Saturday, June 30, 2012

Interview with Lori L. Clark




Deirdra: What was the pathway like for you to get your first book published?
Lori L. Clark: Very hilly. You finish your manuscript and believe it's amazing. You put together a query letter and get some feedback on that. Then you send the query letter off to selected agents and wait for responses. Rejections hurt. Requests for partials and/or fulls stoke your pride. I decided after several (hundreds) rejections of BEAUTY'S BEHOLDER that I'd epublish it instead of going the traditional route. My second book, BETWEEN THE MOON AND SHINE, is signed to be published by a small local publishing house and my third book, TYLER FALLS, has recently been published on KDP/Amazon.

Deirdra: Were you ever discouraged along the way? If so, how did you deal with it?
Lori L. Clark: Oh my goodness yes. It's downright depressing! No matter how down I got about things, I kept on writing. That's the important thing. Don't ever give up.

Deirdra:  What is your writing schedule like?
Lori L. Clark: I work outside the home at a full time job in addition to writing, so I squeeze my writing time in when I can. Usually on the weekends. If I'm feeling really inspired, I will write a chapter or so before heading off to work.

Deirdra: What do you do to relax and unwind?
Lori L. Clark: I read or I run. I jog for a hobby and ran my first marathon last fall. It's very meditative for me.


Deirdra:  Can you tell us a little about your book, TYLER FALLS?
Lori L. Clark: TYLER FALLS is an edgy YA contemporary told from alternating points of view. The main character, Tyler,  has suffered from manic depression for as long as he can remember. Through medication and therapy, he manages to keep his life together. But when his parents are murdered, he decides he's had enough of living as a broken person with a broken life. So, in thirty days, he plans to stick the barrel of his Ruger SP101 into his mouth and pull the trigger.

Emma Perez's brother, Ethan Giovanni, sits in a mental institution for the murder of Dr. and Mrs. Falls. Deemed mentally incompetent and unfit to stand trial, Ethan has one weekly visitor -- Emma. She doesn't deny his guilt, he's her brother and she loves him spite of the fact he's paranoid schizophrenic.

They say when you cross paths with someone more than once, it's fate -- you're destined to meet. Tyler doesn't know Emma is Ethan's sister, and Emma doesn't know Tyler's story either. When Tyler learns who Emma's brother is, the world he's rebuilt around her begins to crumble all over again and it leaves both of them wondering why fate has such a cruel sense of humor.

Deirdra:  What are you working on now?
Lori L. Clark: Another YA contemporary with a working title of BREAKER. It's about an overweight singer who struggles with her self-esteem and trying to get people to take her music seriously instead of dismissing her because of her appearance.

Deirdra:  Are you planning on self-publishing, finding and agent, going with a small press or other? And why?
Lori L. Clark: I haven't decided yet. I will probably try to find an agent first and see what type of response I receive that way.

Deirdra: Where can readers go to find your books and order them?
Lori L. Clark: BEAUTY'S BEHOLDER and TYLER FALLS are both available electronically through Amazon.com. BETWEEN THE MOON AND SHINE is not out yet.








Friday, June 29, 2012

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Interview with Jessie Harrell



Deirdra: What are your favorite kind of books to read and why?
Jessie:  I’m a paranormal romance fan through and through, although I also love a sweet contemporary story.  I guess I’m a hopeless romantic at heart.

Deirdra: How many books on average would you say you read a year?
Jessie:  Somewhere between 30 and 50.  When I’m writing, I read less.

Deirdra: What is the most recent book you read? Can you tell us a little about it?
Jessie: The most recent book I’ve finished is The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab.  It was like part Old English fairy tale, part sweet love story, part ghost story.  I really enjoyed the pace and suspense in the novel, and the magical elements made it extra special.

Deirdra: What is the most disappointing thing authors do?
Jessie:  Well, as an Indie author myself, I’d have to say its disappointing when I see a  great story that’s been poorly edited.  The typos can really mess it up for me.

Deirdra: Who are your top five favorite authors?
Jessie:  That’s too hard of a question to answer because there are so many fantastic authors out there.  I love Stephanie Perkins’s contemporary novels and Stephanie Meyers’s Twilight series.

Deirdra: How do you feel about e-books?
Jessie:  Love them.  My Kindle and I are BFFs.  In fact, I now prefer ebooks over paper books because my Kindle has a built in light. 



Deirdra: What other talents and hobbies to you have?
Jessie: I love to scrapbook and photograph my kiddos. 

Deirdra: Where is your favorite place to read?
Jessie:  Curled up on the couch, under a blanket, on a rainy afternoon.

Deirdra: What books have made you cry?
Jessie:  I can only think of one right now and it was Marley & Me.  I was bawling like a baby at the end of that one. 

Deirdra: What books have made you laugh?
Jessie:  Chris Ryalnder has a series for middle grade boys called The Fourth Stall – they were pretty funny. 

Deirdra: What kind of books are you looking to read next? What is on your reading list?
Jessie:  My TBR list is so long right now, I don’t think I’ll ever get caught up. I’m still reading and loving the books written by my fellow Indelible authors. And two of my friends have novels coming out this fall – J.A. Souders’s RENEGADE and Kimberly Sabatini’s TOUCHING THE SURFACE – I can’t wait to get my hands on both of those.

Deirdra: Is there any other message you would like to give the literary community?
Jessie:  Because so much of publishing is timing and subjective tastes, don’t limit yourself by thinking the only good books out there are the ones that are traditionally published.  You’ll miss A LOT of gems if you do. 




Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I Believe In Jesus Too by Mark S. Nielsen





In book description:
All around the world, Latter-day Saint children go to church, sing songs, pray, read scriptures, participate in family home evening, and get baptized. We may meet in different types of buildings or speak different languages, but we have a lot in common. Why? Because no matter where we live, we all love and believe in Jesus, and He loves each one of us just the same. Are you like Pablo, Dimitri, Bayani, Junpei, and Shamara? Do you believe in Jesus too?






About the Author in book bio:
Mark S. Nielsen is a seminary teacher in Mesa, Arizona, where he lives with his wife, Anne, their children, Mary and Sam, and their dog, Chula. They like to go on road trips, run through the sprinklers, ride their bikes, and pet the stingrays at the zoo. Like millions of people all over the world, they believe in Jesus too. 
Parents can visit Mark online at marksnielsen.com





About the Artist in book bio:


Craig Stapley is an illustrator whose work has appeared in The Friend and Highlights, among other popular magazines. He currently lives in northern Utah with his wife, Crystal, and their four children: Ethan, Kaiden, Logan, and their newest addition, Emily Jean. As a family they enjoy traveling and any activity that they can do together.






Deirdra's Review:


I have readers at A Storybook Wold who help me do all the book reviews, but I personally review the children's books for a few reasons. First, I am a hard core art critic. Second, I am a mother. I don't have time to read every full manuscript that comes across my desk, but I always make time to read a book to my son at night.


When I first opened the package containing "I Believe in Jesus Too", I was impressed by the quality of the product itself. The book is well worth a tag price in the $20 range, although Deseret Book currently has it listed for about $16.


The art work is amazing and so full of movement, color, and light. The style is endearing and draws you into the characters like a master poet with a paintbrush. Craig Stapley was the perfect artist for this book. He does a fabulous job of bringing personality to each of the characters. This is important since this book shows many different races and cultures that children (and adults) may be unfamiliar with. But it also shows the universal joy of knowing that Jesus is the Christ and that's something all different kinds of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) have in common. It shows children in real life, cultural, and different family settings, which also articulated a message and echoed the words of the author. Even through we are different we are all children of God.


Mark, the author, is a seminary teacher. Although his profession is in teaching religion he proved he is a writer as well. The book has a great flow and natural rhythm to it. It wasn't too preachy or long for even for a young child.


I sat down with Kal'el, my three-year-old son, to get a child's opinion on this book. 
Kal'el sat very still, as I read the whole book. When I closed the book and said "The End" he flipped the book over and opened the front cover. I read it to him again, this time Kal'el pointed out objects in each picture he recognized.
This is now one of his favorite books on our family bookshelf. 






Currently the book price is $16.19 at Desert Book. You can purchase it here:


http://deseretbook.com/Believe-Jesus-Too-Mark-S-Nielsen/i/5061904










Deirdra's Rating:



Kal'el's Rating:






Total of Ten Stars for
I Believe In Jesus Too by Mark S. Nielsen illustrated by Craig Stapley








Saturday, June 16, 2012

How an Unknown Debut Novelist Became An Amazon Bestseller in a Single Day





My name is Adam Glendon Sidwell, and yesterday I was liberated. On Wednesday, no one knew who i was. I had never published a book before. Only two dozen people in the world had read my work. But by the end of Thursday, somehow my young adult novel Evertaster had risen as high as #51 on the overall Bestseller List on Amazon, surpassing the Amazon rankings of many of the current NYT bestsellers.

It rose to #16 overall in Children’s Books, and within its category rose to #1 in Children’s Mystery, settling in nicely right next to John Grisham’s latest novel and the 3rd Percy Jackson Book, which happens to be a NYT Bestseller as well.



Evertaster: #1 in Best Sellers in Children's Mystery, Detective & Spy

And the funny thing is, there was no one to do my marketing but me.

I tried to publish through the Big Guys for years. I even got an amazing agent interested in my work. There were many wonderful editors at the various houses who championed the story. They fell in love with my characters. They fought for them. But when it came down to the final decision from the Bosses it was always the same. You should write something more like Percy Jackson or John Grisham, they said. “We don’t know how to sell your book.”

That’s when I thought: Well I do.

Of course it was naivety, to think I could go up against The Publishing Giants. But I had to try. I believed in the story I was telling. I believed in that little boy named Guster. I believed in his perilous journey. And I felt like whatever it took, however many sleepless nights I might endure, I was going to tell that story because it was fun and I really believed it would make people laugh.

So I planned and I schemed and I worked for months leading up to the launch day. I knew I only had one chance to do it right. Friends from all phases of my life came out of nowhere to help. Friends I hadn’t been able to see for years. They posted all over Facebook, they tweeted, they blogged, they emailed. My brother Jarom and his wife Katie and my wife Michelle worked like it was a telethon, contacting and inviting and reaching out to everyone that came within ten thousand miles. We sent out over 5,000 emails, tweeted to over 16,000 people, and amassed upwards of 2,250 facebook fans. There were phone calls and personal contacts. Sometimes I wonder if I hit that Bestseller List solely based on the fact that everyone in my entire hometown absolutely loves my dad and probably bought a book just because I was his son.

But then there were all the books bought–and this is the magical part–by all those people I didn’t even know and didn’t know me. Perhaps my favorite part of the day was when Evertaster broke into the top 100 and I ran out the front door of my parents’ house screaming into the cul de sac. The neighbor came out, shouting and asking if I needed help. “I just became an Amazon Bestseller!” I cried. I explained what was happening and she immediately went inside and bought two books.

My agent at Trident Media Group was amazed. She’d never seen any debut book from any publisher ever fly so high in the rankings. She’d never seen the kind of marketing that my friends pulled off. Now we’re calling ourselves Future House Publishing.

There’s a feeling of freedom that comes when you hit the Bestseller List. It comes because maybe, just maybe, it might mean that someday I’ll be able to write for a living. That’s liberating.


Link to Evertaster:

Interview with Kendall Kulper


Biography: Kendall blogs at Blogging for YA, which features book reviews, thoughts on YA writing and publishing, and a weekly wrap-up of the best YA posts from the blog-o-sphere. You can find her at bloggingforya.blogspot.com or on Twitter at @Kendall_Kulper.


Deirdra: What are your favorite kind of books to read and why?
Kendall: Primarily I read YA books, and I try to stick to books that have been published in the past year. I also really enjoy reading classic, Norton-Anthology, TIME’s Top 100-style books.

Deirdra: How many books on average would you say you read a year?
Kendall: I reread a lot of books, but I try to read at least one new book a week. For new books, I probably read about 50-70, and for all books, maybe around 80?

Deirdra: What is the most recent book you read? Can you tell us a little about it?
Kendall: I just finished Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore, and I really enjoyed it. Her previous two novels, Fire and Graceling were wonderful, and Bitterblue definitely didn’t disappoint! She kept a lot of the elements I loved from the first two books—magic, romance, an amazingly-imagined world—but there was so much more complexity in this novel, and it was great to see her writing mature so wonderfully. I posted a full review (with a lot more thoughts) at my blog here: http://bloggingforya.blogspot.com/2012/05/quick-review-bitterblue.html

Deirdra: What is the most disappointing thing authors do?
Kendall: I would say that, on the whole, I am absolutely delighted with the authors that I read. I know that it’s really difficult, demanding work, and the vast majority pull it off in a way that consistently amazes me. That said, I have noticed a trend in YA novels that worries me a little: poorly-thought-out trilogies. Trilogies have gotten so popular lately, but I feel like very few writers go in with a fully-conceived plan and the result is a bunch of novels that don’t really have endings, where characters don’t stay consistent from book to book, and where the final book—stylistically and story-wise—doesn’t bear much resemblance to the first. As a reader, I’m starting to get tired of nearing the end of the book, only to discover that there are so many loose ends and it’s the start of a trilogy. I wouldn’t say every trilogy out there has these pitfalls, but I do think they are much harder to pull off than people think.

Deirdra: Who are your top five favorite authors?
Kendall: Carson McCullers, for her beautifully- and sensitively-imagined characters (and The Heart is a Lonely Hunter should be required reading for all of humanity)
East of Eden is my favorite book, and although I don’t love everything of John Steinbeck’s, he’s right up there as one of my favorites
Gabriel Garcia Marquez just can’t be beat. He writes with so much lushness and emotion, but he does it so effortlessly
Vladmir Nabokov is absolutely wonderful. I know Lolita gets the most play, but he wrote a lot of essays and short stories that are also amazing. Every time I read something by his, I see a new layer of depth and complexity and so it’s always a pleasure to pick up his writing.
And last but not least, Cormac McCarthy is such an astounding, powerful writer. He manages to capture so much feeling and atmosphere in his books.

Deirdra: How do you feel about e-books?
Kendall: I really love them. I travel quite a bit, and my Nook is essential (and beloved). Most books I read I virtually check out from the library, although if I really enjoy a book I’ll buy it in hardcover. A lot of authors are talking about pushing e-books and making “enhanced” books, with music, video, links, and I think that’s really exciting.

Deirdra: If you could give a message to authors what would it be?
Kendall: Thank you.

Deirdra: Have you ever thought about writing a book?
Kendall: Yes, I’ve always written stories, ever since I was very young, and now I write full time.

Deirdra: What other talents and hobbies to you have?
Kendall: I really enjoy cooking. Writing is a really nebulous activity, with no right answers, but with cooking, you know that if you have good ingredients and good tools and follow the recipe, you’ll have something great at the end, and I find that really soothing. I also draw a lot and have done some freelance illustration work, and I’m trying to get back into ballet.

Deirdra: Where is your favorite place to read?
Kendall: In bed, usually.

Deirdra: Do you have a favorite reading snack?
Kendall: Since I read in bed, no. I don’t think my husband would appreciate that…

Deirdra: What books have made you cry?
Kendall: Inside Out and Back Again, by Thanha Lai. She did a wonderful job of capturing the complicated feelings of being young and scared.

Deirdra: What books have made you laugh?
Kendall: The first book that comes to mind is Tina Fey’s Bossypants. I just love it! I think I’ve read it three or four times, but every time I pick it up I can’t stop laughing.

Deirdra: What kind of books are you looking to read next? What is on your reading list?
Kendall: I’m always looking for more YA books. The next books I plan to read are Anna Dressed in Blood and Insurgent, and I’m also hoping that the summer will give me some time to catch up on my adult fiction. For that list, I’d like to read V.S. Naipaul’s A Bend in the River.

Deirdra: Is there any other message you would like to give the literary community?
Kendall: Nothing I can think of!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Interview with Author J.J. Bonds




Deirdra: When did you first know you wanted to be an author?
J.J.: Believe it or not, I actually wrote my first book in 7th grade. It was a children’s book inspired by Earth Day and a very ambitious teacher who wanted each of her students to craft an environmentally driven tale. Mine was about sea turtles, which I’ve always loved, and while my teacher raved about it and researched publication, the book is safely tucked away in storage now. It was her encouragement that actually got me thinking about writing as a career. I was already an avid reader (some might say bookworm), but I hadn’t considered yet that I might actually someday write my own young adult novels. So, although the sea turtles didn’t catch the eye of the publishing world, they definitely sparked my love of writing. As I got older the stories I wrote fell more in line with the works of R.L. Stine, Christopher Pike and L.J. Smith as they were my authors of choice throughout high school. Their books opened up a whole new world for me and I knew that I wanted to be able to offer the same experience to other readers.

Deirdra: What was the pathway like for you to get your first book published?
J.J.: The path to publication was a rollercoaster ride for me with amazing highs and disappointing lows. When I finished Crossroads I solicited about twenty agents and spent the next several weeks checking my email obsessively. A few of the agents did request more material, but ultimately, it didn’t work out. Most indicated that with the success of Twilight and some of the other popular vampire series on the market that it would be a tough sell. That’s when I decided to take charge of my own destiny and self-publish. I realized that I could do a lot of the publishing work and the marketing and that I could hire professionals for design and editing. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made



Deirdra: What books have most influenced your life?
J.J.:  I’m going to have to say Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. I’ve read a lot of wonderful books – books that are more intellectually stimulating and even those that have better writing – but it was finding Twilight on my little sisters’ bookshelf that brought me back to the YA genre (which I’d so happily left behind when I got to college, instead electing to read what I thought were more age appropriate books) and reignited my love for all things paranormal. Twilight reminded me how much I loved YA literature and how heavily it influenced me growing up. It was also a welcome reminder that YA books weren’t just for teens! Once I jumped back into the world of YA, I also returned to my dream of writing.


Deirdra:  Can you tell us a little about your book, Crossroads?
J.J.: Crossroads is the story of Katia, an adolescent vampire trying to navigate her way through the prestigious and unfamiliar world of Crossroads Academy. While Katia does her best to remain isolated from her classmates, she quickly discovers that with a first class pedigree and a mysterious past, anonymity will prove impossible. As Katia struggles with a dark past she’s desperate to keep hidden, she finds herself pulled deeper into mystery she can’t explain and is forced to face her greatest fears or risk losing everything she holds dear. Crossroads is the first book in the Crossroads Academy series. I am currently working on book two, which is currently untitled. I hope to release book two later this summer.





Deirdra: What is your process of brainstorming a story? Do you just sit down and write, waiting to see what happens next? Or do you outline first?
J.J.: There’s a lot of outlining, note taking, and editing, but I don’t exactly have an established step by step process. I never start writing until I have the bones of the story solidified. Once I feel comfortable that the plot is complete, I begin writing. Every day is a little different when I write so I just sit down and start where it feels right. So if that means writing new material or editing the same chapter for the sixth time, that’s what I do. By the time Crossroads went to print, I’d probably read it more than a dozen times. It was time consuming, but some of my best ideas came during the editing and rewriting phases.

Deirdra:  What is the most difficult thing about being an author?
J.J.: For me, the most difficult thing is balancing my work-life balance. I have a very demanding full time career in addition to my writing so time management is crucial. Between work and my family, there’s never a dull moment!


Deirdra:  What is the best thing about being an author?
J.J.: The best thing about being an author has to be sharing my stories with others and hopefully perpetuating a love of the written word. It’s extremely rewarding to hear readers say that they enjoyed reading my work and seeing how excited they are about the characters futures and what comes next. With the proliferation of social media, I’m able to connect quickly and frequently with readers which is amazing!

Deirdra: What words of advice do you have for other writers who desire to have their manuscripts become books in print?
J.J: Don’t ever give up on your dreams! The road to publication can be bumpy and discouraging, but there are so many new outlets available to writers that with a little hard work and patience, you can take control and make your dreams reality. 


Deirdra:  What is the best complement you could receive from a reader?
J.J.: When I finish a really amazing book, I always think that the best compliment I can give the author would be to say that I felt connected to the characters, whether that means they made me laugh out loud in public or cry like a baby. That’s the experience I want to give my readers and it’s the best compliment they could pay me in return.


Deirdra: Where can readers go to find your books and order them?
J.J.: Crossroads is available in multiple formats (paperback and virtually all e-readers) and can be found on Amazon, iBooks, B&N, Kobo, and Smashwords. Readers can also stop by my website (http://www.jjbonds.com)for more information about the Crossroads Academy series! Readers can also find me on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/jjbondsfanpage) and Twitter (@JJBondsAuthor).



Deirdra: Any final words you would like to share?
J.J.: Thank you so much for inviting me to stop by A Storybook World! I really appreciate the opportunity to share a little about myself and Crossroads with your readers!








Saturday, June 2, 2012

Interview with Author Tristi Pinkston




Deirdra: When did you write your first book and how old were you?

Tristi: Well now, my very first book was penned at the tender age of five and was called Sue the Dog. Sue was a brave little puppy who wanted to be a ballerina more than anything. If you’d like to know when I wrote my first “good” book, that happened in 2000, when I was 24. It was published in 2002 as Nothing to Regret.


Deirdra: What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?

Tristi: I’ve had some of the most amazing experiences because of my writing career. I’ve been able to meet some of my heroes – Jack Weyland, Dean Hughes, Truman Madsen – and I’ve been invited to speak at writers conferences all up and down the Wasatch Front and out of state as well. In fact, that’s where I first met you – at an ANWA conference in Arizona. It’s an amazing feeling to walk into a bookstore and see your book on a shelf, and I love it (and am always surprised) when someone recognizes me when I leave the house. Of course that only ever happens when I forgot to put on makeup or something. Or have a stain on my shirt.

Deirdra: What do you do to relax and unwind?

Tristi: I need to do more than I do – I’m sort of uptight these days. J But I love watching good movies, and I enjoy scrapbooking, and when I can manage it, I like going out into nature. That doesn’t happen nearly as often as I would like, though.


Deirdra:  Can you tell us a little about your book, Women of Strength?

Tristi: Women of Strength is an LDS inspirational nonfiction book which I consider a call to arms to remind women of their divine potential, their crucial participation in our Heavenly Father’s plan, and the great importance of staying strong in the face of all the trials and temptations of these latter days. I use scriptures and general conference quotes to supplement throughout. 


Deirdra:  How many beta readers review your manuscript before you send it to your editor?

Tristi: It all depends on the project. My critique group has been immensely helpful, and I’ve only published a couple of things without them. Other projects have gone not only through my critique group, but my mom, my husband, and various friends. I just feel it out based on the needs of that book.

Deirdra:  Besides writing, what other talents or hobbies do you have?

Tristi: I am a trained floral designer, so I do that still from time to time even though I no longer work in a shop. I like to cook, and as mentioned, I like to scrapbook. There was a time in my life when I did a lot of counted cross-stitch and crochet, but I haven’t really done either of those things since I had children.


Deirdra:  What are you working on now?

Tristi: Right now I’m working on Tulips and Treason, which is the first novel of a new series about two FBI agents who come to Utah to bring down a Mafia don. It’s a cozy mystery with a lot of humor.


Deirdra:  What is the most difficult thing about being an author?

Tristi: At different points in my life, I would give different answers to this question. At times it’s the frustration of not accomplishing what you’d like, or not having enough book sales, or feeling isolated—every author goes through stages. Right now, though, the most difficult thing is what it does to my body. I was in a car accident last December and am still recovering, and sitting up to type really wears out my back. So that’s not a typical answer, and it’s not one that will be the case forever, but right now, it’s the biggest thing I face as it severely limits my productivity.

Deirdra:  What is the best thing about being an author?

Tristi: The best thing is when you hear from someone that your book has touched their hearts and strengthened them or enlightened them or lifted their hearts in some way. That’s when you know you’ve done your job.

Deirdra:  What are your goals as an author for the next three years?
Tristi: I’m publishing the series I mentioned above – there are five books in that series. I am also looking into reprinting my first two historical fictions, which have gone out of print.

Deirdra:  Where is your favorite place to write?
Tristi: Some authors will go to the park or woods or bookstore or library – I can’t do that. I’m a creature of habit. J My two favorite places to write are at my desk, using my desktop computer, or in my bed, using my laptop computer. I know, it’s pretty boring.

Deirdra: Where can readers go to find your books and order them?

Tristi: All my books are listed here, with purchase links: http://www.tristipinkston.com/p/books.html


Deirdra: Any final words you would like to share?
Tristi: Keep reading, keep writing, always keep learning. And visit my blog, because it rocks. www.tristipinkston.blogspot.com