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.)


Friday, July 05, 2019

9 Questions with Elle Lewis

This week's author is Elle Lewis from Orlando, FL, and her novel Dark Touch, book one in The Glass Star Trilogy, a dark urban fantasy, full of action, suspense, and a hint of romance.

By Elle Lewis

1.     What message are you hoping people will receive when they read your book? Dark Touch is a Fantasy, and it has a lot of action and supernatural elements. But it is at heart a very human story. The message that I would like readers to take away is your past does not define your future. We all have the capability to change our stars.
2.     Why did you write this book? I have an overactive imagination and a deep love of science fiction/fantasy. And I'm absolutely in love with monsters. I'm a huge fan of the classics- vampires, werewolves, zombies, etc. But for this book, I wanted to create a new big bad. Dark Touch features new supernatural creatures and original lore. It has been so fun to let my imagination soar but also incorporate some deeper stuff that is close to my heart.
3.     What has been the hardest part of the publishing process? Balancing time. It's something that always seems like its in short supply. It’s a good problem to have, trying to edit, write, promote, etc. But I wish I could create an extra day in the week!
4.     What has been the biggest (pleasant) surprise in your publishing journey? Two things. The first would be finally having feedback and being able to read reviews. Creating new supernatural beings is risky and I was concerned with how they would be received. So, it's wonderful to get feedback and hear readers reactions to what they are. And the second wonderful surprise is the relationships I've developed with my fellow BRW authors. It's so cool to swap our work and chat about the writing process.
5.     Would you write a sequel to your book? Why or why not? Why yes, I would! And it is currently in the works. Genesis Rising is the sequel to Dark Touch and I'm working hard on it as often as I can.
6.     What author or book has influenced your writing? C.S. Lewis introduced me to the world of Fantasy. As well as Tolkien. They are like family to me and have had huge influences on my writing and in my personal life. Recently, I would have to say Martha Wells. She wrote a science fiction novella series that I immediately fell in love with. And her writing is stunning. Her ability to world build is truly inspiring.
7.     You are stranded on an island with only 3 books. What are their titles? I'm totally going to cheat and assume this includes book series, lol! The Lord of the Rings, The Harry Potter series, and The Murderbot diaries (swoon).
8.     What is your philosophy about rejection? Ah, rejection, the best friend of an author. My philosophy is – the writing industry is part of the entertainment industry, and it really requires some thick skin. Not everyone is going to like your book. And that's ok. To be honest, I find humor in some of the more vehement one-star book reviews that I've received. I can't help it, they crack me up, sometimes to the point of tears. Because a book is just this small little thing you know? It takes up like, what? An inch on a bookshelf. Maybe less? And people get mad and go on a mean-spirited rant. I can't help it, it's funny. I just want to pat them on the head and be like, "shhh it's okay. It's just a book, it can't hurt you."
9.     Do you have a day job? What is it? I am a cardiac nurse, specializing in procedures.

Twitter ELewis@Elle_Lewis2
IG elleleis5