There are very few times when someone you look up to uses their status for special interactions and really appreciates the support they receive from fans. Rue Volley is that type of role model. She uses her experiences in her professional life to teach others, and she shares the trials and tribulations of her personal life through her social media. Her readers and followers get a glimpse of who she is as a person, and that makes her journey feel like it’s our journey. I was lucky enough to interview her for Slutty Girl Problems. Check out the interview below.
Could you share a little about who you are, and what you do?
I’m a USA Today Bestselling Author and an award-winning screenwriter. I’m also the head of the graphics department for CHBB Publishing, and personally handle or oversee 150+ authors signed with the company and their cover art. I function with CHBB not only as the head of the graphics department, but I mentor and share my knowledge about marketing and promotion.
When did you first realize you wanted to be an author, and what has your journey been like?
I never decided to be an author and I’m not even sure if I am now. I’m an artist who enjoys spinning a tale.
My journey began when I was little. My mother loved reading books. She always had one in her hand and she read stories to me quite often. When my siblings came along I began making up stories to entertain them. Sometimes they would be elaborate series of stories involving the same characters, and sometimes they were short. I started to incorporate a puppet show when they were old enough to understand.
When I was in high school, I had an amazing advanced English teacher who taught me how to take all of these incredible ideas in my head and start to streamline them into cohesive plot lines. She also believed in me and that made a huge difference in allowing my imagination to run wild.
My father died from a massive heart attack in 2010. At that time I was working a job in corporate retail. Suddenly writing became something that could help me focus on something else besides his death so I dove into it head first and started to pen my first novel, A Vampires Tale of Blood and Light. That book was a culmination of forced positive thinking as it neared six hundred pages in length. Finally, I was able to end it on a cliffhanger and then I was faced with writing book two. In the end it took me almost six years to complete and it was six novels later I typed ‘The End’. It was definitely a labor of love and self-prescribed therapy.
At that point I was signed to a publishing company overseas who had seen my first novel and wanted to invest in the entire series. I signed a deal with them in 2010, and they sold their company to CHBB Publishing in 2013. I’ve remained with them to this day.
To date I’ve written over forty books. Thirteen novels, and the rest were novelettes or short stories. I’ve crossed into almost every genre because being in a box is a dangerous proposition for me. When I’m told it needs to be one way I will find ten other ways for it to be done. It’s just my nature.
In August of this year I hit the USA Today Bestsellers list. It was a dream come true. Next up is New York Times! Hopefully I can achieve it.
Getting your work published can often times be a difficult task. How were you able to get started?
I never sent out a single inquiry. I was lucky enough to be courted and signed by a company overseas.
What does a typical day look like for you? And how do you find a happy balance between work, life, and writing?
A typical day starts between 3 to 4 AM for me. I wake up, get some coffee, check my emails (of which there are currently 16,235 in my inbox) Then I check my alerts on Facebook and Messenger. Once I catch up (well… sort of), I pull my schedule for covers and make sure that I don’t have any that I need to work on. After that I usually pull up my current work-in-progress and if I’m uninterrupted I can write for hours. The most I’ve written in one day is around thirty-five pages unedited.
Your novels and movie seem to share a common dark and mysterious feel. Why do you find this type of writing attractive?
I love broken things. People, places, situations. They intrigue me.
Where do you draw inspiration for your stories and characters?
Everything around me serves as inspiration from conversations with strangers, dinner parties with friends, love, loss, and triumph. I take bits and pieces from my life and weave them into every story that I write. I think you should write what you know. I know that I’m a continuous work in progress so it shines through in the books that I write. Being that raw and honest with your art will attract a loyal following. They’ll feel what you’re trying to say and know that you didn’t write anything for money or fame. You wrote it because you loved the process and desperately needed to share it with others.
The Devil’s Gate Trilogy is much more of an erotic novel than your other works. What are some key differences in the writing process and/or challenges of erotica?
I think the main challenge is showing that erotica can be more than just sex on every page. I appreciate and respect novelists who can do this and build a compelling plot line and unforgettable characters within the genre. It can easily become porn, as opposed to something beautifully intimate and I prefer the latter. It’s much more stimulating to me.
What advice do you have for readers interested in becoming an author?
Polish your work. Make sure you read and re-read it. Write a draft, then do a content editing on it. Then have your beta readers tear it apart, go back in, fix it again, and then check for grammar mistakes. After all of this your editor should get it and then you get to fix things again. All the while you should be saving your money and writing up a detailed promotional and marketing plan for your novel. You should never release a book without a budget or a plan and then wonder why it didn’t sell.
YOU sell it. Think carefully about the cover art, don’t just slap something together in a cheap graphics program and toss it out there. Hire someone who knows what they’re doing. Quality isn’t cheap and there are no real short cuts in this business. You get exactly what you pay for. The entire time you’re writing, you should be building the buzz on your book. Network with people, build relationships and collect your team who will help you share this work when it’s ready to be sold. This can be people you hire to help you such as a personal assistant or publicist. Some authors hire agents. I didn’t. Agents shop your work to other medias such as TV and film. If you honestly think you’re ready for that step, then go ahead and investigate it but make sure you check out who these people represent and what type of results they have. You pay all of these people and you should never hire anyone simply because everyone else is doing it or because you think you have to. Do your homework. I would also suggest that you set up a new bank account for business and use it for everything that has to do with your book or books. This will make it much easier come tax time. This journey is different for everyone, but the one thing that remains the same is that it takes money to make money. The sooner you realize this and treat it as a business the better off you’ll be.