After 20 years in PR I decided it was time to...just write. Now, I am a published, award-winning author, developmental book editor, author mentor and partner publisher (www.ocpublishing.ca). I post thoughts on my writer's journey and share my experiences as an author, editor and publisher. I love to read and have done the odd book review from time to time. I welcome guest bloggers and do author interviews. Enjoy my blog and feel free to comment.
It gives me great pleasure today to interview another one of my new author friends who I met on D'vorah Lansky's Book Marketing Boot Camp Facebook page. What an amazing group of dynamic authors, many of whom are now on virtual book tours. Sophia Bar-Lev is the author of Pasta, Poppy Fields and Pearls and she and I are doing interview swaps today so make sure you pop by her blog and read my interview with her as well. So... Sophia, please tell us a little bit about your book and what it's about.
Pasta Poppy Fields and Pearls is a 'Boomer Fiction' novel featuring four very different
women from different parts of the world who have chosen Tuscany as their retirement
haven, expecting a quiet and tranquil existence. As their lively
friendship develops, the best and the worst of each woman's past experiences
and memories begin to emerge like the patterns of a kaleidoscope and just when
you think you know what's next, a completely unexpected twist in the story will
keep you turning the pages way past your bedtime. You'll laugh and you'll cry
with Carmela, Janet, Cecilia and Paula Jean. You'll walk through the streets of
Florence with them and you'll swear you can smell the aroma of Italian
cappuccinos. You'll partake of their struggles and celebrate their joys and
you'll feel as if they could easily be your next door neighbors, your best
friends. This is a real life book, based on real life women, who embrace each day
with gusto, live their senior life to the maximum and invite you to do the
I have such wonderful memories of roaming the streets of Florence and can just picture them there! A lot of my inspiration comes from traveling. Where
does your inspiration come from when you're writing?
Inspiration comes from a variety of sources, but primarily from my
friends and people I know. For example, the main characters in Pasta, Poppy Fields & Pearls are modeled on personal friends of mine with amazing
life journeys. With their permission, I'm telling their stories (in
fictionalized form to protect their privacy). I also derive a great deal
of inspiration from the Bible and other books on spirituality.
your favorite genre to read and why? What do you think makes a great story?
I love biographies,
historical novels and good fiction. A good story is one that draws me in
to its unfolding. I'm not simply an observer; I'm a participant.
From my reading - which I do a great deal of - I glean valuable tips and
insights into the craft and the art of writing. For this I'm so grateful
to great authors who have gone before me.
traditionally published or self-published? Why did you choose that path?
Currently I am
self-published through CreateSpace. Some years back I had a novel
traditionally published but I find self-publishing much more rewarding and
engaging. I enjoy working with the editor and the publishing staff at CreateSpace. They've been superb. I like having the final say about what stays
in the book and what someone else wants to eliminate. My biggest surprise was
how many of us authors are now firmly planted in the self-published arena.
I found the process of manuscript-to-published book comfortable and
Do you have any helpful
tips for other authors when it comes to marketing and publicity?
First issue to embrace:
in the present world of publishing, if you are a writer, you must also be a
marketer. That's a big switch from the past but it is precisely the way
things go at present. The course I took with D'vorah Lansky on book
marketing was eye-opening and incredibly helpful. D'vorah has the
experience and the commitment to help emerging authors succeed and her
practical lessons transformed my whole approach to publishing and marketing.
My second tip is this: if you want to be a writer, there is no short cut;
no easy, magical formula. It's simple actually: WRITE! Write every
day, set yourself a goal and keep at it.
you become a writer?
I credit my sixth grade
teacher for imparting a love of books to me and for being the first one who
encouraged my efforts to write back then. She read everything I wrote,
even non-assignments, and consistently urged me to 'write - write - write'.
I majored in English literature and creative writing in university but as
with many college programs, I've learned the most by actually doing it.
Learning about writing and being a writer are two different things.
your writing process look like?
For quite some time,
I've made writing a priority and I don't go to bed until I've written at least
1200 - 1500 words that day in whatever the present project is. Of course,
life 'happens' and occasionally I miss a day but not often. Discipline is
very important to anyone who really wants to author a book or books.
you currently working on?
I'm just finishing up
my next novel, Pizza & Promises, which is the sequel to Pasta, Poppy Fields & Pearls. I expect it will be available by November or perhaps
a little earlier. It picks up where the first novel ended and continues
the story. Some very intriguing events transpire in the lives of my
you do when you’re not writing?
I enjoy cooking and
baking; reading and having lunch out with friends. I love cruises and
anything else you’d like to share?
I am very grateful to
my mother who taught me to read when I was not quite four and whose love of
books was a great example. She was an avid reader
and provided me with wonderful books to read as I grew up. Her example
had a great impact on me. I hope and pray that
today's parents make it a priority to do the same with their children.
Reading is a wonderful education.
If you'd like to learn more about Sophia and her books visit her website or her blog, follow her on Twitter and join her on Facebook.
I’ve been trying to write the closing scene
of my next novel for months. I’ve been talking about it in my writers’ group ad
nausea, setting and breaking deadlines weekly and agonizing over it in my
sleep. I’m a master procrastinator so I put it off by going back and doing the
first edit and then the second edit for which I’m using AutoCrit for the first
time. In my mind I was making progress!
It wasn’t until today, while I was
answering questions for an author interview that will post this weekend on a
fellow indie author’s blog, that it finally hit me. One of the questions she
asked was which character in my book was the most difficult to write about. As I
described the antagonist in my current WIP as a ‘true narcissist’, I realized that
I hadn’t developed him fully enough. I was even starting to deeply dislike him
and was not sympathetic to him one little bit. I then knew I had to go back and
build in a little more of his back story to try to explain why he was so deeply
disturbed that he would do the things he did (can’t tell you what or it will
spoil the story)!
So, back I go to make the revisions,
finally write the last scene and type those glorious words ‘The End’! I’ve also
given myself a little break and pushed my launch date to March 8, 2015 (which
is the same month and day as the launch of my first novel and also International
Women’s Day). I originally wanted it out by Christmas but I am in the process
of planning the 2nd Annual Phuket Paradise Writers’ Retreat (for
which there is only one spot left!), along with keeping an assortment of other
projects moving along. Also, there's a lot of prep work that needs to be done before launching a novel. For the sake of my sanity, it only made sense. I think
the new launch date also sets a tradition for me for future novels :)
I’m psyched and re-energised now so, Hi ho,