Monday, July 25, 2011

Preview of a Q & A Session

Here's a preview of a Q & A to appear on the blog of  Teresa Morrow at Key Book Promotions.

How long did it take you to write your book?
Stray took me one year to write, and another to re-write and re-write. I finished it about 8 years ago, and found a publisher in a site called www.booksunbound.com.  They helped me with some editing, made me a cover, and suddenly I was tops on their "coming soon" list.  Unfortunately, there I stayed. For years. Apparently, I got in at a moment of turmoil, and now the site no longer exists, so my book, and my contract, was set free.  It was a blessing, because indie publishing fits me.

What is your greatest joy in writing?
When my characters develop their own personality, and handle situations without me. I love each and every one of my characters in Stray, and they are still making decisions in my mind long after the novel is over.  I hear them and talk to them.  And I realize how crazy that sounds.  In the thick of writing, I live in both worlds, and usually wish I could stay in the world of the novel.

What is your biggest struggle with writing?
Time.  I work a full time job as a therapist, and have two children.

Please share with us more about your latest book.
Stray, my first novel, is the story of a substance abuse treatment center, and a next door animal shelter, and the parallels between the stray, lost souls in crisis struggling with their addiction and the stray, lost animals looking for assistance.  The caregivers at both sites have the same needs and longings, and there is an interconnectedness of all the characters that ripple back and forth. Alcoholism, heroin addiction, family legacies, the inner world of animal rescue, all provide the drama for the grity yet compassionate story. Plus, a few real wild surprises just to keep it interesting.

What is the message of your book?
That we are all flowing in and out of each other all the time, and that in each of us there is a yearning for wholeness, salvation, and a place to feel loved and call 'home.' On a larger level, the novel addresses the importance of putting old voices at rest, and "killing the voice" of the negative and domineering father or parent in you. In that way it’s actually a retelling of the oedipal myth.

Why did you choose to write this book?
My eyes have been witness to things and my ears have heard some things that needed to be put down.  But its more about the writing. I have been a writer since age 10 when I made up stories about aliens and related fun topics.  And the setting of the story is 100% true. I worked at a substance abuse treatment center, and we shared an expansive parking lot with an animal shelter.  And even though the story is fiction, there is little in the novel that did not happen and is not true, except the bits of truths are scattered and shared by different characters. It helps to have had some of my experiences. If I told you all that went down, it might burn off all of your ears.

Who is your book geared towards?
Hmm, well, you have to be okay with a bit of grittiness, but, as one reviewer wrote on Barnes and Noble, "it just goes to show that love is the answer." It is not a horror nor an occult novel, but a psychological thriller. My first cover featured a strung out heroin addict on the cover, and it was misconstrued as some sort of monster putting a needle into their tongue. It jumped to number 1 on the occult list on Amazon, and in the top ten in horror.  My wife kept asking me about the occult horror novel I wrote, and I couldn't explain. I read some message boards about the cover of Stray and the feedback was illuminating. I changed the cover which is now a picture of a confused golden retriever, and this is perhaps more indicative of the content.

Do you incorporate blogging into your marketing for your writing and/or your book?
http://markmatthewsauthor.blogspot.com/
I just started this blog, yet my most interesting marketing technique was to offer my eBook for free for a short period. Thousands and thousands of downloads followed, to my delight, and then positive reviews on Amazon and elsewhere.


What subjects do you cover with your blog?
That's the hard part. I can't compartmentalize my life that well. I want to include my family life, my work life, my writing life, my thoughts on everything. So, that’s' what I will probably blog about, right or wrong. The first message begs the reader to skip what bores them. I suppose that’s unnecessary huh.

Do you incorporate social media (twitter, facebook, linkedin) for your writing and/or book?
I am on LinkedIn, have a twitter account, but to date I have just started and enjoyed the networking of Goodreads as much as any. Not sure why, but it fits my tastes best.

Where can people purchase your books?
Amazon, of course, and Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Itunes,  -  all the typical sites, and my garage or upcoming yard sale. (the paperback is finally available.)

What else is in the works for you for 2011?
The Jade Rabbit, my second novel, is to be shipped off to an editor soon, so hopefully to be released by the fall.
The novel is told in the first person from the perspective of an adoptee from China who has abandoned at birth, adopted by parents in the US, and grows up to become the director of a shelter for runaway and neglected youth in Detroit. She gets sucked into the lives of the lost children of the streets and is forced to relive her own traumatic past of abandonment. She copes by emulating her adoptive mother and becomes an obsessed marathoner. There are some real juicy delights in this novel, I promise.

How do you come up with the idea for this novel?
I worked at a runaway shelter, I have first hand experience with Chinese adoption, and I am an avid marathoner myself. I have made sure to 'write what I know' yet also take some risks with this novel. I am so excited about its release. In my dreams, it is read to the song of a Florence and The Machine song.

Chapter one of The Jade Rabbit is available here: Jade Rabbit, chapter one

How can others contact you?
xmarkm@yahoo.com

THE WHOLE INTERVIEW TO APPEAR HERE: http://www.keybookpromotions.com

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