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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Author Interview, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 668
1. Interview with Kristi Helvig, Author of Burn Out

kristi

Writer Kristi Helvig makes her authorial debut with her young adult sci-fi novel “Burn Out” (Egmont USA) in spring 2014.

Helvig was born in North Carolina and grew up in Delaware. She holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Nova Southeastern University in Davie, Fla. She has spent her career in Colorado as a successful clinical psychologist and life coach. She regularly gives lectures
as a professional psychologist and visits schools where she talks with students about books and publishing.

Helvig has contributed as a guest blogger at LiteraryRambles.com and keeps her own blog updated with musings about “Star Trek,” space monkeys, books and other assorted topics.

The geek-for-science-fiction lives outside of Denver, Colo., with her husband of 17 years, two children and their behaviorally challenged dogs. In her spare time, Helvig practices yoga, hikes and loves trying new wines.

Visit Kristi online at http://www.kristihelvig.com/

How did you research the true science involved in “Burn Out?”

Google is a writer’s best friend and I always start there, but it can only take you so far. I watched a lot of documentaries on NatGeo, Science Channel, etc. and then contacted an astrophysics department at a large university. Nothing beats talking to experts in the field, and I was flattered that they took time out of their busy schedules to help me.

As you were learning about these scientific concepts, was there anything that surprised you?

I learned that sending all the world’s nuclear weapons into the sun wouldn’t cause it to burn out. Who knew? Finding a plausible way for the sun to burn out early was challenging, and where I definitely relied on assistance from astrophysicists.

Tell us about the themes you explored in the book and what you hope they mean to readers.

Trust is a huge theme throughout the book, as well as how to move forward after devastating losses. Weapons also play a big role in the book. New technology in my main character’s world has allowed for smarter, more lethal guns and she struggles with their impact on Earth’s remaining survivors.

Did your work as a clinical psychologist influence your writing?

Absolutely. I’ve seen hundreds of clients over the years and though everyone processes events according to their unique perspective, the experiences of love, fear, pain, and loss are common to humanity. It’s interesting to see how people interpret life events within their own personal construct.

What do you like about writing science fiction?burn out

That’s easy. I get to make up whole new worlds and then see what happens when I let characters loose in them. It’s creative and fun, and I get paid to do it. I couldn’t imagine anything better.

What advice do you have for other aspiring writers?

Never give up. Eat lots of chocolate. Drink lots of wine. Seriously though, the most important thing is to keep writing and find some good, honest critique partners…and then listen to them. Always strive to improve your craft. Read a lot. Reading is just as important to me as writing.

If your book were turned into a movie, who would you like to see play Tora, Markus and James?

What a fun question! I think Emily Browning would make a kick-ass Tora, and Skylar Astin as Markus would be awesome. James is tougher. Either Cam Gigandet or Alexander Ludwig is close to how I pictured James as I wrote him.

Who are some of your favorite science fiction and fantasy writers?

Lois Lowry, Madeleine L’Engle, Isaac Asimov, and Ray Bradbury to name a few. Additionally, though they’re not straight sci-fi writers, Neil Gaiman and Stephen King have had a huge influence on me.

What’s the best compliment you’ve received about your book so far?

My favorite so far was when a fellow author told me how much she loved my main character, Tora, and called her “the female Han Solo.” You can’t get a cooler compliment than that.

Is there a second “Burn Out” book in the works?

Yes, I’m hard at work on the second book, and I’m having a blast with it.

Hardcover, $17.99; eBook, $13.07
ISBN: 978-1606844793
Young Adult Science Fiction, 272 pages
Egmont USA, April 8, 2014

Purchase here!


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2. Interview with Sallie Haws, Author of Quantum Spirit: Apocalypse

sallie haws

As the great-granddaughter of the inventor of the drinking fountain and founder of Haws Corporation, Sallie Haws put her UC Santa Barbara bachelor’s degree in organizational psychology to work to make a positive impact on her family’s business. Sallie held numerous jobs in the company over her 26-year tenure from file clerk to President and CEO.

At a young age, Sallie’s passion for writing was fed by taking creative writing classes in high school and college. It was nursed along throughout her adult years by a voracious reading habit of paranormal, sci-fi, fantasy novels.

After selling the family business in 2011, Sallie finally had the time and inspiration to write.

“Quantum Spirit – Apocalypse” (August 2013, Fedd Books) is the culmination of years of personal and professional life experience combined with the
desire to empower, entertain and inspire adults and teenagers.

Sallie lives in Reno, Nevada, with her husband, son, daughter and black kitty named Chubs.

Visit Sallie online at www.quantumspiritbooks.com 

 

Salena Hawthorne, the teen heroine in “Quantum Spirit: Apocalypse,” is incredibly smart, strong and courageous. What do you want readers to learn from her?

I would love for them to learn how to tap into their own innate power and abilities. After being a business leader and mentor for many years, I decided to take what I’ve learned and share that with eager and open-minded young women through an entertaining and non-threatening medium.

My personal reading genre of choice is paranormal urban fantasy. However, I didn’t want to write a book about vampires or were-creatures. There are some awesome authors out there who do that extremely well, and I didn’t think it needed to be done again. I also wanted to write a book with a positive outlook for humanity’s future. I’m a little tired of the dystopian genre. I wanted to create a state of wonder with my audience. Our world is so full of fear and discord; it’s time to imagine a world full of love and connectedness.

On the surface, “Quantum Spirit” is a fun, easy read about a young girl who has some amazing abilities and some fantastic adventures. But the deeper you get into the book, the more profound the story becomes. Can you expand on that?

For many, the quick surface read will be enough. For those with a little more curiosity, dropping down one level, the premise of the book is how deadly fear can be, and how love, gratitude and forgiveness is the antidote. The third level introduces some metaphysical and spiritual concepts that are currently being practiced and taught all over the world. In that regard, “Quantum Spirit – Apocalypse” could almost be considered realistic fiction.sallie

How did you come up with the idea of giving Salena all of these different gifts – clairvoyance, seeing auras and traveling between dimensions?

I actually had a dream about a young girl who could change her body’s vibrational resonance that allowed her to disappear in the Third Dimension and travel to the Fifth Dimension. So that gift was the first one I came up with, but then I needed to provide reasonable cause as to why she might develop such a talent. Being an exceptionally strong clairvoyant at a young age I felt would lead credence to the development of more advanced abilities at the onset of puberty. Being able to see auras just seemed to make the package complete.

If you could have any the abilities that Salena has in your book, which would you pick and why?

I think my first choice would definitely be the ability to transcend dimensions. Being able to teleport anywhere in the world would seriously cut down on my travel expenses! Not to mention the money I would save on new clothes and accessories that I could instantly manifest while in the Fifth Dimension. As distracting as I’m sure it would be, the ability to see auras would be my second choice.

Crystals play an important role in “Quantum Spirit.” Can you tell us a little about them?

The two main types of crystals that play a role in the book are Selenite and Quartz. The use of Selenite came about by pure synchronicity. It was completely coincidental that the majestic crystal caves in Niaca, Mexico where I chose to put the Akashic Records were made of selenite. Selenite was named after the Greek word for moon, and Selene is the name for the Greek Goddess of the Moon. (I had named my heroine Salena way before I discovered the crystal caves and what type of crystals were in them.) After researching all of the physical and metaphysical properties of selenite, I knew that if the Akashic Records were ever going to be located in a single place, they would definitely be stored in those crystal caves.

I chose quartz for the healing ceremony because that is the first choice for metaphysical practitioners who use crystals to augment their healing practice. Quartz crystals are able to structure, store, amplify, focus, transmit and transform energy, which includes matter, thought, emotion and other forms of information. They were the best tool I could give Salena to allow her to trap the negative energy of the Blue Flu.

Did you do a lot of research while writing “Quantum Spirit?”

Yes. While the story is fiction, all of the metaphysical, spiritual and scientific concepts in the book are based on theories and research done by many different people. I read and/or referenced at least 13 different books and I don’t know how many dozens of websites on the various different concepts that I weaved into my story. Links to the books are all listed on my website.

Do you believe in the paranormal?

Absolutely. In fact, I believe in every one of the metaphysical concepts I put into Quantum Spirit: Apocalypse, even the existence of the Fifth Dimension. That doesn’t mean I have the ability to do any of the “paranormal” things that Salena can do, but I do believe they are possible.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Yes, I’ve always wanted to write a novel my whole life. My first attempt was in seventh grade, and there were a couple of other ones after that. After selling the family business in 2011, I knew I wanted to take this opportunity to finally write, but I didn’t have what I felt was a compelling enough story. In June of 2011, while on a houseboat vacation on Lake Shasta, I dreamed about a young girl who could change her body’s vibrational level and travel back and forth from the third dimension to the fifth dimension. Upon awakening, I walked out to the living room where my husband, son and his friends were eating breakfast and announced to the group, “I have my story.”

Without any spoilers, can you give us a hint of what to expect in your next book, “Quantum Spirit: Redemption?”

Salena has a lot of work ahead of her. On top of staying one step ahead of the nefarious goons who are trying to kidnap her, she must also continue to find a solution to help the millions of souls who are still trapped in stasis. Keeping track of Jace and trying to find a way to save him will also keep her rather busy, and she still has to pass eighth grade algebra.


1 Comments on Interview with Sallie Haws, Author of Quantum Spirit: Apocalypse, last added: 4/16/2014
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3. Interview with Amalie Howard, Author of Alpha Goddess

howardA rising star among young adult writers, Amalie Howard developed a loyal following after releasing her debut book, “Bloodspell,” in 2011. Now, she is returning with five new books that are sure to excite her devoted fans and catch the attention of new readers.

A bookworm from the beginning, Howard grew up on a small island in the Caribbean with her nose buried in books. When she was just 13 years old, her poem “The Candle” was published in a University of Warwick journal, marking a sign of great things to come. Howard immersed herself into other cultures, globetrotting through 22 countries in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. After moving to the United States, she earned a bachelor’s degree in international studies and French from Colby College in Maine. She also holds a certificate in French literature from the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, France. Traveling around the world, Howard has lent talents as a research assistant, marketing representative, freelance writer, teen speaker, blogger and global sales executive.

Howard is a recipient of a Royal Commonwealth Society award, an international youth writing competition. She is also a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. 

Howard’s first book, “Bloodspell” (June 2011, Langdon Street Press) earned rave reviews and was named a Seventeen Magazine Summer Beach Read. Readers will hear more from Howard as she releases a pair of two-book series, “Waterfell” (November 2013, Harlequin TEEN) and “The Almost Girl” (January 2014, Strange Chemistry), as well as “Alpha Goddess” (March 2014, Skyhorse/Sky Pony Press) over the next two years.

Howard lives in New York with her husband, three children and one willful feline that she is convinced may have been a witch’s cat in a past life.

You released your first book “Bloodspell” in 2011, which led to an impressive five book publishing deals. How the heck do you have time to write so much, and what does it feel like to have your work recognized in such a great way?

I am so incredibly grateful that my wonderful editors saw something they loved in my books and wanted to publish them. All three of my upcoming novels—WATERFELL, THE ALMOST GIRL, and ALPHA GODDESS—each brings something different and unique to the table, so I’m really excited that readers will get to sample such a diverse range of what I have to offer as an author.

As far as writing so much, I’m very lucky that I’m a fast writer, so once I get an idea in my head, I just go. I plot a basic outline of my expectations, and then I let the story take me on its journey. And as I always say to my teen creative writing classes, writing is like homework. You have to make time for it and be diligent about doing it.

What will fans of “Bloodspell” like best about your upcoming titles?

Fans of BLOODSPELL will enjoy meeting some very special new characters and being introduced to completely different worlds—figuratively and literally, especially in THE ALMOST GIRL. In WATERFELL, I was particularly excited to share my love of the ocean (I grew up on an island) and surfing! I also wanted to explore the myth of the sea monster and shift it from something terrifying into something beautiful … enter the mysterious world of the Aquarathi!

I’ve always been fascinated by quantum mechanics (even though I was hopeless at physics in high school) and the possibility of alternate universes. In THE ALMOST GIRL, I was able to explore that and more in this book, like the whole concept of nature versus nurture and whether we evolve differently based on harsher environments. I think this book will take readers on an interesting journey.

In ALPHA GODDESS, I wanted to explore some of the stories I’d been told as a child. I also wanted to share some of my experience with readers. My father comes from a long line of Hindu priests, so these myths were a large part of my childhood. The Ramayana is a particularly beautiful love story, and while my novel is a work of fiction, I really enjoyed crafting my version from such an inspiring mythology.

Your next release, “Waterfell,” departs from the world of vampires and witches but stays in the realm of fantasy and science fiction. What do you like about those genres?

Clearly, I love escaping reality. Fantasy and science fiction have always been my true loves. Don’t get me wrong, I love a great contemporary novel as much as anyone, but getting lost in a an epic fantasy world or meeting characters from other planets who have superhuman powers is icing on the cake for me. I like being able to push the boundaries of reality, to create mind-boggling ‘what if’ scenarios … for example, with WATERFELL, what if sea monsters really did exist? And what if they were a species from another planet hiding on ours? And what if they could shift into human form? With science fiction and fantasy, the possibilities are endless.

Like all of your books so far, “The Almost Girl” features a strong, independent female character as the protagonist. What do you hope readers learn from her?

I’m a huge fan of strong female protagonists (that said, I do have a novel with a strong male protagonist so I’m not gender-biased). I do like strong protagonists on the whole, but I also do think there has to be character growth that is transparent and meaningful to the reader. No one’s going to relate to a character who stays the same. With Riven from THE ALMOST GIRL, I love that she has to dig deep down to embrace her emotions. A soldier first, she’s so hard on the outside but still vulnerable on the inside—I really connected with her struggle to just let go of all her rules and be a girl. We build so many walls to keep from being hurt that we don’t allow ourselves to connect with others. I love that she was brave enough to trust her heart. In the end, I’m hopeful that readers will empathize with Riven and learn, as she does, that humans are born to feel, and that being open to life and love doesn’t make you weaker … it makes you stronger.

“Alpha Goddess” is your take on an Indian mythological tale. Where did you first hear about it?Alpha

Although ALPHA GODDESS is a work of fiction, a lot of my inspiration for the characters and the world-building in this novel is based on Hindu mythology. My father is a second generation Brahmin (priest class in traditional Hindu society), so Indian mythology was an integral part of my childhood and religious education. Fascinated by stories and legends of various Hindu gods who incarnated as avatars to avert human tragedy, I wanted to write an epic story that encompassed some of the Hindu mythology elements I enjoyed as a child, like the Ramayana, the story of Rama and Sita. Of course, ALPHA GODDESS is my own invented take on another reincarnated version of these characters, and does not actually exist in Indian scriptures.

You are quite the world traveler. How do you incorporate the cultures you come across into your writing?

I love meeting new people and exploring different cultures. I really believe that traveling the world has helped me to craft my characters, especially the ones that aren’t human (whom I have to invent). How do they evolve? How are they different from regular people? How are they the same? I enjoy using elements and facets from all the different cultures I’ve interacted with over the years to develop compelling scenarios and create robust characters in my writing.

I also like to include some of my favorite cities in my novels, for example, Paris and New York in BLOODSPELL, San Diego, California in WATERFELL, and Fort Collins, Colorado in THE ALMOST GIRL. Although a writer can research anything online, writing about a place I’ve actually been to helps me to picture scenes and places more vividly. It allows me to create more authentic descriptions, so that my readers can feel like they are there, too.

We can only imagine you’re working on something new. Can you give us any sneak peek into the mind of Amalie Howard and what’s to come?

I’m working on several different projects. I’ve just finished writing OCEANBORN, which is the sequel to WATERFELL, and I’ve also just completed a near-future, technological YA thriller/romance, which has a male protagonist that I’m very excited about. That one is now in the capable hands of my agent. In addition to that, I have outlined a companion novel to ALPHA GODDESS, and I am about to start writing the sequel to THE ALMOST GIRL. Lastly, I’m fleshing out a joint project with another YA writer that’s super secret and under wraps for now. So yes, I’m busy, but I’m embracing it all (with a lot of gratitude).

Age Range: 12 and up
Grade Level: 6 and up
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Sky Pony Press (March 18, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1626362084
ISBN-13: 978-1626362086
PURCHASE HERE!


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4. Player Profile: Rjurik Davidson, author of Unwrapped Sky

RjurikDavidson2-300x245Rjurik Davidson, author of Unwrapped Sky

Tell us about your latest creation:

 Unwrapped Sky sits somewhere between fantasy and science fiction, in a little subgenre sometimes called the New Weird. It’s set in the fantastic city of Caeli-Amur, which is something like an industrial version of Ancient Rome. Steam trams chug along the streets. A ruined forum lies close to a huge arena. Three dictatorial Houses rule the city. It’s filled with strange wonders. Ancient Minotaurs arrive for the traditional Festival of the Sun and New-Men bring wondrous technology from their homeland. Hideously disfigured Wastelanders stream into the city and strikes break out in the factory district.

Unwrapped Sky Cover ImageThe novel tells the stories of three people. The philosopher-assassin Kata has debts that need settling and will do anything to ensure they’re met. The ambitious bureaucrat Boris Autec rises through the ranks, turning his back on everything he once believed, and soon his private life turns to ashes. The idealistic seditionist Maximilian resolves to overturn the oppression dominating the city, and hatches a mad plot to unlock the secrets of the Great Library of Caeli Enas, drowned in the fabled city at the bottom of the sea. 

Unwrapped Sky is a novel of adventure and suspense, but also – I hope – a book that has something to say about oppression and liberation, progress and destruction, gender and class, love and betrayal.

Where are you from / where do you call home?:

 Originally, I’m from Melbourne. At the moment, I’m splitting my time between Australia and Finland. As a child I spend a fair bit of time in Europe. I lived a few years in Paris. So I feel equally at home in Australia and in Europe, though I guess, in the end, Melbourne is my place. That’s where my friends and most of my family are. They become increasingly important as you get older, I find.

When you were a kid, what did you want to become?  An author?:

 For some time I used to say I wanted to be a scientist, and I did show some proficiency for it as a child. As a teenager I switched to writer, and though it’s been a long trek, that’s how I make my living now – for the moment at least.

What do you consider to be your best work? Why?:

 There’s a story recently republished in the Time Traveller’s Almanac, called ‘Domine’, which I’m particularly proud of. It’s a ‘slow’ science fiction story, a character-driven story about a man whose father is on the first serious trip into space. Because of the laws of relativity (what’s called time dilation), the father returns to Earth younger than his son (thirty or so years pass for the son, but only one for the father). So for the son, the father is in some ways younger and older than he. I’m proud of that little Carver-esque story. Having said that, the world of Caeli-Amur is my most sustained creation. So the stories and the novel set there will probably be the way most think of me.

Describe your writing environment to us – your writing room, desk, etc.; is it ordered or chaotic?:

 At the moment, I’m writing standing. The laptop sits on a chair, which is itself set on a table. I’ve had some back and neck problems, so I must stand up nowadays. I quite like it, though my feet get sore sometimes. Gone is all the bohemian mess I was used to! But I do occasionally walk off to find reference books and cookies. Or just cookies.

When you’re not writing, who/what do you like to read?:

 This year I’ve resolved to read more, though my tastes are varied. I’ve always thought it important to read outside one’s genre. You need to know what else is happening. Opening yourself up to many influences is one way of developing original work. On my list at the moment are: ancient history, quantum physics, Hilary Mantel, Jean-Paul Sartre and Scott Lynch. The only thing you’re unlikely to find is poetry, not because I don’t like it, but because I don’t know where to start.

What was the defining book(s) of your childhood/schooling?:

 No doubt there were sundry fantasy novels, but I think the ones which really get you are ones you read at about nine or ten years old. For me, I think, there were novels of Henry Treece and Rosemary Sutcliff: books about Vikings and ancient Romans. The love of other worlds was with me already. I wanted to go back in time and see those places. I still do.

If you were a literary character, who would you be?:

 Maybe Tristan Smith, from Peter Carey’s strange and wonderful novel The Unusual Life of Tristan Smith. For those unaware, Tristan Smith is a young, four-foot man with a stutter, who spends much of the second half of the novel dressed in a mouse suit. I’d like to spend more of my time in a mouse suit. I’m ordering one over the internet now. Thanks for the idea.

Apart from books, what do you do in your spare time (surprise us!)?:

 Books about hypnotism and the unconscious. In particular, hypnotist, spiritualist and magic shows of the nineteenth century fascinate me: that unusual combination of emerging science, performance and demonstration really fires the imagination. I’m going to include some of it in my third novel, a steampunk book set in Melbourne during the 1880s or 1890s.

What is your favourite food and favourite drink?:

 Authentic Indian gets me every time. The deep, rich flavours, the meat which melts in your mouth, the heat. In terms of drinks, white spirits are nice. I once went to a bar in Russia where the vodka was free but you had to pay for the soft drinks. It wasn’t very good vodka, mind you.

Who is your hero? Why?:

 Most heroes are unseen and unheard: nurses, teachers, carers. But I admire Jean-Paul Sartre, who is an example of a writer who is engaged with the world. I’d like to write books that might do more than simply entertain. If you’re going to spend a year or so writing a book, it should be about something. Sartre’s ability to move between literary forms – theatre, essays, novels – is enviable, and he stood for something. That’s all too rare.

Crystal ball time – what is the biggest challenge for the future of books and reading?:

The digital revolution means that books – and films and television – are easily reproduced (with the click of a mouse. So it’s going to be hard to sell them in the future, especially as this current generation grows up. The result will be that the current structure of the industry won’t be able to support writers. Quality will go down: just look at paper journalism nowadays. In the short term, I can’t see a way around this, but we live in hope.

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5. Author Interview with Jeanne E. Rogers

It’s Author Interview Thursday and it’s my pleasure to introduce you to another author whose passionate about their craft and sharing with the writing community.J.E. Rogers I’ve been at the London Book Fair this week and I’ve had the privilege to meet various authors writing in different genres with a positive outlook on the future. If there’s anything that I’ve learned from the seminars at LBF, it’s that the publishing industry is evolving all the time and its imperative we keep our ears to the ground. That’s why I love AIT as every featured author has a unique experience which we can all learn from. I got to know today’s special guest after my interview with Sandra Bennett who was on the hot seat a few weeks ago. Her Middle Grade book ‘The Sword of Demelza,’ was awarded Honourable Mention in the Writer’s Digest’s 2013 eBook Awards. If you know her, then you how much she loves animals and this love is expressed in her books as well as most posts on her blog. She has so much to share with us and I know you’ll learn something new today. Without further ado, please join me in welcoming Jeanne E. Rogers.

 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the first time someone complemented you on something you had written.

I’m a bit of a late bloomer. Although I have been writing for a long time, I finally decided that I was ready. The new ‘wild west’ of independent publishing gave me all the courage I needed in order to self-publish in 2013 and I was thrilled to do so. As for the personal stuff…  I was born in New York City, raised in NJ, moved to Connecticut, graduated from Western Connecticut State University, (take a breath), and worked for 25 years in corporate America, (Ugh! and double Ugh!). I have three wonderful children, Erik, David and Katharine, and a fabulous, very understanding husband named George. My family fills my life, and fuels my muse! Oh, I can’t forget Phoebe, my standard poodle companion! My first compliment came from a beta reader who filled my manuscript with marginalia. Everywhere there was a note about the fascinating characters or the setting, or how quickly the pace was set in motion. There were also suggestions for improvements or brilliant ideas that I hadn’t thought of. It was both inspiring and encouraging.

 

What can a reader expect when they pick up a book written by Jeanne E. Rogers?

Readers can expect to enter a fantasy world where anthropomorphized animals wander the pages. I put swords and shield in their paws and send them out on a thrilling adventure. Readers will be introduced to animals that they have never met before and something different and exciting will happen in every chapter. The characters are endearing, devoted to each other, and determined in their missions. Beyond the story itself, readers will become aware of the moral lessons subtly placed within the story. Lessons about love, diversity, dedication to one’s family, and to a cause are all woven within the tale. I want my young readers to recognize that we each play an important role in our lives no matter how small or insignificant we feel – we all matter, we all make a difference.

 

Congratulations on the publication of your first Middle Grade Lit. book – The Sword of Demelza. Can you tell us about the research process that went into writing this book?The Sword of Demelza

Research for my book began three years prior to publication. The genre (fantasy) is pretty broad and there is much that includes talking animals. However, my goal is to teach youngsters about wild animals, specifically endangered animals, as I entertain. This is different from all the other animal books on the market today. The plight of endangered animals is a big subject, and there are many creatures whose lives are threatened. Some are critically endangered to the point that, one day soon, we may never see them again. The culprit is typically habitat deterioration. I decided that I would focus on one place at a time, and my love for Australia became my first focus. Every animal mentioned in the book was researched and if they were endangered I quoted the status of that animal as per the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). In order to make this a reality for my readers, I added a glossary at the back of the book. There are many mentions of flora and fauna that are found only in Australia in this glossary. Children here in the United States will be introduced to much of this information for the first time via my stories.

 

Your blog has a lot of useful info on Animals some people may never have heard of. Can you tell us where this love of animals stems from and if it’ll be a major theme in your future books?

As a child, animals fascinated me. I was not allowed a dog or cat because my father was highly allergic. My mother was very much aware of my love for animals and when I brought home the garden snake, she allowed it to stay. That was the beginning. After that there were many other unusual animals, including iguanas, fish, even mice and rats – only a little bit of fur there!  I just seem to have an affinity for animals and they seem to have the same for me. Since establishing my own home, I have rarely been without a companion dog. I have had four poodles and two Afghan Hounds, which I showed extensively. That was fun, but expensive.

Australia fascinated me from the time I was very young. I mean, what child here in the US doesn’t think koalas or kangaroos are fascinating? Koalas only eat leaves, and they are so adorable, even though they can be a bit grumpy. What about the Kangaroo? How could you not be captivated by the fact that a baby kangaroo, pretty much just an embryo, can crawl up to its mother’s pouch, and develop there over several months? Kangaroos and koalas are odd animals, odd marsupials. Everything in Australia is odd and I want to spread the word, share the fascination. Come on – admit it, Australia is a really strange, and interesting place, but I love it, I truly do.

 

What role would you say social media plays in building an author’s platform and have you found it helpful in marketing your book?

Social media is crucial in building an author’s platform. I started three years prior to publication. I began with a blog, set up a fan page on Facebook, made inroads with LinkedIn and Google+, dabbled a bit in Twitter, and went completely wild on Pinterest. The Internet has changed the way people communicate and the way people market themselves and their businesses. As an author, you have to face the fact that once your book is published you are now in the business of selling that book. If you are lucky enough to land an agent or publisher it doesn’t mean that you can stand back and let them take the social media reigns and do the marketing for you. As a matter of fact, you can be sure that they will not allow you to do that. They will expect you to be very hands on. So if you haven’t gotten your paws dirty in the devil’s work of marketing prior to publication, you’re already behind the eight ball. You have to be there, be active and be involved.

Any good marketing platform should include some of the following items, if not all; Internet (website/blog, podcasts, YouTube), special appearances and events, Radio and TV.

 

What were some of your favourite books as a child? Characters from The Sword of Demelza

I loved the classics. I loved The Jungle Books, by Kipling, the A.A. Milne books; Winnie the Pooh was a favourite, and I can’t tell you how many times I read When We Were Very Young.  One day my father introduced me to Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy. This trilogy was the basis for the hit Will Smith movie, I Robot.  Sci-Fi and Fantasy became a favourite and I couldn’t read fast enough. From Asimov, I graduated to Tolkien, Terry Brooks, Gaiman and even Edgar Allen Poe and Kafka, just to mention a few great authors. I am a voracious reader and I love it when I discover a book, especially fantasy, which was published independently. I will write a review on those that I believe are super, publish that review on Amazon, Goodreads, Google+, Facebook, etc. Needless to say, I am very supportive of independent authors.

 

What three things should writers avoid when writing dialogue?

I think the most important thing NOT to do is use dialogue as an opportunity to dump information on the reader. Information should be giving within the story itself and not provided in a dialogue conversation.

Using words like, replied, interrupted or confirmed can slow the pace of the dialogue. Try to avoid them.

Don’t overuse dialogue tags. You don’t have to say ‘he said’ ‘she said’ every time. Also intersperse your dialogue with a few action tags. A well place action tag will enhance a visual of your character.

Avoid using an action tag as a dialogue tag. For example:

“I can’t stand spinach,” Susie cringed.  Cringed is an action or expression not a dialogue tag.

It would be appropriate to write:

Susie cringed. “I can’t stand spinach.”

 

What book or film has the best dialogue that inspires you to be a better writer and why?Jeanne with a Kangaroo

I think some of the best dialogue I have ever experienced is the dialogue in Game of Thrones, which was inspired by the books A Song of Ice and Fire, by George RR Martin. I admire the screenplay written by David Benioff. David is a genius when it comes to creating interesting dialogue, and if you want to experience his expertise in writing, I highly recommended his book, City of Thieves. Once you read that, you’ll get it. Why is he so good? I would have to say it’s because his dialogue is natural, you become invested in the characters, and it keeps the story moving forward. He also manages to interject humour. What more can I say? When I grow up, I want to write dialogue like David Benioff.

 

Toy Story or Shrek?

Shrek! It’s an entire world of fantasy and anything goes there. What fun!

 

What three things should a first time visitor to Connecticut do?

Wow! Since I am animal oriented, I would point people to the Mystic Marine Aquarium and Seaport. It’s fabulous and there’s a lot to see and do nearby. There’s also Yale’s Peabody Museum and the Athenaeum in Hartford has beautiful art work by some of the masters like Dali, Monet, etc.  Mark Twain lived in Connecticut, and his house is near Hartford. He lived there from 1874 to 1891. It is now a museum and quite the place to tour. I recommend coming here in the Spring. It’s a beautiful time of year, and the rolling hills are dotted with blossoms of every kind. Since we are at New York City’s doorstep you can’t go wrong.

 

The Sword of Demelza focusses on animals indigenous to Australia. Can you tell us about a lasting impression your visit to Australia left on you?Jeanne feeding a Kangaroo

There’s quite an amusing story about our trip to Australia, but there’s just not enough room here to bore your readers with (big smile)! I landed in Melbourne, where my husband and I have good friends. The first thing I saw after leaving the parking garage was a McDonald’s – I felt right at home. Enough levity.

We were spending three precious weeks in Australia, and we were packing those weeks front to back. We flew with our friends from Melbourne to Adelaide, which I loved, loved, loved. Did I say that I liked Adelaide? OK, good. In Adelaide we boarded the Ghan and headed for the centre. One of my lifelong dreams was to see Uluru at dawn and at dusk, but that wasn’t going to be the lasting impression, although it certainly was one of them. My lasting impression came while I was on the Ghan. The Ghan travels overnight to Alice Springs, and during the middle of the night, while everyone was asleep; the train came to a standstill. This did not bother my husband at all. He continued to snore. However, my sleep pattern was interrupted and I was instantly awake, wondering why we were no longer moving. Visions of train robberies came into my head. I was sure we were we be boarding by a marauding band of Kangaroos? Would we have to turn over our valuables to them? Would they be carrying six-shooters and wearing masks?

The thought that we were stopped to simply change conductors was just too dull a thought to contemplate. I wiggled to the window and looked out. It was blacker than black and there was nothing to be seen on the ground. But the sky! Oh, the sky was a wonder to behold. An Australian friend, and wonderful author, Clancy Tucker, told me about the drover’s blanket, and there it was overhead in all its glory. I will never forget the multitude of stars that came out for me that night. It was a greeting for me; a welcoming that will remain with me always.

 

Growing up, you had several interesting pets like snakes and mice. Can you tell us about an unforgettable experience with one of your pets?

Let’s see, there was so many. Oh, I know. I had an iguana named Ignats, short for Ignatius. He was about four feet long from tip of nose to tip of tail. I kept him in a terrarium in my bedroom. I was in college at the time, and when I came home from classes, the first thing I would do was check on Ignats. You see, Ignats was very strong, and no matter what I put on the top of the tank he always managed to get that screen off and climb out. I would put books on top and he would push up on the screen, crawl out, and wander about the house. So one day I came home to an empty terrarium and as usual, I began to nonchalantly search the house for my long green fellow. I did this so that I wouldn’t alarm my mother to the fact that he was loose. If I could find him and replace him in the terrarium there would be no trouble. Ignats was not one of Mom’s favourites. A screech from the bedroom area hinted that I may find Ignatius there and I bounded up the stairs to my mother’s room. Ignats was hanging by his back claws to top of mom’s mirror. With his front feet placed securely on the mirror itself, he stared out at my mother as she combed her hair. It’s pretty amazing that mom allowed him to stay after that incident, but she did. She was very tolerant and I loved her dearly for it.

 

What can we expect from Jeanne E. Rogers in the next 12 months?

I am writing continually and my second book is about fifty per cent complete. This one also takes place in a fantasy world with Australian animals. I’m introducing a few new ones and bringing back a few that readers of The Sword of Demelza will recognize. I have also written a short story that takes place in the outback, and I would love to find a publication that will take that. It has an environmental angle to it and the main characters are kangaroos, dibblers, wedge-tailed eagles and more. It’s a lot of fun and once again, youngsters are the target readers. It’s entitled One Hot Mess. Here’s the opening paragraph for you;

The Australian Outback is an unusual place, and it was even more unusual this season. The land was a bit greener and that’s what was unusual. Countless green, round shrubs dotted the red earth and every so often, a pool of water sparkled on the dusty plain. The Mob of Kangaroos would be enjoying the mid-day sun if it weren’t for the hot mess sitting near the train tracks.

 

Where can readers and fans connect with you?

I would love to hear from your readers. They can contact me at any one of the following;

Facebookhttps://facebook.com/australianfantasyadventures

Pinteresthttp://pinterest.com/warriorechidna

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/warriorechidna

Bloghttp://warriorechidna.blogspot.com

I am also on LinkedIn and Google+. Please stop by, say ‘hello’ and share.

  

Any advice for authors out there who are either just starting out or getting frustrated with the industry?Eagle

My best advice for writers who are just starting out would be to make sure that you research your competition and know your audience. You need to know how your book will compete in the marketplace. If you do land an agent, that agent will want to know that you have done your homework in this respect. An agent can use this type of information when they approach editors and publishers with your book. Next, I would have to say that your manuscript must be perfect before you submit it to an editor, agent or publisher. Make sure you have had beta readers, and that you have had your manuscript professionally edited and that it has been formatted and set up in the corrected manner before making any submissions. Finally, I would say, be tenacious; be open to constructive criticism and suggestions, by beta readers and/or editors. Don’t give up. Keep writing and you will achieve your goals, even if you have to rewrite that manuscript several times in order to get there. Write from your heart and be true to yourself.

 

Thank you ever so much for being with us today Jeanne. There is such a wealth of information you’ve shared with us today that I’ll definitely be coming back to check out this interview again. I loved what you said about taking the time to make sure our work before publication has undergone a professional scrutiny with regards to the book cover, editing, proofreading etc. As we never get a second chance at a first impression, it’s important the work we put out there can stand the test of time. Do share this interview on your social networks and live a review. I’d like to inform you of other special events happening on this blog. Simply enter your name and email in the top right hand corner.

Grab a copy of Jeanne’s critically acclaimed book on Amazon by clicking this link ====> The Sword of Demelza

8 Comments on Author Interview with Jeanne E. Rogers, last added: 4/12/2014
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6. Player Profile: Anna Jaquiery, author of The Lying Down Room

mjKPYQE-Anna Jaquiery, author of The Lying Down Room

Tell us about your latest creation:

It’s a crime novel set in France and the first in a series. The main character is a senior French detective at the Criminal Brigade in Paris. This book opens with an investigation into the murder of an elderly woman. Others will die. The main suspects are two evangelists, a man and a boy, who go door-to-door distributing religious pamphlets. I won’t give the rest away – I hope you’ll read the book!

Where are you from / where do you call home?:

There’s no simple answer to this. My father is Malaysian and my mother is half French, half Spanish. My father was a diplomat and we moved every three years or so. I went to French schools, but only lived in France once I’d turned 17 and enrolled in university. I love Southeast Asia and feel very comfortable there. New Zealand holds a special place in my heart and is possibly the place I would call home, if I had to choose. I spent many happy years there. It’s where I met my husband and where one of our two sons was born.

9781447244448When you were a kid, what did you want to become?  An author?:

Yes. For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a writer. Nothing else.

What do you consider to be your best work? Why?:

This is my first published novel. Hopefully, my best work is yet to come!

Describe your writing environment to us – your writing room, desk, etc.; is it ordered or chaotic?:

I’m not a particularly tidy person but my writing room is reasonably ordered. It’s probably the only room in our house that doesn’t have action figures or pieces of Lego lying around. It’s filled with books and photographs. There are books everywhere in our house, but my favourite books are in this room. I also have lots of photographs here of my two boys. I write next to a window that looks out onto the garden.

When you’re not writing, who/what do you like to read?:

I read everything. Lots of crime fiction – Ian Rankin, Denise Mina and Robert Wilson are among my favourites. I also love the books of Salman Rushdie, Ian McEwan, Jhumpa Lahiri, Lionel Shriver, Jonathan Franzen … I could go. Non-fiction authors I like include Patrick French, William Dalrymple, Orlando Figes and the BBC journalist John Simpson.

What was the defining book(s) of your childhood/schooling?:

My earliest memory of reading intensely dates back to when I was a teenager. I devoured books by Jane Austen, F. Scott. Fitzgerald, the Bronte sisters, Henry James, Thomas Hardy …. I remember reading the Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell and being mesmerized.  Reading the Catcher in the Rye was a defining moment. The authors I come back to again and again are Graham Greene, Anton Chekhov and William Trevor.

If you were a literary character, who would you be?:

That’s a difficult one. Maybe Lisbeth Salander in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo! Not for her asocial and introverted nature, but because of her strength of character. She takes charge of her own destiny. I see her as a moral character. She is a fantastic creation. I absolutely loved the Stieg Larsson trilogy.

Apart from books, what do you do in your spare time (surprise us!)?:

 

I have two young boys and so family life is what takes up most of my spare time – no surprises there, I’m afraid. I recently went back to university, and I also work with an amazing group of people who provide support to refugee families here in Melbourne.

What is your favourite food and favourite drink?:

My favourite drink has to be red wine and my favourite foods tend to be Asian, be it Vietnamese, Thai or Indian. My parents live in Malaysia and I love going there for visits, because it means I get to eat all my favourite things.

Who is your hero? Why?:

I don’t really have one particular hero. But the people I admire are generally intellectually passionate and engaged with the world. At the moment I am reading a memoir by Penelope Lively called Ammonites & Leaping Fish, in which she reflects on her life. She is eighty and yet so full of life still, and intellectual curiosity. I admire people like Salman Rushdie and the late Christopher Hitchens for their brilliance and for having the courage to speak their mind, even at the risk of offending others.

Crystal ball time – what is the biggest challenge for the future of books and reading?:

 The biggest challenge is keeping independent bookstores in business, and libraries open. So that our children and their children will continue to read and to understand the immense value of books – the many ways in which they enrich our minds, our lives and our communities.

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7. Author Interview and Giveaway: 20 Questions with Beth Kephart

The 20 Question Interview with our very own Turkeybird is our feature interview that happens with all of the book authors, illustrators and poets we love!

Today we are delighted to welcome a friend and long time favorite author of Turkeybird’s mom, Beth Kephart. Beth’s new book Going Over was published this past week. Much like Dangerous Neighbors, You Are My Only, Small Damages and many other of Beth’s novels Going Over was one that will not soon be forgotten. After many long hours (or possibly minutes) talking with his mom Turkeybird came up with a few questions to ask Beth that he knew he needed to know. So, without further hesitation on our part, the Turkeybird’s interview with Beth Kephart…

Beth Kephart_Author Photo_smI LOVE these questions, Turkeybird. Also, you are such a cute guy! I’ve heard many fine things about you….. But I digress….

1. So, my mom tried to explain why someone would put a big wall in the middle of a big country, but why do you think they did it? Sounds pretty weird to me!

Sadly, there are still many walls in the world today. Walls between Palestine and Israel, between Yemen and Saudi Arabia, and between our own country and Mexico, among other places. Often walls are built to keep people or perceived dangers out. In Berlin, the wall was built in 1961 to keep the people in. The East Germans had begun flocking to the West—unhappy with the conditions where they lived and in search of better opportunities. The East German government needed those people to stay put—who would do the work if they were gone?—and so the Wall (devastatingly) went up.

2. How do you talk to someone when there’s a big wall in the way?

Well, often, you don’t. You can’t. You are cut off from communication. But people are ingenious, and many found a way. Westerners could visit the East, with certain passes. And sometimes the Easterners could get a pass to visit the West. But most of the time, between many people, sometimes even between husbands and wives or siblings or best friends, there was silence. It was terrible.

3. If you were seven what would you read next?

Where the Wild Things Are.

4. How about if you were four, what would you read next? (Littlebug likes to read a lot too. I’ve gotta get books for her.)

flamingo and littlebugFlora and the Flamingo. Which doesn’t even have any words, but it has the best message.
(Turkeybird: AH! That is one of her most favorite books ever…see the picture and you’ll know what I’m talking about.)

5. Swings or Slides?

I’d have to say Slides.

6. Why?

Because when I was nine years old I shattered my arm in a fall from a swing. I still have the scars and weak arm to prove it!

7. Math or English class? (I can’t decide right now, I like both!)

Don’t decide! Like both!

8. Do you have a favorite treat? (Mine is anything chocolate!)

I’m right with you, buddy.

9. Crayons or Markers?

Crayons.

10. Why?

Because then I can write the next Famous Crayon Book.

11. What’s your favorite color?

It used to be blue-green. Now it might be orange.

There's a Book_Beth's ceramics12. I heard you like to make pots and things out of clay. (That sounds neat!) What was your favorite pot that you’ve made?

Oh. I can send you a photograph. I made it for my editor at Chronicle Books, Tamra Tuller. I will attach a picture.

13. When you were my age did you like to draw and read?

I liked Spirographs! And doll fashion.

14. Why do you like to write?

Boy, well. Do you have all day? Or are you busy eating chocolate while drawing with crayons?

Going Over_FC15. My mom said you write lots of books about things that happened a long time ago, she called it history. What’s your favorite time that’s already happened?

Your mother is a smart cookie. I like her. Tell her that. I’m a big fan of late 19th century stuff. But I really loved going back to 1983 Berlin.

16. I love Legos and building things! Do you like Legos or something else fun?

Does ballroom dance count?

17. Why?

Because I can do it with the music on.

18. Lakes or the ocean? We live next to the ocean and it is so neat!

OCEAN!! (Lucky guy, you.)

19. What’s your favorite thing to do outside? (Mine is exploring!)

Walking.

20. What are you writing right now?

Answers to your questions.

TurkeybirdThe Turkeybird Speaks: Wow Beth, I can’t believe how crazy that there are still places in the world like you talked about. I asked my mom if there are any books I could read on my own about Mexico, Israel and Germany. We are going to go to the bookstore and the library to find some. I really want to learn lots and lots more!

The dancing sounds like lots and lots of fun too, but not the broken arm. I think I will stay away from swings (I didn’t like them before very much) and dance a lot more. Except my dancing is kind of really crazy!

Thank you super a lot Beth! Your answers were so so good and when I get older I really want to read all of your books, just because they sound so neat!

Going Over Blog Tour Banner

Find Going Over by Beth Kephart at the following spots:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Powell’s Books | Indiebound | Book Depository | Goodreads | ISBN10/ISBN13: 1452124574 / 9781452124575

CCSS-Aligned Discussion/Teacher’s Guide (Opens to pdf)

Going Over Radio Playlist!

Giveaway!

Thanks to the generous folks at Chronicle books we are delighted to be able to giveaway one signed copy of Going Over plus an audiobook to one lucky There’s A Book reader!
Be sure to enter using the rafflecopter form below and be aware that this one is for US/Canadian residents only.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Chronicle Books, for providing a copy of this book for review! Connect with them on Twitter, on Facebook and on Pinterest!
Purchasing products by clicking through the links in this post will provide us a modest commission through our various affiliate relationships.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Original article: Author Interview and Giveaway: 20 Questions with Beth Kephart

©2014 There's A Book. All Rights Reserved.

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8. Interview with YA Author Sharon Ledwith

It’s Author Interview Thursday and I hope you’re ready to rumble with our guest author on the hot seat!Sharon Ledwith - YA Author If you’ve ever wondered if social media had any useful relevance, then I can testify that it does. And its primary purpose, I believe is to build relationships. Today’s interview is testament to that. I met today’s featured guest on GoodReads and then we connected on Twitter where we’ve kept in touch and stayed abreast of each other’s endeavours. She’s written two books in the Middle Grade/YA (Young Adult) category. I have to say that I have admired her generosity and support for the writing community on the social networks and I’m so glad she’s taken out time to be with us today. So without further ado, would you please join me in welcoming Sharon Ledwith.

 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the first time someone complemented you on something you had written.

My journey to publication started in the mid-90s. One evening while I was reading, I thought how simple the structure and dialogue was in this particular novel. You can write, you can do this, a voice urged inside my head. Let me tell you, I almost fell off my chair. But the words rang true for me. So, I decided to act on this truth, and took a writing course—Writing your Novel—where I met a great couple of like-minded would-be writer gals. Together we started a writing support group, and I wrote my first novel—a paranormal romance. This manuscript caught the eye of an agent, but I was hardly ready, and I see that now. What I needed to do was to hone my craft and get better and better with the process of writing. And that takes making lots of mistakes at the expense of your ego. In other words: lots of rejection, rejection, rejection! Ouch!

Then, one night, during my writer’s group, one of my friends said something that floored me. She mentioned that I hit my twelve-year-old character’s voice bang on. What a compliment! So, this got me to thinking—how hard would it be to write a young adult novel? It was a stupid question. Of course it was hard! After thinking about what my friend had said to me, I decided I’d challenge myself and write not just a novel—but a series—that would appeal to my son, who at the time was the target age of my audience. Since I’ve always loved the time travel genre, it was a no-brainer for me.

 

What can a reader expect when they pick up a book written by Sharon Ledwith?

A laugh-out-loud nostalgic thrill ride!

 

You’ve gone the traditional route and are published by Musa Publishing. What would you say are the advantages you’ve experienced compared to a self-publisher?Legend of the TimeKeepers

Oh, for one you don’t have to go looking around for a cover artist and editor! That’s a plus. And our books are formatted and uploaded to all the major on-line stores like Amazon, Apple, and Barnes & Noble by the publisher. We have complete input throughout the entire process including what we want on our book covers. My publisher also offers a lot of promotional items like book marks, trading cards, promotional paperbacks at a reasonable price, and helps us with the marketing process. All you have to do is ask. To me, it feels like an Esprit de Corps, a group spirit there. At least that’s been my experience.

 

What tips can you give us in terms of working with a publisher to ensure your vision for a story doesn’t get diluted or compromised by the demands of a publisher?

It’s very much a give and take. It took 15 years of writing in the trenches—querying publishers and agents, writing more books, getting rejected again and again—before I finally signed a publishing contract with Musa Publishing for The Last Timekeepers series. And after all this time there was still one catch—I had to rewrite the entire manuscript in the point of view of only one of the characters. Originally, I had written the series with each kid having their own chapter throughout the book. Musa’s head editor for their YA imprint found this confusing and suggested I write the first book in only one of the character’s voices, starting with Amanda Sault. That way, the next book would feature another character’s point of view. However daunting a task this sounds, it was sage advice and made the book stronger. Now, after saying this, an author must stand his or her ground if they think the integrity of their story would be diluted or compromised. It all depends on how they want their book presented to the world.

 

You write in the YA (Young Adult) genre which is very popular and competitive. What advice would you have for someone who wants to write in this genre?

Know your target audience by checking out what they’re reading. Don’t forget that success leaves clues, and makes tracks. What I mean by this is that one of my role model authors is Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson series among others), so I try to follow what he’s done. I follow him on twitter and ‘spy’ on the kinds of tweets he puts out, I’ve checked his website and blog, and try to emulate him as much as possible. Although I only have two books out, plus a free short story available on my website, I know that I’m in for the long haul, and slowly building my author platform, back list, and brand. Remember it takes time to build that back list, so buckle up and enjoy the ride.

 

What have you found to be a successful way to market your books?Sharon Ledwith Meeting a Reader

Let’s see…joining groups that support your genre, getting professional reviews from book bloggers, Goodreads giveaways, blog hops, and helping others by sharing or tweeting their books or thoughts or posts. I’ve heard the best way to get noticed is to engage first, then sell. This new publishing paradigm is a tough gig with so much competition out there. I think the only way an author can truly get noticed is to be their authentic self, and have a product (book) that gets readers talking! Word of mouth is still the best form of advertising.

 

What were some of your favourite books as a child?

My favourite all-time children’s book is Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak! I also loved any kind of animal stories I could get my hands on!

 

What three things should writers avoid when writing dialogue?The Last TimeKeepers

#1.Watch those dialogue tags! Using he said or she said is still the go-to sage advice.
#2.One of my young readers informed me, ‘You don’t need to say the character’s name over and over again. I don’t do that with my friends, unless I want their attention’. Yup. Smart and to-the-point.
#3.Never use a dialogue tag and action tag in the same paragraph. It’s redundant. It’s best to alternate between using dialogue tags, action tags, and no tags. This will keep your writing fresh.

 

What book or film has the best dialogue that inspires you to be a better writer and why?

Hard question! So many movies and books, so little time! I loved The Godfather book and movie. I know this isn’t kidlit, but there was something about the flavour and tone of the book that drew me into the story. Reading the dialogue transported me into the ‘family’, and gave me a sneak peek at how the mob operates. Plus this book not only won a Pulitzer Prize, but also an Academy award.

 

Toy Story or Shrek?

Shrek. Hands down. Love Mike Myers. It’s a Canadian thing!

 

What three things should a first time visitor to Ontario do?

Go to Niagra Falls for sure. If you get a chance, rent a cottage in beautiful Muskoka during the summer months, but after the bug season! Tour around Toronto, and take in a stage show. There’s just so much to see and do here!

 

What can we expect from Sharon Ledwith in the next 12 months?Sharon Ledwith and Pets

Since the prequel to The Last Timekeepers series entitled, Legend of the Timekeepers came out last August I’ve been busy marketing both it, and The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis. Presently, I’m revising the second book in the series tentatively entitled, The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret, which I’d written in 2000. I’m reworking it into Jordan Jensen’s point of view which is proving to be a daunting task! I’ve also signed on with literary agency, Walden House (Books & Stuff) in December 2012 to take on another young adult series I’ve created about teens with psychic abilities called, Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls. The first book in this series, Lost and Found, has been requested by three major publishers, so I’m keeping all my fingers crossed and toes crossed! Mind you, that makes it harder to type!

 

Where can readers and fans connect with you?

Website: www.sharonledwith.com

Sharon’s Blog: http://sharonledwith.blogspot.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/seledwith

The Last Timekeepers Page: http://www.facebook.com//The-Last-Timekeepers-Time-Travel

Twitter: @sharonledwith

Goodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5821744.Sharon_Ledwith

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Any advice for authors out there who are either just starting out or getting frustrated with the industry?

Never stop investing in yourself. Invest in the best. That’s in yourself, and in your readers. Your readers deserve the best of what you have to offer them. Surround yourself with the best possible team. Never stop learning. As you grow, so will your readers, so be prepared for this. Oh yeah, and never give up. That’s a given and should be part of any author’s credo.

Thank you so much for putting up with—er, I mean having me on your awesome blog today, David! You’re such a supportive and kind person, and I’ve noticed you go out of your way to help other authors get noticed. Cheers and hugs, my friend, and best wishes for many best-sellers!

 

It was an absolute pleasure to have you today Sharon and I won’t be surprised if one of your books gets optioned for a film or TV series. I loved what you said about investing in yourself as we sometimes tend to invest more in marketing our books while we invest little or nothing in improving our craft. I also had a light bulb moment about what you said with regards to modelling someone whose more successful in your genre. Sharon and I would love to know you stopped by, so do share this interview on your social circles and/or leave a connect. Do make sure you click one of her links and connect with her.

Do check out Sharon’s books by clicking this link =====> Sharon’s Books on Amazon

10 Comments on Interview with YA Author Sharon Ledwith, last added: 4/3/2014
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9. In the Limelight with MG Author Sharon Ledwith...

Here's the deal:  Multi-published author SS Hampton Sr. has hijacked my blog to pin me down for an author interview. Since Mr. Hampton (a.k.a. Stan) is so persuasive, I conceded to undergo his interrogation...er interview questions. Take it away, Stan...

Sharon Ledwith, hello! So, who are you, and where do you come from?
  Hey, Stan, glad to be here! Oh, such a complicated question. How long do we have? Seriously though (and I rarely am!) I’m a middle-aged broad who writes for the middle-grade/YA genre. Guess you could say I’m going through my second childhood! I come from my parents—mom still has nightmares to this day—via Streator, Illinois USA while my father was under contract by the government to teach meteorology. That makes me a dual citizen. Currently I reside in the wilds of Muskoka, a tourist area deep in the heart of central Ontario, Canada. Cue the haunting cry of the loon…

Lol, the loon! So, why did you become a graphic artist? Was it difficult to give up that career field for writing (I assume you write full-time)?

Well someone has done his homework! I’ve always loved art throughout school, and wanted to parlay that into a solid business career. Plus I didn’t want anything to do with math again! I took the graphic technician course in college which allowed me to work in the printing trade. This was before computers took over, so everything was done by hand. Um, yeah, slow process, but worth it if you applied yourself and worked hard. My hubby and I started Box Office Graphics in the early 80s and we saw so many changes in the industry which included fax machines, computers, and the internet. The graphic businesses that didn’t change fell by the wayside. We sold our business in 2004, and have never looked back. BTW—our former business is still going strong after 30 years! And NO, it wasn’t difficult to give up that career at all. Somehow I knew deep inside I would be pursuing a full-time career as a writer. After all, something had to be done to stop the voices from talking in my head!
 
Where and how did you meet your husband? Was he aware that he was courting a soon-to-be writer with all of her quirks? I generally assume all writers have their quirks – I know I do.

Poor hubby. I met him at the first job I was hired at straight out of college—a graphic trade shop that specialized in plastic container packaging. Call him my soul mate or a misguided fool, I knew from the moment I met him that we were destined to be together. I believe he was aware of some quirky karma, ’cause he never gave up the chase, even when the odds were against us. I also believe writers should use all their quirks to their advantage!
 
Any friendly words of advice for writers, particularly when a future spouse “comes a’calling”? Or perhaps for the future spouse who discovers their love interest is a writer?

Run, spouse, run! Kidding. My advice would be to never stop investing in yourself. Invest in the best. That’s in yourself, in your readers, and in your partner. Your readers deserve the best of what you have to offer them. Surround yourself with the best possible team (this includes spouses). Never stop learning. As you grow, so will your readers, so be prepared for this. Oh yeah, and never give up. That’s a given and should be part of any author’s credo.

How did your family and friends react to you becoming a writer?

Say what? You want to be a writer? Good for you! Ten years later…you’re still writing? Anything published yet? No? Humph. Maybe you should get a REAL job. Um, yeah, tried it, didn’t like it, went back to writing, and got published. Yay me! Once I signed the contract, I was cast in a different light, and everyone was supportive and happy for me. You should have seen the release party I threw – hot damn it was fun and VERY satisfying!
 
 I find it interesting that the inspiration for The Last Timekeepers of Atlantis came to you in a dream, that you believe in Atlantis, and you burn incense when writing. You didn’t mention what types of music you like, or favorite artists. So, not to resort to labels, but are you perhaps, something of a “New Ager”?

Yes, very much so. I’m quite a spiritual person and believe we’re all here for a reason and purpose. This comes out in my stories. I don’t want to come off as preachy (in fact I can’t stand it when other people try to shove their beliefs on me) so I try to inject humor whenever I can in my stories. I think we all learn best when there’s laughter present. And if you want a real laugh, when I first started out writing I listened to the soundtrack of Braveheart (sigh) a lot, as well as some native drum instrumentals, Enya, and Enigma. Now I hardly listen to music while writing.

Braveheart, eh? And Enya and Enigma—some of my favorite music too. Just a comment here: I like the first sentence of the opening of your blurb – “Children are the keys to our future.” Truthfully, I have always believed that. Might that have something do with the intended audience of Middle Grade/Young Adult readers regarding Last Timekeepers?

Oh definitely! But it is true – children are the keys to our future. It’s up to us adults to supply kids with good role models, people to look up to, and to aspire to. We need to be the best we can be, and offer children a new hope for a better tomorrow. I mean, how else can we pass along our knowledge and understanding to a new generation if we don’t show up in this life?

Would you please share the blurb from your newest book?

Would be honored, Stan. Here’s the blurb from my newest release, and the prequel to the Last Timekeepers series, Legend of the Timekeepers:

There is no moving forward without first going back. Lilith was a young girl with dreams and a family before the final destruction of Atlantis shattered those dreams and tore her family apart. Now refugees, Lilith and her father make their home in the Black Land. This strange, new country has no place in Lilith’s heart until a beloved high priestess introduces Lilith to her life purpose—to be a Timekeeper and keep time safe.
Summoned through the seventh arch of Atlantis by the Children of the Law of One, Lilith and her newfound friends are sent into Atlantis’s past, and given a task that will ultimately test their courage and try their faith in each other. Can the Timekeepers stop the dark magus Belial before he changes the seers’ prophecy? If they fail, then their future and the earth’s fate will be altered forever.

Here's the LINK for more information on the book.

Thank you for allowing me to take over your blog today! Are there any parting words you would like to share with us, Sharon?

Absolutely! I was once asked by another interviewer to share what inspires me to write, and why am I doing what I do? The truth is that I want to be the change I would like to see in this world. Yes, I stole that from Gandhi, but those words have been my mantra, and have guided me to write stories I would have loved to read as an adolescent. My hope is to give my target audience (upper middle-grade and lower young adult) the kinds of stories the world needs now—force readers to ask why they are here on earth at this time, and what is their major purpose. I guess I’m looking for ways to make the world a better place. I also want to make people laugh out-loud while they’re reading my books, and leave them wanting more when they turn to the last page.

Thanks so much for putting up with, er interviewing me today, Stan, and loved your well-researched questions! Cheers!

Check out The Last Timekeepers series Facebook Page. BUY LINKSMusa Publishing - Amazon Link - Barnes & Noble - Kobo

And now, here's a little something about my interviewer:

Much of SS Hampton, Sr.'s writing is drawn from his extensive military career, including his historical short story The Sentinels.

December 1941 – the German offensive has ground to a frozen halt before an ominous forest encircling Moscow, and a German patrol seeks to discover what secrets the forest hides…

December 1941, and fresh Siberian troops from the Soviet Far East have launched savage counter-attacks against the German invaders. The Eastern Front is torn open with German units driven back, overwhelmed, or isolated. An exhausted Waffen SS infantry platoon outside of Moscow needs to know what the Siberians, hidden in a dark forest before them, are up to. A small patrol is sent into the snowy, otherworldly forest...

To read an excerpt from The Sentinels please click HERE.

SS Hampton, Sr. is a full-blood Choctaw of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, a divorced grandfather to 13, a published photographer and photojournalist, and a member of the Military Writers Society of America. His military career began in 1974. He retired on 1 July 2013 from the Army National Guard with the rank of Sergeant First Class; he previously served in the active duty Army, the Army Individual Ready Reserve, and enlisted in the Army National Guard in October 2004, after which he was mobilized for Federal active duty for almost three years. Hampton is a veteran of Operations Noble Eagle and Iraqi Freedom.

His writings have appeared as stand-alone stories, and in anthologies from Dark Opus Press, Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy, Melange Books, Musa Publishing, MuseItUp Publishing, Ravenous Romance, and as stand-alone stories in Horror Bound Magazine, The Harrow, and River Walk Journal, among others. He is also a published photographer and photojournalist, and a member of the Military Writers Society of America.

After 12 years of brown desert in the Southwest and overseas, he misses the Rocky Mountains, yellow aspens in the fall, running rivers, and a warm fireplace during snowy winters. As of December 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada, Hampton officially became a homeless Iraq War veteran.

To learn more about SS Hampton, Sr. or read excerpts from his books please click a vendor's name. Musa Publishing - Melange Books - MuseItUp PublishingAmazon Author Page - Amazon UK Author Page - Goodreads Author Page

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10. Rock Tumbling a Picture Book:The Art of Revision.

Today’s Post comes from my writing friend and soon to be published Picture Book Author Beth Ferry, who writes about the revision process she goes through for her picture books.

Here’s Beth:

I can clearly remember the summer I was given a rock tumbler. It was a gift of transformation. A gift of possibility. It was THE gift of the 70s. I can remember carefully placing those dusty rocks into the chamber, knowing that very soon I would be the proud owner of sparkling, gleaming gemstones. I remember how LOUD it was and how LONG it took. I also remember being amazed by what emerged.

Many, many years later, the idea of the rock tumbler came back to me. In so many ways, writing is a lot like tumbling rocks. In addition to rocks and water, rock tumbling requires sand-sized particles of silicon carbide, also known as GRIT. Grit is tough and hard and unrelenting. It wears down the rocks, smooths them and rounds them. GRIT is a crucial part of WRITING.           Beth_Ferry_photo

There are 4 steps to Rock polishing:

1.                  Shaping the rock

2.                  Removing the scratches

3.                  Smoothing and polishing the rock

4.                  Burnishing the rock

What do these steps have to do with writing? Well, think of them this way:

1.                  Writing and shaping the story

2.                  Big picture edit

3.                  Small picture edit

4.                  Polishing edit

My first step is to unearth the story, get it down, write it! Ideas truly come from everywhere, but I mostly get my inspiration from words that I like. Some words just speak to me louder than others and an idea will often spark from that one particular word. My FIRST DRAFT is very much like a lumpy brown rock. It usually isn’t pretty, but it has potential. With a little work, I know I can expose the beauty within.  During the FIRST DRAFT, I shape my story. I explore the plot, characters and conflict.  I don’t worry about each word, just the essence of the story. Am I telling the story I planned to tell? Does it have an arc? Is the ending satisfying? Just the first draft alone takes many, many rewrites.

Once I’m happy with the overall shape of my story, I drop it into the tumbler. Here’s where it gets LOUD. I read the story out loud. Again and again and again. I read it inside; I read it outside; I read it to my dog and to my family. Nothing is more useful that hearing my words out in the air. This is where I hear my mistakes, the slow parts, and the beautiful parts. What goes on inside my head is very different than what goes on outside of it so it is crucial to read your story out loud.

Once my story is tumbling around in my head and in decent shape, it’s time for the BIG PICTURE EDIT. This is truly the hardest part. This is where I ask myself who will be reading this story? Who will be buying it? Is it too much like another story?  It’s basically a question of worth. Will my story add to the greater good? Will it make the reader think, laugh, cry or clamor for more? Does my story belong out in the world and will it enhance not only the shelf, but the reader him/herself? Is it a gem? Hopefully I’ve answered yes to these questions and, if so, I move onto the SMALL PICTURE EDIT.

The SMALL PICTURE EDIT may be the longest process. I might rewrite a story 12 times or 83 times. When I think about how many times the rock revolves in the tumbler, I know that I might possibly make hundreds of tweaks to any one story. Tweaks that involve line editing, using my thesaurus, and more reading out loud. I check for clear, concise sentences, for matching tenses and consistent POV. I ask myself if the resolution is not only satisfying, but hopefully unexpected or fun as well. Does my story make me happy? Is my word count satisfactory? Rocks lose approximately 30% of their size during tumbling, so I am not afraid to cut, cut, cut.  I try to lose as many words as I can in this step of editing. This is also when I share with my critique group. A critique group is essential. There is no better support than other committed writers writing the same genre, and no better eyes to point out not only your mistakes, but your successes as well. Whether in-person or on-line, a critique group adds a valuable layer to your editing process. Finally, when I feel that my story has a nice shine, I put it away.

Yes, indeed! It’s like walking away from that rock tumbler and letting it churn for weeks.  As eager as I am to peer into that barrel and see my shining gems, I don’t. I need some distance so that I will have fresh eyes when I read it again. This is the part of the process where I work on another story. Remember, besides water and GRIT, a rock tumbler needs to be filled with other rocks or the process won’t work. I always have more that one story tumbling around. I work on those. Then after a week or two, I take the story back out and read it OUT LOUD with fresh eyes. This is the polishing step. I can usually identify the problem spots right away at this point. I work on those. Then if I love the story as much as I did before I walked away from it, I know I am done. Finished. My story is shaped, sanded and polished. It is ready to meet the world, a gleaming gem full of possibility.

Beth Ferry lives with her family by the beach in New Jersey. She is represented by Elena Giovinazzo of Pippin Properties and her first picture book, Stick and Stone, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld will be released on April 7, 2015.  In addition to this, she’s sold two other picture books:
Land Shark illustrated by Ben Mantle, Chronicle Books, TBD   and,

Pirate’s Perfect Pet, illustrated by Matthew Myers, Candlewick Press, Fall 2016

 


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11. Author Interview with Marta Moran Bishop

It’s Author Interview Thursday and I have to admit that I’ve been looking forward to today’s interview for quite a while.Marta Moran Bishop I was introduced to our special guest by Sherrill S. Cannon who was on the hot seat last month. In our correspondence leading up to today’s interview, I’ve been really impressed by her generosity and passion for her craft. I was fascinated to discover that she had published two children’s poetry books as I think that’s an art form that’s not as celebrated as it should be. She has also published several stories, novels and adult poetry books. She loves horses and comes from the Bay State. I know you’ll love what she has to share with us today, so please join me in welcoming Marta Moran Bishop.

 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the first time someone complimented you on something you had written?

At first, I found writing to be a bit intimidating, as my grandmother and mother were both writers and although I wrote constantly I found it difficult to say I was a writer or even share what I had written at first. It wasn’t until I was in my first semester at college and had a professor tell me I had the makings of a brilliant writer that I found the courage to begin allowing others to see what I had written.

 

What can a reader expect when they pick up a book written by Marta Moran Bishop?

Whether it is a book of poetry, short story, or a novel, there will always be a glimmer of light and hope in it. A way to connect with oneself and all of life, and the joy in the day.

 

What are your thoughts on the Amazon KDP Select Program and why have you taken your books off it?Marta Moran Bishop Reading to Kids

I am of two minds about the Amazon KDP Select Program: First I believe if one is doing a series it can produce interest in reading more books in the series. However, to give away books in the hope of gaining a few reviews or a new reader reminds me of a job I once held, where the restaurant was continually doing some kind of free benefit. They went out of business as people began waiting for the next freebie. So many devalued the restaurant as a viable place to spend an evening as they didn’t value themselves. I am aware that even the free books push the ranking up on Amazon, but after a while no one is buying your book.

The second reason is all about putting all your eggs in one basket so to speak. By agreeing to sell solely through Amazon, you are signing a (albeit short) contract excluding all other eBook marketers. I want my books available elsewhere. I actually don’t pick up free eBooks any longer, instead I will wait until the book is for sale and buy it, for I believe the writer should be paid. I’d be more interested in discounted price option (which they have, but only for books over $.99) or a package type of deal, such as buy one get one free. One where the writer gets paid something for their work.

 

What have you found to be a successful way to market your books?

I have found that the more visible you are, the better and that although social media gains you some visibility, you really need to get out into the public more. Radio shows, interviews, readings at the local hospital, bookstore, gallery, school, or anywhere else will boost your sales more than all the tweets and Facebook posts you and your friends can do. That market is saturated, and many don’t even look at those posts any longer, unless it is for a favourite author.

 

You’ve written two children’s books on poetry. Do you think poetry as an art is being under-valued and what can we do to inspire a new generation to read and write poetry?Wee Three

Yes, I have written Wee Three: A Mother’s Love in Verse, which has gained critical acclaim and Innocence and Wonder. Both books are illustrated. Wee Three is illustrated by Hazel Mitchell and Innocence and Wonder by both Ms Mitchell and me.

I do agree poetry is under-valued and believe that to be true, because so many people have been led to believe poetry is difficult to understand. When I am speaking to a group of children I usually will in many cases ask them to write me a small poem about their life or something that matters to them. Reading to children gives them a love of the written word, whether it is poetry or a story. But, children love things that rhyme, so poetry is a wonderful way to teach.

 

What were some of your favourite books as a child?

As a child, I read anything I could get my hands on, but we grew up on A.A. Milne’s, Now We Are Six, and When We Were Very Young and Robert Lewis Stevenson, who wrote some wonderful children’s poetry. Both writers painted a picture of something that children could relate to in their poetry. More like very short stories than what many people today think of when and if they think of poetry.

 

What three things should writers avoid when writing dialogue?

As I end up listening to many books these days at work, I find the most irritating thing is when after the character speaks there are too many ‘he said, she said…” I believe a writer should find a way to write it as if in conversation in a way that the reader can understand who is speaking without adding ‘he answered, she said etc.’

 

Toy Story or Shrek?Innocence and Wonder

To be honest I did not see Toy Story, I saw Monsters Inc. and Shrek, and found the conversations in Monsters Inc. to be quite humorous and honest. I believe it showed how children would see and speak to either imaginary friends or new friends. Shrek  was good, but I found there were a few too many off-sides with characters discussing things with the audience or camera. It reminded me a bit of the ‘he said, she answered’ bit.

 

What three things should a first time visitor to Massachusetts do?

If I were only to recommend three things someone should absolutely see in Massachusetts; they would be to walk the Freedom Trail, or at least as much of it as possible, make sure to see the Old North Church and Paul Revere’s House. Take a trip to Salem and visit Hallows Hill, and take a walk through the sites that are open to the public. Last, but not least take the time to visit Old Sturbridge Village, many of the old buildings from hundreds of years ago have been moved there.

 

As you own three horses, I wanted to know if you could tell us three things most people don’t know about horses.Marta Moran Bishop Reading to her Horses

Horses have a vocabulary of their own.
If bored, they will find something to spook themselves with to get an adrenaline rush.
They have a sense of humour and enjoy finding ways to play jokes on humans and other horses.

 

What can we expect from Marta Moran Bishop in the next 12 months?

I hope to have my book, Dinky: The Nurse Mare’s Foal, expanded to include a set of books for ages 3 – 8 that will tell Dinky’s story. I still need a name for it (I don’t want it confused with the novel) so if anyone has a suggestion, please feel free to jump in.

 

Where can readers and fans connect with you?

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/MartaMoranBishopAuthor
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/moranbishop
GoodReadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3953690.Marta_Moran_Bishop
Redroomhttp://redroom.com/member/marta-moran-bishop
Websitehttp://martamoranbishop.com
Bloghttp://martambishop@blogspot.com

 

Any advice for authors out there who are either just starting out or getting frustrated with the industry?Dinky

Don’t let anyone else define you. The more you read, the better writer you will become. Always do at least one rewrite of your book. Hire an editor or at least several beta readers who will pick up grammar and other issues that might make a difference in the way your story flows. Read your story/book aloud, by doing this many mistakes are found.

 

Wow! That was such a brilliant note to end our interview on. There are just so many nuggets of wisdom you’ve shared with us today that if applied could be the turning point for any writing career. I loved what you said about reading your book aloud as there’s just so much you discover when you’re reading aloud and hearing yourself reading. Also, it’s a way to detect what will work and not work when you’re reading to an audience. Please click one of Marta’s links above and connect with her. She’s active on the various social networks and will be happy to know you discovered her after reading this interview. Marta and I would love to know you dropped by so you can either share this interview using the social media buttons below or leave a comment.

Click this link to discover and grab a copy of one of Marta’s books ====> Marta Moran Bishop on Amazon

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12. Author Interview with Amy Talkington

Hello, dear readers. A couple of weeks ago we participated in the Liv, Forever and had a fun guest post by author Amy Talkington. And today, we get to learn even more about Amy with an exclusive interview. Enjoy!

Hi, Amy! Thank you so much for coming onto the blog today. We are super excited to have you here.
Thanks! I’m excited too!
When did you know that you wanted to become a writer?
It’s hard to say. In high school, I wanted to be a painter but I was busy writing poetry on the side. Then, in college, I decided I wanted to be a filmmaker but at the same time I started writing about music for magazines like Spin, Ray Gun and Seventeen. After college, I was focused on directing but still kept writing—screenplays and teleplays. And then I set out to write this novel. It’s funny because I never really identified myself as a writer and yet it’s the one constant. I’ve always been doing it in one form or another. 

You have a diverse resume of writing credits but Liv, Forever is your first published novel. Have you written other books or was this your first attempt at a novel?

This is my first attempt at a novel. I wrote a number of short stories in college but never attempted a novel before Liv, Forever.
How is the story writing process different when writing a novel versus writing for film or television? Do you prefer one over the other?
Writing a novel is very different from writing a screenplay. Screenplays have super strict structure and format so I felt liberated writing Liv, Forever. I was allowed to go into Liv’s head! I was allowed to describe locations in detail! I was allowed to shift narrators (in the “Ghost Death Statements” interspersed throughout the book). It was so invigorating! That said, I do think my screenwriting past influenced the novel’s style. The writing is still pretty lean and it’s quite visual (I hope!).

In Liv, Forever, one of the characters is able to see ghosts. Do you have any real life experiences with ghosts?  
I’ve had a few ghosty moments in my life, for sure! But they weren’t scary moments, they were more comforting moments, moments when it seemed the spirit of someone I loved might be there.
Did you have to do any kind of research in order to write Liv, Forever?
I did TONS of research. First, Liv is an artist and so she talks about art a lot so I had to refresh myself on all of the art that she’d be immersed in (I studied Art History in college but I was a little rusty). But then there were tons of random topics I researched: weird boarding school traditions, Waspy names, ghost stories, ritualistic killings, spirit photography, Romanticism, Spiritualism, and the architecture of Wickham Hall. Also, each of those “Ghost Death Statements” takes place in a different decade so I did a lot of research for each of those.
What are you working on next?
As a screenwriter, I always have several projects going (you have to because they’re completely unpredictable!). At present, I’m writing a feature script for Liv, Forever. I’m also developing a TV show I’m really excited about based on Eve and Leonora Epstein’s book X vs. Y: A Culture War a Love Story. Bookwise, I have a pretty clear  idea of a book two for Liv. I hope to start it soon.

Lightning round!
Describe Liv, Forever in 140 character or less.
New to boarding school, Liv dies just as she's falling in love. A ghost, she must solve her own murder & find a way to reconnect to her love

Last book read.
X vs Y: A Culture War a Love Story by Eve and Leonora Epstein
Most recent dream.
I had a dream that I could see that a filmmaker whose work I admire had “favorited” something I posted. Clearly I’ve been spending too much time on Twitter!
Favorite writing snack and/or beverage.
Irish Breakfast Tea with milk
Cake or pie and what kind?
Cherry pie a la mode.
Thank you so much for coming onto the blog today, Amy. We are very excited about Liv, Forever and wish you the best.




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13. Interview with Children’s Book Author Sandra Bennett

It’s Author Interview Thursday and I’m so excited that we have another opportunity to be inspired by an author who has encountered the challenges associated with getting a book published and is still standing.Sandra Bennett Today’s special guest comes from the beautiful nation of Australia. We connected via Facebook and it’s been a pleasure to get to know her better in the build up to this interview. She’s a teacher by profession and is really passionate about increasing the literacy levels in children. She recently got her first children’s book published and I know it’s going to be the first of many to come from her pen. Her passion for reading and writing is so infectious as you’ll agree with me by the end of this interview. So without further ado, please join me in welcoming Sandra Bennett.

 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and that first moment when you knew you could write.

I am a bookaholic. I have had my nose in a book for as long as I can remember.  I started writing in my teens and won my first national poetry award when I was sixteen. By the time I went to teachers college and studied children’s picture books and their authors I knew I wanted to write for children too. I don’t know if I could say I had an exact moment when I knew I could write, I just always knew it was something I had to do. It was a natural progression, a part of my teaching and my love of literacy. I wrote stories for the kids in my classes and for my own sons. When we lived in Thailand I began writing stories about our adventures and experiences living amongst a different culture, and then when we returned home to Australia I decided it was time to study children’s writing further so that I could one day reach my dream of publishing stories for all children to enjoy.

 

I had the privilege to read your book ‘Gingerbread Aliens.’ Can you tell us what inspired you to write this book and the ideal audience for this book?Gingerbread Aliens

My passion throughout my teaching career has always been helping struggling readers to not only learn to read but find the joy in books that I have always found. Having the desire to reach and encourage as many children as I can to learn to read is my inspiration to write this book as well as many others. I have discovered from first-hand experience that children increase their ability to learn to read when they read something not only familiar but that they really enjoy as well. I wanted to write a story that was not only engaging, funny and entertaining, I wanted to hook the reader at the end of each chapter so that they couldn’t put the book down. Gingerbread Aliens was inspired from the chaos cooking in my own kitchen with my three sons many years ago when I realised I could twist the experience into a hilarious tale of somewhat epic proportions. This then in turn leads the reader on an adventure that keeps them guessing all the way to the end. Gingerbread Aliens is ideal for children learning to read or reluctant early readers who have not yet found a love of books. Ages 6-10 is ideal for them to read themselves, however I have found 4-5 year olds have really loved it too when read out loud by a parent, grandparent or significant other.

 

How do you combine being a full time teacher, married with three children and writing?

Doing anything you love is always a balancing act and a bit of a challenge but if you have the determination to reach a goal you will always find a way. Having a laptop helps as I can take my writing anywhere and I am able to write whenever the urge takes me. When I was teaching I usually kept it to weekends or late at night, however I have retired from teaching now that my boys are older and are independent young men. This has enabled me to have more time to devote during the day to developing my ideas, although I admit I am still a mum first who likes to have a meal on the table when her boys come home each evening. I travel a lot more these days as well with my husband for his work, so again a laptop is very convenient. I just plug in no matter which city we happen to be in and away I go.

 

What were some of your favourite books as a child? Chronicles of Narnia

As a child C.S. Lewis, “The Chronicles of Narnia,” would have to be my all-time favourite, I can’t go past a good adventure. I also loved reading mystery series like “Trixie Belden,” Nancy Drew,” and “The Hardy Boys.” Guess I’m showing my age a bit here. By the time I was in my teens I found the wonderful humour of Douglass Adams “Hitch Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy.” It was even more fantastic when I was able to re-read it and share it with my own teenage son. On that point,  may I add some of my other favourites that I read along with my boys as they grew up. Emily Rodda’s “Deltora Quest,’ anything and everything by Paul Jennings, in particular “Round the Twist.” Paul Jennings has such a great sense of humour to attract kids to read. Jasper Fforde’s clever literary feast “Thursday Next” series and of course I can’t go past “Harry Potter.” J.K. Rowling was masterful the way she made a whole generation of children start reading again.

 

What three things should writers avoid when writing dialogue? 

  1. Avoid using said after each person speaks. Try to show who is speaking through an action or emotion. It comes back to the old saying “show, don’t tell.”
  2. Be careful not to make the language stiff or stilted. Good dialogue does not have to be formal, it has to flow naturally.
  3. The words must fit the character. If it’s a teenager use teenage jargon, a grandparent may have completely different idiosyncrasies. Do not fall into the trap of letting all your characters speech sound the same. Make sure they are individuals.

 

What book or film has the best dialogue that inspires you to be a better writer and why?Sandra Bennett Reading

It’s an old classic but a good one that has lasted throughout the generations, Jane Austin’s “Pride and Prejudice.” I defy any young teenage girl not to fall in love with the arrogant yet debonair Mr Darcey and who can’t help but laugh at the ever meddling dialogue of the forever vexatious Mrs Bennett? (I know I am Mrs Bennett too, it has not gone unnoticed in this household either.) The setting of the story may be well before our times and therefore the dialogue is much more structured however it is fitting for the day and tells the story in a manner befitting late eighteenth century English society.

 

Toy Story or Shrek?

Toy Story! While Shrek was fabulous in it’s own right, I can’t go past the humour and delight of Toy Story. I love the whole concept of the child’s toys coming to life when he is not around. I can just imagine this happening in bedrooms and playrooms everywhere. I also love the fact that they used toys that I grew up with as did my own boys. Toy soldiers, Mr Potato Head, Slinky the dog, even Barbie entered in the sequel. Again it comes back to telling a story with things that all kids can relate to and what is closer to their hearts than the toys they play with every day.

  

I had the privilege to read to several Year groups at a Primary school recently. The experience really made me consider being a teacher. What advice would you have for me and anyone reading this interview who are thinking about pursuing a career as a teacher?Sandra Bennett Reading Gingerbread Aliens

Teaching is an enormously rewarding career. There is nothing like the joy of watching the delight rise on a little face when they have a “light bulb” moment or realize they can finally achieve something that they have struggled to learn. There are no words to express the feeling of how wonderful the opportunity it is to take a group of small students from the beginning of the year and watch them grow and teach them to learn. When they start off unable to read and leave you as independent readers by the end of the year, you know you have done something right. Teaching can engulf every waking hour as you tend to put your heart and soul into your class. Preparation and evaluation can leave you with very little time for anything else, so good time management skills are essential.

 

If you were not a teacher, what would you do?

I am already doing it! I am no longer teaching. I spend my days writing, researching, marketing and when I can I visit schools for book readings. I would like to add writing classes in schools one day to my list of skills but haven’t really looked into that yet.

 

What three things should a first time visitor to Australia do?Australia

Wow, that’s harder to answer than you might think. Australia is such a large place and there are so many wonderful things to see and do and places to visit. It depends on whether you are into scenery, the arts, animals or culture? 

  1. I guess most people would say you have to visit Sydney Harbour. It is one of the most beautiful harbours in the world. (Yes I am a tiny bit biased. I did grow up in Sydney). The Opera House is spectacular, the Botanic Gardens are magnificent, The Rocks are full of our convict history, and Darling Harbour is alive with wonderful multicultural restaurants, and it is all under the backdrop of the “Coathanger” our amazing Sydney Harbour Bridge, which if you are not scared of heights, you can climb.

While you are in Sydney you should also take the time for a surf at any of our superb beaches that spread north and south along our coastline. Feel the sand beneath your toes and smell the salty sea air before you dive into the crisp clear blue ocean waves. I virtually grew up on Cronulla Beach on Sydney’s south side so the sea is in my veins. 

  1. Snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef off Queensland’s magnificent northern coast is another must.  The colorful coral and exotic tropical fish have to be seen to be believed. The turquoise water is so clear you can see forever while you float amongst the tranquillity of the gently lapping waves that relax your inner soul. 
  1. Explore the Outback. Take in the vast contrast of the red centre and the Indigenous Aboriginal Culture.  Whether you fly to Alice Springs and Uluru, Kakadu or the Kimberly Ranges in Western Australia, there are spectacular gorges, waterfalls, rock art and Aboriginal paintings and artifacts galore. Recently I had the awe inspiring experience of swimming under a waterfall in an outback waterhole. It was something I’ll certainly never forget. 

I know you only asked for three, but I would like to add one more on a personal note. Whenever we have visitors from overseas they always ask to see Kangaroos.Sandra Bennett with a Roo We have many kangaroos hopping through our property daily as we live in the country not the city, but the kangaroos here are wild and will not allow you to get close enough to touch. So we take our visitors across to the South Coast of New South Wales to a little spot in Murramarang National Park, called Pretty Beach (just north of Bateman’s Bay) where the kangaroos are quite tame. Here you are welcome to pat them, the only request by the park rangers is that you do not feed the roos, please allow them to forage for themselves. We find our guests always go home feeling overwhelmed to have had such an awesome and amazing experience.

  

What can we expect from Sandra Bennett in the next 12 months? 

Book two in my Alien Adventure Series is complete. The Bradberrie boys are up to more mischief and mayhem yet again! I hope to have it released soon, but no date is set just yet. So stay tuned “Alien Shenanigans” is coming soon! I am in the middle of writing the third book in the series. With a bit of luck it might be ready by Christmas. I am also considering publishing one or two of my picture books this year. I have quite a few works in the pipeline. It is just a matter of deciding which direction I want to take.

 

Where can readers and fans connect with you? 

I have an author Facebook page they are welcome to follow at 

https://www.facebook.com/GingerbreadAliens

Readers and fans can also follow either of my blogs. I paste the same content to both so that following one is sufficient. I try to write advice for parents looking for help with the home reading struggle as well as including author interviews, book reviews, and the occasional recipe or science experiment. When Alien Shenanigans is released there will be more fun science coming. J 

http://sandrabennettauthor.com/

http://gingerbreadaliens.blogspot.com.au/

https://plus.google.com/102400431461177159068/posts

 

Any advice for authors out there who are either just starting out or getting frustrated with the industry?

Read, read and read some more. Then write , write and write even more!  The old adage ‘practice makes perfect’ is alive and strong when it comes to writing. There is no easy way to writing, you just have to keep at it. Take classes, learn your craft, join writing groups but don’t be afraid to put pen to paper. Even if you don’t feel your writing is good enough to show anyone else, keep writing until you find something you feel worthy of sharing. If writing and reading is your passion, (as it is mine) then don’t let anyone or anything stop you. Follow your dream, it doesn’t matter whether your book ever becomes a best seller or not, as long as it puts a smile on at least one face then you have done what you set out to achieve. I may have only published one children’s book so far, but during my journey I have learnt a lot. Be prepared to market yourself, be social media savvy, hang in there and write more books. The more books you publish the more you will develop a following and become known, but most of all, be true to yourself and never give up!

 

It’s been an absolute delight having you with us today Sandra. I just admire the fact that your primary motivation for writing is not the dollar bills but the fact that you love the written word and the opportunity to affect others with your words. How can one go wrong with that sort of mindset? Please do check out the links Sandra gave above and be sure to like her Facebook page. You can also get a copy of her book, Gingerbread Aliens by clicking the link below.

Gingerbread Aliens on Amazon

8 Comments on Interview with Children’s Book Author Sandra Bennett, last added: 3/23/2014
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14. Player Profile: Kathryn Fox, author of Fatal Impact

bf7c232487990ad8976f06.L._V192219222_SX200_Kathryn Fox, author of Fatal Impact

Tell us about your latest creation:

 It’s Anya Crichton’s latest adventure. This time she’s in Tasmania, visiting her increasingly erratic GP mother. Anya becomes involved in the death of a young girl and a fatal outbreak of food poisoning. Evidence of the source points to an organic farm, facing ruin. However, delving deeper, Anya discovers a world of corporate corruption, genetically modified foods, a murdered scientist and buried scientific research. Meanwhile, Anya questions her mother’s sanity. Then the stakes turn deadly…

Where are you from / where do you call home?:

Suburban Sydney, the part most people forget exists. I’ve lived here for about twenty years now.

Fatal ImpactWhen you were a kid, what did you want to become?  An author?:

 No. From the age of five I wanted to become a doctor and cure autism. I knew if I studied medicine, I could write in the future. I didn’t cure autism, but the writing worked out.

What do you consider to be your best work? Why?:

 My children, definitely! In terms of books, I think Fatal Impact is my best and most ambitious story. Hopefully, an author learns and improves her craft with each book!

Describe your writing environment to us – your writing room, desk, etc.; is it ordered or chaotic?:

 I like order and peace, so I spend mornings writing at a quiet café without internet distraction. The staff is fantastic and know me pretty well after four books there. After that, I head to my home office and catch up on emails/speaking/plan workshops before another session of writing in the afternoon. I love order, but often the desk is messier than I’d like.

When you’re not writing, who/what do you like to read?:

 Newspapers, blogs, biographies, and at the moment there are so many good YA books around, as well as crime. Anything but unsolved mysteries.

What was the defining book(s) of your childhood/schooling?:

 I must have reread Pollyanna dozens of times because of the mix of characters. In high school, Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood made me question whether or not evil actually existed. Loved Othello and learnt what I did not like – Sons and Lovers, for example! I also devoured everything I could on Helen Keller in a quest to better understand how a blind, deaf woman learnt to communicate and inspire the world.

If you were a literary character, who would you be?:

 Probably Pollyanna. It sounds trite, but I have so much to be grateful for. After seeing so much death and tragedy in medicine, suspect I suffered before my art. It’s easier now to find the positive – or learning potential – in most situations. You learn not use catastrophic language for non-catastrophic events and it helps see the world differently.

Apart from books, what do you do in your spare time (surprise us!)?:

 Scrapbooking, struggling to learn the harp and piano (not at the same time!) and watching Days of Our Lives. Yes, that’s my guilty vice.

What is your favourite food and favourite drink?:

Anything flavoured Chocolate and orange. That’s food and drink!

Who is your hero? Why?:

John Lasseter, head of Pixar studios. He is the Walt Disney of our generation and a brilliant story teller, crusader and humanitarian. Who else could have given us Toy Story films and Monsters Inc? Then there’s UP and the list goes on! He was fired from Disney because the old animators believed computer animation would ever take off. His story is now history.

Crystal ball time – what is the biggest challenge for the future of books and reading?:

 Keeping the public interested and aware of what’s new. Publishers need to adapt. Some were slow to accept ebooks, but they’re here to stay, and print books will never be completely replaced. I suspect on demand printing will become more common. Reading is living multiple lives in one lifetime, time travelling, relating to people from other worlds and cultures. As long as there are great stories, reading will thrive.

Charles Dickens serialised his books over a century ago, and the internet may mean authors do the same, leaching chapter by chapter in an insanely busy information age. Writers are already adapting with blogs and branding, so it will be interesting to see how books evolve.

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15. Player Profile: Naomi Wood, author of Mrs Hemingway

Naomi-Picador3Naomi Wood, author of Mrs Hemingway

Tell us about your latest creation:

The latest creation is called Mrs. Hemingway. It’s a historical novel, told from the perspectives of Hemingway’s four wives and mistresses: Hadley, Pauline, Martha and Mary. Set from 1921-61 it all happens in France and America, in places you’d probably like to go on holiday to, and which I had the arduous task of visiting, for research purposes only, of course.

Where are you from / where do you call home?:

London is home. I grew up in Hong Kong but have been back in England now for quite a while. Although I don’t have family in London it’s where all my friends are – my urban family.

9781447229742When you were a kid, what did you want to become?  An author?:

When I was a kid I wanted to become “a bloodsucking lawyer” which was a cute if annoying phrase I stole from Wednesday Addams in The Addams Family (one of my favourite movies still). Only later did I realise I wanted to write – and I was twenty-three when this desire to write really took hold.

What do you consider to be your best work? Why?:

I’m definitely happiest so far with Mrs. Hemingway. I’m proud of the amount of research I put into it and I’m pleased that I got to give voice to four impressive and under-known women.

Describe your writing environment to us – your writing room, desk, etc.; is it ordered or chaotic?:

 I live in London where the rents are astronomical, and my room is tiny! This is a guilty thing to admit but often I write in bed with coffee and toast. The room is too small to even have a desk. And if I’m under the duvet I can save on the central heating. It all gets a bit chaotic and invariably there’s ink all over the bedcovers.

When you’re not writing, who/what do you like to read?:

Too many writers to possibly name but! Kazuo Ishiguro, Marilynne Robinson, James Salter, and I am slowly getting into the work of Kent Haruf. Beautiful work, beautiful sentences.

What was the defining book(s) of your childhood/schooling?:

The classics, really – anything by Roald Dahl. I was also a real sucker for the tender friendship shown in Charlotte’s Web. In my early teens I had a brief but intense swing into fantasy and adored the books of Robin Jarvis – all I can remember about them now is that they
were about some rather plucky mice and that I couldn’t put them down.

If you were a literary character, who would you be?:

I’d like to be the marvellously damaged Brett Ashley in The Sun Also Rises. Beautiful, urbane, and able to drink like a fish.

Apart from books, what do you do in your spare time (surprise us!)?:

 I like to work on small patch-working projects - things like cushions and small quilts. You can find pictures of my designs on my website. I like working with colour. It’s very pleasing to the eye after the black/white nature of writing.

What is your favourite food and favourite drink?:

I love Korean food and would like to put kimchi into everything. Fave drink = red wine, of course.

Who is your hero? Why?:

Martha Gellhorn – for her work, her bravery, her independence at a time when women war correspondents just didn’t really exist.

Crystal ball time – what is the biggest challenge for the future of books and reading?:

The biggest challenge to the written word is probably the image. Images, especially movings ones, are incredibly easy to consume, they tell a story in half the time, and they give the same emotional punch. Will people read if TV box-sets and movies take over? I hope so. But  it might be a dwindling proportion of us.

Website: www.naomiwood.com

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/NaomiWoodBooks

Twitter: https://twitter.com/NaomiWoodBooks

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16. Player Profile: Jaclyn Moriarty, author of The Cracks in the Kingdom

moriartyjaclyn02Jaclyn Moriarty, author of The Cracks in the Kingdom

Tell us about your latest creation:

The Cracks in the Kingdom is the second book in ‘the Colours of Madeleine’ trilogy.  The Royal Family of the Kingdom of Cello are trapped in our world.  Madeleine, who lives in Cambridge, England has been exchanging letters with Elliot who comes from a farming town in the Kingdom of Cello, through a crack in a parking meter.  Now Madeleine and Elliot must work together to locate the Royal Family, figure out how to open up the crack, and bring the Royals home.

Where are you from / where do you call home?:

I grew up in the north-west of Sydney, spent a few years living in the US, the UK and Canada, and now I’m back in Sydney.  I live close to the harbour and beaches. I like being near water.  When I lived in Montreal, I kept looking for the coast.

9781742612874When you were a kid, what did you want to become?  An author?:

I wanted to be an author from when I was about six.  I also wanted to be an astronomer, an astronaut, a flight attendant, a teacher, a psychologist, and a movie star.

What do you consider to be your best work? Why?:

I always have trouble with this question.  I think it’s a bit like being asked to choose your favourite child.  And what if I chose one, and then one of the other books happened to see my answer here?  How hurt would he/she be?  I’d have to pay for therapy for him/her for years.

I like all my books for different reasons eg Feeling Sorry for Celia, for being my first book and having a lot of me in it; Finding Cassie Crazy (or The Year of Secret Assignments) because I love the characters; Bindy Mackenzie, because I feel protective of Bindy because everybody hates her, and so on.  I’m proud of A Corner of White and The Cracks in the Kingdom because I spent years imagining the Kingdom of Cello, months researching colours, science, and music, and they are closest to what I want to write.

Describe your writing environment to us – your writing room, desk, etc.; is it ordered or chaotic?:

Most mornings I work at one of the outside tables of a local cafe.  So my writing environment is noisy, sunny (or rainy, cloudy, stormy etc) and cluttered (there is nowhere to put my tea because the table is always covered in notes, textas and pens).  In the afternoon I work at my desk in my study.  It’s always important to me to clear the desk completely and tidy up the room before I begin writing.  That’s probably just procrastination.

When you’re not writing, who/what do you like to read?:

I read a lot of children’s and YA books.  Some of my favourites are Diana Wynne Jones, Louis Sachar, Libba Bray, Frank Cottrell Boyce, David Levithan, Rachel Cohn, E.L. Konigsburg.  Some of my favourite writers for adults include Lorrie Moore, Lisa Moore, Virginia Woolf, P.G. Wodehouse, Emily Dickinson, John Donne, Carol Shields, Alice Munro, Barbara Kingsolver, Karen Joy Fowler.

What was the defining book(s) of your childhood/schooling?:

In primary school, the defining books were E. Nesbit’s The Phoenix and the Carpet, Roald Dahl’s The Magic Finger and James and the Giant Peach, Madeleine L’Engle’s, A Wrinkle in Time,  Enid Blyton’s, The Folk of the Faraway Tree.  I could go on for a long time.

In high school, it was F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Virigina Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own. 

If you were a literary character, who would you be?:

I always imagine I am Elizabeth Bennett, but I think a lot of people imagine that about themselves.  I grew up identifying with Clover, the second sister in What Katy Did.  Like me, she was a second sister with a charismatic older sister she adored, and she was quiet but sometimes funny.  And I was very taken with her name.

Also Eva Ibbotson wrote some great historical romances with heroines who were quite ordinary-looking but whose faces scrunched up when they smiled, and who therefore caught the attention of the sexy male hero.  I’m pretty sure my ordinary face scrunches up when I smile.

Apart from books, what do you do in your spare time (surprise us!)?:

I have a seven-year-old son named Charlie so mostly I spend my spare time trying to get him to do his homework, or trying to get him to stop throwing balls around the apartment. (‘There’s quite a lot of thudding up there,’ the man who lives downstairs said to me the other day.)  I’m also addicted to baking cakes (especially anything with ginger and cinnamon), and I am learning the cello, and, if there was a frozen lake anywhere, I would like to skate on it.

What is your favourite food and favourite drink?:

Favourite foods include chocolate, blueberries and fine-quality peach; favourite drink, champagne or hot chocolate.

Who is your hero? Why?:

My hero is my mother because she raised six children, took care of over 50 foster children, and made every single child feel special.  She seems like a gentle, quiet person but actually has a wide streak of stubborn strength and a wicked sense of humour. My dad is also very impressive to me because he built up a big successful surveying business out of nothing, learned how to fly planes and helicopters, and he can fix things.

Crystal ball time – what is the biggest challenge for the future of books and reading?:

The fragmentation of the concentration span.  Nobody wants to read more than two or three lines any more.

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17. Got a Story To Tell? Here Are 2 Ways to Do It.

Today’s post features two children’s book authors who traveled a less traditional route to publication by self-publishing their Picture Books.  The first one is OSCAR HERNANDEZ.  Here’s his story.

When looking into publishing (or self-publishing) a kid’s book, I quickly realized that the options are surprisingly complicated and really tough. Children’s book authors don’t have the technical prowess to create their own book that is modern, competitive with the market, and provides the feedback that they need. Lil’ Readers, is a children’s bookstore app for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.  Lil’ Readers allows you to bring high quality, beautifully illustrated and animated children’s books with you wherever you go. Essentially it’s a mobile bookshelf. It’s not an apple IBook, but and independent app through apple. I currently have 5 books in the app. I am still teaching in the classroom where I get to see all the reactions on kid’s faces from reading my books to my students.

                               Oscar book cover

I started writing mini plays for kids; some were good some were bad. Most of them made me laugh, so I kept writing more. Eventually I met a person that inspired me to write a lot; that person was Dr. Joe Robinette. Down to earth, but full of attention to detail, he made me love the art of writing. The writing didn’t have to be a long story; it didn’t even have to be a book. Often it was a two minute skit performed in front of about eight to ten children.   He knew how to make stories come to life, but most importantly he knew what the reader wanted to see. By carefully placing words and phrases in a certain order he would capture a reader and an audience. For all that he taught me, I thank him a million times over.

 Fast forward to my epic writers block and how my first book was born. I was thinking too hard one day, and so I continued to stare at a blank piece of paper. Five minutes went by, my phone rang, ESPN came on and my dog had to potty. The perfect storm of writers block and distraction forced me to put the pen down and go for a run. While on my run I came upon a dog. I also came upon its owner, who was yelling at me NOT to run! Now, I don’t know if you know anything about running for exercise; but running is a huge part of it! Long story short, the dog as old as he was, started to chase me. Luckily for me I was wearing my really, really short- shorts and was able to get a longer strides, leading to my escape.                         runningtailscover

 While on the same run I met another lovely dog, and then another! I couldn’t wait to get home. I started telling that story to people and then it hit me. Stories shouldn’t be forced; it’s not how crazy they are. They are about relating to someone and taking them away into your story as they read it. As it turns out, I’m writing children’s books now. Some are good, none are bad, most of them make everyone laugh and so I will keep going. It hasn’t been the easiest thing I’ve ever done but it’s one of greatest things I will leave behind. My latest book “Just Us” was illustrated by the 2013 finalist of Doddle for Google. The Book came out fantastic; I can’t wait to see where my pen takes me next.

You can contact Oscar at the following:  Facebook- Oscar Hernandez lilreaders  

Instagram-  oskhernandez             email- oscar.stories@gmail.com       Twitter- @osk_hernandez

Here are the books:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/lil-readers-interactive-childrens/id741987182?mt=8

The second story comes from ADAM GIANFORCARO:

Adam Gianforcaro is the author of the poetry collection Morning Time in the Household, Looking Out and the children’s picture book Uma the Umbrella. He has had several other works published in print and online magazines, his most recent work forthcoming in the Los Angeles Review. Gianforcaro works as a writer in Philadelphia and lives in New Jersey.                                                        adam G


Story:

I began writing Uma the Umbrella as an assignment in a class called Writing Children’s Stories at Rowan University. I wanted to portray a story of someone— or something— not fitting in, but finding his or her way somehow, someway. It’s quite an unoriginal idea, but it’s a feeling that is relatable and difficult to accept as a child. The main moral I wanted to portray was that there is no set way of doing things, no set way of living, no set way to find happiness and be content with who we are inside or outside. I can’t remember why I chose an umbrella, but I suspect it was raining that day, and I was likely walking to class clasping the handle of my own umbrella.

When the class adjourned at the end of the semester, I filed the story away on my computer. I found it two years later when I was rummaging through old files. I sent it away for publication to several places to no avail. I was not used to writing for the children’s market, and it was difficult for me to find its way into publication. Ultimately, I went through Halo Publishing International who helped me find an editor and illustrator for my work.                     COVER.pdf-page-001

The book is available in paperback or e-book through the Halo website http://www.halopublishing.com/bookstore/index.php?route=product%2Fsearch&filter_description=true&filter_name=gianforcaro,  Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

 


 

 

 


1 Comments on Got a Story To Tell? Here Are 2 Ways to Do It., last added: 3/7/2014
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18. 5Q Interview with Pip Harry, author of I’ll Tell You Mine

0002846Pip Harry is a freelance journalist who has worked on magazines for many years, including chasing celebrities as Entertainment Editor for NW and Deputy Editor for TV Week before turning herself into a yoga-loving frequent flyer as Health & Travel Editor for Woman’s Day. She’s the co-founder of relationships website, realitychick.com.au and has had short stories published in the UTS Writer’s Anthology and Wet Ink. She became a published author with her debut YA novel I’ll Tell You Mine. Her second YA novel, Head of the River is arriving in 2014, along with a non-fiction ebook about relationships, co-written by Rachel Smith. Pip lives in Sydney with her partner and their gorgeous daughter, Sophie. When not at a keyboard, she can be found searching for the perfect flat white and competing in ocean swimming

Can you remember the first story you ever wrote and, if so, what was it?

It was a fantasy picture book about faeries and magical lands.  Lots of world building and illustration.  I was seven when it was self published and distributed amongst my friends and family. Reviews were glowing.

9780702239380How many novels did you write before your ‘first novel’ was published?

Four. One adult, two YA and a middle grade. All not quite there, but great practice.

What sorts of books do you love to read?

Contemporary YA and adult fiction. Real, funny, gritty and relatable writing always grabs me. My writing buddy Pam Newton also turned me onto smart crime fiction like Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter.

If you were forced to co-write a novel with someone (as we’re not presuming that you’d want to co-write with anyone necessarily) who would it be?

Is John Green available? We could write a YA love story set in the US & Australia. I’ll have to give him a call and set that up. I’d also love to co-write with my brother Michael, who is a brilliant young writer and editor. We just need to get less busy!

What are you working on now and next?

Now I am putting the finishing touches on a contemporary YA set in the world of competitive school rowing called Head of the River.  It’s out in 2014 with UQP. Next I have co-authored a relationship non fiction ebook with Rachel Smith for Xoum publishing.

Author website: http://www.pipharry.com/

Twitter: @piphaz

 

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19. Interview with Holly Schindler

As part of her blog tour for The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky, Holly Schindler is stopping by to talk to us about her book, writing, and other things!

Your previous novels have been YA-- what's the difference between writing YA and MG and why did you make the switch?

Actually, I started writing YA and MG at the same time. A bit of backstory: I got my master’s in the spring of ’01, and was encouraged to devote full-time attention to getting my writing career off the ground. I still wanted to do my part to pay my own bills, though, so I started teaching music lessons in the afternoons. And I was shocked at how familiar those kids seemed—as familiar as the kids I’d known when I was in school! They actually inspired me to try my hand at writing in the juvenile market; I dove in headfirst, trying both MG and YA at the same time. (The first books I published were YA, but I’d been writing MG all along as well.)

The main difference is that your characters have different abilities, which changes your plot to some extent. Something as simple as the ability to drive can change your book dramatically; a teen has access to a car, so they can go literally anywhere. An MG character has a bike—their “backyard” is much smaller than a teen’s. It changes the shape of the book.

Librarians are always on the look out for books with diversity--especially stories that feature characters of color that aren't about race, so it's worth mentioning that your main character Auggie and the mean girl, Victoria, are both African-American. However, this fact is very subtly coded in the text (and one reference to Auggie feeling like her skin looked like mud while Victoria's was fine imported chocolate) so readers might miss it. Can you talk a bit about diversity in middle grade lit, why you made your characters African-American, and why you wrote it the way you did?

My YAs began with concepts: in A Blue So Dark, I played with the idea of mental illness and creativity being linked; in Playing Hurt, I explored learning the difference between loving someone and being IN love. But THE JUNCTION began with a figure—Grampa Gus. I saw him as clearly as I’ve seen anyone in my life. When I first envisioned him, he was African American. But as I drafted the book, I knew I wanted a neighborhood to look every bit as diverse as the figures in Auggie’s yard. I wanted to show the different faces who were all in the same boat.

Your book deals with a lot of heavier topics--class, beauty, eminent domain, changing friendships, and missing parents, and deals with them well, but it's not a heavy book. Why were these issues important for you to discuss and what was your process for dealing with them without making the story a total bummer?

It’s funny—early critique of the book when I was attempting to shop it was that the original beginning chapters were a bummer. (I certainly didn’t think so, but I did go back and rework those opening chapters several times—even after the book was acquired—in order to make them feel lighter.) The trick is pulling the reader in early on so that they know it’ll be a delight to come to your book—not something they dread! You want to draw a reader back, make sure they will finish your book, be hungry for another read.

If you had Auggie's artistic talent what changes would you make to your house? (Personally, I'm all about colored glass in my windows!)

I’m with you on the colored glass! And the sidewalk—I’d love that, too.

If you could go back in time and talk to yourself when you were Auggie's age, what would your advice be?

Never, never, never be afraid to say what you think. Even when it goes against what everyone else is saying or doing.

What are you working on now?


My next MG—and my next YA, Feral, which releases on August 26! FERAL is my first thriller:

It’s too late for you. You’re dead.

Those words float through Claire Cain’s head as she lies broken and barely alive after a brutal beating. And the words continue to haunt her months later, in the relentless, terrifying nightmares that plague her sleep. So when her father is offered a teaching sabbatical in another state, Claire is hopeful that getting out of Chicago, away from the things that remind her of what she went through, will offer a way to start anew.

But when she arrives in Peculiar, Missouri, Claire quickly realizes something is wrong—the town is brimming with hidden dangers and overrun by feral cats. And her fears are confirmed when a popular high school girl, Serena Sims, is suddenly found dead in the icy woods behind the school. While everyone is quick to say Serena died in an accident, Claire knows there’s more to it—for she was the one who found Serena, battered and most certainly dead, surrounded by the town’s feral cats.

Now Claire vows to learn the truth about what happened, but the closer she gets to uncovering the mystery, the closer she also gets to discovering a frightening reality about herself and the damage she truly sustained in that Chicago alley. . . .

With an eerie setting and heart-stopping twists and turns, Holly Schindler weaves a gripping story that will make you question everything you think you know.

What are you currently reading?

The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing

What are you currently watching?

RAKE. THE AMERICANS. (Not really kid-friendly, eh?)

What are you currently listening to?

The SteelDrivers. Will Hoge (he’s my favorite, actually).

Thanks for stopping by Holly!


Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

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20. Player Profile: Sarah Wilson, author of I Quit Sugar For Life

wilsonsarah01Sarah Wilson, author of I Quit Sugar For Life

Tell us about your latest creation:

I see this as a follow-up book to help make cooking, eating and our health more elegant and joyous. A framework for simple, no-brainer health that supports sugar-free living. Which is what we’re after, no?

Where are you from / where do you call home?:

I’m from Canberra, or the outskirts of… but these days Sydney is home.

9781742613734When you were a kid, what did you want to become?  An author?:

When I was seven I told mum I’d be the first female prime minister of Australia. I studied law and politics with that ambitious vague aim in mind, but soon realised i wanted to do something that could actually impact the world. My writing career very much evolved in an organic way, as did the I Quit Sugar journey. I never sat with a whiteboard to map out my career, I’ve stumbled from one step to the next.

What do you consider to be your best work? Why?:

Setting up IQuitSugar.com where I’ve been able to employ eleven incredibly talented and passionate people and provide a livelihood for them and their families.

Describe your writing environment to us – your writing room, desk, etc.; is it ordered or chaotic?:

Definitely chaotic and changeable! I write my best on planes, in airport lounges and in doctors waiting rooms. Which is fortunate given that my lifestyle doesn’t allow for very much writing time anymore. I’m always envious of writers who talk about having a specific, beautifully laid out spot where they write each day. But my personality adjusts well to chaos, and I’m quite possibly more creative on the fly.

When you’re not writing, who/what do you like to read?:

Evolutionary biology texts, and memoirs about physical adventure treks.

What was the defining book(s) of your childhood/schooling?:

Heidi, by Johanna Spyri. My only memory of it is the description of the smell of the goats, and the goats milk in the mornings. It’s still in my nostrils to this day.

If you were a literary character, who would you be?:

Winnie The Pooh

Apart from books, what do you do in your spare time (surprise us!)?:

Bush walking. You can follow my adventures on Instagram (check out the hashtag #bushexcursion). And eating. I spend a lot of time cooking and thinking about food!

What is your favourite food and favourite drink?:

Drink – at the moment its a natural pinot noir from Harkhams wines.. I’m not generally a fan of pinot noir, but this one is an exeption. Food – it’d have to be something involving pork. Roast pork with sweet potato would have to be up there!

Who is your hero? Why?:

Victor Frankl, who wrote Man’s Search for Meaning. His capacity for clarity and forgiveness and understanding of the human spirit shortly after being imprisoned in a concentration camp is truly beautiful.

Crystal ball time – what is the biggest challenge for the future of books and reading?:

I think it’s a positive one – to embrace people’s hankering to get away from their digital lives and back to “old school” engagement.

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21. 5Q Interview with Marion von Adlerstein

marion-von-adlersteinMarion von Adlerstein worked as an advertising copywriter in Melbourne, London and New York in the fifties and sixties. Between 1976 and 1998 she held several posts with Vogue Australia publications, including Travel Director. During those years Marion wrote about many subjects, including fashion, beauty and interiors. She is the author of The Passionate Shopper, The Penguin Book of Etiquette and The Freudian Slip.

1. Can you remember the first story you ever wrote and, if so, what was it?

I was in my early twenties, newly married. The story was entitled Aren’t they Sweet? and it was about the difference between how a relationship seemed and how it really was. I sent it to The Ladies Home Journal in America and I can’t remember ever having received a reply.

97807336293962. How many novels did you write before your ‘first novel’ was published?

Only one completed manuscript. It was turned down by the publisher with the words, ‘Marion should stick to non-fiction.’ Fortunately for me, I ignored the advice.

 3. What sorts of books do you love to read?

For the past several years, I’ve been stimulated by the fiction of contemporary North American writers: Deborah Eisenberg, Dave Eggers, Michael Chabon, Paula Fox, Alice Munro, Jennifer Egan, Jonathan Lethem, William H Gass (Middle C is wonderful, but I had to give up The Tunnel, his hefty, famous and grubby endurance test, after the first 500 pages.) I can’t write the kinds of books they have written which may be why I’m attracted to them.

But I also love: the mournful works of W.G. Sebald; Amanda Mackenzie Stuart’s biographies of Diana Vreeland and Consuelo and Alva Vanderbilt; Edmund de Waal’s The Hare with Amber Eyes.

 97807336317884. If you were forced to co-write a novel with someone (as we’re not presuming that you’d want to co-write with anyone necessarily) who would it be?

I couldn’t imagine collaborating with anyone. I must be too possessive of my words. I don’t show anyone my work until I consider it finished.

 5. What are you working on now and next?

A few disparate ideas are scrambling about in my head. I find that I have to lie fallow for a while after my latest novel has been published until I’m so bored with uneventfulness I have to start living in my imagination again.

 

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22. Welcome to Middle Grade March.

Welcome to Middle Grade March 2014.  Today I am highlighting Deb Marshall’s new blog about all things Middle Grade. She’s already featured Holly Schindler and her wonderful book THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY, some great book reviews, and will feature my interview about writing Historical Fiction on March 15.

This is a blog started by Deb Marshall & Akossiwa Ketoglo to celebrate middle grade literature, all month, starting March 1, 2014. This is a continuation of Jill @ The Owls original March of Middle Grade Books.

Expect fun and informative interviews, book reviews, giveaways and all sorts of fun shenanigans.

Deb is also hosting a readathon for the Kick-Off and here is the link to the post about that:

http://middlegrademarch.com/2014/02/17/middle-grade-march-kick-off-read-a-thon/

Here’s the link to the site and the post with my interview.  www.middlegrademarch.com


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23. 5Q Interview with Tristan Bancks, author of Two Wolves

bancks, tristanTristan Bancks is a writer and filmmaker. He has a background as an actor and television presenter in Australia and the UK. His short films have won a number of awards and have screened widely in festivals and on TV. Tristan has written a number of books for kids and teens, including the Mac Slater, Coolhunter series, It’s Yr Life with Tempany Deckert, and My Life and Other Stuff I Made Up. Tristan’s drive is to tell inspiring, fast-moving stories for young people.

1. Can you remember the first story you ever wrote and, if so, what was it?

I think it was a rip-off of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in which kids could gain all their essential nutrients by eating ice cream flavoured like meat, pumpkin, brocolli etc. When I visit schools now and run workshops with younger grades I notice that kids are still writing that story. I am considering suing several of them because their work is way too close to my version. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

 97808579820322. How many novels did you write before your ‘first novel’ was published?

My first novel Mac Slater, Coolhunter was published but I had written lots of short films, a couple of un-produced feature film screenplays, hundreds of articles and a number of Educational fiction and non-fiction titles prior to having that book published.

 3. What sorts of books do you love to read?

I seem to love page-turning reads with unadorned prose and strong characters that explore an idea. My favourite adult books include Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea and Jack London’s White Fang. My favourite children’s and middle-grade reads include Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet, Brian Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Markus Zusak’s Fighting Ruben Wolfe and Tim Winton’s The Bugalugs Bum Thief.

 97818647181714. If you were forced to co-write a novel with someone (as we’re not presuming that you’d want to co-write with anyone necessarily) who would it be?

I have co-written a novel, it’s yr life with Tempany Deckert, which really brought the writing process alive for me. I also love collaborating with illustrators. These days, I think I find it difficult to co-write but I would love to collaborate with a Web / Gaming person to build interactive elements into the story as I write.

5. What are you working on now and next?

I am working on my third book of weird-funny-gross short stories in the My Life series and, in the background, I am exploring another darker middle-grade crime-adventure book along the lines of Two Wolves.

Author website: www.tristanbancks.com

Twitter: @tristanbancks

 

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24. Player Profile: Anita Heiss, author of Tiddas

Photo Credit: Amanda James

Photo Credit: Amanda James

Anita Heiss, author of Tiddas

Tell us about your latest creation:

My new novel is called TIDDAS. Tiddas, for those who don’t know, is a generic Aboriginal term for your close female friends, those who are like sisters to you. And the tiddas in my novel comprise five women (three Koori, two non-Indigenous) who were born, raised and knocked around together in Mudgee (Wiradjuri country). Over the course of their lives they all move to Brisbane and as they approach their 40s they are each going through a particular journey that puts pressure on themselves and each other. The novel looks at the strengths and challenges of life-long friendships, and deals with a range of issues including substance abuse, identity, unplanned pregnancies and failed attempts at pregnancy.

The structure of the novel revolves around monthly book club meetings, with most titles opening up group discussion of Aboriginal arts, culture, politics and social justice. Identity in all forms is also discussed and unpacked.

For me, Tiddas is also a story that celebrates sameness – what makes us the same as women, the shared human emotions we experience, how we all value our friendships and how many of us are people who like to read.

Where are you from / where do you call home?:

Sydney is my home but my mob are from central NSW, Wiradjuri country – Tumut, Brungle, Cowra and Griffith.

TiddasWhen you were a kid, what did you want to become?  An author?:

As a kind under ten, I wanted to be a nun, then an air-hostess and at one point I wanted to be Tina Louise (Ginger from Gilligans Island). As a teenager I was a great penpal, but in my youth I never imagine that I would be an author.

What do you consider to be your best work? Why?:

I think that my latest novel TIDDAS is my best to date. I guess I hope that after a number of novels my storytelling has improved. TIDDAS is also something that is also very close to me and I think that passion and love for it comes through in the work.

Describe your writing environment to us – your writing room, desk, etc.; is it ordered or chaotic?:

I’m currently at a beautiful desk my late father made. And I try to make my office tidy, really I do, but I have paper and books and chocolate and notes usually all over my desk while writing. I have a gorgeous big computer screen which in recent years has made a difference, especially when I spent on average eight hours a day in front of a computer. I also have a vision board in eyesight to remind me of what my goals are for the year.

When you’re not writing, who/what do you like to read?:

I read across genres – for example, this year alone I’ve read fiction, kids fiction, a couple of picture books, non-fiction and aI’m just about to delve into and anthology of Indigenous writing from a group in Canberra. The list looks like this: Home by Toni Morrison, Dear Life by Alice Munro, The Swan Book by Alexis Wright, How Successful People Lead, by John C. Maxwell, Alfie’s Search for Destiny, David Hardy, The Spotty Dotty Lady, Josie Boyle, illustrated by Fern Martins, Liar Bird, Lisa Walker, Dead Man’s Gold, by Michael Torres, illustrated by Sharyn Egan, By Close of Business: Us Mob Writing (anthology).

What was the defining book(s) of your childhood/schooling?:

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain – because it was the only book we read at school that talked about race and race relations.

Apart from books, what do you do in your spare time (surprise us!)?:

At 45 I took up running. Mid-life crisis? You decide. I also love to chill at the beach, a LOT!

What is your favourite food and favourite drink?:

Favourite bad food is chocolate, favourite good food is the humble banana

Who is your hero? Why?:

My Mum – she is strong, kind, always there for me, and she’s good for laugh.

Crystal ball time – what is the biggest challenge for the future of books and reading?:

I think competition with electronic media – hand held games etc. A lot of kids have a game in their hands constantly, rather than a book. I think nurturing that love of reading in our young people is one of the biggest challenges.

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Anita-Heiss/24222663243

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AnitaHeiss

Website: www.anitaheiss.com

Blog: http://anitaheiss.wordpress.com/

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25. Interview with Children’s Book Author Jennifer Adan

It’s Author Interview Thursday! If you’re a songwriter and/or love country music, then you’re in for a big treat today.Jennifer Adan - Songwriter Our special guest moved to Nashville to follow her dreams to become a songwriter. Despite the hardships and setbacks she experienced along the way, she’s living proof that dreams do come true! She co-wrote the chart topper, ‘She Wouldn’t Be Gone‘ with Cory Batten that was performed by American country music singer, Blake Shelton. The song was Number One on the Hot Country Songs Charts in February 2009. She also writes children’s books and I’m so delighted to have her on the hot seat today. So without further ado, please join me in welcoming Jennifer Adan.

 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspires you to write children’s books? 

I have been writing since I was nine years old. I started writing songs and poems, which led to short stories, screenplays and novels. I wrote my first children’s book, I Don’t See Heaven in 2004, when my grandfather passed away. I was so inspired that I wrote it in about thirty minutes. My sister’s best friend Liz was inspired by my story and wanted to draw pictures to go along with it.

 

What can a reader expect when they pick up a Jen Adan book? 

For this current book, readers can expect a light-hearted explanation about coping with a death. It doesn’t go into specifics because I didn’t want the story to be too deep. As for my future children’s books, I will keep the light heartedness of the overall feeling. As for my novels and how-to books, I plan to make them sarcastic, layered with humor and an underlying serious nature.

 

What in your opinion makes a great children’s book? Jen at Book Signing

I think a great children’s book consists of the author’s ability to relate to the child, get down to their level and not preach to them, but meanwhile providing a story that will make them feel a connection. It has to have a sweet tone with some humor, some lessons and some form of emotion that will make them feel something, or make them question and come to their own conclusions about the world.

 

What has been your most successful marketing method for promoting your books? 

Connecting with the public on a personal level. Reaching out to people personally, or through social media and also word of mouth.

 

What were some of your favourite books as a child? 

My favorite books as a child were The Giving Tree, Love You Forever, Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day, Goodnight Moon, Harold and the Purple Crayon, The Snowy Day, and Winnie the Pooh.

 

What mistake(s) have you made while publishing your books that you would advise other authors against? 

Well, being the first book I’ve had published, it’s all a learning experience. There’s not one piece of advice that I would advise against, but I would say to make sure you have all of your stuff organized so it makes the publishing process go smoother.

 

Most people probably know you as a songwriter. What would you say are the similarities and differences between writing a song and writing a work of fiction? I Dont See Heaven

My songs mostly consist of heartbreak, man hating, angry songs (haha) but I also have some sweet, positive songs as well, just not many. My books, especially my children’s books, are light-hearted, happy and anti-hate, pro love. My other works of fiction can vary because of the theme of each book, but I feel like my books and my songs are polar opposites.

 

Your song ‘She Wouldn’t be Gone’ for Blake Shelton hit the Number One spot on the Hot Country Songs chart. Can you tell us about that moment when you heard the news and how you felt? 

Well, the first time I heard Blake was going to cut the song, my co-writer Cory called me and told me that some guy named Blake Shelton wanted to record it and I flipped! Then, what seemed like a couple weeks later, I received a phone call from Scott Hendrix at Warner Brothers saying they were going to release it as his first single. At the time, I was working as a receptionist at a real estate company and got the message on my lunch break. I freaked out, called Scott back and I’m pretty sure I cried.

 

What in your opinion makes a great songwriter and what can someone do if they want to sharpen their song writing skills? 

A great songwriter express their life experiences effectively through their music. They are able to portray a certain feeling, whether it’s happy or sad or heartbreak or anger in such a way that the listener has to stop what they are doing to listen and feels so connected to it that they are convinced the songwriter wrote it about them. A great songwriter brings passion and truth to their lyrics and music and blends so perfectly that people remember them and want to hear more. Diane Warren is a huge role model and hero of mine and I believe that she is a great songwriter.

 

How do you reward yourself when you’ve completed writing a song or achieving a specific publishing goal? 

Nothing! ha-ha! I just keep writing and when I write something I’m proud of, I share it with everyone, whether its a song or a piece of writing.

 

What book or film has the best dialogue that inspires you to be a better writer and why? Jen Adan signing books

There are so many books and films that inspire me, but I am a huge Disney fan and so most Disney movies inspire me, especially the old school ones like Mary Poppins, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Little Mermaid, Lion King, Aladdin, and then other movies like The Blind Side, 42, Pursuit of Happiness and tons of others!

 

Toy Story or Shrek?

Toy Story!

 

What should a first time visitor to Nashville, Tennessee do while there? 

Go to the Bluebird Cafe! It’s my favorite place in Nashville to hear amazing songwriters sing their songs and it has great food and the atmosphere is amazing. I am not a big fan of downtown honky tonks, but everyone should go there as a first timer. I also suggest going to Loveless Cafe. It’s the best down home cooking you will get in Nashville! Their biscuits are soooooo good!

 

Can you tell us about an awkward/unforgettable experience you’ve had with a fan? 

I received a letter in the mail from a fan in Florida. I don’t know how he got my address, but he did and he hand wrote me a letter saying he wanted an 8X10 photo of me and he kept writing me letters. It was a little strange.

 

What can we expect from Jen Adan in 2014? 

A lot! I am going to be a writing machine and put out another children’s book and more music and I am currently working on a screenplay. This is the year of finishing projects so everyone should get ready!

 

Where can fans and readers of your books and music discover more about you and connect with you? Jen Adan

My website www.jenniferadan.com has all of my social media links and it has a list of my upcoming events.

Twitter: @jenniferadan

Instagram: @jenniferadan13

Facebook: facebook.com/jenniferadan13

 Website:  http://jenniferadan.com/

 

Any advice for authors or songwriters out there who are either just starting out or getting frustrated with the industry? 

Never give up! If this is what you want to do and if this is your passion keep going! Don’t let the world harden your heart and make you biter and jaded toward the industry. The entertainment industry is tough and you have to learn how to swim with sharks and develop a thick skin and just keep pushing through. If one door doesn’t open, try another and another and another and if that doesn’t work, get a ladder and go through the window! Network and talk to everyone and use your resources to keep learning about your craft and talk to as many people as you can, take classes, go to conferences or workshops, travel to as many places as possible and read as many books as possible. And make sure you never give up!

 

Thanks for ending the interview on such a positive note. I wonder what would have happened if you had given up after some rejections. I also have to agree with you on the power of networking. You just never know who you could meet that knows someone or has the power to open doors to launch you into your destiny. You can get a copy of Jen’s book by clicking the link below. I’ve read it and it’s good!

I Don’t See Heaven by Jen Adan

 

Below is the music video of the Number One Song ‘She Wouldn’t Be Gone.’

 

 

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