An interview with LC Hayden

lcbig1L. C. Hayden is an award winning author.  Her Harry Bronson series have been the finalist for the Agatha Award for Best Novel (Why Casey Had to Die) as well as finalist for Left Coast Crime‘s Best Mystery (What Others Know).  In addition Why Casey Had to Die is a Pennsylvania Top 40 Pick.  She has repeatedly captured First, Second, and Third place status for her works at the annual El Paso Writers’ League, and even won the coveted Best of the Best Award.  She also won a gold medal at the Senior Olympics Writing Competition and garnished a Second place for Tallahassee’s Writers Association’s Seven Hills Writer’s Contest.

PJ: How long have you been writing?

LC:     I’ve been writing my entire life, but professionally, I began with nonfiction while I was in college. A term paper that I did for a professor was the first thing I ever got published.

PJ: At what point did you reach a place where you felt successful as a writer?

LC:     Unfortunately, that moment hasn’t come. Soon as I accomplish a goal, I move on to the next one. There will always be one more step to take in order for me to really be a successful writer.

PJ: Is the writing life what you expected when you started out? If not, how is it different?

LC:      You dream of writing and selling. Hitting the big time. Big money. Big deals. Then reality hits. You’ve got to promote. If you don’t, you don’t sell. Wish we could go back to the days when authors wrote and the publishers promoted. Uh, was there ever such a day?

PJ: The general public seems to think authors are relatively wealthy. Without prying too much, has your writing income lived up to expectations?

LC: It’s now beginning to do that—although it’s still a long way from reaching my dreams. You’ve got to realize that my first book was published in 1998 and just now my income is finally something to be proud of. That’s a heck of a long time.

PJ: Early on, so much focus is given to getting published. Now that you’re published, how has your focus changed?

LC: It’s not just getting published that counts. It’s how many books did you sell? Publishers are only interested in how much money they make, not establishing a struggling author’s careers. The focus in writing has switched to selling—otherwise, your publisher will drop you.

PJ: How long did it take you to get published the first time?

LC:  A nice even number would be 10 years. I wrote, revised, submitted. Rewrote, revised, re-submitted. Over and over. I was caught by a scammer—too late I realized that and that held up the production of the book. Finally, ten years later the book Who’s Susan? came out and it became a Barnes & Noble Top Ten Best Seller.

PJ: Would you do anything differently if you had it to do over again?

LC:  I would avoid the scammer. My problem is that I’m too trust worthy. What a twirp I am!—but a trusting one!

PJ: Writing new material, rewriting, submitting new work, waiting, promoting published work…the list is large. How do you manage to divvy up your time to give adequate attention to all needed areas?

LC:  I set deadlines. By such and such time, I will have written five chapters, contacted so-and-so for promotion, I’ve edited this much, etc. If I don’t meet those goals, I beat myself up with a wet noodle and get back to work!

PJ: What is the single most exciting thing that’s happened to you as a writer?

LC:  Dang, that’s a hard one. I’m not sure if I should choose being major awards finalist for my books, being selected to be a speaker at major cruise lines and travel all over the world for free (and I still get paid!), or when a reader tells me how reading my books helped them either spiritually (like for my angel book series) or by keeping them glued to the edge of their seat or having to stay up all night to see how the book ended. All of those experiences are so special.

PJ: What is the single most disappointing thing that happened to you as a writer?

LC:  Book sales. I pour my heart and sweat into my novels. Then they’re released and bang! The sales just trickle. Eventually, they pick up but they have slow starts. Wish they began with a bang!

PJ: With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?

LC: As far as my mysteries go, I’m known as the writer of edgy books. By that I mean a plot full of twists and turns with bang-up endings that will surprise the readers.

PJ: What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?

LC: Believe in yourself. Don’t ever give up. Make that dream come true. Don’t let anything or anyone ever discourage you.

PJ: What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work?

LC: My ability to do great presentations. God gave me the ability to speak on just about any subject and amuse and hold the audience. When I do presentations, I normally a lot more books than when I do just a signing.

PJ: What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?

LC: Finding the money to pay for the book promotion!

Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:

List of L. C. Hayden’s books

Aimee Brent Mystery Series

ILL ConceivedIll Conceived

Coming soon: Vengeance in My Heart

Throw Away Children (working title)

Harry Bronson Mystery Series

When the Past Haunts You

When Death Intervenes

Why Casey Had to Die

Novels featuring Harry Bronson

What Others Know (Part 2)

When Colette Died (Part 1) (Bronson not featured)

Where Secrets Lie

Who’s Susan?

Inspirational

Nonfiction: Angels and Miracles Abound (coming Fall 2013)

Angels Around Us

When Angels Touch You

Fiction: Bell-Shaped Flowers

Children’s picture books: What Am I? What Am I?

Puppy Dog and His Bone (coming soon)

Paranormal: The Drums of Gerald Hurd

Writing Advice: Help! I Want to Write

Contributed to

A Second Helping of Murder (a cookbook)

Haunted Highways (collection of haunted places in Texas)

Edited and compiled Breaking & Entering: The Road to Success (a Sisters in Crime how-to guide)

Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title:

ILL Conceived: Grandma Louise hears a scream in the middle of the night. When no one else does, the police dismiss it as an old woman’s ravings. Aimee Brent, an ambitious, dedicated reporter for the North Shore Carrier, the Lake Tahoe newspaper, sets out to prove Grandma right. In so doing, she’s forced to face her past, a past filled with so much darkness that it threatens her very existence and leads her down a twisted, dangerous road from which she may never return.

Where can we buy it?

Best place is as a Kindle through Amazon, although it can be ordered from any store (if you live in PA, Mystery Lovers Book Shop, stocks it) or various places on the Internet. You can also order it directly through me.

What last thing would you like to share with us that nobody knows about you and your work?

LC:  I still write longhand. I revise longhand. Then I enter it into the computer, making revisions as I go along. I print out the manuscript and revise it again in longhand. I’m old fashioned, eh?

Thanks so much for the interview! Hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Thank you for joining us LC. I really love your work and know our readers will too! PJ

An interview with Kathryn Primm, DVM

2010-09-07 20.15.52 Kathryn Primm has dreamed of being a veterinarian since the age of five. She grew up in Chattanooga, graduating from Girls Preparatory School and accepting an academic scholarship from Mississippi State University where she completed a degree in Biological Sciences as well as her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine.

Applebrook Animal Hospital is a dream come true for her and she will laugh and say that it is built of her “blood, sweat and tears.”

As a pet owner of two cats and Dora, a rescued Great Dane, Dr. Primm knows the challenges of keeping fur-friends happy and healthy. Helping pets and people is her passion and her mission, loving the job is an extra bonus!

PJ: How long have you been writing?

KP: Probably two years, but I have always been a storyteller at heart.

PJ: At what point did you reach a place where you felt successful as a writer?

KP: I do not think I have reached that point yet.

PJ: Is the writing life what you expected when you started out? If not, how is it different?

No, I was unprepared for all the revisions, but the promotion has been very much more fun than I thought!

PJ: The general public seems to think authors are relatively wealthy. Without prying too much, has your writing income lived up to expectations?

KP: Haha, I have only just begun but I have a “day job” without which I would not write at all! I find it amusing that the public thinks that. We all accept that artists are starving for their craft,  but somehow writers are making the “big bucks”.

PJ: Wouldn’t you love to prove them right? Early on, so much focus is given to getting published. Now that you’re published, how has your focus changed?

KP: Now my focus is more about marketing. Since I have published this book and I think it is worth sharing, I want to be sure that people know about it,

PJ: How long did it take you to get published the first time?

KP: I am self published, but hired an editor who was wonderful and insisted that we not push publication until we agreed it was ready, so we did several months of revision. From the first word of the first story, it was around 18 months.

PJ: Would you do anything differently if you had it to do over again?

KP: I would plan better now that I know more about publication. I would make sure that I submitted my manuscript to the appropriate reviewers pre publication.

PJ: Writing new material, rewriting, submitting new work, waiting, promoting published work…the list is large. How do you manage to divvy up your time to give adequate attention to all needed areas?

KP: I have a LOT of energy and I am very excited about Tennessee Tails.  I am going to do everything I can and just run on the excitement for fuel! My job as a veterinarian keeps me focused and I have learned a lot about multitasking in it.

PJ: What is the single most exciting thing that’s happened to you as a writer?

I am an avid reader, so the first time I saw my book for sale next to all the other books on an online retailer, it really hit me. I felt so excited and overwhelmed. I remember wanting to shout from the rooftops and I took a picture of the listing.

PJ: What is the single most disappointing thing that happened to you as a writer?

KP: Somehow I guess I thought that people would automatically know about my book and want to read it. I have a love affair with books and animals and since my book combines them, I guess I thought everyone would just know about it instantly. I never realized how much work and patience were involved in getting the word out.

PJ: What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work?

KP: Good : When I was asked to speak at the vet school, I was pretty excited. I remember being a student in the very room I will speak.

Bad: When I first contacted potential publicists, the very first one instantly replied to my inquiry that she did NOT handle books that had already been published. It made me feel very small.

PJ: Isn’t that interesting? I haven’t heard that one before. With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?

KP: The stories do not have “fluff” to make them better. They are entertaining, touching and honest and I tried hard to make it an easy read that reaches any animal lover’s heart.

PJ: What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?

KP: Always follow your dreams. Never give up and believe in yourself.

PJ: What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work?

KP: I think that I am the most important tool in promotion. If I am not willing to put forth effort, the promotion will fail.

PJ: I must admit, your enthusiasm is quite contagious! What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?

KP: Patience has been the biggest challenge for me in the whole process. Everything moves slower than I would like.

PJ: Do you have a local independent bookseller you’d like to mention?

KP: Sadly we do not.

Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:TT cover

Just the one, Tennessee Tails

Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title:

Stories about pets and the people whose lives are made better because of their relationships. Just like people, pets have their own tales to tell if we watch and listen. There is always something that we can learn from each other.

Where can we buy it?

Amazon. Kindle http://tinyurl.com/tennesseetails

Barnes and Noble. com  http://tinyurl.com/qehzowd

and I have copies in my animal hospital where many of the stories took place.

What last thing would you like to share with us that nobody knows about you and your work?

These stories are so close to my heart, I even had a hard time changing the names to protect privacy. I wanted to relay them faithfully as I remember them. I guess you could say that “literary license” was a hard concept for someone as completely guileless as I am! Since I am still the owner and primary vet at Applebrook Animal Hospital, my work is always “to be continued.”

I am, admittedly, a pet lover. Dogs and cats especially. But even if you’re not a pet lover, I bet you know someone who’d love this book!

An interview with Sherria Grubbs

Sherria GrubbsSherria L. Grubbs lives in North Carolina with her husband.  She is a teacher in one of North Carolina’s public school systems.  She has been writing poetry since she was in the sixth grade as a release and to lift her spirits. She considered her writing more of a hobby than a gift until recently, when she began sharing her poems with others.  Through the encouragement of her daughter and husband, she was inspired to create a book of her poems to share with others.  It is her belief that the poems she writes comes straight from the heart! http://deepconnectionsbook.com

PJ: How long have you been writing?

 

SG: I started writing poetry when I was about 12 years old, but at the age of 16 was when I began to write and keep my poems in a journal.

PJ: At what point did you reach a place where you felt successful as a writer?

 

SG: I don’t know if I have ever reached that place.  I did begin to feel like I had something worth sharing maybe about a year or two ago.

PJ: Is the writing life what you expected when you started out? If not, how is it different?

 

SG: When I started, I didn’t have any expectations.  However, with that being said, it is more than what I expected it to be, if that makes any sense.

PJ: Early on, so much focus is given to getting published. Now that you’re published, how has your focus changed?

 

SG: My focus is really just about reaching people.  I feel like if something in my book can touch someone in some way, then it is worthy of publishing.

PJ: Would you do anything differently if you had it to do over again?

 

SG: I don’t know if I would do anything differently.  I think things happen the way they are supposed to, so I am not sure I would do something differently.

PJ: Writing new material, rewriting, submitting new work, waiting, promoting published work…the list is large. How do you manage to divvy up your time to give adequate attention to all needed areas?

 

SG: This is hard and something that I am still struggling with.  Finding the time to do everything that needs to be done as it relates to my book and new material is very difficult so I just try to take one day at a time and get done what I can and somehow it all works out in the end.

PJ: What is the single most exciting thing that’s happened to you as a writer?

 

SG: One of the most exciting things that happened to me as a writer was when a much older lady wrote me a poem to thank me for writing my book and for sharing her life story/my life story with her!

PJ: What is the single most disappointing thing that happened to you as a writer?

 

SG: I think the most difficult thing for me as a writer was finding out that not all publishing companies are honest and loyal to authors.

PJ: What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work?

 

SG: The most memorable thing for me while promoting my work was my book release party.  It was amazing, the turn out was amazing and ended up being standing room only.  Everyone who helped out were like angels sent from God.  They helped to make my book release party the most memorable and best event that I ever had!

PJ: With more books being released each  month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?

 

SG: I think my book says things that people feel but are afraid to say and because of this many people can relate to it!  My book unlike others speaks to the heart

PJ: What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?

 

SG: Don’t give up.  If your desire is to have your work published, believe it and it will happen despite whatever obstacles may come your way.Deep Connections

Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:
Deep Connections: A Book Of Poetry Straight From The Heart

Where can we buy it?
www.deepconectionsbook.comamazon.com, and barnesandnobles.com

PJ: What last thing would you like to share with us that nobody knows about you and your work?

 

SG: I’m not sure if no one knows this but I am very transparent in my book and it truly is a book of poems that come straight from my heart!

An interview with Tess Collins

Tess Collins LCC 2004I first met Tess Collins more years ago than I’m going to say and I’m delighted that she’s got a new book coming out next month! If you’re not familiar with Tess and her work, I hope you’ll take time to read this and that you’ll hurry to buy Notown when it hits the market!

PJ: How long have you been writing?

TC: I was recently looking through a baby book that my mother kept of my first few years and one of the most frequently quoted phrases that I used was “let’s pretend”. She said I would make elaborate stories for me and my brother where I was the princess and a monster was after us, then I’d make a magic circle for our protection.  So how long have I been a writer—well, at least since then.

PJ: At what point did you reach a place where you felt successful as a writer?

TC: Not sure writers ever feel successful. It’s always a “oh God, what am I going to do next.”

PJ: Is the writing life what you expected when you started out? If not, how is it different?

TC: If I were to look at the person I was when I started pursuing publishing, then I would say, I expected to have a life which was focused on writing that became more of a life writing when I can, promoting as much as I can.  But it is what it is.

PJ: The general public seems to think authors are relatively wealthy. Without prying too much, has your writing income lived up to expectations?

TC: (loud, hysterical laughter)

PJ: =) Early on, so much focus is given to getting published. Now that you’re published, how has your focus changed?

TC: I suppose at one point I had to choose between writing to the market and writing the stories I wanted to tell. If I chose one, I’d likely be publishing a book a year and making loads of money, but art won out.

PJ: How long did it take you to get published the first time?

TC: I spent about ten years in writing classes learning craft.  Had one book that I sent out a gazillion times that no agent wanted, so wrote another which got an agent within a few months and sold a few weeks later to a major NYC publisher. Goes to show that it is a crap shoot.

PJ: Writing new material, rewriting, submitting new work, waiting, promoting published work…the list is large. How do you manage to divvy up your time to give adequate attention to all needed areas?

TC: I’ve lots track of time so often that I don’t even know how to answer that question. I’ve tried making schedules—I’ll write this day; promote that day. It never works. It’s all a mishmash of doing multi-tasking and hoping everything gets done.

PJ: What is the single most exciting thing that’s happened to you as a writer?

TC: It hasn’t happened yet, but in my mind, I play it over and over as: the time I met John Irving.

PJ: What is the single most disappointing thing that happened to you as a writer?

TC: That I haven’t met John Irving yet.

PJ: Ok, John – it’s time! What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work?

TC: The best was having two kids buy my book for their mother and that I’d gone to high school with their mom.

PJ: With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?

TC: I think you can only write the best book you know how to write.

PJ: What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?

TC: Don’t give up.

PJ: What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?

TC: I’m a very introverted person, so being in public takes a lot out of me. I have to float in a blacked out floatation tank after a particular people filled day.

Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:

TC: The Law of RevengeNotownCover

The Law of the Dead

The Law of Betrayal

How Theater Managers Manage (non-fiction)

Helen of Troy

Notown

Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title:

TC: A day in the life of a woman who decides to kill her second husband.

Where can we buy it?

TC: Amazon, Barnes and Noble; most online booksellers

PJ: What last thing would you like to share with us that nobody knows about you and your work?

TC: I’m a closet MMA fan.

Thanks Tess! All right you guys, let’s get to shopping and reading, enjoy!

Yes! We Need Beta Readers by Kate Gallison

Kate Gallison You’ve worked through the last thrilling climax. You’ve typed, “THE END.” You’ve put your opus away for a couple of weeks and thought about something else. You’ve pulled it out again, read it through, shouted, “OMG, this really sucks,” fixed all the problems you noticed, and pronounced it cured. Perfected. Ready for prime time.

Now what?

Do you give in to your itch to fire it off to your agent? Or, having no agent, to fire off queries to a list of prospective agents, promising them a completed manuscript? Or, scorning the traditional publishing route, offer it to your eager public as an e-book, with no further tweaking?

No. Ten out of ten successful writers advise against this. You must give it to at least one friend or acquaintance, three would be better, people who normally read, and best of all who read in your genre. Otherwise you risk going out the door with literary spinach on your teeth.

What are they supposed to tell you about your book, other than that it’s great, riveting and compelling, absolutely the best thing they’ve read all year? (They are, after all, your friends. Otherwise you’d have to pay them to read it.)

First of all, your beta reader is not for doing line-editing or correcting your grammar and spelling. If you can’t spell or parse an English sentence by this time, you should probably take up the accordion. What you want to ask your beta readers to do is make note of any egregious howlers they may notice and any questions that arise in their minds about your book. Perhaps you have placed Seattle on the shores of Lake Michigan. Perhaps you have changed the heroine’s hair and eye color between Chapter Three and Chapter Four.  Perhaps some parts seem to lack energy, are in fact stupefyingly boring. Perhaps you have left gaping plot holes.

We get very close to our work, sometimes so close that it’s hard for us to see obvious things. We change things, too, as we go along, and we don’t always readjust the other things that are affected by our changes. Some of us have verbal tics that need pointing out. I once read an otherwise excellent suspense novel in which the author wrote, “He nodded,” and “She nodded,” something like five thousand and seventy-two times in the course of the book. By the hundredth instance I began to be irritated. When at last the writer said, “It was his turn to nod,” I cried, “No! No, it isn’t! Everybody stop nodding, already!” Unfortunately I wasn’t a beta reader. The EdgeofRuinCover 300x453thing was already in print.

Luckily I had beta readers for THE EDGE OF RUIN who pointed out to me that they could see no reason why the murderer committed the second murder. I was able to fix that before it went out. Plot holes are my personal weakness. If you know what yours are, you can get your beta readers to watch out for them. Then, when your book goes out the door, it will be the very best it can be.

Kate Gallison

An interview with Suzanne Burke

Suzanne_Burk (7 of 9)Suzanne Burke is an amazing woman, and some days I wonder when she finds time to sleep! Although I usually feature authors here who are primarily mystery oriented, I think writers of all genres can learn something from her experiences and her “can do” approach to her writing. Sit with us a while and enjoy!

PJ: How long have you been writing?

Suzanne: I’ve been writing for over 20 years in a corporate environment and only recently have switched over to creative writing.

PJ: I know you’ve been working with the Greyhound rescue organization for years. What inspired you to get Logan’s Secret and the other stories into print?

Suzanne: This real-life story began seven years ago. After I witnessed the miracle of Logan being found, and the multitude of coincidences (actually I no longer believe they were coincidences) surrounding his story, I promised myself I would write his tale someday. I created the first draft of it 5 years ago and sat on it that long before an opportunity arose that allowed me to focus 100% on its completion this year.

PJ: What has been the most surprising aspect of your journey so far?

Suzanne: I left a high-paying IT corporate job at the end of 2011 to take six months off to write and publish this story. I made a August 2012 SBL Book Signing 2promise to Logan and myself that I would finish and publish his story while he was still alive. I had always visualized him being by my side at book signings. I knew Logan was turning twelve this year and my time with him over the last seven years was quickly slipping by. This effort is my homage to him for his incredible spirit and zest for life. During these last 6 months, I have worked incredibly hard in meeting my own self-imposed deadlines, but I enjoyed every moment of this work. It has been the most satisfying and fulfilling work I’ve completed so far in my lifetime, and the best part was it was accomplished in the company of a pack of greyhounds!

PJ: Have you reached a place where you feel successful as a writer?

Suzanne: Yes, I have learned an incredible amount in the last year. The deadline I set forced me to not only learn in-depth about creative writing, but also about marketing, social media, and the creation and management of my website, GreyhoundStories.com. I have learned more in 6 months about a new career in writing than I have learned in 2 years of information technology.

PJ: Is the writing life what you expected when you started out? If not, how is it different?

Suzanne: I really didn’t have any expectations. I just knew I had 6 months to write a book and get it published. My career as a project manager inspired me to set a very tight plan to make this happen and I was able to accomplish it! I love to write as it’s very freeing to the soul. I haven’t tried to make a career of it just yet, but I am having a lot of fun!

PJ: The general public seems to think authors are relatively wealthy. Without prying too much, has your writing income lived up to expectations?

Suzanne: I do not believe all that I read. It usually takes years for writers to become successful. I have visualized my outcome of being able to sustain my standard of living at writing at some point in my life. This may not come for a while, but I am fortunate to be able to have my project management skills to support me as I continue with my writing. Writing is a joyful enterprise for me and it is what I do to relax. To do this on a full time basis would be my greatest joy!

PJ: Early on, so much focus is given to getting published. Now that you’re published, how has your focus changed?

Suzanne: Once you’re published, the real work begins – promotion and marketing.  You need a team of individuals to get the word out about your book. From all the great reviews and very positive comments about Logan’s Secret, I think it’s a matter of promotion.  Kids love this book and surprisingly, so do adults.  I really didn’t expect that.

PJ: What made you decide to forego traditional publishing for the self-published route? How long did it take you to come to that conclusion?

Suzanne: I know several writers who went through the painful process of trying to get published. I also did a healthy amount of research on the Internet about publishing. I talked to several publishing companies. In the end, through my research, I determined that self-publishing would accomplish what I wanted – to get the book in the hands of children and animal lovers while Logan is still alive on this earth.

PJ: Would you do anything differently if you had it to do over again?

Suzanne: I don’t think so. This has been an amazing journey! I don’t think I would have learned nearly what I did had I tried the traditional route and from what I have read, the traditional route can be a test to one’s psyche. I learned an incredible amount about publishing through the self-publishing process. I am self-taught by nature, and I prefer to have control over my destiny, so self-publishing was the right choice for me! I am thankful for my project management skills because a solid plan kept me on schedule.

PJ: Writing new material, rewriting, submitting new work, waiting, promoting published work…the list is large. How do you manage to divvy up your time to give adequate attention to all needed areas?

Suzanne: That’s a tough one….this was a huge part of what I had to learn in the last 6 months and I am so thankful I had 6 months of 100% devoted time to this project. I conducted a lot of research on authors and how they kept up with writing, social media marketing, etc.  It all comes down to a carefully orchestrated plan of time management each day and week.  I finally developed a plan where I would spend 1-2 hours first thing in the morning to work on the social media aspect (website content, FaceBook, Twitter, etc.), then I would devote each day of the week to a different task.  As a project manager, the greatest asset you have is your team.  I pulled together a great team of folks to help me with editing, website development, etc.)  This is a team effort!

PJ: What is the single most exciting thing that’s happened to you as a writer?

Suzanne: Finishing my book and getting it published within 6 months and appearing on Good Morning Texas less than one month after its release. I’ve also had the opportunity to talk about the book through radio interviews and another TV interview in my hometown in October.

PJ: What is the single most disappointing thing that happened to you as a writer?

Suzanne:  Understanding that promotion is a huge part of the success of your book.  It’s the journey that is often time consuming and frustrating, but understandably so. This aspect takes a huge amount of work, but the education is priceless!

PJ: What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work?

Suzanne:  Logan by my side as we promoted our book on Good Morning Texas – this was a true high point!

PJ: With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?

Suzanne: I conducted a lot of research with children prior to deciding on the format for this book. This is a children’s chapter book, so I asked a lot of children what would make a first chapter book the best. They all said short chapters and lots of illustrations, so that’s what I set out to do and I have to say that the feedback from children has been phenomenal.  The book also is designed to help children expand their vocabulary, so there is a vocabulary list at the end of the book as well as creative writing projects to engage children.

PJ: What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?

Suzanne: Network with other writers, join writing clubs, and pull together a team of professional editors to assist you. Do all the research you can on self-publishing if this is an interest.  Being able to self publish is very liberating. Engage with a good PR person who can help get you noticed out in that big world!  PJ Nunn has been excellent in her skill of promoting my book to get interviews – word of mouth is critical!

PJ: What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work?

Suzanne: Hire a good PR person that has experience in promoting books – this is key!

PJ: Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:Logans Secret cover

Suzanne: The Logan Trilogy

  • Logan’s Secret
  • Logan and the Mystical Collar (2013)
  • Logan’s Legacy (2013)

PJ: Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title:

Suzanne: Logan, the champion racing greyhound is at the top of his game. Today, he is at the racing start gate, the race begins, he takes off and gains an expert lead, but events take an unexpected turn and his life changes forever! Follow Logan on his adventurous journey as he makes a decision that launches him into a world of uncertainty and challenge. Discover the secrets he uses that help him achieve his life dream. A great story for adults or children! Logan’s Secret will teach children important values about life, and to think positively no matter what challenges they face. If you believe in yourself, you can accomplish anything!

Where can we buy it?

It is currently available in print and ebook formats on Amazon.com and Kindle, my website at greyhoundstories.com and The Greyhound Adoption League of Texas. Soon to be available in iBooks and Barnes & Noble Nook.

PJ: What do you hope to achieve with your current book, Logan’s Secret?

Suzanne: With Logan’s Secret, I hope to educate readers in many ways. First to learn about the greyhound breed and what wonderful companions they are for families, they are truly a breed apart. But also to impart to readers the importance of pet adoption from shelters – that older dogs often make better companions than puppies because they are so forgiving and so enthusiastic about someone selecting them to be a part of their family.

Further, I hope my book educates children and adults alike about the values of overcoming adversity by using a positive attitude. Logan is the perfect model for courage, endurance, positive thinking, and forgiveness. I owe much of my personal growth to him over the last seven years!

Thank you, Suzanne, for spending time with us today. I’ve fallen for Logan, I hope our readers here do too!

An interview with Gerrie Ferris Finger

Once upon a time, Gerrie Ferris Finger was one of my very first clients. I’m thrilled that she believed in me enough to be my client again today! She’s a journalist in the best sense, and I don’t know of a better example of how persistence and perseverance pays off. I hope you’re already familiar with her work, but if not, there’s no time like the present…

PJ: How long have you been writing?

Gerrie: That’s an easy one. As long as I can remember. I never kept a diary, but scribbled a lot of ideas and stuffed them in drawers. In elementary school I was always the first one done with my story, and the last one to turn in my arithmetic (is it still called that?)

PJ: Not sure we want to go there lol. Gerrie, tell us what it was like to work with Lewis Grizzard. That must’ve been amazing.

Gerrie: A cross between rafting section IV rapids and a paddle in the lake. And, at all times, tremendous joy and amazement at his skill in connecting with his readers, to say nothing of his stand-up comedy routines. Lewis had his serious side and was compassionate. He moved readers and listeners to tears of sorrow or laughter
Lewis was my mentor. Even though I’d always written and learned good journalistic skills, I still over-wrote. In editing his columns, I’d see what he’d blue-penciled out, and thought, wow, he’s throwing away good stuff. His attitude was that fewer words and descriptions brought immediacy to the intended idea. And, God forbid, anyone insert an exclamation point in his copy.  My editors have done that and I cringe.

PJ: At what point did you reach a place where you felt successful as a writer?

Gerrie: When I saw my first byline in a major newspaper (The Atlanta Journal Constitution) and my news stories published in anthologies.
With fiction, I felt on my way with Look Away from Evil, the second book I’d actually finished and saw print. Small step, sure, but an independent ebook publishing company offered me a contract for three books in the series, so that was the next step. Each achievement brings me closer to feeling successful. I won the St. Martin’s/Malice Domestic Award for the Best First Traditional Mystery Novel with The End Game. It was my first money advance and hard cover novel. In July the second in the series The Last Temptation will be released in hard cover and the third, The Devil Laughed comes out in 2013.

PJ: Is the writing life what you expected when you started out? If not, how is it different?

Gerrie: I can’t answer that because my writing life continues to evolve and surprise me, positively and sometimes negatively. It’s always been exciting.

PJ: The general public seems to think authors are relatively wealthy. Without prying too much, has your writing income lived up to expectations?

Gerrie: The paltry money made by mid-listers was surprising. I thought even if you weren’t John Grisham you could make a living writing one or two books a year. The ebook revolution has changed that for most writers in too many ways to get into. I’ve had my successes with my self-pubbed books, but the jaws of ebook publishing need constant filling to keep up sales.

PJ: Early on, so much focus is given to getting published. Now that you’re published, how has your focus changed?

Gerrie: Continue writing, and increasing readership with each new book.
PJ: How long did it take you to get published the first time?

Gerrie: A year-and-a-half. Then I got a  New York agent and thought I’d be on my way. Not so. I worked with her for two-and-a-half years. She couldn’t sell my work and suggested I write fantasy. She wasn’t wrong, because fantasy was coming on strong, but it’s just not my genre. Finally, I won the St. Martin’s/Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery novel and was then on my way. I’ve still a long road ahead.

PJ: Would you do anything differently if you had it to do over again?

Gerrie: I don’t even go there.

PJ: Writing new material, rewriting, submitting new work, waiting, promoting published work…the list is large. How do you manage to divvy up your time to give adequate attention to all needed areas?

Gerrie: I take it as it comes. The most important thing to me is writing new material and polishing it, so that gets the majority of my time. When I’m creating a plot and characters, I have to keep up momentum on a daily basis or I lose threads and have to go back and that’s counterproductive.

PJ: What is the single most exciting thing that’s happened to you as a writer?

Gerrie: Getting published by a Big Six New York publisher after winning the St. Martin’s contest.

PJ: What is the single most disappointing thing that happened to you as a writer?

Gerrie: As with all who submit work to agents and publishers, rejections.

PJ: With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?

Gerrie: My writing skills. I’d put my work up with the best of mystery, suspense, thriller writers – with a little romance thrown in.

PJ: What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?

Gerrie: Believe in yourself and never give up.

PJ: What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work?

Gerrie: Hiring a publicist, Patti Nunn in particular. She knows the markets and she’s experienced in working with writers whose needs and wants in the promotional area vary.
PJ: That’s very kind of you to say. Thank you. What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?

Gerrie: All have their challenges.
PJ: Do you have a local independent bookseller you’d like to mention?

Books Plus

Gerrie: Books Plus in Fernandina Beach, Fl and Once Upon a Bookseller in St.

Once Upon a Bookseller

Marys, Ga.

Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:

Look Away from Evil

When Serpents Die

Honored Daughters

Wagon Dogs

The End Game

The Ghost Ship

Whispering

The Last Temptation

Novellas: Merciless

Heartless

Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title:

Recovering addict Eileen Cameron and her daughter Kinley Whitney have vanished from Eileen’s Palm Springs home. Kinley’s custodial father, Bradley Whitney, lives in Atlanta. Eileen and Bradley are locked in a custody battle, and Bradley believes Eileen has taken Kinley to hide with the Indians in the desert. The court hires Moriah Dru of Child Trace to find and bring Kinley home.

Bradley’s academic credentials are solid, but Dru is wary. He’s rich and involved with the secretive Cloisters. Dru and lover, police Lieutenant Richard Lake, delve into Bradley’s past, while Lake investigates the Atlanta Suburban Girl murders.

In Palm Springs, Dru meets a host of glitzy suspects, including Dartagnan LeRoi, a cop; Arlo Cameron, Eileen’s movie director husband; Heidi, Arlo’s widowed neighbor; Eileen’s hairdresser, a cross-dresser named Theodosia; a donut-maker named Zing; Indian princess Contessa (Tess) Rosovo; and Phillippe, a self-styled Frenchman who claims he’s a Cordon Bleu chef. Phillippe says everyone in “The Springs” is an actor.

To help find Eileen and Kinley, Tess takes Dru to the high desert for a Moon Maiden ceremony. Dru spots a young girl in a wig. Tess notices Dru’s attention to the girl. Dru passes out then wakes in the desert scrub as a monsoon rages. Terrified, she’s swept over a rock waterfall to certain death. Her miraculous survival brings her even greater pain.

The Last Temptation is an edgy mystery thriller loaded with eccentric oddballs. Murder and deceit are no strangers to glamorous Palm Springs. Nor to Atlanta.

PJ: What last thing would you like to share with us that nobody knows about you and your work?

http://www.gerrieferrisfinger.com

“There are three rules for writing a novel. . . unfortunately no one knows what they are.”
~W. Somerset Maugham