1. What motivated you to write your book, to force you from taking an idea or experience and turning it into a book?
I've been using my personal Facebook page as a way to make jokes for several years. I've always wanted to be funny, but I tend to be quiet in groups of people I don't know well. Facebook let me make jokes to a large number of people without having to be face to face with them. A couple of years ago, a colleague from my MFA program encountered a book of micro-memoirs. He told me that's what my Facebook page was and encouraged me to take my jokes and statuses and repurpose them into a collection. I didn't think I'd have enough interesting material for a book, but as I compiled the book I suddenly realized I had an entire manuscript. My publisher thought it was funny and asked if they could release it.
2. What is it about and who is it for?
The book is humor, and details my life as a work from home mom who raises chickens and reads too many comic books. I aspire to a sort of "Erma Bombeck meets the digital age" feeling with this book. Who is it for? Probably other work-from-home parents, or anyone over the age of 35 who spends a lot of time on Facebook and needs a chuckle.
3. What do you hope the reader will be left with after reading it?
I'd love for people to be left with a smile, and also the idea that our social media lives might be "perfect" but the real lives behind them are flawed, unique, and often utterly ridiculous.
4. What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers?
Write when you can, where you can, however - even if you're only on social media. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram updates count as writing too. Also, be kind to yourself. Many times, we're expected to be tortured artists, but if you can be kind to yourself you might find yourself writing more.
5. What trends in the book world do you see -- and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading?
I love the #ownvoices movement. I am a huge sci-fi and fantasy reader and it's been wonderful to read books in my favorite genres that aren't written by people who look like me. I've read Muslim and Middle-Eastern fantasy, Indiginous fantasy, and Black fantasy in the last few years and it's been amazing.
6. What challenges did you overcome to write this book?
Memoir has always been tough for me because while we own our stories, other people are characters in our stories as well. I've had to think about what to include about my husband and son, and be judicious about how to refer to them.
7. If people can buy or read one book this week or month, why should it be yours?
A Perfect Facebook Life is relatable and funny. Many of us spend time on social media, and many of us need a laugh. I hope my book can provide that laugh for others.
About The Author: A.J. O’Connell is a freelance writer who got started as a newspaper reporter before she started writing books. Her work has been published by NPR.org, The Establishment, and Electric Literature magazine. She's had two novellas published and earned an MFA in creative fiction from Fairfield University in 2011. Her newest book, "A Perfect Facebook Life" will be released on April 6 by Woodhall Press. For more information, please see: ajoconnell.com
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