Overcoming Anxiety, Engaging Audiences: An Indie Writer’s Tale

Literary Adventures and Anticipated Releases on Rina’s Horizon

Rina Brown, an unconventional writer, sidesteps social media for personal connections. Overcoming anxiety, she engaged in interviews, found success mingling, and hustled to promote her indie books, favoring bookstore visits and local events. Her unconventional approach includes cold-calling bookstores, setting up market booths, and speaking engagements. Rina cherishes direct interactions, preferring them over social media promotion

PHOTO: Amidst ink-stained pages and tales untold, Rina Brown,
the maverick author, embarks on her literary odyssey, one bookstore at a time.
Photo by Mitch Motchenbaugh

While her peers are living on social media, Rina Brown hangs out with authors twice her age in bookstores and in a tiny diner that only serves breakfast. She knew in the third grade she wanted to be a writer when she proudly came home with a book about 3 kittens. Before her little brother became a YouTube sensation, she would tell him bedtime stories based on characters created just for him. Eventually, she built an entire world, and decided to write it down. She had a 300 Page novel, now what? Encouraged by her parents to publish it, she decided she had nothing to lose.

 Isle of the Dark came out on her 19th birthday, and she hasn’t looked back.  Overcoming crippling social anxiety, Rina boldly walked into local bookstores to convince owners to carry her book. Quickly experiencing the woes of rejection, she tried again, knowing she would gain nothing without effort.

As an independent author, she realized she would need a whole lot of tenacity, music, and Dr. Pepper to stay on the path to success. Joining forces with other authors around the world, she contributed to an anthology based on haunted local legends. On her 20th birthday, she released the sequel to IOTD, “Acceptance in Ice.”

Stumbling across an old comic book she created in the 8th grade, Rina changed gears completely, jumping from Medieval Fantasy to Modern Fantasy. Navigating away from monsters and horses to the streets of Chicago wasn’t easy, but the characters of “Sinner” insisted on being heard.

When she isn’t writing, or being bossed around by her tiny white cat, you can find her binge-watching episodes of Columbo and the original Star Trek with Willaim Shatner. She avoids technology as much as possible, stacking up notebooks filled with stories, and soars in the clouds in a hot air balloon. Her books can be found across the United States, and she has toured three times in the last three years. From spooky bed and breakfasts to dingy hotel rooms, standing in the rain offering chocolates to get noticed, to signing autographs on a dusty shower curtain tossed over a folding table, Rina is willing to meet her fans anywhere.

How did you overcome your social anxiety to tell people about your books?

When I was 18, my publisher told me I would need to meet with people, sign autographs, and mingle. I had this delusional picture in my head that I would upload it to Amazon and be rich, I had no idea back then how hard this business is. I wasn’t exactly a people person, so my mom came up with the idea to start an interview show on YouTube from the comfort of my home. She found people from all over the world for me to talk to, so over the next year, I came up with themes each week. We called the show “The Isle Of.” I spoke with scientists, collectors, writers, artists, you name it. They helped me realize that I could get out there, talk to people, and enjoy it.

What kind of reader were you as a child? 

My parents always read to me when I was young, but I have a confession. I struggle to find time to read. I have so much going on in my life right now, but I need to get back to it, and have some me time.

How does your market strategy vary from other indie authors?

Social media is such an enigma to me. I have had far better luck actually speaking to people. I still cold call bookstores all over the globe, which is interesting. I would say 1 in 10 bookstores is willing to even talk to me, because I am not a big name, but someday they will want my books. I have a booth set up at my local Farmer’s Market, tucked between the French cheese guy and a lady that sells rocks. There are a handful of local bookstores that set me up with signings throughout the year, which has given me the opportunity to grow as a speaker. Last Christmas, I had my first author spotlight in a coffee shop, I was terrified.

What’s your favorite book no one has heard of? 

“Black Ice” by Julia Blake. I love how she took a story everyone thought they knew and turned it into a fantastic steampunk adventure.

Which writers, working today, do you admire most? 

That’s a challenging question! There are so many fantastic people out there sharing their talent. James Fahy is at the top of my list. Not only has he written the Changeling and Phoebe Harkness series, but he is also incredibly kind. He has supported me from the beginning. I hope to return that inspiration to another aspiring author someday. I can’t get enough of Julie Embleton, I don’t want to just read her stories, I want to be IN one!

Who is your favorite fictional hero or heroine? 

Ellie Haskell! Dorothy Cannell created such a brilliantly flawed character in “The Thin Woman”. I relate to her on so many levels and admire how she overcomes her own insecurities to live everyday life, then catches the killer!

Why did you choose to create an older character for Isle of the Dark, Ranger is in his 70’s!

Everyone does a “coming of age” hero. I wanted my character to already be established, hardened by experience. Society always claims people get old and are too resistant to change. Ranger breaks that stereotype, overcomes his personal demons, and learns to love again.

Every Author has an origin story, what would you do if you knew you were going to be the next JK Rowling or Nora Roberts?

Honestly, that kind of fame would really overwhelm me. I want people to enjoy my books, not scrutinize my breakfast to see if there is some secret meaning to how I butter my toast. Maybe I would be like Enya and buy a castle with a moat.

What do you plan to read next? 

Recently, I was in Bookends, a sweet shop in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, for a book event. They have this cool section of gift-wrapped books and call it “A blind date with a book.” I couldn’t resist! I was delighted to open Francesca’s Kitchen by Peter Pezzelli, it looks terrific. 

What do you see on your horizon?

The third book in the IOTD series is coming out this Christmas, titled “Truth at Sea.” I am excited to be back in Ranger and Isle’s world. Some big things are going to happen that will blow my fans away. This Summer, my brother is graduating, and we are hitting the road with a suitcase and a ton of books to visit unsuspecting bookstores everywhere. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, you know?


Brown constructs an imaginative world with exceptional detail and description—a world where partnership and survival rely on each other. Readers will be drawn in from the beginning with Brown’s lyrical writing and intrigue. – Booklife by Publisher’s Weekly

Brown’s prose is upbeat, nicely detailed, and highly readable. – Booklife by Publisher’s Weekly

Rina Brown starts her first book strong, with the introduction of Ranger, reminiscent of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series.
The story develops into a compelling fantasy plot, with life or death battles that had me turning the pages. I’m normally not a fantasy reader, but Brown has me looking forward to her next book.
A fresh new voice, highly recommended. – Fleur Bradley

Rina Brown’s imagination has no constraints! Her world building is packed with objects that surprise and places that mystify. A group of half magic and half mortal beings have the strength and longevity of Marvel’s Super Soldiers, matched with ultimate fighting skills against venom-spiked monsters. – Donna White

The book was very well written and intriguing. The Datsoe are a unique fantasy creature, I’ve read nothing like it before. The author has done a fantastic job of creating a storyline and characters that you will become attached to.
A wonderful read. -Amazon Review

I think the one thing I was the most impressed with was a female, teenager writing an older male MC, whose action and dialogue was genuinely authentic. Isle of the dark is an enjoyable read, and I can’t wait to jump into the sequel. Recommended for those who love a good fantasy. -Jess

Isle of the Dark takes you into a fantasy world that boggles the mind, infusing intrigue, mystery, friendships, and even love. The friendship and loyalty between those who should have been enemies was a wonderful part of the story. The fantasy world, creatures, and storyline created by Rina Brown, a young first-time author, was truly amazing. There is no doubt that we will be seeing many more books from her in the future….and who knows where she will take us!  -Sue Tidwell

Dear Rina,

Your cover has won 1st place in the Cover of the Month Contest for the month of October 2023.
I would like to extend our hearty congratulations.



Facing the cage, he found the Datsoe staring at him. Taking a deep breath, Ranger dared to step toward it, well within reach of its occupant. The creature didn’t seem to mind his scrutiny, in fact, its ears perked. The torch crackled, its light dancing across the bottom of the cage, revealing chew marks in the back corner. Leaning forward, Ranger wondered if he would need to patch the hole. The Datsoe shifted nervously, capturing the Guardians’ attention. 

Sitting in the center of the cage, the Datsoe curled his lengthy tail. The towering man kept staring at him. What was he looking for? The others had been mean, even now he felt the sting on his back from the metal bar. But this one seemed different, almost, curious. What should he do? His stomach rumbled yet again, it had been days since he ate. What did it matter, he was going to die anyway. Sinking his head into his chest, he glared at his captor.

If Ranger didn’t know better, he would almost think this Datsoe was… smart. It seemed to glower at him, and he couldn’t help but notice how unusual its eyes were. Most Datsoes had no pupils. When the venom took over, the eyes tended to become a solid black or blood red. This one had pupils with a burgundy hue, and they flashed with intelligence. 

He couldn’t explain it. He hated Datsoes passionately for his own reasons and had sworn to protect his people from them. Slaying hundreds, Ranger never gave the creatures a second thought, pushing day after day to destroy the plague. If he was known as a hero to his people, he was surely thought of as an unforgiving murderer to the Datsoes.

And yet here he was, puzzling over the very thing he despised. It made no move to attack him. Surely it was starving, yet it didn’t howl or carry on. Any other Datsoe would have killed those two soldiers in a blink, but this one only defended itself against their stupidity. 

-From Isle of the Dark

Rina Brown

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This “Editor’s Choice, Award of Excellence” 
is presented to Ms.Rina Brown
and a select group of exceptional authors
by The Reader’s House magazine

This interview is published on The Reader’s House 40th issue. 

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