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Biography: Sai Marie is an author, creative writer, and concept creator. She resides in the Great Pacific Northwest where she enjoys the flora, fauna, action and adventure that bred the Pioneer Spirit. With a heart for advocacy, animals, the environment, and great imagination she is sure to capture your attention with something for everyone.

 Sai

Martin: Hello Sai, I understand that you have some important and exciting news?

 SJ: Hello Martin, yes that is true. I’m excited to announce that I have a new book releasing, Forbidden Fantasies; which is my 15th published title. It will be out on Halloween.

 Martin: Tell me a bit about your writing to date including any genre specifics.

 SJ: Well, each of my titles have been very different; however, I’ve learned that contemporary romantic thrillers and paranormal or urban fantasy seem to be my niche markets.

 Martin: What inspired you to write?

 SJ: I’ve been telling stories since I was a child and began penning them in grammar school. I decided to become an author in my later years, however, and only decided to pursue my career after many other people pointed out that I had great concepts that others would enjoy. At that time, I chose to take a leap of faith, enrolled in college and the rest is relative history.

 Martin: Do you think book covers are important? Can you tell me about yours?

 SJ: As sad as it is to admit, imagery is what we pay most attention to and while it is wrong to judge a book by a cover most consumers are guilty of doing so at some point in their lives. Because of this, yes, a book cover is paramount to your success just as much as a quality blurb is. My cover for my newest release is a self-designed cover and I am quite proud of it as it shows some of my own graphic skills and talents and allows me to enjoy all aspects of the creative process when designing, marketing, and selling my story.

Forbidden

 Martin: What projects are you working on at the moment?

 SJ: I am working on a new story for NaNoWriMo entitled Swiped, it is a contemporary romantic thriller that takes place in Eugene, Oregon around the U of O campus.

Martin: Do you experience any challenges when writing?

 SJ: Finding the proper balance between writing, marketing and creating all the content and materials needed to bring exposure to my work.

 Martin: Do any authors inspire you?

 SJ: Oh, yes. Several actually, some names recently are Alta Hensley, Ashley Jade and Haylee Thorne. Each of these women are incredibly talented and their success had lead me to believe mine is not too far off.

 Martin: Does anyone outside of the writing world inspire you?

 SJ: My parents and children both inspire me. However, I find most of my inspiration doesn’t come from other people but from being in nature and left to my own wandering mind’s devices.

Martin: I was once asked in an interview if I preferred The Beatles or The Monkees? How about you? Also do you like music and does that ever inspire your work?

 SJ: Music is important to world building and I believe it helps immerse both author and reader into the world backdrop a creator is making when considering the songs and music listened to while creating. I would have to say that for myself, it would be the Beatles.

 Martin: What angers you/makes you cry?

 SJ: Giving away one’s emotional responses is usually a bad idea, isn’t it? I jest, but in all honesty the usual things. A loved one dying or becoming sick, the loss of a pet, seeing a family’s home burn down and people suffering from the loss of having a home, knowing people are homeless and veterans are without medical care. Lots of things about the world outside me disturb and anger me as well as cause me tears and sadness and joy alike.

 Martin: What makes you laugh?

 SJ: I like witty puns that others may not get unless they are intellectual. I’m odd and have a dark sense of humour at times. For instance, the scene of Joe Black being run over in Meet Joe Black, I admit I laughed at first when seeing it and it was an awful depiction honestly. However, I could not help but laugh because of how ridiculous the flying body in the air appeared. Some might think this is a bit appalling but, like I said, dark humoured at times.

 Martin: Do you have a favourite quote?

 SJ: Yes, my favorite quote is by Mark Twain: “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”

Martin: Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

 SJ: Yes, I expect to have another release very soon upon completing Swiped and hope that others will check out my social networks to learn more about that book.

Martin: Where can we learn even more about you?

 SJ: You may learn more about me from the following:

 Want Author Sai Marie’s Autograph?

Check out her Author page on Authorgraph.com:

http://www.authorgraph.com/authors/LadySai

 FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/saimariejohnson

AMAZON: http://www.amazon.com/author/saimariejohnson

TWITTER: http://www.twitter.com/LadySai

WEBSITE: http://www.saimariejohnson.wordpress.com

BLOG: http://www.saimariejohnson.blogspot.com

 Forbidden

 

 FORBIDDEN FANTASIES on #Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B076KZ6LCV/

FORBIDDEN FANTASIES BOOK TRAILER

https://vimeo.com/239055539

BLURB

Araceli Nativa

Sheltered and yet looking to expand beyond her small-town Alabama raising, Araceli’s attending Vanderbilt University in Nashville but so far, she hasn’t broadened her horizons in the least. A pretty and successful student, Araceli spends all her days studying, attending class and living a fairly boring existence. That is until her dorm mate peer pressures her to attend the biggest frat and Halloween party on campus and when Araceli finally breaks out of her closed up shell, the consequences might just be devastating.

Abel Slaine

For centuries, he has scoured the earth searching for her, the demonic queen who stole his beloved before they ever had the chance to thrive. She and all of her dark daughters have been his target for millennia and now there is a new one who will find her death at the end of his hands one way or another but putting plan to action may prove more difficult than Abel has bargained for when his prey becomes more than a deathly pursuit.

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For all you lovers of football out there I welcome Jay to my blog to speak about his exciting & informative book about Bilston Town – the other team in Wolverhampton!

btfc-history

Biography: My pen name is Jay Hearst and I’m from Wolverhampton. I have lived in and around the Black Country my entire life. I started to write in 1998 and this book is my first solo project ever to be published, hopefully it won’t be the last. Professionally I have a normal, ordinary day job like so many writers and prefer to be called a ‘hobbying writer’ than an actual one. It’s good to keep things in perspective.

Tell me a bit about your writing to date?

I’ve written mostly on various authoring/writers websites since 2003 and have had a few short stories published in anthologies. I’ve been blogging on and off for about 15 years and have been writing at my current blog for about 5. In 2011 one of my posts was shared by Ricky Gervais on his website which came at a time when I was close to giving it all up but that single event encouraged me to keep trying and later that same year I had a go at NaNoWriMo which I completed successfully which was no easy task.

What inspired you to write your book about Bilston Football Club?

I was interested in reading it. In 2012 I was given a copy of the history of Darlaston Town Football Club and was fascinated to see that a local, grass roots club had been around so long and achieved so much. I wondered if other local non league clubs had history books and found that very few actually did. As someone who enjoys writing and loves football it didn’t take long for the idea to take root.

So what is the book about?

The book is a season by season record of achievements, starting in 1894-95 running up until the end of the 2014-15 season. It covers all 121 years excluding the breaks for the two World Wars and details league and cup achievements, notable former players who went on to or came from bigger teams, important and interesting events andmany team photos and newspaper clippings. I’m particularly proud of the FA Cup proper section which covers the greatest achievements in the clubs history. I was also fortunate to discover all of the clubs league results from 1985 to 2015 as well as complete post war records for the FA Cup, FA Trophy and FA Vase.

How did you go about designing your book cover?

I was fortunate on one visit to Queen Street to get a nice photo of the main stand myself so I used that for the back cover. The front cover was sent to me by an American lady who’s family had emigrated from the UK decades ago. Her great grandfather had played for Bilston in 1900-01 when they won six trophies, their best ever haul in a season, and it’s a shot of the team from that year with their silverware,it’s a superb image.

Where can we find the book?

The book is currently available exclusively via the football club’s website. I wanted to give them distribution rights as part of a profit share. They make a few quid and hopefully I’ll recover the cost of the project. The club have been extremely helpful throughout working very closely with me for over 2 and half years and its nice to give something, no matter how small, back.

Do you have any other projects in your sights now you successfully have a book in print?

At the moment no. The time spent researching and writing this book has been hard work and sometimes very stressful. I’m going to relax and enjoy Christmas and the New Year with my family before taking on anything else. But no doubt I’ll continue to write in some capacity. I’ll update the History of Bilston Town FC site from time to time and no doubt drop the occasional blog post too.

Did you experience any challenges when writing your book? 

Just the researching, compiling, writing, editing and publishing. Apart from that it was challenge free! I joke of course, there were no particular challenges that I remember. I had free reign to work when I could and as hard as I wanted to. I set myself a deadline of 1 year, which it turned out wasn’t even long enough to gather all of the information. I’d underestimated the quality and quantity of the material that was available but it was certainly worth taking my time and doing as good a job as I could with what I found or was given by so many people.

I was recently asked in an interview if I preferred The Beatles or The Monkees? How about you? Also do you like music and does that ever inspire your work? 

Anyone that answers ‘The Monkees’ deserves to be taken around the back of the barn with old yeller, so make of that what you will. I think everyone likes music it’s just the type and style that differs from person to person. I like most music to be honest although I feel it’s a shame that modern pop music is all the same and is owned by sofew companies and individuals who are only interested in jemmying the pocket money out of the pockets of teenage girls. There are so many bands that deserve the opportunity to shine through their amazing musical skills that are overlooked simply because they aren’t commercially viable. If the Beatles were formed today you canguarantee that no one would know who they are because they would be ignored by today’s music industry. But like many other aspects of modern life, music has had its heart and soul replaced with greed and capitalism. I love Metallica and REM and I often listen to The Killers and Kasabian when I write. I don’t think music particularly inspires me though, but it certainly keeps me company as I type.

Do you have a favourite quote?

I love quotes but I don’t have a particular favourite. This is a good one: If I waited till I felt like writing, I’d never write at all – Anne Tyler.What authors inspire you?Stephen King was the author who inspired me originally to write many years ago but I’d say that anyone, anywhere whose writing I read, inspires me. There is so much good stuff out there these days. I try not to overlook people like myself who aren’t professional or successful writers. We need to support each other as much as we can.I like to randomly pick someone and see where they take me. If I enjoy it I’ll read more and if not move on to someone else.

What footballers inspire you?

I love professional football but I’m not inspired by any of the professional players. They are generally overpaid, over-important, man-children. If you want to be inspired by a professional person go and shake hands and chat to a soldier. They deserve our attention and respect, but not footballers. They are entertainers at best,rarely are they role models or inspirational individuals. Grass roots players have my admiration and respect as they play for the love of the sport, not financial reward or fame.

Email: bilstontownfcbook@outlook.com

Twitter: bilstontownbook

Blog:https://thehistoryofbilstontownfc.wordpress.com/

 

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Okay everyone, I have real treat here for you to brighten any weekend. I am delighted to post an interview that I have conducted with fellow author, Joseph. A Pinto. Joseph focuses on the horror genre and I have connected with him all the way from New Jersey!

As well as being a quality author and poet, Joseph gives us an important insight into his support of the Pancreatic Cancer community, so please do read on…

author_head_shot (1)

Biography

Joseph A. Pinto is the horror author of two published books including the poignant novella Dusk and Summer as well numerous short stories; his most recent works can be found in Midnight Echo magazine and Sirens Call Publications.  He is a member of the Horror Writers Association as well the co-founder of Pen of the Damned, a collective of angst and horror driven writers.  Indulge in his unique voice on his personal blog JosephPinto. com and PenofTheDamned.com.  Join his pancreatic cancer advocacy efforts at ‘Purple Hope’ (endpancan.com).  You can follow him on Twitter @JosephAPinto.  Joseph hails from New Jersey where he lives with his wife and young daughter.

Interview for Joe Pinto

Martin: Tell me a bit about your writing to date including any genre specifics.

Hi Martin!  I primarily write in the horror genre.  Horror means different things to different people; I tend to focus on the darker side of my characters while layering my plots with a direction and twist the reader may not expect.  I generally stay clear of narrations that rely on ‘blood and guts’ to make an impact.

Although my passion to become an author has burned within me since I was a little boy, the actual pursuit of it came about late in my life.  I’m forty-four now, but it wasn’t until ten years ago that I finally had the opportunity to take the initial steps.  I feel the past three years have really seen me grow and mature as a writer as I’ve prepared myself for the next level of things to come.

To date, two of my books have been published as well as multiple short stories.  My most recent book Dusk and Summer, published by Sirens Call Publications, ironically enough falls in the contemporary fantasy genre – my only work outside the horror realm.  It also stands as my proudest bit of writing.

I also enjoy writing poetry, often exploring and expressing the more painful aspects of life.

Martin: As well as writing I notice that you are very involved with something called Purple Hope. Could you tell us a bit more about that, Joe?

Purple Hope is a blog I started along with editor and co-owner of Sirens Call Publications, Nina D’Arcangela, in November 2014 to provide information, support and awareness for the pancreatic cancer community at large.

It all came about with the release of my book Dusk and Summer.  I wrote Dusk and Summer seven years ago in tribute to my father after he lost his courageous fifteen-month battle with pancreatic cancer.  My intent was to honor my father’s fight, as well as a way in which to deal with my own grief, which was overwhelming in the months following his death.  I incorporated my father’s love for the sea and wrote a fictitious story – not a biography, mind you – about a man who must find a way to bring his dying father’s soul to rest beneath the ocean’s waves.

I originally self-published Dusk and Summer back in 2008.  Years passed, and I went on to meet Nina, who has become an extremely respected role model in my life.  She read my book and loved it, and my book’s publishing journey came full circle from that point on.

Perhaps most importantly, I donate half of all my book’s proceeds to the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research here in the United States.

The culmination of Dusk and Summer‘s publication seemed a good way to take my advocacy efforts in creating awareness about pancreatic cancer a step further.  Hence, Purple Hope was launched.  I thought if I could share my story, then why not encourage others to share their own?  I’m hoping Purple Hope will catch on as a means for others to share their memories and their hopes while venting their pain.  I also share any news and relevant information I find involving pancreatic cancer on Purple Hope as well.

Martin: Your book covers are great, who designed them?

Thank youThe cover for Dusk and Summer is an actual photograph shot by Nina D’Arcangela.  Her talent and enthusiasm are endless!  Nina came up with the vision of a live beach shot, incorporating my actual silhouette into the cover.  She believed it would lend a wonderful personal touch – the feel of experiencing my book as opposed to just reading.  We scoured the beach for hours, searching for just the right spot.  Finally, Nina nailed the money shot; it was among one of the very last photos taken that day.

Ironically, the location of our photo shoot – Long Branch, New Jersey – was struck by Hurricane Sandy not long thereafter.  The entire Jersey shore still struggles in its bid to recover to this day.

Martin: I notice that you also write poetry. What turned you on to that?

I primarily write poetry to keep my creative juices flowing, so to speak.  I express myself through a free verse medium and as I mentioned earlier, I gravitate toward the conveyance of heartache, angst and pain.

My exception is when writing about my young daughter.  That’s when the soft, sensitive side of me comes out.

Martin: What projects are you working on at the moment?

Well Martin, I’m currently writing a new horror novel.  I don’t usually give much away on current works, but I’ll share this: it involves events after Hurricane Sandy ripped apart the Jersey shore – the storm seems to have dredged something mysterious from the depths.  It will explore the possibility of a strange entity invading our world while examining the monster within my main character.  I’m having fun with it, and it won’t be along the lines of anything anyone has read before, I can assure you that.

Martin: Do you experience any challenges when writing?

I think the greatest challenge I experience when writing is overcoming the seed of self-doubt.  Facing a blank page is a daunting task for any writer.  I trick myself into believing that it’s not so much a blank page but an open road; I’m free to explore any route I choose.  And so I do.  I don’t structure or outline a story prior to writing.  I’ll run with an idea, then have at it on my keyboard.  The discovery of one’s own work during the actual process of creation is a feeling like no other.

Martin: Do any authors inspire you?

Authors inspire me as a whole.  It’s a ‘we’re all in this together’ kind of feeling.  Authors need to be read, their voices heard.  So the inspiration I find is in seeing the determination and in feeling the passion a writer possesses.  It turns an ‘I can’t’ into an ‘I can.’

Martin: Does anyone outside of the writing world inspire you?

Outside the writing world, my daughter inspires me most.  She’s gone through some tribulations during her first six years of life and still they continue, yet her smile, her love and her spirit are infectious.  She’s my inspiration to push and grind on so that what I might achieve today may provide for her tomorrow.

Martin: I was once asked in an interview if I preferred The Beatles or The Monkees? How about you? Also do you like music and does that ever inspire your work?

How ironic Martin, the Beatles happen to be one of my favorite bands!  I love all their work, so my answer is an easy one – of course, the Beatles.  Although I do remember watching the Monkees when I was a kid (how I loved that hot rod of theirs!)

Music inspires my work greatly.  What I listen to depends on the piece I’m writing, or an actual scene.  Some of my best writing is done while I’m singing along to a tune – I kid you not!  Lyrics don’t distract me, but if someone should try to speak to me while in the middle of a writing session, it most definitely throws me out of my zone.  Go figure! I have very eclectic taste in music, with the exception of country and rap.

Martin: In the UK we are a bit of a soccer mad nation. Do you like soccer or any other sports?

My favorite sport is American football, and I am a die hard New Orleans Saints fan.  Since I was born and raised in New Jersey, it might seem odd to some.  But the Saints and the city have my heart.  I’ve been rabidly cheering on my team since I was a kid.

Martin: What angers you/makes you cry?

The overall state of our world makes me angry – so much violence, upheaval, and distrust.

Watching my daughter just be herself often makes me shed a happy tear.

Martin: What makes you laugh?

Okay, I’m going to share a guilty pleasure with you, Martin – I find humor in people tripping, and I might seriously wet myself if someone fell in front of me.  Of course, I’d help them up and make sure they weren’t injured – I’m not cruel, but I’d still be laughing!

Also, I don’t take myself too seriously, so I often find humor in the things I do and say.

Martin: Do you have a favourite quote?

I have two favorite quotes.  The first is ‘win the day.’  That’s my mantra upon waking.

The second is ‘never drop the ball.’  It’s the personal rally cry my father and I used as he battled pancreatic cancer.  ‘Never Drop The Ball’ is now tattooed atop my hand as a constant reminder.

Martin: Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

Yes, Martin, there is.  For any of your readers who are fans of horror fiction, I’d like to throw a quick plug in for Pen of the Damned.  Nina D’Arcangela and I started Pen of the Damned in 2012.  Each Tuesday, we, along with eight other wonderful authors from around the globe, take turns sharing free horror fiction for readers.  The stories and prose are always 2,500 words or less, ensuring for quick, impactful reads.  It’s been steadily gaining in popularity and something Nina and I are quite proud of.

And if I may share one more thing, it’s to ask readers to invest a little bit of time and a whole lot of emotion into reading my book Dusk and Summer.  Even if you aren’t an advocate for pancreatic cancer awareness, it’s a story that will suspend your belief about things you think you know about life and death.

Does Heaven await beneath the waves? One man needs to know.

When his dying father whispers a cryptic message to him, he has no choice but to summon his courage and begin the quest of a lifetime. It’s a race against time to realize his father’s wish and fulfill his own destiny; it’s a discovery of the unbreakable bond between father and son. It’s a journey of the heart that unfolds where only the Chosen exist – in the moments between Dusk and Summer.

“A poignant, metaphoric conversation between son and father. A story that will warm your heart.”
–Yvonne S. Thornton, M.D., bestselling author of The Ditchdigger’s Daughters

The author will be donating a portion of the proceeds from this book to the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research.

Dusk and Summer is available at:

Amazon: US |UK | Canada | Australia | Germany | France | Spain | Italy | Japan | Mexico | India | Brazil
CreateSpace | Smashwords
Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes (Apple)

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A big thank you to John and Lynn Chapman for the review. Glad you like my writing 🙂

Beneath The Floodlights by Martin Tracey. This brilliant book had me gripped from the very start. Voluptuous vampires lured me into their lascivious land, from which I had no desire to escape. This is supernatural writing at its most superb. Martin Tracey is a wonderfully talented writer who blends genres with great imagination and panache. Can’t wait for his next book, Mind Guerrilla

http://www.amazon.co.uk/review/R1AFTHQQ8SOPHP/ref=cm_cr_dp_title?ie=UTF8&ASIN=1456781839&channel=detail-glance&nodeID=266239&store=books

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So I was watching the Voice UK this Valentine’s evening, and was mystified when the judges didn’t turn for Keedie Green’s fantastic interpretation of David Guetta featuring Sia”s Titanium.

Now where am I going with this you may well ask, and how the hell am I linking a televised singing contest to my blog which is primarily about writing books? Well stay with me as that in itself is what the point of this post is all about – the unlikely marrying of two worlds.

When the four judges eventually turned in unison to explain why they hadn’t turned during what was an exceptional performance by Keedie, Will.i.am offered some words that unexpectedly connected with me and helped me make sense of my unorthodox approach to writing.

I’ve slightly beat myself up over recent times, and questioned myself regarding my methods of putting all types of subjects into the mixing pot of my novels at the same time.

Is it simply a confusing approach for the reader? I’ve often asked myself.

But then I usually go on to think about the layers of plots in Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction for instance, and convince myself that attempting to keep the viewer, or in my case the reader, guessing and interested in the twists and turns of the story is the right thing to do. Besides, I have come to understand that actually, that is how I am simply wired – to mix things up a bit and make bizarre connections, and for me to approach my writing in a much more conventional way would actually be quite difficult for me to achieve.

Most of this internal questioning has materialised after reading generic articles designed to help authors in their careers. The advice given is to encourage the author categorically to choose a single genre and to stick with it. It seems for the author to then wander away from that genre would almost be regarded as a cardinal sin! Now I am not doubting this to be good advice for most authors and there are of course countless successful authors out there who are masters in their field. Many of whom I personally enjoy and find inspirational. And let me be clear, I am not setting myself apart from other authors as being anything special either, but the truth is I struggle to approach my writing as a “one glove fits all” type of author. As I  said, I’m simply wired a bit funny!

Now my only published book to date, Beneath the Floodlights has achieved moderate success, and although there are currently not reviews a plenty out there, the ones that have been written are overwhelmingly very positive I’m glad to say. However, there have been rumblings in some circles as to why on Earth I decided to marry the two worlds of soccer and vampires together, as this perhaps made the book difficult to allocate to one specific genre. Beneath the Floodlights can be found in Local Interest sections in Midland’s Waterstone’s shops, but also on the Horror, Sport and Sci-Fi shelves. My writing tends to include supernatural or horror elements I guess, but to pigeon-hole what I write is quite a challenge. Frankly, it doesn’t really bother me, I already feel blessed that my book is simply available for any potential readers.

And that’s where Will.i.am’s words of wisdom come into the equation, though ironically he may never know how he has helped to ease my mind.

So, when Keedie Green faced the agonising prospect of trying to understand why the judges hadn’t turned for her on the Voice UK, Will.i.am explained that Mary J. Blige had once been criticised for marrying two genre’s of music together early in her career, and although Keedie’s approach of marrying pop vocals with operatic vocals was “a little confusing” for the non-judgmental Sir Tom Jones, Will.i.am pointed out that marrying two unlikely worlds together that automatically shouldn’t belong is a cool thing to do and is only attempted by a certain breed of brave person. The kind of which the entertainment world needs in order to keep evolving whether that be music, literature or whatever!

The key is to pick yourself up after the knocks, dust yourself down and use all that rejection to make you stronger and better at what you were born to do!

So I thank you Will.i.am for reassuring me that marrying the worlds of soccer and vampires was an ok thing to do.

This boosts my confidence to realise that when my next book Mind Guerrilla not only brings two worlds together but several, it is the right approach for ME as a writer. It won’t be to everyone’s taste but a writer has to be true to himself or herself.

And if the people who I am eternally grateful to for reading my books ever notice me “playing it safe” you have my sincere permission here and now to hold me to account.

Thanks for reading my blog, I hope you like reading Mind Guerrilla and it’s several plot lines, out later in 2015.

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In this interview I speak about my forthcoming book ‘Mind Guerrilla’ as well as answering some great questions by Fiona…
https://authorsinterviews.wordpress.com/2014/12/31/here-is-my-interview-with-martin-tracey/

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It is my great pleasure to introduce and showcase Dina Santorelli. Dina is a very talented and interesting lady and is the author of Baby Grand  a modern day thriller about kidnap, family ties, loyalty, murder, betrayal, and love. To find out more about Dina and Baby Grand please read on:

Congratulations on publishing BABY GRAND, could you tell me what inspired you to write this novel?

I’ve always been a huge fan of thriller novels. I love the action, the suspense, the pacing. And for some reason I always thought I had it in me to write one. I had the idea for BABY GRAND for a long time, and I decided, gosh, about eight years ago that I was going to go back to college, to Hofstra University, and get my master’s degree and get to work on that first novel. I have many ideas for novels that I’ve accumulated over the years, and I just decided that BABY GRAND would be my first, simply because I knew how it was going to end.

Did you have to do much research for the book, for example visit locations or research particular themes?

I wouldn’t say I did THAT much research. My research for BABY GRAND consisted of googling things when I came to them – such as what a death row visitors’ room might look like – and then using that information, or not using it, to create my own vision. That’s where my journalism background came in handy – knowing how to research things quickly.

However, I did take a road trip to Albany, New York, back in May 2010 so I could get a feel for the city, particularly the governor’s Executive Mansion, which is an important setting for BABY GRAND. But again, I took notes and then maybe used them and maybe didn’t. That’s the fun of writing a novel. You can mix fact and fiction.

I see that you chose to self-publish the novel. Could you tell me how you feel about taking that route?

When I told one of my professors at Hofstra that I had decided to self-publish, she called it a “wise, brave choice.” I kind of agree with that assessment. I took a look at what was happening in publishing and what my experiences had been trying to publish BABY GRAND through traditional channels, and I decided to make a go of it on my own. I tend to be a self-starter, and as a journalist I am familiar with the ins and outs of promotion, and plus I blog and am a big social media user, so thought I could give self-publishing a solid try. And so far I’ve been happy with the results. The book has been extremely well received. As of today, BABY GRAND has 31 five-star reviews on Amazon, and it’s only been out a couple of months.

What do you view as the biggest challenge to being an author?

Marketing, for sure. It’s tough, whether you self-publish or traditionally publish. Getting noticed in a sea of titles. And because it’s so tough, we authors find ourselves constantly thinking about it. You’ll be lying in bed at 3 a.m. and say to yourself, “There’s something I can be doing RIGHT NOW to publicize my novel – a tweet, a blog comment, anything.” And it’s true. You can run yourself down or drive yourself crazy promoting 24/7. And many of us do, because we can, and we can do it inexpensively. Social media, in that respect, is a gift. But it’s important to use social media wisely and effectively, which is something you learn mostly by using it unwisely and ineffectively. Practice makes perfect.

Do you think it is important for a writer to stick to writing in one genre or do you view “variety as being the spice of life”?

I think writers should write whatever is in their heart. Right now, I’m interested in writing thrillers, but who knows? That may change one day.

I see as well as being a successful writer you have also interviewed some very famous people. Are you able to give an insight into this exciting work?

Over the years, as a journalist I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing all kinds of people. Most of the celebrities I’ve interviewed, such as James Gandolfini, Kevin Bacon, Tim McGraw and Larry the Cable Guy, were for articles written for FAMILY and SALUTE magazines, for which I serve as executive editor. Those are always a lot of fun, but I treat those interviews like I would any other. I make sure that I’m prepared, and that I’m respectful, professional, and accurate. In other words, I keep my gushing to a minimum.

And finally, do you have any advice or tips for other authors starting their journey?

Make time to write. It’s so important. I know it’s easy to let other things come first. Our lives are chock full of “important” things, but if you REALLY want to be a writer – I mean, REALLY – you have to put your writing right up there with all those other important things and commit to spending time each and every day developing your craft.

Author bio:

A freelance writer for over 15 years, Dina Santorelli has written for Newsday, First for Women and CNNMoney.com, among other publications. She served as the “with” writer for the well-received Good Girls Don’t Get Fat and most recently contributed to Bully, the companion book to the acclaimed film. Dina is the Executive Editor of Salute and Family magazines for which she has interviewed many celebrities, including James Gandolfini, Tim McGraw, Angela Bassett, Mario Lopez, Gary Sinise and Kevin Bacon. You can follow Dina on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and on her blog. Baby Grand, her first novel, is available on Amazon.

Book synopsis:

In Albany, New York, the governor’s infant daughter disappears without a trace from her crib at the Executive Mansion. Hours later, newly divorced and down-and-out writer Jamie Carter is abducted from the streets of Manhattan. Jamie is whisked upstate, where she is forced by her captor, Don Bailino, a handsome, charismatic ex-war hero/successful businessman, to care for the kidnapped child in a plot to delay the execution of mobster Gino Cataldi – the sixth man to be put to death in six years by hardliner Governor Phillip Grand. What prevails is a modern-day thriller about family ties, loyalty, murder, betrayal, and love that’s told in deftly interweaving narratives that follow the police investigation of the missing Baby Grand, the bad guys who took her, and the woman who found the strength to protect her.

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