Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Interview with author Lauren Marino

What Would Dolly Do?
How To Be A Diamond in a Rhinestone World

A Unique Look At Dolly Parton

1.      What really inspired you to write your book, to force you from taking an idea or experience and conveying it into a book? I was inspired to write the book after a rough patch in my own life. I was a fan of hers growing up and then, as an adult, a series of coincidences put her in the forefront of my mind and I had to heed the call. I started to study her and the more I learned about her the more I realized what an incredible person she was. Through all of the books and articles I read, and the songs I listened to and the performances and interviews I watched there were certain themes and an unrelenting positivity that made me want to dig further. She became my role model. In the book I write:

"She gave me hope and reminded me what I was made of at a time when I needed it most through both her song and her example. None of us get out of this life unscathed. We only get one time around, so we need to make the most of it. There's no better example on how to do this than Ms. Dolly Parton. As a result, I find it helpful when faced with a dilemma to ask the question, 'What Would Dolly Do?' and it makes me stand a little taller.'"

I guess you could say I wrote the book for myself and realized that a lot of other people could learn from her too –without having to do all of the research and interpretation that I did.

2. What is it about and whom do you believe is your targeted reader?  Dolly Parton has long been a feminist icon for many, although she would never refer to herself in those terms. She has been one of the most consistently creative and successful fixtures in the public consciousness over more than five decades. She grew up in a two room cabin in the Appalachian Mountains, one of twelve children and she watched her parents work their fingers to the bone. She became an international superstar, a successful businessperson and philanthropist, the epitome of the American Dream. Her unrelenting positivity and belief in everyone’s ability to overcome adversity through grit, faith, a strong work ethic and a big heart lifted her out of her circumstances and she lifted everyone else around her too. I wanted to know how she did it, what motivates her and how she keeps on doing it, at 72 years old. The book is biography, life lessons, and a guide to helping you embrace your own inner Dolly with some beauty tips, recipes, creative and spiritual advice thrown in.
Obviously it is for Dolly fans –who span generations and demographics --but I think it goes well beyond that –to me, she is a strong female role model that we can all learn from, at any stage of life.

3. What do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for readers who finish your book? What should remain with them long after putting it down? One of the great things about Dolly, in addition to her humor, sass, and incredible talent and drive, is her heart. She was bullied growing up and almost dropped out of school because of it. Her father never learned to read or write and she watched him suffer because of that. She was a dreamer, a bit of an outsider. And she took all of the things that were supposed to work against her and made them work for her. And then she gave it all back, not just through her songs, her movies, her joyful and upbeat presence but by becoming one of the world’s biggest literacy advocates with the Imagination Library and as a big believer and supporter of education. She is a huge reader and says that through reading you can self educate and its true. She is also accepting of all people. She chooses love over hate and that is something we definitely need more of in the world.

4. What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers? That’s a tough one! Keep your head in the clouds but your nose to the grindstone. Figure out your process –which usually means sitting down every day for a few hours and not getting discouraged. Some days you will produce a lot and be in a state of flow and other days nothing good is going to come out. Plan down time with yourself to read other books and to experience life and keep notes. Realize that if you want to make money from your writing you’re going to have to hustle and go out there and sell it. As they say in the music biz, you have to work the record. In the book biz you have to go out there and work the book.

5. What trends in the book world do you see and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading? The industry has changed so dramatically since I started in it in the 90s and it has become so much tougher. On the one hand publishers are under pressure to grow revenue and are anxious to acquire a lot of new projects. The competition is fierce and MBAs and business people –as opposed to creative people –are running the companies. This makes sense on the one hand but it puts a lot on the author to build their own platform and market themselves. And it makes it much tougher to “make” a book or have a surprise success. The conversation changing books –by political figures, thought leaders and groundbreaking experts and those with a huge platform are mainstream publishers’ focus. And self publishing or hybrid or indie publishers will be for everyone else. But there always seems to be this sense that the book industry is on the brink of doom and I just don’t think that’s the case. The media likes to cover it that way but I think it will continue to succeed. Different platforms and business models will evolve to accommodate the huge number of people self publishing or who want to be published but can’t find a literary agent or mainstream/big five publisher. There are opportunities there for those who can think outside of the box.

6. What great challenges did you have in writing your book?  Writing is a solitary endeavor and there are moments of self-doubt, even after the book has been edited and accepted by the publisher. There is always that insecurity that what you have to say isn’t important or won’t be appreciated by people. In those moments I would re-read Dolly’s stories of overcoming adversity or words of wisdom, like “let your determination be stronger than your fear” and it made me stand a little taller.

7. If people can only buy one book this month, why should it be yours? This book is meant to inspire people through the example of Dolly Parton’s life and if you are having a rough time –and eventually we all do –reading this book will give you some perspective, some hope, some laughter and motivate you to make the most of yourself.

8. What lessons can we learn from Dolly Patton’s life?  Don’t be afraid to dream big and then do the planning and hard work to make your dreams happen. Be professional. Find specific time to be creative and to have a spiritual life. Have good people in your life, be loving, make sure you find joy in the simple pleasures, work hard at being happy and take care of your own and give back to others. And always have a good sense of humor!

9. Did people mistakenly see Dolly in a certain way merely because she has a huge chest? Yes, and the Nashville establishment at the time, made up of men, underestimated her because of her appearance and she used that to her advantage because she is whip smart and a shrewd businesswoman. She was frustrated early in her career to have that be the focus rather than her incredible talent as a singer and songwriter but she eventually decided to make it part of the act, saying, “I’m a good sport. I know some of the best Dolly Parton jokes. I made them up myself.”

10. What advice do you have for young women looking to live an empowered career and balanced life? Be intensely focused on your professional endeavors and put in the work but use your time wisely. Be organized and work smart, work for result. And make sure you give yourself down time and enjoy the small –and big –pleasures in life. Have perspective. As Dolly says, “Don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.”

Lauren Marino is the former founding editor and editorial director of Gotham Books, where she published multiple bestsellers and award-winning books. She is the author of Jackie and Cassini and has collaborated with celebrities, doctors, psychologists, entrepreneurs and other experts on their books. She lives in New York City. For more info, please see: Instagram: _what_would_dolly_do_

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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.”

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