What advice and/or warnings do you have for burgeoning writers?
There is such a difference between writing well and becoming a published author. Writing is a solitary activity with no one to answer to but your own self. Being an author opens the door to society and authority; to which you must listen and make changes. Be adaptable. Listen to advice. Research the business side of writing.
You can’t tell a book by its cover; however, you must SELL a book by its cover. Tell us about your book covers and how they came about.
My first book – Minna Pegeen – had a terrible cover when it was first presented to me. The oak tree which sacrificed itself to keep Minna Pegeen alive was illustrated as a turquoise maple, and there was a purple swishy-thing in the air – no idea what that represented. I threw a tissy-fit and sent jpegs of the full moon. That publisher used the moonscape for the cover, so I was OK with that.
The second book cover was for Bedina’s War. What I was sent as the mock-up was actually 5 times smaller once it appeared on the book itself. It can’t be seen on an e-shelf. At a convention, a woman walked up and told me it was the crappiest cover she’d ever seen and she’d be ashamed to be selling it. (Yeah, conventions are places for all kinds of people.)
The third book – Perky’s Books and Gifts – through Bedlam Press has the BEST cover EVER! It was done by Erik Wilson and I’ve sold more copies of it because of that cover than because of the bumpff on the back.
My fourth book – The Island Remains – introduced me to the very talented and spectacular artist Susan Krupp. She listened to me. She offered suggestions. She created exactly what I envisioned. So, when I started my publishing houses, I wrote to her and asked if she would be interested in being my in-house design artist. She agreed and we have a wonderful working relationship and friendship. She is everything a design artist should be because she takes what the author wants and adapts it to what the audience will expect (and what the publisher demands LOL) and I couldn’t be happier. The first thing anyone says when they see a book published through Portals or BLISS is “Wow! The cover is beautiful!”
Do you follow specific blogs, tweets, or other column-type formats? Which ones and why?
No, I know I probably should. Maybe one day I’ll find time to…
How do you feel about movie conversions of books and novelizations of movies?
They are limited to 2 hours of action and adventure. So if the characters or the plot need detailed development, it won’t make it as a movie.
If one of your books becomes a movie, who would you want cast into which roles?
George Cluny, Sir Derek Jacobi, David Tenant, Peter Capaldi, Harrison Ford. (You seeing a pattern here?)
What was the oddest experience you've had selling your books?
At my first two book signings – Books-a-Million in Lakeland and Brandon, FL – I proudly passed out my brand new business card with each and every book I sold.
At my third book signing, a man walked up and said, “I really liked your book and wanted to discuss it with you, but you weren’t home.”
I had naively printed my home address on my cards! I immediately rented a post office box in a nearby town and ordered new – updated – cards.
Do you belong to a writers group or any other support/hobby group? What, how long and why?
I joined Musing WordSmiths in 2005 and took over facilitating it the following year. We changed the name to Writers for All Seasons and I continued leading it for ten more years until I had to step down due to cancer.
In 2016, I started Writers at Unity and continue facilitating this faith-based group.
I also sing in my church choir and would love to open another writers group in my home town.
List of Books:
Minna Pegeen (Comfort Publishing 2011)
Bedina’s War (Comfort Publishing 2012)
Perky’s Books & Gifts (Bedlam Press 2013)
The Island Remains (Whiskey Creek 2014)
Laughing Humans (Portals Publishing 2015)
Comes the Warrior (BLISS Books 2016)