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Newsletter Dated: 10/31/2010 7:31:57 PM
Subject: Andrea Campbell*s Soup*s On
Andrea Campbell’s Newsletter
*** Greetings! ***
This newsletter is being sent to you because you are a writer, professional friend of Andrea*s, or a fan and reader of her books. If you are new to the list, welcome. There are a ton of newsletters and e-zines out there to read, thanks for requesting and reading mine.
In this issue:
• From the Author*s Desk
• Lois Winston, Mystery Writer
• Interview with Cathy Shouse
*** From The Author*s Desk ***
Interviews with two ladies I like and admire, what could be better for a newsletter read? I hope you enjoy their stories as much as I had working on them.
*** Lois Winston Mystery Writer ***
Lois Winston is an award-winning novelist as well as an award-winning designer. Like the protagonist in her ANASTASIA POLLACK CRAFTING MYSTERIES series, she worked for several years as a crafts editor. She often draws on her art and design background for much of the source material in her fiction.
Q.: Lois, thank you for being our guest. Can you tell Soup’s On readers something about your writing background?
L.: I caught the writing bug rather late in life. I wasn’t one of those writers who knows she’s going to be a writer from the moment she picks up her first pencil and meticulously copies her ABC’s. My first novel, TALK GERTIE TO ME, was released in 2006. LOVE, LIES AND A DOUBLE SHOT OF DECEPTION followed a year later. Because I then decided to take my writing in a different direction, moving from romance/romantic suspense to mystery, I didn’t sell my next novel until late in 2009. ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY GLUE GUN, the first book in the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries series, will be out in Jan. 2011. In-between my second and third novel sales I was published in several fiction and non-fiction anthologies.
Q.: How did you move from crafting to writing fiction?
L.: I’ve never really moved. I straddle two worlds, still designing for the crafts industry, mostly needlework projects for various magazines.
Q.: Love, loved, Assault with a Deadly Glue Gun. How long did it take you to craft your character Anastasia Pollack? Is she based in part on you?
L.: Anastasia sprang fully formed from my imagination. One minute my agent was suggesting I write a crafts-themed mystery; the next minute Anastasia was coming to life on my computer screen. As for any similarities between the two of us…we’ve both worked similar jobs, I do have two sons, and my mother-in-law was a communist. However, thankfully, my husband is nothing like Karl! And so far, I haven’t found any dead bodies or been suspected of killing anyone.
Q.: You have an ear and innate talent I think for humor. How did you cultivate that? And how do you know when something funny is clicking versus when it doesn’t feel right?
L.: Humor is very subjective. What one person thinks is funny, another won’t. My all-time favorite situation comedy on TV was M*A*S*H. Give me Alan Alda over Jerry Seinfeld any day. So right there, that should tell you something about my sense of humor.
Just as not everyone is going to like every book I or any author writes, I know there are people out there who won’t “get” my humor. That’s OK. It may be every author’s dream to have everyone love her books, but realistically we know that’s never going to happen.
As for cultivating humor, I don’t think that’s possible. It’s another component of an author’s voice, and unlike other writing skills, it can’t be learned. It can only be polished and refined. I think it’s very much like a singing voice. You may want to sing more than anything in the world. You can take all sorts of voice lessons, hire coaches, etc. But if you don’t have the innate talent, all the lessons and coaches in the world aren’t going to turn you into the next Barbra Streisand or Roberta Fleming.
Q.: The humorous writing amazes me, how do you prepare for it? Does it come naturally? What if you are having a bad day? Do you just try to be snarky and say what we’re all thinking but never voice?
L.: Me snarky? I am so busted! Snark is my middle name. I don’t have to try. What I have to do most of the time is bite my tongue to keep the snark from spilling forth! But like anything else, there are good writing days and bad writing days. If the humor isn’t coming, I don’t try to force it. I go ahead and write the scene without it. Then I go back to it a few days later and add the humor. Revising isn’t just about layering in emotions, sexual tension, description, etc. Humor is one other component that needs to be layered into the scene.
Q.: Can you talk about finding your publisher? Do you have an agent or did you go it alone?
L.: I have an agent. She submits my books to various publishers.
Q.: Is you publisher helping with publicity? What are your own plans?
L.: I’m incredibly lucky in that my publisher really believes in promoting their authors. As a midlist author for a NY publisher, I had to handle all my own publicity at my expense. That’s not the case this time around.
My biggest effort has been to establish a character blog. At Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers http://www.anastasiapollack.blogspot.com Anastasia and her fellow magazine editors blog Mondays through Thursdays. The blog is set up like a women’s magazine. On Mondays Anastasia offers craft tips and projects. On Tuesdays the food editor posts a recipe. Wednesdays alternate between the decorating, health, and financial editors, and Thursdays alternate between the fashion, beauty, and travel editors. On Fridays we host guest authors, many of whom give away copies of their books. To be entered in the Book Club Friday giveaways, people just have to post a comment to the blog at any time during the week.
I’ll also be doing signings and attending some mystery conventions throughout the year. People can view my schedule of upcoming events at my website: http://www.loiswinston.com.
Q.: Do you also write romantic suspense? Is it hard to juggle the two?
L.: I have. My second book, LOVE, LIES AND A DOUBLE SHOT OF DECEPTION, is a romantic suspense, and I do have several unpublished romantic suspense manuscripts cavorting with the dust bunnies under my bed. At this time, though, I’m concentrating on Anastasia. I turned in the second book in the series in September and am hard at work on the third book.
Q.: What do you see on the horizon of book publishing? Are you going to do e-books as well?
L.: We live in interesting times. It’s hard to say exactly what publishing will be like 10 years from now, but I do foresee more and more e-books on the horizon. TALK GERTIE TO ME and LOVE, LIES AND A DOUBLE SHOT OF DECEPTION have both gone out-of-print, and I’ll be bringing them out as e-books sometime soon.
Q.: Is there anything you would like to say to Soup’s On readers?
L.: Thanks so much for inviting me to do this interview, Andrea! I hope the readers of Soup’s On will check out my new series. Kirkus Reviews had this to say about the book, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum. Funny, gutsy and determined, Anastasia has a bright future in the planned series.” You can read an excerpt from ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY GLUE GUN here: http://www.loiswinston.com/excerptap1.pdf. I also hope I’ll see some of Soup’s On readers at Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers: http://www.anastasiapollack.blogspot.com.
*** Interview with Cathy Shouse ***
Cathy Shouse was a student in one of my e-classes and I am happy to share an interview with her for her new book. I think it is important to say that her publisher is pleased with sales and that they are ahead of projections—my e-class must be working because we are all about targeting and marketing.
Q.: Cathy, welcome to Soup’s On. Can you tell us a little about your background in writing?
C.: Since leaving financial planning in 2000, I’ve been published in hundreds of newspaper stories, “Family Fun” magazine, “Indianapolis Monthly,” and “The Saturday Evening Post,” among many others. “Images of America: Fairmount” is my debut book.
Q.: I believe you said the impetus for writing this book started with photographs, can you speak to that?
C.: Actually, I was at a writing conference when a bookseller from Barnes & Noble mentioned some local history books “flying off the shelves” by Arcadia Publishing. The acquisitions editor phoned two days after my e-mail and invited me to send a proposal, their pre-written document to fill in. My research indicated the publisher was respected and mentors advised getting a book published would help my career. However, rallying local historians to help and psyching up to work with so many photos took me six months! lol
Q.: I have to admit, I love looking at antique photos, it almost feels like seeing a private album. What are some of your favorites?
C.: On page 17, a 1904 photo of workers constructing the house where film actor James Dean would grow up is my favorite, with the men’s faces and the construction in-progress. Page 94 shows a 1905 photo of dozens of children in a classic play, “Tom Thumb Wedding,” posed on stage at the opera house.
Q.: This slim volume is research-heavy, can you explain your process?
C.: Photos were scanned in, which I had to renumber later, then submit on CD’s. To publish the 223 photos, I scoured the Fairmount Historical Museum’s photo collection (my collaborators) and used word-of-mouth to find photos from family scrapbooks. Being a journalist, I found newspaper accounts and did interviews, all typed in a Word document, to appear underneath the photos. Finalizing the order was time-consuming!
Q.: You were a student in my Publish That Book e-course, did it help you and how?
C.: I learned the main components of getting any book published are essentially the same. You emphasized working with editors to meet their needs, demonstrating a can-do attitude, and writing to entertain, which helped when I submitted 20+ photos before the editor approved the cover. The strict guidelines became a fun challenge.
Q.: Do you have an agent? How did you sell the idea?
C.: No agent yet. I emphasized Fairmount’s uniqueness, such as being founded by Quakers, while highlighting broad themes, like the natural gas boom and the Underground Railroad. Plus, I showed I was known locally and would work to market the book, which was critical for a small publisher.
Q.: What was your experience with Arcadia Publishing?
C.: I can’t say enough good things about them, from teaching me to scan photos to their specifications, to their copy editing and fact-checking. They have a great “brand” which they can help anyone duplicate. “Images of America” is a popular national series available on Amazon and at major booksellers and the titles remain in print. Arcadia Publishing welcomes unpublished authors as well.
Q.: Who are some of the famous people of Fairmount?
C.: The most famous are Jim Davis who created Garfield the cat and James Dean, the American film icon. However, in the 50s, Fairmount was known as a “culture capital” so there are other notable people such as retired CBS news correspondent Phil Jones and Bob Sheets, former director of the National Hurricane Center.
Q.: What have you learned taking this trip through history?
C.: The work ethic and community spirit inspired me. Indeed, even this book became a community project. I also learned my personal writing process, such as the stage where I hate my book and want to start over, but the deadline forced me to work through that. Anything I learn about myself helps me.
Q.: How are you planning on promoting the book?
C.: The many contributors created “buzz” and we sold about 60 at the book launch/history celebration in Fairmount, where people came in classic cars. The James Dean Festival brings thousands of people to town the last full weekend in September and the Fairmount Historical Museum also stocks the book. The James Dean Gallery in town has shipped copies to England, France and Japan.
I sell them at school reunions. I speak for about 30 minutes about some representative book photos, to civic groups and historical societies. I’ve promoted the book to libraries, B & N, and Borders, signing the books on their shelves. Amazon.com shows “inside the book” and Arcadia Publishing’s website promotes me. I sell signed copies at www.cathyshouse.com and hope to connect with Garfield fans and also do a blog tour.
I was interviewed in a newspaper story after its release and people frequently ask to buy a copy when I am out and about.
Q.: Is there anything else you would like to tell Soup’s On Readers?
C.: Publishing a book is worth all the work it takes. Mine is a niche book targeted to a specific audience, which has advantages and disadvantages. I have gotten to witness strangers poring over my book and coming back for gift copies.
*** Future Newsletters ***
In upcoming newsletters we will share a new interview or two, talk more about publishing, and provide additional writer’s tips. If there is any area you would like to discuss, just send me a note. Thanks for the read.:0)
Copyright©2010 Andrea Campbell If you wish to quote from here, fine, just attribute it to me and my web site.