Diary of a Mad Gen Yer: Interview with young adult fantasy author Marcus Dino

We have a very unusual interview today. Marcus Dino, author of the young adult fiction novel, Diary of a Mad Gen Yer, could not be with us so in his place is Fifi Larouche, the heroine in his book. Enjoy!

Welcome to The Writer's Life, Fifi. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Omigosh, I’m so excited to be at the Writer’s Life. First I need to tell you people that I am Fifi Larouche, heroine of Diary of a Mad Gen Yer. Marcus says he so busy doing interviews with other blogs, so he asked me to fill in. You people now know that I’m a real person and I give Marcus all my ideas and stuff and he then writes them down. I mean he’s like a glorified typist, he’s a bit better in grammatical stuff and besides I need to focus on my acting, so that’s why he writes my stories. Nothing against him but he would write a sentence like ‘Fifi was sitting on a bar stool and a kindly gentleman with a long ponytail asked her if he could buy her a drink but was politely refused,’ so drab and dull. But I would say “The lecherous handsome ponytailed wolf approached innocent Fifi sitting on a bar stool, leered at her, then growled and asked if he could buy her a drink, in which Fifi quietly replied “Get your big snout out of my face or I will take this rum and cola that I am currently drinking and hurl it at your beady eyes.” I’m a bit more dramatic, wouldn’t you agree? You people know about Marcus from the bio above, as for me I’m a struggling actress/waitress living in Van Nuys but I have no doubts that I will soon be one of Hollywood’s greatest actresses, I mean between you and I there’s not a lot of talented people out there right now, I don’t know how these people get picked. Now as for my writing career, well I’ve been writing my entire life, ever since I was a little girl I would write like a daily diary.

Can you please tell us about your book?

Well Diary of a Mad Gen Yer, currently in EBook form, is about me, Fifi Larouche, a struggling young actress and all the silly events that happen as I go through my day to day struggles with my acting career, my relationships with family and friends, and with my lovely waitressing job at a Sherman Oaks, California coffee shop. A lot of fantasy type stuff like silly dreams I have such as in ‘Gobble Gobble Gobble’ where I travel back to Plymouth Massachusetts and the First Thanksgiving or ‘The Astro Olympics’ where I’m competing in sporting events with aliens from other planets. Speaking of aliens there’s a character in the book named Alocki, an alien from another planet and the smartest person I ever met, there’s Biff my liberal boyfriend who is also a struggling actor, there’s the 200 year old Great Writer, who lives in the “Astral World’, and scoffs at today’s art and literature as ‘so amateurish,’ and there’s my fairy counterpart Fifi from the ‘Alternate Earth’ who wants to help and give people advice, not just pour pixie dust over them. Diary also includes my silly poems and silly blogs, it’s sort of a prequel to my first book, my autobiography Fifi, Anything Goes in the Double Os, but while Fifi stresses my acting career and whether I make it in Hollywood, Diary stresses my day to day life as a struggling actress. Now why did I write this book, omigosh wouldn’t you write a book after you see all the silly adventures I go through in Diary?

What kind of research was involved in writing Diary of a Mad Gen Yer?

Oh I just spent hours and hours in the big university libraries doing tons and tons of research. I spent days and days on the internet doing all kinds of research. I had to spend hours and hours checking up on all those quotes and sources; you know that’s the first thing they teach you in journalism school right? You people are so funny for being so serious, again the stories and silly poems and silly blogs in Diary are just things that I encountered on a daily basis or came out of my head, no research required at all, none, well that’s not true, I did a little research to see how far Alpha Centauri, the star system where Alocki is from, is from Earth. It’s like 4.3 light years away, I have no idea how Alocki and her companion Helos can travel so far, and she still looks thirty- fivish (in Earth years).

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

It’s never easy being a successful published author just like it’s never easy being a successful actress. Expect rejection, expect failure, and expect taking time building a readership. These things take hard work, they take time, and yes you have to spend a little money to be successful. All that editing to check for every minute typo, all that communication between you and your publisher, all that time trying to write the most entertaining book you can possibly write, and yes all that time and effort spent on marketing and publicity, but when you see the fruits of your labor, well there’s no greater rush. So let’s just say initially it’s been a bumpy ride and now we’re doing a little more smoother sailing, you know there’s an occasional typhoon on the horizon but it’s smoother sailing than it was at the beginning.

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

How about immediately as Diary is currently self published as an eBook. Our first publishing platform is Smashwords. Later on we plan to get Diary published as a printed book.

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 (or specifically Marcus) currently am represented by the publisher Summertime Productions. As for the necessity of having an agent, I truly believe your writing talent gets you through the door with these publishers, your writing talent and strong publicity gets readers to read your book, not whether you’re represented by an agent. However an agent can be important when an author say does contract negotiations on things like royalty payments, but there have been many successful authors who have bypassed going with an agent.

Do you plan subsequent books?

Does the Earth continue to spin? Does the Sun go up and down every day? Of course as long as I’m around there will be subsequent books. How about Diary of a Rich Mad Gen Yer in a few years as I will no longer be a struggling actress.

Can you describe your most favorite place to write?

Oh my favorite place to write is in my bedroom closet while standing on my head. I’m just kidding, there’s no favorite place for me to write. Sometimes I write my silly stories on my laptop at a local coffee shop. Sometimes I write my silly blogs on my laptop in my bedroom. Sometimes I will take my laptop to the restaurant where I work and write on my laptop during my ‘free time’ in a small back room where no one ever goes. Don’t tell this to my boss Petros. He keeps wondering why I take such long coffee breaks.

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

If money was no object I would spend as much as I can on getting the best publicity for my books, both Fifi and Diary, as possible. There would be big billboards all over the place, from San Diego to Maine, from Shanghai to the Sahara, showing a picture of little redheaded me, moi, with the heading Diary of a Mad Gen Yer or Fifi, Anything Goes in the Double Os, and the words 'Buy these darned books they’re funny,’ behind me.

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

Omigosh self promotion is the most important thing in the world. You have to promote by every means possible. For Fifi we’ve gone to every book festival you can imagine, including big ones like the LA Times festival in April, we’ve used flyers, bookmarks, we’ve been on radio shows, and of course we’ve had book signings at big chain stores such as Hastings and at numerous independent bookstores, now that’s just some of the offline activities. As for the online activities well there’s this virtual blog tour we’re doing for Diary, we already have Fifi and are in the process of getting Diary in every major online bookstore. We’ve had numerous reviews from both individual readers and from some well known online reviewers (They’ve all been positive so far), finally there’s our two major websites, first at Summertime Productions and second at Authors Den. You people want to read a funny story? Read Fifi’s Thoughts on Authors Den. So yes we are doing a lot of promoting, the only way you can get people to notice you.

What’s the most common reason you believe new writers give up their dream of becoming published and did you almost give up?

You people need to realize that as an actress I will never give up, ever. The same can be said with being a co writer for Fifi and Diary. So no the thought of giving up never occurred to me, I know Marcus feel the same. Fifi my autobiography continues to sell on the internet but of course like anything else it takes time to get results, when you’re not well know you expect rejections from one traditional publisher after another, when you self publish it takes time to build a readership like I am currently building at my Authors Den web site. So to answer your first question some very talented writers and from what I have seen, there are many many talented new writers, both who self publish or have their books published by a traditional publisher, who perhaps have because they have not been able to generate sales or develop a loyal readership, sadly may give up their dreams. But again I tell everyone not to give up. Pursue your dream as much as possible. I mean look at all these other people, some not very talented, who got their ‘lucky break.’

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

Like I said before, don’t give up on your dreams. As long as you’ve got an imagination why keep it in your head, your creative ‘right cerebrum?’ Who else is going to write a book about a silly gen y girl who says ‘Omigosh’ all the time and likes to sing the French National anthem for kicks?

Thank you for your interview, Marcus I mean ‘Fifi.’ I wish you much success!

Thank you, OK I’m out………………………………..

Sorry I’m a little late, I was held up in traffic, I’m Marcus Dino, author of Diary of a Mad Gen Yer…..What?…… Who did the interview?............... That girl is going to drive me crazy………..
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