#Interview: Authors Erina Bridget Ring & J. Walter Ring

You must meet this couple! They have an amazing story to share about their life as a couple, being authors and their books! This is an interview that you don’t want to miss! Erina Bridget Ring’s most recent release was “The Neighborhood” and J. Walter Ring’s is “Red Sky in the Morning”.

Interview & Giveaway ~ I had fun with this interview with Jamie Ford, author of two amazing novels!

Jamie Ford with scarf

I just had to interview Jamie Ford because I kept finding him all over the place with his books getting tons of 5 Star reviews and lots of other accolades!  

I was simply drawn to him, so I wanted to have him as a guest on my blog.  I am so grateful that he accepted the offer to let me interview him. I was rather humbled, to be honest.

The next few days, I will be spotlighting his books. So, be sure to check back. 

Comment Below to Enter your chance to *WIN

a signed copy of both of his books!!

(Pictured Below)

*Winner will be announced on Thursday, April 14th, 2016

Q:  When did you realize you were a novelist? 

When I went to Norway for a book tour. That’s when I realized I’d created something that had taken on a life of its own. Basically, it feels like my book has a career now and I’m just along for the ride. (I stole that line from Pamela Anderson who once said, “My boobs have a career, I’m just along for the ride.”)

 Annie ~ You are funny!! I love it..

Songs of Willow FrostHotel on the corner of bitter and sweet

Q:  As you geared up for your Books being released, what was the most exciting part(s) for you? 

Writing a novel is a like giving birth to a ten-pound baby, sideways. So after laboring for months and sometimes years—to finally hold that printed book in your hands is an amazing moment. Also, my wife who is a Labor & Delivery nurse just assured me that the sideways baby thing is not possible.

Annie:  I can imagine how wonderful it is to hold the book in your hands for the first time!!  You had me concerned that a baby could be born sideways. Thanks for getting that visual out of my head. 🙂

Q:  You have written two novels so far; what is that your favorite topic to explore?

I love forgotten history. I’m like a little kid, I love turning over rocks and looking at the squishy things underneath—the stuff that we forget as a society.

Annie: Your stories definitely show that this is where you heart is!! 

Q:  Will you always write Historical Fiction? 

I cheated a little bit last year and wrote a trio of steampunk stories. They’re published in the Apocalypse Triptych—three anthologies about the “end of the world as we know it.” But, there was a lot of research involved and they have a historical vibe. And I have a bit of crime noir in the works. Let’s just say that I’m enlarging the canvas of my imagination a bit.

Annie: Make sure I get to read your crime noir book! It sounds very different for you!   

Q:  Is there an author that you feel resonates with you and your writing style? 

This isn’t a comparison as much as it’s pure admiration, but I love Pat Conroy’s writing. He’s a pure storyteller, who also weaves in amazing, lush prose that never obfuscates the story. Some people have lucid dreams where they’re flying. In my dreams I’m writing like Pat.

Annie: That was beautifully said! My friend, Sonya met Pat Conroy. Just recently, I was so sad to hear of his passing.  The best thing though is that his books will live on. Sonya LOVES Pat Conroy….I am going to look for their picture and send it to you. 

Q: When do you typically write?  Where do you write?  Set this up for us 

I write in the mornings, upstairs in my office, surrounded by books, comics, and research materials, with my three dogs lazing about. Around noon I take the dogs for a walk to the Missouri River, about a mile away, then edit. Life, and writing, is better with dogs.

Annie: Dogs do make life better! That is for sure!! I have one dog, and he is enough to take care of, LOL..I could not imagine having three. Where do you live? Jamie Ford reading

Q:  May I ask who your favorite authors are?  Books? 

Fiction: Pat Conroy – The Great Santini

Non-Fiction: Jon Krakauer – Into Thin Air

Short fiction: Harlan Ellison – Deathbird Stories

Poetry: Buddy Wakefield – He’s a slam poet. Best seen LIVE.

Comics: Marjorie Liu – Monstress  

Q:  What is your favorite part of being an author? 

Doing interviews! Kidding. In Italy I once did 11 interviews in one day, with an interpreter. By the end, my brain was tapioca.

Honestly, the best part has been meeting some of my favorite authors. I’m still just a fanboy.

 Annie: I love that you are still a fanboy!!! You are so cool!

Q:  Any hobbies you’d like to share with us? 

I like red shoes. I like Hiking. I especially like hiking in red shoes.

Annie: Love it!!!  This is a great picture! #HAPPYFEETJamie Fords red shoes

Q:  I see that your books have been translated in to 34 languages, and you won an Award. Can you please tell me more about that…? 

Books in translation are amazing; in fact, HOTEL was #1 in Norway for nearly four months. I always credit the translator—they must be doing something right. They could put zombies in my books and I’d never know

As far as awards, they’re a lovely validation, but nothing compared to getting a tweet from a high school student who says “This is the first book I’ve been forced to read that didn’t actually suck.” That kind of stuff makes my year. 

Q:  When can we expect your next book?  Do you want to tell us a little bit about it?

As soon as I finish it. I’m close—and this time I meant it! The new book (no title yet) is about a mixed-race boy who was raffled off at the 1909 World’s Fair in Seattle. That part’s true.

Annie: A must read, for sure! 

Lastly, Book or eBook? 

Book. I do read eBooks as well, but prefer comfort over convenience.

Annie: I am an Old-School person too. I have a library in my home, and my husband has a man cave.  I love being surrounded by books…it is rather calming for me.

Jamie Ford Hotel

Annie: Thank you Jamie. I appreciate your time, and patience.

I have enjoyed all of your answers, and getting to know you better!!

Keep me in mind when you release your next book!

I am a fan!!

 

#Interview & #Giveaway – Meet author Maha Gargash!!

Maha Gargash ap1Meet Maha Gargash: Author of the newly released book “That Other Me”!

http://bit.ly/ThatOtherMe

She is a fascinating woman and author. This is an interview not to be missed.

Comment below to win one of two copies of “That Other Me”
(US/CA Residents)

That Other Me - Maha Gargash
Q:  When did you realize you were a novelist?

When I got my first novel published! That’s when I could introduce myself with confidence as an author.

Q:  As you geared up for your Books being released, what was the most exciting part(s) for you?
I’m usually geared up even before I finish a book. The most exciting parts are when the editor says we are ready to go to print and when I receive the advance author copies.

Q:  You have written two novels so far; what is that your favorite topic to explore?

I love to put my protagonists in tricky situations or push them to the edge of desperation. I have an idea of what they will do and then, it’s a question of writing it all down. But we all know how characters can get. They take a life of their own and surprise you with all sorts of possibilities—and before I know it, they are the ones pulling me along. The Sand Fish

Q:  Is there an author that you feel resonates with you and your writing style?

I think this should come from the reader because, quite simply, like most writers, I get so engrossed in the whole process of writing a book that it’s near to impossible to provide an objective comparison.

Q: When do you typically write?  Where do you write?  Set this up for us…

Think of exercise: it always gets easier once the effort has been made with the feet snug in socks and sneakers. For me, it’s the same with writing: the mind alert yet lazy, sifting through all manner of trivial distractions and chores. Should I wash that mug or watch a bit of news on television or play a quick round of solitaire on my Iphone?

I have to jump up and hurry to my desk, shake the mouse to wake up the screen and start. My desk is modern and broad. I chose this shape so that I have hand and elbow space whenever I feel the urge to slide my arms about (a quirky habit). That means I can’t write unless it’s organized. And even then, concentration is not something that occurs magically.

I have to keep telling myself to just sit and do it. And that’s when it comes. Ideas form and flow. Then, the hard part becomes pulling myself away from the story.Maha's Desk
Q:  May I ask who your favorite authors are?  Books?

Oh, so many!

All time favorites include: Rohinton Mistry and his ‘A Fine Balance’; Arundhati Roy, and her ‘The God of Small Things’; Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and her ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’; and more recently, Adam Johnson and his mind blowing ‘The Orphan Master’s Son’.

Q:  What is your favorite part of being an author?

There are days (and weeks) when the writing goes smooth as butter. The words and sentences don’t thin no matter how much you spread them. These are rare time spans where everything falls into place, and I find myself thinking, I love being an author.

Q:  Any hobbies you’d like to share with us?

Reading, of course, and photography. I enjoy watching BBC documentaries and television dramas. Years ago, I used to collect tiny perfume bottles. But the interest waned when I realized that the fragrances were not going to stay bottled up forever and that the tiny things might as well be filled with water.

 Q:  When can we expect your next book?  Do you want to tell us a little bit about it?

Nothing concrete yet. I’m dabbling with many ideas at the moment, flinging a hook with the hope that something will soon bite.

Lastly, Book or eBook?? 

I feel more grounded when reading a hardback or paperback copy. It’s to do with the texture of the paper, the solidity of the book, and seeing a page number (as opposed to being told on a monitor) that makes it more real, if that makes sense. Having said that, an eBook brings the convenience of instant delivery (and that wonderful built-in light) and the choice of many books at the same time: very handy when traveling.

For more detailed information on “That Other Me”, Click Here

 

 

 

 

 

 

#Interview & #Giveaway ~ Come meet author, Barbara Hinkse

Please comment below for a chance to win Barbara’s Giveaway. She is offering “Coming to Rosemont”, One print copy (US Only) and one eBook.

  1. Q:        Have you always wanted to be a novelist?Barbara Hinske

A:        I’m an attorney and have done a lot of technical writing, but knew I wanted to write novels. I planned to do so when I retired. Fate stepped in, as it often does, and put me on this path sooner. I broke my neck in an auto accident and suffered from double vision for months. I couldn’t read or watch TV, so I conceived and outlined the plot for my 5 book Rosemont series.

Annie: I broke my neck too, and it changed the course of my life…I am glad yours was a positive one!  5 Book Series! This is exciting!Coming to Rosemont

  1. Q:        Why did you decide to write a series?

A:        I write a fictional series because that’s what I enjoy reading. I like an in-depth, continuing relationship with characters. I very much admire Alexander McCall Smith’s Ladies Detective Agency series and Jan Karon’s Mitford books. My Rosemont series is set in the current day, but I’ve tried to capture a feeling of comradery and connection that takes us back to a slightly simpler time and place.

Annie: I think you have definitely accomplished that feel. I was in love with the town of Westbury.

  1. Q:        Who has had the greatest influence on your author life?

A:        My dad–without question. He read me a bedtime story every night of my childhood, often adding his own twists and turns to the plots or dialogue. He also wrote novels–who-done-its–when he retired. I have 17 of his manuscripts and can feel his comforting presence in the room with me when I pick up his pages and read.

Annie: I bet he is so proud of you…

  1. Q: What of your own interests have you written about in the Rosemont series?

A:        I love my home and all things related to homemaking: cooking, gardening, decorating, and entertaining. I love celebrating all of the seasons and I change my decor for Easter, 4th of July, fall, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and spring. I’m also addicted to vintage silver and china, with a special fondness for teapots.

Annie: I could totally feel your love of good china, and I love that you chose Easter as the big holiday in “Coming to Rosemont”. It was beautiful.

  1. Q:        When do you typically write? Where do you write? Set this up for us…Barbara Hinske Writing Space

A:        A small office in my home is my perfect place to write. It’s cozy and I look out onto a beautiful garden with a fountain. I’m a morning person and am most productive between 4 am and 6 am. I also write for longer periods of time on the weekends. I’m very disciplined and can produce the first draft of a novel in 6 weeks (while working full time).Barbara Hinske view from office

Annie: That is impressive. I don’t know how you do it!

  1. Q:        What are your favorite books?

A:        The Shell Seekers

Any of the Harry Potter series

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

A Long Way from Chicago

Annie: I love The Shell Seekers, too! Did you know that they rereleased it this past year?

  1. Q:        What is your favorite review?

A:        I’m extremely grateful for all of my reviews—good or bad. Reader feedback helps authors grow in our craft. If I had to pick just one, it would be a review for Uncovering Secret (third book in the Rosemont series). The reviewer wrote “Another cozy visit with old friends. I always hate for the Rosemont books to end.” That’s exactly what I’m hoping my readers will experience.

Annie: I look forward to getting to that book! I felt the same.

  1. Q:        What is your favorite part of being an author?

A:        Hearing from and interacting with readers. Hands down.

Annie: I love authors that make themselves available to their fans.

  1. Q:        When can we expect your next book?

A:        The 4th book in the Rosemont series—working title is Drawing Close—will be published mid-2016.

Annie: Please make sure I get a copy to review!!

  1. Q:       Book or eBook?

A:        eBook. I have terrible eyesight!

Annie: I find that my kindle love is growing.

 

 

#Interview & #Giveaway ~ Author, Sarah Kennedy

Sarah Kennedy, photo by Rachel Fowler of RFD PhotographyPhoto Credit Rachel Fowler at RFD Photography 

COMMENT BELOW TO WIN A COPY OF HER FIRST NOVEL, THE ALTERPIECE (US ONLY)

Q:  When did you realize you were a novelist? 

A:  The realization crept up on me gradually.  I used to consider myself a poet only, but when I got to my third book, the poems became less lyrical and more narrative . . . and they got longer-lined.  At some point in my forties, I hit the right-hand margin, and one evening in a bookstore with my husband it came to me:  I’m going to write a novel! 

Q:  As you geared up for your Book Release of your books, what was the most exciting part(s) for you? 

A:  Seeing the hard copy for the first time, definitely!  It’s always exciting to see the cover, too, of course, but there’s nothing like opening the cardboard box and seeing the actual books in there.  I’m usually almost too excited to lift one out!

Q:  I am so excited to read, “The Cross and The Crown Series”, what first sparked this interest for you? 

A:  Well, it was actually a research project for poems that got me thinking about the story of a young former nun under Henry VIII.  I’ve been interested in English women’s history for a long time, and as a Renaissance scholar (and frequent traveler to the UK and Ireland) I’ve walked through many a religious ruin.  I had done a lot of reading about the European witch trials and about early female mystics and other church women who were well-known.   It occurred to me as I was reading, though, that there were no stories about what happened to the ordinary women in the convents after Henry VIII closed them and seized the properties, so I felt a strong urge to create a history for these lost women. 

Q:  You have several books, including poetry. What is that your favorite topic to explore? 

A:  Oh, wow, that’s a hard one!  I have an abiding interest in the lives of ordinary women from all periods.  I guess I’m particularly interested in how women cope during times of great upheaval—wars, changes in government, changes in religious belief.  Women kept families together and often had to do much of the behind-the-scenes work (like making sure that food was available and clothing was washed) that made life go on—for everyone. 

Q:  Tell us more about how you learned so much about the lives that were lived in the 1500’s in Tudor England? 

A:  I love to read odd sorts of “literature,” like letters, diaries, and manuscripts that people left, like recipe (or “receipt”) collections.  You can get interesting tidbits about how people really lived from them.  I also like to go to out-of-the-way sites, like ruined old castles and houses that almost nobody visits, to see the layout of the buildings.  You can definitely tell quite a lot about how people lived from seeing where they put their kitchens and sickrooms and libraries.  People often don’t think about how ordinary folks did things like wash their linens (you had to make the soap first!) and dispose of bodily waste (put the toilet near a sluice that can run to a river . . . but don’t put it upstream from your drinking water source!). 

Q:  Is there any truth to what you write about?

A:  Yes, there’s quite a lot of truth to the way people dressed, spoke, behaved, and misbehaved.  I try to use documented types of medical procedures and keep true to historical events and persons.  I also try to create characters who are true to the belief systems of the day, without making cardboard figures.  For example, many nuns were quite devout . . . but many of them weren’t and got carried away by ambition, lust, or greed.  I want my characters to be fully human (which includes flaws, alas!) without making them modern humans. 

Q:  Is there an author that you feel resonates with you and your writing style? 

A:  That’s another difficult one!  I’m not sure I know what my style is!  I know that I like knotty characters and plausible plots.  I get impatient when characters are too good (or too evil, for that matter).  I want characters to make mistakes and figure out how to fix or atone for them.  I just finished reading a long novel, Sweet Caress by William Boyd.  There’s really not a plot to this novel, but there is a leisurely unfolding of character.  There’s no big central crime; the character moves through history to the end of the book.  I loved this novel for its description and close attention to character.  At the same time, I love good crime fiction like that of Benjamin Black (aka John Banville) that’s fast-paced without losing sight of character. 

Q: When do you typically write?  Where do you write?  Set this up for us… 

A:  When I started writing fiction, I changed from a daytime writer to an evening writer.  I used to write poems in fits and starts, in several short sessions per day.  Now, I write in longer stints, after dinner.  I think I need the daytime hours to let my subconscious work on the manuscript, and when I sit down I need a few hours of uninterrupted time at my desk.  Of course, I sometimes have to pace around some during those hours! 

Q:  May I ask who your favorite authors are?  Books? 

A:  I’m not sure I have a favorite!  I love Tana French, Morag Joss, and Ian Rankin for crime fiction, and I think Hilary Mantel is great (though I don’t agree with her assessment of Thomas Cromwell’s character!).  I think Charles Frazier is wonderful, and I look forward to anything Lee Smith publishes.  Because I’m a teacher, I get to revisit the classics frequently, too, and I never tire of teaching Thomas Wyatt, Shakespeare, John Donne, and Isabella Whitney. 

Q:  What is your favorite part of being an author? 

A:  The freedom to disappear into my own world!  I’m quite solitary by nature, but my head is always full of people talking.  Being an author lets me talk back to them without appearing nutty to the “real” people around me. 

Q:  When can we expect your next book?  Do you want to tell us a little bit about it? 

A:  I hope the next installment of The Cross and Crown will be out next year.  This one moves forward in time several years and takes place during the first year of Mary Tudor’s reign.  It’s tentatively titled Queen of Blood—but I promise that it does not feature any vampires. 

Lastly, Book or eBook??

For me?  Book, hands down.  There’s nothing better, in my opinion, than stretching out in a comfy chair with a physical book in my hands.  I like the feel of paper and the smell of print.  I want to run my hand over the cover and rub the pages between my fingers.  Yeah, it’s book for me.  And a cup of coffee and my dog.

#INTERVIEW & #GIVEAWAY ~ Gary Welch, Author of “The Magic Phone”

Comment below to enter our Giveaway. Gary is offering one lucky winner an autographed First Edition of his book, “The Magic Phone”.

This book is a great gift idea for your child reader, age 8-12.

Gary Welch 2Q:  When did you realize you were a novelist?

I began to realize that I may have the potential to be a novelist when I began to read my manuscript, to edit the story. I would read what I wrote and smile, because I thought that the story was coming together well, and I couldn’t believe that it was coming from me.  But, maybe it was when I wrote “The End”; that felt pretty good, and the thought entered my head.  However, it was when the book was printed and delivered to my house. I remember opening the box and pulling out the first book. My daughter Abigail was with me and when we saw the book, both of our jaws dropped and we got so excited. This is when I knew that I made it as a novelist.  

Annie: I can see your excitement, and I am excited to post my review HERE tomorrow.

Q:  Did you ever write fiction prior to this story, or did this story ignite your interest in writing?

Great question Annie!  I did not write fiction before this book. The only thing that I wrote prior was articles and a manual that was all related to physical therapy. The manual was used in my class for the doctorate students who were learning advanced techniques in manual and manipulative therapy.  The story of The Magic Phone started with my daughter, Abigail, telling me about her a dream that she had. I asked her what the dream was about?  She told me that in her dream, she got a phone. Well, I rolled my eyes because she was always asking about when I would buy her a cell phone.  She told me “No dad, the phone I had in the dream was magic”.  She went on about her dream and I was in awe about her story.  In the end, I thought that it was such a great idea, because it incorporated technology that kids love and it added a big splash of magic.  So, I took notes later that day, and about a month later, I began writing the first words in the book.  I had so many ideas in my head when I started, that I wrote almost five full chapters! 

Annie: Abigail needs to share more stories with you, as you are a great writer!

Q:  As you geared up for your Book Release of “The Magic Phone” on July 25th, 2015, what was the most exciting part(s) for you?

The thought that I had finally finished this project!!  That was pretty exciting. Although, I would say that the most exciting moment during this time was when someone wanted to buy a pre-first edition, and wanted me to sign it!! What? You want me to autograph the book? That was really cool. Nobody had ever asked for my signature before.  

Annie: Here is Gary at his release party, signing a book for his fan, Rachel!

Gary Welch with Rachel

Q:  Do you think you will always write for the 8-12 age group?

No, I don’t thinks so. As this story progresses, the main character will get older, along with her target audience.   

Q:  When do you typically write?  Where do you write?  Set this up for us…

I would write at night when the household would settle down, but I needed at least two hours of uninterrupted time or I wouldn’t even try to begin writing again. When you have a full time job, a part time job, a wife and kids it may be a few weeks before you have a chance to write something down, and when this happens, you have to remember where you left off or have to re-read some of the chapter to get back up to speed. Then, I would begin to write more of the story.  Let me tell you where I wrote the most, which was surprising to me. It was when we would go on a trip or when I would travel.  I could zone out the world around me and get entrenched into the story.  I remember when we would drive up to Maine; my wife would do the driving so that I could write.  Seriously, I would look up, amazed that eight hours went by so fast, and we were there already!!  I wrote most of this story on my Ipad and transferred it over to a Mac book pro towards the end of my writing.  

Q:  What is your favorite part of being an author?

Being immersed in the story while all of this creativity comes out of nowhere. Words filling the pages, forming a story that you hope people will enjoy. While writing this book, I felt like I was on this amazing journey with Abigail, wishing at times that I owned the magic phone, and what I would do with it, if it were mine! So, writing the story, the creative part coming together, and accomplishing your goal when the book is done. 

The Magic PhoneQ:  I see you have many jobs, so how did you find the time to write “The Magic Phone”?  How long did it take to write?

Ok, let summarize all the things I have been doing lately.  I own Spectrum Physical Therapy with my wife. I’m the manager at another PT facility at Brookhaven National Laboratory, and I’m an adjunct professor at Stony Brook school of Physical Therapy, and Touro College’s residency program in physical therapy.  I was actually asked this question quite a few times by my patients, and I remember telling them “I don’t know where I had the time” It was difficult at times. When you own a business, it is pretty much a 24/7 job, but I was motivated by the potential this story had and to continue on to see what would happen next. All in all, it took me 2 ½ years to finish writing and editing it to the best of my abilities.  

Annie: You are rather inspiring!!

Q:  When can we expect your next book?  Do you want to tell us a little bit about it?

I’ve started the next book, but I haven’t had a lot of time to dedicate to it yet; because, as an independent writer who self-published, I have spent a lot of time marketing this book. There’s a lot to do after you publish. My son Gary, helped me with creating the website, http://abbysmagicphone.com/ , I needed to start the facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/themagicphone,  which helps me reach out to fans.  I also started reaching out to libraries to schedule book readings and signings, and send the book out for reviews, etc…  I really hope to continue the second story real soon. Time permitting, the entire story will require three books. I know how the second and third books end too!!!  And the end of the third books ties into the first chapter of this book.  I can’t wait to accomplish this and I know everyone will like how the story progresses from a ten-year-old girl to a teenager and then to a young adult. Each story gets more intense, when Abigail learns how to become one with the phone.  

Q:  Any advice for someone that wants to write a book?

Yes, it takes a lot of work to get the book written, edited, illustrated, interior set, cover designed, formatted for eBook, uploaded, and then published! But the sense of accomplishment is awesome! Keep your chin up and persevere; there is light at the end of the tunnel.  Also, I encourage a new writer to forward their manuscript to literary agents and publishers. I didn’t have any luck with that route, and 99% of them didn’t even respond to my story. This was discouraging, and I didn’t want to self publish; but, in the end, self-publishing isn’t such a bad trade off.  Self publishing is flourishing these days with all of the new opportunities out there. You can set up an account at Amazon and the Itunes store for free. If self-publishing, I would recommend uploading your finished manuscript and cover to Ingram Sparks. Their printing services are second to none and they get your book out to well over 3,000 libraries and bookstores worldwide. In fact, two days later, the book was on the Barnes and Noble website. When I uploaded the eBook to Amazon, it only took five hours for the book to be available, and the hard cover and paperback from Ingram was carried over, and right next to the eBook at Amazon.  

Q: Lastly, Book or eBook??

Personally, I like the physical book, but you have to satisfy the market. Therefore, I would recommend both the book and eBook. Oh, and you can upload your manuscript in PDF and Ingram Sparks will convert it to an eBook format for a nominal fee. The cost to convert this book was around $120, where other companies were going to charge me four to five times that amount.

Annie: Thank you for all of this “inside” knowledge…You are definitely a force to be reckoned with.

 

#INTERVIEW & #GIVEAWAY ~ Get to know Vicki Abelson, author of “Don’t Jump”

Vicki AbelsonComment below for your chance to win a print copy of her book, “Don’t Jump” (US Only)

Q:  When did you realize you wanted to add author to your list of accomplishments?

On October 27th, 2015, when Don’t Jump was published and I became one.  Seriously, during all the years writing the book, I barely considered myself a writer, let alone an author. There’s something kind of weighty and serious about that title isn’t there?  

Don’t Jump began as a two-page rant. I showed it to my writer husband and he encouraged me to continue. When I’d written about twenty pages I committed to seeing it through, having no idea it would be a thirteen-year journey. 

I’d written a screenplay and some television treatments, one was even optioned, but, it wasn’t until I published my first column in The Huffington Post  that I called myself a writer without looking over my shoulder to see if the authenticity police were about to haul me in for fraud.  

Q:   I love your cover.  How hard was it to choose one? 

Thank you. I do, too. It exceeds my highest imaginings. I’d had a few ideas over the years and had brainstormed them with smart, creative people.   Vicki Abelsons Dont Jump

Over a lunch with publisher, Lawrence O’Flahavan, we discussed the book, and some of the ideas which had been bandied about. After about an hour, Larry picked up a pencil and a scrap of paper and started sketching. I have no idea how he came up with the traffic signal, but as soon as he did, it became the perfect focal point. He continued to add elements and allowed me a couple… but, the genius of it, is his.  

Q:   Can you tell me more about your Literary Salon, “Women Who Write”?    

My original intention was to transform the prose into a play.  That was my ultimate goal from the get-go. When I began working with editor David Tabatsky on the revision of the first draft, I was new to Los Angeles and had no idea how to get stage time to workshop the thing. David suggested I start my own group––invite others to read with me, and local mommies to listen. I knew a few respected writers, and well-known performers who wrote, and used that as my hook, whilst slipping in a chapter of mine each month. When, six months in, Carol Leifer asked if her friend, Academy Award Winner, Marlee Matlin, could come read, that was the game-changer.  With the help of introductions from friends, Facebook, and even Twitter, the readers and musicians who’ve read and performed for us rivals any talk show, and many of the women who attend are equally accomplished.  

Over the eight years we’ve morphed into a solid community of support, friendship and fun. We have writing workshops, I coach individually, and we have a Facebook group where all are encouraged to promote their work, ask for help, guidance, and support. We have 30-Day Writing Challenges and many of us are accountable on the site, daily.   

We support each other’s work and projects in the real world, collaborate, socialize and have become very much like family.  

First-timers are welcomed into the fold as if old friends, and, we’ve opened the door to some special men.  

Q:  As you geared up for your Book Release of “Don’t Jump”, what was the most exciting part(s) for you? 

A few months prior to publication I sent the manuscript out to people I respect and admire in hopes of gathering blurbs. Who the hell was I? I was the host, who wrote, they were the authors––accomplished celebrities.  I was more than a tad terrified. Within two days, responses started coming in––beyond my wildest dreams. I hoped the book would resonate… I had moments over the years where I believed it was worthy… and, more, where I doubted it. Not a negative word came back. The reactions were effusive… thrilling. The books were available for order on pre-sale. Inadvertently, Amazon jumped the gun and sent out about a bunch of books before the launch. The gift of the error was discovering that not only were people ordering the book, they were reading it… for the most part in a couple of days, and have continued to. It’s been an extraordinary validation.  

I had an amazing launch party, thanks to Annie and Jake Deptula (brother and sister producing partners), with incredible music from the Night Train Music Club and a stellar turn-out of amazing people. Selling and signing books for the first time was an absolute trip. Living the dream…  

Being a guest on radio shows and podcasts, answering questions rather than asking them has been a  “please pinch me so know this is real” continuing excitement.  

Q:  Does your character “Andi Stone” represent you or anyone you know?

Yes.  

Q:  Is there an author that you feel resonates with you and your writing style?  

There are many authors who resonate with me. I’m not sure my style compares to any of them, specifically, but I’ve surely been influenced by many I admire.

Stephen King’s On Writing is my bible. Which, I’m certain, I’ve desecrated more than once. He was my “ideal reader” as I wrote. Unbeknownst to him.  

Q: When do you typically write?  Where do you write?  Set this up for us… 

I committed to writing at least five minutes a day 3,928 days ago. I’m accountable to a very generous woman from my NY writers group who’s received my daily emails for the past almost eleven years.  

I’m at my computer all day and most of the night. Much of what I write most days I post on Facebook. It’s where I found my voice, and my audience. I hate the way that sounds. It’s a “grouptually” reciprocal arrangement.  

I write Morning Pages daily, whenever the spirit moves me, oft late night… I  take notes throughout the day/night for articles I’m working on, treatments I’m developing and the two books which loom ahead. My desk is in the kitchen… it’s open, has good light, and easy access to snacks. When I get serious, am ready to hammer out a final draft, I write with my computer on my lap, in bed. And I don’t get up, till I’m done.  

Q:  May I ask who your favorite authors are?  Books?

Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar transformed me. I adore Dostoyevsky, especially, The Brother’s Karamazov, Augusten Burroughs Dry and Running With Scissors, David Sedaris’ Naked, Stephen King’s The Shinning was one of my favorite books, ever, as was all of his work before it and what followed for many years after. I read a load of Jonathan and Faye Kellerman and love them both. James Clavell’s  Shogun and Tai-Pan have stayed with me, Love Erica Jong, John Grisham, and ate up bestsellers prior to starting Women Who Write, when memoir became my focus.  Anne Lamott’s Traveling Mercies had profound effect on me as has Marianne Williamson’s Return to Love and Illuminata 

Q:  Can we expect another book? If so, do you want to tell us a little bit about it? 

I have two books I’ve been unofficially writing in spurts.  It was essential to me for Don’t Jump to publish before I turned serious attention to them. One is my misadventures as a sober, single, now, sixty year old woman. WHAT?!? That’s just crazy to me. The other is how I went from being a housewife and mother to creating and hosting a renowned literary salon in less than a year… thanks to the Facebook.  How Facebook has transformed my life in every way. How it can be used for good. Lord knows I abuse it, too.   

I also have a compilation book I attempted to do outreach on last winter. I had zero credibility as an author and got little response from the lofty list I pursued. Perhaps on next attempt I’ll fair better.  

Q:  Lastly, Book or eBook?? 

I’m new school with just about everything. Books… I want to hold in my hand. With a cover, pages and a bookmark. 

I read one book on my computer and iPhone Kindle. It was fun. I read at red lights, on line at the grocery store, everywhere. I get it. I may try another. I’m mostly iTune’ing these days… so, who knows .