Tag Archives: promote your book online

Interview with Linda Schroeder, author of ‘Artists & Thieves’

Linda Schroeder divides her time between the bright sun of California and the high mountains of Colorado. She has a Master’s degree in English and one in Communicative Disorders/Audiology. In addition to her novel, Artists & Thieves, she has published a college text.

Her early interest in English expanded to include language disorders and she began a second career as an audiologist and aural rehabilitation therapist working with deaf and hard-of-hearing children and adults.

Currently, she studies and practices Chinese brush painting, celebrating the vitality and energy of nature. She follows art and art theft blogs and writes her own blog about art and sometimes includes reviews of novels. She is working on two more novels, a second Mai Ling novel about the Diamond Sutra, and a Sammy Chan art mystery about the forgery of a Goya painting.

You can visit her website at www.artistsandthieves.com.

_______________________________

Q: Thank you for this interview, Linda. Can you tell us what your latest book, Artists & Thieves, is all about?

Artists & Thieves won the San Diego Book Awards in the action/suspense category. It is an art mystery. A priceless Chinese bronze bowl is looted from a dig by smugglers and sold to an art collector in Monterey. Mai Ling is an artist who works undercover for Interpol recovering stolen art. She discovers that this bowl belonged to her ancestor in China and her grandfather is duty bound to return it to China. So she is on a quest to get the bowl, not for Interpol but for her grandfather. Four others are also after the bowl.

Q:  Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?

Mai Ling is a Chinese/American who is twenty-five, clever, agile, witty. She is an accomplished Chinese brush painter and a martial arts expert. She knows the world of art smugglers.

Mai’s best friend is Angelo, a flamboyant, arrogant, emotional artist. He is preparing to turn Monterey’s Custom House into a representation of a 1840 sailing ship. He has inside information which helps Mai steal the bowl.

Mai’s counterpart is Hunter. He has flaming red hair and rides a Harley. He is an antique dealer in Rome. He is in love with Mai but he is also in competition with her to steal the bowl.

Angelo’s counterpart is Cypress. She owns a flower shop in Carmel and resells stolen items from it. She is also after the bowl.

Q: Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

My characters are both. I know someone who is similar to every one of my characters. I use some defining personality traits from them. But the details of their lives, their relationships and emotions are unique to the imagined fictional characters.

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

I discover as I write. I don’t work from an outline. I start with a general idea of a character and a situation. As I write, I add details and find interesting relationships between characters by saying, “What would surprise the reader at this point?” Those “Aha!” moments turn the plot and set up the interconnections between characters. I get a first draft this way but the following drafts are rewrites which tighten plot events, develop the characters more, and add descriptions.

Q: Your book is set mainly in Monterey, California.  Can you tell us why you chose this city in particular?

I lived in Monterey for ten years. I know its history and its landmarks. And it is now a major tourist destination, so many people also are familiar with it. It has different aspects within just a few miles of territory.

Q: Does the setting play a major part in the development of your story?

Absolutely. The setting reflects the characters. Mai lives by the ocean. Like her life the water is sometimes calm, sometimes dangerous. Angelo lives on Fisherman’s Wharf in an artist’s loft. The wharf is full of colors and smells. He is conscious always of sensory input.  Cypress lives in Carmel, part elite establishment, part used-to-be hippie enclave. She straddles both worlds. Mai’s boss lives in Pebble Beach in a wood and glass house designed by a famous architect. It reflects his education and his affluence.

Q: Open the book to page 69.  What is happening?

This is the beginning of the chapter, Ghosts. Mai is on the road, traveling to Locke, a historic Chinese farming town on the Sacramento river. Her grandfather spends the summers there. She had been on her way to her gallery exhibition in Monterey but has been urgently summoned to Locke by her grandfather; she doesn’t know why. Neither does the reader. This is the point on the plot line where the task she faces is revealed.

Q: Can you give us one of your best excerpts?

This is a point leading to the climatic confrontation between Mai and the smuggler who now has the bowl. Mai is rushing on foot in blinding fog to get the bowl:

“At last she reached the sea. Long bands of glowing light stretched up and down the coast, eerily luminescent in the fog hanging over the waves. The red tide’s tiny organisms sparkled, ebbed and flowed in the ocean’s easy motion. When she’d enjoyed the display Tuesday on her evening run, hundreds of cars filled the beach lots. Now all was strangely empty. Why? The power outage? Road closures? Whatever the reason, the unexpected emptiness grated against her already strained nerves, reinforcing her fear that Toni’s studio would be empty and the bowl already spirited out of the city.

In the sea’s light, Mai ran the short distance to the two story warehouse which was Toni’s ocean view studio. No cars were parked in front. She rattled the front door. A bolt held it tight. A metal shutter secured the only window. A gull screeched a sinister warning. A burst of panic tightened her throat. Maybe she was wrong. How the hell would she find Toni if she wasn’t here?”

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

I often get stuck “discovering” which way the plot should go next, what the reader needs to know to keep the story moving forward. When that happens I take note cards and write “what if” events, one per card, and reasons why a character might or might not do that.  I have a critique group which usually meets weekly. The deadline to have a scene ready to be analyzed gets me motivated to put something down on paper. Sometimes I keep that scene, sometimes that scene doesn’t work at all and I put it in the “out-takes” folder.

Q: What would you do with an extra hour today if you could do anything you wanted?

I love walking in the surf at Torrey Pines beach. The ocean goes to a far horizon. The open distance is beautiful and inspiring.

Q: Which already published book do you wish that you had written and why?

I wish I had written Michael Chabon’s The Final Solution. It is an elegant Sherlock Holmes tale, very odd.

Q: What kind of advice would you give other fiction authors regarding getting their books out there?

We are lucky today to have many options. We can hunt for an agent, hope for a big press, hunt for a small press, or self publish either print or ebook. Explore the possibilities. But do not let your book sit unread in a desk drawer.  We are storytellers and stories must be read. We only become better writers if someone reads our writing. So crank that book out any way you can. It will not be easy or trauma free. But having a book to sell is worth it.

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Author Interviews

Book Trivia: Interview with Women’s Fiction Author Shaila Abdullah

book-trivia1It’s time to play Book Trivia! Periodically, we scour the Internet for interesting authors who would like to play Book Trivia with us. By answering our book trivia questions, we get to learn things about the author no one else knows! So, let’s get ready…let’s play…Book Trivia!

Today our guest author is Shaila Abdullah, author of the women’s fiction novel Saffron Dreams. Shaila is an award-winning author and designer, based in Austin, Texas. Her creative work focuses on the strengths and weaknesses of Pakistani women and their often unconventional choices in life. Her debut book, Beyond the Cayenne Wall, is a collection of stories about Pakistani women struggling to find their individualities despite the barriers imposed by society.

Among other accolades, the book won the Norumbega Jury Prize for Outstanding Fiction and the DIY Festival Award. Abdullah received a grant from the Hobson Foundation for her new novel, Saffron Dreams which is about the trials and tribulations of a 9/11 Muslim widow.

Abdullah has written several short stories, articles, and personal essays for various publications, such as Dallas Child, Web Guru, About Families, Sulekha, Women’s Own, She, Fashion Collection and a magazine of the Daily Dawn newspaper called Tuesday Review, etc. She is a member of the Texas Writers’ League.

A Pakistani-American, Abdullah is also a seasoned print, web, and multimedia designer as well. See a complete bio at http://www.shailaabdullah.com/bio.html.

saffron-dreamsIf Tom Hanks, in the movie Cast Away, unearthed a copy of Saffron Dreams, how would that help Tom find a way off the island?

If he found a copy of my book, he might not get off the island faster, but he’d get some ideas about how to cook with coconut milk.

Everyone knows rock star idol Brittany Spears is always in trouble with everything you can think of. In what way could your book help her and set her life back on track?

One thing I hope this book will do for many people is to offer some perspective on the good fortune that most of us in the U.S. enjoy, and the importance of keeping a loving heart in the face of adversity.

You have a chance to appear on the hit talent show for authors, American Book Idol, with judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson, and Kara DioGuardi determining whether your book will make it to Hollywood and become a big screenplay. What would impress them more – your book cover, an excerpt or your best review – and why?

If my work cannot stand on its own, then the rest doesn’t matter.

Hulk Hogan, the famous wrestler and star of his own reality show, has invited you and your book to appear on his show. One catch. You have to read a passage out of it to convince him you are star material. What part would you read?

I will read the part where the veil-wearing protagonist was the victim of a racially-motivated attack at a subway station.

They’ve invented a board game using the theme of your book. What would the title of it be that would be different from your book and which retail store would they place it to make the most sales?

I can’t imagine this story as a board game.

The Arbor Day Foundation has decided to pick one tree in your honor because of your writing brilliance. What kind of tree is it and why did they choose that particular tree in relation to your book?

Ivy for its propensity to interweave in growth symbolizing long-lasting connections and bonds, such as what the protagonist of Saffron Dreams forms with her son and in-laws after the demise of her husband. The ivy is incredibly durable like the character of the novel and can withstand harsh conditions. The ivy is also known to flourish in challenging environments.

President Barack Obama has become the author of several books and he has requested your presence at a special hush hush meeting to discuss ways to promote it. Through luck of the draw, you were chosen. What would be the first thing you would tell Barack?

I will say, congratulations and then introduce him to my good friend and publicist Irene Watson.

Finally, you just got word that your book has received the 2009 NY Times Bestselling Book Award and you have to attend the ceremony at the Four Seasons Hotel in Manhattan. Anyone who’s anyone will be there and it’s your shot for stardom. On stage, you must give an acceptance speech. What would you say and who would you thank?

It all starts with one word. But it doesn’t become print until you type it out. Respecting that single word and allowing your mind to be receptive will allow others to follow it. Thanking a few people would be a disservice, because the journey of becoming a published author involves many. I want to thank all who have helped in big ways or small in getting me to this point.

FREE GIFT FOR READERS

You can find a wealth of information on my website at www.shailaabdullah.com including a reading guide, excerpt, reviews, and buying information. For those with comments and questions, I can be reached at shailaabdullah@gmail.com. If you mention As the Page Turn, you will receive a free e-book called A Taste of Saffron, containing recipes of dishes mentioned in Saffron Dreams. Readers who sign up for updates on my website will get a free excerpt of my 2005 book, Beyond the Cayenne Wall.

4 Comments

Filed under Book Trivia

Book Trivia: Interview with Epic Fantasy Author R. Scot Johns

book-triviaIt’s time to play Book Trivia! Periodically, we scour the Internet for interesting authors who would like to play Book Trivia with us. By answering our book trivia questions, we get to learn things about the author no one else knows! So, let’s get ready…let’s play…Book Trivia!

Today our guest author is R. Scot Johns, author of the heroic fantasy novel The Saga of Beowulf. Scot is a life-long student of ancient and medieval literature, with an enduring fascination for Norse mythology and fantasy epics. He first came to Beowulf through his love of J.R.R. Tolkien, a leading scholar on the subject. As an Honors Medieval Literature major he has given lectures on such topics as the historical King Arthur and the construction of Stonehenge. He owns and operates Fantasy Castle Books , a publishing imprint, and writes the blog Adventures of an Independent Author.

Thank you for playing Book Trivia with us, Scot! Here are your questions:

the-saga-of-beowulfIf Tom Hanks, in the movie Cast Away, unearthed a copy of The Saga of Beowulf, how would that help Tom find a way off the island?

He could burn it when a ship came near (although I’m sure he couldn’t bear to until he finished reading it). Actually, the Vikings were a great sea-faring race, so it might provide the motivation to build a ship as they did with little but their knives and axes.

Everyone knows rock star idol Brittany Spears is always in trouble with everything you can think of. In what way could your book help her and set her life back on track?

Reading any book would be a step in the right direction. Reading mine would keep her off the street for months on end (it’s 640 pages long). The Saga of Beowulf deals with issues such as loyalty and courage, love and honor, that might well prove instructive.

You have a chance to appear on the hit talent show for authors, American Book Idol, with judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson, and Kara DioGuardi determining whether your book will make it to Hollywood and become a big screenplay. What would impress them more – your book cover, an excerpt or your best review – and why?

My charming personality doesn’t count? Darn. Any of the three would impress them enough to take a deeper look, but of course, the writing is what would close the deal. All of my reviews thus far have been stellar, and I’m quite pleased with the cover art I did. But I actually wrote this novel as a screenplay first, and it shows in the highly visual style of my writing. More than one reviewer has said that it reads like a major Hollywood movie. It has action and romance, epic battles and characters that actors die for.

r-scot-johns-2Hulk Hogan, the famous wrestler and star of his own reality show, has invited you and your book to appear on his show. One catch. You have to read a passage out of it to convince him you are star material. What part would you read?

For the Hulk I would read the scene in which a hundred Vikings battle to the death against a thousand screaming Frisians. Or, of course, the scene where Beowulf defeats the ogre Grendel by tearing its arm right out of the socket and beating the wailing creature with it. Or the scene where he scares away three Stone Trolls by hurling massive boulders at them. That’s a total Hulkamania scene.

They’ve invented a board game using the theme of your book. What would the title of it be that would be different from your book and which retail store would they place it to make the most sales?

Quest for Valhalla would be the name, and the players would battle to gain the most fame and gold before they died in battle and ascended to Odin’s hall of heroes in the afterworld. A guaranteed hit in every D&D gamer shop around the world.

the-saga-of-beowulf-banner

The Arbor Day Foundation has decided to pick one tree in your honor because of your writing brilliance. What kind of tree is it and why did they choose that tree in relation to your book?

The ash tree, which was sacred to the Norse. The Cosmic Tree, Yggdrasil, is an ash, and its roots connect the three worlds of Heaven, Hell and Middle-Earth, and are watered by the Norns, the three sisters of Fate. It’s the only tree that Beowulf couldn’t easily uproot from the ground with his bare hands.

President Barack Obama has become the author of several books and he has requested your presence at a special hush hush meeting to discuss ways to promote it. Through luck of the draw, you were chosen. What would be the first thing you would tell Barack?

Start writing your next book. If you’re the President you don’t need to market your book. Promotion is only necessary for those of us the reading public doesn’t know.

Finally, you just got word that your book has received the 2009 NY Times Bestselling Book Award and you have to attend the ceremony at the Four Seasons Hotel in Manhattan. Anyone who’s anyone will be there and it’s your shot for stardom. On stage, you must give an acceptance speech. What would you say and who would you thank?

First I’d like to say that it’s an honor to become a part of someone’s life, if only for a week or a day. Writing is a shared experience that only finds fulfillment in the touching of the reader’s heart. I am greatly thankful to every one of you who read my work and pleased beyond belief that it somehow spoke to you. Thanks to all who bore with me through the long and arduous process that often made me insufferable to live with. I’d like to thank my landlord for not evicting me, and my boss for not firing me. Thanks to everyone who gave me needed inspiration, and most of all thank goodness I finally finished it!

R. Scot Johns welcomes any questions you have! Please leave comments and questions below!

15 Comments

Filed under Book Trivia

Mailman, where are you?

the-obama-revolution1What an exciting day! I’m telling you, if you told me I couldn’t do something, I’d at least try, especially when the passion takes over, but I received an email from the author of this book right over here to the left. Yes! I know you can’t believe it, either! Now, if Obama sends me a note, I believe I will have done everything in this life and don’t need to do anymore.

Putting political persuasion aside, no matter who you voted for, Obama is our President and he’s going to be a very good President. Trust me on this one.

But look, I’ve got to tell you about my note from the author of The Obama Revolution. I had emailed him through a form on his website, or was it Facebook? I’m not sure, anyway, the message got through to him and look what he left in my email box!

Hi Dorothy,

Thank you so much for your kind email! I am excited that you will be reading and reviewing The Obama Revolution. I have been extremely impressed by Phoenix Books and the professional manner in which they turned this book around in record time. Like you, Barack Obama’s campaign kindled a fire in me that continues to burn. The book gives the first in-the-trenches look at a campaign that made history not only by the excitement it generated but also by the participation it garnered from Americans everywhere. I hope that you will have the opportunity to get a copy soon and let me know your thoughts!

Best,
Alan

Is this guy the bomb or what? I am so thrilled to be reviewing this book. Mailman, where are you???

1 Comment

Filed under Book Spotlights

The Obama Revolution is coming!!!

the-obama-revolutionI am simply ecstatic. One of my buds who now works for Phoenix Books has gotten me a galley of this book over there to the left!

Can you believe the luck????

It’s called The Obama Revolution by Alan Kennedy-Shaffer. Is this my birthday? Christmas? I am so freaking beside myself!

Here’s what it’s about:

The first book to be written by a campaign staffer and offering rare insider glimpses, The Obama Revolution explores how a generation of believers and the politics of hope won the presidency for Barack Obama and changed the world.

The Obama Revolution carefully examines what Obama plans to do as president, how Obama clinched the Democratic nomination and won the general election, and why Obama’s evocative rhetoric inspired millions of Americans to create a political revolution that toppled the status quo and changed the face of American politics forever.

Drawing on both first-hand campaign experience and scholarly analysis, the author delivers everything from personal stories of grass-roots organizing and grueling all-nighters to candid assessments of the Obama campaign’s strengths and weaknesses. Powerfully written and insightful, The Obama Revolution offers an enlightening, annotated, documented overview of Obama’s path to the White House and what it means to every American.

Learn how Obama used policies of change, strategic vision, and the rhetoric of hope to transform the campaign into a political movement. Discover how field organizers (most under 30), using cell phones and the Internet, mobilized and energized a whole new generation of voters. Follow the author as he registers voters, spreads the word and is touched by the people he meets.

Anyone wondering whether America’s flame still burns as brightly needs to read this book and be inspired by the hope, the promise, and the ardor of Barack Obama and “Generation Change”—the future of America—as they work hand-in-hand to fulfill the legacy of change that is the Obama Revolution.

It’s like omg I can’t believe it. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I will be talking about it when it comes to me and then review it. I can’t wait!!!

Read the press release here!

Leave a comment

Filed under Book News

Book Trivia: Interview with Young Adult Romance Author Barry Eva (aka Storyheart)

book-triviaIt’s time to play Book Trivia! Periodically, we scour the Internet for interesting authors who would like to play Book Trivia with us. By answering our book trivia questions, we get to learn things about the author no one else knows! So, let’s get ready…let’s play…Book Trivia!

Today our guest author is Storyheart, author of Young Adult Fiction – Across the Pond.

Born in Barnet, Hertfordshire, Barry Eva, also known as “Storyheart,” left his beloved England in 2000, moving to the USA to be with the woman he’d met and fallen in love with on the Internet.

across-the-pondKnown for his short romance stories on the net and in his book Stories from the Heart, Barry is popular for narrating his stories on local TV or as a guest on other media stations, where his whit, oratory, and old-fashioned English charm make him a popular interviewee.

At present, Barry is living in Connecticut, with his wife and two children.

You can find out about his book and meet a couple of the characters at http://across-t-pond.com.

Thank you for playing Book Trivia with us, Storyheart! Here are your questions:

If Tom Hanks, in the movie Cast Away, unearthed a copy of Across the Pond, how would that help Tom find a way off the island?

Not counting adding to the fuel situation for starting a signal fire, I think it would give him inspiration that there is always light at the end of the tunnel. No matter how bad things seem sometime, there is always hope.

Everyone knows rock star idol Brittany Spears is always in trouble with everything you can think of. In what way could your book help her and set her life back on track?

In the book Brit has a secret which until the hero, Fred comes along, she is unable to face or tell even her parents. The growing love and trust she finds with Fred enables her to come to grips with what has happened in her past, and face up to her demons. Just as Brittany needs to do.

You have a chance to appear on the hit talent show for authors, American Book Idol, with judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson, and Kara DioGuardi determining whether your book will make it to Hollywood and become a big screenplay. What would impress them more – your book cover, an excerpt or your best review – and why?

Being English, Simon’s would not be impressed by the cover except for the fact it has a Union Jack on it. There are so many reviews it would be hard to tell which one is the best and which would appeal to the panel. I think therefore and excerpt would show all angles of the story, the language issues, the humor and the romance.

Hulk Hogan, the famous wrestler and star of his own reality show, has invited you and your book to appear on his show. One catch. You have to read a passage out of it to convince him you are star material. What part would you read?

Hulk would maybe like the fight sequence when Fred and the villain Steve Harris have their final confrontation. However I think from his shows he also has a sense of humor, so I think I’d read the BBQ chapter to him, I’m sure that would bring a smile to that mustache.

They’ve invented a board game using the theme of your book. What would the title of it be that would be different from your book and which retail store would they place it to make the most sales?

It would be called “Race Across the Pond”. The game would be how to collect a prize baseball, and get it back from America to England. Other players try to take the ball from you before you can get it back to England. While Wal-Mart has some games, I think smaller stores might be better, Do Starbucks sell games?

The Arbor Day Foundation has decided to pick one tree in your honor because of your writing brilliance. What kind of tree is it and why did they choose that tree in relation to your book?

The Weeping Willow comes to mind with the tears that are shed by various girls throughout the book. However I will have to say an Oak tree, the symbol of strength and steadfastness, the tree of England. As the song goes “Hearts of Oak are our ships”

President Barack Obama has become the author of several books and he has requested your presence at a special hush hush meeting to discuss ways to promote it. Through luck of the draw, you were chosen. What would be the first thing you would tell Barack?

Invite Oprah the White House.

Finally, you just got word that your book has received the 2009 NY Times Bestselling Book Award and you have to attend the ceremony at the Four Seasons Hotel in Manhattan. Anyone who’s anyone will be there and it’s your shot for stardom. On stage, you must give an acceptance speech. What would you say and who would you thank?

I’d like thank my for my wife without whom I would never have moved across the pond, My family for putting up with me. And all the people who have given me support along the way.

Being at the Four Seasons I was not sure if it was going to about my book or a Vivaldi musical recital.

Actually writing a book is a little like the four seasons.

Winter is when you start thinking about the book. Sketching the story, developing the characters and filling out the words, that will become your novel.

Spring, the story starts to develop, fleshing out the people the places, planting the ideas, making ready for the novel to blossom.

Summer sees the story in full bloom, enabling you to glow in the words that you hope will bring a little sunshine into the lives of the readers.

Autumn, a season of contentment, the work is done, the crops are gathered in and you lay back and enjoy the ride as your book brings in the rewards such as this.

Thank you for this award, thank you for the support of those who have read the back. As Brit and Fred would say, if they were here now. “Call Beans”

3 Comments

Filed under Book Trivia