#ASI: Mandy Eve-Barnett

Hi, Mandy, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background? I am originally from England but moved to Canada ten years ago. This is the third continent; I have lived on, as I was born in South Africa. The sharp contrasts in culture, weather, landscape and experience have left traces in my soul that I draw upon for my writing. My lifelong interest in the natural world and fairy folklore, influence my writing style and some of the subjects I cover. Although, I have been creative my whole life, delving into paint, clay, textiles, and everything in between, it was not until I moved to Canada that I ‘found’ writing. It seems bizarre that I never tried writing as a creative outlet before, but I am now making up for lost time. My first book was published in 2011 and to date, I have four others published with two more launching in 2018!

Discuss your newest book. My novel, The Twesome Loop, starts its journey in the late 1990’s English countryside, where several characters make seemingly unrelated choices to travel to Italy. Melissa is fleeing a loveless marriage, Gerald wants to find his soul mate, Brett is motivated by greed and Nancy’s insatiable lust drives her. They are drawn not only by the beauty and life of Italy, but by an unexplained inner longing. Each is unaware that a pact made generations before, links their souls to each other and the beautiful villa they will stay in. A parallel story takes the reader to 1874, where a young woman’s happiness is sacrificed for her father’s ambition. Unable to resist she suffers at her older husbands hands until his brother offers a way to escape.

The story came about because I have been fascinated with reincarnation for decades and it was a way to incorporate it into a narrative. I also love England and Italy and enjoyed featuring both places. Sounds amazing!

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Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? When I came to Canada I promised myself a creative outlet. My children were older and did not need constant attention so I wanted to find something for me, not just for my creativity but also to meet new people in our new country. During our first library trip, a regular Saturday occurrence, I browsed the many leaflets displayed for local clubs and picked up a handful. As we left I saw a notice board promoting a writing group the following Tuesday. I sorted out the leaflet read the information and decided to attend. The first meeting was nerve racking – new people, new place, and new craft. I listened and stayed quiet for a couple of meetings then braved reading a brief story. The surprise ending had everyone gasp and that’s the moment I was hooked.

What are your current projects? Oh wow! This is going to be a list.

  1. YA novella, Creature Hunt on Planet Toaria – publishing spring 2018 – chapter header illustrations to decide upon & complete.
  2. Adult speculative fiction, Life in Slake Patch – final editing & revisions -publishing fall 2018
  3. Adult western romance, Willow Tree Tears – final editing & revisions 2019
  4. Adult suspense/thriller, The Giving Thief – final editing & revisions 2019
  5. Sequel to adult romance novella, The Rython Kingdom – writing narrative 2019
  6. Finding a steam-punk anthology for my short story, The Toymaker
  7. Freelance work – ghost writing a business book

A lot to look forward to in the next year. Good luck. 🙂 

What books have most influenced your life most? I would have to say, I have been a compulsive reader my whole life and there are far too many books to mention. I loved magical themes, stories of the natural world and a broad spectrum of genres. However, I am a huge Stephen King fan, his skillful story telling is masterful and awe inspiring. King is such an inspiration to many, myself included. He is a great mentor, even if he is not aware of it.

What inspired you to write your first book? My first book was a children’s picture book, Rumble’s First Scare, so not a complicated or long narrative! It came about when I wrote a story prompted by a word prompt on my writing group’s website. The theme was Halloween but I didn’t want to write the usual ‘someone gets scared by something’ so wrote from the point of view of a young monster on his first scare. My friend and fellow writing group member, Linda persuaded me to publish it. And that was the start.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special? This is a difficult question in the case of The Twesome Loop as there are four main characters whose lives are impacted by the discovery of their past lives. (see above question). The novel, Life in Slake Patch is set in an alternative future under matriarchal law. The sexes live in separate compounds and only have weekly visits. My main POV character is Evan – a young man living the life unchanged for generations. He becomes the vehicle for change, while fighting a band of dissents, holding a secret book and becoming married.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? In The Twesome Loop, I want my readers to see love can be a powerful thing across time but also that love can overcome religion, traditions and oppression. This is a good message, especially with Valentine’s day just a few days passed.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book? For The Twesome Loop, I see Liam Hemsworth and Camilla Belle as the love torn lovers.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something? Once I began writing short responses to word prompts, it soon became a flood of ideas crowding my mind. The more I wrote the longer the narratives and the more I became obsessed.

Do you write full-time or part-time? Unfortunately only part-time – I have a full time job as well as a freelance writing business. I also have roles as secretary for the local writer’s foundation and president of the local arts & culture council.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book? To actually finish it, I wrote the first draft during a NaNoWriMo in 2010. It was revised and edited, put away and the process repeated seven times. I loved the story but the complication of two time periods and multiple characters back and forth across time took some careful plotting and continuity. NaNoWriMo is a daunting task within itself, but the complexities of your work make it twice as. That also means twice as rewarding. 

What is the easiest thing about writing? Sitting down and typing while the story unfolds on the page – I am a free flow writer, so do not plot prior to writing. I let the narrative and characters carry me on a journey.

What book are you reading now? I have just finished Sleeping Beauties and started 11/22/63 – yes I know both Stephen King and I don’t usually read them back to back but they were Christmas gifts. I will have to check out Sleeping Beauties, it’s one I haven’t heard of.

What is one random thing about you? I used to sit in graveyards cleaning the gravestones as a youth. I find graveyards so peaceful and think it is a respectable job, cleaning gravestones.

What is your preferred medium of writing? Pen and paper or strictly tablet and computer? Most of my writing is on my laptop although I do jot down short stories in notebooks when an idea hits me.

What does your writing process look like? An idea will come to me, whether from a news story, an overheard dialogue, or even a photo and it sparks a character or setting in my mind. As I have said before, I let the story flow through me and even when it diverts in a direction I was not expecting I just go with it. I can sit and write, when left alone, for hours. Sometimes I listen to classical music but mostly in silence. It is my happy place.

How important are names to you in your books? I try to make sure the names reflect the character’s traits, time period and their place in the narrative.

Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future? I am spasmodic in my promotion and need to be more organized in avenues of advertising and target marketing.

What is your favorite book and why? You will find this interesting as it is not a Stephen King book. I love and re-read on a regular basis a book called Ferney by James Long. It centers on a young woman and an old man who are the reincarnations of past lives. It is a fabulously written book and the story totally mesmerizing.

Do you have any advice for other writers? Find a writing group who supports and encourages you and where you can receive constructive critique. Like the Authors Helping Authors Beyond Marketing (New budding group on Facebook).

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Apart from the day job – freelance projects, event planning for both non-profit organizations, traveling to book events and attending local author readings.

From where do you gain your inspiration? It is a common answer from writers – everywhere and everything but I have found unusual news stories, fairy folklore and the natural world to be my main sources of inspiration. I’ve been waiting to plug this in because I found it to be my favorite cover of one of your books!

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What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around? As I am published through a small publishing company, I cannot comment on self-publishing. I will say that a smaller publisher enables me to have more control over the process, the design and look of the books and it is a far more personal service.

How do you market your books? I am prolific on social media, I have a blog where my books are featured, and my publisher’s website has all my titles. I regularly attend author readings and local and provincial literary events. My books are in the local libraries and independent book stores.

Would you or do you use a PR agency? Funny you should ask I have just had discussions with a PR company this week. It is a new venture for me.

Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books? Start local and build from there – try not to conquer the world in one go. Gauge how much you want to market and where and focus on that, spreading yourself too thin only exhausts you and leaves no time to write.

What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book? I would say writing is 60% and marketing 40% – it is the writing I enjoy and if people read my stories now or in the future that is my reward.

What do you do to get book reviews? How successful has your quest for reviews been so far?

I do not openly request book reviews apart from the occasional meme share on social media. When people buy my books I do request a review. I am keen to see what this PR company can do on this subject. Watch this space.

Any amusing story about marketing books that happened to you? When I was promoting The Twesome Loop I did entice readers by mentioning that it contained ‘spicy bits’ – several purchasers remarked on this strategy saying it was the reason they wanted to read it.

Which social network worked best for you? I find Facebook, twitter and Goodreads all have on par success for me. My blog seems to be the place readers and writers visit a great deal.

Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why? Without a doubt I would love to spend time with my literary hero, Stephen King. He is a skillful writer but also a fascinating personality, to sit down with him would be a dream come true. I would like to find out what makes the man tick.

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why? I would be honored to have written Ferney. It is the ultimate reincarnation story.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers? Don’t be afraid to try new styles, don’t restrict yourself to one genre explore them all. Let the story flow and do not edit as you go but later on once the narrative is finished.

How can readers discover more about you and you work? I am all over social media:

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

Twitter: @mandyevebarnett

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6477059.Mandy_Eve_Barnett

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/mandyevebarnett

Author Page: http://dreamwritepublishing.ca/authors/mandy-eve-barnett

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mandy-eve-barnett-58235250/

 

#FamilyLegacy Short-Story Chapter 1

I trap my daughter’s hair under a worn-out handkerchief. I will fix the small Afro when I get back, I think I’ll try cornrows this time. “Shayla, please try not to scratch for mommy.” I sigh, she vigorously rubs her arms instead. I have to clip her nails too. I don’t want her to get scars, something else for her father to blame on me. My great-grandma hands me two large oven mitts. “What do I do with these?”

“Put them on her hands.  I’ll give her another oatmeal bath while you’re gone. We will beat these chicken pox, eventually.”

“Thanks GG. Need anything while I’m out?”

“No dear. Tell Tasha we said hi.”

I wrestle with Shayla as she doesn’t like wearing the mitts. “Will do.”

As I pick up my keys my little girl runs to me, “Pwease don’t go mommy!” Clinging to my leg, she starts crying making me feel worse for leaving. The large oven mitts are almost comical on her tiny arms, going so far up they almost touch her shoulders.

My scrawny ninety year old great-grandfather strides over and picks her up. “Get going. She’ll be fine.”

I hide my tears and turn to walk out the back door. The only door we use now so my little girl doesn’t fall off the six-foot high porch.

My stomach is churning more with each step I take to the old clunker I own just for making this trip once or twice a year. I go through my pre-check ritual, making sure the tires and lights work. There’s nothing leaking or the well-kept engine isn’t making any funny noises. “Either would be a no-go until it’s been sent to the shop.” We don’t take chances with cars in this family. There have been too many car accidents, it’s almost a family tradition. I chuckle at my own morbid joke as I turn the ignition over.

Trying to calm my nerves, I start to sing a jingle from elementary, as I pull out onto highway 6. “G-A-double L-A-T-I-N spells Gallatin, Missouri.” My singing is horrible, but it does the trick, soon I am able to glide cautiously down the road and not be as paranoid as usual. I move to the “Bulldog Fight Song” we sang at every pep rally, as the car eats away the miles at a steady pace.

 

The freshly re-rocked drive to the gate feels as smooth as a gravel road can get, but the anxiety and nausea returns as I pass under the wrought-iron gate. Only one word between its pillars, “Cope,” but it feels as if there should be more and give entrance to Auschwitz itself. I park the car, take a deep breath…then step out into my own personal hell.

There’s great-uncle Dean, 35 due to drunk driving. A third cousin, another car accident at just 21. Oh, great-aunt Sherry looks good. Cancer wasn’t too kind to her. “Just a few more feet.” There are more family members here, but I try not to think about the multitudes of others here for one reason or another.

Finally, my mother’s spot comes into view, “Crap.” I trip in a hidden mud hole, but pinwheel my arms to stay upright. I’ve had enough practice thanks to my clumsiness.

The sky is crystal clear today, the opposite of my heart. “Hey, sorry I haven’t been back for a while. I’ve been pretty busy. Your granddaughter, Shayla, turns one tomorrow. She looks just like you did when you were younger.”

I hold the picture of my little girl for her to see that they share the same frizzy dark brown hair and dark blue mesmerizing eyes. Shayla’s hair is obviously curlier thanks to her father’s heritage. Unfortunately, you can’t see the gold specks that flicker in the light when she is up to no good. “She didn’t get your beauty mark though. She does have the slanted line birthmark on her right shoulder, she wouldn’t be family without it.”

Her crystal clear laugh rings through the air brought on by the breeze, but says nothing. Leaving me to wonder what she would think of my child and the situation I have found myself in, and how similar it is to hers back in late 1990.

     I hate this place, no matter how much maintenance the owners do to it, it still smells of death and looks about the same.

“I would have brought her to see you, but the family says it’s not appropriate.” A single tear wets my cheek, “John left last month his reason being that he tried to love his daughter but just couldn’t, so Shayla and I are back to living with great-grandma and grandpa.”

Carefully, I move a vase of old flower stems, the petals all dried and blown away by now, to sit next to her. “You’d be proud of me. I have stopped drinking while I was away. The postpartum has really been kicking my ass… sorry, arse I know how you don’t like the cursing, but the family is helping me get a handle on the depression though. So no plans of taking myself and eight other family members for a ride to play chicken with a train.” A soft chuckle escapes my lips before I can stop it. “Sorry, bad joke, I know. Your mom didn’t mean for it to happen.” At least we don’t think grandma Joy meant to kill six of her seven children, one of her sisters and herself when they were out running errands. The police believe the car stalled and they couldn’t all get out of the car before the locomotive rammed through the ’57 Chevrolet. “Guess crazy kind of runs in the family.”

Silence tears my words from me as I think back to the story my great-grandparents told me last year when I turned eighteen. They were always ranting and raving that I was turning out to be just like Tasha Raelynn and if I wasn’t careful I would end up in the same place she is.

     I think I am off to a better start. I managed to keep my legs closed for eighteen years. Two years longer than she did. My boyfriend stuck around longer as well. No one in the family knows who my biological father is, but Shayla knows hers. Though we did both meet the boys in high school and had children out of wedlock. Which to most of the family, including many who have survived the war and grew up in a more straight-laced time, believe that is a Cardinal sin.

A woman looks at me funny as she passes to visit one of her relatives. I glare back, I’ve not seen her here before, and perhaps her family is new here. She carries a bouquet of red roses and drags a reluctant husband down the aisle. Again I laugh as I picture a similar experience.

Shortly after she got pregnant, the baby’s father disappeared. My great-grandparents were up in arms about it, much like when they heard my news. I remember great-grandma hissing, “Tasha Raelynn came home practically pulling this poor scrawny boy’s arm out of the socket. Proclaiming that he is the one that got her pregnant.” All while she scowled over her coffee at the memory. Great-grandpa just quietly sucked on his corncob pipe, judging me as always.

“I saw the home movie where you brought him ‘round for a time to make it seem like a real relationship. I can’t believe you ever tried to pass that little gay boy off as my dad. Of course the family saw through it immediately, you couldn’t hide the fact that he was wearing his mother’s pearl earrings or beige lipstick.” I scoff at her naiveté, another thing that separates us. I’m not as gullible as she was back then. “Of course the great-grandparents had more colorful words for him, as they have more colorful words for everything they consider ‘indecent.’ You should hear half the things they say about Shayla being half African American.” I push my anger aside, not wanting to mar this meeting with bitterness.

The Loss of a Great Grandfather (A Short Story)

Those damn bagpipes haunt my dreams, every single night. While the horned version is heard throughout the town every afternoon at seventeen hundred hours. That tune signals the end of the day and that the fallen have returned home. It has to be the saddest song in the world, in the history of music.

A the song blasts through my hearing, I can see him. Thin and frail, his tattered uniform resting, folded neatly on his chest, my family had opted to put him in a white t shirt and overalls for the great-grandchildren to recognize him. The funeral home tried their best to put a soft smile on his face, but it did not turn out quite right. His full head of white hair was combed perfectly to represent the gentleman he was, even if it was against Army regulation length.

I haven’t felt much of anything since the day my dad received the phone call from the hospital telling us that my great-grandpa had past away. I remember having to ask two or three times for him to repeat the message, because I couldn’t believe it. I had just seen him two days before and he was fine. Well maybe not that fine, he did say something about great-grandma being there next to me and the best friend he lost in the war was looking out the window saying something about “the U-boat’s about ready Jackson.” He was having one of his bad days, but not so bad that he didn’t recognize me. I was grateful for that moment.

At the funeral I did okay up to the point of the graveside service. Beautiful summer day, what would have been his 88th birthday, and the nameless preacher prattled his “ashes to ashes” speech that I didn’t listen to…or don’t remember listening to. My eyes were glued to the dark brown casket draped in the red, white and blue flag. I couldn’t get my mind to move past the thought that this man had survived D-day at Gold Beach, shrapnel from enemy fire and the loss of his childhood sweetheart, to be brought down by the flu.

Again all was fine until they played that blasted song and three men, just three men, pulled their trigger seven times. Even though they aimed for the open sky, each shot was a fresh wound in my heart. My body trembled with every bang, until I couldn’t take anymore and had to walk away. They presented my great-uncle, the jerk of the family who hadn’t seen him in the five years before his death, with his flag. And just like that, my great-grandpa’s life was officially over. The family scattered like roaches in the light of a fridge before he was even lowered into the ground.

Now no one ever talks about him. What he did for his country or family. If it wasn’t for pictures and fading memories, no one would know he even existed.

20 years later and I’m at my husband’s funeral. Staring at an almost exact casket and mentally preparing for the seven gunmen. I learned my lesson the first time around, always get seven. Our big military family surrounds me on all sides as the preacher gives the almost identical speech I don’t remember from back then. The only difference I see is great-grandpa was surrounded by Army uniforms, now I am in a sea of Marine blues.

 

#ASI: Elizabeth Cash

Hi Elizabeth, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

-I was born in Lake City, FL but moved to St. Augustine when I was six. I’ve lived here since then and have grown to love it, and I consider it my hometown. I am 23-years-old, married to a crazy, wonderful man, and I have two wonderful kids. Aaliyah, who is 5, and Bentley, who is 2. They drive me insane and keep me whole. I’m extremely goofy and kindhearted.

Discuss your newest book.

-The Only Way Out is my debut novella. It is about a girl named Wednesday Emmerson, who struggles with depression and anxiety. She has been dealt a really bad hand in life. She is constantly having traumatic things happen to her. The final straw was Brian. Her boyfriend of three years. When he leaves her, she makes a decision that will change her life. And in the words of Rein, everything else is “Just another day in paradise.” I don’t want to give away too much because this is a short book, so you’ll have to read it to find out. I must read it to find out!

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Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

-I found that I truly loved writing when I was in my high school ENG 3 class. We had an assignment to do on The Catcher in the Rye, and we were prompted to create an alternate character for Holden. It was a lot of fun, and ever since then I would make alternate characters for characters I would read about to see if it would fit them or I would write a short story to finish a book that felt unfinished to me. Cool, #GOSCHOOL!

What are your current projects?

-At the moment I am working on a psychological thriller/horror. It is still in the baby stages of planning and plot twisting, but it will be gruesome and awesome. Sounds scary.

What books have most influenced your life most?

-Every book I have read has impacted me on some level. The one that influenced my life the most I believe would be Three Little Words by Ashley Rhodes-Courter. It was a very emotionally raw and traumatic book. It took me forever to pick up another book because I didn’t want to feel all the feels like I did reading that. It was also one of the very first books that introduced me into the amazing book-hangover world.

What inspired you to write your first book?

-I have seen first hand what depression and anxiety can do to someone you love. My mother suffers from them, and my husband does as well. I wanted to give insight on what depression can do and how hard it is to overcome. It’s not just a get over it type of thing. It’s a constant pull, a constant battle to stay alive when all you want to do is curl up and wither away. That is great, I know a lot of people out there struggle with depression, it sounds like this book could be an inspiration for them.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

-Wednesday is a sweet girl but has been dealt a very sharty hand in life. She struggles with depression and anxiety. She does her best, but it seems like life has other plans and wants to keep her down. In the end, she finds out what it means to have a happy ending. Love the name, and she sounds very down to earth. I hope she gets her happy ending.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

-You are never alone, no matter what struggles you are going through. Even if you need to talk to a stranger, there are people who will be a listening ear and friend to you in your time of need.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?

-I’d love to see Anne Hathway play Wednesday. She is an amazing actress and kills every role she has played.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?

-It wouldn’t go away lol I have always loved to write short stories, and this was originally a short story that I had written and put away, but it wouldn’t leave me alone. In the back of my mind, the story kept growing, and eventually I sat down and finished it. All the good ones do that.

Do you write full-time or part-time?

-I wish I could write full-time. But I am a mother, a hospitality worker, and a full-time student at Ashford University. Between all that and adulating, I write half-time. Sometimes, none. I’d give my left leg to be able to be an author full-time and still have all my bills paid lol Wouldn’t we all? lol

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?

-It was hard having to write such a broken character. I love Wednesday and she is an awesome person, but she has some serious demons that are truly heartbreaking.

What is the easiest thing about writing?

-Tori. Her bubbly personality made things a little brighter and a little easier to write.

What book are you reading now?

-I am in the process of reading CoHo’s Never Never series. I love her books and the way she writes.

What is one random thing about you?

-I am a weirdo who loves all the lacy and black things. Oh and I am a huge procrastinator. I am a ‘wait-last-minute-then-stress-out’ type of chick. Some times procrastination turns out to be very helpful.

What is your preferred medium of writing? Pen and paper or strictly tablet and computer?

-It depends. If I’m at home, my computer is my go to. But I always keep a pad and pen just in case a good scene or plot twist decides to pop up in my mind.

What does your writing process look like?

-Very sloppy. Most authors like to have everything planned out, but I just go with the flow and take notes as I am writing. It can get confusing, but once I have everything written, I organize it and go from there.

Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?

-I have to have background noise. Silence is such a buzz kill for me. If it’s quiet, I can’t write or concentrate.

How important are names to you in your books?

-They are very important to me. I want for the names I use to be unique and memorable. They have to match the character as well. Wednesday was originally Shelby, but it didn’t live with my character at all. So, I changed it and created Wednesday Emmerson.

Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future?

-I will never format my books myself, ever again. I used Calibre and messed up so many things. My awesome author friend fixed everything for me and formatted it. It was horrible.

What is your favorite book and why?

-The Fish Tale Series. I read the whole series in three days, and it wrecked me and molded me and then killed me again just to tape me back together. It packed a huge punch and that’s what I love about it.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

-Do no give up. It can get hard at times, but it’s worth it in the end.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

-Eat. I’m a big foodie. I am always eating. I even dance a little while eating because it makes me happy.

From where do you gain your inspiration?

-It comes from all over. The book I am working on now was a dream I had. Or more of a nightmare. The Only Way Out was inspired by my loved ones who struggle with depression. I have another book partly planned that was inspired by a photo my friend took. For me, inspiration comes from all over.

What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?

-I love the freedom the self-publishing gives me. I make my deadlines, and I get to pick and choose who my editor will be or who will design my cover.

How do you market your books?

-Social media mainly.

Would you or do you use a PR agency?

-I would, but at the moment, I enjoy doing things on my own.

Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?

-SHARE! On any and every social networking place you can. #SpreadtheLove!

What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book?

-About half of it goes to marketing. I want people to get a feel for it before it comes out. I want them to become interested in my work and want to get it when it is released.

What do you do to get book reviews? How successful has your quest for reviews been so far?

-I have been using promo pages on Facebook and Twitter. I try to share my book as much as possible for people get it and leave a review. Since it was just released, I do not have many reviews, but I will continue to do what I’m doing until the reviews grow.

Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers?

-If someone wishes to review my book, I’d be more than happy to give them a copy. I also use promo pages for that as well. Some of them have a place you can submit your book for review. I have submitted my book to a few places already. I’m waiting to hear back.

Any amusing story about marketing books that happened to you?

-Since I’m new to all this, I don’t have one. I wish I did, though.

Which social network worked best for you?

-Facebook. There are so many people that use Facebook, and a good portion of them read. I’d say over half of my friends are authors, reviewers, and just book lovers in general.

Did you do a press release, Goodreads book launch or anything else to promote your work and did it work?

-I did not. I just shared my little heart out on all of my social media pages.

Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?

-I would love to meet either Edgar Allen Poe or Tim Burton. I have loved their work since I was a kid and it’d be amazing to meet someone I’ve looked up to since I was a kid. They are two of my favorites as well.

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?

-That’s a tough one. I’d go with SNAP by Tara Dawn. It is a series, but SNAP is the first book, and it is amazing. It’s one of those books that leaves you wondering what kind of world we live in and it takes you a while to figure out how you are gonna review it because words just don’t seem to do it justice.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

-Keep writing. No matter what. If you love it, keep going. I promise, in the end, once you upload it or have the print in your hands, you’ll feel so complete. Total euphoria comes from seeing your blood, sweat, and tears on the screen or in your hands.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Facebook lol I am a social media whore and I am on there all the time promoting an sharing my work.

Random Update and #CampNaNoWriMo

Chapter four of Finding Family is up, just thought I’d pop in and ask how ya’ll are liking it? Anyone? Anyone like it? Bueller? Bueller?

Just curious, keep in mind it is the rambling of a crazy person. I will say that chapter five is not ready yet, but I do have a week to work on it. I know what happens next I’m just having some issues getting it to write down just right.

Which brings me to Camp NaNoWriMo July, I don’t think I will participate this month. Mainly because I’m not sure what story to work on and none really have a definite number of words. I’m going to keep writing, just not super focusing on a particular story.

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In general life, I’m ok. Um in a few days, possibly take a week, I should figure out a health issue I might have. Personally, I don’t think that it is a big deal, so no worries I’ll be fine either way. At the same time, it is kind of a big deal, but I don’t want to worry too much until I find out how it goes.

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Writing Prompt #I

What would you do if you woke up tomorrow back in the seventh grade, and all the past years between then was a dream?

If I woke up in 2002, I would first stop my two year psychotic crush on a teacher. No wait, I wouldn’t stop that, it lead to a great story idea in eighth grade for an English assignment. One thing I’ve learned from Doctor Who is changing the past can be good, but it can also change who we are now.

I would however it more effort into my health though. I allowing me to skip my three month stint in the hospital in 2009. It would also give me the opportunity to indulge in a guilty little secret of mine. Not many people, if any, know that I’ve always wanted to join one of the armed forces. Marines specifically, always liked the uniform and they are the best of the best. Great-grandfather was in the Army but Marines was always more appealing.

Let’s see…what else? I’d be nicer to a few people and practice the clarinet a bit more. Really I wouldn’t make any bigger changes because I would be too paranoid about how it would change my family, who seem happy with their current lives.

#ASI: Madeline Antonia Rosenberg

Hi Madeline, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background? My name is Madeline Antonia Rosenberg. I have always loved to read and write romance novels. Hot Mess is the first complete novel that I have ever written.  My characters and I LOVE flavored coffee and I am also partial to Diet Coke (add a lemon or lime of course). I am Jewish and grew up in a small town on Long Island.

Discuss your newest book. Hot Mess is an addicting young adult / new adult contemporary romance. My characters grab your attention and leave you begging for more.  This is the story of a small town that has a ton of drama. There is never a dull moment with the Clairetown crew! The characters are relatable and are probably like someone you know. Anna McCormick is every girl after a break up – she is vulnerable and seeks attention in the wrong places. She is easy to love and hate at the same time. Trevor Sullivan is almost too good to be true. He seems like he is perfect on the surface, but there is much more to him than meets the eye. Benji Shaw is the “perfect” boy next door. He has a bit of a hero complex and wants to fix everyone’s problems. Jaden Shaw is Benji’s younger sister who is away at Briar Wood, the boarding school upstate. I won’t give any spoilers, but the ending is a shocker! Can’t wait to check it out!

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Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? Young adult romance novels have been my passion for as long as I can remember. I love bringing characters to life – a sign of a good book for me is a book that I can read over and over again.  I started writing Hot Mess a few years ago because I wanted to bring that excitement to readers with my own characters and storyline! It was exciting to develop the characters story and take them in a different direction than I had originally planned. It was an excellent way for me to be able to express myself whenever I was struggling with something. Writing always gave me the closure that I was searching for.

What are your current projects? I am currently working on my second novel, Jaded Jaden.

What books have most influenced your life most? Cecily Von Ziegesar’s books: Gossip Girl series, It Girl series and The Carlyles. I could pour through these books over and over again! Each book was better than the previous one, and I could not put them down. 

What inspired you to write your first book? I started writing Hot Mess a few years ago. It just came to me! I based the main character, Anna, on myself so I wrote about a lot of my own personal experiences.  It was fun to be able to re-create the situations! Interesting.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special? Anna seems like a cliché at first.  People are going to love her and hate her. She is a narcissist, but at the same time she has the biggest heart. She has a charming way about her that people gravitate towards.  She shows a lot of growth towards the end of the story.  I wrote this story in the span of a few years, and took it in a totally different direction than I thought I would. All the good ones do.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? People are always fighting a battle that you know nothing about. Nobody is perfect, therefore cherish every moment that you have with your loved ones.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?  I would love Emma Roberts to play Anna; she is an amazing actress and I believe she would really be able to encompass the character.

When did you decide to become a writer? In high school when I started writing love poems

Why do you write?  I write to express myself and hopefully inspire fans!

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?  I wanted to get my story out there – I always felt as if I was living in a movie or a book; when I wrote the scenes down it really all came together! 

Do you write full-time or part-time?  Part-time  

What is the hardest thing about writing? Sitting down and writing – it takes patience!

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?  The hardest thing for me was being 100 % satisfied with my work.  My editor (my grandma) and I worked extremely hard and it was nerve – wracking to press that publishing button!

What is the easiest thing about writing? When I am inspired there is no stopping me!

What book are you reading now? After Burn & After Shock by Sylvia Day

What is one random thing about you? I have a snapchat channel where I document miscellaneous things.

What is your preferred medium of writing? Pen and paper or strictly tablet and computer? Strictly computer, but if I don’t have a computer available I will use my phone or paper and pen (that is my LAST resort).

What is the hardest thing about writing? Sitting down and writing – it takes patience!

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?  The hardest thing for me was being 100 % satisfied with my work.  My editor (my grandma) and I worked extremely hard and it was nerve – wracking to press that publishing button!

What is your preferred medium of writing? Pen and paper or strictly tablet and computer? Strictly computer, but if I don’t have a computer available I will use my phone or paper and pen (that is my LAST resort). Old Shool has its perks.

What does your writing process look like?  I sit in my bed and type on my computer. If I need inspiration I can play music as well.

 Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)? No, but writing in the shower is an intriguing idea!

 How important are names to you in your books? EXTREMELY. I love creative and catchy names.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?  Figuring out what direction I want to take in my story  

Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future? Self-publishing is gratifying and terrifying at the same time. I learned so much about the indie self-publishing world ever since Hot Mess came out. I think that I would focus more on promoting through Facebook and reaching out to more reader blogs. I focused a LOT on Instagram at first – it can be difficult to decide which social media platform works best for you.

What is your favorite motivational phrase? If at first you don’t succeed, try again.

 

What is your favorite book and why? Two-way Street by Lauren Barnholdt

I related to the main character Courtney and I LOVED that we got to see both characters points of view.  This was not your typical love story – I loved the twist!! I’ve read this book more than once and have fallen in love with the characters each time.

 

Do you have any advice for other writers? Write what you love – also always be gracious to other authors because they are the best support system!

 

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? I like to watch TV, hang out with my boyfriend, friends and family, read, use social media and shop (when I’m not too lazy).

 

From where do you gain your inspiration? My own life and TV shows

What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around? The advantages of self-publishing are you can always go back and correct your mistakes.  I also like that you are your own boss. The disadvantage of self-publishing is that you are completely on your own with regard to marketing; it can be very overwhelming.

How do you market your books? Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Hot Mess is on Kindle Unlimited, and I just did a 5-day-free promotion on Kindle which generated 1421 downloads!

Why did you choose this route?  I didn’t want to go through the traditional publishing route- I wanted to be able to set my own terms.

Would you or do you use a PR agency? I would because it is very time-consuming to promote your book on your own.

Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books? You’re going to have to give out a lot more free books than you want to in order to get reviews.

What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book? I spend a ton of my time marketing my book.

 

What do you do to get book reviews? I have given copies to people in order to get reviews. I also have messaged people on Instagram, Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter.

How successful has your quest for reviews been so far? Pretty successful; I am halfway to my target goal of 50. Awesome!

Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers? I like finding people who enjoy reading my genre.

What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews? Good reviews motivate me to want to write more. My first bad review made me really upset but then I learned that it is important to have honest reviews and you can always learn from them.

Any amusing story about marketing books that happened to you? Where should I begin? I saw that people were talking about me on Instagram that I “over-promoted” my books.  I realized that sometimes too much exposure isn’t necessarily a good thing! Also I learned that DNF means Did Not Finish. Thanks for notifying me! I have now learned something.

What’s your views on social media for marketing? It’s necessary and a way for the author to connect with the readers.

Which social network worked best for you? Facebook – it has the most people on it

Any tips on what to do and what not to do? Do: make an author page on Facebook and Goodreads, enroll your book in Kindle Unlimited (some authors aren’t into it but I think it’s great exposure for a new author), and put your book on Goodreads.

Not to do: Twitter isn’t so necessary unless you have a huge following

Did you do a press release, Goodreads book launch or anything else to promote your work and did it work?  I didn’t but I would like to do so for my next novel.

Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why? Kylie Jenner – she is an entrepreneur and I would love to get makeup tips from her!!

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why? Gossip Girl- it was made into a hit TV show and it has the best storylines.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?  Don’t go into writing for the money!

 

How can readers discover more about you and you work?  My author page! http://www.facebook.com/authormadelinearosenberg