Friday, July 19, 2019

9 Questions With Joseph Carrabis


This week's featured author is Joseph Carrabis from Nashua, NH and his sci-fi thriller The Augmented Man.


By Joseph Carrabis 

1.     What message are you hoping people will receive when they read your book?

I’m hoping people will receive the message “Buy all of Joseph Carrabis’ books.” Beyond that? That people can heal and healing requires effort. People have to make a decision to get well and then make getting well more important than air, food, and water. You can’t be free of your past unless you’re willing to embrace it. Embrace it, acknowledge it, accept it, then you can move on from it.
2. Why did you write this book?

The concept is a simple one, and I’m surprised by people’s reactions to it; the majority of first and ARC readers tell me it’s fascinating, powerfully disturbing, well written (I hope so! After all the editing we did?), and innovative beyond imagination. That noted, I wrote it simply because I could, because I lived through most if not all of it - I always tell people my work is autobiographical. All authors write an autobiography, some admit to it - because (I hope) it explains to those in the kinds of pain described a way out (I’ve been told the middle section reads like a psychotherapeutic case study).

3.     What has been the hardest part of the publishing process?

Patience. I wrote the story in the early 1990s.

4.     What has been the biggest (pleasant) surprise in your publishing journey?

Hmm...probably realizing I really can write, really can tell a good story.

5.     Give some advice to someone who wants to get a book published.

First, if you want to be published in today’s world and are not published, you simply don’t want to be published. People can self-publish and most do (unfortunately, me thinks (and I self-pubbed two books, although not for the reasons most people go that route)). There are also lots of “indie” publishers which are just people in the basement wanting to look impressive - be careful. Remember, it’s your work, not theirs (I had one publisher threaten me during a video call if I didn’t give him the book. Fascinating experience). Also, I know a fellow who’s “still deciding” whether or not to self-publish or seek a publisher after some thirty years. His real problem is that his work sucks; sucked back then and sucks now. I suspect he knows it and that has more to do with his not deciding than anything else. Perhaps he’s afraid to find out the truth? But that’s another thing that’s necessary: Be willing to be uncomfortable. The only way I’d learn if I could really tell a story worth reading was by sending it out, again and again and again. In the early 1990s, nobody was interested. The publishing world changed. This time I had several offers (hence patience). If you want your work to be published, be willing to have your work rejected. Note the emphasis. People’s likes and dislikes are always subjective. Editors and publishers may know what’s selling and have an idea of what will sell, your work may be a perfect fit, but they don’t like your protagonist so they reject your work. Their loss, not yours. Move on.

6.     What’s the worst advice you have ever received about publishing?

“You’ll be sorry if you don’t let us publish this book.” Another gem was “It doesn’t matter how you wrote it, we’re going to change all your colons and semicolons into emdashes.” A basic rule I have is “If the information isn’t geared towards making the work better, it’s worthless.” This is based on the axiom “Criticism without suggestion is worthless.” My suggestion regarding any advice - good or bad - is “Thank them first, then decide if the advice gets you closer to your goal. If yes, act on it. If no, move on.”

7.     What author or book has influenced your writing?

How long a list would you like? AJ Budrys, Katherine Mansfield, Wells, Doc Smith, Homer, Lucien, The Grimm Brothers (original stories), Virginia Woolfe, Poe, Shelley, Dick, Wouk, ... ancients through the 1960s, from all cultures. Craig Johnson’s Longmire series until the last one (“Winter” something. He was writing literal poetry until that one. No idea what happened), Leonard, and we haven’t even gotten to the poets. Oy, the poets! Dickey, Giovanni, Hall, ... Western (culture) genre writing tends to peter out once you get into the 2000s.

8.     What is your philosophy about rejection?

Move on. If there are suggestions, decide if they move you closer to your goal. If yes, act on them. If no, move on.

9.     You are stranded on an island with only 3 books. What are their titles?

The complete annotated Shakespeare
The complete, annotated Upanishads
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The complete, annotated Histories of World Civilizations




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Friday, July 12, 2019

9 Questions With...Christina Greer

This week's author is Christina Greer from West Dennis, MA and her young adult novel Everything’s Jake.   



By Christina Greer



1.     What message are you hoping people will receive when they read your book?

I would like anyone who has ever felt isolated because of mental illness to realize that they are not alone.  No one should feel they have to hide or try to ‘normalize’ themselves in order to be accepted.



2.     Why did you write this book?
This book was born out of experiences from my own life due to having dealt with anxiety much of my adult life. The catalyst though, was when my own fifteen-year-old daughter began showing signs of anxiety, but fiercely denied its existence. Everything’s Jake weaves both of our experiences together and tells the story through the voice of the protagonist, Jake Forest. Being a middle school teacher, I see first hand how many boys are affected by anxieties, yet mental illness is often viewed as something that happens mostly to girls. I wanted my story to be written from a boy’s perspective because I know that many teenage boys are suffering in silence. Navigating through adolescence is difficult enough, so adding issues like anxiety and panic disorders to the mix makes teens feel lost and ashamed. I wrote Everything’s Jake for anyone who has ever felt as if they needed to hide or change who they are. I want my readers to know that they never have to live their lives ‘off on the sidelines.’

3.     What has been the hardest part of the publishing process?
Most definitely the promotional side. At times I wonder how I’ll ever sell any copies because this is scary and uncomfortable for me. I wish my words were simply enough, never thought I’d have to become a sales rep of sorts.
4.     What has been the biggest (pleasant) surprise in your publishing journey?
The biggest surprise for me was how many friends wrote me notes of encouragement. Some of these people I haven’t seen since high school, but they’ve written to tell me that they have already pre-ordered a copy! That feels so humbling. I am truly grateful. I hope they aren’t disappointed!
5.     Give some advice to someone who wants to get a book published.
My best advice (that I really wish I’d heeded) is to slow down once you’re ready to query an agent. Write, edit, edit, and edit some more, to put together the tightest possible inquiry letter. Looking back to some of the first query letters I sent out, it’s not surprising that several agents passed without requesting a single page of my manuscript. I know it’s hard to put on the brakes after spending so long crafting your book, but your work deserves it. I’m sure I would have received requests for material, had I put more energy into crafting a better letter. Read tons of samples before you attempt to take on this endeavor! And go to writer’s conferences where agents will be. You can try to pitch your story, or at the very least, make a few contacts so that when you are ready to query, you will automatically have a hook that interests a particular agent/agency.

6.     What’s the worst advice you have ever received about publishing?
Not sure that I was ever given bad advice. Most people that I’ve met throughout this process have been willing to help.

7.     What author or book has influenced your writing?
I would have to give credit to the very first author I fell in love with at a very young age - Judy Blume. Her books made me a reader. But the author who has influenced my writing the most would have to be John Green. Looking for Alaska and An Abundance of Katherines profoundly changed the way I viewed writing for teens.

8.     What is your philosophy about rejection?
Truth be told, growing up I was always a bit of a pessimist, so rejection isn’t easy for me. Luckily, I married an optimist who helped me to shift my thinking. His words, “Every single no, is one step closer to that yes,” have carried me through some tough times. During this book publishing process, his words always helped me get back up and continue searching for that yes.

9.     You are stranded on an island with only 3 books. What are their titles?
Gotta include mine, Everything’s Jake. Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club, and Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander. (There’s no way I could ever truthfully answer this question.)










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