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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: author interviews, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. An Interview with Amazon Best Selling Author Inger Iversen

BookBuzzr author Inger Iversen’s book – Inevitable: Love and War – recently hit the #1 spot on the Amazon. We reached out to Inger to learn more about her story.

The screenshot below was taken on Mar 05, 2015.

Inger Iversen's Amazon Book Rank

Tell us about your journey as an author so far.
When I started I didn’t think I would make a career out of being an author. Inger IversenI’d planned to write a book or two to supplement my income and have a hobby that would be a stress reliever after a hard days work. However, I soon realized that while I loved to write, it was also hard work and very rewarding. I started in 2011 when I wrote a very short prequel called, Goodnight Sam. I didn’t know much about the indie business back then, but I’d like to think that I have grown and come a long way. I went from writing a book in eighteen months to being able to write one in two weeks, I’ve learned how to brand and market myself, and I am doing much more than just supplementing my income these days.

What is the storyline of Inevitable?
Inevitable follows Teal and Trent to Maine for Katie and Logan’s wedding. Teal is a workaholic, a loudmouthed, takes no prisoners type who actually works in a prison. Trent is the proverbial boy from the wrong side of the tracks with a bad attitude and a good reason behind it.
Place these two in a stranded in a cabin for a few days and let the games begin…

Walk us through a typical day in your life.


Ha! I have a boring life! I only work six hours a night at my “day” job, so when I arrive at home at 6 a.m. I write. On a normal day I write from 7 a.m. to about 10 a.m. and then I sleep. I have such an odd schedule, but that makes for easy writing time. I wake up around 4 p.m. and write again until about 8 p.m. On this schedule I can write a novel in 14 days!

How do you divide your time between writing and promotion?
Dividing my time between writing and promotion one of the hardest aspects of the job. While I want to promote and get my work out to new readers, I have to write in order to make current readers happy and not waiting too long between novels. That is where BookBuzzr comes in. I use the Twitter Scheduler and Freado giveaways to promote and tweet about my novels. I use Facebook and Instagram on a daily basis. Actually, I feel like I spend 90% of my time on Facebook and about 10% writing!

What are some of the things that you do to promote your book?
To promote my book I use Amazon giveaways, Freado giveaways and I use Bookbub, the Midlist and OHFB to promote. Those sites email my sales and deals out to their subscribers who are interested in receiving notifications about books and sales. I also hired a production company to create a trailed for my novel, Incarcerated. The biggest tool I use is Facebook. It is where the readers seems to be so it is where you will always find me!

How does BookBuzzr tie in to your overall marketing plan?
BookBuzzr is really helpful. I love the Tweet scheduler function and it is one of the reasons I choose BookBuzzr over other sites. I learned about BookBuzzr last year from Rachel Thompson of Bad Redhead Media and I have been using it every since.

Your book trailer for your other book Few Are Angels is of a very high quality. How did you get this book trailer made? What was its impact on book sales?
The book trailer for Few Are Angels has made a BIG impact on my career, boosted sales and reviews. Last year I attended a conference called, UtopYacon. This was a big step for my career. I attended a Marketing class and a ‘How to Utilize Facebook’ class. While there, I screened a short movie called, Avarice created by Timid Monster. Timid Monster is producer Dan Baker and director Rachel Taylor. They agreed to shoot a trailer for me and the experience was amazing. I picked actors and even co-wrote a script.

What’s the best part of your job as an author?
Hands down the best part about being an author is receiving emails and messages from readers about how my stories have touched their hearts. There is no greater reward.

In your role as an author, what are some of the activities that you need to do but dislike doing?
Ugh…research! I hate research! I just want to write and write, but there are those few times when I need to fact check. A recent example is in the final book of the Few Are Angels series, Eternal Light. I have to research medical techniques from 1666. I cannot tell you how boring it is to read over information about the crude and crazy medical techniques of that period.

What advice would you give to a new author?
I get asked this a lot and I have two gems that I love to share.
1. Never, ever and I mean never give up. You are your own worst critic, but you are also the only person who can tell your stories and readers want to hear them—trust me.
2. This isn’t a hobby. This is your business, your brand and your name. Readers will only respect it as much as you do. Treat it as if you love it because I know you do or you wouldn’t be here. I know it can be expensive, but always get professional editing, covers and formatting. Yes, some of use are multi-talented and can do some of these things, but if you can’t just let the professionals do it.

Note to Reviewers:
For a limited time, a free review copy (paperback) of Inger’s book Inevitable is available on Freado.com – http://www.freado.com/auction/4485/6666/inevitable-love-and-war
 

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2. Interview with Author Emily White on Author Promotion - Part 5 - #bookpromotion

PART FIVE ON BOOK PROMOTION 

Today it is my honor to have bestselling author, Emily White on the blog to share her advice on author branding and marketing your fiction novel.

Title of your book(s)?
 
Elemental (book #1 of The Auri Wars), Fae (book #2 of The Auri Wars), Almost Night (book #1 of Tales of Morcah), and To Love or Die in a Steamy-Reamy World.

How are your book(s) published? (Traditional, small Indie press, self-published) 
 
Elemental was originally published through a small indie press, but I later republished it myself, along with the sequel, Fae. Almost Night and To Love or Die are also self-published.

How are you currently marketing your book(s)? 
I’ve used blog tours for most of my books, especially for the release, but most of my marketing comes from my newsletter, reviews through sites like Word Viral, etc.

What do you feel is working best for you to generate sales? 
Honestly, just talking about it on Facebook seems to get me the most sales. And releasing another book always helps boost the sales of the rest.

What are a few critical mistakes to avoid when promoting your book(s)?
Overspending. It’s so easy to do this. Everybody wants to help you get your book out there, for a price. And they make a million promises. It’s best just to rely on your close fan base. If you treat them well, they’ll do most of the marketing for you.

Which social media do you use the most and why? 
Facebook, and twitter I guess, since I’ve got them linked. These are the best places to connect with your fans every day to keep generating interest, not just in your books, but in you. 

Do you read reviews posted on places like Amazon or goodreads? 
Sometimes. I admit it. I try not to, though.

How do you respond to book reviews? 
I’ve only ever responded to one book review, but it was so over-the-top amazing, I couldn’t ignore the reviewer. Plus, it came during a time when I was feeling really down about my writing. So I sent her a message letting her know how much the review meant to me. Just how much I needed to hear her kind words right then.

How do you react and respond to negative reviews? 
Usually in eye rolls, done privately in the safety of my home. As much as it is trendy to say, bad reviews are really NOT meant to be helpful. At least not on Goodreads. They’re meant to excite comments from friends and get as many likes as possible. And that’s fine. I really don’t mind bad reviews at all. In fact, many bad reviews have been the clincher that finally convinced me to buy a book. But it’s frustrating when you see someone picking something apart, claiming something was missing, when you could point to the page number and line where you’d included it.

But I never actually respond to them. That’s just author suicide.

Do participate in blog hops or book blog tours? 
I like blog tours for releases. It’s a nice way to get the word out about a new book, especially when you’re just starting to build a fan base.

Do you ever offer guest posts for book bloggers? 
On occasion. If I have time, which is very hard to come by when you have kids at home.

Have you ever worked with a blog tour company? What was your overall experience? 
I’ve worked with two blog tour companies. The first one was a horrible experience in which I got nothing after having paid a very large amount of money. And when I asked for my money back, I was denied. The second one was amazingly better. I did my research that time. I found someone who was extremely visible, had worked with many big names in the industry, and who answered my initial emails quickly. She did wonders for my book releases and I’ve developed several amazing connections because of all her hard work.

Do you ever give your book(s) away for free in giveaways or contests? Did it generate any sales? 
I do. I like to do a goodreads giveaway before a release, as well as a giveaway on facebook. I think it does generate sales, eventually. The winners of those books go on to review them on their blog, or elsewhere, and that generates quite a bit of interest and sales. It just requires patience.

What promotional concepts worked best for you? 
A newsletter really is the best way to go, I’ve found. Once you establish a fan base, make those connections, you want to keep in contact with them so they know when your books are coming out. Otherwise, it’s like you have to start all over again with each book.

Do you think book trailers help promote authors? 
I think that if they’re done well, they can do a great job. It’s always a good idea to get on as many social media sites as possible, to use whatever visual means you can to get the word out about your book. Youtube is a great place to promote a book to people who may, otherwise, have not heard of it.

How important do you think book covers are in the success of a novel?
EXTREMELY important. The original cover of Elemental came off as very paranormal romance-y. And, unfortunately, it attracted readers who were avid paranormal romance fans. Many of them responded negatively to being surprised with a space opera with very little romance. A cover is a form of communication. It has to pique the interest of your target audience. If you pique the interest of someone who isn’t going to like what’s inside the book, you’ve just wasted your time.

Which media outlets do you think deliver the most power for book promotion?  
Twitter and Facebook. It’s too easy to share something on those sites, and that’s exactly what you want people to do.

If you had one piece of advice for someone promoting a book, what would it be? 
Don’t get lazy! Promoting a book is a lot of hard work and if you don’t keep at it up until the end, you’ll end up wasting your time. I’ve made this mistake countless times because I just get burned out. But all the work I ended up doing initially winds up being for naught. And that’s just frustrating. :)

Official Blog
Twitter: @emily_t_white
Facebook







Thanks, Emily!





Also, my handbook "Get Book Reviews the WRITE Way" has TONS of suggestions on great ways to market your novel!

Hope this info helps. Best of luck!




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3. An Interview with Charlotte Riggle – Author of Catherine’s Pascha

BookBuzzr subscriber Charlotte Riggle’s book – Catherine’s Pascha has been recently launched on Amazon and has begun garnering positive reviews. We connected with Charlotte to learn more about her book and her world.

The screenshot below was taken on Mar, 25 2015.

Catherine's Pascha book #1 in New Releases

Can you tell us about yourself?
Even though Catherine’s Pascha is my first book, I’ve always been a writer. For many years, I’ve mostly written things like computer help systems.Charlotte Riggle That’s not as much fun as writing children’s books, but it’s a steady job. And, honestly, I’ve always been grateful that I could make a living doing something that I enjoy as much as I enjoy writing.
My husband is a junior high math teacher. He and I live with a large, fluffy white dog in a rambling old house in a small town in the Pacific Northwest. One of my kids called it The Ugly House. From the outside, it’s very plain and very small. But it’s bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. And it’s full of books. Floor to ceiling, on shelves and ledges, in stacks on every flat surface, there are books.
I love the idea of tiny houses. But if I had a tiny house, I’d have to have two: One for me, and one for my books.

What is Catherine’s Pascha about?
It’s about a little girl celebrating Easter in the Orthodox Church. That sounds terribly boring, doesn’t it? But in the Orthodox Church, we celebrate Easter (which we call Pascha) in the middle of the night. The service starts at about 11:30 at night, and it lasts for three or four hours. It’s a wonderful celebration, with processions and candles and bells and incense. And then, after the service, at many parishes there’s a huge party.
So the story is about a little girl struggling to stay awake for a celebration that she’s been looking forward to for all of Lent, and even longer. It’s like Christmas, only more so: the biggest celebration of the year, the most important, the most festive, the most exciting, the most fun.

Why did you write this book?
When my children were little, each year I gave each of them a beautiful new Christmas picture book. There were always so many to choose from. I never had trouble finding four or five beautiful books. Sometimes I had trouble selecting only four or five out of what was available!
I wanted to do the same thing at Easter, but there just weren’t as many Easter picture books available. Not only were there fewer books, but the range of books was much narrower. There were Bible stories, and silly books about eggs and bunnies. There were a few impossibly didactic and boring books about the meaning of Easter. But I wanted to buy my kids the same kinds of sweet, fun, engaging stories that I bought them at Christmas. Unfortunately, those books didn’t seem to exist.
I finally decided that the only thing to do was to write the book I wanted myself.
That was over twenty years ago. I did try to get the book published back then, and I got the most amazing rejection letters from the publishers I submitted the book to. They were personal letters, telling me how much everyone who looked at the manuscript loved it. But, they said, they had to decline the book because they couldn’t figure out how to sell enough copies.
So I kept the manuscript for all those years. And just over a year ago, I was reading about how new printing technologies were affecting book publishing. The article said that rich, beautiful color printing was now available as print-on-demand, and that was going to revolutionize the market for children’s picture books.
Perhaps “revolutionize” is too strong. But high quality color POD printing has certainly changed the market. Because of those changes, I was able to find a small, non-traditional publisher who was also an illustrator, and who was willing to take a risk on my book.
Although, to be honest, saying that I found her is giving myself too much credit. It’s more like, when the time was right, not according to my schedule, but according to God’s time, the publisher and illustrator that this book needed appeared.
And now Catherine’s Pascha isn’t just a story I told my children. It’s a real book, a beautiful book, a lavishly and lovingly illustrated children’s book.

You mention the illustrations. This artwork in this book is amazing. What was it like, working with your illustrator?
Oh, my goodness, it was wonderful! I couldn’t have asked for a better illustrator. It’s not just that Becky is a fabulous artist – she’s that, of course. But Becky understood the story. She understood that the story is about one little girl on one Pascha in one parish – but at the same time, it’s about the universality of Pascha, the universal joy of the Resurrection of Christ.
And I just love all the ways she chose to convey that universality. The most obvious thing is the way she used Orthodox churches from around the world to frame each of the pages of the story. So, while Catherine and her family are arriving at her parish, in the background of the page, there are people arriving for Pascha services at another parish somewhere else in the world. Each spread shows one or two churches, from Antarctica to Egypt, Jerusalem to Japan, Australia, Alaska, Argentina, and lots more.
Becky spent a great deal of time choosing the parishes, researching their history, their location, the local culture and traditions. And all her research shows in her beautiful artwork.
I also love the way she used the moon to convey the passage of time in the story. As the story is beginning, the sun is setting at Catherine’s house, and the moon is beginning to rise. As you turn the pages of the book, the full moon moves through the sky, until, at the end of the book, the moon is setting and the sun is beginning to come up. It almost feels like the moon is a silent character in the story.
Becky always asked me for my thoughts about the spreads she was working on – was it true to Catherine? Was it faithful to the way things are done in Orthodox churches? Did it fit the images I’d had in my head all these years? And, always, it was the case that what she chose to do was even better than what I’d imagined. More than once, when she sent me a sketch of a spread, I ended up with tears in my eyes.

What’s the best part of being a children’s book writer?
I don’t know if I can name just one best part. How about three?
The first best is simply that it’s the fulfillment of a dream. I’ve wanted this book to exist for so long, and now it does. And there’s a tremendous amount of joy in that.
The second best part is all the people who have fallen in love with the story I wrote, and have wanted to help with it in all kinds of ways. It’s been absolutely amazing. You’ve heard the expression, “It takes a village to raise a child,” right? It seems that I’ve had a village grow up around me, helping me bring this book out of my dreams and into the world. It’s been amazing, and joyful.
And the third best part, and probably the very best part of all, is the children. When you read a book to a child, they don’t pretend they like it to be polite. They let you know exactly what they think of the book. And when I’ve done readings of my book, the children in my audiences adore it. They love the story. They love the characters. They love the pictures. I’ve gotten emails from parents telling me that their children want to read it over and over, that they want to read it to their grandparents, that they want to take it to bed with them and sleep with it. I’ve gotten sweet notes from precious children thanking me for writing the book and telling me how much they love it. How can that not melt your heart?

What’s the most boring or tedious part of your work as a writer?
Record-keeping. I have to keep track of mileage and other expenses. When I do a reading and sell books, I have to keep track of money in and money out. I have to keep records of what I do with all the books my publisher sends me. That’s just what you have to do if you have a small business. And having a published book makes you a small business.

Your website has a clean look and feel. Can you walk us through the process of finding and working with a web-designer?
Sure. I spent a lot of time looking at web designers’ web pages, and the pages they had designed. I realized pretty quickly that I couldn’t afford the web designers that I liked. So, initially, I designed my own website.
I’m a writer, so the content was good. But I didn’t know nearly enough to create an effective website. The worst thing about my initial design was that it just didn’t work very well on mobile devices. I didn’t realize that more than half the visits to my website were from people on smartphones and tablets. Visiting my site had to be an experience in frustration for them.
And that’s if they ever found my site. Because the other worst thing about my site was that it was almost impossible to find if you didn’t know it was there. Most of what I knew about SEO was out of date, and the rest of it was just plain wrong.
I finally realized that I was going to have to have some help with the site. But I knew that I couldn’t afford the web designers whose work I liked. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do.
But, just as with my illustrator and publisher, the right web designer appeared at the right time. A friend introduced me to a friend of hers, Tami Heaton, who is the president and creative director of Undeniable, a digital marketing agency. Tami is enormously talented, and in the past she’s worked with folks like Disney Online, The SCI FI Channel, The Village Voice, MTV, VH1, Nicktoons Network, Sirius Satellite Radio, New York Times Digital and Rosie O’Donnell, among others. Of course, I knew from that list that I wouldn’t be able to afford her.
But at the time we talked, Undeniable was still relatively new, and she had time to take on a small project at a discounted price. Small to her, anyway. But it was huge for me.
Tami evaluated my marketing strategy, and decided that I was doing everything right. Except that website. Event marketing, Facebook, all of that sort of thing was working well. But the website …
So Tami created a new website for me. She developed the design, and built it on WordPress. And then it was beautiful, and it worked on mobile devices, but it still wasn’t as findable as we wanted it to be. So Tami taught me everything I needed to know about SEO, and we started making spreadsheets: keywords, URLs, headings, the names of art files, all sorts of things that would affect search engine results. And then, once we were both happy with the spreadsheets, we scrubbed the site to implement the plans.
Working with Tami was great fun. She’s creative, flexible, clear about what she can do for you and what’s better for you to do for yourself, and she’s encouraging and supportive. She wants your project to succeed as much as you want it to.

What are some of the things that you are doing to market your book? How does BookBuzzr fit-in with your book promotion plans?
Our first step for marketing the book was the website. I don’t think most websites for authors or books have much on them to get people to come back to the website. I wanted to create the sort of website that people would bookmark and come back to over and over. So we have tons of information on the website – history and traditions related to Pascha, recipes, worksheets and activities and lesson plans related to the book, more information about the illustrations, just all kinds of things. If we have information that people want on the website, if they come back to it over and over, then every time they come back, they’ll be reminded of the book, and have another opportunity to buy it.
The second step was Facebook. There’s a Facebook page for the book. I also participate in a number of Facebook groups, and in some of those groups, I can share a bit about the book. Of course, you can’t overwhelm groups with endless posting about yourself or your pet project, and you can’t post about your book in a group where that’s off-topic. But Facebook, used well, is another place that you can let people know your book exists.
The third step was what we jokingly referred to as our MMO-PRPs: Massive Multiparish Offline Pre-Release Parties. We asked people at Orthodox parishes around the country to hold pre-release parties for the book between February 1 and February 22. We sent the party host a free copy of the book, and gave their parishes the opportunity to buy copies of the pre-release edition at a discounted price. I sent out “cookbook” instructions for hosting a party, for people who might want to host it but not plan it. But I encouraged people to do what they wanted – as long as they read the book to the kids, that was all I really needed. These were so much better than traditional launch parties. We had pre-release parties all over the country: Washington, California, Kentucky, Alabama, Massachusetts, and lots more. It was fabulous.
We also contacted a good number of bloggers who review children’s books, and sent them advance copies. I’ve been really happy with the reviews we’ve gotten. Good reviews can give your book credibility – of course I’m going to tell you that I wrote a wonderful book, but, as they used to say on Reading Rainbow, you don’t have to take my word for it!
We’re continuing to publicize the book through events. I’m doing readings at churches, along with the occasional school or bookstore. Even though it’s an Easter book, I’m hoping to be able to have the book at ethnic festivals at some Orthodox churches later in the year.
And we’ve got something really special coming up in August or September. FOCUS Pittsburgh, an Orthodox Christian charity, will be having their annual fundraising campaign for their Backpack Project, which provides food for the weekend for low-income kids. We’ve had a dollmaker create beautiful handmade dolls of Catherine and her best friend Elizabeth, and the dolls will be auctioned, with copies of the book, with all of the proceeds going to the Backpack Project.
Because Catherine’s Pascha is a picture book, it’s essential that people have a chance to see the pictures if they’re going to buy the book. We have BookBuzzr widgets on our website and our Facebook page, and we’ve had people tell us how much they liked seeing a sample of the book. We looked at some of the other similar widgets out there, and the rest of them were clunky; the user interface just wasn’t particularly good. The BookBuzzr widget is clean, easy, and usable.

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4. Katrina Germein Dances Up A Thunderstorm

Katrina Germein is a well-loved children’s best selling author and early childhood teacher. She has received Highly Commended and Notable Book Commendation awards in the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards and from the Children’s Book Council of Australia. Three of her books have also featured on the popular children’s programme, Play School.  Some of her titles […]

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5. My Writing and Reading Life: Jen Calonita, Author of Flunked

JEN CALONITA has interviewed everyone from Reese Witherspoon to Justin Timberlake, but the only person she's ever wanted to trade places with is Disney's Cinderella. She's the award-winning author of the My Secrets of My Hollywood Life series.

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6. Adam Wallace Is ‘Accidentally Awesome!’

You may remember my ‘Awesome Author Interview with Adam Wallace’ from last year (if not, click the link!). Adam Wallace has had heaps of books published over the last 10 years, including the totally gross chapter book series ‘Better Out Than In’ and ‘Better Out Than In Number Twos’, the frightening ‘Pete McGee’ trilogy, the […]

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7. Fuse #8 TV: Henry Clark and The Book That Proves Time Travel Happens

I’m a sucker for a good time travel story.  By my count only a few have ever won the Newbery (is it two or three? You decide).  Fewer still have won the National Book Award in the youth category.  Even so, they live in a special place in my heart.  So to hear that a book has the title The Book That Proves Time Travel Happens . . . well that’s a near impossible title to resist, is it not?  This week on Fuse #8 TV I interview Henry Clark, but only after I tell you the terrible secret lurking in your copy of Go, Dog, Go.

By the way, this episode was very fun to record.  Too fun, in fact.  Under normal circumstances I can remember to thank my sponsor and to place their title card at the end of each episode.  This time I was so wowed by the prospect of coffee cups and what have you that it completely skipped my mind.  So a big hearty THANK YOU to Little, Brown for Mr. Clark’s presence.  Here is the slide I forgot to project:

And here is SLJ’s info:

As you can see, all the Fuse #8 TV episodes are archived here.

A tip of the hat to all parties involved!

 

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8. Helene Magisson’s Labour of Love: The Velveteen Rabbit

In a gorgeously remastered classic tale, just in time for Easter, is a story about the magic of love; The Velveteen Rabbit. With the original story (first published in 1922) by Margery Williams Bianco being untouched, this current version has an exquisite sense of charm about it thanks to its’ talented illustrator, Helene Magisson.   […]

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9. Book Bites for Kids Guest Suzanne Lieurance

book bites for kidsListen to an interview with Suzanne about another of her historical fiction books, The Lucky Baseball:

New Books Internet Radio with Suzanne on BlogTalkRadio

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10. {Guest Post & Giveaway!} AN UNCERTAIN CHOICE by Jody Hadlund

4 Ways the Guy in Your Life Should Treasure You by Jody Hedlund Have you ever watched The Bachelorette? I'll admit, there's something dreamy behind the idea of ONE woman being presented with 25 of the world's handsomest, sweetest, most charming men as potential mates. And it's also heart-stopping to think about spending an entire month with those men as they do everything they possibly can

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11. An Interview with Amazon Best Selling Author Luana Ehrlich

BookBuzzr subscriber – Luana Ehrlich’s book – One Night in Tehran has been seeing steady success on Amazon. It has garnered over 150 reviews and recently hit the number one spot on the Canadian Amazon store. We connected with Luana to learn her story.

The screenshot below was taken on Feb, 16 2015.

Luana Ehrlich's Amazon.ca Book Rank

Hi, Luana, thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Luana Ehrlich

Although I grew up in Illinois, I’ve lived in either Texas or Oklahoma for most of my adult life. For a short period of time, I also worked with my husband, who is a Baptist minister, as a missionary in Latin America.
I’m called “Granny” by my two grandsons who live nearby, and until my husband’s retirement from a long-time pastorate, I was identified as “the pastor’s wife.” Now, at least among my friends, I’m simply known as “the author.”
This may be more than you want to know about me, but I’m also an avid reader, a news fanatic, and an enthusiastic supporter of the Dallas Cowboy football team.

What is the premise behind One Night in Tehran?
Because I’ve been a freelance writer for several years and also a fan of spy fiction, it’s probably not surprising I’ve always had a desire to write my own espionage thriller. However, until recently, I didn’t so because, quite frankly, I’ve never enjoyed reading Christian fiction as much as secular fiction. Yet, I knew the element of faith would have to be present in any novel I wrote. Then, one morning, after hearing about how Christians in Iran were living out their faith under intense persecution, the character of Titus Ray and the plot of One Night in Tehran suddenly came to life for me. I began by asking these questions: “What would happen if a veteran CIA intelligence operative in Tehran encountered a group of Iranian Christians and became a believer? How would his conversion affect his career? How would a man trained to lie and deceive others be able to follow the teachings of Christ in the real world? What if he was involved in a murder and was being pursued by an assassin at the same time?

When did you start writing One Night in Tehran and what was the process like?
When my husband and I retired, I began writing a blog. The support I received from my followers led me to start thinking about writing a novel. Once I had the general plotline in my head, I wrote it down in the form of a brief paragraph. Then, I began mapping out some character details. After that, I did very little in the way of outlining; instead, I allowed the action and dialogue to be spontaneous. The process became like reading a book, only at a much slower pace.

What was the process you employed in getting the book cover designed?
Book covers in the mystery/suspense/thriller genre have a certain look to them. I can easily pick up a book and know whether or not it’s written in that genre without reading the description. They’re usually printed in dark color with short titles in bold white type. When I studied the covers on Amazon and noted the ones that caught my eye, I realized how important a cover was, even in deciding to read a book’s description. With that in mind, I made a prototype of my cover using Adobe software, and I used that prototype to tell my professional cover designer what I wanted. Even though she never saw my homemade design, the end result was very similar to the one I’d done. I’ve done this same thing in visualizing the cover for my second book.

What is your goal as a writer?
My primary goal as a fiction writer is to entertain my readers. I want them to experience being in the skin of a covert intelligence officer, to know what it feels like to make life and death choices, and to know the constant pressure of hiding one’s identity in the shadows of obscurity.
As a Christian fiction writer, my secondary goal is to encourage my readers to live out their Christian faith by introducing them to characters who are flawed, weak, and struggling, yet determined to follow the teachings of Christ anyway.

What is your biggest frustration as a book author?
My biggest frustration as an author is not being able to write for several hours at a time without getting tired. Although writing appears to involve merely the mental processes, writing for an extended period of time takes its toll on the body as well.

What is your biggest challenge as a self-published author?
My biggest challenge as a self-published author is that I must wear several different hats at the same time. I need to promote myself as an author—the job of a publicist—format and publish my manuscript—the job of a publisher—and create and write my book—the job of an author. Achieving that balance is the biggest challenge.

What are you currently reading? How did you find this book?
Currently, I’m reading Personal by Lee Child

. He’s one of my favorite authors, and I was notified by a book club when he published this novel.

How do you divide your time between marketing your book and writing your next book?
I usually spend 3 hours a day marketing One Night in Tehran. That includes answering emails, visiting advertising websites, staying updated on market trends, and then blogging and using social media. After that, I spend approximately 8 hours a day writing my second book, Two Days in Caracas.

Do you use Hootsuite or any other twitter scheduling tools for your social media marketing?
I use Buffer for scheduling my social media marketing; I’ve found it very useful in both scheduling and also in its analytical capabilities.

How did you find your first 100 readers?
Much of the action in One Night in Tehran takes place in the state of Oklahoma, and my first 100 readers came from this geographical location. This was primarily because a month after publication, a person of influence in Norman, Oklahoma, read the book and advertised it heavily as a thriller worth reading. As a result, I was able to sell over 100 books at my first book signing.

When is the next book in your Titus Ray series coming out and what can readers expect?
Two Days in Caracas will be published in May 2015. In this action-packed second book in the Titus Ray Thriller series, Titus travels from Costa Rica to Caracas with a surprise stopover in between. Besides hunting down Jihadi terrorist, Ahmed Al-Amin, Titus will face an old nemesis, mentor a new operative, and deal with several demons from his past.

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12. The Last List Blog Hop & Giveaway: THE ETERNITY KEY by Bree Despain

Welcome to the Last List Blog Hop! From Cuddlebuggery: As most of you know, Egmont recently closed its doors, leaving its YA and MG’s List authors in a bad situation. Anyone who knows anything about publishing knows that this is a huge blow to the authors and the books they’ve worked so hard on. We thought to ourselves, what can we do to help? And maybe some of you are doing the same.

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13. Video Interview: M.T. Anderson and the Symphony for the City of the Dead

What you learn in this life of children’s librarianship is that there is an exception to every rule. For example, normally I do not indulge in video interviews outside of my Fuse #8 TV ones. And normally I do not care diddly over squat for anything directed towards a young adult audience. But Mr. M.T. Anderson has a way of making a girl forget past restrictions. So when I was asked whether or not I would be interested in interviewing the man about his upcoming nonfiction title Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad I said, “Um . . . yes.  Yes indeed.”

Thus, what follows, is a slightly herky jerky (thanks to Google Hangout) but ENTIRELY worth it interview between myself and Tobin.  This is a story I’ve never heard.  I am ashamed to admit that prior to this talk I had only the slightest understanding of what the Siege of Leningrad constituted.  This clears much of the confusion up. And check out this cover!

As for the interview itself, here it is:

Thanks to the good folks at Candlewick Press for setting this up!

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14. Doodles and Drafts – Under the magnifying glass with R. A. Spratt

R. A. Spratt and I share a dubious childhood secret. We were both mad for Trixie Belden. I’m busting another secret; there’s a new super-youth-sleuth in town and she goes by the name of Friday Barnes. And now, I’m going a bit mad for her. Spratt’s latest series of detective stories exploded onto the shelves […]

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15. Player Profile: Nigel Bartlett, author of King of the Road

Nigel Bartlett, author of King of the Road Tell us about your latest creation: My debut novel, King of the Road, was published by Vintage (Random House) in February 2015. It’s a fast-paced crime thriller that follows David Kingsgrove’s descent into hell after his 11-year-old nephew, Andrew, disappears from under his nose. The novel is based in Sydney and New […]

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16. GCC Presents: Eileen Cook and her new YA novel REMEMBER

My fellow Girlfriends Cyber Circuit author Eileen Cook is thrilled to announce that her book REMEMBER hits shelves February 24, 2015.

 About the Book:

A thrilling tale about what a girl will do to get back a memory she lost…or remove what she wants to forget.

Harper is used to her family being hounded by protestors. Her father runs the company that trademarked the “Memtex” procedure to wipe away sad memories, and plenty of people think it shouldn’t be legal. Then a new demonstrator crosses her path, Neil, who’s as persistent as he is hot. Not that Harper’s noticing, since she already has a boyfriend.

When Harper suffers a loss, she’s shocked her father won’t allow her to get the treatment, so she finds a way to get it without his approval. Soon afterward, she’s plagued with strange symptoms, including hallucinations of a woman who is somehow both a stranger, yet incredibly familiar. Harper begins to wonder if she is delusional, or if these are somehow memories.

Together with Neil, who insists he has his own reasons for needing answers about the real dangers of Memtex, Harper begins her search for the truth. What she finds could uproot all she’s ever believed about her life…

“Compelling combination of twisty mystery and realistic romance." (Cat Patrick, author of FORGOTTEN and JUST LIKE FATE)

Interview with Eileen
Where did the idea for Remember come from?

I’d read an article about some scientific experiments being done with memory. The scientists were looking for a way to reduce the difficulty war veterans have with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. It occurred to me if people could get rid of very traumatic memories, there would also be a market for people who wanted to get rid of all sorts of memories.

I began to wonder what types of things might go wrong once you begin messing around with someone’s memory. It can be relatively easy to confuse what is a real memory from what someone might tell you happened. What if something you were sure was true, suddenly seemed to be uncertain, possibly a lie?

Once all these questions were swirling around in my head I knew I had a book- all I had to do is write it!

If the Memtex procedure existed is there any memory you would like to forget?

I think everyone has some memories they would like to forget, but even the difficult ones have shaped who I am so I’d have to hang on to them.

Tell us a behind the scenes story about writing the book.

I decided that I wanted the main character to ride horses competitively- a subject I know nothing about. I was lucky enough to have two close friends who grew up riding and were able to share all sorts of details and were willing to read early drafts to make sure I had things correct. Now I know more about saddles than I ever expected.

What are you working on now?

It’s a thriller that involves Italy, a possible murder and two best friends who may be enemies. There’s nothing better than writing a book that includes a research trip to Rome, Venice and Tuscany. I ate my weight in pasta, took thousands of pictures and wrote pages and pages of notes. Here's a contest to win REMEMBER!

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17. Fuse #8 TV: Chris Grabenstein and Reading (Too Much Into) Picture Books

Hi all!

Okay. For this month’s Fuse #8 TV I decided to premiere a new series.

*ahem*

Introducing:

Reading (Too Much Into) Picture Books

Ladies and gentlemen, I like a good conspiracy theory.  Nothing makes my heart go pitter pat faster than an opinion about a picture book that takes a right hand turn into Crazyville.  Trouble is, there just aren’t enough out there.  Sure, you can tell me that Horton Hears a Who is anti-abortion and Rainbow Fish is pro-Communist but sometimes it feels like I’ve heard them all.  Time to shake things up a little!

Announcing a series where I make up crazed interpretations of classic picture books.  This month: Go Away Big Green Monster by Ed Emberley.  We all know it.  We love it.  Now what’s the kookiest theory you can come up with for it?  I say my own and it’s a doozy.  I’m weirdly proud about it.

After that I interview the very fun, funny, and infinitely patient Chris Grabenstein. Chris has a new middle grade novel out this year called The Island of Dr. Libris.  He entertains my questions and then pulls out this Jim Henson story that will seriously make your eyes water.  I’m not even kidding about that.

Enjoy!

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18.  My Writing and Reading Life: Cory Putman Oakes

Cory Putman Oakes is a children’s book author from Austin, Texas. Her middle grade debut, DINOSAUR BOY, hits shelves in February, 2015 with its sequel, DINOSAUR BOY SAVES MARS, to follow in February, 2016.

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19. Jeff Kinney ~ Author of Diary of a Wimpy Kid

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20. Doodles and Drafts – Waltzing with Bruce Whatley

  In just a couple more months, Australia commemorates the Centenary of the ANZAC landing at Gallipoli. Dozens of new titles are already marching forward to mark the occasion with heart-rending renditions of tales about ‘bloodshed, death, ruin, and heartbreak.’ This is how singer/songwriter, Eric Bogle views the futility of war. It’s a timely message […]

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21. B.J. Novak on His Book with No Pictures

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22. John Green ~ Author of The Fault in Our Stars ~ Interview

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23. Malala Yousafzai Interview

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24. Meet Davina Bell, author of The Underwater Fancy-Dress Parade

Thanks for talking to Boomerang Books, Davina Bell. My pleasure! What’s your background in books? I was the type of kid who read all night by the hallway light that peeked through the cracks of my bedroom door and wrote endless stories on old computer paper – the type with the holes in the side […]

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25. Jacqueline Woodson Interview

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