Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Difference Between Character and Personality by Teresa Kennedy

One of the most interesting new wrinkles in the world of writing and publishing in these days of hyper-marketing and social media is that every writer, at every stage of his/her career, is suddenly expected to become a marketing expert. They have to have extensive FB pages, both for themselves and their books--likes and shares ad infinitum; tweets and Riffles and Pinterests and tumblrs, links and friends with people they barely know. They are expected to be involved, more or less constantly, in the business of making themselves, as opposed to their books,  a celebrity of sorts.

They must walk the fine line between honestly promoting their titles, blogs and other works; actually being social, and spamming.  They are also expected to respond, buy, celebrate and review their fellow authors’ works. They must build a platform of online presence and further support that presence through virtual blog tours, book signings, giveaways, comments and all the attendant merchandising efforts.  Developing the knack of “relating” to the sheer numbers of people with similar interests and products to sell can really ratchet up the average author’s anxiety levels, not to mention that all the networking can make a serious dent in the hours they spend on actual writing.

It’s because we have become a culture of personality, as opposed to a culture of character.

The media makes celebrities of personalities—the TV preacher with the huge following; the teen god or goddess gone wild, the pregnant Princess or the fallen “star”.  We become obsessed, sometimes unpleasantly so, with what these public personalities look like without makeup; who they slept with, or why they should never appear in public in a bikini. Some may call it a guilty pleasure, some may deny the impulse to point and click, but we all do it, and it’s all too easy to do it, given the sheer amounts of information coming at us on a daily basis.

To exacerbate the problem, the current construct of independent publishing insists on unrelenting productivity. The more copies you sell, the more you books you produce, the bigger your platform, the greater your chances for success.

While it might be argued that this approach only serves to reinforce the corporate model of success (Write Bigger! Write Faster! Write More!)  formed by the megapublishers the indie was only trying to avoid in the first place, the irony of the independent author’s current job description  goes deeper, if only because writing== good writing anyhow== demands an entirely different skill set.

I won’t venture to speculate on just what personality type is best suited to the task. Writers come in as many shapes, sizes, personalities and ambitions as the rest of the population. Some are natural extroverts, some are introverts; some see their book as the ultimate marketing tool to building an even bigger platform, bestseller status and even celebrity; some just need the money. Some hate networking; some love it. Some genuinely want to share their stories, and some just want to write their books and be left the hell alone to do that.

What I do know, however, is that the construction of a story requires more from an author than being marketable, and in that sense, the task of marketing begins long before a book is released. A writer has to be willing to step back from his public personality and be willing to embrace the relative isolation, emotional distance and creative free time involved in the creation of character.

 The concept of character, as it exists in the novel, is the painstaking process of creating a whole person, not just a personality.  Traditionally, a protagonist demands more depth from an author than mere description. Real characters are never based on a mere collection of attributes; what they wear, or who they’re sleeping with, or how they look in a bikini, but rather on the traits and values that define that person. What are their virtues—integrity, loyalty, curiosity, courage in the face of adversity? What are their flaws--naivete, cowardice, dishonesty, compromising their truth to fit in? All of those qualities may, or may not, emerge in the course of your novel, but if you’re too busy social networking and comparing your characters  to those in books already written, or yakking about their wardrobe, or what kind of car they drive, it’s not going to make a big impression. Though you may raise your stats becoming an online personality, readers demand more of writers and the books that they buy.

An author must find a way to construct character by trait, as opposed to outward appearances and labels. Real characters leap out on the page in full, living color. They interact with the twists and turns of your plot because they are living through it. And so the reader’s interest in an excess of detail about their age, wardrobe, body type, job description or whether they had plastic surgery, is bound to wane when the book they are reading has no more substance than an online slide show.

Equally, they become less concerned about plot if your plot is not something that happens to character but you have a character that “happens” to the plot. And if, as a writer, you hope to steer a mere personality through a pre-constructed, formula plot, rest assured, neither is going to emerge as remarkable. Much less, marketable.

If the online network demands that we all become “personalities” in order to market effectively, the writer’s task demands more depth. Good books and real characters offer readers a glimpse of who we are as human beings—brilliant, flawed, stubborn, heroic and faithful. Self-serving, cowardly, driven by passions we can’t always control. We try, but fail; and we often succeed. A novelist’s characters must journey through a story of extreme circumstances and come out better people for having made that journey. True character is always in search of more than a neat and tidy plot resolution. Memorable characters at least, are seeking their truest identity. And readers will celebrate their struggles, no matter how big your online personality. Because that’s why readers read stories—to learn something about how to navigate our lives that the culture of personality or celebrity fails to offer.

Friday, February 22, 2013

So You Want to Write a Bestseller by Teresa Kennedy

Aspiring authors are always looking for the next right thing—the hottest new trend. They read voraciously, pouring over the latest blogs and the buzzing new titles, trying to discover what other writers, agents and publishing experts may know that they don’t. 

But despite all the great advice out there, and despite also what the marketing gurus may have you believe, writing a bestseller isn’t something that comes about by accident. When it comes to book publishing, whether through traditional or independent channels, there is, and always has been, a bestseller formula.

What is it? To begin with, the old publishing maxim: “Plot sells” always applies, but in bestseller territory, that plot has to operate according to some very specific parameters.

First, your protagonist must experience a life-altering event, preferably in the first 10 pages of your novel. What that event might be is entirely the author’s choice. They might discover a dead body, they might get the job they’ve always wanted, they might take on a client out of the kindness of their hearts, move to a new school, get abducted by aliens, or find out they are in line for the throne. The specifics don’t matter. The important thing is, this event changes everything, even if your protagonist doesn’t know it yet.

Second, the event must somehow reveal to the protagonist that, whether it involves good fortune or bad, things are not what they seem. Thus, stage two of your plot development must involve, to some degree, a loss of innocence. Maybe the new job involves compromises the protagonist is unwilling to make. Maybe the dead body did not die of natural causes but was murdered, and that murder is one of a string of such crimes. Perhaps the young Pro Bono attorney discovers his client is an ungrateful SOB, who is nevertheless a victim, or the heroine finds there’s something really weird about this new school, or somebody is taking potshots at the heir to the throne. Again, the choice is yours. But to deepen the reader’s empathy with your character’s situation, a degree of disillusion has to happen, hot on the heels of the life- changing event in question.

That loss of innocence involved must in turn serve to strengthen your character’s resolve. Despite conflict and despite misgiving they must win the court case, play office politics, discover the murderer, graduate high school, or refuse to abdicate their rights to the throne. They are in search of Truth, after all, and Truth must be revealed in the course of the story.
In a bestseller, that quest for Truth will necessarily put them at the mercy of forces beyond their control. Those might manifest as some ancient Vatican secret, a war breaking out; corruption extending to the highest level of government or discovering supernatural forces and being hauled off to the funny farm for your pains. It might involve your parents trying to marry you off to a philandering pipsqueak as your soulmate lies wounded on the battlefield, or the serial killer is your old boyfriend. Whatever. But at this point in your bestseller, it needs to be obvious to the reader that whatever else is going on, your protagonist is in very deep doo-doo.

At which point they can only choose to pursue their quest at great personal peril, confronting seemingly insurmountable odds. They need to get fired, lose the fortune, be disowned, get expelled, get shot, or have somebody cut their brake lines or plant a car bomb. Actual physical peril is essential to the formula, and if you’re really good, these new events and twists of plot will leave your protagonist more or less unscathed, but will cause them to lose a valuable ally or someone they love—the spouse, the trusty sidekick; a lady’s maid who sips the poisoned wine, the hapless, cheerful neighbor who borrowed the car. That element of profound personal loss or sacrifice is another essential element of the bestseller formula, but it’s also important to have it be something of a surprise, to both the reader and the protagonist.

Finally, the bestseller must have a satisfying resolution. Too many authors fail in that respect because they’re leaving themselves open for the sequel. Regardless of whether or not you’re planning a series though, by the end of your bestseller, secrets must be revealed and conspiracies thwarted. Justice must be done, wars should end and true love should triumph, at least to a degree. Sadder perhaps, but wiser, your protagonist doesn’t need to emerge from your plot with the whole enchilada. That’s a fairy tale, which is entirely distinct from a bestseller. In fact, it’s often better when they don’t. What they do need to convey to the reader however is a sense of ultimate satisfaction. Whatever happened, whatever they’ve done and despite what they’ve lost, that sense of knowing, deep down, that it was all worth it?

That’s the happiest ending of all.

Editor Teresa Kennedy is a specialist in story development and author coaching. For more about her services, come see us at

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Let it Cool by Teresa Kennedy

With the passing of another National Novel Writing Month, congratulations are surely in order for those dogged souls who made the time, space and energy to churn out a new book in 30 days. There’s nothing better than that feeling of accomplishment and kudos to you all.

But finishing a book also carries with it a certain sense of loss. The ideas and characters that have occupied your brain for what seems like forever, the plot turns and twists that have kept you up nights; the voices in your head that intruded on your other activities in patches of dialogue and random inspiration are, for the most part, resolved. And that resolution leaves a curious sort of hole in the writer’s psyche.

If it’s true that it’s best to write while you’re hot and those creative juices are flowing, it’s also true that when you’ve finished a novel, the absolute best thing you can do for yourself and the book is to just let it cool for awhile. That sounds easier than it is, I know, but I’d recommend a minimum of two weeks before you so much as look at it again. Go out to lunch, do the laundry, spend time with your kids---take up knitting, whatever you wish, but DON’T leap right back in and think you’ll be able to edit or make revisions with any sort of objectivity at all. It’s always tempting to try and sustain the somewhat altered state of consciousness that goes with creating anything—it’s a sort of “high” that most of us are loathe to give up. When you’re writing you are indeed a Master of your Universe; when the book is done, you have to come back down to earth.

Despite the fact that today’s emphasis tends to be all about turning out as much product as fast as possible, and that ebooks and self-publishing provide for more or less instant gratification when it comes to getting your work before the public eye, it’s not always such a great idea.

Why? Because the creative process is more complex than we’d like to believe, that’s why. It’s not something we can control as readily as we want to. If you consider the enormous amount of energy that goes into writing a novel, then you have to appreciate that you need time to renew your own energy before you can dive back and tackle technical aspects like editing. Fresh from your creative high, you won’t have the distance to do that effectively; your mind will supply words that aren’t there, automatically correct typos you can’t see, and fix plot points that you know so well, you may assume they’re obvious to everyone when they’re not.

In short, that creative state sometimes makes us feel more brilliant that we actually are, and when you don’t take necessary some time and distance from your work, that realization can be awfully hard on the old Ego. It’s probably the same reason Margaret Mitchell burned her first novel to ashes and Hemingway drank like a fish.

Put more facetiously, I had an author friend once say that finishing a novel was a lot like flushing the toilet. “You can jiggle the handle all you want, but you won’t be able to flush it again if you don’t give it time to fill back up.”

A bad analogy, I know… Yet just as it makes sense to forge ahead and finish your book, it also makes sense to remove yourself a bit once the book is done, if only to give the well of your creativity time to renew itself. Don’t be too impatient; the slower rhythms of traditional publishing can offer a lesson here. In the bad old days, you had to wait for an editor and then for a copyeditor and then for a proofreader and then for galleys. It could take months. But at each stage of that process, an author could find something new—changes he wanted to make—a better word than one he’d used before; a detail that shouldn’t be left out. Each time, it was possible to see something you hadn’t seen before, and each time the book got better.

So my best advice to all of you with a brand-spanking new novel under your belt is, take your time. Give it to an editor, or run it by your Beta readers with strict instructions for them to not tell you a thing for a couple of weeks. Failing that, unplug your computer and run around the block; bake Christmas cookies, or call an old friend but DO take some distance.
Let it go.
Let it cool. Before you know it, you’ll be able to see your work with new eyes, those of a reader, not a writer.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Ask the Editor by Teresa Kennedy

1) What is the most common reason you reject a manuscript for Village Green Press?
Because I don't like it. There are, however a lot of different reasons for not liking a manuscript from a  publisher's point of view, so let's talk about those reasons for a minute.
First off, if I don't have a clear sense of who the audience for this book is, I won't be able to sell it, and if I have no sense of who the audience is, the author probably doesn't either. Anybody's social network is only so big and only so loyal. No offense, but we go for a bigger audience than your FB friends. Strike one.

Because it isn't done yet. Imagine biting into a big beautiful yummy frosted cupcake, only to discover the middle isn't baked and is instead filled with a lot of runny, icky gook. While I will work with authors when the story is promising and I think it can be fixed, it's not a good idea to send your stuff out in a great looking package when your story's half-baked. Strike Two.

Because your story, does not, in some significant way reach beyond the constraints of genre or your personal point of view to touch on a more universal experience. Writing is a very introverted sort of activity, but the stories we tell have to reach a broader audience. This is what makes it possible to relate to stuff like the struggle between good and evil, the star-crossed romance or the rite of passage. Because every single human being, alive or undead, has experienced those things at some point. If your book is all about you, it's a diary, not a novel. You may find the experience of writing therapeutic, but the rest of us probably won't. Strike Three.

2) Do you ever accept a less than perfect manuscript and work with the
author if the premise is strong?
Yes, see above.

3) What is a checklist for knowing when a manuscript is ready to submit? Everyone says "make it sparkle", but how does that operationalize to debut authors?

Okay, first I have to say "operationalize" is not a word, so knowing the words should be right up there on your checklist ;) Second, there is more to fiction craft than putting words on a page. As we all use a lot of the same words all the time, it's how you arrange them that counts. What makes "sparkle?" Very paradoxical thing, that. As a writer, you have to make sure those words are arranged in such a way that the story becomes far more important and engaging to the reader than the words themselves....Other than that, make sure you're satisfied with it before it goes anywhere. If you're not entirely pleased, chances are no one else will be.

“I hired a copy editor for my manuscript, and when I got it back, I was really surprised. He corrected all the grammar, spelling and punctuation, but when I read it over, he didn’t fix any of the problems with the story. What’s up with that?”
Okay, the first thing new writers need to understand is the perfecting of a manuscript is a process. First, you perfect your book to the best of your ability; then hopefully, you hire an editor. But there are different kinds of editors with entirely different areas of expertise. A developmental edit will point out the weak points in the storyline, the pacing, the characters, the dialogue and the overall structure, as well as offer some sense of just how the book stacks up against the competition. The editor involved should offer clear guidance and direction for any rewrites that need to be done. A line editor goes through your book word by word and line by line, deleting unnecessary sentences and paragraphs, redundancies, and phrases that may be cluttering up the flow of your prose and story. Most, but not all, line editors will also do a bit of rewriting here and there if they think something can be stated more efficiently without changing your style or voice. Last but not least, copy editors check for consistency and errors in grammar and punctuation, giving the manuscript a final polish before publication. A lot of independent authors, due to limited budgets or unfamiliarity with the process, look for a one-size/price fits all edit and usually find a copy editor to fill the bill. No harm there, just be aware that a proofreading does not a masterpiece make.

I’m an independent author looking to land an agent by publishing my titles as e-books. How many do I have to sell before I can get the attention of an agent to represent me?
There’s a lot to be said for the e-book revolution, but one of the things nobody is saying is that it’s a magic carpet ride to a hardcover deal with the Big Six. “Self-publishing” for better or worse, still does carry a certain stigma with the big boys, if only because it cuts into their market share. Bottom line? Last figure I heard from the NYC community was 20,000 copies (single title, no series) before an agent is going to take you seriously. Problem is, if you’re selling that many copies, why would you need an agent anyway?

My dialogue just isn’t working. What can I do?
Most novice novels suffer from one of two conditions: There’s either too much conversation or too little. The “talkies” tend to fall into two subcategories: a)Your characters either make long speeches to one another, filling each other on a lot of events that aren’t (or have already) taken place on the page, or b) they chat aimlessly back and forth for pages and pages without ever advancing the plot or telling the reader something they don’t already know.
In the second, more taciturn group, one or two word exchanges tend to be afflicted with tons of attributions—“No.” He tightened his jaw and hurriedly crossed the room to get a cup of coffee. He turned back to her. “Bitch,” he grunted accusingly. “John,” Miranda replied desperately, waving her hands in a helpless gesture, tears filling her wide blue eyes….
None of the above approaches work because the writer doesn’t really understand that the function of each and every scene, whether it contains dialogue or not is to move the story along, not to discuss what we already know or recap the action:”I heard that Randy went to Melissa’s late last night and her father threatened to shoot him. And Melissa’s mom got completely hysterical and I don’t know what it’s going to mean if we don’t have their help solving the mystery
Nor is it the writer's job to fill us in on actions and emotions when your characters can't say what they mean.
In dialogue, art does not imitate life. Your dialogue has to sound like real conversation, but it also has to serve a real purpose. How many Facebook chats or political discussions have you had lately that did that?

More questions? Just ask!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Meet the Villagers: Joni Parker

After a bit of a hiatus, this week we’re talking with Joni Parker, author of the new fantasy series, The Saga of Seward Isle. Fans of traditional fantasy are sure to find a lot to like here, yet Parker manages to morph the genre in some unexpected and original ways.

Q:  Seaward Isle is a fascinating world in fantasy fiction.  A ‘lost’ world where with some standard elements, such as wizards, witches and elves, but it’s combined in a unique way with elements such as time travelers and pirates.  It’s kind of the ultimate “melting pot.”  Can you tell us a bit about how the series all came about?
A:  It all started with the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy.  I loved it and kept making up my own stories and characters.  One day, I decided to write it all down and set up my old computer (which I still use).  After two months, I was done and stared at it for a while.  It was really awful, but I decided to polish it up for publication.  At the very least, it would help my writing skills and could be something I could do in retirement.
 I knew I had to make a lot of changes and the most dramatic of which was the setting.  I had to create a whole new world and came up with Seaward Isle.  Not only did I have to determine its appearance, but its location, history and population.  I even bought an atlas to look at the shapes of islands to get an idea of what it looked like.  It was much more difficult than I imagined because the story also had to fit.  Fortunately, it did. 
    My main character is a product of this “melting pot” concept.  She’s part-mortal, Elf and Titan, disguised as a boy when she was orphaned to attend her brother’s school and subsequently, adopted by an Amazon warrior and her Dwarf companion.  Part of what drives her is her desire to find out where she fits in. 

Q:  As a self-published author, you published a first edition of The Black Elf of Seaward Isle, but then decided to go back and revise.  What led to your decision?
A:  I had two book reviews after it was published.  Both of them said I had a unique story, but suggested the need for professional editing.  My second book was ready to move forward at the time, so I went searching for a professional editor.  I found one, had her edit both books and thought I was ready to go.  I updated my ebook on Kindle and was in the process of updating the printed version.
    Then, I found a book called Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King.  I stopped everything and started over again when I realized that the editor didn’t do a very thorough job.  I think she was too nice to me.   When I posted a blog about it, Renni Browne actually sent me a message leading me to her website, where I met my current editor, Teresa Kennedy.  Shortly thereafter, Teresa moved to Village Green Press, a new indie publisher and took my book with her.
She worked on my second book and once that was done, I decided it was only right to have her edit my first book.  I really want a good product for my readers and a solid foundation for my series.  

Q:  What’s the best advice you could give aspiring authors?
A:  I would suggest they read Renni Browne and Dave King’s book on editing to help them find a good editor.  Teresa Kennedy is outstanding. 
I would also suggest that they join some local groups to learn more about their craft and meet fellow authors.  Writing can be lonely.  I’m a member of the Writer’s Garrett and the Writers’ League of Texas. 

Q:  What other authors really inspire you?
A:  I loved the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling.  She inspired a lot of people to read books, including me.  I just got interested in another author, James Rollins.  After I read his latest book, The Doomsday Key, I went looking for more.  He keeps me turning the page!

Q:  From your point of view, what’s the most difficult thing about the publishing business these days?
A:  Now that I have some experience, the most difficult thing is getting my book noticed.  I have no clue and I’ve notified all my friends and relatives.  Thankfully, I have some help from my publisher this time.

Q:  How many books are planned for the series?  Any other projects in the works?
A:  I don’t have any other projects in the works because I’m still absorbed with this one.  Seaward Isle didn’t give up its secrets easily.  I have ten more books in the pipeline.  I’m focusing my efforts on completing the first series and work on the next, The Chronicles of Eledon.  Thus far, I don’t have a grand finale—I guess I don’t want this to end.    

Watch the series trailer here:!

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Meet the Villagers: Sue Frederick

This week, we welcome author Sue Frederick. It’s been my privilege to work with her in an editorial capacity and to see the success of her latest release, The Unwilling Spy.

How did you come to write “The Unwilling Spy.”

Instead of counting sheep when I go to bed each night, I make up book titles.  One night I thought of the title “The Unwilling Spy.”  From the title alone, I created a story – 84,000 words later I published my first novel.    Perhaps it is unorthodox; but, for me, an intriguing title develops into a story, then a story into a published novel.   I’ve almost completed my second novel, “Madame Delaflot√©, Impeccable Spy.”  Again, the novel began with the title.

What was most difficult about it?

Amazingly, writing is easy for me.  I was born with a little television screen inside my head where I watch visions of my characters and, interestingly, I become my characters – I commit murder, have conversations with Adolf Hitler, make love to a handsome spy, cuss and spit like a sailor.  All these visions become my novels. The difficult part is editing and publishing.  There is so much to know about both.  Experience, however, has lessened my frustration in both these areas.

What has been the most rewarding about it so far?

It’s marvelous to see a manuscript turn into a published novel – the fruit of your labor.   There is a true sense of accomplishment when it all comes together.  I must say it was quite exciting to see the finished book cover for “The Unwilling Spy.”   The picture of the cover had been in my mind from the very first moment I began writing the novel.

If somebody from say, Pluto, landed in front of you and asked you to tell them about your novel, how would you describe it?

I consider my novels “heart” novels.  Assuming someone from Pluto can read and understand our language, I would simply say this story is about a simple man who is faced with unimaginable difficulties as he battles tyranny and evil in times of war.   His journey is unforgettable.

In my writing, there is nothing I can teach you, but I am hoping to inspire you.  It is my desire that you are entertained by what I write, that you are moved to laughter, to love and to the pure and priceless appreciation of words.

Which of your fictional characters most resembles you?

I would like to think the integrity of Garcia Quinones, the protagonist, comes from me.  It is important to me to write about heroes, those who make the world better by their exemplary behavior and philosophies.

Give us a writing tip.

Write from the heart.

Your novel is about espionage – will you change genres in your future novels?

It is almost laughable that I write spy novels with such self-confidence and ease.  How could a sweet Southern belle who truly drinks mint juleps in her French country garden write about Nazis and the world of spying?  It’s that little television screen again – I see visions!

As far as future books, I have written two that are ready for editing at the moment – they are literary fiction, far removed from spyhood.  One is “Sanctuary of the Heart” which is about a depression-era family in north Georgia.  The other is “Baltimore Billy” – a novel about a man who, at age 55, believes he is a cowboy.  His youth was spent at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore where he read Tom Mix comic books and listened to the radio westerns of the Cisco Kid and the Texas Rangers.  Over time, he became a cowboy and through his life never really entered the real world.  In his adulthood, he returns to Baltimore where his cowboy persona began.  Poignant and moving, this novel is definitely a “heart” novel. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Meet the Villagers: YA Author Emily Ford

This week, we’re interviewing Emily Ford, author of the successful new YA sensation, 2:32 A.M. Having worked with her, Emily qualifies as a Villager-by-association and we’re really proud of her success. The first in the Djinn Master’s Legacy series, 2:32 A.M. is a YA paranormal where a young girl is forced to choose between ordinary life and love, and being inexorably drawn into a world of Genies.  

How did you come to write 2:32 a.m.? 
I've always enjoyed telling stories, and realized I had a knack for the creative while telling ghost stories to my bunkmates at summer camp. As my own children grew, bedtime stories became more intricate adventures, and continued long after it was probably cool for them to want one. 2:32 a.m., and the consequential Djinn Master’s Legacy series began as the "last" of our bedtime stories, sort of like my own legacy for them to enjoy, and perhaps share with their children. By the time the adventure ended, I had written enough for three very full books. I've been editing ever since.... From first word to this moment has been 5 years, and 4 months.  

What was most difficult about it? 
Definitely knowing when to stop!  

What has been the most rewarding about it so far? 
I’m amazed and proud that I actually finished. And no matter how it's received by others, it still remains first and foremost, a bedtime story for my kids. That's enormously gratifying.  

If somebody from say, Pluto, landed in front of you and asked you to tell them about your novel, how would you describe it? 
I would best describe my story as a teenage girl-morphing-into-adulthood-while-being-thrown-into-the-magical-world-of-Genies story.  

Which of your fictional characters most resembles you? 
One of the Genies named Roula. She’s feisty, but fiercely loyal. Strong, but nice to a fault. And she's an exceptionally powerful genie, though totally humble and discreet. She's the perfect figment of my imagination.  

Give us a writing tip. 
Hmmm, well I’m not sure I’m qualified to give advice, but what worked for me was the consistency of writing every single day. No matter how my schedule varied, I carved out work time. Also, for me it helped to write as if I was telling the story out loud. It brought the action to life, at least for me.  

Already fans are clamoring for the next installment, any hints as to what comes next? 
Much more of everything: Action, magic, love, despair, anger, danger, fear… and did I say love?  

Buy it Now!