Big Fanfare Please – The New Improved Dory’s Avengers Is Available to Pre-order!

Excited! Buzzing! Finally, after the best part of a year’s editing, re-editing, re-re-editing, re-re-re-re…you get the picture, Dory’s Avengers is due for re-release on Friday 30 September 2016. The manuscript has been professionally proof read (yes, I know what I do for a day job, but not even an editor can proof her own work) – many thanks to Julia Gibbs for her expert work, and the cover art is looking fan-blooming-tastic courtesy of James Willis of Spiffing Covers:

DA_Finalb

I’ve managed to upload the manuscript not only to Kindle Direct Publishing, where the e-book is all ready to pre-order (Amazon UK, Amazon USA, Amazon Ca, Amazon Au), but also to Createspace for those of you who prefer a yummy printed book – thank you to Mary Matthews (aka author Georgia Rose) of Three Shires Publishing for teaching me so much at her excellent self-publishing workshop earlier in the year. Hell, I’m even going to be releasing Dory’s Avengers on Audible once I’ve found the perfect narrator – watch this blog for further news on that particular venture. There’s no stopping me now.

#Iamselfpublishing!

But hang on a moment – wasn’t Dory’s published three years ago? About this time of year, with a book launch and signing sessions and lots of champagne?

Book Launch Champagne 1

Okay, I confess – yes, it was. I’m not going to go into details about what went wrong (mutters dark oaths about vanity publisher dazzling naïve author with false promises); suffice to say, about a year ago I decided to reread my literary triumph and ended up hugely embarrassed by the standard of editing, proof reading and, I have to confess, my own blunders. All the parts I’d been uneasy about but had left in; all the rambling scenes I’d included simply so I could air one amusing phrase; all were there, mocking me and making me want to…give the book a damn good structural edit and re-release it.

And so I did.

I can honestly say I am delighted with everything to do with the revised edition of Dory’s Avengers, and I’m looking forward to sharing more blog posts and snippets from the book on An Author’s View in the weeks leading up to the big launch on 30 September. If you bought a copy of the original and feel tempted to give the sleek new version a try, please contact me and I will give you a free copy, if possible in the format of your choice. If not, I hope you will purchase a copy, love it and leave me a peachy review, but I will be equally interested to know your reasons if you’re not keen. If people are reading Dory’s Avengers, I will be one happy author. You, dear readers, are after all the reason why I write.

Introducing – Susan Grossey @SusanGrossey

My final introduction post is all about Susan Grossey, author of both factual and historical fiction books about financial crime. I first contacted Susan as soon as the Mill Road Winter Fair organisers confirmed that Books, Beautiful Books would be a part of this year’s fair, and we’ve been swapping cheerful and friendly emails since (as I have with all the authors joining me on Saturday). I’m very much looking forward to meeting her.

From Susan’s website, here is more about her and her work:

makeover

My name is Susan Grossey.  I graduated from Cambridge University in 1987 with a degree in English, and then taught secondary English for two years before realising that the National Curriculum was designed primarily to extinguish every spark of creativity in its teachers.  I then became a technical author, and reached the pinnacle of this profession when I was asked to document the workings of a choc-ice wrapping machine in Cardiff, while wearing a fetching blue hairnet (which I forgot to remove until it was pointed out by a cashier in a petrol station on the M4).

From this unbeatable high point I moved into technical training, and one day was asked to help with a staff manual on fraud prevention.  As I wrote the chapter on money laundering, I realised thaAnti Money Lauderingt here was a topic that could keep my interest for years – and so it has proved.  Since 1998, I have been self-employed as an anti-money laundering consultant, providing training and strategic advice and writing policies and procedures for clients in many countries.  As part of my job, I have written several non-fiction books with exciting titles like Money Laundering: A Training Strategy, The Money Laundering Officer’s Practical Handbook and Anti-Money Laundering: A Guide for the Non-Executive Director.

Suspicious Activity cover-part-1[1]Suspicious Activity cover-part-6[1]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

However, even this is not enough financial crime for me, and in my spare evenings and weekends I write fiction – but always with financial crime at the heart of it.

The ForgeryCanary waistcoat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To purchase any of Susan’s books please visit her website, or come along to the Donkey Green marquee at Mill Road Winter Fair in Cambridge on Saturday and meet her in person.

You can also follow Susan’s blog or connect with her on Twitter @SusanGrossey

The Countdown Escalates

22 August 2013

Regular visitors to ‘An Author’s View’ may have noticed that no author interview has appeared this week. The interviews will return in September as there are plenty more fabulous authors happy to share their stories with us, but for now I would like to dedicate ‘An Authors View’ solely to my very soon to be published début novel, DORY’S AVENGERS.

One week today Dory’s will be officially published and my lifelong dream will have come true. I’ve always enjoyed storytelling, and I’ve always loved books. Now the two have come together, and it goes without saying that I’m excited. I’m also nervous; the butterflies have been churning away in my stomach for a couple of weeks now, but that’s all part of the thrill. At the forthcoming Book WaterstonesLaunch in the Cambridge branch of Waterstones on 29 August I’ll be signing copies of my beautiful book, making a speech, reading from DORY’S AVENGERS…

Yes, I’ll be the centre of attention. Bring it on! I can’t wait.

Whatever happens after the book launch will be a huge adventure as I continue my steep learning curve. Thanks to fellow authors, who have been unfailingly supportive of my writing, I know a lot of hard work awaits me as I continue to keep the interest in DORY’S AVENGERS alive with promotional events, more book signings, and, of course, my twin loves of blogging and networking. Somewhere along the way I would like to continue writing ‘New Book’, as well as acquiring a good reputation as an editor. I need to keep the wolf from the door somehow, and believe me, he’s sharpening his teeth even as I type! I’m looking forward to it, with a little bit of trepidation. No one ever ventured into the unknown without a few nerves, but I’ll be working for something about which I am passionate: my writing. To have been given the opportunity to follow my passion is a wonderful gift, a gift for which I will be eternally grateful.

The future certainly looks very exciting, and it will all kick off in a week’s time. As the countdown escalates I have decided to shamelessly copy an idea from Nicky Wells: blogger extraordinaire, author of the fabulous SOPHIE’S TURN, SOPHIE’S RUN and soon to be published SOPHIE’S ENCORE, and supportive friend. Like me, Nicky is a music fan, and every Monday she adds some music to her blog. Music has always been a source of inspiration for me, so for the next seven days I will share a song each day as a soundtrack for DORY’S AVENGERS.

I hope you will enjoy Dory’s Music, and the accompanying blogs.

My Author Interview

I have given my first author interview. Throughout the process of publishing DORY’S AVENGERS I’ve had a persistent niggly voice in the back of my mind telling me that I’m not really an author. I’m only pretending. Finding a publisher, editing, proof reading, approving the wonderful cover art, promoting, guest blogging, networking, organising the book launch; yes, I’ve done all these book publishing essentials, but none has managed to silence the niggly voice.

‘But, look!’ I tell the niggly voice. ‘That’s my photograph on the cover of Dory’s Avengers. I am the author!’

‘Well now you’re being silly,’ replies the niggly voice. Smugly.

As I said at the start of this post I have given my first author interview, and to my amazement the niggly voice is silent.

‘Niggly Voice, look! An author interview, featuring me.’

Silence.

Could it be that my subconscious finally believes that I am an author? About time!

My niggly voice silencing author interview can be read on Jera’s Jamboree.

Author Interview – Nik A Ramli

NIK A RAMLI book cover publicity DONNA SUMMER THE THRILL GOES ON A TRIBUTE

Purchase on Amazon
UK Link US Link

Today I have a very exciting guest in the form of the multi talented Nik A Ramli. Not only is Nik a successful interior designer with his own unique style, he is now a successful author too. An avid music fan, Nik has written a biography celebrating the musical journey of his all time favourite American singer, Donna Summer. He had the opportunity to interview many respected figures nationally and internationally in the entertainment world: journalists, music authors and fans of the singer for the endeavour. This first book by Nik titled ‘Donna Summer The Thrill Goes On – A Tribute’ is now available.

Nik’s career has seen him hold a weekly guest slot on a live breakfast TV show (‘Hello On Two (HOT)’ on RTM TV2) discussing interior design. He is a contributor to national and international magazines, newspapers, has been interviewed on a number of radio stations, featured on the popular daily TV programmes and promotional films on subjects related to interior design. In his career Nik has been interviewed by some of the UK’s most popular BBC and Channel 4 TV presenters. In April 2012 he was asked to suggest furniture retailers in Kuala Lumpur to sponsor NTV7’s ‘Bella’ TV show. To find out more about Nik you can visit his website.

I am delighted to have the opportunity to bombard Nik with questions, which he has very kindly taken the time to answer.

Alison – Hello Nik, and welcome to An Author’s View. To start off let’s get to know more about your writing. Please describe your latest book, along with details of book signings, release date (where relevant), promotional events etc.

Nik – Hi Alison. My book, ‘Donna Summer The Thrill Goes On – A Tribute’ was released in September 2012 and in January 2013 the paperback was printed.

NR_DSbook launch584

Nik at the launch for ‘Donna Summer The Thrill Goes On – A Tribute’

The book is a very personal tribute, a music biography celebrating the late American star’s musical success. It documents Donna Summer’s ups and downs during her career in the world of entertainment. It is an informative read and contains a lot of detailed factual information. This project is a fair and constructive critical analysis of my favourite singer’s artistic legacy. Still, one can’t help it if there is a little bit of bias because, after all, Donna Summer is my favourite artist. The book is aimed at all music lovers who would like to know what an incredibly creative person Donna Summer was. New fans will love this book, fanatical fans will appreciate it. I’m sure no one can satisfy every single one of Donna Summer’s hardcore followers but I hope most people will enjoy it.

It is great and I’m still promoting the book. I’m telling you it’s a full time job! In June 2013, a DJ did a gig as a tribute to Donna Summer and called it ‘Funk Off! Donna Summer Special’, I was there to promote my book in London. We had a great time… I and some friends did anyway!

PIC CREDIT ZULU DJ for DONNA SUMMER SPECIAL

Also there might be a show, a special tribute to Donna Summer music in Malaysia in September 2013 and to celebrate the one year anniversary of the hardcover. 

Alison – Sounds like a really fun way to promote your book. When and why did you decide to become an author?

Nik  – This is due to my other writing works for publications which started in 2005 on tips about interior design and I had columns in the US and the UK. I wrote a script for a UK TV drama once, but the script did not go far! As for my book, since I have compiled data about Donna Summer’s music as early as 1997 as a hobby. It was in 2008 I asked myself “What if”. So that was the beginning of my ‘author’s’ voyage. The rest is history.  

Alison – Do you have any idiosyncrasies when writing, such as performing certain tasks before you begin or wearing particular clothes while you work?

Nik – Every writer has their own approach when writing. It took me a while, as I was working full time during the initial phase of writing the manuscript for publication. I listened to a lot of my favourite music. Eat a lot! Until you have gone through the process of producing a book you don’t really appreciate how much work it involves. Creating a conducive environment is important so that you can focus on the work.

Alison – I imagine you had to do plenty of research for your book.

Nik – Absolutely! Writing a factual book about someone popular is a totally different proposition. There are a lot of considerations one needs to take account of such as legal matters and finalising and analysis of the research. Doing the research is one of the most interesting parts of the writing process. I also conducted interviews with selected national and international media figures related to Donna Summer. It is important for me to get information from as many different sources as possible and I wanted a fresh feel to the work.

Alison – I notice your book has received some favourable reviews. Please feel free to quote from the review and/or post links here.

Nik – It was great to receive good reviews about my work from publications.

For example The Beat noted:

“Nik A Ramli has dug deep…to paint a portrait of a very creative talent, extremely well researched and informative.” “Ramli takes a different and personal look at her life and career full of highs, million-selling and Grammy Award-winning records, attempts at being a movie star, her retreat back to gospel, and her love of painting.” “Drawing from a number of quality publications and interviews…the book was written before her untimely death and is best read with that in mind.” “…an enjoyable read for soul and general pop fans.”

While Gay Times printed:

“…this is a complete biography that covers everything…It’s meticulous in the extreme…essential for any Summer obsessives.”

Most humbling was receiving comments from Donna Summer’s fans that e-mailed or posted their messages on social networking sites to me, it is fabulous.

Alison – What have you learned from the publishing experience? Are there things you would do differently in future?

Nik – I learned a lot since my book was published. From my experience I say promotion is the key and you have to carry on doing the task. A published author once said to me “You still have to do publicity own your own”. She is right. Well it’s your baby, your lover! You are not going to let your book go and walk alone? Or just simply depending on the publishing company? Well unless you are a global well known author when everything is at your service!  

The main key is ‘RESEARCH’. You’ll learn more and more, it’s endless. Still, this is my first book and first contracted partnership publication. Sure, there will be many things one might do differently. Only once you have published a book will you have an idea what to do next in the future, perhaps?   

Alison – Would any other writing work interest you, such as screenplay writing, editing or book reviewing? Please give reasons for your choices.

Nik – I would love to and I will. You learn when you’re reading other peoples work for review. You will learn again and also when you start to write new manuscript(s). I must say editing is not my field. Let’s leave it to the experts shall we?

Alison – I gather from your last answer that you consider professional editing and proof reading essential parts of the publishing process.

Nik – Oh yes. You do need professionals to do the job. Still you also have to read your manuscript over and over to proof it after it has been edited. It’s your work after all. I love the experience I had with this task, e-mailing the publishers about the changes is fabulous. Maybe I gave the editor a headache? Who knows? Still to proof read and to read it as a book is different. Your mind is more at ease and sometimes you soon spot a few things that may need correcting.  Publishers normally will advise their authors about the matter.

Alison – I found it impossible to proof read my own work; I simply saw whatever I intended to write, so I’m very grateful to the professionals for the job they did. Aside from employing the services of proof readers and editors, is there any other advice you would give to a budding author?

Nik – Research, research and lots of research on your subject matter, and do it well. Stay creative and focus. If you have any ideas for your working manuscript, note them down. Carry a little note book with you all the time!

Alison – Did you give television/radio interviews while promoting your book? Did you enjoy the experience? Did you learn from it?

Nik – I had a radio interview in the UK, newspapers in Malaysia and a magazine in the US. The book also featured on Malaysian TV when I was there to promote my interior design work and to do my guest TV slot. I have had media interviews before about my design work. All I can say to future authors is to make notes and remember the crucial information you want to deliver to the listeners and viewers. Live Radio and TV interviews are exciting and nerve racking in equal measure. Enjoy it! You are talking about your work.   

Alison – How did you feel the first time you saw your book in print?

Nik – A self published friend of mine said “You will cry”. Well, no! I was normal and excited. I knew it was my book when I received it from the postman. You know when you see scenes about authors receiving their book from movies or TV series you would say “Hey that’s me soon” But it is not. I’m sure everybody experiences it differently. But I’m still very proud to see my book! I smile every time I look at it. You know I hold it and put it in my bag every time I travel and have it on my coffee table. I’ll go to shops if they display my book and have a look at it! Am I sad? Well who cares… I have a book out!

Alison – I did think I would cry when I received the initial copies of my novel; instead I smiled a huge smile as Book Guild had done such a fabulous job. I have to keep looking at the author photograph to remind myself it really is my work, so I can understand your pride! It would be a terrible shame to see the demise of the physical book. Do you think there will always be people who want to buy hard copies of books, or will the e-reader take over completely? How do you feel about e-readers?

Nik – The physical book will always be published. It is a tough business, but people will always buy books because you can’t replace a physical book. No doubt e-books will become increasingly popular but from my own findings readers purchase them as an easy read type of book. They are moderate in price and space saving. For great novels and fabulously designed coffee table books, I say e-books cannot compete.  

Alison – I’m sure you’re right. I can’t imagine a world without books, much as I enjoy my e-reader, so I think they’re safe for the foreseeable future.

Thank you once again to Nik for sharing his news and opinions with us.

Nik – Thank you Alison. All the best for your own book and enjoy the journey promoting your book.

If you’d like to find out more about Nik and his work he has a variety of social networking sites, blogs and websites for you to follow:

Website:

www.nikaramli.com

Facebook:

www.facebook.com/nikaramliinteriordesign

www.facebook.com/nikaramlipage

www.facebook.com/donnasummerthethrillgoeson

Blog:

http://nikaramlidesigndesire.blogspot.co.uk

http://nikaramlimusic.blogspot.co.uk

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/nikaramli

MySpace:

https://myspace.com/nikaramli

Pinterest:

http://pinterest.com/nikaramli

To buy Donna Summer – The Thrill Goes On – A Tribute:

Amazon

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=nik%20a%20ramli&sprefix=nik+a+%2Caps&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Anik%20a%20ramli

Author Interview – Janet Hopton

My apologies for not posting an author interview last week. It was a bit of a hectic week for me one way or another, but I’m back on the case now and would like to extend a very warm welcome to Janet Hopton. Janet’s fast paced thriller ‘Strange Days’ was published towards the end of 2012, and I’m delighted to have the opportunity to catch up with her and bombard her with questions.

Novel:  STRANGE DAYS

Purchase Strange Days on Amazon

UK link         US link

 

Alison – Hello Janet, welcome to my blog and thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. Let’s start with your debut novel Strange Days. In your own words, please tell us more about the book and its launch.

JanetStrange Days is Crime/Thriller Fiction.  It is my debut novel and it tells the story of a young barmaid whose life is changed for ever when she gets herself involved, after witnessing a car accident.

Since the launch of Strange Days on the 29th of November 2012, I have done two book signings, one at Waterstone’s in Derby and another at Waterstone’s in Burton-on-Trent.  Both signings went very well resulting in 45 books been sold altogether.  Unfortunately, since then I have had a fall resulting in some injuries, which has meant that I haven’t been unable to do anymore promotion but I hope to get back on track very soon.  I intend to arrange more signings and talks at Women’s Institutes and Townswomen’s Guilds.

Alison – I’m sorry to hear about your accident, and hope you are on the mend now. I’m sure you’re looking forward to getting back to the business of promoting Strange Days. What inspired you to become an author in the first place?

Janet – Since being a teenager I have had it on my mind that I would like to write but for some reason never got started, other than writing a few poems.  It wasn’t until I was married and with teenagers of my own, did I decide to have a go.  It has always been in the back of my mind that I wanted to achieve something, to be recognised in someway, to leave something behind after I am gone.  Maybe that is my driving force!

Alison – I can’t think of anything better than books to leave behind for generations to come! Looking to authors from the past, do you feel that anyone in particular has influenced your writing?

Janet – I don’t think my writing has been influenced by any other authors.  I think it is entirely me, or am I being naive thinking that?  You ask which authors I like.  To be honest, I think I like the books rather than the authors.  A good book makes a good author and you have to be a good author to write a good book and there are many who fit that category.  I particularly like the classics, such as Dickens, The Brontes, Jane Austen but any good book will do!

Alison – I’m a big fan of Dickens myself, I love his turn of phrase. Was there anything in particular that gave you inspiration for Strange Days itself?

Janet – My inspiration for Strange Days was when I worked behind the bar in our local pub.  It came from observing the clientele and getting intrigued by them and wondering what their lives must be like.

Alison – People watching is something I guess all authors must do. Our characters would be a little boring otherwise! Going back to the subject of books in general, what are you reading at the moment, and what is your opinion?

Janet – The book that I am reading at the moment is Small Island by Andrea Levy.  I am enjoying reading it.  I thought at first that she was taking too long to get to the plot and going into too much detail about the characters in it but as I have read further I have found that she has brought the characters to life for me in a very interesting way.  I am only two thirds through it at the moment, therefore cannot give my full opinion on it.

Alison – I recently read a highly entertaining blog in which an author describes the rituals she has to perform before she begins writing for the day. A second author commented that she has to be wearing certain jewellery when she writes. Do you have any idiosyncrasies when you’re writing?

Janet – None in particular, other than that I like to be alone in the house when I write and nobody can see it until I am happy that it is finished.

Alison – I can relate to that. My poor partner gets snarled at if he so much as glances at my unedited work! As I’ve mentioned I’m reading a lot of excellent blogs by fellow authors, and one thing that intrigues me is the different writing styles each one has. Do you like to plan your work, or do you just see where the story takes you?

Janet – I didn’t plan Strange Days.  I had an idea and worked on it.  I let my imagination run away with me as I typed.

Alison – That’s very much how I write too. Once I get to know my characters the story becomes theirs and I just follow along to write it all down. I remember hearing an author speaking on a radio show, saying his characters told him when they considered it the right time to finish their story. Do you find your characters talk to you?

Janet – I haven’t noticed my characters talking to me, if they did I would worry that I was Schizophrenic, but I will say that I do become my main characters as I write.

Alison – That’s very interesting. My characters chat away to me all the time, but I’ve never felt that I was one of them. It just goes to show we all have our own unique ways of writing. It must be very exciting, and quite daunting, once your book is published and you know people are reading it, especially when those people start to write reviews. Has Strange Days received any reviews, and were you happy with them?

Janet –  I have had some favourable reviews, the ones on Amazon giving Strange Days 4* status and some on my Facebook Site – Fans of Strange Days, all very favourable.

Alison – Do you feel you have learnt anything throughout the publishing of Strange Days?

Janet – I think I learnt a lot from my publishing experience.  The way the process is done from the editing, through the proof reading and artwork stages.  I looked at self publishing at first but felt out of my depth, so I went through an independent publisher, Book Guild.  I was glad that I did, as when it came to promoting my book at Waterstones, I was told that they wouldn’t have been interested in it, if I had self-published.  I am not sure whether that is always the case!

On reflection I think I might have benefited from a more local publisher, the only reason I say this is that Book Guild Publishing is in Brighton and I am in Derby.  There were occasions that I thought maybe they would have attended promotional events if they had been closer and that I could perhaps have attended promotional events that they are involved with.

Alison – I think bookshops are becoming very wary of promoting unknown authors now, with all the competition from e-books making it harder and harder for them to survive. I’m convinced Waterstones would never have agreed to hosting my book launch had I not had the support of an established publishing firm. Aside from book signings, have you joined any book clubs or writers groups while promoting Strange Days?

Janet – I am not involved with any book clubs, but having said that I recently joined Vixen Fiction, a small group of ladies who like to write and meet at our local library once a month.  We have a trip to D H Lawrence’s House and Museum in Nottinghamshire coming up soon.

Alison – I’ve found networking with authors, editors and book lovers very useful as I approach the publication date of my novel. At the very least we can bounce ideas off one another, and I’ve made some useful contacts for when the time comes to get reviews rolling in. I’ve mentioned editing here; would any writing other than fiction, such as editing or script writing, appeal to you?

Janet – I would be interested in other writing ideas, such has writing plays but I am not sure how good I would be at it.  As for writing reviews, I don’t think that I am eloquent enough to do a good job, especially when there is so much at stake.  Editing is very specialist, I think one must need a degree in English Grammar to be able to do it.

Alison – I’m not so sure about that. Obviously, an editor needs a high standard of grammar and a good command of the language in general, as well as an eye for storylines and characterisation, but I think one can learn all that from being a voracious reader. You’re right about script writing, which I think is very different to writing a novel. As for reviewing, I think you do yourself a disservice! Anyone who can write a book deemed worthy of publication is eloquent enough to write a review. Revisiting the subject of editing again, do you think authors need to get their work professionally edited and proof read, or is it something they can do themselves?

Janet – I do think that professional editing and proof reading is essential for the publishing process for most of us.  I hope that someone edits and proof-reads this before it goes out!

Alison – Just me I’m afraid, although I may be able to persuade one of the lovely people at Book Guild to cast their expert eyes over it too! It’s no disrespect to an author’s talent, but I don’t believe anyone can successfully edit and proof read their own novel, and it’s a shame that some authors think a DIY job is a good way to save some money. Apart from employing the professionals to edit and proof read, is there any other advice you would give to a budding author?

Janet – My advice to any budding authors out there is to give it a go, what can you lose?  You will never know, unless you try!

Alison – I’ve recently received the first copies of my debut novel, which I found immensely exciting. What a great feeling it was to hold my book in my hands for the first time. How did you feel when the initial copies of Strange Days arrived?

Janet – I felt a bit overwhelmed when my book arrived all done and dusted.  In fact I made my husband open the box and look at it first.  My first reaction when I got my hands on it was ‘WOW’, it was a lovely book and nicely presented.  My only gripe was that I thought it would be thicker.  The strangest feeling was seeing it being advertised in Waterstones for my signing.  I then expected to see it everywhere, on bookshop shelves, in libraries, I guess that only happens, every blue moon!  Not giving up hope though!

When in London I called into The British Library and asked for it, only to be told I was too early as it takes more than six months to get there.  Must try again!

Alison – Are you planning a sequel to Strange Days?

Janet – I haven’t planned a sequel to Strange Days but it isn’t out of the question, especially as friends tell me that they need to know what happens next to some of my characters.

I do have another novel nearly finished and hope that my publisher will like it.

Alison – I shall keep my eyes open for that. Would you ever consider ghost writing a novel for a celebrity ‘author’?

Janet – Ghost Writing for a celebrity author – I think that if I was younger that would be a great idea.  I am not sure what the celebrity author would think of me doing it though.

Alison – Have you ever thought about Strange Days being made into a film or television drama? If so, would you like to appear in it?

 Janet – Some have said that Strange Days would make a good television drama, as for me starring in it; I think that would be best left to the actors.  Maybe an extra on set would be good!

Alison – Just a couple of general questions to round off the interview. What are your top five books, if you can narrow it down to five?

Janet – My five top books are:

  • Papillon – Henri Charierre
  • Gone with the Wind – Margaret Mitchell
  • Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
  • The Blind Miller (I like a good cry) – Catherine Cookson
  • The Secret Garden (Childhood Inspiration) – Frances Hodgson Burnett

Oh yes, I did like Puckoon (I also like a good laugh) – Spike Milligan

Alison – I loved The Secret Garden as a child too, I must have read it dozens of times. I do love my Kindle for its convenience, but I don’t think it will ever replace the pleasure of opening a brand new book and smelling the print before I delve into the story. Do you think there is a future for physical books, or will the e-book eventually take over completely?

Janet – I do hope that the future is okay for real, touchable, smellable books, however I think that there is a place for e-books to.  Perhaps everyone who purchases an e-book should buy a real book to make amends.  I can’t see readers loaning out their e-books, can you?

Alison – No, I can’t see that happening either; but, on the plus side for us authors, it means everyone will buy their own copy for their e-reader and we make more sales. Kerr-ching! Thank you very much Janet for taking part in this interview. It has been a real pleasure to chat and hear your news and views.

Janet – Thank you Alison, I think this is a great idea!

To find out more about Janet and her work, please visit her facebook page Fans of Strange Days or follow her on Twitter  

Author:  JANET HOPTON

 

Author Interview with EMMA LONG

EMMA LONG

Today I am delighted to introduce EMMA LONG, my first interviewee and Quick & Easy Homemade Meals Book Coverauthor of the very well received cookery book ‘QUICK AND EASY HOMEMADE MEALS’, published by Book Guild. After several years working for The Swallow Hotel Group as an Assistant Manager, Emma set up her own Birmingham-based business, Emma’s Pantry, in 1998, which she ran until 2012 when she joined her family run property business full time. In response to demand from Emma’s Pantry staff and customers she created ‘QUICK AND EASY HOMEMADE MEALS’, in which she guides her hungry readers through easy to follow recipes making the most of common ingredients. Each recipe is accompanied by full colour photographs, showing the raw ingredients and the delicious meals that can be created.

When not cooking, Emma is a keen tennis player and gardener, an avid reader, and enjoys playing the guitar and drums. I’m delighted to say she has found time in her busy schedule to answer some questions for me. So without further ado, let’s welcome Emma and get to know her a little better.

Alison – Briefly describe your latest book / work in progress, along with details of book signings, release date (where relevant), promotional events etc.

Emma – My book “Quick and Easy Homemade Meals” was published in 2012 and is my first publication – It is as the cover states ‘A book of tasty recipes for the busy person’.

Each recipe is accompanied with a photo of the raw ingredients as well as one of the finished dish, something I feel is a unique selling point, as I have yet to discover a publication which has this feature.

I am currently writing my second book and have nearly finished ‘trying and testing’ the recipes. Additionally, I hope to combine both books to develop a student friendly version which will include advice on essential ingredients for the fridge, freezer, and store cupboard.

Alison – ‘Quick and Easy Homemade Meals’ is now on my wish list; my cookery skills are in need of some improvement! When and why did you decide to become and author?

Emma – I decided to become an author in 2011 and was inspired by not only my love of preparing food but also the pleasure I get from constructing a tasty dish by combining a few ingredients. I wanted to capture this inspiration in book form and so starting to write down my recipes.

Writing a book and having it published is a very satisfying and rewarding achievement – something I wanted to fulfil before my 40th birthday !

I do like a challenge and am always looking for new ways to add another ‘string to my bow’.

Alison – What are you reading at the moment, and what is your opinion?

Emma – I am a very keen reader and since 2010 and have on average been reading a book a week. I am currently in between books at the moment as I am just finishing “The Innocent” by Harlan Coben and am about to start “Inferno” the new novel by Dan Brown. I really enjoy Harlan Coben books as each chapter leaves you on the edge of your seat – really well written thrillers.

Alison – Has your book received favourable reviews ? Please feel free to quote from the reviews / and / or post links here.

Emma – Yes, I am pleased to say the Burton Mail (Saturday, 25th February, 2012) provided a very favourable review as have some customers on Amazon.

Caroline Kay from the Burton Mail wrote:

“I may not be a very adventurous cook, but I do like my cookery books.

Over the years I have acquired quite a few – but the one thing I like the most is to see a picture of each of the dishes which are included. Not all cookery books offer this luxury – in fact, many moons ago, I had one to review which didn’t have a single picture or illustration throughout.

Quick and Easy Homemade Meals, however, doesn’t just have a full colour photograph illustrating how each dish should look when prepared, but also a picture of the raw ingredients. Personally, I love this quirky addition.

The book is divided into 11 sections – beef dishes, pasta, chicken, fish, pork, lamb, vegetarian, alternative meals, side dishes, sauces, and sandwich fillings.

All the dishes are quick and easy to prepare and the majority don’t have a particularly long cooking time which is ideal for those, like me, who always seem to be in a rush. There is a good selection of recipes mixing classics with favourites and includes some interesting snacks and side dishes.

There are more than 100 recipes featured from an author who, unlike many of our cookery brethren, doesn’t believe in the motto ‘the more complicated the better’.

Chances are you will have most of the ingredients in your store cupboard, fridge and freezer.”

Amazon Customers have given my book a 5 star rating and the comments during 2012 – 2013 included:

“Great Book !”

“Quite a discovery”

“I highly recommend this book”

“Excellent cook book”

A local Birmingham magazine called “Gem” which is delivered to homes within the area have been very supportive, including me in two issues in 2012 and I have been approached by The Editor to write a feature for the July and August editions this year.

Recently, my old University, Oxford Brookes, from which I graduated in 1995, posted a profile detailing my career to date on their website. The link is here.

Furthermore, in order to promote my book I have designed a website  and have a dedicated Facebook page on which I post updates, news, and recipes:

Alison – It must be fabulous to know that people have not only bought ‘Quick and Easy Homemade Meals’ they have enjoyed it so much they review and recommend it. All the hard work and the long publishing process was definitely worthwhile. What have you learned from the publishing experience ? Are there things you would do differently in future ?

Emma – The publishing process was a completely new experience for me, but the publisher kept me informed at each stage so I knew what to expect. It could be said you learn from your mistakes the first time round which makes the publishing procedure easier and gives you a greater understanding for your second publication.

The Facebook page I created for my book has been very successful, and so in hindsight perhaps I should have designed one earlier, maybe pre-book launch, and thus I could have started to built an audience and gained more interest earlier.

Alison – Do you think professional editing and proof reading are essential parts of the publishing process ? Do you think an author can successfully perform these tasks themselves ? Please give reasons for your answer.

Emma – Most definitely these are essential parts. As an author you become very engrossed in your work and possibly overlook typographical errors and may miss out, in the case of a cookery book, the mention of a specific ingredient which has been listed but omitted from the method.

Proof reading and editing provide ‘a fresh pair of eyes’ and are beneficial tools in order to offer a critical evaluation.

Alison – I agree. Recently I saw a cartoon picture with the caption ‘Don’t ask an author to poof read their own work, they’ll only see whatever they intended to write’. In addition to employing the services of professional editors and proof readers, is there any other advice you would give to a budding author ?

Emma – Research your topic thoroughly and look for a USP (unique selling point) which will inevitably help sell your book. Don’t be disheartened by rejection use it positively – I was turned down by 14 Literary Agents until I found a publisher who saw the potential in my manuscript and I am now a publisher author !

Use the internet as a platform to showcase your work, such as creating a Facebook page and designing a website.

It you believe in your work, undoubtedly others will too, and thus you may well fulfil a niche in the market which has largely remained unexplored.

Alison – Social media is an invaluable marketing tool, isn’t it. After working so hard to find a publisher, it must have been great to see your book in print for the first time. How did you feel?

Emma – Thrilled and excited ! To see my initial manuscript turned into a book meant I fulfilled an ambition to be a published author by 40. As a new author the process felt quite daunting but I am delighted with the finished product. The support and positive comments have made the whole process worthwhile.

Alison – Do you think someone can be taught to write books, or is it a natural talent ?

Emma – I think there is a writer and book in everyone ! The word ‘talent’ is defined in the dictionary as an ‘ability’ which I believe each one of us has, but some may not realise. Our introduction to creative writing can start at an early age at school, but career choices, and experiences during life can provide material which could result in a book. I recommend putting pen to paper and let your creative juices flow !

Alison – What are your top five books ? A favourite series can count as one choice.

Emma- This is a very difficult question as I have enjoyed some many books by different authors over the years but I have managed to produce a short list as follows:

1)      “Angels and Demons” by Dan Brown

2)      “Hothouse Flower” by Lucinda Riley

3)      “Never Look Away” by Linwood Barclay

4)      “Tell No One” by Harlan Coben

5)      “Confessions of a Midwife” by Diane Chamberlain

Alison – Good choices! ‘Tell No One’ is a particular favourite of mine too. What do you think is the future for the physical book ? Do you think there will always be people buying hard copies of books, or will the e-reader take over completely ?

Emma – Sadly there has been a steady demise in the traditional High Street bookstore over the past few years as on line retailers, such as Amazon, have succeeded in meeting the demands of the consumer whose hectic life style limits their spare time and thus ordering a book via the internet, which can be delivered to your e-reader within seconds, removes the need to leave your desk to shop.

I, too have joined the growing band of people who own a Kindle (the device is certainly easier and weighs less to take on holiday than several novels !) and have recently uploaded a Kindle version of my book on to the Amazon website.

Perhaps, like a fashion item, the book will come back into vogue and the e-reader will become a less favourable mode of reading, only time will tell !

Alison – I think there will always be a call for real books as well as e-books, particularly for reference. I can’t imagine following recipes on my kindle, for example, so I’m sure there is a future for the traditional book. Let’s hope so!

Emma Long author photoThank you very much to Emma for her excellent comments. I hope you’ve enjoyed this interview as much as I have, and if you fancy trying Emma’s recipes for yourself QUICK AND EASY HOMEMADE MEALS can be ordered directly from Book Guild, or from  Amazon:       UK link     US Link

You can also follow Emma on FACEBOOK