Tag Archives: Q&A

Q&A with Revital Shiri-Horowitz

Revital Shiri-Horowitz’s novel “Daughters of Iraq” explores a story of generations in a Jewish family living in Iraq. We talk about the origins of the story, the transition from living in Israel to the United States, and the process of translating a novel into a second language.

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Q&A with Tony Eldridge

 Tony Eldridge is probably best known as an authority on Twitter for authors, but he’s also written “The Samson Effect,” an action-adventure novel that’s been a mainstay on the religious fiction charts. Read on to learn how he got Clive Cussler to endorse his novel and how to use Twitter to find new readers.

ALEX: Have you always had an interest in Biblical archaeology, or did you fall the for storyline and then decided to do the research?

TONY: I’ve always been interested in the stories of the Old Testament. Few authors have been able to create the drama, the intrigue and the adventure found in it. From the great flood, to a divided kingdom, you have stories of giant slaying, kingdom subduing, angels destroying vast armies, and the list goes on and on. It was a natural thing for me to look there to find fertile ground for my fiction. That and similar stories like the Indiana Jones series and the Dan Brown books, both of which have tied in biblical mysteries into their plot, have been some of my favorite genres.

ALEX: Anytime religion is involved in a storyline, readers like to find metaphors — whether the author intended them or not. I’m sure your readers have found some interesting ones.

TONY: Alex, you’re so right. What’s interesting is that some of these metaphors can compete with each other and the people who develop them can get very defensive of their metaphor. To me, I love it when authors sit back and let readers argue for how they interpret the message in the book. Once an author weighs in on the discussion, I think it often loses some of that special spark that brings the story alive and gives it life beyond what the author created. For The Samson Effect, I’ve not seen that kind of discussion center around the book, though I have heard people continue the fiction far beyond what I have written. It’s interesting and entertaining to discuss how readers start to reinterpret the biblical stories using your fiction as the basis.

ALEX: Okay, Tony. The question that’s been burning a hole in my pocket — how the heck did you get an endorsement from Clive Cussler?

TONY: Luck and incredible kindness on the part of my favorite writer (yes, he was my favorite writer before he gave me the endorsement). I was fortunate enough to speak with his son, Dirk, and asked him if his father would be willing to provide me a cover quote. Dirk said to send it to him and he would make sure his father saw it. I remember him stressing that there was no promise that Clive would read it, but that’s he’d have a chance. I over-nighted the manuscript and a few weeks later, I received a hand written letter from Cussler himself with the quote I pulled for the cover of the book. After carrying it with me for a week to show people, my wife made me carry around a photocopy and put the original in a frame. I read it anytime I need encouragement.

ALEX: Perhaps an even better story than the Cussler endorsement is how your book had its film rights optioned by … yourself. Explain.

TONY: That’s an interesting story. Shortly after publishing The Samson Effect, I got an e-mail from someone who said he was a Hollywood film producer and was interested in reading a chapter of my book. He said that his name was Tony Eldridge and was prompted to research my book when he started to receive congratulatory messages about the release of his first book. After a few e-mails, he and his partners acquired the rights to the book. I just talked to him a couple of weeks ago and he is still excited about the project, but his attention is focused on another project that just got the green light. He’s bringing a film adaptation of the 1980’s CBS series, The Equalizer, to the silver screen. I can’t wait to see my name on the credits, even if I’m not the Tony Eldridge they are referring to 🙂

For more information on how the Producer Tony Eldridge discovered my book, here is a link to the press release he wrote about it:

ALEX: Are there other novels are in the works?

TONY: I just released a mystery/thriller called, The Lottery Ticket, via ebook format only. I’m also working on the sequel to The Samson Effect where I’m bringing back the three main characters for a new, more global adventure. This time, the object of their quest pits the most powerful countries on earth against each other with the winner emerging as the lone superpower. While I’m not prepared to divulge the subject of the sequel yet, I can tell you that it’s one of the oldest and most sought-after biblical treasures in antiquity.

ALEX: But I know the location of the Ark, Tony. It’s in that giant government warehouse outside Washington, D.C.

TONY: There goes all the work I’ve been putting into the sequel! Seriously, most people think that one of the books in the series will center on the Ark, but as of now, that’s not a plot I’m planning on developing. It’s been done in every conceivable way and I’ve decided not to go there, though I always reserve the right to change my mind anytime.

ALEX: What’s more valuable to an author when it comes to marketing — their blog, Twitter or Facebook? (And no, you can’t say they’re all equally important.)

TONY: Personally, if I could only have one of those three, I’d choose the blog. It’s the most customization and the one you can have the most control over. And depending on how you create your blog, you don’t have to worry about the site changing its terms of service on you and throwing your whole marketing plan in chaos. Still, if I had to get rid of Twitter and Facebook, my overall marketing platform would suffer.

ALEX: Let’s talk about Twitter. One thing that a some authors fail to grasp is that (1) your Twitter handle needs to be your name and that (2) you need to make the most of your Twitter profile.

TONY: I agree with your number one assertion wholeheartedly. If you’re going to be an author of multiple books, you want a unifying twitter handle for them all and nothing is better than your name. In almost all cases, an author will want themselves to be the brand, not the book(s). Also, if people want to find you on Twitter, your name is the easiest way for them to do that. Finally, you want to minimize someone else running with your name as their Twitter handle if at all possible. The more hurdles you put between you and your potential readers, the less effective your social media marketing would be.

I think a lot of people underutilize their Twitter profile. It falls into the category of using this tool to make it easy for people to find you. For me, a good head shot (not a book cover) is the most effective use of a Twitter profile, along with a description that nails who you are and a link where they can go to find out more about you.

ALEX: How soft does the “soft sell” need to be on Twitter? How often do you Tweet your books versus links to blog posts or retweets?

TONY: In my experience, Twitter is valuable when you contribute to a greater community. There are a lot of ways you can do that. You can tweet links to great resources (which is what I do over 95% of the time), or you can actively engage in Twitter conversations by asking/answering questions, or you can refer great experts to people who are looking for them.

People will tolerate a certain level of “self-promotion” as long as that’s not all they hear from you. For me, I tweet about my books between 1 to 2 percent of all tweets. The vast majority of tweets I send point to online resources, including blog topics written by myself and other experts.

ALEX: Are there different strategies for a Twitter follower who’s following 200 other accounts versus someone who is following 1,000 accounts … or 10,000?

TONY: Alex, that’s a great question. Obviously, the smaller the number of followers, the easier it is to stay on top of their tweets. When you start to get thousands and tens of thousands of followers, it’s impossible to communicate personally with each of them. Then you have to adopt a strategy to try and stay tuned to people to are standing in the crowd trying to get your attention.

I wrote a post for BookBuzzr called How To Keep Up With The People You Follow On Twitter that tried to address the question that you asked on how to manage twitter followers of various sizes. I also wrote a post on my blog called Can Twitter Really Help You Sell Books? in response to a reader who didn’t understand how a large Twitter account could be used effectively as part of your marketing plan. Both of these posts go into more detail in answering your question. But the bottom line for me is that Twitter can be a great tool for finding new readers for your book.


Tony’s blog, Book Marketing Strategies and Tips for Authors

Tony’s books at Amazon.com


New York Times bestselling romantic suspense novelist Victorine Lieske

Christian fiction author Paula Wiseman

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If you would like to learn more about my upcoming novella, you can read here about “Signs and Wonders.”

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Q&A with NYT bestseller Victorine Lieske

Every author slaving away on their first novel needs to know the story of Victorine Lieske. She wrote the rough draft of “Not What She Seems” in a week back in 2006 when she was letting her back heal. She took four years to refine it before publishing in April 2010. Sales of the romantic suspense novel were solid but not great for the first six months — 1,300 copies. What happened next? You’ll have to read my interview with her.

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Q&A with Paula Wiseman

Paula Wiseman worked as a research chemist for several years before staying at home to raise her three children. She published a number of essays in the popular Cup of Comfort devotional books before deciding to try her hand at writing a novel in 2005. “Contingency” was released last December by Mindstir Media and was followed up by “Indemnity” in April.

ALEX: You write stories about “real-world faith,” or what I call “faith with flaws.” Both of your novels deal with infidelity and its impact on faith and marriage. What reaction have you gotten from readers?

PAULA: The reaction has been tremendous, very gratifying. People really connect and identify with Chuck and Bobbi, even if infidelity hasn’t touched their lives.

ALEX: I find it refreshing that more Christian fiction authors are embracing flawed characters. The characters feel more authentic — they’re people who could be your neighbor or colleague at work.

PAULA: Exactly. That’s what I hoped to accomplish. I wanted the characters to be genuine, to ask hard questions, to wrestle with God over the answers. Plus, Bobbi is a mom and schoolteacher, a real “Everywoman” type.

ALEX: Do you think the spiritual aspects of your novels resonate more strongly with your readers because they can relate to the characters and their problems?

PAULA: We’ve all been thrown into to situations where our faith has been challenged, a “put up or shut up” moment. The situation in “Contingency” prompts a reader to consider how he or she would react if betrayed or if God called him or her to trust Him beyond the boundaries of experience. Would you take that step? Could you?

ALEX: Most of us don’t have children outside of our marriage (“Indemnity”), but I think we can relate to what Jimmy Carter famously described as “committing adultery in his heart” involving someone who was not his spouse. We’re all human beings, after all.

PAULA: Sure, and Chuck didn’t just decide to commit adultery in that moment. In the background of “Contingency,” we trace a little of his history. He had been headed down that road for years. He never realized the danger and never took any precautions against it.

ALEX: Forgiveness is obviously an important facet of any story involving betrayal. Were there particular stories in the Scripture or in real life that you incorporated into your writing?

PAULA: The story of Hosea figured into Bobbi’s final decision to reconcile. If you’re not familiar with the story, Hosea marries the woman God tells him to marry and then she leaves him for a life of prostitution, even bearing children out of wedlock. Biblically the book is a picture of God receiving Israel again after her unfaithfulness, but for Bobbi the challenge is to love like God loves. Bobbi also latched on to Psalm 142 and Chuck looked on Psalm 37 for guidance on becoming the man he needed to be.

ALEX: The muse has a reputation for being fickle with writers. I know some who get up in the middle of the night if that’s when inspiration hits them. With three kids how do you balance mom duties and making progress on your novels?

PAULA: I do a lot of plotting and planning — head work — away from the computer, so when I do sit down to write I can maximize the time. My usual writing time is 1 to 2:30 and my kids (when they are home) are respectful of that. I also have a great friend, almost co-author, who helps me bat ideas around and beat the plot into submission.

ALEX: What’s next? Are we going to see more stories like “Indemnity” or are you interested in going in a different direction?

PAULA: Next is Book 3 — “Precedent,” which tackles the idea of the long-term consequences of sin. Set 12 years after “Indemnity,” a tragedy causes Chuck’s family to unravel. He struggles with how much blames he bears for it. Are the sins of the fathers truly visited on the children? Plus, many of the threads from the earlier books are woven through.

You can connect with her on Facebook.
Her website is www.paulawiseman.com.

“Contingency” and “Indemnity” are available in paperback, audio and e-book formats from Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords. “Precedent” is set to release late fall 2011.

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Alex Adena’s upcoming novella “Signs and Wonders” will publish in August.
You can get a free copy by signing up now at Library Thing.

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