Interview with Erna Mueller: 'Self-publishing was the only way out of this maze'



I was born in Austria and my family immigrated to the U.S. I loved living here as a child and considered the U.S. my home. My family returned to Austria and of course I had to tag along. I missed the friendly faces and the cultivation of the free spirit which America symbolizes. In Austria I completed my education but always wanted to return, so here I am.
I traveled the world and lived in many exciting cities such as Paris, Munich and London. I currently work as an accountant for a large pizza company in Seattle by day and passionately pursue a career as a writer in my spare time.
My new book, "K-9 Cop", is adapted from my multi-national award winning screenplay.  The book has won several awards including first place in the 2009 National Good Read Competition sponsored by awomenswrite.com.
Please visit my web site at http://www.k9cop-woofwoof.com  for more reviews and other info.
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About the Book:

No one thought as highly of Lieutenant Spencer Watley as he did himself. This selfish cop met 14 year-old Justin Andrews during an important stakeout. Determined to nab a group of cyber killers, he wasn’t going to let anything get in his way, especially a smart mouthed teenager like Justin.

After Spencer bids him good riddance, he is killed by the hackers and stands before the gates of heaven. But - what’s this? After a life of putting dangerous criminals behind bars, he’s locked out?

He yells at the angel blocking his entrance, only to find out he needs to go through the J.R.P. program before he can enter. That’s the Jerk Redemption program, otherwise known as sensitivity training boot camp, which to his horror consists of non-stop Oprah and Dr. Phil reruns. Or he can go back to earth and help Justin’s dysfunctional family. Spencer opts for the lesser of two evils, to help Justin.

But the Angel pulls a fast one on Spencer. He can only go back to earth in the body of his K9-Partner. Spencer refuses, but like it or not, Spencer becomes a dog.  He falls back to earth and is slowly morphed into a dog that closely resembles a mop.

And if being a dog wasn’t bad enough, Spencer also swallowed an important microchip his killers need to hack into PC’s and steal millions. Now the criminals are hot on his trail for the only existing microchip that’s logged in his belly.

Justin and Spencer butt heads constantly; both are stubborn and willful, neither one wanting to give an inch. Spencer needs to find out what the killers are up to, so he swallows his pride and forms a bond with the boy. Spencer relays to Justin his past and together with the help of Justin’s girlfriend, Shahla; they discover the hacker’s plans. Spencer has broken down Justin’s reserve and he finally learns the meaning of unselfish love.

But it’s too late, the hackers have captured them.

Can Spencer maul the shins (and other choice areas) of his kidnappers and stop them from their evil plan?

Can a selfish man find a heart?

You bet.  He just has to become a dog first.

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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?

I thought a Young Adult book would be a great idea to write for a first time novelist. I always loved family orientated books and movies and was searching for a story that depicts the human condition with all its splendor and frailties. What better way than through a surly cop who has to go back to earth in the body of his K-9 partner? The cop needs to help a troubled teenager and his dysfunctional family in order to be redeemed

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?

It’s hard but rest assured help is on the horizon. The internet is filled with writer’s help websites and an assortment of books and software to kick-start the imagination. I have tried a few and found them very helpful, although it’s ultimately up to you to fill the page.  After your idea, the empty page is the worst hurdle to overcome but once the words fill the void it’s easier to rewrite. In fact, writing is mostly rewriting. I am not the most organized being in the universe, so I sing praises of the keyboard with back buttons and delete functions.  Writing is just rewriting - there you have it. How did writers years ago work without MS Word?  I bet Hemingway would have killed for the cut and paste function.

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

Once the novel was completed I sent out numerous query letters to agents and publishing houses and no one wanted to read a chapter of a first time novelist. I can start a bonfire with the rejection letters I received. And get ready to hear from Literary Agencies that their roster is full and can’t accept any new authors, and the majority of publishers do not accept any unsolicited manuscripts. For me, self-publishing was the only way out of this maze. Then I heard if you have a self-published book with somewhat decent sales, publishing houses are more apt to take you seriously. No company wants to gamble with their capital anymore; they want you to do the marketing for them.  Your start-up costs for Self-Publishing can be as frugal or pricy as your credit card limit will allow. So if you have the “I don’t have a contract blues,” SELF-PUBLISH!

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

I’m working on a sequel to K-9 cop.

Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?

I type in “how to market your e-book” and surf. Marketing is science onto itself and is more frustrating than writing a book. You have control over your book but not so in marketing. There’s a lot to learn so pour yourself a cup of coffee and blog. 

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

I love the story of redemption and second chances. And I love to make people laugh.
   
Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

I just wanted to stress the importance of imagination. Albert Einstein hit the nail on the head when he said “I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” 

Wow, that gives me goose bumps and makes my knees wobble.

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