Today Elizabeth Ann West, the author of Cancelled, is joining me as the first stop on her blog tour. Elizabeth, thank you so much for joining me!
SB: Tell us a bit about your blog tour. Where are you heading? Anything exciting planned?
EAW: Sadly, my blog tour turned into this amoeba-like mess. 😉 I’m a brand new author, so this will help people coming behind me. I accidentally lowered my own worth. The reality is bloggers and reviewers want authors who will write posts and interviews, but I was thinking the other way around, like “Who is going to want me?” So I said “Yes” to just about every opportunity that came along, and went by their schedule. I had a number of places in October, and I have two places in November. Next time, I will be better at planning it out.
But I also learned writing interviews and guest blogs takes a good deal of time. So, since everything turned all hodge-podge anyway, and as a full-time Mom, part-time writer, I had to prioritize my efforts a little. I backed off of the blog tour and I’m working on two very big promotions with other authors. Trick or Treat for Ebooks starts today, and the book launch of Melissa Foster’s latest book, COME BACK TO ME, starts Nov. 1.
For my next book in the spring, this will be organized in January, and I will absolutely give you the first bite at the Bon Voyage posting!SB: I understand you are doing a Trick or Treat for books that kicks off today as well. Can you tell us a bit about that?
EAW: I published Cancelled September 13th and was looking for ways to plug in with other authors to leverage our respective networks to market. Can you believe just about everywhere I looked wanted beaucoup bucks to do this? So like many times in my life, I just decided to do it myself. LOL.
I managed to get 17 authors to sign up and offer everything from coupons to sale prices to free books! Yeah! Readers can visit http://ebookpromotions.blogspot.com and there is a list of disguised links at the bottom. By clicking the links, the reader moves from offer to offer in a virtual Trick or Treat! The promotion is running Oct.24 through the witching hour of Oct. 31! SB: Am I correct that Cancelled is your debut novel?
EAW: It is! I’ve written non-fiction articles since 2007, and in 2010 my husband asked me why I didn’t write novels? Well. I erroneously thought it would be pretty easy to make the switch. HA! I was very, very wrong. I was so bad at first that I was rejected from a fan fiction site. Twice! But finally, the beta reader there took pity on me and pointed out what I was doing wrong (tenses, oh my goodness, I was making huge mistakes in swapping tenses and didn’t even realize it was wrong).
I wrote ten chapters of fan fiction, poured over every fiction writing book I could get my hands on and in January 2011 pledged to myself I was GOING to write a novel this year. My schedule was to finish by November and submit to an agent. Once I learned more about the new world of indie publishing and the time and royalty schedules of traditional publishing, I quickly realized my skills and previous writing experience fit the indie world best. SB: Can you tell us a bit about it?
EAW: CANCELLED tells the story of a modern romance from a male POV. It was an absolute blast to write. Johnathan Michaels is a robotics engineer with a mostly successful life. He has some demons in his past he feels he has overcome, and turning 27, decides to settle down. And no one is more perfect to him than his business partner, Alexis Rodriguez. She’s smart, one of his best friends, and beautiful. The two of them bond over saving their company’s first multi-million dollar account and the years of friendship accelerate the relationship accordingly. Too bad that one last night of revelry for his birthday comes back to bite him. The woman he slept with returns his shirt. Pregnant. And it’s his. There’s family drama, work drama, and love-life troubles all from Johnathan’s perspective. And I promise, at one point, a robot DOES try to eat the intern. 🙂 The book is currently on sale for $.99 on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords.SB: What are you working on now?
EAW: I am wrangling with the outline of my next book, working title PAST DUE. The story is about Jill Richards, a physical therapist with an $80,000 debt problem. Making all of the common middle class entitlement financial mistakes, she estranges her family and finds out through her second job as a medical investigator that the man she is dating is a fraud. I say wrangling because what I imagined as a quirky romantic comedy is coming off very serious, but the outline for CANCELLED did the same thing. I hope to start writing Nov. 1 with a publication date in the spring.SB: What is your ideal writing environment?
EAW: I don’t really have one. This is awful, but my writing moods change so drastically, at times it’s a quiet room like our office, other times it’s blaring Slipknot and Skillet in headphones sitting on my couch with my children bouncing around. I’m in Muse Therapy with author D.D. Scott at the moment to figure all of this out. 🙂SB: How about what your writing environment is really like? 🙂
EAW: Anytime and anywhere. I have days where I’m a writing junkie and must #wordmongering all day (that’s a Twitter hashtag where writer meet at the top of every hour and write for 30 minutes and share word counts). Then, I have days where the idea of writing anything sounds like such a chore! On those days, I sometimes push to write a few words, most of the time I let it go. I have six or seven composition notebooks floating around the house with titles like Writing Journal, Editing, Marketing, Must Get Done, etc. More than half of them have at least some crayon scribbling in them, courtesy of my two-year-old “helping Mommy.” Once in a blue moon I drag my darling Toshiba netbook to a cafe and write, but my social nature tends to derail those efforts. Except paper editing, that I enjoy working on at a cafe.SB: What are some of your favorite non-writing activities?
EAW: Video games. I LOVE video games. I also enjoy reading Pride and Prejudice fan fiction. And golf. I love to play golf. For a complete newbie, I’m not too terrible. Golf is a wonderful sport. You can have a horrible score overall, but that one hole you go on the green in two shots, or made a bogey? That makes up for the entire day of frustration. Plus I feel like Katherine Hepburn when I get all dressed up with my golf shoes.SB: Do you have a favorite book or author?
EAW: I go through phases, so I always have a favorite of the moment. Right now I’m really digging Gail Carriger’s steampunk/paranormal series. I am a very quick reader, and usually devour anything I’m reading in one sitting. Yes, even longer tomes. That’s had to change a little now that I’m a Mom, but for the most part, I don’t stop until I finish. I probably read between one and two books per week. I enjoy lighter reads the most, like chick-lit and a few YA titles. I also like inspirational romances, and historical fiction. I can’t really read thrillers or horror, I have terrible night terrors. I don’t even watch scary movies!
Now that I’m writing fiction, I can more easily recognize the phenomenon I noticed as a reader that turned me off: group think. It’s like if one book in a genre does well, suddenly the next dozen or so books MUST have the same elements. For smaller genres, like chick-lit, it has nearly killed the appeal for me. I enjoy chick lit NOT because it took place in NYC, or because the character had killer style, or worked in publishing/advertising/event planning. I enjoyed it because it was funny and made light of parts of my life as a modern woman. I didn’t learn until I was a writer that publishers and agents would tell writers to rewrite books to be more like “X, Y, Z.” Wow. Talk about an eye-opener as a reader! SB: Of course, I couldn’t end this interview without asking about Disney. 🙂 You and I both participated in the Walt Disney World college program, although a few years apart. Can you tell us a favorite story about your time there?EAW: I have two. The first is about actually working for the Mouse, the second about the men and women I worked with. 😉 What most people do not know is that as a Disney cast member, you are allowed to make magic. Yep. Are there negative aspects about working at the happiest place on earth? Sure, but I don’t dwell on them. I’m a firm Disney Kool-Aid drinker.
Working as a merchantainer in Tomorrowland, I talked to my managers and the head guy himself and had Mickey Mouse sign an autograph book for me in the front. I asked Mickey if I could collect autographs for him from the children who visited my stands. I would wait for the children to be mesmerized by my toys for sale, and discreetly ask the parent for the child’s name and where they are from. Then I would tap the kid on the shoulder. “Excuse me, are you Sarah, from Kentucky?” Immediately, child looks to Mom or Dad and gets a nod so she tells me “Yes.” I whip out the autograph book and say “Mickey Mouse told me you’d visit me today. See everyone asks Mickey for his autograph, but he can’t get theirs at the same time. That’s where I come in. I collect autographs for Mickey Mouse.” I had kids that signed my book on a Monday or Tuesday, and then revisit the next day with their older bother or sister, proud to point out “This is the lady who collects autographs for Mickey Mouse. You HAVE to sign.” Kids drew me pictures. Children wrote sentences and thanked Mickey for a “wondrfull vacashun.” Best part? At the end of my time, Mickey let me keep the autograph book. 🙂
Now what’s working at Disneyworld for a summer without a summer romance? I had a couple, but for a short time I dated a 6 foot 7 inch man from Norway named Vidar. One of the best parts of the college program is hanging out with the young people from other countries. I learned new words and phrases and especially cultural differences. Once a week, we’d all go out to Pleasure Island for cast member night. I was ready and over at the Commons waiting for my boyfriend Vidar and his roommate to shower and get dressed. It was finally Vidar’s turn to get cleaned up and his roommate, Massimo, comes out in nothing but a white towel. Now Massimo was about 5’6” but a beautifully bronzed Mediterranean god. If he wasn’t in his mid-twenties at the time, I probably would have vied more for his attention, but at the time, he was more like a good, older guy friend. So there I was, 19, with limited guy experience, and ogling a man in a towel.
Of course Massimo paid me no attention. He went straight to the answering machine and a shrill voice started with “Ciao, Massimo” and continued in Italian I couldn’t follow. Massimo turns around, startles a bit seeing me on the couch, but smiles a mega-watt grin. Then he frowns. “Ugh, I have no passion for that woman.” And he points at the answering machine.
“You don’t like her?” I was confused, because I thought they were his friends that were joining us tonight.
He is confused by my question. “Yes, I like her. But no passion. No passion!” And he’s emphasizing with his hands.
“Massimo, no passion is no romance.” He looks at me blankly, so I pull out my crappy Italian vocabulary. “No love. No amore.”
He rubs his chin and finally finds a new way in English to explain. “I can, how you say, not wait for her?”
Now I’m laughing hysterically because I get what he means. Between gasps, I make it to the white board they used to help with language barriers and wrote the word he wanted on it. “No patience, Massimo. You have no patience.” And that’s how I became known as the girl who explained all things American to the international students. But I always had a great time on Wednesday nights at PI!
SB: That’s great! I love stories of “Disney Magic” (Yes, I drank the Disney Kool-aid, too). Thanks so much for joining us today, Elizabeth!
EAW: And a huge thank you for having me, Susi. It means so much to me that you would host me and my book twice! I really applaud the men and women who host reviews and interviews for readers, because it IS a lot of work and you don’t get nearly enough credit for it!
Elizabeth Ann West is a Jane-of-all-trades, mistress to none. After spending three years selling her non-fiction articles to websites and marketing firms, she is finally making the jump to fiction writing. Before choosing a career in writing, she made magic at the Walt Disney World Resort and performed as a Quality Technician for Alcoa. Armed with a B.A. in Political Science of all things, writing fiction is her next mountain to conquer. Originally from Virginia Beach, VA, her family now moves wherever the Navy sends them. Currently, the Navy needs her family in Connecticut.To contact Elizabeth, please visit her reader site: http://eawestwriting.com