Thursday, March 22, 2012

10 Publishing Experts Speak Up

I am pleased to introduce 10 unique voices to the world of book publishing. After reading 62 questions and 6,738 words, you will be enlightened and informed – or I hope at least entertained. Please read them all:

·         Gary Grossman, author
·         Elizabeth Kaplan, literary agent
·         Eileen Gittins, CEO of Blurb
·         Dr. Michael Widlanski, author
·         Barbara C. Johnson, author
·         Anne Brooke, author
·         Cassia Martins, author
·         Yolanda Washington, poet
·         Suzanne G. Rogers, author
·         Lynda K. Scott, author

Interview With Executive Treason Author Gary Grossman

1.      Gary, what is your latest book about? My latest book is EXECUTIVE TREASON (Diversion Books).  I describe it as an international “political reality thriller” because it focuses, in part, on the influence and power of hate radio in the United States.  The novel also delves into the presidential succession process, in my mind, in need of a major overhaul.  All of this is set against an international landscape where a wealthy, revenge-driven terrorist and a master assassin attempt to bring down the presidency in a contemporary plot line drawn from the little known 1933 Wall Street plot to oust President Franklin Roosevelt.  Through the action, Secret Service Agent Scott Roarke and attorney Katie Kessler work hard to put the pieces together and stop the enemy.  The story globe trots from Washington to Indonesia, Italy, Moscow and the geographic center of the 48 contiguous states – Lebanon, Kansas where talk radio host Elliott Strong hosts his national show “Strong Nation.”

2.      How did you develop the premise? First of all, EXECUTIVE TREASON is not pointing directly at any single talk radio host.  But the book does suggest how powerful a tool talk radio could become in the wrong hands.  The premise actually goes back to the days of Father Charles Coughlin, who shaped political opinion on a national scale in the 1930s.  He attacked Democrats and Republicans alike, New Dealers, Jews and Catholics, Wall Street and America’s allies.  In the burgeoning age of radio, he exerted immense influence over public opinion.  The character of Elliott Strong harkens back to Coughlin.  However, you can read any number of people into his role.   Progressives might see Limbaugh, Savage or Hannity, while Conservatives will argue that Strong is a combination of Olbermann, Schultz or Randi Rhodes.  I did have a model in mind, but I won’t rush to answer that.

3.      What inspired you to write it? I grew up in a political family in upstate New York.  I started in radio at a small station in my hometown of Hudson, and I saw how both worlds come be very powerful with the right (or wrong) hands.  Moreover, my father was in law enforcement while my mother ran political campaigns.  I passively listened to broadcasts from England, Russia, Cuba, Ghana, Bulgaria, China, Italy and Australia on my shortwave radio and actively spoke to people around the globe as a Ham radio operator.  So out of this bouillabaisse of influences and experiences I felt like a citizen of the world.  Writing came later for me, first through non-fiction books on Superman and Saturday Morning TV.  Ultimately, I found my voice…and the courage to start writing novels.  But I have a fun story here.  Actually, I hadn’t told my wife I was writing a novel.  I wanted to wait to see how it would develop.  But she did discover some Internet printouts.  One was about fast acting poisons that would dissolve in the body and go undetected by most coroners.  Others were on sniper rifles and silencers.  After reading of few of these she said, “Gary, is there something we should be talking about?” Or more specifically, “Do we have a problem?”  I can’t remember if she was holding a fireplace poker, but for the sake of the retelling – yes!   I fessed up about writing.  I then opened a file for what became the first political thriller in the series, EXECUTIVE ACTIONS.  But I can assure you, she was very relieved when she saw the passages in the manuscript and knew for sure I wasn’t trying to kill her!

4.      In 2012 is everything about politics? Everything.  In fact this year’s primaries have been the best reality show on TV.   Amazingly, or as I like to say Amazoningly, EXECUTIVE TREASON has taken on even more relevancy given the noise and news swirling around Limbaugh, the reliance on stock answers rather than honest appraisals, and the incivility that makes it virtually impossible to distinguish a Congressional debate or town hall meeting from an episode of Jerry Springer.  Believe me, I use it all.  It’s in “Executive Treason” and sadly, it’s on the airwaves  

5.      What do you love about writing books? I love that the characters knock at the door and ask you to sit down, shut up and take dictation.  They just start talking, if they’re in the talking mood.  My assassin in EXECUTIVE ACTIONS, the first book in the series, wasn’t interested in telling me anything about himself until EXECUTIVE TREASON.  It was only then that he revealed his name, his back-story, and his demons.  I just passed it all along to readers.  It was that remarkable a process.  I’d heard other authors and screenwriters say that as well, but I don’t think I believed it until it happened to me.  Now that I’m writing the third book in the series, due out later this year from Diversion Books, I’m answering the door even more.  Maybe I should put out some cookies and milk for the characters, though a fine Glenlivet 18 scotch might be better received.

6.      Any advice to a struggling writer? I’ll share with you what my college roommate, a wonderful short story writer, told me.  A writer writes every day.  My goal is three pages a day.  Do the math.  Three pages times 30 days, 90 pages.  Ninety-pages times four months, 360 pages.  It’s hard and some days…even some weeks I don’t deliver.  But when I’m in that routine, that rhythm, it really comes together.  One word of caution, though.  Re-writing also takes longer and please have someone else proof your work.  It’s always hard to catch your own mistakes. 

7.      Where do you see the book publishing industry going? eBooks and ePublishing are growing at an astounding rate.  I’m nervous about putting out figures because they’ll be low by next week.  But suffice it to say, we are experiencing a seismic change in how we consume media – all media – television, radio, books and magazines.  I decided to work with Diversion Books in New York because they are dedicated to eBooks and new platforms and have a talented staff and a real connection with their authors.  Another key eBook consideration.  The price point is reader-friendly and there’s a strong ecological incentive, too.  I still like the idea of being able to print-on-demand, but there will even be a shift away from that in the blink of an eye as more and more readers find books e-vailable.    To put it another way, on the wall in front of my desk, I have a classic’30s poster of a New York Central train racing toward me.  It’s served two purposes.  I grow up on that train line in Hudson, New York, so it fills my need for nostalgia.  But it also reminds me that “You’re on the train or under.”  I decided to be on the train, maybe even in one of the lead cars with the release of EXECUTIVE ACTIONS and now EXECUTIVE TREASON as eBooks.  Stay tuned for #3.

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Interview With Literary Agent Elizabeth Kaplan

  1. Elizabeth, what do you love most about being a literary agent? As an agent, I have the freedom to take on any project that interests me.  I don’t have to be held back by the constraints of a publisher’s list.  In addition, I can take on things I don’t know a lot about but can learn from the author about a new subject.  Sometimes I feel like I’m still in college and taking new courses!.  In addition, everyday and every project bring different challenges.  The work is never static.  Sometimes I need to wear my editor’s hat, other times I need to play lawyer or accountant and on other days I may be cheerleader or shrink.  But the ultimate satisfaction is helping a first time author realize their dreams.  Ok, sounds hokey, but it is true.  

  1. What do you look for in the types of authors and books that you agree to represent? I look for authors that are writers.  The word rules for me.  It is all about what is on the page and I enjoy nurturing a career from the beginning and watching it grow.  I try and find author’s who have strong voices and are going to be repeat authors.  I look for author's who can make anything compelling.  I may not have thought I was interested in a particular topic or story, but a good writer grabs you on page one and doesn't let you go. 

  1. What do you make of all the changes in the book industry? I don’t know what to make of all the change.  I don’t think the dust is settled yet.  The numbers of e-books are rising at such a fast clip that I will be curious to see where they level out and what the ratio between virtual and actual books will be.  I don’t think anyone knows the answer.  Right now, there is a novelty factor and I don’t know if that will hold and turn into the future.  The positive outcome for authors is that the internet has allowed them to actually do something on their own behalf's and not just wait for the reviews to come out of the today show to call.  They can help themselves in a way that was not available before.  The ability for an author to publish on their own in an effective manner will also bring about change, but again I'm not sure where things will fall out.  And of course,  Amazon is constantly keeping everyone on their toes and things that seem certain today, will be different in a year's time.  

  1. What do you advise your authors to do when it comes to promoting their books? Do every possible thing you can think of.  No one is going to care as much as you do about your book, don’t wait for the publishers, just get out there and do it.  Blog, tweet. Facebook, website, whatever it is, do something.  Anyone you know who might be able to help, call on them.  Book publication is not the time to be shy.  there are a lot of good resources for capitalizing on social media opportunities and an author should do their homework and learn the ropes.   

  1. What advice do you have for struggling writers? I would say to anyone who is struggling, do a reality check and make sure you have something original to say, something people will pay to hear (read) and that your writing skills are there.  The best thing you can possibly do is to read, read and then read some more.   If the struggle is monetary, try and divide your time effectively and set aside specific uninterrupted time away from money producing work.  Have a particular routine you stick to, a place you return to write and stick to it.  If the struggle is with the work, writing groups can be helpful.  Having other people read your work and comment on it can give you the encouragement you need or help point out something that isn't working. With the internet you can even find virtual groups to get involved with.  

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Interview With Dr. Michael Widlanski, Author Of Battle For Our Minds

1.      Dr. Michael Widlanski, as a specialist in Arab politics and communication, what motivated you to write your new book, Battle For Our Minds: Western Elites and the Terror Threat published by Simon & Schuster/Threshold? Terror is an old form of warfare that has re-surfaced as probably the most important form of combat in the 21st century. Even a small organization can bring a superpower to its knees. The nature of the war and its causes was being badly misinterpreted by our leading thinkers. They had misread the signals time after time, but they had not learned from their mistakes. As someone with first-hand experience with terror and the Middle East,  I felt I needed a book to show where and why our leading thinkers had gotten it wrong.  Because I have background in academia (five degrees), media (from print to radio and TV and internet) and government intelligence, I felt I could also supply some behind-the-scenes information that would make the book readable to every woman and every man, even if they came to the subject without any specialization in Middle Eastern languages or security experience.

2.      You are a former reporter/correspondent, and editor, respectively, at the New York Times, the Cox Newspapers-Atlanta Constitution, and the Jerusalem Post.  Where has the media gone wrong in explaining to the American public what we need to understand about the Middle East? Most Middle Eastern societies are generally linguistically oriented to Arabic, religiously linked to Islam, and tied by tradition to tribalism. Most Western reporters know next to nothing about all three areas. So they try to interpret an area they do not know by using criteria that are irrelevant. They fall back on common Western political-economic analyses that are usually linked to theories of economic causation such as poverty breeds frustration which leads to terror. This is nonsense, because most Arab-Islamic terrorists do not act out of poverty or out of frustration, and that is why Western analysts from the CIA to CNN and from The New York Times to The London Times usually got it wrong. You also advised on peace talks 20years ago. Has anything changed in the eternal conflict of the Arabs vs. Israel?

3.      What do we need to understand about the terrorist threat to America? Most of our intellectual elites underestimated the terror threat before 9-11, and they are making a similar error today. Osama Bin-Laden is dead, but the terror threat to America did not begin with him or die with him. The use of terror by Arab-Islamic tyrants and terror organizations came into its own with the Palestinians in the 1960’s, reaching new levels with suicide bombers pioneered by  Iran and Hizballah in the 1980’s and 1990’s, and going to still new heights with high-effect simultaneous strikes of Al-Qaeda leading up to and following the Millennium. The various terrorists have different methods and different short-term and long-term goals, but they all share an antipathy to the West and its leader, America. They do not respect diplomacy or Western concessions, and it is useless to try to win them over

4.      What do you love most about writing? The best thing about writing is that the act of writing itself strengthens and opens the mind and what it produces. I often start writing with a clear idea in my head, but as I write, I realize I need to follow a new area of inquiry which I find is even more important. Another thing is that as I write I may suddenly see how to make a difficult point clear to others because it suddenly came into clearer focus for me.

5.      Any advice to a struggling writer? A Talmudic sage, Shammai, once said “Aseh torathkha kevva”—“Make learning a habit.” For a writer, this means:  sit down at a regular time to write and force your “writing muscles” into a regular routine to produce something. Somerset Maugham used to do this. The best times are when everyone else is out of the house is out or still sleeping. That way they will not hear you yell, groan or scream with delight when you feel you just struck out or just hit a home run.

6.      Where do you see book publishing heading? This is the most terrifying question for me. Everyone in the book industry says “nobody wants to read anymore.”  Since I just began to write books, for my own selfish reasons and others, I hope they’re wrong.

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Interview With Trial Lawyer & Author Barbara C. Johnson

1.      What is your latest book about?  My latest book, Of Why I Didn’t Sleep with Mitt Romney & Other Tales, is the true story of how I, Barbara Johnson, metamorphosed from a female ruled by her groin into one ruled by her head, and became enabled to define goals that have made her life worthwhile.

2.      What inspired you to write it?  A number of folks asked me to write it, so I took on the challenge.

3.      What do you feel your readers want or expect when they read your books?  They expect hope and want to learn how to protect themselves in the courts.

4.      What do you love most about being a published author?  It's satisfying to know that I've contributed something to society that might be helpful to many folks.

5.      Do you have any advice to a struggling writer?  Stay focused and write and write and write.  Then join one or more writing groups where members submit chapters of their books, criticize their fellow members, and wait for those critters to reciprocate.  Some critiques will be crazy, others very worthwhile.  Learn to distinguish between the critiques.  Even tough ones can be great.  Struggling writers can learn from them.

6.      Where do you see the book publishing industry heading? The ebook industry will keep on growing.  Given that the paper publishers no longer provide the marketing as in the old days, people will see no sense in scouring the market for agents and publishers.  With or without a publisher, authors MUST do their own marketing.  In that way, authors can keep the most of the sale proceeds and give only a small percentage to the entity advertising the book online.

Interview With Eileen Gittins, CEO Of Blurb

1.      Why should authors publish with Blurb? Blurb will offer you a creation tool that allows you to make a beautifully designed work and the publication format is up to you: print or e. No one else has the combination of free creation tools, built in social functionality and the opportunity to print (and sell) a bookstore quality book or create (and sell) a beautifully designed ebook.

2.      What type of books is Blurb great for? Traditionally, we've been known for beautifully designed graphically rich books, but (increasingly) text authors are finding success with Blurb too.

3.      What are some new services or partnerships for Blurb? Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 integration is a fantastic new partnership which allows Lightroom users to design a Blurb book inside their photo workflow tool.

4.      Do authors make any real money with Blurb? We paid out over $1m last year in author profit.

5.      Where do you see digital publishing heading? We are at a very interesting point in digital publishing as the boundaries of book, app, website and blog converge. Ebooks are no longer just about words in e-ink on a kindle screen, they are about color and imagery. Through fixed format they have become objects of beauty.  As the level of design, interactivity and multi-media increases, ebooks become interesting vehicles for so many areas. But what's even more exciting is that the tools to create enhanced ebooks are no longer restricted to developers and engineers, they can be made by anyone with content they want to share. We'll see many more people creating amazing ebooks as a result.

6.      Can the growth of self-publishing be sustained? Absolutely, people are reading books now than ever before as they become more accessible through the devices. We see the traditional publishing houses in decline as more people feel they have the tools they need to produce a book.

7.      Any advice to a struggling writer? Build a following and check out: http:/www./   

8.      Why do you love being in the book publishing industry? Blurb helps ordinary people express their passions and record their experiences in books to share with their families, communities and the world. That's a powerful thing.

Interview With Anne Brooke, Author Of Gay Romance

1.      As an author, what do you make of the new publishing landscape? I think it's very exciting and provides a great deal of opportunities for a wide range of quality authors. With the rise of ebooks and different ereaders, both writers and readers gain more choice in how they choose to sell or buy their books. I'm a strong believer that paper books and ebooks are not in competition with each other as there's room for both in the wonderful world of literature. After all, the story is the key element, not the format it's found in.

2.      What advice do you have for struggling authors? Keep writing and keep on improving. And if you can't find one way to market, then simply try another. Not everything lives and dies by the mainstream paper press, and there are numerous opportunities to find your place in the writing world these days. Don't aspire to be JK Rowling or similar - just aspire to be the best writer YOU can be, and enjoy the business!

3.      What is your newest book about? I have two "newest" books at the moment, I have to admit. The first is The Heart's Greater Silence, which is a literary gay short story about the choice one man has to make between obsession and love. It's published by Riptide Publishing. The second is a reprint now published by Musa Publishing - and is a comic gay romance called Angels and Airheads about one man's failure to see the love that's right in front of his eyes. This one is due out at the end of March and I'm very much looking forward to it.

4.      What inspired you to write it? Whatever genre I write in, I always seem to come back to the themes of erotic love and longing, and both these are very much in evidence in these two stories! I also, as a longtime Christian, enjoy adding religion to my books in all its various forms - The Heart's Greater Silence has a priest as the secondary character, and Angels and Airheads includes a very special angel. Strangely perhaps, with all these inspirational themes in tow, I find myself able to write both tragedy and comedy, and here these two books are very much at different ends of this spectrum. I suppose when I'm writing, it depends whether I'm in a happy or grim mood!

5.      What do you love most about the process of writing? I love to create new worlds, characters and scenarios, and to discover for myself what will happen with them - as you can see, I'm not a planner, but very much a seat-of-my-pants writer. So I don't know what happens next until I write it. Next to that, I do enjoy the editing process as then I have something on the screen to fiddle around with, and if I think what I'm doing is making it better, then I'm happy indeed. Though on the other hand, I do have to be careful not to over-edit and get myself in a total muddle …

6.      How did you come to choose fantasy fiction as your calling? To be honest, I'm not sure that it is, at least not exclusively. I've very much enjoyed creating the fantasy world of Gathandria and the Lammas Lands in my trilogy, of which the first is The Gifting, published last year by Bluewood Publishing. And it's a story I've always longed to write. And of course I'm currently writing another fantasy stand-alone novella, The Taming of The Hawk. But I also write thrillers, literary fiction, women's fiction and romantic comedy - and even some horror! - so I see writing as my calling, rather than any particular genre. The story is really what counts.

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Interview With Brazillian Fiction Author Cassia Martins
1.      Cassia, what inspired you to write Born in Rio? Many things. It is a story of a woman who goes back to her homeland after spending most of her life away. In a way my own experiences and living most of my life away from Brazil, the country where I was born, played a big role. I wanted to write a rich story of personal growth, and take readers through this journey, not only through Rita’s discovery of her past, but also through Brazil, its culture, its history and its soul.  Also, I have always wanted to write a book, ever since I can remember, probably since the day I learned how to write. So I decided to give this gift to myself last year and this book was born in Rio, I wrote it in 9 months, just in time for my 30-year-old birthday! 

2.      What is it about? Born in Rio is the story of Rita; a single, driven, 37-year old woman, who had a lucrative career as a banker in Manhattan but no personal relationships - not even with her own mother. Suddenly when faced with unexpected news about her mother, she is thrown off-guard, and is forced to confront the difficult past that closed her off emotionally. You see, Rita had immigrated to the United States with her mom when she was just 10 years old, and she never learned why. Intrigued by the letters she found between her mother and her dear friend Elisabete in Rio, Rita embarks on this journey, not only back to her foreign motherland, but also to an unchartered territory of her life. The events that soon unfold while Rita is in Rio, will change her life forever. 

3.      After growing up in Brazil you were gone for 15 years. What was it like to go back? Very enriching experience. The best part of being back in Brazil, especially after spending half of my life away, was that it gave me infinite amounts of inspiration to write this book. Besides writing a story about a woman’s quest to uncover her roots, I really aimed at capturing the culture and energy of Brazil as the plot unfolds, and using my own experiences to write, while I was in Rio, made the story so much richer, so vivid. In Rio, even the most simple task of grabbing a “suco”, fruit juice, in one of the many freshly squeezed juice stores is an incredibly pleasurable experience! Besides, the nature in Brazil never seizes to dazzle me, people are friendly, and the Rio lifestyle is a very easy going one. I was very happy to be back, although I missed my family in the United States. 

4.      How challenging is it to grow up in one county but to then make another place your home? It’s challenging at first, but one learns to adapt. I think the most challenging part is dealing with the difference in cultures and family dynamics. Although I spent my childhood in Brazil, I became an adult in the U.S. and going back now, I had to adapt to many things. One of the big differences I saw was that overall, life in Rio was much more laid back and relationships with people tend to be prioritized. In the U.S. the lifestyle is more practical and dynamic, there is a greater emphasis on work and the business side of things. For example, whereas in the U.S. the first question people usually ask me when they first meet me is “Where do you work? What did you study?” in Brazil I would often hear “Where is your boyfriend? How come you are not married?”  Brazil has its special charm to me, and the U.S. is the place where I call home. Even though life in Brazil and in the U.S. are different, I love them from the bottom of my heart - they both played a significant role in making me the woman I am today. 

5.      What do you like about the writing process? Everything. I write at night, I work when everybody is sleeping, dreaming. I love how characters sometimes inconspicuously creep up on me, unannounced, silently, in the middle of the night! I like to be pleasantly surprised so I don’t really create an outline for my stories, I just let them flow through me and trust that it will work out. I am, however, very diligent with my work schedule, I make sure to set up milestones and meet deadlines.  

6.      Any advice for struggling writers? Write. Showing up for work is already more than half the battle won. Create a schedule, stick to it, but respect your boundaries. I had a goal of writing 700 words a day. Sometimes I went weeks without writing, but I respected my time, and made up for it later. Also, expect the unexpected, the greatest insights sometimes come unannounced. In my experience, talent and creativity are not just enough in writing, one must also be sensitive, disciplined and persistent to create great works of art. 

Interview With Poet Yolanda Washington

1.      Yolanda, as a poet and writer can you tell me why you love to write? Writing is my escape into a world that I can control, create and express myself in ways that I feel inhibited to do with speech. For instance, poetry helps get my deeper feelings out so that I'm not choking on them. Many of the sci-fi stories that I'm working on come from dreams.
2.      What do you like to write about? Why? I love writing science fiction because of all the possibilities out there for human kind as a whole. Right now, we are limited by finances and what scientists have discovered answers to. In writing sci-fi, I get to explore other worlds, civilizations, and life forms. Occasionally, I venture into thrillers as well, when I'm in a dark mood. But my first love is sci-fi.  My poetry is generally about how experiences affect me or a way for me to investigate why I'm feeling a certain way. Poetry helps me save money on a therapist.
3.      How hard is it to edit yourself? Some days are harder than others. I fight with the desire to keep something just because I really like it, but it's not integral to the story. Then there are the days when everything I read is garbage and I want to toss it immediately. I have to stay my finger from the delete key and make myself read it again and either fix it or deal with it later. I do have a few people that I run things by, because I know that I'll miss something. They are great for catching consistency issues or misspelled words.  I do have the bad habit of editing while I'm writing an initial draft. That ends up keeping me stuck in a scene until I get it right. But I'm learning to write now edit later.

4.      What makes for really good writing? I just finished reading "Dune" by Frank Herbert. What made his story so compelling and brilliant, was his use of imagery, emotion and spacing. Herbert was able to keep me interested in the entire novel. There weren't parts where I wanted to throw the book up against the wall, or skip altogether.  I think that what makes for really good writing is being able to balance all three of those skills, as well as having a healthy knowledge of words, your genre, and being completely true to the voice within you. Most writers try to write way too commercially and end up boring the reader. A well written story takes the reader on a journey and makes them forget about their world while they are engaged in the atmosphere of the chronicle.
5.      What skills must a writer possess? There are many ideas on this; however, personally, I think a writer must have a healthy knowledge of the writing craft. Too much emphasis is placed on getting published and branding and not enough on the craft itself. The craft isn't just about spelling and grammar, it includes structure, plot, realistic characterization, building a proper environment that the reader can feel, taste, see, smell and hear, as well as knowing the intricacies of conflict and resolution. If you're writing fiction, having a healthy creative streak is a must, as well. There are really only so many ideas out there. The difference is in how each of us tells that specific idea.  Without creativity and the skills of the craft, a story ends up being just a bunch of jumbled, disjointed words strung together.

6.      What advice do you have for struggling writers? Keep learning the craft and the industry. Keep reading and writing. And most definitely, be patient. Rushing to get published is a surefire way to put out something that will kill your career before it's even started.

Interview With Author Suzanne G. Rogers

1.       What inspired you to become an author? My inspiration to become an author stems from the love of literature I had growing up.  I read almost anything I could get my hands on, in a variety of different genres.  The heights and depths of emotion I experienced when immersed in a good book left me with a desire to create stories of my own.

2.       What do you like most about being a published author? Having my work published gives me a wonderful sense of pride and pleasure in being able to share my 'creations' with others. When I hear from readers that they've enjoyed something I've written, it's particularly rewarding.

3.       What do you find most challenging in the process of promoting your book? Perhaps the biggest challenge for any author is to find the target market for their book.  More and more, the process of marketing is falling to the authors to do and it's quite a task to differentiate any one book from all the others out there. Then, too, one can never predict which book will catch fire.  

4.       What advice do you have for struggling authors? Study the craft of writing, join a critique circle, and make it a goal to learn something from every rejection, criticism or bit of praise. Begin to create a market for your work by joining groups of like-minded people.  Be prepared to invest time now in building relationships that will pay off down the line.

5.       Where do you think book publishing is heading in five years? The publishing industry is in a great deal of flux, but the increasing acceptance of e-reader devices is changing the business dramatically.  Many people still enjoy holding a physical book, but as these devices improve, the luxury of having an entire library at one's fingertips will likely overcome any lingering objections.  Nevertheless, there will probably always be a market for physical books.

6.       What was your most recent book about? In "Clash of Wills," when an unconventional princess meets a footloose prince, a battle of wits begins! Published by The Wild Rose Press, "Clash of Wills" features magic, wizards, demons...and romance. Writing this novella allowed me to branch out a little from young adult fantasy and tap into the fairly robust romance market.  Plus, romantic fantasy is awfully fun to write! 

For more information about Suzanne G. Rogers (writing as S.G. Rogers), please consult:

Interview With Science Fantasy Romance Author  Lynda K. Scott

1.      What is your latest book about? In Altered Destiny, a woman finds herself in a new world where the man who looks exactly like her dishonest ex-husband. At first she believes this new man is like her ex but as time passes discovers he is truly a hero as she joins him to save the human race.

2.      What inspired you to write it? Altered Destiny is a study about decisions, how they affect a life path or history. The new world the heroine finds herself in is based on a unique incident (aliens landing in Scotland during the Rising) which creates a completely new world. Driving it down to a personal level, the story shows how decisions made can change a life forever. And how the proper decision can bring success.

3.      What do you feel your readers want or expect when they read your books? The appeal of my books is the combination of a strong adventure, with science fantasy and love. We all know what an adventure is – the physical action of the story. My books tend to set that physical action on other planets or different time lines or they may have a paranormal element such as ESP or telekinesis. That’s where the science fantasy comes in. I’m constantly scanning science articles for that one random idea which can generate a new world or a problem to be solved in this one. I might flesh it out with some imagination but the founding ideas will always be actual science fact. The last element readers will find in my books is the relationship between the hero and heroine and its growth during the story process. That’s the most important element because books are about people, what they feel, what they want. Without good strong characters, a book is just a pretty picture that doesn’t mean much of anything.

4.      What do you love most about being a published author? My goal is always to entertain my readers and that's what I love. I love bringing new characters or new worlds to life and sharing them with my readers. There's normally a good bit of research involved in creating worlds, or even characters, and that's another thing I love to do particularly when it comes to science. While my readers won't find pages of dry scientific facts, they may find alternate environments with strange indigenous life forms that live there. Or they may find a world circling a binary star system. Or a world where the terraforming has failed. No matter what kind of world they find, however, they will always find adventure, love, hope and courage.

5.      Do you have any advice to a struggling writer? The absolute best thing any new writer can do is to read in their genre. Reading their chosen genre teaches them 1) what the expectations are 2) how those expectations can be accomplished. A new writer can take this knowledge and write their own stories but they should never stop reading. Some of the books they read, they'll find not as successful as others. When they do, they need to study that book and find out why it wasn't successful (keep in mind that success is always a matter of perspective -- what some people find as unsuccessful, others will loudly applaud). All the time a new writer is reading, they should also be writing. There’s old advice that says writers need to write a million words before they become successful. I'm not sure that's necessarily true though I will say that every written word, every sentence, every paragraph, good or bad, will help a writer learn their craft. But writing aside, they should always read. Reading is the best learning tool for any writer.

6.      Where do you see the book publishing industry heading? I think we're going to see more ebooks and, though I will always lament its passing, less print books. I love the smell and weight of print books, the glossy covers, the crisp pages but times are changing. With the Barnes & Nobel Nook and the Amazon Kindle and a variety of other e-readers becoming available at reasonable prices, the future of ebooks has become pretty secure. And I see exciting new formats for these new ebooks. The age of electronic books is really just starting and I’m positive it’s going to be an intriguing journey.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

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