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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Behind the Scenes with Publishing Consultant, and Literary Agent, Pat Shepherd

Tell us about yourself, and why/how you became a publisher.
My background needs explaining here as I have experience across all areas of publishing including being an author. I now run my own company as a Publishing Consultant as well as being an agent. I successfully sold my first multiple contracts for one of my authors six months after starting my agency.
I started my working life as a teacher then moved into educational publishing almost by chance as an area manager – having never sold anything in my life running a sales team! I was quickly promoted to become project editor on a major reading and language programmer. This entailed writing teacher resource materials and some pupil activities such as games, worksheets etc along with some of the reading books. I did not get my name on many of the materials mind you! I probably earned the company around £6 million in turnover in around 10 years!
I found it intensive and needed to get somebody else on board as well as I had two maternity leaves (13 weeks!) and with two young children I needed to take the pressure off myself so, I started looking for a potential author. I found him. He was the head of a trial school I was using and he went on to publish numerous books for other publishers as well. His name was Louis Fidge and I am delighted that I gave him the step up he needed and he went in to writing full time.  
After several moves, I ended up as UK Sales manager of an educational publishing house before being approached to join a major trade house as a consultant and then joining as UK Sales manager for Children’s Books. Children’s has always been my specialty. After being promoted to sales director and being there 14 years, I decided to jump ship and create my own business as a publishing consultant.
Over the years in various publishing houses I have done – editorial, sales, marketing, publicity, both trade and educational. In the smaller places, I was doing virtually all four at the same time. That is the joy of the small houses.
A sales conference at an editorial meeting.
When I jumped ship I quickly became even more experienced in all the above plus production along with customs requirements and the setting up of joint ventures with various other agencies for a couple of my clients.
My major role as Publisher is at Lerner Books where I choose all the books for publication in the UK from the US list, including project management of the whole enterprise. We cannot take on UK authors to write for us at present as the print runs are too small, and we cannot make the costs work. One day we will!
In addition, I set up my literary agency alongside the consultancy, which is in its early days. Part of that is working with a new digital development house as both their agent to sell their digital offerings to print partners and as their marketing agent to sell the apps and eBooks. Moreover, I have sold a multiple contract for picture books to a small startup publishing company for publication next year.   
How long does it take to make a name a publishing house in the industry, and what frustrations have you overcome to make it a success?
In the small houses, the media often overlook you because it is all about what the big houses think. IPG (Independent Publishers guild in UK) is now getting more of a force to be reckoned with which is giving small houses more of a voice.  In the big houses, you have to fight to get your bosses to trust you to be allowed to talk to the Bookseller or other trade press without having to get everything vetted in advance. That can be frustrating. Once they realize you actually do not say stupid things the brakes are off and you can get your name known in the press then you become someone who is allowed an opinion. However, it takes a lot of effort. 
What is the breakdown of books you publish?
Children’s – all ages
How do you publicize your books?
Blogs, social media, mailings to schools, review and publicity mailings, advance copies to major buyers to encourage them to read the books, proof copies and website offers. Many books get given away but my theory is that for every one you give away you sell hundreds more.
In these tough economic times, do you think small publishers can make their mark on literature and the book selling market?  How best can small presses accomplish their goals?
In this global and internet age the small houses have an advantage in that they can react to things quickly. The big houses are like tankers and take forever to change direction or react to an opportunity. They also control their people too much and strangle creativity.
Online reviewers, such as book bloggers, have gained additional recognition at Book Expo America and with publishers and PR staff. Has your publishing company tapped this market of reviewers to spread the word about its books and how formal or informal and/or important are these relationships?
These are essential and I am only just really getting to grips with this. I am at the latter end of my career and wish I had the ‘e’ nous of my kids!
If you could give new one piece of advice about finding a publisher, particularly a small press, to publish their work, what would that be and why?
Just keep going and be as creative and imaginative in your pitch as you can be. Forget just sending a sample and biog. Catch their eye and make them see you as a marketing dream!
What types of publishers are there?  What kinds of publishers should the author be wary?
Be very wary of vanity publishers. Do not send your work to places where they charge you a fee to read it! That is a complete waste of time and money. Look at trade listings (Writers’ and Artists’ Year Book in the UK) or Bologna and/or Frankfurt Catalogues and match your book to their lists. Do not send to houses that do not publish your genre of book. It smacks of not knowing the market for your book.
Does an author have to have an agent? Why?  How does a writer find an agent?  What things should they consider before hiring one?
The big houses prefer an agent as they feel that the book has already passed one test – the eagle eye of an agent. In many instances now, they will not even read any submissions unless sent in by agent. You need to think about what that agent specializes in such as obvious things like do not send a children’s book to an agent who handles Health and Beauty books! 
How should an author prepare a query? What is the biggest mistake that aspiring authors make when they submit their work?
They do not research the best fit for their book on the publisher’s list, they do not ‘sell’ themselves just stick the book/sample in the post with a covering letter. They ignore the submission requirements and do not stick to them. However, having said that, occasionally it works – but that is because the author is a marketing dream and has been able to really show their added value, so the editor buys into that author and wants to see the whole thing. 
Is there always an editor signed to the author, and what other services should a writer ask about?
There will be several people involved from copy editors, desk editors etc. However, one will be the main contact and it is essential that the author and editor really get along, trust each other and collaborate on the book. It is a working partnership, one which transcends the publishing company. It is why authors often follow their editors if they move publishing house. The author can be a very vulnerable human being who is allowing another person to criticize and interact with his or her ‘baby’. It takes a lot of work and time for that relationship to become one of mutual trust and understanding, so breaking in a new editor can be traumatic for an author. It is far easier get along with them.   
Is there a marketing budget for new authors?

It depends on the contract. If there has been a bidding war and a big advance is paid, then yes. The Publisher has to really promote the book with big bucks to recoup their advance. Some of these big advance books never earn enough, so the advance is all the author will get (which can be big) but they will never get to the royalties stage as too much was paid out on contract. However, if the advance is a sensible amount and the marketing is spent wisely then the book has a great chance of selling in good numbers. If the publisher is small or the advance paid on contract very small then there will be very little marketing unless there is big support from the sales director and the sales team who get behind it and really push for the major promotions in the major resellers. Then marketing will be allocated later.    

What should an author know about their publisher’s distribution sources?

Do not get involved. It is horrible to see all the books coming back and being pulped but it is a fact of the business. Just know who they are!

Can books usually be purchased from the publisher?  If not, why would this not speak well or that publisher?

It is usually part of the contract to have a certain number of free copies at publication, reprint and a further quantity at a set discount. This will encourage the author to do their own events in schools and take along their books to sell on that day. On the official tours set up by the publisher, then a local bookseller will be organized to sell books.
Do all publishers assist the author in exploiting their subsidiary rights?
If they are any good they should.
What should considerations should be given to the book’s cover art?
Trust the publisher – they know their market, and where they are pitching the book. Major buyers will tell the publisher what they think and changes may be made as a result. An author will sometimes be asked to give an opinion. I am at the latter end of my career and wish I had the ‘e’ nous of my kids!  Be sensible and do not throw a wobbly. If you alienate the designer/publisher they will think you are ‘difficult’ and not want to be helpful. Even if you have the power of veto, do not use it. Say what you think in careful terms, but finish it with ‘but you know the market so I leave the final decision to you’. That way you will gain friends and always get to see the covers at each stage because you are being reasonable. At the end of the day, they do know their business and they do want your book to sell – honestly – even though it may not always feel like it.
What should an author know about royalties?
They should know what they are, where the breaks are and understand them. If you have an agent let them deal with the nitty-gritty but do try to understand them and always check whatever paperwork you are sent. Some royalty statements are horrendous to read – but then that is only if the book is selling in lots of places all over the world so that is a nice problem to have.
Should books be distributed to various reviewers, newspapers, bookstore owners, retailers, and radio stations? Why?
Yes, as word of mouth really can help. It does not always sell books but if it is sent out for review, it tells the reviewers and the chain buyers that the publisher really believes in this book.
Can you tell the writers the purpose of a publicist?  How does a writer get one?
This should be done by the publisher. You can pay a fortune to a publicist who will charge to send out reviews but not necessarily follow them up. How can you tell? You cannot. Once you are famous and have lots of fan mail etc it might be worth getting someone to deal with the Publishers publicity dept and agree your tours to your satisfaction, or create your own tours – lots of books can be sold on tour, get you to all the major festivals as publishers can’t take all their authors, look at all your fan mail and draft some answers for you – though try and do them yourself to begin with. 
Jobs a Publicist can do are:
·         Organize tours and travel arrangements
·         Accompany author on tour, carry bags, sort out problems and deal with the bookshop managers, and staff or festival organizers
·         Ensure the author has refreshments and a good supply of pens etc as well as a signing table or if they are giving a talk time to see the venue and make sure the equipment provided is as requested
·         Organize the signing queues – you’d be surprised what a pig’s ear some festivals or bookshops can make of something so simple
·         Make sure the author is not over used – IE they were booked to talk to a class of 30 eight year olds and what they get is 100 children from four classes of ages seven up to ten – not the same kind of event at all. If the author makes a fuss it, makes the children remember a complaining author, which is not good whereas someone working for them can be the buffer. The author can just say I have to do as my publicist says! Good PR. 
·         In advance they can be liaising with the venue to ensure there is an audience – exposure to an empty shop is death to an author
·          Deal with fan mail
·         Make sure the author gets away on time to catch their train etc
·         Does anything the author needs at the time to ensure they can perform their role as booked 
Do most publishers provide posters? Shelf talkers? Bookmarks?  What other services should a writer want to know about in this area.
This all depends on the reaction of the customers (chain buyers not end users) to the books and whether they want them. It is the bookshop that requests them not the publisher who decides on doing them. If a customer requests the shelf talkers then they should commit to a good quantity of books in the first instance – which can still comeback though!

If you would like to contact Pat you can do so by emailing her at:  Orchard Publishing Consultancy

Monday, September 26, 2011

Non-fiction Author, Dennis AuBuchon Discusses His Book, Integrity: Do You Have It? 2nd edition

I have been writing for several years.  To date I have written over 300 articles centered on the topic of integrity principles and hot issues of the day.  I have a background in quality assurance principles (25 years) and I am a certified quality auditor with the American Society for Quality (ASQ).  I have been a part of audit teams and have been an audit team leader.  In this environment, I learned much, which has benefited me in my writing.  When I began writing I did some research about the topics for which I had an interest.  I am a registered expert on for the topics of quality control, TQM and ISO 9000. 

I designed my own website ( and continually add information and resources.  A quote I use on each page is quality writing and services to make a difference.  I believe in the principle that one person can make a difference with what we do as individuals.  In my business, I believe in operating it with honesty, integrity and quality principles.  I have signed a business ethics pledge, which involves treating all stakeholders fairly, with compassion and a commitment to service.

I belong to several social networks and believe in providing valuable input to topics.  Examples of social networking sites where I participate are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to name a few.  My articles can be found on such sites as, American Chronicle,, American Conservative Daily and

Tell us about the genre of your work. 

The genre of my writing is non-fiction.  This genre is a presentation of facts and information on various topics.  Some research may be required to address specific issues or topics but it can be based on knowledge and experience of the author. 

Why did you choose this genre?

I chose this genre as I enjoy presenting information to help others with various topics or issues to make good decisions based on a complete set of facts and information.

How is writing in the genre you write, different than other genre?

Writing in this genre is different in that facts are presented while in other genres it is more about creating a story surrounded by a main theme.
What are some of your books, stories that have been published?

I have published two books to date.  One is titled Integrity: Do You Have It? 2nd edition, and the other is What Makes a Good Audit?

Give a short description of each. 

Integrity: Do You Have It? 2nd edition was published in December 2005.  The ISBN is 0741429160.  It can be found through my publisher Infinity Publishing (,  and it is available for sale on all major bookstore websites include many in foreign countries.  It is available as an electronic and paperback. 

Integrity: Do You Have It? 2nd edition defines integrity and discusses the characteristics.  It creates a common set of criteria to measure others and us.  These criteria are then applied to various segments of society such as the news, politics and education.  It brings the subject of integrity down to the individual level through a chapter on personal integrity. 
What Makes a Good Audit? was published in 2010.  The ISBN is 7189-090516-153833-37.  It can be purchased through my website or  The book presents and discusses the principles and characteristics of good auditing from the viewpoint of the auditor and those being audited.  It presents and discusses various types of audits and the requirements from the viewpoint of private industry and government perspectives.  Examples of chapters include team leader responsibilities, auditor qualifications and the use of experts when they are needed.

Where do you get your ideas for writing?

The ideas for my writing come from almost anywhere.  It can be as a result of a news story, a conversation with co-workers or hot topics of the day.  

What is your favorite thing about your book?

My one favorite thing about my book is that it is something I created and have total control over the content.  The information in my book (s) is meant to make a difference in helping others make the right decisions given the complete facts and information.

Why and when did you begin writing?
I began writing several years ago (about 8) when I retired and had time to write.  I now work part time which provides not only the time to write but to interact with others during the day.

 Is there any one person who had a big influence on you or encouraged you to write? 

There really is not one person who had an influence on encouraging me to write. I always had the desire to write since my early school years.  When given the opportunity I began writing which has culminated in two books at the present time and over 300 articles.

What is your writing schedule? 

I do not have a specific schedule other than I write in the mornings before I go to work and I write in the evening before I go to bed.
What projects are you working on now, or plan for the future?

I am currently working on adding several pages to my website to provide more opportunities and information to other authors not to mention information for the general public.  I continue to write articles on a variety of topics and I am working on more than two books.

What kind of advice or tips to you have for someone who wants to write and be published?

My advice for someone who wants to write and be published is to never give up.  If they have the desire to write there are many opportunities to get published.  Before choosing a publisher, check out their credentials and get some feedback on experience with them through social networking sites.  You can gain valuable information about the publishing industry and publishers through connecting with other authors.

Are there any other comments, advice or tips that you would give to beginning writers?

For writers who are just beginning I would say to stay focused and be persistent in your writing.  When you write something that you are proud of, then others will be too.  Writers/authors must be proud of what they accomplish and should make sure what they write results in a quality product. 

What “Made It” moments have you experienced in life?

The first made it moment involved seeing my name on my first book when I received it in the mail from my publisher.  Another made it moment involved getting the recognition from other authors on the quality of what I have written.  Getting recognized by other authors as to the quality of what I write is an important step in being recognized in the industry. 

You can contact, or find out more about Dennis on the following websites.
web site:
Have you signed the business ethics pledge at I Have
Registered as an expert on

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Chatting with Nancy Naigle About Her First Novel Sweet Tea and Secrets

Nancy Naigle writes love stories from the crossroad of small town and suspense. Living on the cutting edge of technology in her day job, Nancy spends each night creating make-believe small town worlds filled with community, heart, and suspense. She hopes readers will accept her invitation to visit Adams Grove and will grow to care about the residents as much as she does. A Virginia native, and spending most of her life in the Tidewater area, she and her husband of 16 years moved inland to quiet Southampton County. They now live in a log-sided home on a working goat farm with their two labs and more kids (the four-legged kind) than they keep count of, where they are living out their own small town love story.

After spending twenty years focusing on a career and helping my husband realize his dreams of a home in the country raising goats, in 2005 I got serious about my own dreams and drug out all those dusty partially finished stories and picked one to finish. It has been a long journey figuring out how to turn the story in my head into a craft-acceptable manuscript worthy of publication.

Tell us about the genre of your work.
 I write love stories from the crossroad of small town and suspense. They are light reads that all have happy endings.

Why did you choose this genre?

The genre chose me. I love small towns, and have a huge appreciation for the simple things in life. Friends, family and community are all pivotal in every one of my stories.

What are some of your books, stories that have been published? 

My first publication was a short story by the title of “Forever in My Heart” in the Be Mine, Valentine anthology released in January 2011.  My debut novel, Sweet Tea and Secrets, came out in May 2011.

BE MINE, VALENTINE anthology                ISBN: 9781935817451
SWEET TEA AND SECRETS                             ISBN: 9781935817543

Sweet Tea and Secrets on display at BOOK EXPO AMERICA at the Javits Center, NYC: BEA New Title Showcase and in their catalog.

Both are available in print and e-formats. They can be found at all your favorite e-tailers.

How do you come up with the names of places and characters in your books?

The short story in the anthology, Sweet Tea and Secrets, and Out of Focus are all set in a fictionalized town called Adams Grove. There’s actually a town called Adams Grove not far from me, but there’s nothing there. I have built it into a wonderful small town with a bustling Main Street.

The names of my characters are a lot more difficult. For some reason the heroines always come to me with a name when I come up with the story idea. The rest of the characters...not so much. Often, I change the names of the other characters as I get to know them better as the story progresses.

How did you develop the character of your protagonist in this book?

 Jill Clemmons is the kind of gal I would want to be friends with. She has a glass half full outlook on things and she’s trusting. Of course, that gets her into some trouble, and there is nothing more disappointing than being led astray by someone you trust.

What about an antagonist…is there a unique “bad guy” or a recurring nemesis of any kind?

There is a bad guy in this book. He’s a shady one, too. We never expect bad guys to be handsome and charming, but this guy that will charm you right into his plan of the day.

What is your favorite thing about your book? 

Pearl Clemmons. She’s one of those tough old gals who doesn’t take no for an answer and has a lasting impact on everyone she meets. The book, Sweet Tea and Secrets, contains dozens of pearl-isms. I love that sassy gal and her award-winning chocolate pecan pie, unsolicited advice and all.

How is writing in the genre you write, different than other genre? 

Well, I really do not think genre is what makes the writing different. I think you have to write the book of your heart and dig deep.

Why and when did you begin writing? 

I have always loved to make up stories. Putting them to paper gives them the longevity that my memory cannot.

What is your writing schedule? 

I live on a goat farm, work full-time as an SVP with Bank of America, which does require some travel, and I am active in my writing groups. I write every spare moment I can find. I usually spend a couple weeks a year hidden away at a time-share where I get uninterrupted marathon writing time. That’s my favorite way to write. I post big sheets of paper on the wall and map everything out. Oh, and lots of markers. I love markers!!

What projects are you working on now, or plan for the future?

My women’s fiction, Out of Focus, will come out in November. It also has ties to Adams Grove. The cover is gorgeous, and I can’t wait until it comes out. One of the characters in that story is screaming for his own book. I am working on Cody Tuggle’s story now.

What kind of advice or tips to you have for someone who wants to write (especially mystery)?

Do not limit yourself to resources in your genre. I’ve found that by attending conferences and events for different genres I get a slightly different view and I think that makes me a stronger writer. Diversity inspires innovation so embrace every opportunity.

Are there any other comments, advice or tips that you would give to beginning writers?

Be patient. It can be so easy to get sucked into query mode and paralyze your progress. Keep writing. Every book will be better than your last. Books sell books.

What do you do when you are not writing?

I am a technical geek so I spend a lot of time online socializing, building websites, and digitizing commercial embroidery designs. When I’m not online you might find me playing helper to my husband around the farm, or beating my mom at Yahtzee or Scrabble! We love game night. 

What “Made It” moments have you experienced in life?

I have had such a blessed life filled with so many things I am proud of that it is difficult to list them all. I try to live my life with others in mind. When it comes to my writing, if I get one note from someone who has read one of my books that says they felt happier because of the time they spent in my story ... that will be the ultimate “Made It” moment to me.

Stay up to date on releases, appearances and news on Nancy’s website:

Monday, September 19, 2011

Award Winning Author, Maryann Miller, Previews Newest Book Release: The Wisdom of the Ages

Maryann is a diverse writer of columns, feature stories, short fiction, novels, screenplays, and stage plays, Maryann Miller has won numerous awards for her fiction, nonfiction, and screenplays including being a semi-finalist at the Sundance Institute for her screenplay, A Question of Honor.  She has won the Page Edward's Short Story Award, and her nonfiction books have been chosen as Best Books for Teens by the New York Public Library System. She lives and works in the beautiful Piney Woods of East Texas on a little bit of acreage she shares with her husband, one horse, two goats, two dogs, four cats and the occasional armadillo that wanders through.
Her publishing credits include work for regional and national newspapers and magazines: Lady's Circle, Woman's World, Marriage and Family Living, Plano Magazine, The Children's World, Byline, The Texas Catholic Newspaper. She has published nine non-fiction books for teens, including the award-winning Coping With Weapons and Violence : In Your School and on Your Streets released by The Rosen Publishing Group in New York.

She, also, does book reviews for ForeWord Magazine and two online review sites, and Curled Up With a Good Book. She also does freelance editing. Other experience includes extensive work as a PR consultant, a script doctor, and a freelance editor. She has been writing all her life and plans to die at her computer.

Tell us about the genre of your work.

I write in several genres, with a strong focus on mystery and suspense. I have been told it is better to stick to one genre so you can brand yourself, but stories come to me and sometimes they are a mystery, other times a short story or a woman's story. I cannot help it and I sure do not want the stories to ever stop coming.

Why did you choose this genre?

I especially like mysteries and suspense novels to read, and I have always had a strong interest in law enforcement, so writing about those subjects is a natural for me.  

What are some of your books, stories that have been published?

I have had 19 books published, some nonfiction and the rest fiction. I have also had numerous short stories and feature articles published in national and regional magazines and newspaper.   The latest release is a short story collection as an e-book, The Wisdom of Ages. It has three stories that feature four men whose lives take unexpected turns, which makes them realize that growing old is not for the faint of heart. One of the stories featured won the Page Edwards Short Story award.  

(Link for short story collection)

The paperback version of One Small Victory came out this past February, and in December, my mystery, Open Season was released in hardback from Five Star Cengage/Gale.

One Small Victory was published in hardcover in 2008 by Five Star, and I published the e-book last year myself. It is currently a top seller in the mystery & suspense bestseller list for Kindle. This is a story of one woman's courage as she works with a drug task force to help bring down a major drug distributor in her small Texas town. It was inspired by a news report of a woman who did this in a small town in the Midwest, and I was always intrigued by what she did and all that she risked to do it.  

(Link for One Small Victory)

Open Season is the first book in a mystery series featuring two women homicide detectives in Dallas. Think "Lethal Weapon" with female leads. It has received great reviews from Publisher's Weekly and Library Journal, and numerous readers have contacted me to say how much they are enjoying it.  One woman compared it favorably to the work of Lee Child, and I almost fainted when I read her e-mail message.  Lee, I guess I can call him by his first name now (smile), is a favorite author of mine and I never imagined getting put in his league. The second book in the series, Stalking Season, has just gone to contract and will be out Nov of 2012. I could have two babies while I am waiting, if I was still young enough to have babies.   

(Link for Open Season)

How do you come up with the names of places and characters in your books?

I like to set my stories in real places. I have a hard time making up a location, so it is a good thing I do not write fantasy. (Smile) For each of my novels I set the story in a real town and often used real places for scenes. When I was doing the research for Open Season, I visited the Dallas police department main headquarters, as well as other specific places where a scene could take place. The mystery centers on people who are being killed at area shopping malls, and I did come up with fictitious names for those so the mall owners would not send their legal team after me.

How did you develop the character of your protagonist in this book?

For Open Season I interviewed a number of police officers and rode patrol several times to get a feel for how officers think and act. Some friends who were in law enforcement were also very helpful in sharing their experiences. When I decided on the two lead detectives, one white and one black, I patterned them after some of the women I had interviewed, adding a bit of Martin Riggs from "Lethal Weapon" to Sarah's character.

The protagonist in One Small Victory came to me fully developed when I read the news story about what that woman did in the Midwest. I think I could relate to her as a mother, and as someone who does not like to back down from a challenge, so when I started plotting the story, the character was there actually helping me with the story line. Don't you just love when that happens?

Why and when did you begin writing?

I decided when I was about ten that I wanted to be a writer. I started writing short stories and one of my teachers entered my story in the Scholastic Writing Awards contest. I won an award and got to go to this fabulous old theatre in downtown Detroit to participate in the awards ceremony with other students who were being honored. Of course, I felt like I was the only one when I walked up to the stage to get my award.

What is your writing schedule?

 I work every day in my office from about 9 until 5. Some of that time is spent working on a new book; the rest is spent on editing for clients, promoting and taking care of the myriad of tasks associated with the business of writing. That seems to never end.

What projects are you working on now, or plan for the future?

I will start researching for the third book in the mystery series in the next month or so, but first I want to put an original mystery up on Kindle. A number of authors are doing that, and I thought I would experiment to see how that would work for me. I have a stand-alone mystery, Boxes For Beds that I started years ago and never finished, so I will work on getting that finished over the summer. That book is set in Hot Springs, Arkansas, so of course I will have to go there for a weekend to do some research.  Test out all the bathhouses to see which one my protagonist will like best. LOL  

Are there any other comments, advice or tips that you would give to beginning writers?

The only thing I like to tell beginning writers is to read, read, read, and then write, write, write. In addition, when it comes time to start marketing, do not ever quit. The difference between success and failure is often a matter of tenacity.

What do you do when you are not writing?

  When I am not writing, I love to work out on my property. I "play farmer" on about five acres and really enjoy gardening and taking care of my critters. My childhood dream was always to live on a farm, so now I am living that dream.  I go out in the morning with my first cup of coffee and my horse comes to greet me at the fence with a whinny. Of course, I think it is because he loves me, and he thinks I am going to the barn to get some hay.

I also love live theatre and have gotten very involved in acting and directing at some community theatres in the area. I have found that exploring story as an actor is not so different from exploring story as a writer, and the two creative endeavors feed each other.

What “Made It” moments have you experienced in life?

One of my most treasured "made it" moments is when I directed a play I had written at a local community theatre. On opening night, I stood in the back and watched the story come to life on stage and tears streamed down my face. That was ten years ago and the memory stirs a strong emotion even today.  Recent successes like the popularity of One Small Victory among mystery readers and the great reviews of Open Season have been very exciting, and sometimes I dare to think that I might even be successful in terms of book sales. However, I am not sure that any of that will touch the magic of that moment in the theatre ten years ago.

You can find out more about Maryann and her work at:

P.S. Don’t forget to leave a comment for Maryann!