Monday, February 01, 2010

 

Elisa Lorello, author of Ordinary World, discusses genres

Author Blog Tour & Book Giveaway Comments Contest!

Elisa Lorello grew up on Long Island, NY as the baby to six older siblings. Growing up during the '80s, Elisa covered her walls with Duran Duran posters and used lots of hairspray. She explored many passions, including drawing, tennis, and music, but in her early 20's, exercised her gossiping skills while working as a manicurist.

In 1995, Elisa left Long Island to attend the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth for both her bachelor and master's degrees. In 2000, as part of her graduate education in Professional Writing, she became a teaching associate, and met two professors of rhetoric and composition who took her under their wings. This union of teaching, rhetoric, and writing ultimately became Elisa's calling, and remains so to this day. She now lives in North Carolina where she teaches academic writing at North Carolina State.

In 2004, Elisa began her first novel, Faking It. Since then, Elisa has written a sequel, Ordinary World, and is currently co-writing a third novel with a friend and former student. That is, when she can tear herself away from her favorite form of entertainment--Facebook.

Find our more about Elisa by visiting her websites:
Elisa's website: www.ElisaLorello.com
Elisa's blog: I'll Have What She's Having
Twitter: twitter.com/elisalorello
Facebook: Faking It Fans

Ordinary World

By Elisa Lorello

Andi Vanzant had everything she wanted--a husband, a home, a job she loved, a cat named Donny Most. Then a drunk college student plowed into her husband's car and she lost everything...except the cat.

Andi's faced with a nightmare world and the work of trying to transform it into an ordinary world. She's certain that life will never be ordinary again but begins to find her way with the help of an unlikely support group that spans the world--a widowed mother on Long Island, a supportive boss in Massachusetts, an old boyfriend in Italy, and a fortune telling housewife in Peru.

Ordinary World is the story of a woman accepting losses and embracing gifts. To some degree it is the story every woman fears and every woman must some day live.

Genre: Chick Lit/Women's Fiction
ASIN: B002VECPYM
Ordinary World is available in both print and Kindle versions.

Video (below): Elisa reading an excerpt from Ordinary World at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, North Carolina. I had to include this video clip because Elisa is fantastic! You'll definitely want to read her book after hearing this. Enjoy!



Book Giveaway Comments Contest!

If you received our Events Newsletter, remember, we are holding a contest to win a print copy of Elisa Lorello's book, Ordinary World, to those that comment. So, grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and enjoy the chat, and share your thoughts, and comments, at the end. We will randomly choose a winner from those who comment.

Interview by Jodi Webb

WOW: Welcome, Elisa! Ordinary World, the sequel to Faking It, has a female protagonist and touches of romance, but also has more serious issues like the loss of a partner. From my point of view, it could fall under several categories: romance, chick lit, women's fiction, literary fiction. But what do I know! If I headed to my local bookstore under what category would I find Ordinary World?

Elisa:
Great question. An agent or editor or even marketing director of a publishing company might tell you otherwise, but I categorize Ordinary World as women's fiction. Although it's a sequel to a romantic comedy, the characters and story are a bit more complex and contain more depth. The protagonist is dealing with issues of loss and relationships, not only with men but also her mother, and trying to reclaim her authentic self. And yet, by far one of the most touching responses I've received was from a widower who really related to Andi's stages of grief.

WOW: The narrowness of some categories confuses me. For instance, what differentiates women's fiction from chick lit?

Elisa:
I'm going to quote directly from AgentQuery.com (a great site for writers seeking an agent!): "Chick lit often has light-hearted, amusing tales of dating woes, career foibles, and personal antics as they relate to the problems of average female 20- & 30-somethings: finding the right career, the right man, and the right attitude. The stories are usually fun, down-to-earth, quirky, and entertaining--a good beach read... Like chick lit, women's fiction often explores similar themes related to women's struggles with men, their friends and family, or their own sense of self. Unlike chick lit, women's fiction often delves into deeper, more serious conflicts and utilizes a more poetic literary writing style."

Many of my readers characterize
Faking It as a beach read, and Ordinary World as something you curl up on the couch with, along with a cup of tea or hot cocoa. Others call Faking It "chick lit with oomph." Moreover, I have quite a large male readership for both books.

(An independent bookstore in Raleigh, NC shelves Faking It in Southern Fiction because they consider me a local author--makes me laugh, however, since Andi is such a New Yorker!)

[Note: Elisa is originally from New York City, as is her main character Andi. However, Elisa recently moved to North Carolina for work.]

WOW: Do you feel that categories are perceived differently by critics and readers?

Elisa: There's always been a divide between literary fiction and popular fiction. Some readers/writers of literary fiction look down on popular fiction as being too formulaic or simplified, while some popular fiction readers/writers think literary fiction is too snobby or elitist. I've read forums where readers call popular authors like John Grisham and Stephen King "hacks," and Jennifer Weiner is often hailed as the Queen of Chick Lit. And yet, these writers are quite talented and have a solid grasp of their genre. Their prosaic styles are quite different from more literary writers like Theodore Sturgeon, but I don't think it's fair to call one better than another.

I think chick lit definitely receives less respect than women's fiction because it's seen as more shallow, but I don't think it has to be the rule. In Faking It, Andi definitely spends a lot of time fixating on who's wearing what and is constantly reacting to Devin in very physical ways, but there's something else happening under the surface. She's coming to terms with who she really is and making peace with it. She makes peace with her body, her sexuality, and her way of relating to men.

WOW: From a writer's viewpoint, are very specific categories a good or bad thing?

Elisa: The categories seem to be getting narrower. The genre of romance can be broken down into historical romance, paranormal romance, mystery romance, Christian romance, and gay romance, to name a few. On one hand, it makes it easier to query an agent and have a specific category to describe your work. It's also easy for the average consumer to target his/her interests. On the other hand, I think it's getting to the point where it's so specific that an author or an agent may have difficulty determining where the work fits, and that could hinder the ability to sell it.

Faking It topped three different best-seller lists in Amazon's Kindle Store: Humor; Love, Sex & Marriage; and Contemporary Romance. However, if you'll look at what else is on the humor list, for example, you might be surprised to find it there.
Ordinary World is also topping the Contemporary Romance list.

WOW: Sounds like the publishing gods that fit books into slots can't agree about your novels. What would you call Ordinary World?

Elisa: I call it a "dramedy," even though Barnes & Noble doesn't have that section in their stores! The term is usually reserved for film or television (M*A*S*H* or The West Wing, for example), but I think it applies to Ordinary World. Despite the storyline being so much about loss, there's till quite a bit of humor in the novel. Even the opening chapter has comically absurd images, although the protagonist is really suffering.

WOW: What types of books do you read?

Elisa: If you were to ask me to name the primary genre of books that I read, I don't think I could give you just one. My favorite writers range from Richard Russo to Bill Bryson to David Sedaris to Marian Keyes to Jennifer Weiner to Nora Ephron to Aaron Sorkin. Bill Bryson is known as a travel writer, but his books are hilarious. Sedaris is primarily nonfiction. Aaron Sorkin is a playwright, first and foremost, and doesn't write books. Nora Ephron was a journalist before she wrote screenplays. What these writers/authors have in common is a sense of language, wit, humor, timing, story, description, and character. Their characters are smart, as are they. Every time I read (or watch) something that these authors have written, I think, I wish I'd thought of that! and I get motivated to work on my own story. Better still is when I read something from Jennifer Weiner, for example, and notice that I did, in fact, think of something similar!

WOW: As writers, should we be considering these pesky categories as we write? I've read that if, as an author, you can't point exactly to where your book should be shelved in a bookstore you need to refine your subject. Do you agree?

Elisa: Yes and no. I think the first obligation you have as a writer is to write the best story you can, and write it well. The last thing on my mind while drafting both Faking It and Ordinary World was where it was going to be shelved. Andi's story needed to be told. However, it's very important to get reader feedback before you start querying agents or independently publish, and list to agents' feedback if they give you any. That will help you refine your writing, which will ultimately help you with genre placement.

I worried that Ordinary World was too different from Faking It in terms of style and tone, but so far it hasn't been a problem.

WOW: What's coming up next for you? And, in keeping with today's theme--under what category will we find your new book?

Elisa: My next novel is called Why I Love Singlehood and it's about a coffee shop owner who blogs about the benefits of living single--all while trying to get a date. I'm co-writing it with a dear friend and we're having a blast with it. We would definitely call it a romantic comedy--more chick lit with oomph!

WOW: That sounds fun! Thank you, Elisa, for chatting with us today, and for sharing your wisdom on genres. You really helped clarify the puzzle of book categories. :)

Want to join Elisa on her blog tour? Check out these dates and mark your calendar! You can also snag a copy of WOW's Events Calendar HERE.

Blog Tour Dates: Come and join the fun!

February 1, 2010 Monday
Elisa will be chatting with WOW! Women On Writing at The Muffin. Stop by and share your comments! One lucky commenter will win copy of Elisa's novel!
http://www.wow-womenonwriting.com/blog.html

February 2, 2010 Tuesday
What makes you a book lover? Today novelist Elisa Lorello, author of Faking It and Ordinary World, shares her thoughts on books and reading in the "Because of a Book" feature on Write for a Reader.
http://www.writeforareader.blogspot.com/

February 4, 2010 Thursday
What do you collect? Share your hunting and gathering instincts with Elisa Lorello, a novelist who gave the characters in her novels Faking It and Ordinary World collections of art and...bobbleheads!
http://www.misadventureswithandi.com/

February 5, 2010 Friday
The blogosphere is alive with opinions about e-books. Good, bad, or ugly? Elisa Lorello, who is releasing her second novel in both print and e-book, shares her opinions about Kindle and print books with Susan Johnston today. What are your thoughts on e-books?
http://www.urbanmusewriter.com/

February 8, 2010 Monday
Don't you just love book reviews? Stop by Fiona Ingram's blog today for her take on Elisa Lorello's novel Ordinary World.
http://www.fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com/

February 9, 2010 Tuesday
Could you bow to another's muse? Elisa Lorello, author of Faking It and Ordinary World, writes today about her experience collaborating on her third book with a former student. Readers also have a chance to win a copy of her latest novel--print or e-book--winner's choice!
http://writerunboxed.com/

February 10, 2010 Wednesday
Today novelist Elisa Lorello shares her tips on leaving the humdrum behind and making your next bookstore reading fun, fun, fun! Elisa's latest novel Ordinary World is the sequel to her debut novel Faking It.
http://hellorhighwaterwriter.blogspot.com/

February 12, 2010 Friday
Novelist Elisa Lorello will be writing on "How to Mix Comedy with Grief" at Writer Inspired today--something she's done in her latest book Ordinary World. Stop by for a chance to win a copy of Ordinary World.
http://writerinspired.wordpress.com/

February 15, 2010 Monday
Elisa Lorello will be visiting Fresh Fiction for a surprise guest post! Stop by today for a chance to win a copy of Ordinary World.
http://www.freshfiction.com/

February 16, 2010 Tuesday
The interesting people from Elisa Lorello's debut novel Faking It have returned in Ordinary World. Elisa talks about "The Evolution of Character" in today's post. You also have a chance to win a copy of Ordinary World.
http://www.meryl.net/section/blog/

February 17, 2010 Wednesday
Today novelist Elisa Lorello writes about e-books and print books--can they co-exist? Stop by to tell us what you think!
http://abookbloggersdiary.blogspot.com/

February 18, 2010 Thursday
Get a peek into the world of novelist Elisa Lorello with an interview by Cathy Stucker.
http://www.sellingbooks.com/

February 19, 2010 Friday
Stop by for reviews of Elisa Lorello's Faking It and the sequel Ordinary World.
http://jodiwebb.com/

February 22, 2010 Monday
Novelist Elisa Lorello will be writing about e-books and, in celebration of blog host Michelle Fabio finally getting on the e-book bandwagon, Elisa will be giving away an e-book of Ordinary World and one of Faking It.
http://bleedingespresso.com/

February 24, 2010 Wednesday
Elisa Lorello calls her latest novel Ordinary World a 'dramedy'. Find out why she thinks a combination of comedy and grief can make a book stronger. Also, don't miss the last chance to win a copy of Ordinary World! Elisa's giving away a print and e-book copy and an e-book or her debut novel Faking It.
http://inkthinkerblog.com/

February 26, 2010 Friday
Elisa Lorello, author of Faking It and Ordinary World, guests posts about how characters go from wisps of idea to full fledged people. And this is your last chance...drumroll please...to win an e-copy of Ordinary World. This is Elisa's last stop. What fun we've had!
http://romanticjourney.wordpress.com/

To view all of our touring authors, check out our Events Calendar HERE.

Get involved!

We hope you are as excited about the tour as we are! Mark your calendar, save these dates, and join us for this truly unique and fascinating author blog tour.

If you have a blog or website and would like to host one of our touring authors, or schedule a tour of your own, please email Angela and Jodi at: blogtour@wow-womenonwriting.com

** Please feel free to copy any portion of this post.

Be sure to comment on this post to enter in a drawing for a signed copy of Elisa Lorello's novel Ordinary World! (In the print version.) And check back in a couple of days in the comments section to see if you won!

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Monday, November 09, 2009

 

Kristin Bair O'Keeffe, author of Thirsty, launches her blog tour!


& Book Giveaway Comments Contest!

Kristin Bair O’Keeffe grew up in Bethel Park, Pennsylvania. Her maternal grandfather, a Croatian immigrant, worked as a steelworker in U.S. Steel’s Clairton Works all his life. Nearly every weekend as a kid, Kristin visited her grandparents’ home in Clairton on a bluff overlooking the Monongahela River. As she played tag with her sisters, the smokestacks filled the sky with their gaseous utterances and the barges toted their haul down the river.

Kristin’s articles and essays have been published in Poets & Writers Magazine, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Baltimore Review, San Diego Family Magazine, The Gettysburg Review, and elsewhere. Her column—The Fiction Writing Workshop—appears monthly in the popular ezine Writers on the Rise. In 2008, her work was translated into Chinese and published in China’s most popular weekly news magazine, Oriental Outlook Weekly, and she is featured in the Bylines 2009 Writers’ Desk Calendar.

With a B.A. in English and journalism from Indiana University and an M.F.A. in creative writing from Columbia College Chicago, Kristin has always combined her love of writing with teaching. She is a passionate writing instructor with fifteen years of workshop experience at U.S. colleges and universities, including Boston College, Endicott College, Montserrat College of Art, University of New Hampshire, and Columbia College Chicago.

Kristin lives in Shanghai, China, with her husband and daughter where she writes, teaches fiction and nonfiction writing, blogs about her adventures (and misadventures) around the world, and curates Out Loud! The Shanghai Writers Literary Salon. She heads home to Pittsburgh at least once a year to visit family and eat a few hoagies from Danny’s Pizza.

Find out more about Kristin by visiting her websites:

Book website: www.thirstythenovel.com
Kristin's blog, My Beautiful, Far-Flung Life: www.kristinbairokeeffeblog.com
Author website: www.kristinbairokeeffe.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/kbairokeeffe

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Kristin.Bair.OKeeffe


Thirsty: a novel

By Kristin Bair O'Keeffe

It is 1883, and all of Klara Bozic’s girlish dreams have come crashing down as she arrives in Thirsty, a gritty steel town carved into the slopes above the Monongahela River just outside of Pittsburgh. She has made a heartbreaking discovery. Her new husband, Drago, is as abusive as the father she left behind in Croatia.

In Kristin Bair O’Keeffe’s debut novel, Klara’s life unfolds over forty years as she struggles to find her place in a new country where her survival depends on the friends who nurture her: gutsy, funny Katherine Zupanovic, who isn’t afraid of Drago’s fist; BenJo, the only black man in Thirsty to have his own shop; and strangely enough, Old Man Rupert, the town drunk.

Thirsty follows a chain of unlikely events that keep Klara’s spirit aloft: a flock of angelic butterflies descends on Thirsty; Klara gives birth to her first child in Old Man Rupert’s pumpkin patch; and BenJo gives her a talking bird. When Klara’s daughter marries a man even more brutal than Drago, Klara is forced to act. If she doesn’t finally break the cycle of violence in her family, her granddaughters will one day walk the same road, broken and bruised. As the threads that hold her family together fray and come undone, Klara must decide whether she has the courage to carve out a peaceful spot in the world for herself and her girls.

Published by Swallow Press (Oct. 2009)
Hardcover: 208 pages
ISBN: 0804011230

Book Giveaway Comments Contest!

If you received our Events Newsletter, remember, we are holding a contest to win a copy of Kristin's novel, Thirsty, to those that comment. So, grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and enjoy the chat, and share your thoughts, and comments, at the end. We will randomly choose a winner from those who comment. Enjoy!

Interview by Jodi Webb

WOW: Kristin, I'm fascinated by the logistics of your writing career. You're the author of a book about turn of the century America but you live in China. I have so many questions about the challenges that presents. First, let's start with research. I think of Thirsty as a story about relationships, families and strength but it does take place at the turn of the century so you do have to include historical details about the time and place. I know you aren't a historian who specialized in the Pittsburgh steel industry. So you must have done some research to get the details right...so how did you do research from China?

Kristin: Actually, I wrote Thirsty in the 1990s, long before I even thought about moving to China. I wrote the first full draft during graduate school at Columbia College Chicago, and although I am definitely not a historian or a steel-making specialist, it was very important that I get the details right (fingers crossed). I did a heck of a lot of research at the Harold Washington Library Center on State Street in downtown Chicago…cool gargoyles on the building, wonderful collections, helpful librarians, close proximity to the Ravenswood El, an amazing peach-blueberry muffin around the corner…you know, all the important things.

WOW: Well, Chicago isn't quite China! But you did still have the challenge of long distance research. Any advice on what sources gave you the most valuable information?

Kristin: Yes, being far from sources makes doing research more challenging, but there’s always a way. The Internet is a great place to start. After that, I love reading old newspapers…they are a great way to glean information and juicy stories. You can find out who was cooking what, who died at what age, cool names, strange happenings, etc.

WOW: Tell us where research fit into your book. Did you come up with the idea/outline then do research, did you research first, did you do most of your writing first and then go back and check the accuracy of historical details later?

Kristin: I’m not an outliner. Back in high school and college when I had to follow a teacher’s instructions while developing a project, I would work myself into a wild frenzy when asked to write an outline (hair standing on end, frantic pacing, not a single word on a page until the very last moment, even a bit of frothing at the mouth). I’m a much more organic writer; I follow the story wherever it takes me. With Thirsty, I’d write, write, write, then rewrite once I completed the necessary research (and then rewrite and rewrite and rewrite).

WOW: Thanks for that vivid crazy author picture! Now I know it isn't just me. Many writers (OK, we're talking about me here) use research as an excuse to avoid writing. Any advice on how to avoid the black hole called research and just get on with the writing?

Kristin: I have two responses to research, depending on where I am in a project:

a. I love it. I get sucked in as one discovery (such as open-hearth furnaces in the steel-making process) leads to another fascinating discovery.

b. I get annoyed. (This usually happens when the story is flowing. I don’t want to pause to verify a detail or track down a date.)

I’m a pretty disciplined writer (some say anal retentive, but I prefer the term disciplined) so I don’t ever have a problem ordering myself away from the research and back to the writing. If you do, give yourself a deadline. Set a time limit for research (one hour) and a word count for the day (1,500 words). Then stick to them. (Or call me…I’m pretty good at moving writers forward in their work.)

WOW: How does living in China affect your ability to get feedback on your writing?

Kristin: Since I wrote the first full draft of Thirsty during grad school, I had a built-in critique group. My fellow MFA students at Columbia were terrific (and tough) when it came to critiquing the manuscript. After I graduated in 1996, I worked on Thirsty for a few more years. I spent a good bit of time during these years on a 600,000-acre ranch in New Mexico, and since I saw more bears and elk than people, I didn’t have many readers. This was good for me; I learned a lot about editing my own work (a necessary lesson).

Even though I now live halfway around the world in Shanghai, China, I work hard to nurture a strong writing network—for feedback on my writing, as well as for marketing efforts. I have a great group of writers here that I depend on, but I’ve also built a small shrine in my office to the great god commonly known as THE INTERNET; I pray daily and give thanks for Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, blogs, and amazon.com. There are so many ways to connect with other writers today that living in the boondocks is not as isolating as it once was. You can join writing groups, take online classes, read reviews, chat live, and more. Thank goodness (now off to my shrine).

WOW: Tell us how you came to sign with your publisher Swallow Press.

Kristin: I did not have an agent when I made the deal with Swallow Press. (Ironically I got an agent within weeks of the deal for another project I’m working on.) For the publication of Thirsty, I owe a big thanks to my good friend and writing colleague Christina Katz (a.k.a. the Writer Mama). She has been one of Thirsty’s greatest supporters since we were in grad school together at Columbia. (She was also one of Thirsty’s first readers.)

In early 2008, Christina was at a writers’ conference in the U.S. As always, she was talking up Thirsty to fiction folks, and the timing was right. Someone said, “Ooh, Kristin should send the manuscript to Swallow Press. Sounds like a good fit.” I did. And voilà! It was a perfect fit.

WOW: Note to self: Convince all my writer friends to talk up my novel at the next writer's conference! Well, obviously you couldn't be at that writer's conference in person. What about marketing? Did anyone express doubts that you could participate in Thirsty's marketing campaign "in person"? How did you convince them that distance wouldn't be an issue?

Kristin: As we moved closer to the publication date (October 1), my publisher and my publicists often asked, “Are you really coming home for the launch? Do you have your flight scheduled? When will you arrive? How long will you be in the United States?” In response, I said, “Yes,” then I did what I always do: worked my arse off. It became clear very quickly that I was willing to do whatever it took to get Thirsty noticed and read.

WOW: They just have been nervous wrecks! And thrilled to death when you stepped off that plane! What types of publicity did you do on your recent U.S. visit?

Kristin: I flew home to the U.S. in late September for the launch of Thirsty. (October 1 was the official release date.) And from the time the airplane touched down, I was the (very exhausted, but very happy) marketing maven. I did an author’s feast at the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association convention in Cleveland, a flurry of radio interviews, a webcast interview with the books editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and a bunch more things that have become a blur. I also read and signed books at a number of bookstores in Pittsburgh, Massachusetts, and Maine, went back to my high school to yak with students in the creative writing classes, and talked to anyone anywhere who looked like they might be a reader. (I was the one in the international terminal at the airport calling, “Hey, hey, you! Yes, you! Do you read? Have you seen my debut novel Thirsty?”)

WOW: I can see the headlines: "Debut Author Jailed for Accosting Travelers." What about local publicity? Did you do any marketing events in China or is your publicity focused solely in the U.S.?

Kristin: We have a terrific reading/writing community in Shanghai, and folks are very supportive of fellow expats. So, yes, now that I’m back in China, I’ll be doing as many Thirsty events in Asia as possible. Right now I’m scheduled to speak to a handful of reading groups and give a talk at the most amazing Shanghai International Literary Festival (March 2010). More to come!

WOW: Have you done any interviews or appearances from China for U.S. audiences that involved you getting up at 3 am? While we're on that, what is the time difference between China and the setting of your book Pittsburgh?

Kristin: Right now there is a 13-hour time difference between Shanghai and the east coast in the United States. (Your 8:00 a.m. is my 9:00 p.m.) During the months before Thirsty was published, I stayed up until all hours of the night talking to my publicists and to events coordinators at bookstores. To keep myself alert and peppy before a 1:00 a.m. call (which was noon back in the U.S.), I’d hop up and down just before dialing and bite a slice of lemon. Most nights, it worked.

WOW: Actually, double wow! With that in mind I'd like to point out that when readers comment at a blog during one of your visits to check for your replies the next day. Remember, not only is this lady a budding author but she also has a little girl who can't have her mama up every night eating lemons at 1 a.m.! So be patient readers, Kristin is worth the wait.

How does your blog My Beautiful, Far-Flung Life fit into things? Did it start as a personal blog or as a platform for your novel?

Kristin: Writing and life are one for me. I don’t know how to write about writing without writing about my life. At “My Beautiful, Far-Flung Life,” I talk about everything: being a mom, being an adoptive mom, how to market a novel from halfway around the world, life with an Irishman, writing process, bizarre things that happen to me in Shanghai (of which there are many), etc.

WOW: When and why did you become involved with Writers on the Rise?

Kristin: I’ve been writing for Writers on the Rise (WOTR) since the beginning (which, I believe, was 2006). As I mentioned, publisher Christina Katz is a longtime friend and writing colleague. When she started up WOTR, she said something along the lines of, “Okay, so what is your column going to be about?” Right now, it’s about writing fiction. I’ve also written about writing essays. Stay tuned to find out what next year will bring.

WOW: Speaking of next year…what's coming up?

Kristin: I’ve got two big projects on my plate right now:

a. a memoir about falling in love with an Irishman, marrying him (um, rather quickly), moving to China, and becoming a mom

b. a second novel...which interestingly enough is very different than Thirsty…that’s all I can say for now

Check into My Beautiful, Far-Flung Life to find out more.

WOW: We certainly will! Thanks, Kristin, for taking time to chat with us today. It's been such a pleasure!

Want to join Kristin on her blog tour? Check out these dates and mark your calendar! You can also snag a copy of WOW's Events Calendar HERE.

Blog Tour Dates: Come and join the fun!

November 2, 2009 Monday
Kristin will be chatting with WOW! Women On Writing at The Muffin. Stop by and share your comments! One lucky commenter will win copy of Kristin's novel!
http://www.wow-womenonwriting.com/blog.html

November 10, 2009 Tuesday
Stop by Beth Morrissey’s blog, Hell Or High Water, to learn why novelist Kristin Bair O’Keeffe is a “writerhead” and find out if you’re one too!

http://hellorhighwaterwriter.blogspot.com

November 11, 2009 Wednesday
What does an American expat in China do with her spare time? She writes a novel that takes place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania! Stop by WordHustler's blog today to learn more about novelist Kristin Bair O'Keeffe in a fabulous interview conducted by Anne Walls.

http://wordhustlerink.wordhustler.com/


November 13, 2009 Friday
Novelist Kristin Bair O'Keeffe shares the Five Novels that Changed Her Life. Which have changed yours? Stop by Joanne DeMaio's blog, Whole Latte Life, and join in on the inspiring conversation.

http://joannedemaio.blogspot.com/


November 16, 2009 Monday
Stop by Readaholic today and visit with Kristin and find out more about her novel, Thirsty.

http://bridget3420.blogspot.com


November 18, 2009 Wednesday
Don't miss this visit from Kristin Bair O'Keeffe, novelist and expat, at Merl Evan's blog. Comment for a chance to win a copy of Kristin's novel Thirsty!

http://www.meryl.net/section/blog/

November 20, 2009 Friday
Talk about tough acts! Kristin shares her experiences marketing her first novel--from China!

http://bleedingespresso.com


December 1, 2009 Tuesday
Mary Jo Campbell has been waiting months for Kristin to finish her novel Thirsty! Stop by Writers Inspired today for a great interview and join in on the conversation!

http://writerinspired.wordpress.com/


December 3, 2009 Thursday
Today's post is coming all the way from China where novelist Kristin Bair O'Keeffe lives! Learn more about Thirsty and enter to win a free copy.

http://www.featuredposts.blogalogues.com


December 7, 2009 Monday
Stop by Ramblings of a Texas Housewife today for an interview with author Kristin Bair O'Keeffe!

http://www.texashousewife.com


December 10, 2009 Thursday
Today, Kristin will be on Beth Fish's Literary Road Trip that spotlights PA authors. Kristin will reveal how she created the memorable Pennsylvania setting in her novel Thirsty while living half way around the world in China. Not to miss!

http://bfishreads.blogspot.com/


We may have many more dates to come, so be sure to check out our Events Calendar HERE.

Get involved!

We hope you are as excited about the tour as we are! Mark your calendar, save these dates, and join us for this truly unique and fascinating author blog tour.

If you have a blog or website and would like to host one of our touring authors, or schedule a tour of your own, please email Angela and Jodi at: blogtour@wow-womenonwriting.com

** Please feel free to copy any portion of this post.

Be sure to comment on this post to enter in a drawing for a copy of Kristin's novel, Thirsty. And check back in a couple of days in the comments section to see if you won!


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Monday, October 19, 2009

 

Therese Walsh, author of The Last Will of Moira Leahy, launches her blog tour!


& Book Giveaway Comments Contest!

Therese Walsh planned to be a sleep researcher but, through the twists and turns of life, ended up as a researcher at Prevention Magazine. She began writing bits and pieces for the magazine and soon found her true passion—writing.

Therese’s love of writing led her to co-found Writer Unboxed, a blog for writers about the craft and business of genre fiction, and begin her own novel. Her debut novel, The Last Will of Moira Leahy, was released on October 13, 2009 (Shaye Areheart Books).

When she isn’t writing, Therese feasts on dark chocolate to keep up with the boundless energy of her husband, two children, and Jack Russell dog.

Find out more about Therese by visiting her website: www.ThereseWalsh.com.


The Last Will of Moira Leahy
By Therese Walsh


Maeve was the fun loving twin; Moira was the quiet twin. Eventually, young love began changing Moira when they were 16 years old. But then tragedy struck. After the loss of Moira, Maeve became more like her—quieter, more orderly, even boring.

After a decade of being a shadow of herself, Maeve wins a keris or Javanese dagger that reminds her of her childhood playing pirates with Moira. Not long after she finds her life plunged into chaos: anonymous notes, travel to Rome, and a strange riddle with roots in the past to unravel. Is Maeve’s adventure a gift to jolt her out of her routine existence or a punishment manipulated by a twin from beyond the grave?

Published by Shaye Areheart Books
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN# o307461572

Book Giveaway Comments Contest!

If you received our Events Newsletter, remember, we are holding a contest to win a copy of Therese's book, The Last Will of Moira Leahy, to those that comment. So, grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and enjoy the chat, and share your thoughts, and comments, at the end.

We will randomly choose a winner from those who comment. Enjoy!

Interview by Jodi Webb

WOW: Most writers will confess to having one...or two...or three practice novels in "the drawer" that helped them learn how to write. Do you have any unpublished works in your "drawer" that helped you learn how to write?

Therese: The novel in my drawer is “take one” of The Last Will of Moira Leahy (then called “Unbounded”), which is an entirely different book and has the structure of a traditional love story/romance.

WOW: Take one! Tell us how two unpublished manuscripts equals one published novel. You began with a man-woman love story and ended up with a story of twins. Were these two separate manuscripts that you combined or was it a drastic rewrite of one?

Therese: Let me first say that if I hadn’t believed in this story wholeheartedly—not my ability to tell the story but the story itself—I never would’ve done this. But I did believe, and I had to press on and do my best.

Here’s what happened: I started writing in 2002. I’d never written adult fiction before, and I hadn’t studied my craft either, so I pretty much didn’t know what I was doing. The story drifted all over the board. It had the structure of a romance but with content that veered into decidedly unromantic territory—including the emergence of my heroine Maeve’s deceased twin sister and a Javanese dagger (keris) that insisted on being center stage. When I submitted the story to agents in 2003, some were very encouraging—they liked my voice and thought the story was interesting, some even admitted the story had personally touched them and made them cry—but the overwhelming consensus was that it would not sell as a romance. It was agent Deidre Knight who told me I should be writing women’s fiction, as the emotional tenor of the book spoke to that genre.

Drastic rewrite? Oh, yes. I rewrote pretty much every word, and changed the plot and structure of the book. I pitched some characters and created some new ones. I maintained my two prior settings—Betheny, New York and Rome, Italy, but I introduced a critical new setting—Castine, Maine, where the twins grew up. The love story component, though still important to the book as a whole, took on a lesser role.

WOW: I can't imagine having what was, in your eyes, a finished novel and going back almost to square one. Some of us have trouble just rewriting an opening chapter! Did you have pangs when you were asked to rewrite?

Therese: I definitely had pangs. I still remember the night Deidre’s email came in, how sick I felt. Because even though I’d started as a newbie, I had evolved throughout the process of writing that story—I’d embraced critique and worked for months to edit my tome, at one point trimming 30k words from its pages. I’d spent two years on that version. So, yes, pangs.

WOW: What made you come around to Deidre’s way of thinking?

Therese: I thought hard about Deidre’s advice, and considered which scenes were most central to the story and best reflected the heart of the book. Surprise! They didn’t involve the hero, Noel, but rather Maeve’s twin, Moira. That’s when I knew Deidre was right, and the book should’ve been written as women’s fiction. Before I started writing, though--I moped, I doubted. Did I have what it took to make it in publishing? Was I wasting my time tackling this story again? Should I trash the concept and start something new? But the characters wouldn’t let me be; I had to try.

WOW: Any advice for writers about how to decide what is helpful criticism and what is just the whim of some agent or editor?

Therese: I think it’s important to be wide open to criticism. That can be hard, because as writers who hone in on emotional truths, we can be thin-skinned peeps. Criticism can hurt. But it’s what we need, in part, to become better writers. You have to put yourself in a Zen place to accept critique—assume that others have your story’s best interests at heart when you hear what they have to say, then think deeply about what they’ve offered you. If you’ve successfully set aside your pride, your gut will tell you if that person is right or wrong.

If you’re still in doubt, bounce professional advice around with your critique group. What do they think? Pay attention if you’re hearing the same criticism from more than one source.

WOW: What was more difficult--the original writing or the rewrite? How long did it take?

Therese: I first started writing in 2002, and that draft was much easier for me—in part because I was happily ignorant! I started the big rewrite in 2005, then scrapped everything again and started for a final time in 2006—this time with an outline. (Yes, finally, an outline. I was learning and had studied my craft over the years.)

The hardest part of the book was managing the interwoven narratives between Maeve Leahy in the present day and the twins in the past. These “out of time” sequences are their own narrative and not your traditional flashbacks (think English Patient). I remember nearly ripping my hair out as I worked to sequence everything, wanting each present-day and out-of-time sequence to share a vibe, and needing for the stories to dovetail at specific times and in important ways.

WOW: I can’t imagine juggling not only twin characters but also the present and the past—all in one book! Twins and their relationships are key to The Last Will of Moira Leahy. Tell us, are you a twin? If not, how did you come to such an understanding of this unique interaction?

Therese: No, and there aren’t any twins in my family. When I was drafting the first version of the book, Moira just popped up one day, unplanned. I didn’t have more than a common-man’s knowledge of twins until I began research for the big rewrite. At that time, I read a lot of books and online articles. One of the very best books, in my opinion, was the slim and accessible Twin Stories: Their Mysterious and Unique Bond by Susan Kohl. I loved it for its firsthand accounts of twin phenomena. So, so many of the things I’d already included in the story were supported by that book—another sign Last Will wanted to be written, I thought.

WOW: What did you do to advance your craft? Take classes, read writing books, enter contests?

Therese: I didn’t take any classes and entered few contests, but I have a library of craft books. Here are a few of my favorites:

Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass (plus the Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook)
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne & Dave King
A Dash of Style: The Art and Mastery of Punctuation by Noah Lukeman
Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder

WOW: I’m sure we’ll all be devouring those books—hoping they can help us create a novel as riveting as yours. So now that The Last Will of Moira Leahy has finally been released what's next? Is there another novel in the works? More twins?

Therese: Yes, I’m writing another women’s fiction novel with elements of psychological suspense, mystery, romance and mythical realism. It’s a quirkier book than Last Will, but so far I love it. And so far, no twins. But I am still drafting. :-)

WOW: Quirkier than a journey of discovery involving a lost twin and daggers? I can’t wait!

Want to join Therese on her blog tour? Check out these dates and mark your calendar! You can also snag a copy of WOW's Events Calendar HERE.

Blog Tour Dates: Come and join the fun!

October 19, 2009 Monday
Therese will be chatting with WOW! Women On Writing at The Muffin. Stop by and share your comments! One lucky commenter will win copy of Therese's book!
http://www.wow-womenonwriting.com/blog.html

October 20, 2009 Tuesday
Therese Walsh, author of The Last Will of Moira Leahy, stops by The Divine Miss Mommy to discuss: The Importance of Being True to Yourself.
http://thedivinemissmommy.com

October 21, 2009 Wednesday
Visit Peeking Between the Pages for a review that peeks between the pages of The Last Will of Moira Leahy.
http://peekingbetweenthepages.blogspot.com/

October 22, 2009 Thursday
At A Book Blogger’s Diary, Therese tells us how you can manage to inject foreign lands into a book even if your passport has never been stamped. Stop by to tell where you’ve always dreamed of traveling and enter to win a copy of The Last Will of Moira Leahy!
http://abookbloggersdiary.blogspot.com/

October 23, 2009 Friday
How can a traveler have an insider’s experience at their destination? Therese stops by Suzanne Kamata's blog, Gaijin Mama, to explain how conversations with the locals can make your destination come alive.
http://gaijinmama.wordpress.com/

October 26, 2009 Monday
Twitter have your head spinning? Therese Walsh stops by Whole Latte Life to give us the lowdown on Twitter. And don't forget to enter for a free copy of her novel: The Last Will of Moira Leahy.
http://joannedemaio.blogspot.com/

October 27, 2009 Tuesday
Stop by Writer Inspired today for a great interview with debut novelist Therese Walsh. Find out more about a novel that evolved from a romance to an eerie story of twins and then enter to win a copy of her book The Last Will of Moira Leahy.
http://writerinspired.wordpress.com/

October 28, 2009 Wednesday
Fellow readaholics unite! Bridget Hopper has invited novelist Therese Walsh to visit her blog Readaholic. First read Therese’s post and then enter to win a copy of her book The Last Will of Moira Leahy.
http://bridget3420.blogspot.com/

October 29, 2009 Thursday
Stop by A Book a Week today for a review of Therese Walsh’s novel The Last Will of Moira Leahy. Then stop by her sister site Donna’s Book Pub tomorrow for a chance to win a free copy!
http://donnamariev.wordpress.com/

October 30, 2009 Friday
Donna Volkenannt interviews Therese Walsh about the challenges of writing her first novel. And gives everyone a chance to win the book that keeps you guessingThe Last Will of Moira Leahy!
http://donnasbookpub.blogspot.com/

November 2, 2009 Monday
Should Therese Walsh’s The Last Will of Moira Leahy be on your To Be Read list? Swapna Krishna tell us on her blog Skrishna’s Books and also gives everyone a chance to enjoy the tale of a twin’s journey of discovery with her book giveaway!
http://skrishnasbooks.com/

November 3, 2009 Tuesday
Anne Walls of Word Hustler delves into the imagination of Therese Walsh to uncover how she weaved twins, daggers, and pirates into The Last Will of Moira Leahy, a book you can’t put down!
http://wordhustlerink.wordhustler.com/

November 4, 2009 Wednesday
Cindy Hudson of Mother Daughter Book Club shows that even adult daughters and moms can enjoy books together with an interview of Therese Walsh. She also gives everyone a chance to win a copy of her novel The Last Will of Moira Leahy!
http://motherdaughterbookclub.wordpress.com/

November 6, 2009 Friday
Stop by Eclectic Book Lover for a great review of The Last Will of Moira Leahy and a fascinating post on mythical realism! And don't forget your chance to win a copy of Therese's book.
http://www.eclecticbooklover.com/

November 11, 2009 Wednesday
Don’t miss a post by Therese Walsh, debut novelist of The Last Will of Moira Leahy at the blog Meryl Notes.
http://www.meryl.net/section/blog/

November 13, 2009 Friday
It may be Friday the 13th but it’s your lucky day! You get a fascinating peek into a world of Javanese daggers via a post by author Therese Walsh at Day by Day Writer.
http://daybydaywriter.wordpress.com/

We may have many more dates to come, so be sure to check out our Events Calendar HERE.

Get involved!

We hope you are as excited about the tour as we are! Mark your calendar, save these dates, and join us for this truly unique and fascinating author blog tour.

If you have a blog or website and would like to host one of our touring authors, or schedule a tour of your own, please email Angela and Jodi at: blogtour@wow-womenonwriting.com

** Please feel free to copy any portion of this post.

Oh, be sure to comment on this post to enter in a drawing for a copy of Therese's page turner, The Last Will of Moira Leahy.

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Monday, July 13, 2009

 

Chynna Laird, author of I'm Not Weird, I Have SPD, launches her blog tour!

& Book Giveaway Comments Contest!

Chynna Laird credits her adventures as mom of four children under the age of six as the source for much of her writing. When she's not spending Mom-time reading, playing piano and violin, and crafting with her children, she divides her time between being a student and a writer.

Chynna is busy finishing up her BA in Psychology, specializing in Early Childhood Development as well as continuing her career as a writer through her business Lily Wolf Words. She's written for many magazines: Amaze, Mindful Mama, Parenting Special Needs and Unique. She also has several bigger projects, including a thriller making the rounds. Her memoir, Not Just Spirited: Living With Sensory Processing Disorder, will be released this August.

Find out more about Chynna by visiting her websites:
Lily Wolf Words: http://www.lilywolfwords.ca/
Blog: http://lilywolfwords.blogspot.com/

About her book:

I'm Not Weird, I Have SPD

By Chynna T. Laird

Four year old Alexandra describes, in her own words, how it feels to have Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) readers get a peek at how she hears things, smells things, even how things feel on her skin. She tells readers how frustrating it was for her to try to explain to other people she wasn't trying to be difficult or naughty, she was trying to communicate. Alexandra shows us all the things she does to cope in a world she finds so terrifying and how she helps others understand her better.

The book can be used as resource/reference tool for parents of children with SPD; to help children with SPD learn to express how they feel in words; and to educate counselors, teachers, friends and family.

Genre: Children's picture book
Paperback: 24 pages
ISBN: 1432714724
Publisher: Outskirts Press

Book Giveaway Comments Contest!

If you received our Events Newsletter, remember, we are
holding a contest to win a copy of Chynna's book, I'm Not Weird, I Have SPD, to those that comment. So, grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, enjoy the chat, and share your thoughts, and comments, at the end. We will randomly choose a winner from those who comment. Enjoy!

Chynna's beautiful children (photo right): Xander (two), Jaimie (six), Sophie (ten months), Jordhan (four).

WOW: Welcome to The Muffin, Chynna. We're delighted to launch your blog tour for your book, I'm Not Weird, I Have SPD. [editor’s note: the original title of the book was I'm Not Weird, I Have SID] You've written a variety of non-fiction articles and essays about Sensory Processing Disorder or SPD for various magazines. What made you decide to also write a children's book about SPD?

Chynna: Initially, I wrote the story just for my daughter Jaimie who lives with SPD--to validate her feelings. When she was about three, she had an unfortunate experience with a small group of children who made fun of her reactions to them and her behaviour. The book was to help her feel better about herself and also help her see that there were other kids in the world who felt things the same way she did.

WOW: Tell us how your book got from idea to publication and how long it took.

Chynna: Jaimie loved being read to so I thought the perfect way to reach her and teach her how to talk about her SPD was to write a children's picture book that she'd love and be proud of. I honestly never had any intention of having the entire world read the children's book.

I researched a few POD places and chose Outskirts. I got lucky with the people I worked with on my project. They were wonderful and so supportive. I was never pressured to spend more money than I had to. Sadly, a lot of first-time and eager writers are "advised" to spend way more than they have to with some places. My project only took a few weeks from submitting my manuscript to approving illustrations, cover and interior setup to production and printing of my book. I cried the first time I read it to Jaimie and she loved it.

WOW: A little birdie told me you're making some changes to your book. What are the changes and why are they being made?

Chynna: Yes, I'm currently in the process of revising the book to reflect important changes that have occurred in the SPD community, mostly having to do with important research.

When Jaimie was diagnosed with SID/SPD about four years ago, it was known as Sensory Integration Dysfunction (SID), Dysfunction of Sensory Integration (DSI) and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). All these acronyms refer to the same condition but there was no universal way to refer to it. It was very confusing. Then shortly after my book came out in October 2007, it was finally decided to universally refer to it as Sensory Processing Disorder or SPD.

There were several reasons for this decision. The first, and most important, being that a "dysfunction" can give the impression that something simply isn’t working quite right and a few simple “tweaks” can make things run smoothly again. Believe me, with this line of thought, seeking the right help for a child with this condition can be very difficult.

The other point is that SID, as an acronym, was often confused with the tragic Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS.

Finally, there’s a phenomenal SPD research team attempting to finally have SPD included in the next revision of the DSM in 2010 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). To put it simply, everyone involved with SPD research, diagnosis and treatment had to agree on what to call this disorder in order for it to be taken seriously in the medical field.

WOW: You're also adding an activity page. Why did you decide to add that?

Chynna: All year long, her classmates knew Jaimie struggled with something because she was often very aloof or avoiding activities requiring closeness, touching or that were too loud/smelly/etc. During the first few months of school, Jaimie had many meltdowns and her classmates were genuinely concerned but didn’t understand what was wrong or how to help Jamie. For example, when upset most children will accept a hug from a friend. But Jaimie yelled, "DON'T TOUCH ME!" or would become even more upset.

It was after I'd taken the book to read at Jaimie's Kindergarten class and given a free copy to each of her classmates that I thought of adding the activity page. Almost all of the parents came up to me the next day--some of them tearing up--to thank us for a book talking about SPD from a child's perspective. You see, there are so many reference books out there written for adults who care for or work with these children. None of them really talk about SPD from the child's eyes…in the child's voice.

Then it dawned on me that it could help children reading the book with adults to have activities that may help to further their understanding. Children are amazing people and are genuinely curious about things, especially when it’s different. Giving them fun ways to explore SPD and how it "feels" to children who have it may help readers understand it better. And that's so important.

Kids like to ask questions and explore…this just helps with that idea. Parents and teachers are always looking for fun ways to explore the subject matter in books they read with children in a deeper way. Activity suggestions already offered in the book helps give the book more "saleability" because the caregiver doesn’t have to either research or come up with ideas on their own. It’s already there!

WOW: What's up next for you?

Chynna: Well, I have a memoir called, Not Just Spirited: Living With Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) coming out at the end of August. It's about our journey finding help for Jaimie. It starts with what we went through from when we saw signs that something was wrong (pretty soon after we'd brought her home from the hospital) to begging her pediatrician to listen to us, her diagnosis, therapy, getting into Kindergarten. My story is just to help other parents who have that aching gut feeling that something is wrong never to give up. Knock on those doors until someone listens.

Another exciting thing that's just happened is that I've signed on with Sunrise River Press to write a book tentatively called, The Sensory Diet: Setting A Sensational Child Up For Success. Essentially the book talks about the natural, holistic approaches we can take to treating children with SPD using combinations of occupational therapy, physical therapy, nutrition and exercises specific to the needs of a child. I'll also have a great section on childhood anxiety and how it can help this too. (Children with SPD can often have high anxiety. We've had to help Jaimie with both.)

WOW: Did I'm Not Weird, I Have SPD pave the way for these new projects?

Chynna: It's funny you should ask that. It wasn't my intention but it seemed to have done just that. I honestly never planned for the entire world read the children's book. But one day when Jaimie was in her preschool class, I got to talking with one of the other mothers about Jamie's SPD.

Anyway, the mom actually said, "Wow! My son was just diagnosed with that. We always thought he'd had Autism. Do you have any information on it?" I gave her a few resources, including the book I wrote. She came up to me the next day and said, "We read your book as a family and it actually made my husband cry." She asked to buy four more copies of the book. It sort of went from there. Now it's included in several local libraries, SPD therapy centers, Early Intervention resource centers and other places.

I'd been working on the memoir for quite some time and had several agents/publishers interested in it. But because the subject matter was so specified (or "niched"), it didn't fit into their editorial line-up.

The Sensory Diet project is a compilation of all the research, interviews and stuff I've done over the years in finding what worked best for Jaimie. I thought if I could offer a resource to parents that were in the same position we were in, a book that had all of that information in one place, they wouldn’t have to research as much on their own. This book isn’t going to be a signs/symptoms book but more for parents past the diagnostic stage and into the, "What do we do now? What therapies are there out there?" stage.

I still don’t consider myself an "expert" on the subject of SPD. I'm just one parent with one child who has a form of SPD who’s willing to share our experiences, especially if it helps others. I'm a strong believer that we go through things for a reason. I also believe that reaching out to others can be therapeutic in a way. Most importantly, if telling our story inspires other parents to tell their stories, we won't be islands in the middle of nowhere wondering if others are going through what we are. We'll build bridges among us to share our stories, experiences and knowledge and maybe, one day, this disorder won't seem so foreign.

WOW: Do you have a piece of advice for hopeful children's authors? Something you wish you had known starting out or something you wished you had done differently.

Chynna: The first piece of advice I can give hopeful children's authors is to try your hardest to find an agent or traditional publisher.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with doing it all on your own or with POD places (as long as you do your research and find the "right" one.) But you are entirely responsible for the marketing part, including finding buyers. It's not a big deal for me now since I'm not going to school full-time any more but it is A LOT of work and takes A LOT of time and effort.

If you don't have that time, hang in there and do it the traditional way. You'll still have to do a lot of your own marketing but it's better to have the additional support and backing. I wished I'd waited for a traditional publishing route but, as I'd said, my initial goal wasn't to SELL my book to the world; it was to help my daughter understand her disorder and to give her the words to make others understand.

The best advice I can think of is to understand your intended audience and stay in that perspective. For example, writing for a 5-year old is much different than writing for, say, a tween or teen. Listen to how they talk, watch their mannerisms, watch how they interact with people. I'm lucky because I'm surrounded by my intended audience and they inspire me every day. Children are amazing little people and I love writing for them. In fact, I've decided to focus most of my fiction writing on the children's and YA audiences. Who knows…maybe you'll see me out on the bookshelves in that area one day.

WOW: Thanks for giving us so much to think about, especially how a writing project that was essentially a gift of love could make its way from a bookshelf in your daughter's bedroom to a bookshelf in your neighborhood bookstore.

Want to join Chynna on her blog tour? Check out these dates and mark your calendar! You can also snag a copy of WOW's Events Calendar HERE.

Blog Tour Dates: Come and join the fun!

JULY 13, 2009 Monday
Chynna chats with WOW! Women On Writing at The Muffin. One lucky commenter will win copy of Chynna's book!
http://www.wow-womenonwriting.com/blog.html

JULY 14, 2009 Tuesday
Chynna stops by Joyce Anthony's blog, Books and Authors, for an author interview and book review! Stop by today and learn more about I'm Not Weird, I Have SPD.
http://joyce-anthony.blogspot.com/

JULY 16, 2009 Thursday
Chynna visits Raising Socially Anxious Children to talk about encouraging loving sibling relationships when one child has special needs. There is also a book giveaway comments contest! Stop by for a chance to win a copy of Chynna's book.
http://www.raisingsociallyanxiouschildrenblog.com/

JULY 17, 2009 Friday
Chynna visits Cathy C. Hall's blog, Finders and Keepers, to chat about children's book writing. If you haven't visited Cathy's blog, be sure to stop by--it's bound to spark a lively discussion!
http://cathychall.wordpress.com

JULY 20, 2009 Monday
Chynna visits Shai Coggins' blog for an author interview! Stop by today and learn more about Chynna's thoughts on writing her first picture book.
http://www.shaicoggins.com/

JULY 24, 2009 Friday
Have questions about writing children's books? Stop by Samantha Clark's blog, Day by Day Writer, to visit with children's book author Chynna Laird.
http://daybydaywriter.wordpress.com/

JULY 27, 2009 Monday
Stop by Margo L. Dill's blog, Read These Books and Use Them, to find out what Margo thinks about Chynna's book, I'm Not Weird, I Have SPD, as well as some activities adults can use when reading with their child.
http://www.margodill.com/blog/

AUGUST 11, 2009 Tuesday
Chynna stops by Allyn Evans' blog, Happily Ever After Today, to talk about the challenges of understanding SPD and raising a child with SPD. Not to miss!
http://www.allynevans.blogspot.com/

We may have more dates to come, so be sure to check out our Events Calendar HERE to keep up with the latest.

Get involved!

We hope you are as excited about the tour as we are! Mark your calendar, save these dates, and join us for this truly unique and fascinating author blog tour.

If you would like to host one of our authors, or are an author looking to schedule a tour of your own, please email Jodi at: blogtour@wow-womenonwriting.com

** Please feel free to copy any portion of this post.

Oh, be sure to comment on this post to enter in a drawing for a signed copy of Chynna Laird's children's book, I'm Not Weird, I Have SPD.

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