Coffee Talk: Gina Hooten Popp

By: Gina Hooten Popp

1. How did you get published? Please share your own personal journey.

For most of my adult life I’ve worked as an advertising creative and one of the ways we get noticed when we’re first starting in the industry is to win award shows. So I took the same tactic with my book. I started entering it into writing contests and managed to place in a few. At these shows I started meeting agents and snagged the attention of a few. I also queried agents and publishers. Several became interested and were having conversations with me, but no one was moving forward with a contract. So when one author friend of mine started having success with her self-published novels, I took notice. It seemed a natural fit for me and it is working out very well. Yes, some days I would like to have the benefits and experience of having a team behind me, but other times I like the total control that comes with doing everything yourself.

2. What was your inspiration for writing "The Storm After?"

The actual inspiration to write “The Storm After” came when I took my mother-in-law back for a visit to her hometown of Galveston. We were on the Seawall watching the waves. They were particularly angry that day. Roaring, crashing on the rocks. Just for a moment I felt the terror of what it must have been like to be in hurricane and the story just kind of came to me all at once. Of course, I had to do quite a bit of research about the 1900 Storm and the time period, but the characters and the story arrived that day

3. What do you find is the most challenging part of being an author?

Finding the time to write.

4. What do you find is the best part of being an author?

The fact that future generations can pick up my thoughts in the form of a novel and read them long after I’m gone makes me very happy. Also, I like to think maybe my connection with readers will help them out a little or inspire them. You never know.

5. What is ONE thing that you have done that brought you more readers?

Offering “The Storm After” in a free five-day promotion on Kindle. I was shocked when the eBook was downloaded 13,296 times by people around the globe. At first I worried there would be no one else to buy it once so many people had taken the free version, but afterwards I realized a bump in sales. Now I believe the free promo was a great way to get people to take a chance on an unknown author and I’m very grateful they are telling their friends and families about it. In fact, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has told someone else about my book – you’ve really made a difference.

6. What's one thing that your readers would be surprised to know about you?

With me, pretty much what you see is what you get, so there aren’t a lot of surprises. But I could use my overactive imagination to make something shocking up if you’d like.

7. What are your top 3 tips for writing a great thriller?

a) Let your mind float freely when thinking of the initial concept.
b) Makes the pace of the writing fast.
c) Keep the unexpected plot twists and turns coming so you surprise even yourself.

8. Who is one author you'd love to have dinner with and what would you order?

I would like to break the rules and have dinner with two authors – Jesus and Willie Nelson. There would be more than enough food to go round as we would be dining on juicy hamburgers hot off the grill. Afterwards, we’d sit around a campfire and tell jokes.

About the Author
A native Texan, Gina Hooten Popp was born in Greenville and now lives in Dallas with her husband and son. THE STORM AFTER is her first novel.