The 2018 Author Interview Series Featuring Gwen Plano and John Howell

It’s time for the next subject for my 2018 author interview series. Author interviews are posted every Friday throughout the year.

This week is a two for one special. I’m happy to be interviewing Gwen Plano and John Howell. Gwen and John have just released a book that they co-authored called The Contract. I’m happy to have them both join me in a ‘he said/she said’ type of format.

You can catch up with all of my past author interviews (nearly 200) on my Author Directory page.

If you’re an author interested in being interviewed in this series, I still have limited spots available for 2018. You can email me at don@donmassenzio.com

Now, please enjoy this interview with Gwen Plano and John Howell:


Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

Gwen: This is an interesting question, Don. I write because I am inspired and sometimes compelled to do so. It is a spiritual process for me, which inevitably involves deep trust. I know where I am going; but, between the first and last chapter is a bewitching journey. Typically, I awaken very early in the morning with scenes running through my mind. I see the story unfolding, I hear the conversation, and then I write my experience.

John: I’m in the camp of trying to write a good story above all else. If it becomes so original that no one likes it, then to me it is not a good story. If I try to write what people want, I have a ton of research to do to find out what it is that the people want. I would instead concentrate on the story and then hopefully it will appeal to enough readers without going through the hassle of research.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Gwen: I’d tell her that she is beauty-full, and if she can focus on this beauty, a magical world will open for her. I’d also tell her to stay close to her heart and listen to its whispers. Finally, I’d share with her that every book has two stories, the one in print and the one carried silently by the author. I’d ask her to try to understand both stories, for she’ll be enriched immeasurably.

John: Please younger John, slow the hell down. There is no reason to rush toward success, happiness, or immortality. All that will come in time if it is meant to be. There is no amount of not smelling the roses that you will look back upon as being a good thing. I love the old saw about nobody on their death bed ever saying, “I wish I had worked more.”

What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

Mary Oliver

Gwen: I struggled with this question, Don. And, if I might, I’d like to answer it by mentioning a poet, Mary Oliver. I stumbled upon her late in life, her words finding a deep inner resonance. She’s an extraordinary poet, someone who is recognized but perhaps under-appreciated. Her famous question still grabs at my heart. “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”  

jailbird

John: I think that has to be Jailbird by Kurt Vonnegut. At the time of publication, it did achieve some status as a best seller but has since gone into obscurity. It is a typical Vonnegut story taken from the headlines. This time it is the Watergate break-in, and the protagonist is an unknown White House bureaucrat who takes the fall for the whole thing. The story is masterfully drawn and has some hilarious situations that only Vonnegut could conger.

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

Gwen: Yes, I read every review. It’s a humbling and emotional process. When readers grasp what I am trying to convey, there’s a profound sense of gratitude and validation. And, if the reviews convey something other than what I hoped, I know that I did not express it well enough. Though I’ve been fortunate not to have had a bad review, like all writers I struggle to effectively convey human passions. We’re learners, all of us. And, the review process helps us learn and grow in our writing. I’m grateful to one and all.

John: Yes, I read every one. I think I owe it to those who have taken the time to read my books and write a review for me to understand what they have to say. This is their time to let me know what they think of my work and such time should be respected. When I read a good review, I have this feeling of being blessed. I especially like when a reader points out the message of the book and believes the news is noble. Whether the review is favorable or unfavorable, I always try to put myself in the position of the reader. Real joy and true misery take two to create. The writer and the reader conspire together to produce the value of the written word. I would like to knock on wood, but I have never received a bad review. I am defining bad as one where it is obvious the reader chooses merely to criticize the work as opposed to an honest review. I have had reviews where the reader felt improvement was necessary. In those cases, if I believe they have a point I strive to improve. I do try to thank each one of my reviewers, but due to the anonymous nature of some reviewers, it isn’t always possible. I never argue with a reviewer. I believe they are sincere in their opinion and I respect their right to say what is on their mind.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Gwen: I don’t intentionally hide secrets when I write. I may understate a belief or shroud a situation in obscurity to protect the innocent, but I don’t hide. I’m more naturally prone to revelation.

John: I do hide things in my books, but they are discoverable only by those who know me. Many times, in the descriptions of things I will take a personal item and use it as a prompt. My children and spouse always know. I also tend to use character names that have become a bit of a household joke. These would be folks that have become immortal through their colorful behavior.

Do you Google yourself?

Gwen: Because of your question, Don, I just goggled. What a surprise! So much for living a quiet unassuming life, right?

John: I have not until just now. In fact, I never thought of doing so. It was a fascinating look up. Several of my namesakes have died this year, but besides that, there is a fair amount of me and my books.

What is your favorite childhood book?

nancy-drew

Gwen: I grew up on a working farm, and we had very few books. However, one day a kind lady brought us a box of used Nancy Drew books. I devoured them, and to this day, I have a special love for Nancy Drew.

babar

John: Without a doubt, it was the Babar the Elephant. I could not seem to get enough of that picture book. I was entranced with the idea of the elephant becoming a king and having a life scaled to his size.

If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?

Gwen: My teachers told me that I was a good writer, but at the time, I really didn’t hear them. Life on the farm was concrete not imaginative. If I were to do something differently, it would be to cultivate my imagination. Perhaps, I could write my dreams in a diary or practice ways of describing wind through tree branches. Simple and concrete, both of these possibilities would have fostered my starving imagination.

John: I would have begun writing a little more seriously. I remember constructing stories as a kid but did not do it too often. I wish the school system of my day had a less structured curriculum to allow more free time to devote to creative endeavors. Most of my writing was out of school at home. When homework was finished, there was little time to spend writing.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

Gwen: In the abstract, I can write a book in three months. But, as you know, life can complicate a writing schedule. Hurricane Harvey hit John’s home and he and his family had to evacuate. Soon after this, I had a debilitating medical condition. While John dealt with home repairs, insurance agents and contractors, I met with doctors. Then I lost my mother. I mention this because each of us have faced notable challenges this past year and yet THE CONTRACT is now published. If we had worked alone, I’m not sure it would be.

John: When I’m working on a book, I devote myself to a minimum of one thousand words a day seven days a week. Given this schedule, I can complete a ninety-thousand-word manuscript in ninety days. Once done then I have to edit what I write. This process is agony for me and takes longer than the actual document. So, let’s say another one hundred days. Once edited then the book goes to beta readers who need at least eight weeks to do a good job. After the beta reader input is received, it is another thirty days of a rewrite. Once complete then the manuscript goes to the editor for a month. Then it comes back for three weeks of corrections and then back to the editor.  So, if I add all that up, I would say from the first word to finished product takes one year.

 Connect with John and Gwen:

John’s Links:

Email: johnhowell.wave@gmail.com

Blog Fiction Favorites, http://johnwhowell.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/john.howell.98229241

Twitter –https://www.twitter.com/HowellWave

Authors db –http://www.authorsdb.com/authors-directory/6604-john-w-howell

LinkedIn –http://www.linkedin.com/pub/john-w-howell/48/b59/462/

Google +https://plus.google.com/+JohnHowellAuthor/

Goodreads –https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7751796.John_W_Howell

Amazon Author’s page –https://www.amazon.com/author/johnwhowell

Gwen’s Links:

Email: gplano@gwenplano.com

Blog: http://www.gwenplano.com/blog-reflections

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GwendolynMPlano/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/gmplano

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7341478.Gwendolyn_M_Plano

Amazon Author’s page: goo.gl/CMj4vq

Gwen and John’s book:

The Contract COVER FINAL 2-20-18

Now available on Kindle and Paperback

Check out my interview from Ronald Yates Site

A Conversation with Author Don Massenzio

Today, ForeignCorrespondent has a chinwag with Don Massenzio, author of the acclaimed Frank Rozzani Detective Series as well as several other books. His newest book, Extra Innings, was released just last week. You can read Don’s bio at the end of the interview.

Q. Tell us a bit about your latest release, Extra Innings.

A. Well, this book is a major departure from my usual crime/detective drama genre. It has elements of supernatural/paranormal devices and really isn’t at all about crime.

Here is a blub that sums up the book:

Joe McLean hates his life. A lonely, divorced, middle-aged man, stuck in a cramped apartment, the only bright spot in Joe’s life is cheering on his hometown baseball team. Now, the local stadium, the place of many childhood and adult memories is being replaced. Joe desperately wants a piece of this iconic venue to preserve his memories and have some memorabilia from his happier past.

 That’s when unusual things begin to happen, and Joe begins to rethink the direction his life has taken. Can Joe take a different path in life? Can he use the special ability that he has acquired to change the course of his life? Will he realize the truth about the adage, you can never go home again?

 Follow the twists and turns in this supernatural story, Extra Innings, to find out.

Q.   When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Don Massenzio

A.   I was a voracious reader as a kid. I lived in an urban neighborhood with no kids to play within an old two-family house. We had an attic apartment with a bookcase full of old books. I would read books from the Bobbsey Twins and Nancy Drew series and then would try to write my own stories. I think I was in 2nd grade when this really kicked in. Of course, I’ve been an editor/writer throughout my business career but didn’t have the guts to publish my first work of fiction until I turned 50.

Read the rest of the interview HERE.

The 2018 Author Interview Series Featuring MT Bass

It’s time for the next subject for my 2018 author interview series. Author interviews are posted every Friday throughout the year.

I am honored to continue this series with Ohio author MT Bass

You can catch up with all of my past author interviews (nearly 200) on my Author Directory page.

If you’re an author interested in being interviewed in this series, I still have limited spots available for 2018. You can email me at don@donmassenzio.com

Now, please enjoy this interview with MT Bass:


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

I’m just not smart enough to know what other people, including readers, really want—especially marketing-wise. I mean, I can barely corral and control my own fictional characters sometimes. I certainly want people to read my books.  And there are many, many authors I admire greatly – some for their artistic ability and some for their commercial success – but it just doesn’t feel right or, at least to me, it doesn’t read right when I’ve tried to “flatter” those writers by way of hard or soft plagiarism just to get readers to put their eyeballs on my pages.  It’s the duty of every writer to develop their own voice.  So, I guess I listen to the casually dressed artist in my right brain more than I do to the businessman wearing a gray flannel suit in my left brain.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

“Persistence to the point of stupidity…but never beyond.”  I wish I hadn’t taken a two decade “sabbatical” from scribbling but, frankly, I got distracted by so many other shiny things – particularly airplanes – that I’m still playing catch up as a writer.

What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

The Magus

The Magus by John Fowles—as it was originally published.  I read a later, revised edition with a new ending that ruined the story for me, so I set the book aside and it has kind of faded down a memory hole. It was recommended to me by a good friend, Russell the Mad Potter (as in throwing pots of clay) during my college years while I was an English & Philosophy major and the story gave me pause to navel gaze on life, art, aesthetics and, you know, stuff.  It made quite an impression on me – as did Russell, who had one of those “larger than life” personalities.

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

I do, because I’m curious about how people react to my stories, you know, ’cause of, like, the first question: I do want people to be turning my pages.  I’m also curious, sometimes, about what book the reviewer actually did read.  You have to take all critiques — good and bad — with a grain of salt or two (and sometimes with some tequila and lime), because I’ve discovered that people often have a lot to say, but not all of it is really about your book. And that has entertainment, as well as educational, value.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

I do but not with any kind of cruel malice. I once got dinged in one of my writer’s group critiques for a character repeating the phrase “luckless pedestrians.”  Obviously, my fellow scribbler was not a Steely Dan fan, so she missed the admittedly obscure reference to “Don’t Take Me Alive” which I thought offered some resonance to the character and the story.  People are crazy, complicated things that absorb incredibly arcane details as they move along through their real-life stories.  Characters need to have secrets, too – and so do the stories themselves, in symbolic and thematic terms. My favorite books are those that allow new discoveries when reread.  That can’t really happen unless there are buried treasures waiting to be discovered in the book.

Do you Google yourself?

Only in the dark behind closed doors when no one else is home…I mean, yes, every so often I do and I’m always amazed how Google sends potential readers to Montana for bass fishing – even if you search on “M.T. Bass Author.” Wizards of smart?  Right.  Bing and Yahoo better hit the mark, but it just confirms my inklings about the Internet and social media:  It’s like the ocean: good for surfing and fishing, but definitely don’t drink any Kool-Aid made from the water.

What is your favorite childhood book?

sabre jet aceSabre Jet Ace , the biography of Air Force fighter pilot Joseph McConnell, Jr. I think I first read it in the third or fourth grade. Yeah, I know, not exactly Dr. Seuss. But besides fueling  my dreams of becoming a pilot, it was a great story of  not only bravery and heroism, but also  dedication, persistence and selflessness. The book I had is long lost in the wake of the years and the cheapest used copy I’ve found was listed for $350.00 on Amazon.

If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?

I’m always suspicious of self-mythologies that start out, “Ever since I emerged from the womb, I knew I wanted to be a best selling young adult distopian novelist like Suzanne Collins [or insert current adult profession here].”  I’m glad I had a normal childhood, running around my suburban neighborhood like a wild indian—I mean, native American.  Are there things I would change?  Sure, but not to make myself a better writer.  I was having too much fun.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

On average, I suppose it takes from 12-24 months once the idea percolates up into my consciousness and I actually get started on the writing.  That being said—and I hate to admit it—In the Black and Somethin’ for Nothin’ took more like 10-15 years to finish, because, well, I took a hiatus for most of the nineties and into the early years of this millennium.  You know what they say about life happening.  I’m doing much better now.

About MT Bass:

M.T. Bass is a scribbler of fiction who holds fast to the notion that while victors may get to write history, novelists get to write/right reality. He lives, writes, flies and makes music in Mudcat Falls, USA.

Born in Athens, Ohio, M.T. Bass grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. He graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University, majoring in English and Philosophy, then worked in the private sector (where they expect “results”) mainly in the Aerospace & Defense manufacturing market. During those years, Bass continued to write fiction. He is the author of six novels: My Brother’s Keeper, Crossroads, In the Black, Somethin’ for Nothin’, Murder by Munchausen, and The Darknet (Murder by Munchausen Mystery #2). His writing spans various genres, including Mystery, Adventure, Romance, Black Comedy and TechnoThrillers. A Commercial Pilot and Certified Flight Instructor, airplanes and pilots are featured in many of his stories.

Bass currently lives on the shores of Lake Erie near Lorain, Ohio.

Connect with MT:

www.mtbass.net

mtb@owl-works.com

https://www.facebook.com/owlworks/

https://twitter.com/Owlworks

http://www.amazon.com/author/mtbass

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5270962.M_T_Bas

http://www.librarything.com/author/bassmt

M.T. Bass’s Books

A complete list of my scribblings can be found at:  https://mtbassauthor.wordpress.com/scribblings/

MTB171106 - Darknet-Munchausen Cover

 

The Darknet (Available 2/2/2018)

https://mtbassauthor.wordpress.com/scribblings/the-darknet-murder-by-munchausen-mysteries-2/

 MTB160422 - Untethered Cover

Untethered (Novella)

https://mtbassauthor.wordpress.com/scribblings/untethered/

MTB160629 - Murder by Munchausen Cover 

Murder by Munchausen

https://mtbassauthor.wordpress.com/scribblings/murder-by-munchausen/

SfN151113 - Somthin' for Nothin' Cover

Somethin’ for Nothin’

https://mtbassauthor.wordpress.com/scribblings/somethin-for-nothin/

MTB150601 - Lodging Cover

Lodging (Novella)

https://mtbassauthor.wordpress.com/scribblings/lodging/

ITB140306 - In the Black - Novel Cover - VW

In the Black

https://mtbassauthor.wordpress.com/scribblings/in-the-black/

MKB110203 - My Brother's Keeper Cover - 1800x2880

Crossroads

https://mtbassauthor.wordpress.com/scribblings/crossroads/

XR140911b - Crossroads Cover

My Brother’s Keeper

https://mtbassauthor.wordpress.com/scribblings/my-brothers-keeper/

The 2018 Author Interview Series Featuring Jemima Pett

It’s time for the next subject for my 2018 author interview series. Author interviews are posted every Friday throughout the year.

I am honored to continue this series with author Jemima Pett.

You can catch up with all of my past author interviews (nearly 200) on my Author Directory page.

If you’re an author interested in being interviewed in this series, I still have limited spots available for 2018. You can email me at don@donmassenzio.com

Now, please enjoy this interview with Jemima Pett:

Jemima_Pett

Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

Most of my stories creep up on me, then tap me on the shoulder until I write them down.  From that point of view, I write selfishly, what I want to write, but at the same time, I write the kind of stories I like to read (although there are loads of things I read that I wouldn’t want to write). So, I hope, for some readers, I deliver what they want, but it’s probably a select group of people who like the things I do!

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Don’t believe the only person you’ve shown your manuscript to. Just because something needs work does NOT mean you’re rubbish, even if they say it is, and you can’t write for toffee. Not all friends support you.

What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

I could name half a dozen (or more!) indie-authored novels I love that are clearly under-appreciated.  The first that sprang to mind was The Ninja Librarian by Rebecca Douglass.  It’s true that Rebecca has become a writing buddy, but it’s my admiration for her splendid world centred on Skunk Corners that led to our ongoing communication.

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

I do read my book reviews, but not as often as I used to. I occasionally notice a book has new reviews, then I check out what people are saying.  I think I learnt a lot from the first ones I read, especially to remember that readers bring their own worlds to the book, and that’s part of the fun of reading. If they are Goodreads reviews I may ‘like’ them, good or not. And I have asked one or two people to explain a criticism, so I can understand their point of view better. But only if I can do so without sounding as if I disagree (and always trying to keep my emotions well controlled!)  I remember one criticism of my first book that the ‘baddie’ seemed to give in unreasonably easily.  All I can say is that I know why he did… and you can read between the lines in some of the later books where he turns up. If they stick with me through to the last book they’ll have a complete understanding!

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

I don’t hide personal secrets, but I do tuck things in that will get developed later.  My editor hates this.  She feels I should leave them out if they aren’t directly relevant to the story.  If this were not a series, I’d agree with her!

Do you Google yourself?

Very occasionally.  It’s sometimes useful to see whether the SEO is working properly and listing my blog posts, and whether new books are showing up in searches. Also, I was given the advice when I started out, to Google your name, and remove anything online that you wouldn’t want your readers to find.  If you couldn’t remove it, then write under a different name.

I discovered the fun of Googling one’s own name when I started a new job just as the boss was having a significant birthday.  Everyone was being asked to contribute an anecdote about him, and of course I was too new to have any. So I googled his name, and found he was also a notorious money-launderer in Italy, a Historical District in some city I’ve forgotten, and also a Professor of History at an Oxford college.  It turned out he knew the professor…

What is your favorite childhood book?

Black Beauty.  Or Wind in the Willows. Both have equal worth for adults and children. Black Beauty was written for adults, to raise awareness of animal cruelty. I only realised about five years ago that Anna Sewell wrote it when she lived about four miles from where I live.  Wind in the Willows has a chapter that I used to skip when I was a child—it seemed boring.  Once I started I revisiting it, I began to think it was the most beautiful chapter in the whole world (The Piper at the Gates of Dawn).

If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?

Ignore people who say scientists can’t write.  We make time to read both science books and novels, so why can’t we write, too?

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

How long is a piece of string?  Define ‘write a book’.  Sometimes stories come together, and I can write two or three books in about four months.  But then the storylines will take a while to simmer till the next one is ready to write. So that can mean leaving it for years—at least one, possibly two or more.  And if you get stuck… my sixth Princelings book took about four years (and was originally scheduled to be number five). The first in my science fiction series didn’t take so long to get out in what I thought was the finished version, but I withdrew it after a month because it clearly wasn’t good enough. That’s three years ago in April, and I’m just about ready for the final edit before I republish.

Editing.  Writing a story is one thing, editing it is quite another.  That’s where you really find out if you have it in you to ‘write’ a book!

About Jemima:

Jemima Pett has been living in a world of her own for many years. Day-dreaming in class, writing stories since she was eight, drawing maps of fantasy islands with train systems and timetables at ten.  Unfortunately no-one wanted a fantasy island designer, so she tried a few careers, getting great experiences in business, environmental research and social work.  She finally got back to building her own worlds and wrote about them. Her business background enabled her to become an independent author, responsible for her own publications.

Her first series, the Princelings of the East, mystery adventures for advanced readers set in a world of tunnels and castles entirely populated by guinea pigs, now has eight books online and in print. Jemima does chapter illustrations for these. She has also edited two volumes of Christmas stories for young readers, the BookElves Anthologies, and her father’s memoirs White Water Landings, about the Imperial Airways flying boat service in Africa. She is now working on a science fiction series with asteroid miners working in a far-flung part of the galaxy called the Viridian System, in which the aliens include sentient trees.

Jemima’s books:

Amazon

▪      US/Worldwide: http://www.amazon.com/Jemima-Pett/e/B006F68PVE/

▪      UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Jemima-Pett/e/B006F68PVE/

▪      Germany: http://www.amazon.de/Jemima-Pett/e/B006F68PVE/

▪      France: http://www.amazon.fr/Jemima-Pett/e/B006F68PVE/

Apple

▪      https://itunes.apple.com/gb/artist/jemima-pett/id489973866?mt=11

B&N

▪      http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/%22Jemima%20Pett%22

Book Depository

▪      http://www.bookdepository.com/author/Jemima-Pett

Smashwords

▪      https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/jemimapett

8 covers on paper bannerThe Princelings of the East series:

  • The Princelings of the East
  • The Princelings and the Pirates
  • The Princelings and the Lost City
  • The Traveler in Black and White
  • The Talent Seekers
  • Bravo Victor
  • Willoughby the Narrator
  • The Princelings of the North

also available in ebook from Smashwords, B&N, iTunes and Kobo; The Princelings Box Set 1 (Books 1-3)

Perihelix_ed2The Viridian Series:

  • A Viridian System Sampler
  • The Perihelix (due April 2018)
  • Curved Space to Corsair (due October 2018)
  • Zanzibar’s Rings (in preparation)

Connect with Jemima Pett

Blog: Jemima Pett, Author: http://jemimapett.com

Facebook: The Princelings of the East https://facebook.com/princelings

Twitter: @jemima_pett  http://twitter.com/jemima_pett

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5388872.Jemima_Pett

 

The 2018 Interview Series Featuring C.S. Boyack

It’s time for the next subject for my 2018 author interview series. Author interviews are posted every Friday throughout the year.

I am honored to continue this series with author and blogger C.S. Boyack. I enjoy C.S. Boyack’s books and I think you will too. If you love a well-told story with twists and turns, you should check them out.

To coincide with this interview, C.S. is hosting a one-day giveaway of his book, The HatI have read this book and found it most entertaining. You can find out more about it at the end of this interview.

You can catch up with all of my past author interviews (nearly 200) on my Author Directory page.

If you’re an author interested in being interviewed in this series, I still have limited spots available for 2018. You can email me at don@donmassenzio.com

Now, please enjoy this interview with C.S. Boyack:


image1

Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

I always try to write my own stories and hope it’s what readers want. My approach is the write the book I would want to read. It’s my hope that some people out there are like me and would want to read it too.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Get your butt in gear! I dabbled back in the 1980s, and other aspects of life got the better of me. I didn’t get serious about writing until I was just shy of fifty. Today, I wonder where I’d be if I learned all those little things about writing fiction twenty years earlier.

What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

This is the wrong question for me, because it’s the big ones that tend to stick with me. Most of them got popular for a reason. Now if you’d asked about the super-popular ones that I didn’t enjoy…

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

I know we aren’t supposed to, but I read them all. A good one can make my day. A bad one might still have a grain of something I can learn from. It may be too late for the current book, but I might be able to apply something to the next one.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Not really, but I’ve been toying with something along that line. Something like people in a future book watching an Enhanced League baseball game. If I decide to write that one, it will include many things like this.

Do you Google yourself?

No, but I do Google Lisa Burton. For those who don’t know me, Lisa is my original character who serves as a spokesmodel for my writing career. Think of her like my Geico gecko. Since she is in so many of my promotions, having her images hit on the first page of a Google search means I’m doing well. (She seems to have a competition with Tim Burton’s ex-wife going on.)

In fact, have a picture of one of Lisa’s posters to promote my new book THE HAT.

image3What is your favorite childhood book?

TIJI loved THE INCREDIBLE JOURNEY. The old Disney movie was also one of my favorites, not the newer version where the animals talked. In fact, I owned bull terriers for over eighteen years, just like Old Bodger.

My wife and I own bulldogs now.

If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?

Pay more attention in school. Honestly, there are some things I wish I had learned back then that would have served me better as a writer.

I have a powerful imagination that serves me well as an author of speculative fiction. However, that same imagination took me away during boring days in the classroom.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

Interesting question, because I write different kinds of books. My newest one is a novella, and the first draft took about three months. I’ve been known to work on a novel for over a year, but that’s the outside limit. I once wrote an entire novel in about four months when the Muse was on my side.

Thanks for having me over today, Don. You’re providing a wonderful outlet for authors to present themselves and their wares. I hope you know you’re always welcome back at my place too.

***

The Hat:

image2Lizzie St. Laurent is dealing with many of the struggles of young life. She lost her grandmother, and her living arrangements. Her new roommate abandoned her, and she’s working multiple jobs just to keep her head above water.

She inherits an old hat from her grandmother’s estate, but it belonged to her grandfather. This is no ordinary hat, but a being from an alternate dimension. One with special powers.

Lizzie and the hat don’t exactly hit it off right away, but when her best friend’s newborn is kidnapped by a ring of baby traffickers, Lizzie turns to the hat for help. This leads her deep into her family history and a world she’s never known.

Lizzie gives up everything to rescue the babies. She loses her jobs, and may wind up in jail before it’s over. Along the way, she and the hat may have a new way of making ends meet.

Humorous and fun, The Hat is novella length. Wonderful escapism for an afternoon.

Purchase Link:  http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B078YYCNSF

About C.S.

I was born in a town called Elko, Nevada. I like to tell everyone I was born in a small town in the 1940s. I’m not quite that old, but Elko has always been a little behind the times. This gives me a unique perspective of earlier times, and other ways of getting by. Some of this bleeds through into my fiction.

I moved to Idaho right after the turn of the century, and never looked back. My writing career was born here, with access to other writers and critique groups I jumped in with both feet.

I like to write about things that have something unusual. My works are in the realm of science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. The goal is to entertain you for a few hours. I hope you enjoy the ride.

 

The 2018 Author Interview Series Featuring Tina Frisco

It’s time for the next subject for my 2018 author interview series. Author interviews are posted every Friday throughout the year.

I am honored to continue this series with California author and blogger Tina Frisco.

You can catch up with all of my past author interviews (nearly 200) on my Author Directory page.

If you’re an author interested in being interviewed in this series, I still have limited spots available for 2018. You can email me at don@donmassenzio.com

Now, please enjoy this interview with Tina Frisco:


Tina 4aDo you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

I aim to do both, because both are needed for books to sell. But I won’t compromise originality, so at times it becomes a bit of a juggling act. I write because I enjoy it and am compelled to so. Writing is my life’s blood. And like most writers, I want to engage and communicate with others. In order to reach people, my writing must be both original and magnetic.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Pay attention. Observe what moves people and learn how to reach them where they are. Take your passion for writing and gingerly weave its message through the prevailing consciousness. People will turn a deaf ear to shouting, but they will strain to hear a whisper.

What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

woman chiefWoman Chief by Rose Sobol. It’s the true story of a woman who became chief of the Crow Indians by refusing the traditional duties of women and by outperforming her male counterparts.

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

I confess that I’m not one to scrutinize my books’ reviews; not because I don’t care, but because I forget to do so! I have a note taped to my computer screen to remind me to check them. I post the good reviews to my blog. If a bad review is cogent and well-written, I pay attention to anything that might help improve my writing. If it has nothing to offer, I ignore it – that is, after the initial “OMG” reaction ☺

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

No. I publish books not only to entertain, but also to inject messages into our collective consciousness. I’m an activist and a healer. Humankind is teetering on the brink of self-annihilation. I’m loath to be complacent about this. Novels entertain and are a great vehicle for learning. As I write, I learn. And my hope is that my readers will, too.

Do you Google yourself?

I did this once, about a year ago, when someone else asked me that question. I was shocked by the number of menu pages that came up. So I entered the names of several author friends, and the result was the same. It made me wonder if I should have used a pseudonym for everything I did online. But that’s a moot question. The pros and cons seem to balance out. One thing is for certain: There’s no such thing as flying under the radar when you’re a published author!

What is your favorite childhood book?

peter rabbitThe Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter. I love all of her books – the storylines, and especially the exquisite illustrations. As a child, I would imagine myself a character in the stories. I didn’t know it at the time, but her conservationist ideal subtly and profoundly affected me.

If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?

I’d pursue perfecting my craft in every way available to me, as well as exploring avenues that seemed out of reach. My family was not well-off, and opportunities for its children were very limited. Had I known how to use the library’s reference section to my advantage, I’d have researched grants and scholarships for higher education in the field of writing.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

About three months of solid writing and research. And like most authors, I’m sure, this is much preferred to marketing and promoting the finished product!

Thank you so much, Don, for featuring me on your blog and for all the support you give to fellow authors.

About Tina:

Tina Frisco is an author, singer-songwriter, RN, activist, and student of shamanism. Born in Pennsylvania USA, she attended nursing school in New York and lives in California. She began writing as a young child and received her first guitar at age 14, which launched her passion for music and songwriting. She has performed publicly in many different venues. Her publishing history includes book reviews; essays; articles in the field of medicine; her début novel, Plateau; her children’s book, Gabby and the Quads; and her latest novel, Vampyrie. She enjoys writing, reading, music, dancing, arts and crafts, exploring nature, and frequently getting lost in working crossword puzzles.

Connect with Tina:

Website/Blog ~ https://tinafrisco.com
Amazon ~ https://amzn.to/2JDwjAK
Twitter ~ http://bit.ly/2qtizQB
Facebook ~ http://bit.ly/2bMVUpI
Goodreads ~ http://bit.ly/2qtsuoX
LinkedIn ~ http://bit.ly/2EGIEAK
Google+ ~ http://bit.ly/1Fc1Uzn

Tina’s Books:

 


V Cover PKCS

VAMPYRIE: Origin of the Vampire 

What if vampires were not the undead, but rather the dying? What if there were two factions among vampires: the sustained and the unsustainable? And what if those factions were at war with one another over the life of a young woman who promised them a future? VAMPYRIE brings the myth of the vampire into the realm of possibility.

PLATEAU COVER 4KPLATEAU: Beyond the Trees

Is there any hope for humankind? Will love prevail over fear? A young tribal female is unaware she holds the answers to these questions. W’Hyani was born strong and willful and the Keeper of the Crystal Heart. Her mettle is tested by the cosmic forces that shaped her destiny. She comes face-to-face with fear in a battle that would shrink the will of the most daring warrior. The fate of all beings in the Universe depends on her defeating the bloodthirsty gondrah and unlocking the mystery of the Great Mosaic of Life.

G&Q PKCS

Gabby and the Quads

Gabby is an only child who is about to become big sister to quadruplets! How will she handle this? Her parents decide on a unique approach to introduce her to and help her accept this awesome experience. Follow Gabby as she learns all about babies and the joy of loving.

The 2018 Author Interview Series Featuring Marcia Meara

It’s time for the next subject for my 2018 author interview series. Author interviews are posted every Friday throughout the year.

I am honored to continue this series with fellow Florida author and blogger Marcia Meara

You can catch up with all of my past author interviews (nearly 200) on my Author Directory page.

If you’re an author interested in being interviewed in this series, I still have limited spots available for 2018. You can email me at don@donmassenzio.com

Now, please enjoy this interview with Marcia Meara:


626smallsDo you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

Honestly, I’ve never thought about it in either of those terms. I just want to tell the stories bouncing around in my head, and do so in a way that will appeal to readers. I spend very little time thinking about current trends or originality, I’m afraid. I tend to focus more on breathing life into characters readers will identify with, and become invested in, regardless of where the story heads.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Tricky, since I actually don’t have a “younger writing self” to advise. I didn’t write my first book until I was 69. I’m not sure I’ve gained enough perspective in the roughly four years since then to offer even my older self any advice. I’m trying to cram a lifetime’s worth of learning in the years I have ahead of me, rather than looking back, but ask me again in another ten years, and maybe I’ll have learned a few tricks to share. 😊

What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

RebeccaHmmm. Tricky. I’m not sure I read many books that aren’t appreciated by lovers of the genre in question. My reading time is limited, so I pay attention to reviews and make careful choices. However, I’ve been reading a very long time—over 65 years—and there are novels I read decades ago that I love just as much today, even though not nearly enough of today’s readers have tried them. For instance, Daphne du Maurier, who was very well appreciated at the time, wrote many books I’d love to see more people reading today. In fact, my favorite novel of all time is Rebecca, which was made into a wonderfully dark and noir movie by Alfred Hitchcock, and remains a classic, though under-read, today. So in that sense, you could call it under-appreciated.

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

Every single one of them, often multiple times. The good ones give me a lift, and inspire me to keep going. I’ve been very lucky not to receive many negative ones, but when I do, I read them extra carefully to see what I can learn. When a less than positive review is a case of someone having read the book as part of a book of the month club, rather by choice, I don’t worry about it. But when there are criticisms regarding my writing, I have to decide if it’s an area I need to work on, or if it’s just that my own style or voice didn’t appeal to the reader. That happens. Reading is extremely subjective, after all. But when it’s something I can improve on, though, I certainly want to do so.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Sometimes I include a private joke, or an event that really occurred, and is recognized by a friend or family member. I gave an eccentric character in Swamp Ghosts a vintage VW bus, painted primer red and gray, and I can tell you my husband recognized that vehicle immediately. He’s owned it for about 35 years! (And yes, it’s still primer red and gray, though it runs like a charm).

Do you Google yourself?

Not really. I did it once a couple of years ago to amuse my granddaughter, but in addition to my writing-related things, a photo popped up from 17 years earlier that I’d never seen before. It was kind of weird, and I decided I didn’t need to do any more of that. As long as readers can find my blog and books when they Google, that’s all I care about.

What is your favorite childhood book?

black stallionOh, gosh. I read constantly from the age of five forward, and by ten, had read every book in the children’s library. All the classics were favorites of mine, from Black Beauty to Lassie, Come Home. I read Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, and Little Women. And I loved Mary Poppins. Even Treasure Island. But if I had to pick a favorite from that long ago, it would probably have been The Black Stallion by Walter Farley. (If I were a ten-year-old today, it would be Harry Potter, of course.)

If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?

I’m not sure. I was always a straight A student in English, though don’t ask about math, and I read six or seven books a week, even as a child. I don’t think I could have studied harder or read more, so those are out. By twelve, I was reading everything from Poe, Bradbury, Lovecraft, and Wells, to the Brontes, Hawthorne, and my favorite, du Maurier. I was always a people-watcher and nature-lover, too, both of which have helped me with my writing. I guess I could advise myself to ignore my parents and pursue writing from the very beginning, but I think it probably would have backfired. I was very insecure, and probably would have given up after the first rejection letter.

I tend to believe everything happens the way it’s meant to, and at the time it’s meant to occur, so I think I was always supposed to start writing at this point in my life, when I was better equipped to deal with the time commitment, and when self-publishing was an option.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

From draft to publication, six to nine months for most of them, though my Riverbend spinoff novella, The Emissary, was done in just over two, including editing. The first two years, I published a book in the spring and another in the fall. Last year was a bit slower, and this year is crawling, since we got hit by Hurricane Irma. For some reason, I find having workmen hammering and banging all day long for four months a bit distracting to the creative process. I’m still hoping for a spring publication of my current WIP, Wake-Robin Ridge Book 4, but it’s looking a bit iffy, even though the construction job is finally winding up. I’m going to give it my best shot, of course, but I won’t rush just to meet an arbitrary deadline I set myself.

Thanks again for having me, Don. I’m having the time of my life these days, writing from early morning until late night, and loving every minute of it. Belonging to this wonderful online community of supportive writers and bloggers has enriched my life more than anything I’ve ever done, other than raising my family, and I’m grateful to every single one of you good folks!
About Marcia:

Marcia Meara lives in central Florida, just north of Orlando, with her husband of over thirty years, four big cats, and two small dachshunds. When not writing or blogging, she spends her time gardening, and enjoying the surprising amount of wildlife that manages to make a home in her suburban yard. At the age of five, Marcia declared she wanted to be an author, and is ecstatic that at age 69, she finally began pursuing that dream. Today, she’s still going strong, and plans to keep on writing until she falls face down on the keyboard, which she figures would be a pretty good way to go!

Marcia’s Books:

Marcia has published six novels, one novella, and one book of poetry to date, all of which are available on Amazon:

WRR coverat25%Wake-Robin Ridge

ABNR cover at 50%A Boy Named Rabbit: Wake-Robin Ridge Book 2

Harb 60% cover sized for memesHarbinger: Wake-Robin Ridge Book 3

Swamp Ghosts Cover @ 30%Swamp Ghosts: A Riverbend Novel

Finding Hunter_kindle cover2Finding Hunter: Riverbend Book 2

TDP 60% cover sized for memesThat Darkest Place: Riverbend Book 3

The Emissary_kindle cover_final 2at35%The Emissary: A Riverbend Spinoff Novella

summer magicSummer Magic: Poems of Life & Love

Connect with Marcia:

Marcia’s Amazon Author Page

You can reach Marcia via email at marciameara16@gmail.com or on the following social media sites:

The Write Stuff: http://marciamearawrites.com/

Bookin’ It: http://marciameara.wordpress.com

Twitter: @marciameara

Facebook: www.facebook.com/marcia.meara.writer

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/marciameara/