Today we are joined by author Karina Kantas as she sits down with Melissa to talk about her books Undressed and Heads & Tales!
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Melissa: [00:00:00] This is spoiler country and I’m Alyssa today on the show. I’m excited to chat with author and host of behind the pen podcast, Ms. Corina contest.
Karina Kantas: Hi.
Melissa: Hi, welcome.
How are you doing
Karina Kantas: today? I’m good. Where I’m offering coffee grease and we’re having a heat wave. How the moment? Wow.
Melissa: Oh my gosh.
Karina Kantas: Yeah, I’m all blue, actually. One of the we’ve, we’re holding the record of the hottest time in Europe ever. Think about 47.
Melissa: Oh, my goodness. That’s insane. I know we’re having heat waves all over, all over the U S as well.
It kind of, just record, you know, heat waves in different areas. I’m in California, in Northern California. So it’s actually quite cool here, you know, the ocean breeze, but but yeah, I feel [00:01:00] for you, I, I just,
Karina Kantas: I don’t leave the house. I can’t leave the house. He says nobody could leave too. It’s like when you’re walking outside, it’s like, when they say heat wave, it really is.
It’s like a wave hitting you, like you’re right next to a fire.
Melissa: Oh my goodness. Do you have air conditioning in your house?
Karina Kantas: Oh, I see it in my bedroom now with the air conditioner off at the moment, because it has been like a fridge. Oh my God.
Melissa: Oh, that’s terrible. It must be hard to get any, any work done when it’s so hot and you’re miserable, you know?
Karina Kantas: Oh, well, I look online, so I’m constantly in an air conditioned house. That is where I, my office is. So I’m, I’m fine. Good.
Melissa: That’s good. So you live in Greece full time, correct?
Karina Kantas: That’s right. Yeah. Really? 27, 28 years now.
Melissa: Wow. Where are you originally from Greece or where are you from?
Karina Kantas: I’m from the [00:02:00] UK. I’m from old.
Melissa: lovely. What what made you decide to go to Greece?
Karina Kantas: I came on holiday with my sister and met my husband.
Melissa: Oh my gosh. That’s all. It’s like a romantic holiday. Yeah.
Karina Kantas: Shirley Valentine. If you’ve ever seen the film. Oh
Melissa: yeah. Oh my gosh. That’s amazing. That’s it? That’s like everyone’s dream, right? I mean, that’s like why we read romance novels?
You know, you’ve got movies like Tuscan sign and eat, pray love, and you’re living.
Karina Kantas: Yeah, it’s a shame. Is it doesn’t work out like a movie or a book, you know, it’s not as easy as you think it would be, especially not knowing the language. It’s very difficult for me when I came over. And of course his parents being traditionally Greek and seeing the English in the tourist areas, you know, I had a lot to prove Melissa.
Melissa: I’m sure. I’m sure it’s, it’s tough. [00:03:00] Yeah. To sort of, you know, learn a new culture and to kind of try to integrate into it and feel acceptance and all of that. I’m sure it had its challenges.
Karina Kantas: Yeah.
Melissa: Yeah. So, you know, tell me a little bit about yourself as far as you know, your, your writing career. I know you’re an author.
I know that you help other authors, you know, how did you, how did you get into all of it? What do you write?
Karina Kantas: All right. So I started to live a short story when I was 18 called in times of violence. And I wrote that after reading all of se Hinton’s novellas, like the outsiders and rumble fish classic. And I went to the library to try and find out the books with like a ripple culture.
I couldn’t find anything. So I knew that there was a marketplace open for. So it started off as short story. Wasn’t turned into a novel until I [00:04:00] moved to Greece and I was so bored. I have two talents I can sing and I can write. So I thought, what can I do? I can’t really sing while I’m in Greece, because I don’t know the language and there’s no need for an English singer in a little Greek village.
So I thought, right, I’ll start taking my writing more seriously. And so the first thing I got published was the in times of violence, which is a young adult urban. Oh, wow. It’s like, the outside is on motorbikes.
Melissa: Did you get that published with a publisher or did you
Karina Kantas: sell? Well, I, I got burned really badly cause I went with a vanity press see back in those days.
I mean, we’re talking those days. There was no Kindle. There was no you books, everything was paid for back. It was really hard to get a publisher and an agent. And so when someone’s willing to publish a book you let them, and fortunately I got burnt. I learned from my [00:05:00] mistakes. So never go in Avanti press.
Never, never, never, never,
Melissa: absolutely not. Yeah.
Karina Kantas: So then came a Huntress. I had no intention of doing the sequel to in times of violence. As far as I was concerned, it was one book and finished. I had a story to tell, I told story done, but my readers won’t have an it, they wanted to see. Cool. So, Huntress is a sequel to, in types of violence.
Unfortunately it’s an adult. So a young adult read in times of violence. Wouldn’t really be able to read Huntress and I’ll tell you what I’ve done about that after, because I made them really big to be on that. And then after hunches came all this justice, which is MC it’s about a vigilante MC female and C has that lead double lives.
They’re professional working women during the day lawyer, doctor, nurse. [00:06:00] Photographer journalist mechanic. And then at night, when they put the letters on, they become the kittens,
paid to a kick-ass and soap people out. And yeah, a lot of people live. So it’s the same thing. It’s a very unique story that really needs to be on the screen. And so I’m, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for that one. Then you’ve got very trades, which is the last book of that series. It’s called the Outlaws series.
And it’s only the first two books that are related. The other two books are just about outlaw. They’re all about outcast people that have been cast out to their family. They don’t fit in society and they don’t want to go with rules. They don’t want to be told what to do. So they find their own class, you know, with their brothers and sisters and they yeah, of course, a lot trouble.
So yeah. So Outlaws [00:07:00] is about outdoor MCs and that’s four books. And then we have the fantasy geology, which is a illusional reality in the quest. That’s actually contracted with a small press and we’ve got the audio book just came out for book one, which was really exciting. Yeah. This was written after watching Lord of the rings.
Karina Kantas: This is the interesting part, but there’s no hobbies. There’s no wizards. There’s no unicorns. There’s no dragons, trolls, goblins elves, there is nothing like that in my fantasy. Everything is unique. The people are unique. The spells are unique. The names are unique. It really is an amazing geology.
And I hope people will go out and check it out. Delusional reality.
Melissa: So we, the reality. Okay. That’s that sounds so cool. I mean, it’s funny how you can watch [00:08:00] something and get inspired in a, in a way, but like when you create it, it has nothing to really do with what inspired you.
Karina Kantas: It took me an hour to get back from the cinema to my house.
And by the time I got back, the whole of the first book was written in my head. The character’s story. And when I finally got to my pen and paper, cause I do the old fashioned way pen and paper before it goes on the computer. When I got to my pen and paper and I started writing out by the time the book was finished, nothing had changed from the original idea.
Melissa: unusual. Very unusual. Yeah. That’s, that’s almost unheard of, right.
Karina Kantas: That’s it. So when I was submitting and I was looking for an agent and publishers while I was writing I decided to build up my CV by publishing flash fiction. I actually got called the queen of flash [00:09:00] fiction in one of these website writing groups that I was a member of because I just didn’t stop writing them.
And they were really good. Apparently. So when it came to giving up, looking for an agent and the publisher and doing it all myself, I decided to put all these short to flash fiction. And for those that don’t know what flash fiction is, it’s like a one or two page story it’s takes about a minute to read, but there’s a start middle and end on every story.
And I love thrown in twist. And so I published a book called heads and tails. Which was my first collection. And then after that was undressed, that’s my second collection that Scott prose has got poetry. It’s got excerpts of published and unpublished work as well as the original flash fiction in them.
So they’re two collections and dressed and had some tails. [00:10:00] So they’re really short stories. What else did I go?
Melissa: You’re busy.
Karina Kantas: Stone cold, which is a young adult. Supernatural thriller is five eight biographical apart from the supernatural parks and the moon. It has a lot to do with what I went through as a teenager with bullying with just a lot of stuff that teenagers go through that we’ll be able to relate to this book, but she gets her own back anyway, but it’s a, it’s a really cool book.
I think it’s only 99 cents for the book. The audio book is coming out in a couple of weeks and the page back. Thank you. The paper pack is a little pocketbook. It is so cute. You fit in your pocket. You can fit in your handbag. You can take it everywhere with you and that stone cold. And then I had.
Toxic, which is a dystopian erotica Saifai so yes, I [00:11:00] do apply to every single fiction genre. I do. I can say everything.
Melissa: This then when you’re writing in the different genres, are, do you have different pen names or are they all under?
Karina Kantas: No. No, I’m not. I’m not worried. I’m Corinne again. Award-winning author of 14 books, another two in the oven.
I’m proud of who I am. I’ve have no problems, but with toxic, you see, I wrote toxic with another author and we will work together on this. So dystopian world we created, it was amazing, but I wanted to spice mine up and she wants to keep hers. So the actual reader can go to Amazon and type in toxic, and there’ll be two books come up.
So you have the choice of the adult version or the clean version, but it’s exactly the same. Very
Melissa: interesting. I have never, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone do that [00:12:00] before. I mean, you see it with music a lot, right? With a CD, it’ll say, do you want the explicit version or the censored version? You know, if you’re buying for a kid or something and I’ve seen it with music a lot, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone do that with books.
That’s so interesting.
Karina Kantas: Well, we, we created such a world. We couldn’t leave it as one book. So we got together on a, on a webcam meeting after two hours, we got the plot and everything ready for book two. We’d been working on that through the COVID while we’ve been in lockdown. And we’re about 70, I would say 70% of the way through of the first draft of second book.
And we have a publisher standing by wanting to take a trilogy, which is going to be a trilogy three books of the clean version and the adult version taking all six books.
Melissa: Wow. That is that’s awesome. Thank you. That’s huge. I mean, that’s, that’s a big contract.
Karina Kantas: Yeah. Yeah. I [00:13:00] think it was small press. I don’t know them very well.
But my, my colleague who I write with does, and she works with them with some marketing and stuff, so we’re okay. Yeah, I mean, when you’re accepted like that, I mean, you’re talking about audio books and stuff. I can’t do an audio book because I’m in Greece. Would you believe that? Wow.
Melissa: I didn’t know
Karina Kantas: that this is the reason why I signed the contract for the illusional reality, because if any of my books needed to be your audio, it needed to be that fantasy book.
And. They wouldn’t let me narrate it because I’m an, a rater as well. They wouldn’t let me know ate it and they wouldn’t let me hire someone because I’m in Greece. So, because my publisher is in the UK or Scotland, she was able to get the audio book, which just came out recently. So,
Melissa: Interesting. I didn’t know.
I wasn’t aware of that. Is, is there a particular reason why
Karina Kantas: we are blacklisted? We are blacklisted for a [00:14:00] lot of things. I’ve tried doing so many things and as soon as they know, I’m from Greece, it’s like no story, and they’ll give this stupid reason, but they won’t say exactly why. So all my books and then I have whatever I got, hold on 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 5 international.
Film festival awards for yep. This has happened the last couple of months for my book trailers and a documentary that I did on COVID.
Melissa: Oh, that’s fantastic. That’s amazing. I didn’t, I wasn’t even aware that you could win an award for a book trailer. I’m learning these.
Karina Kantas: I mean, they were asking for short films and I thought, well, a book trailers, the short film.
And then when I looked through all the submissions, they actually had a submission for trailer and I thought, okay, that’s a film trailer, but why not [00:15:00] to enter a book trailer?
Melissa: That is so cool. And I think that’s a great idea because you’re right. I mean, I, and I, I have book trailers and I’ve seen so many fantastic book trailers out there now.
I think after people listen to this interview, you’re going to have a lot going on in trying to
Karina Kantas: get submitted. I mean, I wouldn’t be doing it again. I’ve got my, I’ve got another 18 submissions to wait in here about I’ve had Another five selected for, to actually be played at film festivals. And I have to wait to see if I win a prize from those.
So I’ve really done. I might be like 18 awards at the end of the, the the end of the year, but I won’t be doing it again because once you’ve done it, you’ve got the certificate and you’ve got the right to call yourself an award-winning filmmaker, then why you know why to do it again. I’ve got all these beautiful certificates to keep as a souvenir.
So, but it was actually stone cold was the trailer [00:16:00] that won all the awards. Oh
Melissa: my gosh. Did you do you make yourself,
Karina Kantas: I make my trailers, my own books, but I also make trailers for other all sorts as part of all through assessed, which is the The entrepreneur business that I run, where I help other authors with their marketing and promotion, but basically I help with them, everything from brainstorming the initial idea right through to marketing the final product.
Melissa: Okay. Wow. So yeah, let’s talk about all there’s assist. When did you start that and what kind of inspired you to create that program?
Karina Kantas: When I first got my book published in times of violence, like I said, it’s long, long time ago. I was like, what most authors are like when they get their book first published walking around, not knowing where to go, what to do, how to get sales, how [00:17:00] to promote my book.
I knew nothing. And so I learned from as a people I learned from webinars, I learned from websites and, and everything I’ve learned, I’ve want to give back to authors that were, that are now in the same position that I was. This was, I’ve been 27 years in the business now, so I’ve seen a lot and I’ve learned a lot.
And my graphics, my book trailers, my narrations I have my podcast, my radio show. I do one-on-one training with them if they need help, like, they’re not sure how to do Amazon ads instead of just hiring me to do it for them. I like to train them. I want to show them how to do it, so they don’t have to go and hire someone, get.
Melissa: Yeah, no, that’s really smart because you know, that stuff gets expensive. It all adds up. So you can, yeah, it’s insane. I mean, I can’t imagine. I can’t even,
Karina Kantas: I keep my prices as, as low as they can. [00:18:00] I haven’t changed them for the last two years now. I’ve kept my prices the same, because I know what it costs to publish, to write, to actually write the book, publish the book market, the book it’s really, really expensive, and we just don’t understand how much expense goes into a 99 cents ebook.
Yeah, how much that author suspends to get that book ready for them.
Melissa: It’s also like a lot of things that, you know, beginning authors don’t realize, you know, when I was first starting out, I wasn’t aware of all these little tiny costs that, you know, end up adding up over time. And you look at your statement at the end of the month and you’re like, oh my gosh, I just spent more on this than I did on groceries, you know?
Karina Kantas: Yeah, yeah, no, exactly. I mean, I’m happy to work full time. I have full-time clients are constantly writing and I’ve no time to market their books. I don’t have a problem working for [00:19:00] them full time, but for other authors, I want to teach them so they don’t have to keep on pain and pain and pain that they learn how to do, how to use these really useful tools like story origin and prolific works and my book cave.
And then you have Canva and, you know, these are places that every author needs to know how to use, to make a successful career as an author. And so I will go one-on-one with them on the camera, share screen, go through everything slowly, slowly to make sure they understand everything. And if when we finished one, two hours, I don’t care how long it takes when we’re finished, if they still need help.
And therefore them, my past clients, I’m there for them. You know, people can get in touch with me anytime with questions or wanting to hire me for a new release and they want to do a big thing about the new [00:20:00] release of behind me for a weekend. And other people just. Just need a book trailer or wanted to generation or want to come on the show.
And so it’s like an Alica menu. You’ve got a list of pick a name.
Melissa: Yeah. I wish I wish I would’ve known about you five years ago. I mean, I taught myself. I learned, you know, because like, is that have money and finances and I had to teach, you know, cause in the beginning you, you go, oh, I’ll hire this person to just do this for me.
You know, make graphics and websites and stuff. And over time I’m like, no, this is ridiculous. I need to figure this out. So it was a long, frustrating process because I’m not, you know, natural with graphics, but I have learned now. And so it’s, it’s fine now, but for people starting out that aren’t as tech savvy, like, like me it’s great that you have that service to offer where you’re teaching them how to do it.
Karina Kantas: PA and a normal VA that you pay me, I’ll do the service for you. Yeah, I’ll go. I [00:21:00] designed three graphics for you for 10 euros. That is my price. Three graphics for 10, yours banner promo, teaser, whatever you want in any style, I’ll do that. But I would love to teach you how to use Canva yourself. And there’s not many people that will do that.
And, and, and that makes author assist different. It’s the reason I started all through assists what’s for that reason to teach other authors how to manage on their
Melissa: own. Point because like, for example, you know, when you’re a debut author, you have one book out and you think, oh, you know, 10, $25 for a few graphics.
That’s not, you know, that’s not that big of a deal, but then once you have 2, 5, 6, 10 books out and you have releases and sales and discounts, and you realize you need more than just one or three graphics, all of a sudden that $10 turns into 200. So knowing how to make it [00:22:00] yourself is super important.
Karina Kantas: And it’s not just that, I mean, it’s like, Amazon ads again, people hire me to do them, but I’d rather teach them the basics so they can do it themselves without having to pay me or anybody else again to, to use to set up a newsletter. I set up newsletters. I’m running five newsletters for my clients at the moment, but again, I’d like to show them.
How to set up and how to do a newsletter. My clients that I work with now, haven’t got the time to do it. Not that they’re lazy, they just haven’t got the time to do it, but other people, I want to show them how to do it themselves. Tell them what a reader magnet is, show them how it works, how cross promotions work, because an author without a newsletter and a newsletter without cost promotions is it’s like such a wasted opportunity.
I’ve never had [00:23:00] a newsletter go out, but didn’t bring in a sale with a cross promotion. Yeah, absolutely. It’s how important
Melissa: they are. I think you know, in your experience, what do you think the biggest mistake authors make with their newsletter?
Karina Kantas: Too long, too winded, too much information, maybe too many books there.
They’re cross-promoting but they’re cross-promoting with too many offers. I like to have a list and when I get a new subscriber tick off what you want to see in this newsletter, do you want. To know about the characters. Do you want some exits, do you want some free books and they’ll take off what they’re looking for and I’ll have them all in the graph and I’ll see exactly what people want in this newsletter.
Melissa: That’s a really cool idea. I’ve never heard anyone say that before. I mean, you get, you get all three newsletters that are like, you know, we’ll ask a specific question so that they can get engagement, which I know is, is a really good thing to do. That way you have [00:24:00] people actually replying to your newsletter and, and then that way also your mail carrier, whether it be, you know, MailChimp or I know there’s a host of other ones.
They, they will also not see it as spam anymore. Cause I know newsletters can sometimes get into spam folders. So when people engage with the, the newsletter then that host goes, okay, this is the.
Karina Kantas: Yeah, exactly. It’s a shame, you know, that there’s so many promos where you can get a hundred dollar gift card from Amazon, but you need to sign up to 10 newsletters. So this poor reader gets like 20, 30 newsletters every week. How, which ones are they going to click on? Right. You’ll your subject? Your subject has to catch the eye.
It has to make them click. It has to be so unique, so different from any of the other newsletters for it to stand out for that [00:25:00] person to say, oh, I’m going to click on that. Cause that sounds interesting.
Melissa: Yeah. Well, and the other thing I’ve seen as where if you are offering. Too many freebies or if you’re, you know, if your newsletters just consist of freebies, then what I’ve noticed is that you do get a lot of people that subscribe just for that.
And then they’ll unsubscribe, you know, after, and you’re like, wait,
Karina Kantas: oh yes. I know that one very well. Yes. They deliberately, they deliberately go for these contests that get some really good prices, but they have to subscribe. And as soon as the prize is given out, they unsubscribe, the thing they don’t understand is that we have a list of their names.
And so they will not be entering that contest again.
Melissa: Yes, absolutely. Yeah. You’re not gonna, you’re not gonna fall for that twice now, as far as Amazon ads go because you know, every author who [00:26:00] is doing ads you know, they know it’s a struggle, there’s challenges. It’s a really complicated. System to learn and to master at that, you know, what do you think is one of the biggest misconceptions that people have about the ads?
Karina Kantas: When they say start off small and, and keep an eye on things and change, and then put the, the, the CPR up and increase your, your, your, a budget and everything. You’ll be lucky if you get one or two sales, honestly, to, to make money, you need to spend money when it comes to ads.
Karina Kantas: Well, yeah, we’re not talking like a hundred dollars. We’re talking big books to make big bucks back.
Melissa: Yeah. And that’s, that’s hard because most, I would say. But yeah, most of my stuff, not all of us, except for like the same people that are always in the top three positions.
Karina Kantas: So those ones, [00:27:00] those ones that always mark it and say, they know how to advertise, and they’re a best seller and they’re doing these courses and everything.
They’re throwing thousands into Amazon ads because they have the money and they’re giving it back. It, you know, three times because they have the money to do that. But for little people like us. Yeah. It’s yeah, it’s difficult. I mean, there, there were so many of the places instead of Amazon and Facebook, you’ve got Freebooksy and bargain Booksy, which I will hold my hand up to that.
I’ve got some amazing results from them.
Melissa: Good. Yeah, no, I love them. And have you used red roses?
Yeah, mostly bromance. I think they have a fantasy spinoff one, I think it’s called book barbarian. Don’t quote me exactly on that.
Karina Kantas: I
Melissa: think those [00:28:00] two are affiliated, but yeah, I’ve had some really good success with red roses. Yeah. And they’re not expensive. I think it’s like $5.
Karina Kantas: Yeah, exactly. This is what we need to do.
We call this stacking up. We go to the cheap promos, 10, 15, 20, 25. And we have them all stacked up to come out on that day that we have our book 99 cents or it’s free, or it’s discounted to from four to 2 99 and we throw them all at the same time. And then you’ll see these lines upon your roti on KDP, on your roti.
If you’re with Not everybody has to be with them with some, by the way. Right.
Melissa: Exactly. Yeah. I feel like everyone has feels like they have to, but yeah. You know, I know.
Karina Kantas: Yeah. I, the love and hate situation with Amazon, you know, it’s a love, hate situation with, with Facebook’s and it’s just getting harder and [00:29:00] harder for authors when it comes to Facebook.
Melissa: Yeah. I’ve, I’ve refused to currently, I mean, this may change in the future, but currently I refuse to give any money to Facebook because I’ve had issues with them. And the other thing that’s really interesting that happens, especially in the romance world is they will sensor your ads as far as like, you can’t, you can’t advertise anything.
We’re like, oh, we’re banning this ad. And it’s like, it’s impossible
Karina Kantas: to try that. And even have to be an ad they are sent to in posts that they’re sent you use for now eBooks aren’t allowed to be. Promoted on Facebook anymore. So you use the word ebook, download digital, your post is going to be rejected.
Melissa: Oh my gosh. I did not know that. Is that something new
Karina Kantas: that just started it is something new. Yeah. That really wouldn’t tell you, you find this out to, as you go along. Yeah. You’ve it’s it’s classed as [00:30:00] they don’t allow any sales of digital products on Facebook and unfortunately the class e-books as a digital product, so, but we can get around there.
Yeah. I was
Melissa: to ask you, cause there’s some other really great platforms out there that like have you ever worked with anything like crazy maple studios has, you know, the kiss app, the screen. For it’s similar to to the style of like a serialized, but they’re actually full novels where people buy tokens to,
Karina Kantas: oh, this is what Amazon have tried to do.
Well, let’s hope it’s unsuccessful, but I’m a Wattpad girl and I’m in, in Kik girl. I have stories on there on both of them. And I read constantly what pad in kit. And yes, there are, there are options of buying paid books and you get tokens, you get for three chapters three, [00:31:00] and then you get tokens.
If you want to buy the next chapters, just like kinda Vella surprise, surprise. I wonder where they got that idea from Melissa.
Melissa: I know ITO and Kendall Valla. You know, obviously if you’re in KDP, I think most of us were getting emails about it when it was in beta and now they’ve launched it live. And of course, It’s a similar type of pay to play in a sense, I think, you know, even though you technically can’t add retires for it through Amazon, there are still people that are soaring to the top of the charts and then a ton of people that just aren’t even getting their, their serialized book seen at all.
And so there’s a lot of frustration going on in the different Facebook groups from people saying like, you never have this book out on Kindle fella and nobody’s seen it because the search tags are all wonky and no one knows what’s going on.
Karina Kantas: Keeping away from that, my clients with any sterilized books, but if they were then I would push them for something like in [00:32:00] kit, which is a publisher as well.
Yeah. I mean, we’ve within CA you can’t get a story on their website without them reading it first. That’s how you know, that every book that you find on in care is going to be a good book. And again, they have their paid books, but most of them again are free and they have contests all the time. Where, when is the getting their book actually published through in kit which, which is a really good opportunity for
That’s really cool. I have not heard of them. I’ll have to check them out and see what they’re all about. That sounds really fascinating. Now speaking of you know, everything you’re doing with your, your author services, do you have any non-fiction books like craft books? Is that something you’re going to do?
Karina Kantas: you know, I was thinking about doing a, how to, because, you know, there’s so much. That I can tell people [00:33:00] and maybe putting it in the book, it will get out there more, but there’s so many books like that already out there. And I don’t want to follow the herd. You know, I’m just so busy at the moment with a fiction that I just haven’t even got the time to even think about a nonfiction it’s there in the back of my head, but for the moment it’s author assist that people need to go to, to learn what they need to learn.
Melissa: Perfect. And there’s that? That’s just like author assist.com.
Karina Kantas: It’s K Qantas also [email protected] and also Let me think Kagan to author [email protected] That’s my websites. And you can catch me on Facebook anytime. Anyway, I’m always on Facebook, whether I want to be or not. 24 7, I suffer from chronic insomnia.
So when I’m supposed to [00:34:00] be sleeping, it’s actually the right time for me. Us clients to be up. So it’s fantastic. It works out perfect for me because while I’m not sleeping, I’m working for my clients.
Melissa: You’re being productive and then you can take a nap. Right. And the next day,
Karina Kantas: well, yeah, it’s normally 47 hours and then I fly out as a zombie.
Melissa: That’s crazy. Crazy. I thought I was an insomniac. I, you know, I used stay up till usually like three or four in the morning, but but no, that is, that is a tree insomniac right there. Yeah. Well, tell me a little bit about your podcast as well. Like what kind of content do you have on there,
Karina Kantas: but with the podcast, this started out as a, behind the pen, a journey, a writer’s journey.
And it was for all authors non-fiction and fiction. Although I do prefer to chat with fiction authors so I can relate to them more anyway. And Well, I want to know about the person [00:35:00] that’s their name. That’s it. So that when we start chatting my audience, my, my listeners, my, my watches, my viewers and myself, we get to learn who that person is behind the pin.
That’s cool. But then I thought to myself, it’s not only writers that use a pen illustrators use a pen, editors, musicians authors directors. And so it became behind the pen, an artist’s journey I have had I’ve had Walter Koeneke from star Trek series as a guest. I’ve had some directors that have just produced Horatio Hamlet field came on.
I’ve had rock band from India. I’ve had magazine editors and then I’ve had the debut authors and the bestselling authors and, and it just [00:36:00] goes through the, the amount of different people now that come onto the show. And again, all I need to know is, do you work with a pen? Yes, you do. Okay. Come on the show.
Let’s chat and find out exactly who you are and what you do with your pen. And it’s amazing because when someone’s a writer, that’s not all they do when someone’s a singer. That’s not all they did when you have that talent. That artistic talent. There’s always more than one talent. So I always get it out of them.
Come on. I know there’s something else. And it’s like, well, okay. I did do some songwriting. I did play an instrument or I did do some jewelry and I’m a bit of an illustrator, you know? And then it comes out that they are more than what they really thought themselves to be. And we chat about how they became where they are now and what their plans are in the future.
But what I love about it not being scripted is [00:37:00] it goes from a to Z to B, to F to H and back to AA again like what we’re doing now, we’re just having a conversation. We’re talking about anything and everything. And that’s what I love about behind the pen. And it’s a YouTube show first. And then it gets changed into an audio podcast later for Spotify and Google play and all those other platforms.
Melissa: That’s great. I love that concept. You know, like you were saying that that’s sort of how, you know, we on spoiler country, we do our interviews. We try to keep them as unscripted as possible because there’s just nothing better than having an organic conversation with someone and, and not knowing, like you said, where, where the conversation can go and it’s just so much more authentic.
And I think when you’re listening to a podcast as a listener, that’s what you want. You want to eat, you know, you don’t want to hear like a robotic, like access Hollywood style interview, you know, you want, I mean, nothing wrong with that [00:38:00] format either. But I think that yeah, especially in this industry, when you’re talking to creatives there’s just so much more you can cover if you’re just open to, you know, just having a good shot,
Karina Kantas: it’s authentic, but it’s also what’s the word I’m looking for now?
Or I just had it in my head and it’s gone. It’s just more intimate. There we go. It’s more intimate and it’s more authentic. I mean, I have my radio show that is scripted because I have two guests. It’s a live radio show, goes out worldwide. And so I need to know who these guests are, what they do. I can’t just wing it.
I need to know about their book and about their, their history and everything. So, so I did both ways with scripted with my radio and then I’m scripted with my podcast.
Melissa: Yeah, that’s great. And even with scripted or unscripted shows, you still obviously have your points that you want to come across and make sure, you know, covering all of the different [00:39:00] questions and things like that.
But yeah, I think, like you said, it’s more intimate, it’s more organic and natural. And I think honestly, People want to hear, you know, I know when I listened to podcasts other people’s I’m looking for more of that, like fun back and forth between people, you know, especially when there’s like multiple posts.
Yeah, exactly. It’s, it’s so much more entertaining. So tell me more about, cause you got me right. When in the beginning, when we were when you were mentioning your books, I love the whole concept of MC female vigilantes. I just love that. First of all, have you ever seen, are you a fan of sons of anarchy?
Karina Kantas: Right? My books, I tell you now because everyone just suddenly started writing MC romance. When that series came out, my books were already out before, since Veronica came out, in my opinion, cooks is an absolute genius. I. I stalked him everywhere when that show was on Charlie Hannon is just a dream [00:40:00] boat.
He’s gorgeous. And he was the best person for that role. The whole series, one of the best series ever been on TV, in my opinion. And that’s not because I’m a, I’m a biker. And I used to sing in a rock band and I’ve been in that lifestyle. And that’s not the reason why I liked sons of anarchy. It was like, it was, he’d read my book basically.
And, and, and did the program from my book. It was wonderful to watch it on screen and come alive and finally have that been allowed to be on screen being it’s so violent. And yet people loved it. Yeah,
Melissa: absolutely. It was just, yeah, it was such an incredible shout. It is literally my favorite television show of all time.
I knew I liked, you know, it was just so fantastic and I do love the new [00:41:00] one as well. You know, the Mayans and I, I actually got to interview one of the actors from that show and it was totally fan girling the whole time. Yeah, it was insane. But yeah, that show was amazing. I love what he did with the female characters.
You know, I don’t, I don’t know much about biker culture at all. So I’m like the last person that could be like, oh, is authentically portrayed, you know, but just, it was entertaining
Karina Kantas: and detain him, but it was authentically portrayed most definitely. And that’s something in my books that the reviewers have said, how roll and realistic my books are.
I don’t sugar coat it, you know, if there’s going to be a romance, it’s a dark romance. Is there going to be happy ever after? Probably not, because that’s not what life, especially in that situation allows you to have. With the one you’ve just mentioned law is just. The idea of this book came from I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the field [00:42:00] it’s with Kirk Russell and it’s directed by Quentin Tarantino and it’s called death proof
Melissa: to have familiar, but I don’t think I’ve seen
Karina Kantas: it right.
Well, in it, there’s a group of girls who. Yeah, they don’t have a name. They’re not a gang, we’re just a group of friends, but they kick ass and they are tough and they’re sexy. And they’re who the kittens are. They were, the kittens were made from that field. Any of the film has nothing to do with my book.
It’s just where I got the idea of the kittens after watching the film. And I said in my book and I say on Amazon that you know, Quintin Tarantino if you want to get in touch, you know, you’re my ideal director for this film and it needs to be on screen.
Melissa: Absolutely. Well. And do you just, you mentioned, so you were a biker as well.
Karina Kantas: Well, I’m on a moped now because I have a disability, but yes, I used [00:43:00] to have a Viagra two 50 and you sing in rock bands. You speak coffee. So yeah, bike has been around bikers. Most of my life, thanks to my mum. Being best friends with a hell’s angels lady. Yeah. So where they were around. Most of my childhood,
Melissa: I dunno. It’s the coolest thing I’ve heard in a while. Actually, you now I kind of feel like you have to write a memo.
Karina Kantas: What was asked for my books. You see? Yeah. I mean, there’s so much of me in these books. I won’t tell my readers which parts, but there is so much meat in these books. I’ve, I’ve never been a member of an outlaw motorcycle club, but I’ve been on the outside of them.
So I know what goes on, you know, so what I write about isn’t just fiction it’s, it’s very realistic. It’s very raw. It’s very [00:44:00] violent because they aren’t there they’re for adults 18 plus apart from the first book in times of violence was saying before about that booboo that I made. Yeah. I’m actually finally, after 20 years currently working on in times of violence, adult edition, I finally, I will have a series just for the adults.
And then I will leave that one separate book of in times of violence, young adult edition for young adults.
Melissa: So when you’re, when you’re doing that and having to, you know, kind of rewrite it in a sense, are you changing much or are you just adding in seeing,
Karina Kantas: well, first of all, they’ve all got new covers.
All of the books have got new covers. They’ve all got new patches. If we’ve got new covers, I’ve got a new publishing imprint for them. So all of that is going to come out slowly, slowly for the release. When in times of violence [00:45:00] adult edition is done. Now, what I should have done Melissa is taken the young adult version and done some violence.
Graphic sex scenes, some graphic violence in it and be done with and follow the actual plot. But I haven’t, I have wrote a completely different story. It’s the Fiserv system, another thing that I’ve done wrong as well, because it’s a different story. It doesn’t carry on to Huntress, which means after, in times of violence, young adult edition is, is ready.
I’ve got to work on Huntress. So it matches because now Huntress is the sequel to the young adult edition, not the adult
Melissa: edition. Okay. So where are you going to maybe take the original hunches and make that clean or ma or making younger? No,
Karina Kantas: it’s going to say it’s going to stay like it is. And [00:46:00] fingers in times of violence was the first.
And as you go through the series, when you finally get to road rage, that is the most violent and the most graphic book out of the the Outlaws. But the problem is since I’ve started writing in times of violence, young adult, times of violence, adult edition, it is now took over road rage for the amount of sex and violence in the first two chapters that I’m thinking, oh, you know, what have I done?
And what am I going to do? And I really have messed myself up, but it’s all gonna work out beautifully in the end. The covers are amazing. They’re going to sell the books. There are so many people waiting for this adult edition of in times of violence. And I think they are going to be a bit shocked because I’ve gone.
More into dark romance, more into the, [00:47:00] the sexual explicitness and the graphic violence than I have in any of my other books. And the reason for this is because the last book I wrote, which actually wrote on what pad, and that was the first time I ever put my work out there without it being edited.
That was rather nervous thing to do to write straight on what pat do, you
Melissa: know, it’s super nerve wracking.
Karina Kantas: It really is. But it was, it was such a great experience. It’s corporate can change and it’s a dark romance mafia, thriller, and it contains, well, it contains three mafias, the Greek Italian, and the Russian,
Melissa: and the three biggest,
Karina Kantas: the three biggest.
And they are. I mean, if people know what goes on in mafia, it is a moat, outlaw motorcycle club is child’s play to what happens in the mafia. And so [00:48:00] it is really dark romance. And because of after writing that, and then suddenly I started in times of violence, everything just it’s like I’m writing a totally different style now.
No, I’ll get back to me after the
Melissa: yeah. But that’s okay that, you know, it’s okay to write in different styles. And that definitely happens over time. You know, we as writers evolve and we become interested in different things. So, you know, when you first start
Karina Kantas: out, you know, and BDSM and everything mixed up in one now, you know, There’s there’s no nothing stopping me from, from writing any kind of theme or subject that, and now, you know, I’ve done it all
And you, you know, getting back to your original point when we first started was, you know, when you were saying, when you first were publishing, you know, there were no eBooks, there was no Amazon, it was all, you know, paperback hardback. You had to literally mail your manuscript to a publisher in the [00:49:00] snail mail, which, you know, most people aren’t don’t even know what that is anymore, but you know, it’s, it’s, it was very different.
And so because of that, there were only what 10 yannaras at the time, you know, there was this romance and then there was mystery and there was horror and there’s literary fiction. And now because of eBooks and Amazon, there are thousands and thousands of categories and genres. Possibly mixed together.
And, you know, you see these mashups of reverse harem academy and, you know, bully romance specific secret baby either. It is there’s this so that we can, you know, and I think that’s great. I think that’s fantastic that you have so many, there’s so many people with so many different interests. So the fact that we can have like a reader base for every type of trope and genre is really cool.
Karina Kantas: yes, I was really worried with my my mailing list. When my dystopian erotica came out, I was worn to use a pen name and I said, no, I’m not going [00:50:00] to use a pen name. And so I warned my readers. I said, it’s coming out. It’s going to be out in the newsletter. You can ignore it or you can click on it and buy it.
And I lost six describers on that newsletter.
Melissa: That’s not, that’s not bad. Yeah. That’s not bad at all. And now on your Amazon pages, do you have any kind of like warning, like trigger warnings or anything?
Karina Kantas: Nope. I don’t believe in them
Melissa: really. Okay. Interesting.
Karina Kantas: No, I’ll tell you why, because the covers and the blurb should give the trigger warning, the covers and the blurb will tell the reader what to expect and if they still buy it, knowing that what they’re going to get, then that’s.
Karina Kantas: love that. I mean, do you, do you see number one, best sellers like Stephen King, given trigger warnings and [00:51:00] why should independent authors do that? Yeah.
Melissa: Yeah. Now that’s, you know, it’s, it’s something I have I have them on one of my series because that’s what everyone told me. You know, you got to make sure you do this so someone doesn’t buy your book and then get upset.
So I have just, it’s a simple little lake, you know, this book is adult content 18 and over only please. But, but that’s interesting. You’re the first author I’ve spoken to. That is like, Nope, I don’t do them.
Karina Kantas: I mean, of course it will say 18 plus people need to know that this is an adult book, 18 plus, but the blurb has to tell the reader what they’re going to get.
Melissa: Yeah. 100% for sure. Yeah. It’s it’s funny. Well, cause there are, there are a lot of books. That I’d like trigger warnings for all different kinds of stuff I’ve seen. No,
Karina Kantas: it got too far. They go, honestly,
Melissa: definitely. So are you, but are you ever worried about like a younger person seeing your [00:52:00] white box and then not knowing and buying an adult book and then being like, whoa, like, has that ever happened?
Karina Kantas: No. If they buy Huntress and they read it and they either leave a review or not, it’s going to be a good review and they’re going to really enjoy the book. Unfortunately, teenagers, young adults, they’re not young adults anymore. They read the most graphic and Adult books that are out there. I mean, some of these especially fantasy ones that are supposed to be young adults, some of the content in them is absolutely ridiculous.
I’ve even put the book down and thought, oh my gosh. And young adults read this. Cause I know where I’ve let my, my teenager read it.
Melissa: Yeah, absolutely. It’s all, we’ve become kind of desensitized, I think, to a lot of stuff. Cause even like the television shows now on Netflix and, you know, movies that come out, I I’m like, whoa, wait, [00:53:00] like, you know, 20 years ago we wouldn’t be, that would be scandal, you know?
Yeah. It’s just interesting how that culture has changed. And and at the same time, the, the, the warning labels have gotten more so as well. And I guess that’s the product of the other, you know, it’s interesting. So now tell me. What are you, I mean, aside from, you know, revamping that one series, what else are you working on?
Anything new that you have coming out that we can look for?
Karina Kantas: Well, broken chains is at the moment in the Wattis competition which is centrally. Thank you. It hasn’t been selected as the final, if, if it’s selected then of course I have to keep it on there, take it off in kit and see how well it does.
And if it’s not selected, then I am publishing it under the same imprint as the new outlook service will be in. Okay.
Melissa: Awesome. [00:54:00] Something exciting then to look out for
Karina Kantas: a broken chains is just it’s amazing. I am absolutely so proud of it. I’ve gone over. Board anything that I’ve written before when it comes to dark romance, but only because I’ve been reading about mafia novels on what pad.
And so I can see how far people are taking it. And when, where the limit is, you know, where they go too far. And so it’s, it’s got a bit of everything in it, but it’s this poor, poor woman who doesn’t realize that she’s related to the Greek mafia, that her father is actually the, the Dawn of the Greek mafia.
And she’s she lives on her own. She does her own thing and she’s then kidnapped by him. And they’ve arranged a marriage between her and the Dawn of the Russian mafia to cement the two mafias together. [00:55:00] And first time she meets him when they’re alone in a room and she says, look I’m not going to marry you.
I don’t want anything to do with the mafia. This isn’t nothing to do with me. And he gets pretty violent with her in the room. And then when her father comes back in and finds out that she’s, she’s turned around and said, you know what? She said, then he also gets violent and takes it down to the basement.
And she gets until she’s broken. Basically her own father breaks her. And so she becomes a submissive to do whatever she’s told to do. At least they think she is, she’s a lot stronger than than they think. And she plays him really well, but, but then the Italian mafia get hold of her as well. And of course they think that she.
The Greek mafia is princess. And so she knows all about her dad’s warehouses and where the drugs are. And [00:56:00] so she’s tortured to try and get information. And of course she knows nothing because she she’s just, she didn’t know anything about a father. You know, she knew that he’d left after her mom was supposed to have died in a car crash.
When she came to in his bedroom in Greece, there’s her mum sitting beside her, you know, it’s a fantastic story and it has, it does have that happy ending, but excuse my language. I’d put her through hell shit, before she gets a happy ever after.
Melissa: Well, that’s, that’s what we want. Right. We want it. We want to see all of the torture and the, you know, just so we can, it makes the happily ever after so much more
Karina Kantas: rewarding, she needs to go through it to become.
Melissa: Yeah. Now, will that be that you, is that a standalone? Do you have more books planned
Karina Kantas: that no, that is a hundred percent standalone, whether I do never mafia later on who knows, but that is just a standalone. Yeah. [00:57:00] Okay.
Melissa: Now what would you say you know, currently, cause I know this changes for, for authors.
What currently is your favorite genre to write in?
Karina Kantas: It’s the ones that I’m reading because that’s what I’m writing. So at the moment I’m doing I finished with broken chains at the moment. I’m writing the adult in times of violence and I’m also doing the second book of toxic with the dystopian erotica.
So I’m reading a lot of dark romance. Okay.
Melissa: Very fun. Yeah. Well, yeah. Well, before I let you go, this has been fun. And this has been so amazing and I can’t wait to check out all of your, your bar. Yeah, absolutely. You know, besides writing, and I know you mentioned you like to sing, you know, what are else are some of the things that you like to do, you know, in your, in your islet, your, you know, in Greece and like, what do you feel your day RAF when you’re not writing or working on your podcast,
Karina Kantas: that you know what it is?
I work 10 hours a day for my [00:58:00] clients. The computer goes on at 10 in the morning and goes off 10 at night. I’m still around for them. If they get in touch on Facebook and messenger and they need help with something I’m still around the weekends is when I do my promotion and I have 14 books to promote when I get my writing done.
So I only have the weekend to promote my own books and do my own writing. In the evenings because finally the seasons started opening up now a little bit. We have some tourism. My husband works in the karaoke bar, which is perfect for me. So me and my youngest, she’s 11, we will go karaoke some nights and I love singing.
It just gives me so much pleasure and freedom and just allows me to be me when I sing. And I used to sing in a rock band so I can sing. I sing in a charity choir. So what I basically do is when I’m singing, I’m PR in [00:59:00] for the bar and I’m actually getting people walking in, listen to me, singing, and then sit and have a drink and they stay for the rest of the night,
Melissa: either gotten their own concert.
Karina Kantas: It’s not just me singing. See, only pass time. Mary, is it reading and singing when I can, but most of the time I’m working.
Melissa: Okay. What’s your out? What’s your go-to karaoke song?
Karina Kantas: Oh, no, you’ve asked every year it changes this year, I think it’s me and my youngest Alexia, we sing a song physical.
Melissa: Oh, okay.
Yeah, that’s a great
Karina Kantas: song. Go to that and fix me with Coldplay. That’s our go-to song for this. That sounds
Melissa: amazing. That song guts me, you know,
Karina Kantas: When my dad passed away, I had a really hard time singing that song until, until I [01:00:00] found out it was one of his favorites and now I sing it for
Melissa: him. So, oh, that’s so sweet.
That’s very special. You can feel closer to to someone when you sink, you know, music has so many memories, it’s kind of like scent, you know, there’s lots of nostalgia surrounding it.
Karina Kantas: Most definitely. Yeah. I mean, I’ve been singing for years now, so, I mean, I used to be able to sing the karaoke book.
You close your eyes and pick a song and be karaoke and I’d be able to sing it. You know, my voice has changed from singing, Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey right down now to to dilute her and and Coldplay. So. Yeah,
Melissa: that’s so fun. Yeah. And as you were saying, you know, writers are so much more, you know, you have so much creativity, not just with one avenue, there’s many, many different things you can do with your, with your creativity and to use those, those outlets as well.
Because I was find art and music and literature. It’s just a therapy.
Karina Kantas: Oh, [01:01:00] so is writing, especially writing about to submit this happened in your past. You get so much closure from it, especially when I killed off my bullies in stone cold. That was very satisfying. Yeah. Yeah. Good for you.
Melissa: I love that. Well, it’s been an absolute pleasure to have you on spoiler country today.
I just, I feel like I could talk to you for hours. I feel like we’ve known each other for much longer. So, this has been really great and you know, come back any time and I look forward to talking to you on your show as well. So that’ll be we’ll get to chat more.
Karina Kantas: Yeah, I can’t wait. Thank you so much for having me on the show.
It’s been a pleasure meeting you, Melissa, and I can’t wait to do this again.