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Category: Author Interview

Author Feature in the Buffalo Reflex

Oh, hello! You came to find me but today I’m over at my hometown paper, The Buffalo Reflex, talking to the good folks there about what I’ve been up to in my author career since I departed the halls of Buffalo High School 15 years ago.

Check the story out here.

Side note, it was hard to do this interview. My first book, The Redheaded Stepchild, is set in a small town in Minnesota but anyone who knows me could easily figure out that the portrait of this small town in heavily influenced by Buffalo, Missourah. Yes, the book is fiction. Very very very much fiction. That said, the fictitious characters in the book bear more than a passing resemblance to the people who helped shape my formative years, and my formative years were all in Buffalo. I have a feeling my ears will be ringing as people in my hometown pick up the Friday paper and see what I’ve been doing with my life.

P.S. You may or may not have noticed that I got myself a sassy new head shot. A big thanks to Danielle Selby of PASADYA for the great work! (She’s a freelancer for hire if you need some design work of any kind!)

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Local author night at BookPeople

Last week, I had my first ever for-realsies author event. BookPeople, my absolute favorite bookstore on the planet (to date, anyway), hosts a local author night once a month with a handful of authors. I got to share my evening with M.E. Patterson, a local sci-fi author.

I was pretty nervous about the prospect of speaking in front of everyone, but I tempered the anxiety with a signature culinary favorite of mine – red wine and pizza. The original Whole Foods is across the street from BookPeople, so I was able to snag 3 of their pizzas and get nice and sweaty walking it over. For the wine, I opted for Vintage Ink so as to be on theme with the book I was featuring, which of course was Portrait of Woman in Ink.

Despite my tempered nervousness, I got through my introduction and book reading with only moderate stammering. The crowd was fantastic – about 15 people between myself and Patterson, so I didn’t have to use my plant (the husband) during the joint Q&A session. We both got a lot of great questions and I performed much better during this session than the reading (something to work on for next time).

BookPeople asked for 16 more copies of the book, and while I only sold a couple, I was completely fine with it since it was only ever supposed to be a social event in my mind. BookPeople gets a lot of really big name authors, so it was definitely an honor to see my name on the front marquee “Appearing soon at BookPeople”. I thought I got a picture of this, but apparently my phone decided to be a dirty little whore instead.

For a first event, I’m certainly marking it in the win column. After all, I got out there and I made myself talk to people, which is the first step in overcoming literary sociopathy. And more importantly, I took away some great lessons for the next time; yes, there WILL be a next time.

Since I was unable to take a good selfie from my podium, I entrusted this duty to my faithful plant.

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A Parley with Denise DeSio

Today I have the distinct privilege of hosting my new author friend, Denise DeSio for a little chat. A while back, I got a glowing review for The Redheaded Stepchild on Goodreads – the first one from someone I didn’t know. This kind soul was Denise DeSio, and I figured that if she liked my book, odds are I would like hers, too. It did not disappoint in the least; I can honestly say it’s probably the best book I’ve read this year. We began chatting back and forth about our books, our writing processes, and the ridiculous heat of the Southwest, so today’s just a little continuation of this chat. I was anxious to get an interview going with DeSio, and I welcome her today!

KH: You mentioned to me that you didn’t even know you were writing a book until you threw the characters of Ricky and Eli into the mix. What did you start out thinking you were writing?

DD: I started out doing what I always do with my emotions, putting them to the page. I’m not the type to cry on anyone’s shoulder.

KH: How long did it take, from the first word you wrote to publication, to complete Rose’s Will?

DD: I started writing in September of 2001 and got published in September of 2011.

KH: Why did you choose to go with 48fourteen as your publisher?

DD: 48fourteen’s submission process is respectful of an author’s work. They ask for 3 sample chapters, provide an online form to fill out with room to add unsolicited comments, all of which they read in a timely fashion and deliver a personal response to the submission. They were about to open a new eBook division when I submitted and offered to feature Rose’s Will on the launch. I liked the idea of being a big fish in a small pond, but most of all I really appreciated their sense of commitment to the process. They were also very good about negotiating the contract.

KH: In Rose’s Will, Glory is what you might consider a late-in-life lesbian, after a conventional marriage and children. What kind of message do you think Rose’s Will has for late-in-life lesbians?

DD: Glory is in her mid-twenties when she enters her first lesbian relationship, so yeah, maybe a bit of a late bloomer. I didn’t intend to convey a particular message about that, but if you want a message, here it is: Everyone has the power and the right to fully explore life at any age. We come through this way only once and there is absolutely no reason to be constrained by fear and narrow minded beliefs. So, go for it.

KH: Rose’s Will is a perfect example of how we continue to seek our parents’ love and approval long after childhood, no matter what they do to us. If you could say anything to someone dealing with parentally-inflicted childhood scars, what would it be?

DD: The first and most important thing to say to people who have been wounded is to validate the experience. After that, support whatever way they choose to deal with it. Instead, we often urge adult victims of childhood abuse to let it go or move on, as if that’s all it takes to solve the problem, even when the physical abuse turns to verbal abuse in the adult relationship.

KH: God, the gay gene, writer’s block. Which of these is real?

DD: <Laughing!> I’m going to have to choose writer’s block.

The whole god thing seems no less a myth than Santa, Tooth Fairies and Unicorns. In Rose’s Will, Eli, my Bulgarian Holocaust survivor is an existentialist/humanist. He is one of the most moral characters in the book.

As for the gay gene, I’m not a scientist but I don’t think it’s a gene. I do think that A) sexuality is fluid, B) there might be a physiological component, and C) even if we choose not to play the “born this way” card, no government or religion should regulate love. The world would be much more pleasant if we put our energy into improving the well-being of humanity instead of policing affinities.

KH: What’s your next great project, and when can we expect to see it?

DD: I can’t decide whether I want to edit the novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo last November or edit my Tenants Straight From Hell series. The novel is kind of heavy and TSFH is horrifying and hilarious. I guess I’ll see how I feel after the move. We just bought a house today, so for the next two months I’ll be re-nesting. I’m hoping to have something ready to go by the end of the year, but look for the release of the print version of Rose’s Will in the next couple of months. My publisher just finished re-formatting it.

KH: And finally, if you could have any superpower, what would it be?

DD: I probably would have said something entirely different 20 years ago, but right now I’d like to zap politicians with a truth serum. I’m seriously sick of their lies and I am dreading this election year. It doesn’t mean I’m not going to vote, though. DO NOT MAKE THE MISTAKE OF BECOMING SO DISGUSTED THAT YOU DON’T VOTE! There truly is such a thing as the lesser of two evils.

A big thanks to Denise DeSio for giving me an interview right in the middle of house shopping. You’ll hear me talk more and more about Rose’s Will, but if you haven’t picked it up yet, do it. Today. Or when you get paid next, whatever. It is a recent winner of the Reader’s Choice award for general lesbian fiction, an award well deserved. I’d tell you more of my opinion of it, but I think you get the point. You can always check out my Goodreads review of it as well.

BUY ROSE’S WILL for KINDLE
BUY ROSE’S WILL for NOOK
BUY ROSE’S WILL TO READ ON YOUR PC OR LAPTOP (use PDF file)
BUY ROSE’S WILL for ALL OTHER DEVICES (PDF, MOBI, EPUB)

LOOK FOR THE PRINT EDITION THIS SUMMER!
Like Denise on Facebook! http://facebook.com/ReadMyBooks
Tweet me up at @Topbee
Follow her blog at www.DeniseDeSio.com

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A Parley with Carmen DeSousa

Today I am joined by fellow author extraordinaire Carmen DeSousa.  I recently read DeSousa’s debut novel She Belongs to Me and enjoyed the hell out of it. I invited her here today to talk about her novel, writing, and reaching self-actualization in the Author’s Hierarchy of Awesomeness.

KH: Where and when did you first get the idea for this book?

CD: Honestly, I just started typing. I’ve seen a lot in my life, and my husband was a police detective, so I’ve heard hundreds of stories over the years. One line in a country song can put an entire story in my head. One day a comment a line popped into my head of what a guy might say to his girl and I wrote an entire book off the one line, and the funny thing is, I haven’t even used the line yet, but it’s coming. I am the epitome of a pantser.

KH: Your book mixes romance with whodunit. Which do you enjoy writing more?

CD: I will not read a strictly romance novel, but then again, I don’t have much interest in just a mystery novel either. If I had to choose, I’d lean toward the whodunit, but I like a fifty/fifty mix. I would classify my novels as romantic-suspense. Although my third book will lean more to women’s fiction, and my fourth novel has a slight paranormal aspect—no vampires though.

KH: She Belongs To Me is the story of Jordan and Jaynee Monroe. Are there people in your life who you drew on for inspiration for Jordan and Jaynee’s characters?

CD: Yes. And that’s all I have to say about that. 🙂

KH: She Belongs To Me is your debut novel. From inception to publication, how long did it take?

CD: Twenty months

KH: Why did you decide to go with 5 Prince Publishing for She Belongs To Me?

CD: This is a long story, so I’ll cut right to the chase. I had several options on the table with agents, publishers, and of course self-pub. But in the end, going with a smaller publisher, allowed a more intimate situation and enabled me to maintain more control of the final published work. All the books end up on Amazon anyway, so this was the best choice for me to get my first book to readers quickly, as I have many more stories to tell.

KH: Aliens, love at first sight, writer’s block. Which of these is real?

CD: Without a doubt, love at first sight. I don’t get writer’s block; I just move to a different story.

KH: What’s your next big project?

CD: Land of the Noonday Sun will be available spring of 2012.

When Carmen DeSousa was in college, she wrote her first novella. Her professor wanted something that entailed drinking and fishing—he was a huge Hemingway fan. Well, he sure received a surprise when he read her short story. It did have drinking and fishing, but there was nothing funny about it. It was sad; it was real life. Luckily, he enjoyed it, even admitted she was the first student who ever made him cry and that she had potential.

Unfortunately, it just wasn’t in her future at the time. After all, she needed a roof over her head and food on her plate. At seventeen, she was on her own and a career as an author just wasn’t feasible at that juncture in her life. At that time, if you didn’t live in the mecca—aka New York—you didn’t stand a chance, or at least that is what her peers insisted. So, she set out to conquer the business world, and she did. She spent the last decade and a half in sales, rising to the top of a Fortune 500 company.

Now fifteen years later, she’s back. And guess what, it’s a new world where dreams really do come true. Her first novel, She Belongs to Me, has reached bestselling status and is currently in the top .5% of eBooks on Amazon. But more importantly, she has many stories waiting to share with her wonderful readers. She’s waited twenty years to share her love of the written word, and hopes that you will be just as excited as she is.

She loves connecting with avid readers, so please feel free to connect with me via the links below:

Twitter

Website

Facebook

Goodreads

Thanks to Carmen for joining me today, and thanks to all of you for reading and checking her out!

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