I’m thrilled to be the featured author on Pauline Wiles’s blog today. Thanks, Pauline! I’ve copied the entire interview here (without the comments), but go HERE to visit Pauline’s website. Subscribe to her blog! And most definitely, read her book, “Saving Saffron Sweeting.” It is a delightful and moving tale of love, betrayal, independence, and reconnection, mostly set in the charming British village of Saffron Sweeting.
Author of the Month: Martha Reynolds
For July’s Author of the Month feature, I’m delighted to introduce you to Martha Reynolds. Martha used to investigate while-collar crime. Now she writes “real true fiction” about the human condition. She has authored two books, Chocolate for Breakfast and its sequel, Chocolate Fondue. Martha and her husband live in Rhode Island, never far from the ocean, with their four-year-old Cavalier King Charles spaniel, Bonnie.
As you might guess, those book titles alone were enough to get me excited about talking to Martha, but I then discovered that we had both left stressful jobs just before getting serious about our writing. Here are Martha’s responses to my questions:
You began writing while recovering from an overly stressful job. Tell us about that time and how writing helped you? I tell people that I quit my job to save my life, and it’s true. Writing was my emotional therapy. I’d been working with a physical therapist and a chiropractor for five months after I left work, in an effort to alleviate the herniated discs I’m convinced were caused by job-related stress. Writing was like releasing all the toxins in my body.
What do you find the most challenging part of the writing process? For me, I think the most challenging part is stopping. Once I have a story idea, I can run with it, getting that messy first draft written within a couple of months (or less). Revisions take a lot of time, but there is a point where you have to know that you’ve written your best story. Then it’s time to get it out there. Otherwise, the cycle of revision is endless.
Tell us a little about your recent release? My most recent release is Chocolate Fondue, which is a sequel to my debut novel, Chocolate for Breakfast. Although I was satisfied with the ending of Chocolate for Breakfast, apparently there was more story to tell! My very good friend inspired me to continue the story of Bernadette, and I don’t intend to write any more books about her. She is happy! The book I’m currently writing is about a high school reunion, and some of the angst that accompanies seeing your teenage friends after twenty-five years.
What made you decide to set your books in Switzerland? I spent my junior year of college in Fribourg, Switzerland (as did Bernadette). It completely changed my life, and some of the friends who were there with me that year say the same thing. Since that year, I’ve traveled back numerous times – alone, with my late mother, and with my husband. If I could live in Switzerland, I believe I would. Writing about a country I love so much was easy – I was very familiar with most of the places mentioned in both books.
How do you balance your time between writing, book marketing, hobbies and family? I try to find time to write every day, for at least three hours in the morning. I am very fortunate to have a wonderful husband who has never let me clean a bathroom. Still, the laundry doesn’t wash itself! It’s just the two of us, and we live a simple life. I read for relaxation (and inspiration!), usually in the evenings. Marketing and promotion is probably my least favorite activity. And I’m still learning how to do it.
Chocolate for Breakfast has been downloaded over 25,000 times since its release. What do you think your most successful marketing technique has been? Well, those weren’t all sales. I did option for a few free days by being in the Kindle Select program. I’m still on the fence with the idea of free days. A part of me thinks it’s important to get more “reach,” and offering the book for free can get it into the hands of folks who might otherwise not even know I exist. Some of those people who read Chocolate for Breakfast sent me messages or posted reviews that were very complimentary. On the other hand, a lot of readers are simply filling their e-readers with free books. They may never get around to reading it. Or, they may not value the book because it was free. But you asked me what my most successful marketing technique was – it was to write a good book. No amount of marketing or free promos can save a poorly-written novel.
What would your advice be to new indie authors just starting out? Build your platform and do your research before publishing. There are plenty of resources available online, so there’s no reason no to teach yourself. Have your manuscript professionally edited. Please. And keep writing!
About Chocolate Fondue: Twenty-three years ago, young Bernadette Maguire delivered a baby boy and gave him up for adoption. Back in Switzerland for vacation, she sees her son and must decide whether to reveal herself to him or leave him alone.