Author Bling

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Carol Cassada - An Author Interview

Tell us a little about yourself and your background please, Carol?

I live in a small town in Virginia called Ringgold. I live there with my mom and younger brother. Growing up I loved to read and that helped influence my desire to become a writer. After graduating from college in 2008, I began working on my first book which was published a little over a year later. Since then I’ve written 4 more books and I have plenty more to come.

What were you like at school?

I was shy at school, always the quiet one during class. During my early years of high school I felt like I didn’t fit in, I stood out by the way I dressed and acted, and I mostly kept to myself. By my junior year I came out of my shyness, made friends, and participated in school activities.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

I would tell my younger self to not let fear hold you back and to enjoy life.

Why do you write?

The reason I write is because it’s what I love to do and I find it’s a great outlet. There’s nothing more relaxing than writing stories, letting your imagination run wild, and expressing yourself.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?

The idea for my first book just popped into my head, I thought it would make a good story and I decided to just go ahead and write it.

Do you write full-time or part-time?

I write part-time, I’m working a couple of other jobs while pursuing my writing career. I’d like to write full-time, but at the moment it’s not possible.

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?

I write whenever I have time, usually it’s in the afternoons or evenings when I’m relaxed and can fully concentrate. 

Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?

On weekends, I strive for 1000 words and during weekdays I’d like to get 200 words in if possible. Even if I don’t get my goal in, as long as I write a little I’m happy.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

It takes a couple of months; I’d say an average of six although sometimes it can be longer.

Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?

After I finish writing I like to get started on editing right away, that way everything’s still fresh in my mind.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

So far I’ve written 5 and I love all of them so I can’t choose a favorite.

What does your family think of your writing?

They’ve been very supportive, especially my mom. She’s always asking me what I’m working on and I go to her on advice on what I should do with the story or what image to use for the cover. Whenever I publish a new book she’s the first one to buy a copy and read it.

What are your ambitions for your writing career?

I’m the type of person who likes to experiment. At the moment I’m mainly writing romance, but down the line I’d like to write different genres like crime and paranormal. Aside from books I’d also like to try my hand at screenplays.

So, what have you written?

Going Home Again is my first book, it’s a heartwarming story about high-school sweethearts reuniting after a tragedy brings them closer together. My next 4 books are part of a series called Westmore; it’s what I call a literary soap opera book series.

Where can we buy or see them?

They’re available at Createspace, Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, and Barnes and Noble.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

Rachel Mitchell is the lead character in Going Home Again, her dream was to always be a photographer and she’s living her dream in New York where she works at a fashion magazine. Even though Rachel has a great life, she feels there’s something missing and she soon discovers what it is during a return trip home where she’s reunited with her family and ex-boyfriend.

How are you publishing this book and why?

Going Home Again is my first book, which I recently just re-released. It was originally a traditionally published book from a small ebook company called Romance Divine. Last year when my contract was up, I made the decision not to renew and instead go with self-publishing. I had self-published my other four books and I felt it was time to do the same for Going Home Again. It was a tough decision, but one I’m glad I made.

What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?

The main advantages of self-publishing are you have complete control over the book and you’ll get more royalties. One disadvantage of self-publishing is you may not be taken as seriously as a traditionally published author.

What are you working on at the minute?

At the moment, I’m finishing the fifth volume of the Westmore series and soon I plan to start on volume 6.

What’s it about?

The Westmore series is a literary soap opera book saga. The series revolves around The Greens, The Braxtons, and The Reynolds. Each family and character has a unique background along with secrets. The characters interact with each other leading to romance, fighting, and backstabbing.

Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?

I think the cover does play a role in the buying process. The first thing a customer sees is the cover and it helps them get an idea of what the book’s about and if this is something they would enjoy reading.

How do you market your books?

I market my books anyway I can. I promote them on Twitter and Facebook. I also sign up for book reviews, interviews, guest posts, and book tours. Anything to get my name out there I do it.

Do you think that giving books away free works and why?

I think it does help, I know I can’t resist a free book. If somebody reads the book and likes it then they’ll be interested in your other works and they’ll recommend the novels to their friends.

Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?

I do read a lot, sometimes 2 or 3 books at a time. I don’t have a favorite author; I just read books that catch my attention. 

For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?

I read both, but with ebooks I prefer romance and with paper/hard back I like nonfiction.

What book/s are you reading at present?

Currently, I’m reading Past Lives of the Rich and Famous by Sylvia Browne. I also started a second book called Save My Soul by Kristie Haigwood.

Thank you for answering these questions, Carol. Where Can readers learn more about your work or connect with you?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Guest Post by Joe Cosentino, author of "Paper Doll."

by Joe Cosentino

The experts tell us to write what we know about, so I began my first novel by writing an outline (with actual paper and pencil) for a mystery/romance entitled Paper Doll. Since I watch old movies, my heroine, Jana Lane, is America’s most famous child star of the 1960's, attacked on a Hollywood studio lot at eighteen years old.  Twenty years later, as a thirty-eight-year-old mother of two living in a mansion in Hyde Park, New York, her flashbacks turn into murder attempts. 
Given my love for the Hudson Valley, the novel includes locations like the FDR Home, Vassar College, and Hyde Park Elementary School. 
In honor of my favorite authors, my novel has numerous suspects and clues with the murderer discovered at the conclusion a la Agatha Christie. As in Armistread Maupin’s Tales of the City books, my characters are quirky but believable and likeable. The suspects include Jana’s down-on-his-luck husband, Jana’s sister and Jana’s male best friend (who both have eyes for Jana’s husband), Jana’s has-been show business father, her deranged loyal fan, and Jana's young Guy Friday who covets her fame and shares an uncanny resemblance to Jana. Like Mary Higgins Clark’s, my novel is a romantic page-turner. So Jana embarks on a romance with the son of her old studio producer, a handsome filmmaker planning Jana’s comeback professionally and personally. 
Given my background as an actor, Jana visits her old Hollywood movie studio to investigate her attacks (past and present) and unmask the murderer. In the process, she uncovers a web of secrets about everyone she loves.
I wrote the outline in a few days, and the first draft in a month. The characters took on a life of their own, as they told me what they wanted to do and say. After I showed the first draft to a trusted reader, my rewriting commenced for months until the book was completed. 
Holly McCabe designed a beautiful book cover, and Gerald Fierst and Jeff Walt reviewed the book (both raves) before publication and distribution on Promoting the book on Facebook and Goodreads brought sales and good customer ratings. Interviews on blogs helped spread the word.
Bitten by the novelist bug, my second book, An Infatuation, (releasing by Dreamspinner Press in February) is a humorous and touching gay romance novella set in my hometown. With my background in children’s theatre, I wrote a children’s book, Nick the Nerd, chronicling a nerdy kid’s transformation into the legendary Santa Klaus. Finally, using my experience in college academia, I am currently writing, Drama Queen, a comedy/mystery/romance novel set in a New England college town. 

Writing a novel is a bit like giving birth, incredibly difficult, but amazingly rewarding.

Joe Cosentino is the author of Paper Doll. He has appeared in principal acting roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. He has written and directed many musical plays for family audiences (toured through Encore Performing Arts of NY, and one published through Eldridge Plays and Musicals). His one-act plays, Infatuation and Neighbor were performed in New York City. Another one-act, Swing, was performed by Stageworks of NY and published in the Marquee Literary Journal. He wrote The Perils of Pauline, available on CDROM (through Prentice Hall Publishers). Joe received his MFA from Goddard College in Vermont, and MA from SUNY New Paltz. He is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York. His upcoming novels include An Infatuation (Dreamspinner Press), Drama Queen, and Nick the Nerd (for children).

Would you like to know more about this author or connect with them? You can find Joe Cosentino on Goodreads or on his Website for further information. 

Jana Lane was America’s most famous child star until she was attacked on the studio lot at eighteen years old. Now a thirty-eight-year-old beauty and mother of two living in a mansion in picturesque Hudson Valley, New York, Jana’s flashbacks from her past turn into murder attempts in her present.
The local suspects include Jana’s down-on-his-luck husband with a dislike for living off the fruits of his wife’s young labor, Jana’s sister and male friend (who both have eyes for Jana’s husband), Jana’s show business father, her deranged loyal fan, and Jana's young Guy Friday who covets her fame and shares an uncanny resemblance to Jana.
            Forced to summon up the lost courage she had as a child, Jana visits the California movie studio she once called home. This sends her on a whirlwind of visits with former and current movie studio personnel. It also leads to a romance with the son of her old producer—Rocco Cavoto—the devilishly handsome filmmaker who is planning Jana’s comeback both professionally and personally. With Rocco’s help, Jana uncovers a web of secrets about everyone she loves, including the person who destroyed her past and threatens to snuff out her future.

“Joe Cosentino has utilized his keen knowledge of show business through shrewd celluloid eyes with tight twists, wicked turns, and one stunning surprise after another!”
            ̶  Jeff Walt, author of “Hex”

“Paper Doll is a delicious concoction of suspense and nostalgia with all the trash of the tabloids and all the style of classic film noir.  Romance, glamour, lust, and murder, make a page turning mystery. I can’t wait for the sequel; I can’t wait for the movie!”
            ̶  Gerald Fierst, storyteller and author of “The Heart of the Wedding”

Where can you buy "Paper Doll" by Joe Cosentino? Click Here