Welcome to the Indie spotlight!

Let’s talk about indie’s

Every week I will be interviewing a different indie author and putting that author on display. The links to their works will be linked and a newsletter will be sent out to all my subscribers.

Stephanie DosSantos

Fantasy author, Stephanie DosSantos began writing poetry at a young age, quickly moving to school newsletters and magazines, as well as writing for a local newspaper. After switching gears from an interest in journalism to a career in the medical field lasting 20+ years, it was time to go back to writing. 2020 marked the release of her fantasy novel, Talin and the Tree-The Legend, the first in an enchanting series. Book 2 released summer 2022 and Book 3 is due spring/summer 2024. Look for more books on the series page that are under development now! ~ Stephanie resides with her husband and pets in central Texas!

Author Interview.

• At what point did you decide to be an author and what was your path to publication?

I’ve always loved to write, starting with poetry and short stores in grade school. Shortly after I graduated to school newsletters and magazines then worked as a freelance writer for a local newspaper. Then I got busy with “life”.  I’d always wanted to “write a book”, so years later I finally had an idea while on vacation in the Caribbean which turned into Talin and the Tree. After much research, I chose to self publish my books under the imprint, BlackDog BrownDog Press. 

• Who is your favorite character to write, and why is that person your favorite? If picking a favorite character would be like picking a favorite child, which character seems to be the most demanding or your attention and detail as a writer?

My favorite character would likely be a supporting character, Mama D’Lo, a character from Caribbean folklore who is half woman and half snake. She reminds me of a Caribbean Effie from the Hunger Games. She is flamboyant and derives jovial pleasure from dangerous adventures but deep down has a soft heart and kind, caring spirit. This is a character that readers tend to fall in love with so I enjoy hearing their comments about her and I always giggle while writing about her antics. Look for LOTS more of Mama in Book 4! (Slated for release at the end of the year or early 2025)

The most demanding character would be my main character, Talin. Just because of the attention I need to give him to make him grow and mature over the series. I’m in his head all the time trying to decide if he really would or would not act certain ways in particular situations. 


• Describe your writing process. Do you outline, plot and plan, or is your writing more organic?

The age old question! 😀 I am a loose outliner then pants my way from point A to point B to scene C, to event D, and so forth. I enjoy a nice mix. Sometimes I write myself into a corner but also find it a challenge to see how I can resolve that problem I got myself into in the first place. But I generally know major points of the story and where I’d like it to go, with some exceptions. I’m not so rigid that I can’t flex and change as the story progresses.  

• What are some books or authors that you would recommend to our readers?

I love Sarah Beth Durst and the Renthia series, as well as some of her other stand-alones. The descriptions just pull me in!! 


• Tell us what you enjoy most about writing fantasy.

I get to make up my worlds exactly how I like them to be and blend with everyday life. There’s less research as say, compared with sci-fi. I love to daydream and refuse to grow up so it’s right up my alley!! 

• What have you found to be most challenging about writing fantasy?

Blending the world of fantasy with modern day and making it believable. Even though there is a fantasy world with magical elements, I still want the reader to feel that everything is real. 


• Have you been able to incorporate your previous experience in your jobs/education in your writing?

Absolutely. By trade I am still a full time ER RN and have been a paramedic for many years before that. When Talin gets caught in predicaments, I cannot have him magically heal or not get hurt at all. He needs to have real injuries, although magic can heal him somewhat. Also, I am a practiced meditator and those concepts slide into my books here and there. I also studied Zoo Science and biology in college so am fascinated by nature, wildlife, and animals. My future books will likely always include all of these elements. I love writing about all of it. 

• Do you identify with your main character or did you create a character that is your opposite?

I can identify with Talin feeling outcast as I wasn’t the most popular kid in school growing up. I’ve learned many things from very wise people as I’ve aged in life and try to bring these perspectives to Talin. He has a soft spot for animals as I do and is very family oriented. 


• Describe the Talin and the Tree in 10 words or less for people who are just learning about it.

Oh wow- hardest question of all them! —Percy Jackson in the Caribbean chased by a flaming Jaguar. 

• Do you have any odd (writing) habits?

I hoard pens, post it notes, and notebooks 😃 Every characters name has a hidden meaning. I must have music on to get the most out of my writing and I prefer a view of the outdoors, can’t seem to write well within 4 plain walls. 


• What has been the toughest criticism you have received as an author? What has been the best compliment?

Toughest criticism has been that I write and release books too slowly. Best compliment is readers telling me they love my books and can’t wait for the next one. So in a way, those both seem to compliment each other to a degree. I wrote slowly because I’m not a full time author (yet), but also because I want them to be as good as they can be when I do release them. 

• Share some advice for aspiring authors. What advice would you give to your younger self?

Start sooner. Write a shorter series for your first series. Quit nitpicking with your edits. “There comes a point when the book is good enough”, wise words I learned from Craig Martelle. Get the book out, learn, rinse, and repeat. Have fun. 

I would tell my younger self to never stop writing when I did. Had I started sooner, I could be selling sooner, gaining a larger following of readers sooner, building a backlist sooner, and becoming better with each and every book— sooner. 😉


• What is your favorite line from your book?

“I’ve never seen anyone with such tan skin turn so green!”~ Mama D’Lo. 

• To date, what is your favorite (or most difficult) chapter you have ever written?

I would say these for me are more directly related to craft and not particularly plot. 

Favorite chapters typically are when Talin overcomes some sort of physical challenge by doing something quite simple he learned previously, and without magic. 

Most difficult chapters are when the family trees of the characters are referred to as there are three different families feuding with one another other. It can sometimes be difficult to keep track of and I need to be as  clear as possible so the reader is not confused. 

• Have you ever experienced writer’s block? How did you deal with it?

Totally. Even though there is controversy on whether or not that is a real thing. Doctors don’t get doctors block. As a nurse I can’t have nurses block, etc. Insert your favorite occupation here. I’ve had moments of minimal inspiration and drive, but at those times did not push through and write something. AKA writers block. Now, if I am “not in the mood” or uninspired, I put on the music that does get me inspired and motivated. Find your thing. Make it happen. Write something, even if it’s not the current book you are working on. Stay in the habit. Even if it’s not much, flex that writing muscle. 


• What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Spend time with my dogs, husband, horse, and family. Be in and admire nature. Meditate, travel, paint, and dabble in photography. All the while telling myself, “I should be writing.” 

It's more than just a tree...

An island's sacred tree hides a portal to an underground world full of mystical energies --and the shocking truth that local superstitions are much more than just myths as a forgotten legend awaits revival!

When Talin, a bullied outcast, unexpectedly plunges into the portal and is chosen to fill the long-vacant role of island Healer, the reluctant teen must make a difficult decision: accept his destiny or let the power that comes with it fall into the evil hands of his rival who believes he is the next Healer.

But only one youth can claim the decades-old title...and the battle won’t be easy. 

If Talin is to keep the legend alive for future generations, he must face challenges like never before --and stay alive long enough to navigate between both worlds.

Described by young adult readers as Harry Potter meets The Chronicles of Narnia, you’re sure to enjoy Talin and the Tree-The Legend, Book 1 of this new, enchanting, and addicting epic fantasy series.

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Just send an email to zmartinbooks@gmail.com with the subject line “I want in the light”


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