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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: author interviews, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Captain No Beard Blog Tour 2015

Captain No Beard sets sail on 9 separate voyages of the imagination with his fearless crew aboard his pirate ship The Flying Dragon.

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2. Interview – Lauren DeStefano and A Curious Tale of the In-Between

First things first. Look at that book jacket.


Gaze upon it. Feast thine peeper upon its delightful creepy factor. That’s a cover, my friends. And it takes a good book to live up to it. Fortunately, A Curious Tale of the In-Between hasn’t exactly been lacking for the stellar reviews. As Kirkus put it, “DeStefano artfully concocts a moving and multilayered tale that is an effective mix of genres and tones, at times contemplative and philosophical yet also macabre and psychologically sophisticated. Love, loss, and hope are at the heart of this exciting read.”

You’ll understand then why I was intrigued when Bloomsbury offered unto me Ms. Lauren DeStafano herself for an interview. And actually, I saw her speak in person years ago. Remember the YA Chemical Garden trilogy? That was her! So saying, she agreed to my probing queries:

Betsy Bird: Hello!  Thank you so much for acquiescing to a rousing series of questions.  First things first, though.  What we have here appears to be a book by the name of A CURIOUS TALE OF THE IN-BETWEEN.  Can you give us a run down of what it’s about?

Lauren DeStefano: I like to describe it as a love story between a living girl, a living boy, and a ghost.

BB: Well, how did you come to write it?  Which is to say, why did you make it a middle grade book (for ages 9-12) and not YA.  You are, after all, the author of two New York Times bestselling YA series.  Why the switch into younger territory?

LD: When I wrote this story, I wasn’t conscious of the idea that it would get published, so things like MG and YA weren’t in my head. I had an idea about a girl who had a peculiar condition that caused her to conspire with ghosts, and I began to write it. After dinner one night, my cousin, who I think was 8 or so at the time, asked me to tell her a story. I told her about this one, though it was only half finished at the time. Her interest and questions really surprised me, and I began to wonder if Pram did have something to offer to younger readers.

BB: I know that writing books on the younger end requires an entirely different set of muscles than writing for the YA crowd.  How was writing this book for you?  Did anything surprise you along the way?

LD: Writing for younger readers was nothing but a joyous experience from start to finish. I had little of the fears and insecurities I have when tackling some of my other endeavors. All I had to do was believe in magic and let that carry me to the end.

BB: Great.  Now when an author gets a particularly good cover on their newest title I like to say they’ve made small animal sacrifices to the book jacket gods.  You fall into that category perfectly.  How do you like it?

LD: I LOVE it. I wish I could claim credit, but that all goes to my designers.

BB: This book has already been compared to Coraline, which is sort of the de facto thing reviewers say when dealing with gothic middle grade literature.  What are some of the books for kids you’d equate it with?  Related (or maybe not) what did you like to read when you were a kid?

LD: That is an incredibly flattering and humbling comparison, and I’m honored to hear that. I don’t know if, plot-wise or voice-wise, I could compare it to any particular work off the top of my head. When I was a young reader, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH was my most treasured book and I obsessed over it for months. It reached me on some cosmic level that made me feel understood. I would just hope this story could do that for someone else.

BB: And finally, what are you working on next?

LD: A tangled web of secrets and intrigue.

Many thanks to Ms. DeStefano for submitting herself to questions that, I am sure, she has answered many times before and will answer many times again.  And thanks too to Bloomsbury for offering her up to me in the first place.


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3. An Interview With Carolyn Howard-Johnson – Creator of the How To Do It Frugally Series of Books

Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Carolyn Howard-Johnson is best known as The Frugal Book Promoter, but she has worn many hats including that of literary writer, poet, and writer for many well-known publications. We reached out to Carolyn to get her insights and wisdom on publishing, book marketing and editing.

Hi Carolyn, Thank you for taking the time to do this interview. For those who may not have seen your ‘The Frugal Book Promoter’ book, can you take a moment to tell us a little about yourself and your books?
I’m just a writer who love everything about writing. It’s a problem because that ranges from advocating for authors to copywriting to poetry and fiction. It makes it hard to focus, but it also keeps me positive and enthusiastic about writing.

You’ve seen the publishing space evolve over a long time. What’s different today?
I don’t think anything on the Web stays the same for more than a day. I had to learn the hard way. At first I wrote my how-tos for authors with as much detail about processes (like where to find things on Amazon) as possible. But page designs changed, links went bye-bye (even the ones famously called permalinks) and changes often meant that users needed to adjust everything from their philosophy to the way they work. That meant I had to adjust so I could bring authors more of what they need–both today and tomorrow. The basics like writing a great media release and putting together a great media kit never go away. And the way to think about promotion and marketing doesn’t change. So now I concentrate on things like how to make the most of a book fair or a book signing or suffer the consequences. Once we learn how to apply the basics, we can apply them no matter how the industry changes.
By the way, as a writer I formed a policy a long time ago. I don’t have to know all the tech all the time. I can learn what I need as the changes occur. You know. It’s learning on an as-needed basis.

Can you tell us a little more about ‘The Frugal Editor’ – why should authors read it?

Authors should read it because they for the first time they will be in charge of or partners in every aspect of publishing (one of those changes mentioned in the last question). Even if they snag a big New York publisher. Budgets are tighter. Authors want more control over their own careers if for no other reason than that–these days–they can! Knowing the difference between style choices and grammar rules will make better, more original authors of them! And this book does things that other books on editing don’t do, like help an author think like agents or other book professionals. Once we can do that, we’re in a better position to avoid major publishing booboos.
As an example, did you know that there are very few Jackie Onassis styles acquisition editors at publishing houses these days, that everyone is running on tighter budgets on everything from book cover artists to copy editors to marketing. Authors who don’t know about grammar and voice and formatting, and frontmatter and indexes, and . . .well, you get the idea! It’s a big publishing world out there, a world full of potholes just waiting for us to fall into.

Given that you recommend doing things frugally, should indie authors hire an editor for their books? How much does an average editing job cost? What are the benefits? How should an author select an editor?
These are all topics I cover in The Frugal Editor. In great detail. You don’t want me to write another book for you, do you? Ha!
Yes, everyone should hire an editor, but only a good editor. Authors who hire a typo hunter or their high school English teacher (who probably knows nothing about publishing) will waste their money. And we all know that most authors can ill afford to hire an editor for every document like query letters, press releases, media kits. And those are as vital to the success of a book as writing a great book. In The Frugal Editor I also caution writers: “You wouldn’t choose a contractor for a remodel of a house based solely on price, would you?”

What are some of the biggest mistakes newbie authors make with their books?
One of the biggest is signing a one-sided contract that protects the publisher and does nearly nothing for the author. One of the biggest editing mistakes is ignoring dialogue (nonfiction authors are especially guilty of this) or knowing nothing about writing dialogue or punctuating it. This is one aspect of writing that even those who grabbed down As in English have no training in whatsoever. Even those who think they do.

What are some of the simple, low-cost things that authors can do to promote their books
I love the kind of marketing that lets us do what authors usually like to do. That is, to write! So, in The Frugal Book Promoter, there is a chapter on marketing that covers ways to do that. My favorite is to write articles or edit excerpts from one’s own book to use as articles. . .or essays. . .or op-ed pieces. . .or first person columns.

How can an author get an outstanding book cover in a frugal manner?
How did you know! I am partnering with the cover designed I used for The Frugal Editor and The Frugal Book Promoter, Chaz DeSimone, to write a how-to book on this very topic. It’s amazing how much is involved in a great book cover, including marketing. Choosing a title. Thinking in advance about the future of the book and possible spinoffs. The use of keywords in the subtitle. Gleaning blurbs (endorsements) to go on the back cover–blurbs that are credible and help sell books.

Is it still possible to make a living as an author in today’s crowded marketplace? What can an average author expect from her publishing journey?
Absolutely! The keyword here is persistence. That means we have to continue to learn. As you have seen, we authors must be jacks-of-all-trades like we never had to before. You know those “overnight successes” we read about in the newspaper? They’re only overnight successes because we just heard of them. They’ve been honing their craft, teaching, developing new skills. Malcolm Gladwell says it takes about ten years for a person in any field to become an overnight success. Yes, I’m paraphrasing. But that’s the gist of it!

You’re also active on Pinterest. Is there any learning that you can share from here with authors?
One of the things I tell authors in The Frugal Book Promoter is to reread their book(s) with their marketing hats on. Fiction, poetry. Whatever. And watch the news cycles. We must keep wearing that marketing hat so that we can apply all the aspect of our books to what’s in the news, what’s on the Web, etc. Pinterest can be very efficient if we focus. Every author should have at least a few bulletin boards on the topic of writing or fields related to the theme or subject of their books and at least one bulletin board that makes it very clear that board is about that author’s books and writing career.
I have a marketing device, I use. I tell those who subscribe to my newsletter and blogs: “You pin my book cover (or covers), and I’ll pin yours.” But I can’t do it if I can’t find their covers on their Pinterest page or have to dig through 500 pins to find it! You’ll notice that little motto is in my e-mail signature, too:

Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Instructor for nearly a decade at the renowned UCLA Extension Writers’ Program
Author of the multi award-winning series of HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers
Amazon Profile: http://bit.ly/CarolynsAmznProfile
The Frugal Book Promoter: http://bit.ly/FrugalBookPromo
Web site: http://www.HowToDoItFrugally.com
E-mail: CarolynHowardJ@AOL.com
Facebook: http://Facebook.com/carolynhowardjohnson
Twitter: http://Twitter.com/FrugalBookPromo
Pinterest: http://Pinterest.com/chowardjohnson
You pin one of my book covers, and I’ll pin one of yours!
Let’s Network Today!

Where can readers find you on the web?
I like to send readers and authors directly to my sales pages on Amazon when possible but they can find all kinds of resources for themselves on my Web site: http://howtodoitfrugally.com. Just click on the Writers Resources tab on the top of the home page. And, yep! They can find what they need about all of my books there. We should never forget that people don’t only visit our sites to buy a book. There should be something there that will benefit them besides the book an author wants to sell.
PS: Authors can sign up for my SharingwithWriters newsletter there, too. There is a signup form on almost every page of my Web site.

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4. Getting serious about Series # 2 – The Warlock’s Child – Guest post with Sean McMullen

By now, the last of those cleverly crafted Book Week costumes are washed and tucked away. Authors and illustrators all over Australia are reaching for mugs of hot lemon and honey tea to soothe raw throats, and children are undoubtedly curling up with pen and paper or else reading a brand new story, inspired by […]

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5. Australian YA: Meet Trinity Doyle and Pieces of Sky

  Thanks for talking to Boomerang Books, Trinity. My pleasure! Pieces of Sky (Allen & Unwin) is your first published YA novel. How did you get published – an agent or through the slush pile? I got my deal through my agent. What is the significance of your title, Pieces of Sky? In the novel the […]

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6. Doodles and Drafts – On Track with Kathryn Apel

An aphorism by Will Rogers has been rattling around on my train of thought recently: ‘Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there.’ One author who has not only found her right track but is chugging along it at an impressive pace is, Kathryn Apel. […]

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7. Jonah Winter, Author of Lillian’s Right to Vote | Speed Interview

Which five words best describe Lillian’s Right to Vote: A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965? America’s racist history surrounds us.

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8. A Discussion About The Girl Who Didn’t Share

The Girl Who Didn’t Share is a tale about friendship, sharing and happy endings.

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9. Ellie Royce makes History with ‘Lucas and Jack’

Along with a staunch group of Australian literary professionals, Ellie Royce is a strong advocate for promoting encouragement for families to connect with older generations, share love and facilitate the power of memory. Her latest picture book is one in a line up, not only involved in initiatives to create awareness of ageing people and […]

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10. My Writing and Reading Life: Derek Taylor Kent

Latest published book … EL PERRO CON SOMBRERO You wrote it because … In doing my school visits to promote my book series Scary School, I visited many dual immersion and spanish-speaking schools and saw the need for bilingual picture books that could be used to teach either English or Spanish to early learners.

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11. Happy Birthday Percy Jackson \\ PERCY PACK GIVEAWAY!

Hello all! As you may or may not know, August 18th is Percy Jackson's birthday!!! If that wasn't enough, it is also the release of Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes! But that's for the end of the post. So if you feel like skipping all the fun and being a buzz kill ;P go right ahead to the giveaway. To celebrate Percy's birthday, obviously requires a party! I'm going to give you all ideas on

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12. {Blog Tour} NOT AFTER EVERYTHING by Michelle Levy \\ This or That?

We have a fun "This or That" interview for you today, with author Michelle Levy. Michelle wrote NOT AFTER EVERYTHING, which came out August 4, and is being compared to Eleanor & Park!! Yes please, and thank you! Hey Michelle! We wanted to get to know you a little better, so we have some quick questions for you. Which do you like more? Book or Movie Book mostly. Although there have been

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13. Authors Revealing Secrets \\ LEGACY OF KINGS Secret & Giveaway

Hey all you Reading Teens (at heart)! When I heard about this tour, I thought it was an awesome idea and couldn't wait to find out all the deep dark secrets that authors have been hiding. Today we have Eleanor Herman visiting with us to talk about dead people. Well . . . kind of. I've started reading LEGACY OF KINGS and I'm loving it so far! Ancient Greece(ish), hot guys, tough girls and

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14. ‘In a World of Imagination’ – Interview with Anna Walker

Anna Walker; master creator of picture books encompassing emotion, wisdom, sensitivity, adventure, charm and humour. And equally as gentle, creative, genuine and profound as her delightful stories and pictures is the author / illustrator herself, with which I had the utmost pleasure in meeting recently at her Mr Huff Exhibition. I am honoured that the […]

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15. ‘In a World of Imagination’ – Interview with Anna Walker

Anna Walker; master creator of picture books encompassing emotion, wisdom, sensitivity, adventure, charm and humour. And equally as gentle, creative, genuine and profound as her delightful stories and pictures is the author / illustrator herself, with which I had the utmost pleasure in meeting recently at her Mr Huff Exhibition. I am honoured that the […]

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16. Meet Bruce Pascoe: Seahorse

Thanks for speaking to Boomerang Books, Bruce Pascoe. Where are you based? How has this influenced your new adventure story for children, Seahorse (Magabala Books)? I live at Gipsy Point near Mallacoota in Victoria. I have spent all of my life near the lighthouses at Cape Otway, King Island and Mallacoota and the sea is a […]

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17. EVERY LAST BREATH Tour \\ This or That and Giveaway!

Hello all you JLA addicts! Welcome to today's stop on the EVERY LAST BREATH tour from Harlequin Teen! We have a quick little "This or That" with Cayden, from the book, so you can get to him a little better! Make sure you don't miss the giveaway at the end!  This or That? Wardens or Demons? (Trick question? Maybeeee....)    Demons.  You've seen Roth, haven't you? Truth or Dare?  

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18. The Libby Garrett Intervention \\ Excerpt and Giveaway

Well, here we are folks. The final day of Science Geek Appreciation Week. And what a week it's been! We've read all about The Avery Shaw Experiment, revealed the cover and got a few teasers from The Libby Garrett Intervention releasing this October, we've gotten up close and personal with Science Squad author Kelly Oram, and we've invaded Avery's and Grayson's privacy by reading their

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19. Review – Lulu

At first glance, life on the icy floes may seem appealing. (Unless you reside in SE Queensland as I do with no real concept of what cold is until you have to live through ‘an unseasonably cold winter’ with little more than a cotton tee-shirt and a pair of bed socks). In Lulu’s world, there […]

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20. Georgie Donaghey in the Spotlight; ‘Lulu’ Makes her Debut

It’s not enough to just want something and hope that it will be delivered  to you on a silver platter. Unfortunately for most of us, life isn’t that simple. What we try to teach our kids is that you absolutely can achieve your aspirations, your goals, your dreams, but it takes work, persistence and determination. […]

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21. Risk, Meet Fleur Ferris

Thanks for speaking to Boomerang Books Blog, Fleur. Thanks you for having me on the blog Joy. Your new YA novel, Risk (Random House Australia) is creating a buzz in Australian YA circles. I believe that it has a very important message, told as an engaging story. Is it your first published work? Have you met […]

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22. Exclusive Excerpt & 10 Chances to Win! // AWAKE by Natasha Preston

Today we are celebrating Natasha Preston's newest YA Thriller, AWAKE, which will be releasing August 4th.  Natasha has graciously provided us with an exclusive excerpt from the book, and make sure you check out the awesome giveaway at the end of this post! Excerpt from AWAKE by Natasha Preston “Come here,” I said, holding my hands out. Usually she would curl into my side but

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23. Life in the Meadow with Madie, An Interview with Patty Luhovey

Patty Luhovey began to write Life in the Meadow with Madie: Mr. Earl's Missing Eyeglasses in 2009. Several of the story’s characters are based upon family members, even her daughter’s dog Carli.

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24. Blog Takeover: The Avery Shaw Experiment // Excerpt & Giveaway

Happy Thursday everyone! Today marks day 4 of Science Geek Appreciation Week. I hope you're having as much fun with it as I am. So far we've been introduced to The Avery Shaw Experiment, we've been teased about the upcoming The Libby Garrett Intervention, and we've gotten to know a little about the author behind all the geeky goodness, Kelly Oram. Today, it's time to get to know the stars of

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25. Ellen Potter, Author of the Piper Green Series | Speed Interview

Which five words best describe the Piper Green series? Ellen Potter: magic, Maine, fun, quirky, cozy

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