AUTHOR INTERVIEW: CHARLOTTE BARNES, AUTHOR OF THE MANSFIELD LIGHTHOUSE CATS

Charlotte Barnes is a proud 1993 graduate of Florida State University. She is a former teacher who began writing when she was between day jobs. She loves college football, and a good nap when she can get one!


Welcome to The Writer's Life, Charlotte. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
I’m a Florida poet, author, and humorist. I have a website at http://www.charlottebarnesonline.com/. I’m a Florida State University graduate who enjoys college football, reading, and napping. I’ve been writing off-and-on since 1996, but my first book was published in 2005.

Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?
“The Mansfield Lighthouse Cats” is a collection of poems covering everything from stray cats to football to genetic testing. This collection was written as I’ve always love to play with words. I wanted to create a collection with wide appeal that even someone who doesn’t read poetry on a regular basis could enjoy.

What kind of research was involved in writing “THE MANSFIELD LIGHTHOUSE CATS”?
My research was living!

How much input did you have into the design of your book cover?
I was able to offer suggestions for the book cover, but I’m no graphic designer, so I somewhat leave it up to the publisher to know what they’re doing. They always surprise and delight me with what they add.

Has it been a bumpy ride to becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?
I would say bumpy, definitely. I could probably wallpaper my house with all the rejection letters I’ve received.

For this particular book, how long did it take from the time you signed the contract to its release?
I think it was about 3-4 months. That’s one of the great aspects of print-on-demand.

Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is?
If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one? No, I’ve never had one. I do see why some feel the need, though. It’s getting harder to get the foot in the door at the big publishers. An agent might help in that way. I think that’s why we’re seeing all the self-publishing people, and the print-on-demand folks—lots of talented authors who still need a way to get their work out to the masses.

Do you plan subsequent books?
I have a children’s book, “Stella Ducktropolis,” in the galley stage now. I try to keep my news updated on my site. I’m also editing several works now.

Are you a morning writer or a night writer?
Morning—I feel fresher then. After the day job and commute, I’m too tired at night to put forth any good effort. I do always have pen and paper handy, though, in case inspirations comes calling!

If money was no object, what would be the first thing you would invest in to promote your book?
I would probably pay for billboards on the highway or airtime on television.
Self-promotion is very important. I can only speak to my own experience, but unfortunately, unless you’re a big name, you sometimes feel it’s, “Here’s your book. Now go out and sell it!” It’s very hard. I’ve found it particularly so because I’m of a rather reserved nature.
It’s a very exciting time, though. I think that the idea of a virtual book tour is an extraordinary idea! I’m having fun, the bloggers have been extremely kind, and the folks at Pump Up Your Book Promotion are awesome!
I’ve been promoting recently through a recent interview with ArtistFirst Radio Network on February 27, 2008 (http://www.artistfirst.com)/. It was my first radio interview!
My website hasn’t been up long, but I welcome each new visitor. It’s http://www.charlottebarnesonline.com/.
I also like to give out business cards and free books (sometimes).

Any final words of wisdom for those of us who would like to be published?
I would say to always remember how beautiful words can be. Always treat everyone with kindness and respect. Surround yourself with other goal-oriented people who will encourage you in your dreams.

Thank you for coming, Charlotte! Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?
Thank you very much! They can find me at http://www.charlottebarnesonline.com/. The books are available through Amazon and other booksellers, or through the publisher at http://www.publishamerica.com/. The titles of my books are “Creative Mojo: The Brainstormer’s Book of Gift Ideas for Anytime,” “Don’t Schedule Your Wedding on Game Day,” and “The Mansfield Lighthouse Cats.”

Charlotte Barnes' virtual book tour is brought to you by the fine folks of Pump Up Your Book Promotion and choreographed by Rebecca Camareno.
If you would like to leave a message for Charlotte, click here.
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