Author Interview Number 112 -Laurie Boris

Welcome  back to Laurie Boris: Thank you for having me back!


Where are you from and where do you live now? I grew up in a small town about a hundred miles north of New York City. After leaving home for college and then five years in Boston, I decided to return to the Hudson Valley, and now I live right between the river and the Catskill Mountains. It’s a lovely piece of the world.


Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. I write fiction in a mix of genres ranging from comedy to women’s fiction to literary to romance. Every time I start writing a new novel, my father asks me what it’s about. Sometimes I don’t know in the beginning. I might say “magic,” or “baseball,” or “art,” and he’ll just smile at me and say, “I know you. It’s really going to be about relationships.” So, I guess I do have a few common themes after all.


Do you have a favourite character? If so why?Charlie Trager for the win! He’s been my favorite ever since I met him in Don’t Tell Anyone. There, he’s a secondary character dancing around his attraction to a very unavailable man. Charlie is sharp, witty, loyal to his friends, with many lovable flaws and a fondness for basketball, good scotch, and lost causes. I’m crazy about him and hope we have a few more stories together.


Have you ever used a person you don’t/didn’t like as a character then killed them off?Ha! Oh, how I longed to. Reynaldo the Magnificent (the magician from A Sudden Gust of Gravity) was at first based on someone I met a long time ago. An evil part of me wanted to bring him in so I could kill him off. But then, as he developed and deepened and became his own person, I just couldn’t do it. That would have been me getting in the way of the story, and I don’t like doing that to my characters. Or my stories.


Research can be important in world-building, how much do you need to do for your books? Do you enjoy this aspect of creating a novel and what are your favourite resources? It’s too easy for me to fall down the research rabbit hole when I find something interesting, and that leads me astray from the actual writing. So, I try not to do too much researching until I hit the second or third draft. Wikipedia and Google Earth are my main go-to sources. The book I’m currently writing depends a great deal on getting the details right, but I’m trying not to distract myself too much with research.


Sort these into order of importance: Great characters; great world-building; solid plot; technically perfect. Can you explain why you chose this order? (Yes I know they all are important…) Great characters are at the root of everything for me. I nurture them, talk to them, invite them to hang out with me and ply them with their favorite treats to get their secrets. The plot and the world-building all flows from what the characters tell me. Technically perfect (or as perfect as I can get it) comes last.


Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited?  Even though I’m an editor, I revise and self-edit to the extent that I can (after I get input from my critique group and beta-readers) and then call in the professionals for the final look. It’s so hard to edit your own work. Some authors are blessed with that ability, but I’m not one of them.


Do you think indie/self-published authors are viewed differently to traditionally published authors? Why do you think this might be? It depends who is doing the viewing. I’m finding lately that readers care less about the distinction. A good story is a good story is a good story. Other authors and publishing professionals are the ones who seem to care about this more. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a few traditionally published authors, and for the most part, they were open-minded about self-publishing. Some were clearly not on board with what I was doing—one even said I was committing “literary suicide.” Who knows? One day they might be coming to me for advice on how to get started.


What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? How important are reviews?  It makes me cringe a little when authors complain on public forums about a review or a reviewer. When I publish a book, I’ve made a choice to offer it up for public opinion, and I don’t get to intrude. But I do believe that reviews are important. They can help potential readers decide if a book is worth the investment of their time and money, because study after study points to “average reader” reviews being more trustworthy than paid reviews. And having a good number of reviews mean that I’m more likely to get good promotional opportunities, which can help me sell more books.


What are your reviews on authors reviewing other authors? Authors are usually voracious readers, so why are our opinions any less valid or desirable? I don’t buy the argument some try to make that authors shouldn’t post reviews of what they read, even if it’s in their own genres. As long as the review is based solely on the work and not on any other agenda.


Do you have a favourite movie? I’m a sucker for romantic comedies with sparky dialogue, ever since I saw The Philadelphia Story when I was a teenager. My all-time favorite at the moment is When Harry Met Sally. Brilliant writing, great casting, great comic timing.


Can you name your worst job? Do you think you learned anything from the position that you now use in your writing?  I don’t think any experience is wasted, if you’re a writer. My career has mainly been in the creative departments of marketing, advertising, and publishing companies, and employees there don’t tend to stay in one place for too long. I’ve weathered the layoffs, buyouts, and occasional stints as a freelancer or temp worker. All these different opportunities have fed my writing in ways I never would have imagined. I covered a lot of zoning board meetings for the local newspaper, and I got to use that in a novel. I was a magician’s assistant, and I used that, too. I spent a few months working for a temp agency that hired roadies for rock bands. That was a lot of fun, and I haven’t found a place for that yet in my writing, but I’m sure I will at some point.


Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? Wendy Pini, co-creator of Elfquest, once sat in during a critique group session where I was reading a bit from my first novel, a story about a comic book writer. She offered me a job. Silly me, I turned her down, because I didn’t think I had enough experience. I often wonder why I did that.


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Author Interview 103 -Ana Claudia Antunes

Welcome to Ana Claudia Antunes

Where are you from and where do you live now? I’m originally from Brazil, though I have been living and traveling around the world. I love to learn about other cultures, about history, habits and/or rituals, etc. And I need to wander for quite some time to wonder about the country, its people in doing so I may absorb the essence of each place. But somehow I always return back home. Brazil has a magnetism that attracts the most sensitive souls, and it’s a irresistible force that ignites and gives you a chill and sparkles to everything around, you know…

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. I’m a multi-genre author and my works go from Mystery/Crime, Historical fiction, Children’s Literature, Poetry and Nursery Rhymes, fables, myths and legends, Fantasy/Sci-Fi to hybrid fiction/nonfiction and self-help, methodology and techniques and how-to books. Here are some of them, just to name a few:

Fairies of the Four Seasons and The Enchanted Valley Series

The Mysterious Murder of Marilyn Monroe (182 pages- Lulu, 2015)

From the trilogy Memoirs of an Amazon:

The Witches of Avignon (Past) -Occult

The Pierrot’s Love (Present) -Mystery/Suspense (174 pages- Createspace, 2009)

Out of the Blue (Future) -Fantasy/Sci-fi (192 pages- Createspace, 2009)

From The Pierrot’s Love Series:

Pierrot & Columbine (Book 1)

The Phantom of the Ballet (Book 2)

Harlequin (Book 3)

Diary of a Columbine (Book 4)

A-Z of Happiness (79 pages – Lulu, 2015)

The DAO WORKBOOK ILLUSTRATED (119 pages – Lulu, 2015)

The MilkShake’s Opera Series (colouring books with fables)

They are all available in major book retailers worldwide (in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Italian).

Do you have a favourite character? If so why? Oh there are so many great main characters in my plots. For example, there are four main characters in the Four Sea Sons Series. They all have a special touch that will turn the world around and make such difference in nature and in people’s lives. And yes, I am talking about the seasons as living beings, as ethereal and real entities. And then there is a main character in The Pierrot’s Love Series that you will fall in love with, and then you will hate her and then you will feel compassion and so a mixed feeling will pour your heart in such a way that you will not know why but will have the urge to hold that child’s hand, and that’s Talitha. She is a teenage girl and she has been through so much in her life already that you can feel all her pain and her ambitions, she wants to reach out to you through her seductive manners. But then again she’s just human. And so she is an anti-heroine. Her antithesis could be Ann, from the future, of the same trilogy, in the book “Out of the Blue”, like a mirror reflecting the opposite side. Ann is just as ambitious but she lacks faith in herself, all the confidence Talitha has in her feminine tributes, Ann is totally oblivious of it, in a total loss from her life and with no self-control. Contrary to Talitha, Ann will have to go through hell to reach out for help and get some redemption, to finally feel free from her own instincts and let go of old fears.

Are your characters based on real people? Some of my books were inspired by real life characters, some other books I wrote are hybrid fiction/non-fiction, so yeah, I pretty much so get inspired by people who have lived, and even who are still breathing among us… so don’t get discouraged if I didn’t mention your personality traits yet. I might even have your name over my books, I must some day…

Have you ever used a person you don’t/didn’t like as a character then killed them off? No, I never hated that much. But some people did. (Not anyone whom I knew or met in person, and I thank God for that!) So I used what others did (you see it in the news everyday) and wrote it down. Some cases of murder were real, some were taken from my own imagination, but they could have easily happened in real life, for sure!

Is there a message conveyed within your writing?  Do you feel this is important in a book? There are always messages, even enigmas to be searched, mysteries to be solved in all of my books. I like to puzzle readers, but I do not make so to the point of being so complex that they will lose interest in the plot. And that for me is the essence of every great literature around the world, and that’s been so for ages.

Sort these into order of importance: Great characters; great world-building; solid plot; technically perfect. Can you explain why you chose this order? (Yes I know they all are important…) Great characters- They are pivotal for a great plot. THEN a solid plot: Why then? If you do not have great characters it is impossible to create a good plot, nonetheless a solid one. Once you have built great characters for the scenes, there you have it. It’s just like the movies, you cannot have a great film if the characters are frail and their lines are weak as well. I guess great world-building comes along with a good plot. If there is something that will work fine in a novel is how you will develop from the theme. You’ve got to establish a good timeline, and from there it comes a world. You see the technical matters don’t match or matter as much to me. Even a poorly written story, if there is a good plot and great characters on it will make a divine combination There are simply many cases of it over the mainstream and that even reached the big screen.

In what formats are your books available? (E-books, print, large print audio) Are you intending to expand these and if not, what is the reason? My books are available as print and e-books and I also have some audiobooks though I am still figuring out how I am going to expand it.

Do you read work by self-published authors? All the time.

What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? How important are reviews? Reviews are for readers AND authors. It’s a good way of learning from what people think about the work. Being it good or bad. A book might as well be hurt by a bad, poorly written review. That’s such a pity. Some people don’t know how to express themselves, and maybe that’s why they are just readers and not writers, others read a book like chewing a cupcake. That’s too bad. If that was not your cup of tea, leave it there, untouched. Don’t go bash the author for that. But if you really hate the book, why bother telling others. It’s your problem after all. You can give constructive opinions but don’t blame the author for your different tastes and views. Also authors shouldn’t comment on reviews, it sounds unprofessional, even silly. Some busy writers don’t even have time to read what other people say about their work. If someone enjoyed your book, or not, that is irrelevant. If you will continue or not to write something else it doesn´t add to the plate.. Besides, why bother commenting on a review, just read it and shut up. Being it good or bad. So my opinions about authors commenting on reviews is just my opinions after all!

When buying a book do you read the reviews? I do read many, if not all of them. I think reviews are important as much as I notice there is an unbiased opinion about them. The problem is that many authors are just too worried about getting reviews when they actually should be more about promoting their own works. Reviews will help as long as they have a good name and reputation. It’s easy to spot a liar from a true and honest review. The ones who are not solid sound silly; I always spot a good book not simply by reading its positive reviews but by actually reading about the author, his/her experience in the field and many other signs that give out the author’s identity, hence his or her authority in the matter.

What are your reviews on authors reviewing other authors? I think that it’s simply magnificent, if not perfect. I do review many authors, and I wish I could do much more. I simply have not much time, and if I do have some encouragement, I graciously give a positive remark. Unless the book is not worth my two pennies I will always give a feedback. But when I really enjoy a book I don’t simply read the whole thing, I will give a five-star review, and I will help it reach as many people as I can, with word-of-mouth, by blogging about it, by telling people from my network to go read it because it’s that good.

What experiences can a book provide that a movie or video game cannot? A book can be a great friend, an advisor, a means to an end. A book reveals so much more than a movie would ever do. For example, when I watched the movie “The Hours” I was fascinated by the story. Just a year later I decided to read the book. And what was my surprise that I was even more dazzled by its writings than I was by the images… The images in my head were more vivid than the film could ever transport me to that feminine universe that the author was trying (and so successfully granted me) to conceive… About video games; you are kidding, right?

What three pieces of advice would you give to new writers? First of all, please, please, don´t go publish until you are one hundred percent sure you are doing a great job, the best that you may deliver. For in this publishing media it´s easy to get it all wrong when you are just starting. Secondly, find a good editor, or at least a second opinion. You know, four eyes read better than two. You will regret later on for not having a good editor to go through your writing, or having a great artist to do the best cover for your book. Because if there is something I learned during these years in the publishing market it is to never ever underestimate the power of good editing. And my third piece will be to advice about a good image: the saying “never judge a book by its cover” was created by a lazy author who didn´t give much thought of what really works in the marketing of both fiction and nonfiction.

What are your best marketing/networking tips? What are your worst? My best move so far it was to help others into marketing their own works. For mine I would say it was a lucky strike, or not: I offered a pre-sale from one of my books that reached a good amount of people interested on the project even not knowing anything about it. Anyway, I guess it was not the beginner’s luck but the theme of the book that made people buy it so fiercely. I tried it again with another book that I was certain it wouldn’t get as much attention and it would not draw a crowd. And that’s exactly what happened. There was a lack of interest for the theme, I guess.

My worst marketing strategy it would be to hurry with the publishing. I would avoid rushing into the process, and marketing books with too many mistakes, like typos or misspellings, and I would spend more time rereading my texts and editing it thoroughly before submitting them to a publisher or even self-publishing.

Can you name your favourite traditionally published author? And your favourite indie/self-published author? No, there are simply too many of them to name just one.


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