Curtis Bunn On Writing Fiction That Engages Readers + On Starting The National Book Club Conference

currtis bunnName: Curtis Bunn

Hometown: Washington, D.C.

Education: Norfolk State University

Briefly: Author of Baggage Check, A Cold Piece of Work, The Truth is in the Wine; former journalist. Founder of National Book Club Conference.

Favorite Read: The Wake of the Wind by J. California Cooper

Author Crush: It would have to be Ms. Cooper.

Up Next: My next novel releases July 2014, The Old Man In The Club. I’m contracted to write my seventh novel for 2015, Seize The Day. There are other projects in the work, too, so it never stops. And that’s exactly how I like it.

Who was the first person to make you aware that you had some exceptional writing and storytelling talents?

My English teacher at Douglass Jr. High in Southeast Washington, D.C., Mr. Overton, was the first to encourage me to write. He suggested journalism, and I fell in love with the profession and went on to become a sports journalist for more than 25 years at The Washington Times, New York Newsday, New York Daily News and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. My career in journalism led me to writing novels. The years of telling stories for my career was critical to my transition to a novelist. I already knew how to tell a story, but I am granted far more latitude with writing books because I can create facts, places, story lines, themes, scenarios…As a journalist I told stories based on facts. To be able to create the facts is almost exhilarating.

You promote the life out of all of your books, from appearances on major networks like NBC to book tours. How can new authors who haven’t yet gotten the platform that you’ve acquired, get media attention?

It is a tough road, no doubt. The first and best way to garner attention and supporters is Continue reading

M.D Waters On Writing The Dystopian Novel + Promotion Methods And Publishing Trends

e48bd019b5707480fb982c9036a223bbName: M.D.Waters

Briefly: Author of Archetype
Hometown: Santa Cruz, CA

Based In: Mechanicsville, MD

Favorite Read: Anything with a steamy, angsty, conflicted romance in it.

Pet Peeves: Self promotion on social media without a single personal thing to say in between, then stalking me to follow.

If You Weren’t a Writer You’d Be…An office admin for two men with seventeen restaurants between them.

Author Crush: Karen Marie Moning

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Up Next: The sequel to Archetype, Prototype, on-sale July 2014

When you think back to your teenage years, what book-related memories emerge in your mind?

V.C. Andrews and Stephen King. My dad and stepmom used to get so annoyed with me because, even though I’d read them to tatters, if I had an Andrews book in my hand, the chores were not getting done. And I’ll never forget when my grandmother saw me reading Misery by Stephen King. She swore I was going to hell for reading that “trash.” Continue reading

Book Industry Peeps: Karen Chilton, Audiobook Narrator On How Audiobooks Come To Be

KAREN CHILTON headshot[1]And now beloved Litjuicers, the time has come to have segments about the industry lads and lasses who enhance every litjuicer’s audio reads experience. Today’s guest is Karen Chilton. Karen Chilton is a renowned audibook narrator. I first came across her name on the novelist Hugh Howey’s blog. He could not stop raving about her skills for the audio version of his book Sand!

Name: Karen Chilton

Litjuice Occupation: Audiobook Voice Artist/Book Narrator

Favorite Read: My list of favorite books and favorite authors is quite long—everything by Alice Walker, Toni Morrison and James Baldwin—but one of my all-time favorite novels is The Temple of My Familiar by Alice Walker. It was the first book I ever read that once I finished, I turned to page one and started it all over again because I didn’t want to let it go. As a narrator, I’d have to say I’ve Got A Home in Glory Land by Karolyn Smardz Frost was one of the most challenging and most rewarding works I’ve recorded thus far. Also Trade Wind by M.M. Kaye was a mammoth undertaking—an ancient story in a foreign land with varied characters, dozens of dialects, classical writing. Narrating the book I authored on jazz pianist Hazel Scott wasn’t a bad gig either.

How did you get interested in audio book narration?

I’m a professional actor and writer. Narration is Continue reading

Margaret Dilloway On Writing About Health Issues in A Work of Fiction + Tips To Writers Having A Hard Time Starting A Novel

img_1363Name: Margaret Dilloway (O’Brien)
Hometown: San Diego
Based In: San Diego
Education: BA Studio Art, Scripps College, Claremont CA
Briefly: Author of Sisters of Heart and Snow, upcoming, Putnam Books, The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns, Putnam Books.
Winner of the American Library Literary Tastes Award for Best Women’s Fiction, 2013; Winner, Bonus Book of the Year, Pulpwood Queens International Book Clubs, 2013. How to Be an American Housewife, Putnam Books; Finalist, John Gardner Fiction Award, 2011.
Author Crush: Ruth Ozeki. I read A Tale for the Time Being in as close to one sitting as I could get, and wept when it ended—not because it was horribly sad, but because I wanted it to keep going. I also read it at a difficult writing-time in my life, and something about it re-inspired me.

If You Weren’t a Writer You’d Be…a detective! I always notice weird little details other people usually don’t—something writers and detectives have in common.

Up Next: Sisters of Heart and Snow from Putnam Books.

You grew up in San Diego. What’s the best book fair memory you have of growing up in that fab city?

My junior high held a book fair and had an author visit—young adult/middle grade author Frances A. Miller. It was the first time I met a Real. Live. Author! And I was beyond excited.

Let’s talk a bit about your book How to Be an American Housewife, set during the Second World War. When you were writing it, did you feel that you historically had to have a revisionist point-of-view?

It’s not really a Continue reading

Carol Drinkwater On Being An Actress-Filmmaker-Novelist + Her Advice to Newbies

Carol Drinkwater-detail-1Name: Carol Drinkwater

Hometown: I was born in London and spent my childhood between my mother’s family farm in Ireland and an Irish convent in Kent in England.

Current Residence: I live between Paris and on an olive farm above the hills of Cannes, overlooking the French Riviera.

Favorite Read: there are so many and they have changed at different stages in my life. One or two that remain eternal for me are The End of the Affair Graham Greene, The House of Spirits—Isabel Allende, The Lover—Marguerite Duras.

Fiction-how-to-book You’d Recommend: I have never read a fiction how-to book. I occasionally teach workshops for Memoir/Life Writing. I do not think that writing fiction or non-fiction is so different. In all cases, a riveting story is what counts. Stephen King has written a fine book on the art of writing—On Writing. There are many such books but I single this one out because it is also autobiographical and so proves its case succinctly.

Pet Peeves: Many!

If You Weren’t a Writer You’d Be…I was first and foremost an actress. I continue to work in film, having written five documentary films – series entitled The Olive Route – inspired by two my books The Olive Route and The Olive Tree. I regularly record the narration for some of my husband’s documentary films.

Up Next: I have my second Kindle Single being published in the next few weeks entitled Hotel Paradise. The first The Girl in Room Fourteen reached number one in Kindle Singles both sides of the Atlantic so I am excited for this new one.

I have a young adult, First World War love story entitled The Only Girl in the World being published in April.

When you think of your childhood in Ireland, what book-related memories immediately come up in your mind?

I read very little back then and my life was very much an outdoor one. The wonderfully evocative stories of William Trevor and Edna O’Brien always draw me back to that early life.

When you’re writing…does the filmmaker and actress in you ever interfere with the novelist in you?

They are all part and parcel of the Continue reading