Quick Take Tuesday, a blog of tasteful, yet shameless, self-promotion involving an author or someone of equal social standing. I ask two questions, and then my guest turns the table and asks me two questions, as long as they don’t involve pounds or pant size.
Q) Your story is set in San Francisco, which as we all know is the capital of madness, while Oakland holds on to the murder title. But you’re a blonde Brit from SoCal. And I’ll bet you’ve even got long legs and a perfect accent. Why write about Fog City?
A) 1 out of three ‘aint bad. I’m a dirty blonde (hey, not my words, that’s what my hairdresser calls it!), I only have long legs when I slip into my 4-inch heels, and my once English accent has taken on something of an odd transatlantic twang. I chose San Francisco for my novels after I stood at the Wharf on a visit and realized how easy it would be to dump a body into the Bay. Not only that, the public transit makes it so easy for a killer to move around. The place struck me as the perfect setting for Madness and Murder.
Q) We first got to know each other because I wrote a blog post once I figured out how to put badges on my website. I acted as if I’d earned a Nobel Prize. And you were just as thrilled as I was! But we also shared our sense of frustration. How do you feel about all this stuff we have to do as authors?
A) In a word: Overwhelmed. I’m a non-techy type trying my best to function in an ever-increasingly techy world. I create. I write stories to entertain. I don’t know about gadgets, buttons, badges, whistles and bells. Madness and Murder would wither and die if I didn’t market it, so I dived in with my eyes wide open. I can honestly say, my social media efforts have been entertaining and quite a learning curve. I mastered Twitter (it’s easy, and I like the fact there’re no games). Creating a website I left to the experts (I got as far as obtaining my Go Daddy domain and threw my hands in the air, baffled). Some of the sites I use - Kindleboards, yahoo groups – have lots of helpful people more than willing to share knowledge, so I’ve come a long way. If only I could keep up. Like my title…it’s utter madness and murder.
//BUZZER NOISE AND SOUND OF TABLE BEING TURNED//
Q) Okay, your turn, Laura. As well as being an author, I know you’re an avid reader. I always see you Tweet about pieces you read on Scribd.com. Tell us why you love the site so much, how you stumbled across it, and how the site has helped you in your writing career?
A) I went into San Francisco one day to hear a panel discussion about getting your first book published. A beautiful young woman named Kathleen was talking about this thing called Scribd. It was a social media site and publishing platform. She told the audience that as an author, you had to “get vertical.” I went home and told my husband and son that night that I had to “get vertical.” I had no idea what that meant. So I got on Facebook and read instructions and pressed a button and practically clapped when something uploaded. Then, I went onto Scribd and nearly panicked when I saw the feed. It was overwhelming. But a wonderful woman writer named Helen Winslow was on there with her beaming photo and her wonderful comments. So I learned from her how to comment and read and share. I uploaded many of my New York Times articles there and it’s since been like my online resume, or repository for much of my reporting work and essays. As of now, I have more than 85,000 reads of my work. I have about 45,000 followers. I’ve met more wonderful writers than you can imagine. Scribd changed my life as a writer. I can’t say enough about the hip, young, energetic people who are making it all happen.
Q) You’re working on the Clari Drake mystery series and launching it this year. Who is Clari Drake? Is she based on anyone in particular? Tell us about her?
A) Ah Clari. Dear, sweet, feisty, inappropriate Clari! She was once a hot-shot reporter who has found herself decades later with a family and a widening waist line. Okay, I’ll cop to that! But she became every woman I wish I could be, and in some ways, am. She loves her family, but she’s not afraid to rock the boat at her son’s school. She makes some huge mistakes and allows her unbridled frustration and ambition to jeopardize her son’s peaceful existence. In short, she’s a shit-disturber with a Weight Watchers card. And I can respect that. If you bite it, then you write it, is their mantra. And if Clari senses something isn’t right, she’s right on it. I love her! And after being jerked around mercilessly by one of the biggest literary agents out there, I decided I’d had enough. I’m launching the book myself. It’s a fun read and I hope to learn from pros like you on how to let the world know that. Finding Clarity, here we come!
//BUZZER NOISE AND SOUND OF APPLAUSE//
Thank you for joining me on Quick Take Tuesday, Jenny Hilborne, dirty-blonde, British author and leggy So Cal gal! Please come back and fill me up, so to speak, with some of your work for my Friday Feature!