Author Interview: Theresa Chaze, Author of FROM BLANK PAGE TO BOOK SHELVES

Theresa Chaze has been described as the woman who plays with dragons, especially the dragons of the mind. She leads her readers to magical realms and others worlds. Her work is based on her philosophy that all peoples can live together in peace as long as we come from respect, not only for ourselves but those who follow different paths or beliefs. Whether fiction or non-fiction, Ms Chaze uses her talent to help others find the path to healing and take back their own power. Her work has been compared to Marion Zimmer Bradley and Anne McCaffrey with an adult version of Harry Potter mixed in. Theresa Chaze's major works so far include the first two novels of the Dragon Clan Trilogy (Awakening the Dragon and Dragon Domain) , a Wiccan Book of Shadows, Out of the Shadows, and Into the Light, From Blank Page to Book Shelves--How to Successfully Create and Market Your Book and a free fantasy ebook called, Sisters, Mother, Daughters. She is also a publishing consultant and publicist who helps authors successful publish and market their own work. She publishes an ezine called, Messages From the Universe, which is available on her site http://www.theresachaze.com/.

Welcome to The Writer's Life, Theresa. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you've been writing?

I started when I was twelve, but I rapidly moved on to short stories then novels. I started my first novel just after graduating from high school. The more I got into it, the more I realized I was over my head. I went on to college not only to get the technical information that high school doesn't give, but to get the feed back I need to find my own voice. Although a writer spends a great deal of time alone writing, the work isn't done in a vacuum. The additional education as well as graduating from the experience helped me find my point of view on life.

I like telling stories and thinking what if. Growing up I would watch TV and use the shows as a jumping off point for my own imagination. I would create my own character and enter story, taking it in a completely different direction. My favorites were Dark Shadow and Star Trek. Barnabas Collins had a second younger sister by the name Shannon Marie. She was a white witch who show up to cause chaos and drive everyone a little nuts. On Star Trek, I belonged to an alien race who was studying humans for a class project, so I pretended to be human to join the crew. Her name was Jacqueline; she could be best described as a combination of Q and Whoopie Goldberg's character. Hey, I was eight years old with unlimited power--think of the possibilities.

A friend of mine described me a as a woman who has the courage to play with dragons. I don't know how courageous I am but I'm not afraid to speak up or out.

Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

I just finished a new ebook called From Blank Page to Book Shelves--How to Successfully Write and Market Your Book. I wrote it to help other authors benefit from my experience without having to be burnt in the same way. I also wanted to share what I learned through my formal writing education at Michigan State University.

Although it isn't part of the tour, I also released a new magical fantasy ebook that will be going into print this summer called Nict For Ure Selfe (Not For Ourselves). Alyssa becomes the target of harassment. Unable to find the reason for the hatred in this life, she does a ritual to find the answers in the past. However, instead of message this life and the previous become connected and she begins to see her present with a new awareness.

What kind of research was involved in writing From Blank Page to Book Shelves?

I have a Bachelor of Arts from Michigan State University. In addition, I have been writing for over ten years; the last seven I have taken it more seriously. My publishing and marketing experience comes from research and graduating from the school of hard knocks.

How much input did you have into the design of your book cover?

I am the publisher, publicist, and chief cook and bottle washer. I created Valkyrie Publishing as an act of professional self defense after I was taken advantage of by two other publishers. It so strange because both companies had been in business a long time, but my covers are not only more professional looking but more topic appropriate.

Has it been a bumpy ride to becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?

It's been an education. The more I learn about the industry, the easier is is to see the scams and there are a lot of them. If a person is computer wise they can get a book in print and listed with a distributor for about 200.00, including the cost of the ISBN. Most places charge a great deal more, yet provide little for the money. The authors still have to do all their own marketing.

For this particular book, how long did it take from the time you signed the contract to its release?

The only contract I have is the promise I made to release at least three books a year and do my best to find the funding to make Valkyrie Publishing a brick and mortar house.

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?

I don't need one. No one can represent my books better than myself. However, when it comes to my screenplays an agent is not only an asset but a necessity. You need someone who knows the legalese and to storm the studio doors--cause breaking in just aint easy.

Do you plan subsequent books?

Yes. I have a children's book started. I'm also planning a spiritual healing book and the third in the Dragon Clan Trilogy.

Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

I'm nocturnal so definitely night.

If money was no object, what would be the first thing you would invest in to promote your book?

Full page ads in the top ten national newspapers, along with target magazines in fantasy, science fiction and New Age Occult. I would also buy advertising time on the TV shows, Charmed, Buffy and Angel reruns, Supernatural, Medium and Ghost Whisperer, and everyone of the "ghost hunting shows"

How important do you think self-promotion is and in what ways have you been promoting your book offline and online?

It's very important. I write articles, blog, cold contact bookstores, and publish an ezine. In real life, I talk to people about my work whenever I have the opportunity. I've had telemarketers hang up on me because I hijacked the conversation. I've seeded book markers in genre relevant books on bookstore shelves. The more you talk about you book the easier it becomes to bring it up in conversation. I've been waiting in a check out line in a grocery store and started a conversation by offering the person behind me a book marker and saying this is me. You can also give topic appropriate talks at local organizations like the library. But to learn what I do you are just going to have to buy my ebook. All my best techniques are there and I'm in a snarky mood.

Any final words of wisdom for those of us who would like to be published?

Do research. It is easier to get into a contract than it is to get out of one. Also being self published is no longer a black mark on books. The best selling book, The Celestine Prophecy was self published so it can be done. You just have to be willing to do the work.

Thank you for coming, Theresa! Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

From Blank Page to Book Shelves-How to Successfully Write and Market You Book is part of the Amazon Kindle program. However, the ebook is also available on my site at www.theresachaze.com. If you buy it off the site a 345 page listing with information about 2000 independent bookstores comes with it.

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