Friday, November 30, 2012

Interview with Lauren Carr, author of DEAD ON ICE


Lauren Carr fell in love with mysteries when her mother read Perry Mason to her at bedtime.

Lauren is also the author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries, which takes place in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. The first two books in her series, It’s Murder, My Son and Old Loves Die Hard have been getting rave reviews from readers and reviewers. Lauren’s fifth mystery, Shades of Murder has been receiving rave reviews since its release.

Lauren’s sixth book, Dead on Ice, has just been released. Dead on Ice introduces a new series entitled Lovers in Crime, in which Joshua Thornton will join forces with homicide detective Cameron Gates.

The owner of Acorn Book Services, Lauren is also a publishing manager, consultant, editor, cover and layout designer, and marketing agent for independent authors. This spring, two books written by independent authors will be released through the management of Acorn Book Services.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She also passes on what she has learned in her years of writing and publishing by conducting workshops and teaching in community education classes.

She lives with her husband, son, and two dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Visit her websites at www.acornbookservices.com and www.mysterylady.net.

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

Dead on Ice is the first installment of my new series (Lovers in Crime) featuring Hancock County Prosecuting Attorney Joshua Thornton and Pennsylvania State Police homicide detective Cameron Gates. 

Spunky Cameron Gates is tasked with solving the murder of Cherry Pickens, a legendary star of pornographic films, whose body turns up in an abandoned freezer. The case has a personal connection to her lover, Joshua Thornton, because the freezer was located in his cousin’s basement. It doesn’t take long for their investigation to reveal that the risqué star’s roots were buried in their rural Ohio Valley community, something that Cherry had kept off her show business bio. She should have kept her hometown off her road map, too—because when this starlet came running home from the mob, it proved to be a fatal homecoming.

I wrote the first draft of Dead on Ice back in 2007, years before hoarders became a household word. A friend was telling me about a house that she had moved into that was filled with junk. One closet that she cleaned out was filled from floor to ceiling with those tubes that toilet paper is wrapped around. So, I started thinking, “Gee, what if they found a dead body under all that junk?” That year, I wrote the rough draft for Dead on Ice, even though I had no title for it. But was I unhappy with how it came out. So I filed it away in a folder on my laptop and showed it to no one.

This spring, after I published Shades of Murder, the third Mac Faraday book, where I introduced the characters Cameron Gates and Joshua Thornton, I was struck with the solution to solving my problem with Dead on Ice. The same day Shades of Murder was released, I started on the next draft for Dead on Ice and wrote non-stop for one whole night until I was done. I even had the title. The problem with the first draft was the original main characters. Once I developed the Lovers in Crime, Dead on Ice came completely together.

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

The puzzle is the most difficult part of a mystery. I consider murder mysteries to be story puzzles. I start out with the whole picture, and then I take it apart piece by piece. The reader is then challenged to put it all together as they read it in hopes of coming up with the whole picture before I reveal it at the end.

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

My publisher is Acorn Book Services, which I own. I have published every way there is. My first book was published by iUniverse. A Small Case of Murder was named Independent Publishers Book Award finalist in 2004.

I was then picked up by Five Star Mystery. As honored as I was to be published in hardback, I quickly discovered that it is very hard to sell a $25 hardback when you’re an unknown.

One day I had an a-hah moment. My degree was in journalism. I had worked more than ten years with the federal government as an editor and layout designer. I don’t need to give a portion of my profits to any publisher. I could do this all myself!

So, I published It’s Murder, My Son, the first Mac Faraday mystery, through CreateSpace in 2010. That book, and the other books that followed in the series, proved to be my most successful book in sales and reviews. I also independently published the e-book versions, which were even more profitable.

Other authors then started asking me to help them publish their books. That was when Acorn Book Services was born!

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

How many facets there are to it. I went into publishing A Small Case of Murder thinking I would just hand off my book to iUniverse, it would come out, appear on the bookshelves in the stores and I would be an instant star.

Nope, that isn’t how it happens. There are so many different parts to it. New authors have so many preconceived notions; which, if they don’t have an advocate in their corner willing to educate them, can cost them not just money, but threaten the success of their book.

Q: Can you describe the feeling when you saw your published book for the first time?

I was so tickled when I received my first proof of A Small Case of Murder. Here was my book, my words, packed up between the cover of a book. I was so anxious and naïve, that I picked up the phone and called the publisher and told him to “Let ‘er rip! Let’s release that baby out to the world!” No one told me that you are supposed to read the proof for typos. When my mother received her copy, she was horrified by how many typos there were. We fixed them, but the publisher would only let us do so much. It still embarrasses me, which is why I strive to help other authors keep from making the same mistakes.

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

The fourth Mac Faraday mystery on Deep Creek Lake, Blast From the Past, is coming this spring! Mac finds himself up to his eyeballs with mobsters and federal agents.

After an attempted hit ends badly with two of his men dead, newly released mobster Tommy Cruze decides to come to Spencer, Maryland, to personally supervise his orders to take out the witness responsible for putting him behind bars—Archie Monday!

To protect his lady love, Mac Faraday has to put all of his resources together in a battle against one of the most dangerous leaders in organized crime.

Q: Fun question: How does your book contribute to making this world a better place?

It provides readers with an escape into a world where truth and justice always prevails. The killer is always caught and all is right with the world when you reach the end.

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

Whenever possible, surprise people. Do the right thing.
  
Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

For a good time, read Dead on Ice!
Visit my websites and blog at:
E-Mail: writerlaurencarr@comcast.net
Website: http://acornbookservices.com/
                 http://mysterylady.net/
Blog: Literary Wealth: http://literarywealth.wordpress.com/


Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lauren.carr.984991
Gnarly’s Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/GnarlyofMacFaradayMysteries
Twitter: @TheMysteryLadie

10 Things You Didn't Know About My Novel: Scandalous Secrets Behind The Third Grace by Deb Elkink


When author and city-slicker Deb Elkink fell in love and married an introverted cowboy, she moved from her bright lights to his isolated cattle ranch far off in the prairie grasslands. Still—between learning to pilot a light aircraft, sewing for a costume rental store, and cooking for branding crews of a hundred—Deb graduated with a B.A. in Communications from Bethel University in St. Paul, MN; she also holds an M.A. in Theology (both summa cum laude).

Her award-winning debut novel, THE THIRD GRACE, is set in the contrasting locales of Parisian street and Nebraskan farmyard, and incorporates Greek mythology and aesthetics with the personal search for self.

Her writing has been described as “layered and sumptuous,” “compelling,” and “satisfying.”

Visit her website at www.DebElkink.com.

Friend her at Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/#!/deb.elkink.

Pick up your paperback copy of Deb Elkink’s THE THIRD GRACE at Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/The-Third-Grace-Deb-Elkink/dp/1937573001/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1343080975&sr=8-1&keywords=third+grace+elkink


10 Things You Didn’t Know About My Novel:
Scandalous Secrets Behind The Third Grace

You won’t come across these little-known facts in the published lines of The Third Grace, but knowing my novel’s backstory might serve to intrigue:
Ÿ Story idea: I stood in awe before a statue grouping of The Three Graces of Greek mythology—a common subject of European art—during my first visit to the Louvre in 1989. At that intimate moment, the sculpture by James Pradier became the icon of my yet-to-be-written debut novel. The communication implicit within the marble trio’s embrace hints at the relational aspect of my story, the women’s overt sensuality foreshadows the book’s dark romance, and their nudity suggests the spiritual unveiling my main character is about to endure.
Ÿ Cover: The front of The Third Grace pictures the story’s dichotomy between aesthetic culture and rural homeliness—that is, sophisticated city mouse versus rustic country mouse. The cover is dominated by a headshot of one of the three Charites or Graces—the Greek goddesses who, as daughters of Zeus, attended Aphrodite and presided over the banquet, the dance, and all the arts. The background shows sandy pastureland punctuated by a windmill and trough, recalling to me the taste of the icy, iron-laden well water I sometimes slurped directly from a pipe beneath a Beatty Pumper on our own cattle ranch.
Ÿ Epigram: I chose the first quote (by G.K. Chesterton, What’s Wrong with the World) to reflect his philosophy that we’re all roaming in search of a destination, and the second (from Homer’s Odyssey) to underscore the great and universal quest to return home.
Ÿ Working Title: I drafted The Third Grace under the title of “Stones Cry Out” to suggest the novel’s motif of stone (earth, dust, pebbles, gems, stars), the development of which chronologically follows the pattern of the same emblem in biblical literature. In the novel, I juxtaposed stone with the motif of water (cleansing, quenching, saturating, refreshing, baptizing), also developed chronologically. So the novel makes early reference to the soil of the Garden of Eden and the waters of the Great Flood in Genesis, and continues on with the parallel through reference to the gemstone foundations of the New Jerusalem and the River of Life that flows through Revelation.
Ÿ Setting: The farm of my character’s youth was—in an early draft—set in the Great Sand Hills of Saskatchewan, Canada, but I moved it to a similar geographical locale in Nebraska, where the fictional town of Tiege (named after a real-life colony on the Molotschna River running through the steppes of Russia) is juxtaposed with the novel’s cityscapes of Denver and Paris.
Ÿ Research: I was raised in the city and moved to the deep countryside, so I have first-hand knowledge of both aspects. However, the cultures of Greece and France also inform my novel; thus, I read oodles about mythology when writing The Third Grace and—on a less bookish and more experiential note—I regularly visit Paris. I have plans to return in June 2013—can’t wait!
Ÿ Character names: When my farm-girl protagonist Mary Grace Klassen runs from her rural upbringing, she changes her name to identify instead with the sophistication of the Greek goddess “Aglaia” (which means “splendid beauty”). Guess which of my other character names (Ebenezer, Tina, Naomi, Henry, Lou, François) are linked in baby name books with these definitions: “free one,” “pleasant,” “warrior,” household ruler,” honors God,” “stone of help.”
Ÿ Imagery: Snapshots from my memory illustrate the novel:
·        My mother’s vegetable garden becomes a scene on the story farm, both spring plots growing new potatoes the size of marbles, bright green feathers of dill that tickle pudgy arms, and peas for a fine soup (p. 25).
·        I, too, grew up listening to the drone and punch of a sewing machine and hankered to sew, to smell the flax beneath the linen and taste a strand of silk (p. 46).
·        When I was a teen, my white baptismal gown clung to my legs like pond weeds, as does Mary Grace’s (p. 121).
·        A violinist I heard busking in a pedestrian tunnel beneath the mountains of the Italian Riviera reappears on the streets of Paris (p. 137).
·        I drank wine in the same oak-paneled bar near the looming silhouette of Notre Dame that Aglaia visits (p. 141).
·        I shopped along the grand avenues, sniffing French perfume in a Belle Époque boutique (p. 159).
·        Like my character, I lay on the dewy grass at midnight with a boyfriend in my youth, identifying the constellations (p. 164).
Ÿ Foods: I grew up on Germanic fare: borscht, cracklings, homemade noodles, fritters, smoked sausage, cream gravy. I grew to love French cuisine: fondues of the Haute-Savoie region, sauces to die for, wine-steamed mussels from the coast of Brittany, crêpes hot off the griddle, breads and cheeses and cured meats from across the Gallic countryside. These dishes make their way into The Third Grace through Mennonite characters and Parisian scenes.
Ÿ Back cover: The endorsement by writer Linda Hall likens my book to Sue Monk Kidd’s coming-of-age novel, The Secret Life of Bees. I’m very flattered. The Third Grace is not a New York Times bestseller; however, it did receive the 2012 Grace Irwin Award, a significant prize sponsored by The Word Guild, a coast-to-coast Canadian writers’ organization with 350 members. (Remember, please, that this country’s population is only about one-tenth that of the U.S.)
Has my disclosure of unpublished facts about my novel intrigued you?  

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Interview with L Blankenship, author of 'Disciple, Part 1'



ABOUT L BLANKENSHIP

L. Blankenship is the alternate identity of a mild-mannered graphic designer. She started writing animal stories as a kid and it’s just gotten completely out of hand since then. Now she’s setting out to publish her gritty fantasy and hard science fiction adventures. L grew up in New Hampshire but currently lives near Washington, DC.

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

A: I grew up in a small town in New Hampshire and started writing at a young age. I remember asking my parents if I could use the typewriter – to give you an idea of how long ago this was – and I remember sitting there listening to the crickety hum of it, looking at the blank sheet of paper. I typed up a little animal story, no more than a couple hundred words. But I'm not sure exactly when that happened. Before I turned ten, certainly.

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

A: Here's the back cover text for Disciple, Part I:

The saints favor her, else-wise a peasant girl like Kate Carpenter would never be apprenticed to the kingdom’s master healer. But her patron saint also marks her ready for the duty of tending to a mission that must cross the ice-bound mountains. Their little kingdom faces invasion by a vast empire and desperately needs allies; across the snow-filled pass, through the deathly thin air, is a country that’s held off the empire and may be willing to lend an army.

Kate knows about frostbite and the everyday injuries of wilderness travel. She can heal those.
She’s not ready for the attentions of a ne’er-do-well knight and the kingdom’s only prince, though.
And she isn’t ready for the monsters that harry them night and day, picking off their archers first, wearing the party to exhaustion, pushing Kate beyond the limits her healing abilities.
She must keep them alive, or her blood will be on the snow too.

I had a lot of reasons to write Kate's long, challenging quest to help defend her homeland from an invading empire. There are several very personal questions built into the understructure of the story. Those gave me the driving need to write all six parts of Disciple – the need to answer those questions.

Q: What were some of the biggest challenges you faced writing it?

A: I could say that the research was challenging, but honestly it was too much fun. The biggest challenge was working with Kate and the other major characters to keep the emotional heart of the story beating at a strong pace. I love long fantasy stories as much as the next fan, but burning out is a real danger for both the writer and the reader.

Q: Do you have a press kit and what do you include in it?  Does this press kit appear online and, if so, can you provide a link to where we can see it?

A: I have an online press kit here. It includes the back cover text, the cover art, links to a sample of Chapter 1, some of my reviews from Goodreads, and availability information. Since I'm a self-publisher and this is an electronic world, I haven't put together a physical press kit.

Q: Have you either spoken to groups of people about your book or appeared on radio or TV?  What are your upcoming plans for doing so?

A: I don't have any plans to appear on radio or TV, though I'm open to suggestions. I'm very much interested in speaking at convention panels and sharing my self-publishing experince with other writers. It's a fast-moving and confusing field.

Q: 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?

A: I do not have an agent. Given my previous experience with small press, graphic design, and prepress – over 15 years' worth – I felt confident enough to tackle self-publishing rather than trying to storm the castles of the major publishing houses. I may need an agent in the future, but I will cross that bridge when I get to it.

Q: Did you, your agent or publisher prepare a media blitz before the book came out and would you like to tell us about it?

A: Media blitzes have no proven impact on the sales of self-published books. The two things that do are: author backlist, and word-of-mouth recommendations. I will be working on the first as I release the remaining five parts of Disciple. The second I am pursuing at Goodreads and through book bloggers. Self-publishing is a marathon, not a sprint, and I'm in this for the long haul.

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

A: Yes! Disciple, Part II, will be available by April 1, 2013. I intend to publish Part III later in 2013. I have finished writing all six parts of Disciple, so there's no worry that readers will be left hanging.

Q: Thank you for your interview, L.  Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

A: I am a regular blogger: Disciple of the Fount is my blog for the novel, and Notes from the Jovian Frontier is my writing blog. I can be found on Twitter @Lblankenship_sf, charting my progress under #amwriting, #amediting and #ampublishing.

Disciple, Part I is available in ebook and trade paperback, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and other online retailers. See this page for full availability.

ABOUT DISCIPLE, PART 1

The saints favor her, else-wise a peasant girl like Kate Carpenter would never be apprenticed to the kingdom’s master healer. But her patron saint also marks her ready for the duty of tending to a mission that must cross the ice-bound mountains. Their little kingdom faces invasion by a vast empire and desperately needs allies; across the snow-filled pass, through the deathly thin air, is a country that’s held off the empire and may be willing to lend an army.
Kate knows about frostbite and the everyday injuries of wilderness travel. She can heal those.
She’s not ready for the attentions of a ne’er-do-well knight and the kingdom’s only prince, though.
And she isn’t ready for the monsters that harry them night and day, picking off their archers first, wearing the party to exhaustion, pushing Kate beyond the limits her healing abilities.
She must keep them alive, or her blood will be on the snow too.

Interview with Anne-Rae Vasquez, author of 'Almost a Turkish Soap Opera'


ABOUT ANNE-RAE VASQUEZ

Anne-Rae Vasquez authored Gathering Dust – a collection of poems, published by AR Publishing Inc. and Teach Yourself Great Web Design in a Week, published by Sams.net (a division of Macmillan Publishing). She wrote the novel and screenplay and directed Almost a Turkish Soap Opera, an award winning feature film and series produced by Joseph Khalil, Sababa Emporium Film Productions (http://www.sababaemporium.com) produced the feature film and series.
Details of the film production is at http://www.almostaturkishsoapopera.com.
Note from the author:
“The popularity of Turkish soap operas or TV series’ in the Arab speaking world, Europe and Asia is not well known here in the West. The Turkish TV series’ storylines are packed with jealousies and misunderstandings in family life and marriages, mafia encounters, economic problems and societal pressures, which all make for great drama. What I find fascinating in watching Turkish soap operas is how the Middle Eastern culture is woven into the modern way that Turkish people live which has influences from the Western and Eastern societies. I thank our producers Sababa Emporium Film Productions for allowing me to retell the story with so many different lenses – as a feature film, a short and as a series.” – writer/director/associate producer, Anne-Rae Vasquez
Aside from her artistic work, Anne-Rae Vasquez also manages a web design, production and learner support team, specialized in distance and blended learning at the University of British Columbia in Canada. Her expertise in HTML authoring, Web and multimedia design, and project and database management and being a graduate of the Internet Publishing Certificate Program at the University of British Columbia, has provided her with the opportunity to work with many talented people in the industry. She has over 14 years of experience in distance learning and her expertise is in producing and delivering top notch online courses at university level standards.

Almost A Turkish Soap Opera
Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Anne-Rae.  Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

A:  I have been scribbling poetry, short stories, cartoons ever since I was in Kindergarten. In grade school, I started making my own satirical audio shows, based on my cartoon stories, which focused on a multicultural, multi-generational family's every day trials and experiences in Canada. The stories were based on my own family life where two different cultural traditions always made for drama at home between my parents, my aunts and uncles, grandparents and cousins. I recorded the weekly shows on my ghetto blaster at home, acting out the voices of all the characters. I  shared the audio cassettes with friends and family who enjoyed them so much, they encouraged me to make more.  This creativity developed into my desire to participate in theatre and drama in highschool and later in community theatre. Along the journey, I had to get a real job to pay the bills so I endeavoured into the land of the Internet when it was still basically text based discussion boards.  Excited about the potential opportunities to broadcast independently, I became an early pioneer of web designers where I explored the opportunities to stretch my creative wings on the World Wide Web.  It wasn't long until Sams.net, a division of Macmillan Publishing, approached me to write a book about web design. I took on the offer and in less than 8 months, I was officially published.  I remember being so proud to see Teach Yourself Great Web Design, with my name on the cover, sitting on a book shelf at my local Chapters store.  Since then, I have published the novel Almost a Turkish Soap Opera which was adapted into an award winning feature film and web series and also my directorial debut.

So now someone asks me how I would label myself?  In short, I am a web designer/project manager by day; and a writer, filmmaker, blogger and mother by night. I continue to enjoy learning about other cultures and languages. I entertain myself by watching my favourite Turkish soap operas or TV series online either dubbed in Arabic or subtitled in English.

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

A: I wanted my novel Almost a Turkish Soap Opera to shine a light on the popularity of Turkish TV series and their popularity in the Middle East, Europe and Asia. The Turkish soap operas are full of drama, action, romance and cultural conflicts which I am certain North American readers will find entertaining. I also wanted to reveal the struggles of new immigrants as they try to get the basic things in life.

Q: What were some of the biggest challenges you faced writing it?

A: Without the support from your family, friends, colleagues and knowledgeable people, writing can be quite isolating.  It didn't take long to find out who my true friends were.  When I kept declining invitations from my "social" friends to their weekly house parties, I would get snarky comments on my Facebook page about my lack of attendance.  Soon I was written off their invite list. I suppose these “friends” never really understood that I had a goal to accomplish and very little time to do it.  Let’s just say that I can now count the number of my real friends on one hand. If it weren’t for the support of Joseph Khalil, Sababa Emporium Film Productions, who believed in my work and encouraged me to complete the novel and make it into a feature film, I don’t think I would have accomplished as much as I have the past 3 years.

Another hard part about writing the book was juggling writing, filmmaking, my full time job and motherhood all at the same time.  It is always challenging to get the kids in bed by 8 o’clock every night so that I can have some alone time to focus on writing.

Q: Do you have a press kit and what do you include in it?  Does this press kit appear online and, if so, can you provide a link to where we can see it?

A: An author should always have a press kit. I learned from my experience as an indie filmmaker that a press kit is essential to market your work. Journalists, reporters and festivals do not have the time to search for an artist's information. If it takes too long for them to find information about your work, they will move on to someone else who is prepared.  What to include in your press kit is basically a generic template of information that includes your author information, biography, contact information, awards, press releases, etc. You can find my press kit on my blog at http://anne-raevasquez.com/?p=309

Q: Have you either spoken to groups of people about your book or appeared on radio or TV?  What are your upcoming plans for doing so?
A:
I am currently on a book tour promoted by Pump Up Your Book. I'm blogging the events via my book tour diary from my blog and on GoodReads.com. I am also a member of the BookClub Reading List where readers and reading bookclubs can request for authors to be guest speakers. I am available via Skype and am always happy to chat with readers and other authors who are interested in learning about my book Almost a Turkish Soap Opera and how it was adapted into a feature film and web series.  Readers and bookclubs can request an author event at: http://bookclubreading.com/almost-a-turkish-soap-opera/

Q: 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?

A: No, I don't have an agent although I do use some help with publicity experts as needed. For example, for the book tour, I hired Pump Up Your Book to coordinate the tour and interviews as they have much more experience and networking connections in this area than I would be able to do on my own. I also used the services of The Publishing Guru to gather interest from book reviewers and professional bloggers which has proven to be successful in that I have been able to gain some attention and book review requests.

Q: Did you, your agent or publisher prepare a media blitz before the book came out and would you like to tell us about it?

A: Pump Up Your Book and The Publishing Guru sent out press releases, shared on social media networks and posted on their blogs about my book when it was launched at the beginning of November.  My book listing on Amazon was in the high millions prior to the book tour but now Almost a Turkish Soap Opera is in the Amazon top 100 best seller list for Fiction/Eastern category.  Last week the book reached #14 on the Amazon Best Seller List in the same category which I have to say is attributed partly from my hard work blogging, tweeting, sharing and also from the marketing from Pump Up Your Book and The Publishing Guru.

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

A:  I am currently writing a series of fictional novels called Among Us which delves into the world of the super natural and how it intersects with the every day lives of seemingly ordinary people as catastrophic events on Earth lead to the end of times.
  
Q: Thank you for your interview, Anne-Rae.  Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

A: Readers can buy the book as a paperback or Kindle edition on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Almost-Turkish-Soap-Opera-ebook/dp/B009BZFZZK

ABOUT ALMOST A TURKISH SOAP OPERA

Almost a Turkish Soap Opera is about Adel, a young Turkish man whose family has lived in poverty while his grand uncle controls the inheritance money which rightfully belongs to his father. Adel travels to the USA with his best friend Kamil, works illegally, and is deported back to Istanbul. He flies to Canada, marries his rich grand uncle’s spoiled obnoxious granddaughter in exchange for his permanent resident status. He becomes infatuated with his beautiful English teacher and tries to hide this from his wife. How did his life turn into a Turkish soap opera?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Interview with Bruce Meisterman, author of 'Arn? Narn.'


ABOUT BRUCE MEISTERMAN

As a photographer, Bruce Meisterman has worked in areas as diverse as fine art and commercial photography, always looking to meld the two. Originally studying to be a painter, Bruce found that he could express himself and his art more effectively with a camera. Starting out as a photo-journalist with a newspaper, he honed his eye, insight, skills, and story-telling abilities from working with the demands of daily deadlines.
The book Arn? Narn. was initially conceived as an examination of a western culture, isolated from the world. Isolated not so much as to having no contact with the outside world, but as to being a destination rather than a place along one’s way. In researching the then-untitled book, Meisterman determined Newfoundland would be the perfect place in which to do this study.
After his first trip up there to photograph, he realized that a core element to his photos was missing, necessitating another trip to Newfoundland the following year. It was then where the story became apparent to him. The title of the book tells it all.
“Arn? Narn.” is the shortest conversation in Newfoundland English. The story behind it is this: two fishing boat captains are in the bay: one departing, the other returning. The departing captain yells out across the bay “Arn?’ The returning captain responds “Narn.” The translation is simple: “Any fish?”; “No fish.” And this book is about a culture, that culture, having supported itself for many years on fishing, finding itself now unable to do. The fish are gone.
While Arn? Narn. is about Newfoundland, the implications are of a much broader scope. The lessons learned here have global ramifications. Meisterman likens it to a canary in a coal mine, but on a planetary scale. When the canary dies, it’s time to get out of the coal mine and avert a human catastrophe. In this instance, the canary (the Newfoundland fishing industry) died, but no one took notice until it was too late. Evidence indicates other such global collapses are inevitable but may be avoidable, but only if action is taken.
Meisterman has been widely published in numerous publications such as: the New York Times, The Sun magazine, Yankee magazine, Country Journal magazine among many others and has been featured in a number of books. He has had numerous exhibitions ranging from galleries to museums. And his work resides in many private collections. Arn? Narn. is Meisterman’s first book.
He has been a guest lecturer at colleges and universities, religious organizations, and trade groups conducting them in a fashion where he also learns from the process as well as those attending. “We are all teachers to each other. How fortunate that I can be the recipient of a whole room full of teachers’ knowledge. They have made me a much better photographer. The one thing I never want to do is stop learning.”
Visit Bruce on the web at www.bmeisterman.com.
Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Bruce.  Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

A: Thank you. My writing career really has been based upon the creation of Arn? Narn., so that makes it about nine years old. On the other hand, I've been a photographer for many years, so the idea of “author” coincides more with my photography in terms of age. It was only natural that in doing such a book, I would have to create a narrative that went beyond the photographs. Like any exercise, the more I wrote, the better I became. Doing a blog twice a week for a year and half really helped stylistically and in learning to meet deadlines.

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

A: Arn? Narn. is a photo-documentary book about disappearing rural Newfoundland. For over 500 years, the island supported itself by fishing. In the early 1990's, the fish were in such a level of depletion, a ten year moratorium on fishing was enacted immediately throwing 40,000 people out of work. Ten years later when the fish stocks were revisited, they found them to be in worse shape than prior to the moratorium. It is now in place permanently.

It is not the book I started out to do. But as I got further into it, I discovered that was the story that needed to be told. It is a story with global implications. Now twenty years later, the fish have not returned and rural Newfoundland is vanishing right before our eyes. And this loss of fish will be occurring across the planet in the next 20-30 years.

Q: What were some of the biggest challenges you faced writing it?

A: The first challenge happened when I discovered my original premise was weak and I'd already spent several weeks up there photographing. I needed to find out what was missing, where it had to go. Intellectually, I'd already learned about the fishing situation, but did not fully understand its implications until my second trip up the following year. A Newfoundlander crystallized it for me in one sentence, “What you see in front of you will all be gone in 10-12 years.”

The next challenge was finding a publisher. I had no idea how many were out there. But the internet obviously made this much easier than it might have been. It took a long time to find mine.


Q: Do you have a press kit and what do you include in it?  Does this press kit appear online and, if so, can you provide a link to where we can see it?

A: A press kit was the first thing I created after approving the final galley of the book. I wanted to make sure that all the materials were of a piece – info needed to be current in both the book and the kit and the graphics had to match those of the book as well.

Elements in the kit include: a one-sheet about the book; a short bio; a CV; an appearance schedule sheet; a press release; and a CD with a few sample images and an image of the book's cover. The book's logo is everywhere. The press kit is not available online at this time, but much of the info can be found on my website, bmeisterman.com .

Q: Have you either spoken to groups of people about your book or appeared on radio or TV?  What are your upcoming plans for doing so?

A: Yes, I have. I've done a number of radio interviews. At the time, I had no idea if anyone was out there listening. I was so surprised when people I either knew or even just met knew who I was because of the interviews. I guess that's my fifteen minutes of fame.

I was very fortunate to have been invited to be a featured author at the Southern Festival of Books held in Nashville this fall. That was quite an honor for a first-time author.

I've also done a webinar online which was a very interesting experience. It was an opportunity to talk with listeners and respond directly to their questions.

There have been a few book signings as well. One was done in a private residence which was fun and very intimate. The other was at a large book store with a great turnout. It was a good chance to talk at length to a group of people about the book, my experiences in Newfoundland, and the implications of the story.

There is also another book signing coming up in conjunction with an exhibition of my work.

I'm still working on additional interviews and appearances. So if anyone knows Jon Stewart at The Daily Show...

Q: Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/she is?  If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

A: No, I do not have an agent. In the early stages of shopping the book around, a few agents expressed interest in it, but they found no publishers who shared that interest with them.

I think an agent can help if they're enthusiastic about the book. They can get places an author can't, if only because of who they know. That said, each agent operates in only certain fields. It would not help to have an agent who does romance novels, try and sell my photo-documentary  book. That said, I would certainly entertain using an agent for my next book.


Q: Did you, your agent or publisher prepare a media blitz before the book came out and would you like to tell us about it?

A: Since I was without an agent, I had to do the media blitz on my own. I started out a year before publication with a twice-weekly blog about my experiences creating Arn? Narn. It starts out with my initial research, my trips, writing, printing and editing over 5,000 photographs right up through today.

As I mentioned before, I did a press kit. I identified where Newfoundland received most of its tourists from, based on the assumption (right or wrong), that that's where a large market for the book would be. They then got send out to those places.

At the same time, I created a video book trailer that's worked out well. It's on YouTube. Just type in the name of the book, Arn? Narn. or my name, Bruce Meisterman and you'll see the link.

I also engaged an online company to do virtual book tours. That has generated some wonderful reviews and exposure. My publisher also has sent out preview copies of the book which has had positive results.

The reviews have been gratifyingly positive. One magazine in England chose it for their Book of the Month!

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

A: Yes, I do. I'll start the actual writing and photography of the new book early in 2013. It too will be a photo-documentary but on an entirely different subject matter. Without revealing too much, it will be about an over-looked aspect of our culture.

I expect this one to take about 1-2 years to do and hopefully bring it to market soon after that.
  
Q: Thank you for your interview, Bruce.  Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

A: The blog I mentioned earlier can be found at: arnnarn.com ; info on the book, purchasing it, and public appearance schedules are on: bmeisterman.com .

Additionally, it can be purchased at fjordsreview.com and on Amazon.

Arn NarnABOUT ARN? NARN

Arn? Narn., while telling the true story of a disappearing rural Newfoundland, is also a cautionary chronicle of an imminent world wide concern. In 1992, the Canadian government enacted a cod fishing moratorium on the over 500 year old fishing industry, throwing over 40,000 fisherman out of work. In the next ten years, nearly 20 % of Newfoundland’s population migrated off the large island. Now, 20 years later, the fish have not returned nor have the people.
The implications of this are only now just beginning to be understood. In 2006, Dr. Boris Worm of Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia published a paper which received world-wide attention. In it, he predicted that by the middle of this century all stocks of wild, edible fish will be in total collapse. What happened in Newfoundland is expected to occur planet-wide.
Arn? Narn. is a photo-documentary of a culture vanishing before our eyes; perhaps as an early warning to all countries to learn how to manage their resources more carefully. This could very easily happen anywhere.
The title refers to a short conversation in Newfoundland English. It comes from the story of two fishing boats in a Newfoundland bay: one boat is departing, the other returning. The departing boat’s captain yells across his bow, “Arn?” The returning boat’s captain replies, “Narn.” The translation is simple: “Any fish?” “No fish.” That is the tragedy of this story. Through over-fishing, government mismanagement, and greed, the fish are gone.