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1. What I’m reading this Christmas: Claire Smith, Walker Books

Thanks for talking to Boomerang Books, Claire Smith.  You’re the marketing assistant at Walker Books, Australia, and you’re going to share your Christmas picks with us. But first let’s find out about you and some books you’ve been working with. Walker Books  (based in Sydney)  is known for its children’s and YA books. Which do […]

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2. Hey Corinne Fenton, What’s Your Christmas Wish?

Corinne Fenton is established as one of Australia’s treasured authors of beautiful picture books. They often contain an element of social history, and her knowledge and passion for writing is regularly shared in schools, libraries and workshops.   This Christmas, there are TWO Corinne Fenton picture books that are unmissable and will have children from […]

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3. Ripley’s Fun Facts & Silly Stories 3: An Interview with Ripley Publishing

In this interview, we discuss Fun Facts & Silly Stories 3, the third title in the Ripley’s Believe It or Not® successful Fun Facts and Silly Stories series.

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4. Fun Facts & Silly Stories: The Big One!: An Interview with Ripley Publishing

As the world authority on all that is unbelievable, we're supper excited to chat with Ripley Publishing, an arm of Ripley Entertainment Inc. and the owner of the internationally famous trademark Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

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5. Archimede Fusillo talks about Dead Dog In The Still Of The Night

Award-winning Australian author, Archimede Fusillo delves deep into what it is to be a man in his latest coming-of-age novel for young adults, Dead Dog In The Still Of The Night.  The story follows the journey of Primo as he attempts to navigate his way though his final year of school with an emotionally brittle […]

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6. Alex Field’s ‘Mr Darcy and the Christmas Pudding’ is a Real Treat

Alex Field‘s talents as an author, publisher and speaker, her love of Christmas pudding, and her overt enthusiasm for Jane Austen all cleverly amalgamate in the latest of her series, Mr Darcy and the Christmas Pudding. Having previously featured her beloved Pride and Prejudice characters in Mr Darcy and Mr Darcy the Dancing Duck, Alex […]

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7. Christmas Classics you’ve read to you kids – Christine Bongers

Fellow Boomerang Blogger, Romi Sharp recently congratulated me on hitting my first century. Gob smacked! I mean I don’t even own a cricket bat, let alone know how to hold one. She meant blogs of course. I hardly noticed. They rack up and slip by like birthdays these days. Nonetheless, even numbers deserve celebration (especially […]

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8. Renée Treml Reveals Answers About Her Picture Book, ‘The Great Garden Mystery’

Renée Treml is a talented artist and author, originally from the States, now residing in Melbourne. She creates her stunning illustrations primarily using the scratchboard technique, setting her work apart with its unique qualities. Her artwork can also be seen at design markets and art exhibits through a range of gorgeous products. Renée has three […]

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9. Judith Rossell chats about Withering-by-Sea

Judith Rossell’s prodigious talents as an illustrator and writer, her inimitable wit and her obsession with Victoriana come together superbly in her latest book for children – Withering-by-Sea. The story follows the trials of Stella Montgomery, an 11-year-old orphan, who lives with her dreadful aunts in a damp, dull hotel in Victorian England. But everything […]

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10. What I’m reading this Christmas: Amanda Diaz, HarperCollins Publishers

Thanks for talking to Boomerang Books, Amanda Diaz. Thank you for having me! You’re a publicist at HarperCollins Publishers and you’re going to share your Christmas picks with us. But first let’s find out about you and some books you’ve been working on. HarperCollins Australia (based in Sydney) is known for its children’s/YA books as […]

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11. My Writing and Reading Life: Natasha Wing, Author of The Night Before Hanukkah

Some of Natasha Wing's books have even ended up on bestseller lists, including the wildly popular The Night Before series.

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12. Kim Fleming Draws on Her Experience as Illustrator of ‘Mummy, You’re Special To Me’

Kim Fleming knows how to tell a great story. She tells stories through pictures. Kim’s art creates a sense of affection, warmth and joy. Born in Canada, this now Melbournite has found her calling in illustrating children’s books. She has previously illustrated such picture books as the gorgeous True Blue Santa written by Anne Mangan, […]

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13. Interview: Joe Hill on HORNS, NOS4A2 and Stephen King

Joe Hill (14778218361)" by Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America - Joe Hill. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Joe_Hill_(14778218361).jpg#mediaviewer/File:Joe_Hill_(14778218361).jpg

Joe Hill via Wikimedia Commons

BY DREW TURNEY

Author Joe Hill worked as a writer for nearly a decade before revealing his relationship to legendary horror author Stephen King. (For the uninitiated, Hill is King’s son.) Hill has stated that he wanted to prove himself on his own terms, and so chose to work under a semi-pseudonym. His three novels—Heart-Shaped Box, Horns and NOS4A2 (pronounced Nosferatu)—are all bestsellers, and his collection of short fiction, 20th Century Ghosts, won the Bram Stoker Award for Best Fiction Collection in 2005. And now his novel Horns is a movie starring Daniel Radcliffe, and his latest release is his bestselling book yet.

Here, Hill talks about his family, his writing, and what it’s like to step back and let someone make a film from your book.


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DT: How involved were you with writing the screenplay for Horns?
JH: I spent about three years writing Horns, and after that length of time I was ready to be done with it. Mandalay optioned it and wanted to make a film, and they asked if I had any interest in writing the script. I said ‘Not really,’ so they passed it onto Keith Bunin, who did a wonderful, wonderful job.

In terms of my contributions, we had a lot of great conversations when Keith was working on the script including Keith and I, Cathy Schulman who is a producer at Mandalay, and Adam Stone who’s also a producer on the film. And eventually Alexandre Aja when he came onboard.

We had lively arguments and broke the story down a dozen times and built it back up. It was a lot of fun. When Alex actually began filming, I viewed my role as to not get under foot and not to create trouble so I showed up on set for a couple of days to goof off and watch what people were doing and then I made myself scarce again. I came back in on the end to talk about editing, as they put the film together and I had some suggestions and some ideas. But at the end of the day, I felt like the film could only work if it was Alexandra Aja’s version of the story.

I told my version; it was time for him to tell his. I hoped that he would be true to the spirit of the characters and he was. Daniel Radcliffe and Juno Temple made sure of that. But beyond that I wanted Alex to feel free to have fun and to make a movie that lived on the screen, not something that was trying so hard to be faithful it just kind of plods along. I think he found a nice balance.

You know the thing about the film and about Alexandre Aja, he has a very light touch. And I know that’s a strange thing to say about the guy who directed The Hills Have Eyes, but he does have a very light touch. The film has this kind of lush romanticism to it. You know, I think that Alex has a romantic heart, and that’s sort of wonderful. It comes through in the film even in the most painful scenes.

DT: Do you have the distance yourself from it to some extent because it’s someone else’s baby?
JH: Yes, this is why I didn’t write the screenplay, too. I have written screenplays and I have fun doing that but I’ve never tried to adapt my own work. I don’t think I’d be a good collaborator if I were the screenwriter of something I spent three or four or five years writing as a novel because after I’ve spent three or four years meditating on a set of characters and on the situation, I’ve really got to have it my way. I just don’t think I could be flexible. I don’t think I could adapt.

I can do that if that’s my starting point. I wrote a pilot for a TV show called “Dark Side,” which is a reboot of an 80s TV show, “Tales from the Dark Side.” My version’s pretty different. But I had no trouble taking notes and collaborating and working with the network on that. It was fun and exciting. And I liked the challenge—if something’s not working, coming up with a fresh set of ideas. But there my starting point was the screenplay; however, with Horns I [had] just spent so much time with those characters and situations. Best to stay out of the way in a situation like that.

DT: Is it tricky to keep that distance?
JH: Yeah, it is. I always feel uncomfortable saying this. I was in so much pain when I wrote it. And you always find people like that annoying, right? Because it’s like they sound so self-important, so full of themselves and so full of their own sense of drama, you just want to smack them up the side of the head. But I kind of understand. I was in a really bad place mentally when I wrote Horns.

It’s a really unhappy and paranoid book by a really unhappy and paranoid man. That’s not to say I’m not very proud of the book—I think it’s a lot of fun, I think readers enjoy it. But I have a hard time revisiting it. And so for me, it’s actually easier to enjoy it as a film than it is to enjoy it as a book. I just don’t like thinking about where I was mentally when I wrote the story. … But it all turned out okay at the end.

My first novel was Heart-Shaped Box and it was a tremendous success. And I know it’s a cliché, but fell into that second-book trap and at one point I had 400 pages of a novel called The Surrealist Glass and every scene was terrible. Everything about it was bad. I was 50 pages from the ending and I threw the whole thing away. I just couldn’t stand it and I remember thinking, Forget it, I’m done. If there’s never another book, there’s never another book. I don’t want to be a guy who wrote a crappy book just to have a follow up. I’d rather just be a one-book writer. 

And so I stopped the writing for a little while. And then at some point after I stopped writing, the mental fist came unclenched. I started thinking about what I needed to make a story work. I decided that what I needed was the devil. Stories always come to life when the devil walks on stage, a character to tempt people into sin and to reveal secrets and that was sort of the starting point of Horns.

DT: Were you afraid that the rich inner lives of your characters wouldn’t translate to the screen?
JH: Well, it is hard, but that’s the challenge—that’s an actor’s challenge. One of the things I’ve said over and over again is that, in the course of the story, Perrish (the hero) covers this enormous emotional terrain. He experiences grief and loss and rage and madness and delirious joy. He goes from innocence to experience, and a lot of that is internal. Daniel Radcliffe was able to bring all those emotions to the screen and make it look easy, make it look effortless. I always think that whenever you see an artist do something that’s difficult and make it look easy, you’re seeing someone who’s worked incredibly hard. I do think that Dan is a really remarkable young actor, and with every role he shows more range and an almost athletic range of skills. We were just so lucky that he wanted to play the part.

DT: So do you have any plans or action on movies of any of your other books?
JH: Some good things have happened with a short story called “Best New Horror.” Some interesting things have happened with my novel NOS4A2 that I’m not allowed to talk about yet, but they’re sort of trucking along in an interesting way. Universal is waist-deep in the preliminary work on adapting Locke & Key as a film trilogy. My understanding is they have a pretty big chunk of the script that they’re all really happy with. My tendency is not to say too much about any possible film or TV stuff until the cameras are actually rolling because until then I don’t really believe in it.

DT: Have you ever thought about acting?
JH: Well, I’m a former child actor. I was in Creepshow. I was the little kid with the voodoo doll. My feeling is that that particular performance was gold, and so perfect that there’s really no reason to return.

I explored everything there is to explore in the field of acting with that film and there’s no reason to tarnish the greatness of that initial performance with another role. I view myself as very much like Daniel Day-Lewis, you know—years and years between parts. Daniel Day-Lewis and I are almost exactly the same guy.

DT: You definitely showed some incredible range in that role.
JH: I think so. It was right there. Way better, way better than those, way better than those second-rate child actors who worked on Harry Potter. Oh my God, blew that right out of the water!

DT: That Daniel Day-Lewis guy, what’s he got on you really?
JH: Nothing. He’s got longer hair.

DT: You and your father seem happy for the worlds of your books to cross paths a little. So it seems that you don’t want to be too disconnected from his work.
Well, not so much anymore. When I was a younger guy, I was really insecure. I was afraid if I wrote as Joseph King that publishers would publish a lousy work because they saw a chance to make a quick buck in the last name. I was afraid of that. So I decided to write as Joe Hill. I was able to keep it a secret for about a decade.

In the course of that time, I made my mistakes in private—which is where you’re supposed to make them. I worked my craft and learned the things I needed to learn and, eventually, when I did sell my first book of stories, I sold it to a small press in England. I felt like it sold for the right reasons because the publisher didn’t know anything about my dad. He didn’t know anything about my family. He just really liked those stories. Each of the short stories sold individually for the same reason, in little magazines where the editor said ‘This is great, we really like this story. We’d be happy to publish it.’

I desperately needed that encouragement. I needed to feel like I was succeeding on my own merits, not because my dad was someone famous. I’m a little bit more secure now, and in many ways NOS4R2 has a lot of joking references to Stephen King novels in it. In some ways, NOS4R2 is a book about Stephen King novels. It is a kind of response to my dad’s book It, which I loved as a kid. If you scratch the surface, it’s possible to see that NOS4R2 and It share the same underlying structure.

A brain isn’t very big. It’s just a few pounds of gray matter stuck in a very small living space. You’ve only got so much space to move around in, and so you are stuck writing about the facts of your own life. You may be inventing fiction, but you’re stuck using your own childhood and your own experiences and your own emotional responses to things. So it’s really impossible to have a lifelong career as a novelist and not write stuff that is occasionally reflective on my parents.


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Drew Turney is a filmgoer, movie industry watcher, technology expert and books and publishing reporter with more than ten years experience. He writes about everything from the latest mobile phones to special effects to book reviews to author profiles, and everything in between. Find more at drewturney.com and filmism.net.

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14. Caldecott Honor-Winning John Rocco Talks About Blizzard

John Rocco discusses his newest picture book, Blizzard, the companion to your Caldecott Honor-winning Blackout.

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15. Jane Hanser Talks About Dogs Don’t Look Both Ways

Jane Hanser is the writer behind the blog www.dogsdontlookbothways.com. Her first book carries the same namesake and we got to chat with Hanser about the endearing Dogs Don't Look Both Ways and the behind-the-scenes steps she took to create this joyful read.

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16. 5 Questions with Best Selling Author Regina Swanson

 
BookBuzzr author Regina Swanson’s book – My Husband’s Other Women – recently hit the # 3 spot on the Amazon. We reached out to Regina to learn more about her story.

The screenshot below was taken on Oct, 20 2014.
regina swanson amazon rank

1. Congratulations on the success of ‘My Husband’s Other Women’. Can you tell us a little about yourself and your journey as a writer?

Thank you for showing interest in “My Husband’s Other Women.” It is appreciated.
Regina Swanson
I was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. I took a short hiatus from Dallas to attend college. Upon completion of my undergraduate degree, I returned to Dallas. I have Master of Arts Degree in counseling and a PhD in Education. I am a late starter to the writing profession. I have always enjoyed fiction and creating stories but only recently decided to put it down on paper. Once I completed my first novel, I sent the manuscript out to some of the larger publishing companies. Needless to say, I did not hear back from any. I was extremely grateful when I was introduced to Royalty Publishing House. The company owners, Niyah Moore and Porscha Sterling, were excited about the manuscript. Together we put in the work to bring this debut novel to lovers of women’s fiction.

2. Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?

I do not have a special time to write. When idea’s spring into my brain I make notes. I could be riding in the car or standing in line at the grocery store. In the past, I would make outlines of what I wanted to happen, but I stopped because I’d never stick to the outline. You could say that I let my characters develop themselves as I am writing. It gives them more of an authentic feel as opposed to sticking to a premade script.

3. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

The most challenging part of writing for me is being concerned with how the editor views my knowledge of structure in preparing the manuscript. I know that may be weird, but the other parts of writing come very easy for me. I believe that my love of writing causes little stress throughout the process.

4. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

Absolutely! I learned that I love happy endings. I also love developing characters. It is one of the best things in the world to get to decide the outcome of what’s happening.

5. Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?

My advice for other authors is to first entertain yourself with your writing. If you by chance entertain others in the process, well that’s just icing on the cake!

Thank you, Regina, for your Interview responses!

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Vikram Narayan is the founder of BookBuzzr Book Marketing Technologies. Vikram is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University. Prior to starting BookBuzzr, Vikram founded another software company that has been successfully serving clients from all over the world since 2001. When he is not dreaming up ways to help authors accelerate their earnings and book sales, Vikram spends his time playing the guitar, practicing Aikido and spending time with his family._________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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17. Chrissie Michaels – breathing life into history

It was while researching the French explorer Nicolas Baudin that Australian children’s author, Chrissie Michaels came across one of those gems that every writer loves to find. It was the story of a young convict girl, who was transported to New South Wales for theft and ended up as a passenger on Baudin’s ship as […]

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18. Interview with Gary Rodriguez, Author of Escape Through The Wilderness

Gary RodriguezGary Rodriguez is president of LeaderMetrix Inc., a consulting company that specializes in senior-level executive coaching, organizational development and conflict resolution. He is the author of the new adventure novel Escape through the Wilderness scheduled for release in June 2014.  

His first book Purpose-Centered Public Speaking was an instant hit and recently republished by Tate Publishing.  

His extensive resume includes eighteen years as an executive in the radio business where he spent several years as one of the original managers of Infinity Broadcasting. He was twice nominated as medium market manager of the year by the Bobby Poe report, a national media publication.  

For over thirty-five years, Gary has spoken in public both nationally and internationally. Gary’s resume includes a season in the U.S. Army where he was highly decorated as the youngest Drill Instructor in the Army’s history at age 18 years. He was also awarded the Silver Star (the nation’s third highest award for valor) while serving in Viet Nam. 

Visit the book’s website at http://ettw.tateauthor.com/ You can also find Gary at http://leadermetrix.com/ and http://www.leadermetrix.com/authorspeaker.  

 

Can you tell us what your book is about?

Let me begin by telling you that the Idaho wilderness is the setting for the book. Here’s a brief overview of the story.

Sixteen-year-old Savannah Evans walks with a slight limp thanks to a gymnastics accident that dashed her Olympic dreams. But that doesn’t stop her from attending a summer adventure camp. At Camp Arrowhead, she quickly befriends Jade Chang and Rico Cruz, but Conner Swift acts like a bully and taunts her because of her injury.

The four are teamed together for an overnight white-water rafting adventure. What was supposed to be a fun expedition turns into a nightmare when there’s a serious incident and their adult guide disappears down the river.

Without their guide and desperately trying to steer an out-of-control raft, they pass the “Last Chance” marker and enter miles of furious rapids.

When the four drag themselves out of the river, they’re bruised, beaten, lost, and twenty-five miles from camp. Because of late-night campfire tales of Vexel, a vicious animal that roams the nearby woods, Savi and the others are terrified.

Savi becomes the unlikely leader who is forced by unexpected circumstances to try to guide the group back to Camp Arrowhead. Limited supplies, injuries, and the constant threat of Vexel—who everyone fears is stalking them, complicate the harrowing return trip.

Readers will enjoy dramatic survival scenes and the group working together, solving problems, and learning to overcome all sorts of obstacles and adversity.

Why did you write your book?

Escape Through The Wilderness is an analogy about life. Often, in today’s world, young people are faced with unexpected difficulties and forced to overcome fierce opposition. The book was written to show readers ways they can face and overcome difficulties with a measure of faith and a little help from their friends.

In our culture, we are quick to recognize and celebrate individual achievements. However, there are some obstacles in life that require the help of others to overcome.

The adventure chronicles four teens coming to terms with their own struggles in the midst of stiff opposition and complicated circumstances. Learning to overcome adversity is a part of everyday life. My goal is to highlight the value and benefits of strong faith and real friendships.

Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?Escape Through the Wilderness cover

There are four main characters and one supporting character in the story. Savi Evans is a sixteen-year old from Oxford, Mississippi and the lead character. She’s an extraordinary person who positively impacts the lives of those around her. Rico Cruz is seventeen and lives in San Antonio, Texas. He’s the handsome tender-warrior type and a strong leader in his own right. Jade Chang is also seventeen and resides in San Francisco, California. She feels out of her comfort zone because this is her first time stepping into a wilderness setting. Conner Swift lives in Chicago, Illinois and is seventeen as well. He lives in the shadow of a successful father and has something to prove. They each have their own reasons for attending the camp. Lastly, there’s Luke. I can’t talk much about him without giving away the story. But readers will most certainly grow to love and appreciate him.

Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel or do you discover it as you write?

You are asking an interesting question. I’d have to answer it by saying, yes and yes. When I planned out the story, I started the process by beginning at the end. I asked myself what I wanted my readers to experience and learn from the book. However, I also held my plan loosely which allowed for spontaneous inspiration and ongoing creativity. I believe it’s important to have a plan but to allow room for the plot and characters to develop as they come to life.

Honestly, developing the ending was difficult for me. I got stuck for a while. So I decided to get on my knees and pray for inspiration. I believe my prayer was answered. I hope your readers agree with me once they’ve read the book.

Your book is set in northeastern Idaho. Can you tell us why you chose this setting in particular?

I chose a setting in the United States that was centrally located and yet very remote. The wilderness terrain needed to be challenging, and the river used in the whitewater rafting trip had to be dangerous. It also had to be an isolated locale without cell service to make communication with the outside world next to impossible.

Have you suffered from writer’s block and what do you do to get back on track?

Writer’s block has never been a problem for me. That’s not to say that I don’t have lulls in creativity or motivation. Of course, I do. But when that happens, I don’t consider it a “block” and I don’t try to power through it. Instead, I take it as a sign that I need a break from writing. Taking a short time away is sometimes a wise and healthy choice. I don’t panic if I lose my motivation or inspiration to write for a time. Runners don’t always run. Sometimes their body needs time to rest and recover. In the same way, putting too much pressure on yourself to always write can stifle both your creativity and your inspiration. There is nothing wrong with taking some time to chill out and focus on other activities. A short break will often revive you and rekindle your passion and desire to write once again.

After I give myself a break (it may be a couple days or even a couple weeks) I sit down again and read what I’ve written previously. That gets me right back into the flow of my work and often I find a new sense of inspiration to write. Some days I have to work a little harder at writing than other days. But I think that’s a part of the normal ebb and flow of a writer’s life. Sometimes runners feel like they can run forever. But on other days they feel like it is more of an effort. The same is true of writing.

What do you like the most about being an author?

One of the most gratifying things about writing is creating a story that others find exciting and inspirational. When I finished writing Escape Through The Wilderness and reread the manuscript, I was amazed that the story came out of me. I believe I was given this inspiring story as a gift. If I had chosen not to write and share it, the story would have died inside me and never been told. But I thank God that didn’t happen. In fact, the opposite is true. The gift he gave to me is now my gift to the world. I hope the story entertains and encourages all who read it.

Escape banner 2


0 Comments on Interview with Gary Rodriguez, Author of Escape Through The Wilderness as of 10/29/2014 4:27:00 AM
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19. An Interview with Amazon Best Selling Author Linda Watkins

BookBuzzr author Linda Watkins recently had an opportunity to celebrate. Her book – Mateguas Island – recently hit the number 1 spot on Amazon in the Horror > Occult category.

The screenshot below was taken on October 14, 2014.

linda-watkins-amazon-rank

We reached out to her to learn more about her journey…

Hey Linda! Always a pleasure to connect with a fellow Carnegie Mellon alum! Why don’t you start out by telling us a little bit about yourself?

Linda Watkins with her dogs

Sure. My family is from New England. We moved to Michigan when I was young and that’s where I grew up. After college – at Carnegie – I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area where I spent most of my adult life, working as a financial analyst at Stanford Unversity School of Medicine. When I took early retirement, I moved to Oregon for a brief time, then on to Chebeague Island, Maine, where I resided for seven wonderful years. Chebeague is an “unconnected” island – there is no bridge or causeway; access is only by ferry or private boat. It was there that I wrote MATEGUAS ISLAND. Last year, for personal reasons, I gave up island life and moved to Western Michigan where I live today.

I’m single and live with my three aging rescue dogs, Splatter, Spudley and Jasper,

Why did you start writing?

I think I’ve always been writing. When we were young, my sister and I used to write satirical sketches based on the era’s most popular tv westerns. Later in life, at work, I wrote “long forms” and business plans while, at home, I wrote songs, poems and bits of whimsy to share with family and friends. A novel, however, was something I never attempted until approximately four years ago when I started MATEGUAS.

I think there were two things that spurred me to actually sit down and write this book. First was a challenge from my sister who is also a writer. Second was the invention of the iPad! I got one of the first ones and it freed me from being tied to my computer. I could write anywhere – in my car, waiting in the parking lot on the mainland; on the ferry, going to and from Chebeague and in the wee small hours of the morning when my characters refused to let me sleep – they wanted their story told!

What’s the story behind ‘Mateguas Island’?

Well, as I mentioned above, I lived on an island not unlike my fictional one. Living on an unconnected island, there are times, most especially when a storm is coming (I experienced 2 hurricanes and an untold number of nor’easters while I lived there), that one can feel an overwhelming sense of isolation and claustrophia. These emotions play well into a story based in the supernatural. Also, you’ll note my main characters moved to the island from northern California – just like I did.

Since horror is the genre I most enjoy, I decided to write a horror story, using a fictional island as the backdrop. It began, initially, as one of those “house” stories – you know, there’s something evil lurking in the walls, etc. However, my characters had other things in mind and they led me to the story that is now MATEGUAS.

What’s the best thing about being a writer?

Gosh – the people you meet in your mind! And, you can do anything to them that you want! Also, your hours are your own – you can write in the early morning, late at night or whenever the spirit moves you. It’s so much fun creating a story – I can’t really describe it – it’s wonderful.

What’s the worst thing about being a writer?

As a self-published writer, I have to do all the promoting of my work myself and I can’t say I really enjoy it. I’d rather be writing. But promotion is a necessary evil and I have to do it!

What does a typical day look like for you?

I’m a morning person. I’m usually up around 5:30 – 6:00 am. After I let the dogs out and brew that first cup of coffee, I’m at the computer – reading emails, scheduling tweets, answering messages on FB and posting book promos there. After all that is done, I walk my dogs, feed them and then it’s back to the computer again, either doing promo stuff or writing/editing.

In the early evening, I’m again back at the computer doing promos. After dinner, it’s down time – I stop work and just relax.

What are some of the things that you did to market your book?

I’ve tried quite a few different things. I do Facebook promos in the numerous groups that feature books, I tweet and retweet, I’ve been on several different horror blogs as a guest, and joined in promotional events featuring book giveaways. I’ve also placed my novel on a number of websites that feature books. Outside of cyberspace, I’ve done signings and participated in charity events, giving away copies of my book

It was a BookBub promotion, that I’m now in the middle of, that catapulted me to the #1 Bestseller Ranking.

How did you learn about your book hitting the number 1 slot on Amazon?

As I mentioned above, I had a promotion going on, so I was watching the stats very carefully. The first day, the books were flying off the virtual shelves so fast, the Amazon ranking couldn’t keep up with them! I think the lowest number I saw was 123 in all paid, which blew my mind. Getting the #1 ranking in Horror/Occult, ahead of Anne Rice and Stephen King and lots of other amazing writers, was just too awesome!

Who designed your book cover for you?

The photos on both the front and the back are ones I took on Chebeague Island. The colorization and lettering, etc., were done by a fellow writer, H. William Ruback, who also has a graphic design studio – www.incolordigitaldesign.com.

How did you get your book and author websites created?

Another fellow writer and good friend, Steve LeBel (The Universe Builders), helped me set them up initially. The rest was done by just trial and error. I learn best by doing, not by reading about doing!

How did you manage to reach out to your first few reviewers and get them to read your book?

My book is published under Argon Press which is actually a consortium of writers. The aforementioned Steve LeBel set up a website for Argon and, in that website, members of the general public have the ability to download ARCs (advanced reader copies) of our unpublished work. I obtained several reviews from those readings.

In addition, I reached out to reviewers who have pages on Facebook asking them if they would be so kind as to read and review my work. I also sent MATEGUAS to the Midwest Book Review and Readers’ Favorite organizations in order to obtain editorial reviews. At the same time, I entered the Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Contest and was so thrilled and elated when MATEGUAS won the Gold Medal in Fiction-Supernatural.

When is your next book coming out? Can you tell us a little about it?

The next book is the sequel to MATEGUAS, aptly titled: RETURN TO MATEGUAS ISLAND. The novel is in the final editing stages now. My goal is to have the editing done by the end of October, then its on to formatting, etc. I have the front cover done – the back and spine will come later when I prepare the print version. I hope to publish the eBook by mid-December 2014. The print version will come later – probably in January or February of 2015.

As for the story, it takes place ten years after Karen Andersen and her family leave Mateguas. Karen’s daughters are now eighteen and want to return to the island to find out what really happened that night of the storm when everything changed. Karen, now married to Dex, naturally, does not want to go, but is eventually persuaded. There will be some major surprises in store for them on Mateguas, but I’m not going to give away anything here. Suffice to say, there is plenty of supernatural stuff going on as well as a healthy dose of romance. A brief excerpt of the novel can be found on my website, www.mateguasisland.com.

RETURN TO MATEGUAS is the second full-length novel in a three book series. I’m writing the final novel in my head right now and, once Return is publshed, hope to get started putting it down on paper! My goal is to publish that book by the end of next summer.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Vikram Narayan is the founder of BookBuzzr Book Marketing Technologies. Vikram is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University. Prior to starting BookBuzzr, Vikram founded another software company that has been successfully serving clients from all over the world since 2001. When he is not dreaming up ways to help authors accelerate their earnings and book sales, Vikram spends his time playing the guitar, practicing Aikido and spending time with his family._________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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