pay for college in a major way. I probably wouldn’t’ve been able to finish if it wasn’t for the romance royalties.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I first got my feedback from my ARC group for my first book. It was amazing to get so much feedback so quickly and it allowed me to iterate on my stories and make them even better. Each book is better and more popular than the last. You don’t have to take my word for it. Look at the reviews.
What inspired me to write my first book?
I wanted to venture into romance rather than erotica back in 2015. With the launch of Kindle Unlimited, the ebook market changed a lot.
I chose to write about bear shifters (like werewolves, but bears) because my market analysis showed that 30 of the top 1500 books on Amazon in the summer of 2015 were books about bear shifters, most priced at $2.99 or lower, featuring BBWs (big beautiful women), at least novella length (100 pages or 25,000 words), and of course, there were some other factors for success that I identified.
I’d always preferred shifters over vampires, so that’s why I went into shifters specifically. I chose bears not just because they’re popular, but because they’re a culturally loaded symbol in pretty much every culture. I wanted to explore how that symbol is changing in the modern day, through the romance genre.
How did you come up with the title?
I pick titles that make it obvious what fairy tale I am exploring in my book and include the subgenres. Examples: “Shifterella And The Billionaire Bear” is obviously a Cinderella story featuring billionaires and the Cinderella fairy tale. “Beauty And The BBQ” is obviously a Beauty And The Beast story featuring a BBQ/hot sauce/food story line.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
In paranormal romance you have to be hyperaware of culturally loaded symbols and how they operate in the popular imagination to ensure you’re telling the story you want to tell. In an ecommerce ecosystem of vampires, werewolves, ghosts, psychics, and time travelers, you need to make your series stand out without seeming satirical.
In paranormal romance, balancing seriousness and levity is very important, especially when the themes of consumption are included in regards to the body politic. How are things like vampirism and transformation treated in a given author’s work?
Figuring out the balance of lore exposition and story is also very important. Readers don’t want too much exposition, but without some sort of explanation of the world’s rules, readers can get confused. This is especially difficult if, like me, an author writes standalone romances, because a lack of exposition confuses new readers whereas any rule exposition tends to bore old readers. I try not to use info dumps, but, I do include basic exposition about my world’s rules in all my books so any reader can pick up any book and understand what is going on.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Nothing but the food and the feelings are based on truth.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I get out of the house to work, at a coworking space, and I also go out to eat, hang out with friends, and try to maintain a healthy work/life balance. I work way too hard and should get out more actually!
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Me! I do all my own cover design, graphic design, and product design ([http://www.shopsablesylvan.com%29]www.shopsablesylvan.com). I would strongly recommend authors that are starting out hire a cover designer.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
The stories may be fictional but true love is real.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
I’ve been really into YouTube recently. I like Filthy Frank, Mike Diva, and h3h3 productions, because they’re using video and social media to disrupt the music, video, and journalism industries. It’s very DIY, self-published, and these creators get millions of impressions, not just dozens of thousands. They’re sharing stories with a much broader audience than they could have before the launch of these emergent storytelling mediums.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
The Amazon corporation, by continuing to release new products that change the fiction ecosystem.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I learned more about Scandinavian and Nordic culture, specifically Norwegian culture. I had a chance to think more about the character of the Viking in the cultural imagination.
If your book was made into a film, who would you want to play the lead?
I think that Chris Pine, Chris Hemsworth, Channing Tatum, Chris Pratt, and Danny Devito would play the Scoville Brothers perfectly.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Whether you need a home office or an away office, whether you need to write in the dead of night or during NaNoWriMo, just write and keep writing and don’t stop.
Being a writer:
Step 1: Write
Step 2: Don’t stop
Step 3: If you stop, go to step 1.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Look out for some brand new fiction experiences from the mind of Sable Sylvan coming out in 2017.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m into Olivia Rigal’s “Curve Masters” series. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B072BB4CDW/ref=series_rw_dp_sw BBWs and BDSM, doesn’t get hotter than that.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
The earliest book I remember reading is “The Neverending Story”. My grandmother read it with me.
What makes you laugh/cry?
My boyfriend makes me laugh, cutting onions makes my eyes faucets.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Anyone from the Design Fictions research group at the MIT Media Lab. I’m interested in disrupting storytelling mediums, and they’re telling stories through speculative design. I think we’d grok.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I play a lot of video games. A lot. I’m really into makeup, Asian skincare products, and right now, I’m on an aromatherapy and home scents kick. I’m a little bit of a foodie, but I work a lot, so I don’t have time to cook a lot of food at home. I’m also obsessed with Amazon, speculative design and media, memes, graphic design, alternative reality games, and “weird stuff”.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
So many shows. Recently I’ve been watching Parks and Recreation, Silicon Valley, Game Of Thrones, Harlots, The Handmaid’s Tale, Gravity Falls, and The Mindy Project. I’m excited for most of the new sci-fi movies coming out in 2017.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Foods: lychee, orgeat, macarons, steak.
Colors: rose, mint, navy, charcoal, silver.
Music: alternative, lounge, emo, darkwave, ambient, classical.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Pivot into emergent media, hopefully get into the grad school program of my choice.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
best way for readers to find my books is to go to www.shopsablesylvan.com because the catalog is all there
merch is www.shopsablesylvan.com I have shirts, hot sauce, tea, and some other stuff!
amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Sable-Sylvan/e/B010ZPPCJ8