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Author Interview with Nonieqa Ramos~Author of The Disturbed Girl’s Dictionary

What’s up guys!? Today I am hosting an interview with author of The Disturbed Girl’s Dictionary, Nonieqa Ramos! I just LOVED this book and it was relatable in so many ways! Heck Yes to all the Macy’s of the World! You can find my review of The Disturbed Girl’s Dictionary here. I hope everyone has a badass weekend and I hope to catch up on everyone’s blog soon. I have been having a killer case of vertigo this last week so it’s been difficult to read everyone’s posts but you guys are the shizit! So enough about me let’s learn more about this author and this book!

Macy’s school officially classifies her as “disturbed,” but Macy isn’t interested in how others define her. She’s got more pressing problems: her mom can’t move off the couch, her dad’s in prison, her brother’s been kidnapped by Child Protective Services, and now her best friend isn’t speaking to her. Writing in a dictionary format, Macy explains the world in her own terms—complete with gritty characters and outrageous endeavors. With an honesty that’s both hilarious and fearsome, slowly Macy reveals why she acts out, why she can’t tell her incarcerated father that her mom’s cheating on him, and why her best friend needs protection . . . the kind of protection that involves Macy’s machete.

Will you please tell us a little bit about yourself?
Sure! I’m betrothed to my soulmate and have two lovely beasties, Margot and Langston. I’m a Latinx writer of picture books (stay tuned!) and YA, an educator of about fourteen years specializing in the Macys of the world, and a breast cancer
survivor frustrated that my hair will only grow up and out but not down. Actually, I am a survivor of many things.
Can you tell us about your new novel, The Disturbed Girl’s Dictionary?
My novel is about fifteen-year-old Macy who has been defined as emotionally disturbed, ADHD, OCD. You name it–she’s got it. Her father’s in jail and expects Macy to spy on her promiscuous mother. Nothing in her life is certain, not food, not
heat, not love. Her true family are her friends George and Alma.
Macy writes the dictionary to take control of her life and define herself.
Macy’s situation at the end of the book is how kids like her walk in the door when they enter the foster care system.
Are the characters in your story based off yourself or anyone else?
Macy is that kid every one wants to give up on. Their anger is ferocious. Toxic. You wish she were absent, but she’s at school every damn day. She is the destroyer of lesson plans. Of plans, in general. She’s also the kid that needs us the most.
The kid who needs us to see the bigger picture. The kind of world that makes little girls like her into tigers.
What inspired you to become an author?
Being an author is in my DNA. I started writing stories in marble composition notebooks wrapped in old Christmas wrapping paper. Writing has always been my refuge, my escape, my catharsis, and now my platform. Right now I’m watching poetry taking
it’s proper place in YA literature–off the bottom and back shelves and on the end caps, and I’m feeling grateful to be writing at the right time. My roots are in poetry.
If you wrote an autobiography, what would the title be?
My title might be The DEFINITION of INSANITY, a novel-in-verse.
Did you take writing classes or are you self taught?
I graduated from the University of Notre Dame with an M.F.A and an M.ed. That being said, the MFA was one rung on a very long ladder to learning my craft. I’m still climbing. I’m studying authors like Kelly Link and Tomi Adeyemi before I attempt
to write my first fantasy book.
What is the hardest part of writing?
To be honest, the waiting is the hardest part. I’m brimming over with ideas, but I need a thirty hour day. I have to wait to have the energy and time to write because I work full-time. I have to wait to get responses about projects because glaciers
move faster than the publishing world.
What are your hobbies?
I love making our house into a sort of Jumanjiesque museum and filling it with plants, cats, dolls, books, candles, records, and art from our favorite magazine Hi Fructose.
What is your favorite book? I know this can be a difficult question for readers.
As a reader, my favorite childhood books were Edith Hamilton’s GREEK MYTHOLOGY. JANE EYRE, LITTLE WOMEN, LITTLE HOUSE on the PRAIRIE, WHERE the SIDEWALK ENDS, and NANCY DREW. As a reader and writer, I am forever indebted to Gabriel Garcia-Marquez
and Pablo Neruda. My big recommends for YA debut reads right now are Kiersi Birkhart’s HONOR CODE and Fred Aceves’ THE CLOSEST I’VE COME.

*~Author Interview With Annie Woods~*


Author Interview

Hello there, lovelies!!!!😍 Today I am sharing with you my interview with Annie Woods! Annie Woods is the author of First Come Forever which is the first installment in the Angelheart series! I met Annie last year and was thrilled to read her book and LOVED it! You can find my review here. Not only was her book fantastic, she is a kind and supportive author. Annie gets involved with her readers, posts her own book reviews and goes the extra mile by featuring her reviewers and other special book enthusiasts on her website. You can find my Sunday Spotlight post I made about it here. Annie has been an inspiration to me and turned out to be a great friend!😍 Now let’s get to part where we learn more about Annie and First Came Forever!📝💖🌠


About the Book
wp-1521050094537.jpgFirst love. A promise of forever. A lie that changes everything.

Backpacking with her high school friends, Erica Lindell’s life takes a thrilling new turn. Meeting the fascinating Sasha Ailes, she can’t help but fall completely and irrevocably in love with him. When he feels the same way about her, Erica finds herself drawn into a fairytale love story that will set her life on a new direction. But Sasha has kept his true identity a secret. Finding out who he really is, Erica must overcome the betrayal and make the hardest choice of her life. Can she give up her own dreams to live in his world, or leave and lose him forever?

First Came Forever is an enchanting, heart-wrenching story about finding true love and the devastating consequences it can lead to. What price is too high to pay, even for love?

Where to Buy It


Questions-and-AnswersWill you please tell us a little bit about yourself?

I grew up in Stockholm, Sweden, but I’ve spent a lot of time in the USA and UK. Currently I am partly living in the US, dividing my time between Stockholm and New York.

Reading has always been a big part of my life, I love to read and travel through books! My favorite genre is definitely YA, both contemporary and fantasy.

Other things I love are Italian food, champagne and, embarrassingly enough, Cosmopolitan drinks (yes very 1990s and Sex-And-The-City-ish, I know…)

I’m also kind of always freezing (you know, always wearing twice as much clothes as anyone else…), so I love the sun and being in warm countries. Funny, considering that I live in cold Sweden most of the time and in NY during winter, which is also as far from warm as you can get… My favorite thing is when it’s warm enough to lie under a sunshade (preferably in a hammock under a large tree) reading books without being cold. I love the feeling of being outdoor and healthy, when in reality you’re just lying still and reading…

Another “fun fact” about me is that I am super clumsy. I always drop things and spill food and drinks on my clothes. It even happens that I walk into walls, missing the door opening…

What are your hobbies?

Besides books I also love music, theatre, dance, art and movies; anything that brings magic to your life, really. And I love to run, so I’m spending quite a lot of time with my running shoes on.

I also love traveling with my family and experiencing the world together and doing outdoor activities, like hiking, surfing or skiing. On the top of my bucket list I have walking the Inca trail to Machu Picchu, climbing the Kilimanjaro, exploring the Great Wall and seeing the cherry blossom in Tokyo. I hope to be able to check some of those things off the list soon. (One can always dream, right…?)

Can you tell us about your new novel, First Came Forever?

First Came Forever is my first novel and it means so much to me! It’s the first book in The Angelheart Saga trilogy following 18-year-old Erica Lindell as an unexpected meeting changes her life forever.

It’s a story I’ve been carrying with me for years. The image of Erica and how she moved to US for love came to me on a vacation in California over four years ago. Driving along Highway 1 the plot and the other characters crystalized; how she meets Sasha and falls heads over heels in love with him, but how difficult even such a strong love can be when reality hits with their different worlds and the mixed feelings for Tyler that intrudes Erica’s mind. On the plane back home I started writing this book. Then it was the song Moonlight by Stevie Nicks that gave me the final direction for the book, and the courage to start writing it. When I learned about how the song is a combination of Stevie’s own personal relationship and the love story between Bella and Edward in Twilight it just hit me how to get the story I’ve had in my head for so long together. That it should focus on something both ancient and up to today. So, my book is a love story of the same kind as Bella and Edward’s, but instead of a vampire tale, it’s a conventional kingdom and its old-fashioned rules that forces Erica to decide what is worth giving up for love. I think that First Came Forever is a lot about finding your directions in life. To find out who you are and feel comfortable in your skin. To stay true to yourself and make your own decisions no matter how hard they are.


Are the characters in your story based off yourself or anyone else?

Yes, I have to admit that Erica is very much based off myself. Erica is just a tiny bit (oh, alright, A LOT!) smarter and better looking and with way more integrity. But, just like me, she’s clumsy, a bookworm, too serious for her own good at times, a kind of bad driver, but a great runner finding peace and quiet and respite from all demands out in the woods with her running shoes on.

But Tyler on the other hand was not based off any person, he was just supposed to be this secondary character, the stereotype High School bad boy/jock that was not meant to play such an important role in the story at all. But when I started writing the book that changed completely. Or rather, he worked his magic on me… He really made me so interested and intrigued that I just wrote more and more about him, so in a way Tyler created his own character.

Also, most of the places described in the book are based off my own experiences. I’ve been to all places described myself, and I really love Cambodia and Vietnam, which I hope shows in the book.

There have been so many positive reviews on First Came Forever and everyone I know (including me) loves the story. Did this positive feedback take you by surprise? Were you nervous about the publishing process?

Oh my gosh, I was so nervous! Having your book published is like sending your child off to school for the first time. I’ve been living with the characters in the book for years now, so I actually think about them as real-life-persons, like my children or old friends that I wish the very best for. So it was so devastatingly nervous to have the book published and wait for the readers’ reactions, hoping that they would love Erica, Sasha, Tyler and all the others just as much as I do.

But it’s such an amazing thing to share your story with others, and getting positive feedback is just magic! I love the bookworm community and all the wonderful contacts; I’ve gotten so much love and support and encouragement, it’s just unbelievable! (This is also the reason why I started my “Sunday spotlight”-series on my blog, where I try to share and return some of all that love and support I’ve received by shining some light on an amazing blogger, bookstagrammer or other lovely book community person every Sunday.) And I’ve really found some amazing friends, found some true kindred spirits, like you, Dani! I can honestly say that getting to know you is one of the absolute highlights of having my book published!

How long has it been since you first started writing and created your own stories?

In a way the answer could be “always”, or at least as long as I have been able to write… When I learned to read a whole new world opened up to me. I can still remember the feeling of being blown away. So, reading has always been a big part of my life, and soon (I think already in first or second grade) I started to write my own stories. But I never thought I could be a writer, so I went on to study other things and pursued another career, and never really did a serious attempt to write. I guess I didn’t believe enough in the story or in myself… So First Came Forever is basically the first fiction I’ve written. When this story came to me, I felt that it was so strong that I just couldn’t let it go but had to try and write it down.

Who inspired you to become an author?

I really have to say thanks to my parents for opening up my eyes to the wonderful world of books, by giving me books at an early age and by always coming along to all bookstores I dragged them to. In school I also had some wonderful teachers who encouraged me a lot. And then there was my grandmother who was a painter, but who’d never dared to follow her dream and instead only painted ”for fun” at home, who taught me the importance of being brave enough to pursue your dreams. But I’m a late bloomer, so it took me quite a long time to really do that… I guess that you could say that it was the story itself that inspired me to dare to write it down!

The feeling when I held the first copy of the book in my hand was so overwhelming, I can’t even try to put it into words. I wish so much that I could go back in time and tell the younger me to believe in myself and pursue my dream to write much sooner, not to wait this long to do it.

What is the hardest part of writing?

I think that the hardest thing is to deal with a writer’s block. I’ve had a few of those, but I try not to worry too much about it (easier said than done though…) and allows myself to take a break from writing when I feel a block coming up. Instead I try to get some new inspiration from reading books and watching movies. And I also use running as a way to clear my head and get new inspiration.

Another hard part in writing a sequel, when so many have loved the first book, is that you are afraid to disappoint the readers. It was so much harder writing the second book than the first one, I have really struggled with writer’s blocks and anxiety this time.

Are there any authors that have inspired your love for writing?

Oh, yes, there are so many amazing authors out there! I love YA authors like Rainbow Rowell, Marie Lu, Cassandra Clare, E. Lockhart, contemporary authors like Maggie O’Farrell, Curtis Sittenfield, Nobel prize winners like Toni Morrisson, Nadine Gordimer, Doris Lessing… And an all time favorite is Joyce Carol Oates. I also have to mention Stephenie Meyer, since the Twilight series was the series that really opened up my eyes for the YA genre, even though I’m not sure that I would love the series quite as much if I reread it now.

What is your favorite book? I know this can be a difficult question for readers!

Right now the two books on the top of my mind is The Gentleman’s Guide To Vice And Virtue by Mackenzi Lee and Carry On by Rainbow Rowell; I’m so in love with these books and the characters! But if I have to choose one “life-time” favorite book, it would have to be the Harry Potter series. To me, those books are pure book perfection! The way J.K. Rowling has created a whole universe on her own and all the characters that you love and carry with you in your heart forever. With Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling has also helped so many troubled and lonely children, giving them hope and bringing them joy, it’s utterly amazing. There’s even a research study proving that the Harry Potter books help children to be more accepting of LGBT persons, so the books are literally making the world a better place.

If you could give young writers (who’s dream is to be published) a piece of advice that has anything to do with the writing process, what would that be?

The best advice I can give is to believe in yourself and never give up on your dream! And to just get into the habit of writing, a little bit every day. It’s really the hard work and actually putting the words in your head down on the paper that makes you a writer. Writing down the initial concept is so much fun, then after that it is basically just a lot of hard work… But just keep in mind the story you want to tell, and that you will get to share it with others when the book comes out, and it will be so worth it all!

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*~Author Interview With Misty Mount~*

Hello lovelies!!!😍 Today, I am sharing an interview I conducted with an awesome author, Misty Mount, author of The Shadow Girl!😍📚💜💯 She is such a kind, supportive and talented author that I dream to be like one day! You can find my five star review of her book here. I LOVED her book so much and was thrilled will she agreed to an interview. Before, I even agreed to give my honest review to Reads & Reels Misty went out of her way to give me positive feedback and be kind to everyone in the book community. I wasn’t surprised her novel received so many five stars because of how talented she is and I can’t wait to see what she comes out with next!😍💙💜📚💯 So enough with me jabbing my jaws! Let me share more about Misty!!!😍

Amazon Links: U.S. Amazon Link / U.K. Amazon Link

Misty’s author page You can find Misty on Twitter @MistyAMount

📌Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Sure. I’ll start by saying yes, Misty Mount is my real name. Most people think it’s a pen name or have a laugh about it. 🙂 I’m a wife and mother to a kindergartener and I also have partial guardianship of my sister who has special needs.


📌Can you tell us about your new book, The Shadow Girl?

In short, I’d say it’s a coming-of-age novel focused on a lonely girl who suffers from anxiety and depression. She feels so inconsequential to the world around her that she begins to feel herself physically disappearing. I’d say it’s realistic fiction for the most part, with a large mystery at its core and some fantasy elements blended in.


📌Are any of the characters in The Shadow Girl inspired or based off a real life person/persons?

Yes, definitely. There’s a part of me in each character, but I’m the most like Zylia. Either one of us could be the poster child for social anxiety disorders. Other than her, I didn’t really base any characters specifically on one person; however, I dropped in pieces of my family and friends into the action and dialogue in an effort to make it realistic (and for an inside joke here and there).

📌What are your hobbies and interests?

I’m basically boring. I love to read and write and occasionally draw. I’m into everything geeky, my favorites being Star Trek, Doctor Who, and almost anything superhero related.

📌Do you have a day job or do you write full time?

I would love to have more time to write, but I suppose I’ll have to retire first. In the meantime, I work as a personal care assistant for young adults with special needs.

📌When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

I’ve been writing stories and books since I was five. My mom kept some of my handwritten manuscripts that were stapled or taped together to make “books.” My first actual published book wasn’t until I was fourteen.

📌How did you choose the genre that you write in? Where do you get your ideas?

I’ve always been captivated with mystery stories, and I guess it’s for that reason that all my own books have ended up focusing around a mystery in one way or another. I usually take something I know inside out (like struggling with anxiety, for example), then slap a mystery around it to make an interesting story.

📌Do you work with an outline, or just write?

I always start with an outline where I work out at least a few chapters in advance. Then, I usually get too eager to bring those chapters to life before finishing my outline completely, so I end up going back and forth from the outline to the draft.

📌Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

There are so many books, actually, so I’ve decided to pick one of many to share. I read Harriet the Spy when I was around 10 or 11, and it infected my life to the point that I wanted be Harriet. I started eating tomato sandwiches every day, just like she did in the story. Even though I secretly found them mushy and disgusting, I never once betrayed my love for Harriet by saying so out loud. (Until now. Sorry Harriet.) I also began carrying around a notebook just like her to write about anything and everyone I saw. This lasted for years. Around 14 or 15 years old I finally started to be embarrassed by surreptitiously jotting things in the corner of a room while everyone else wondered what in the world I was doing.

📌What inspired you to become an author?

In kindergarten, my teacher read a story to the class and I was hanging on the edge of my carpet square until the very ridiculous and anticlimactic ending. I was so disappointed by the way the story finished that I couldn’t relax until I had rewritten it at home using my best crayons. I’ve been writing ever since.

📌Can you tell us about your challenges that you have faced with becoming a published author?

I think one of the biggest challenges was opening up my writing for others to see. That was really difficult for me, letting potentially critical eyes rove over what had always before been my private words. Then there were the publishing house rejections that all authors face. Those definitely stung and made me feel like giving up at certain points.

📌What do you enjoy most about writing?

I love escaping into a world that I’ve created and that I can control. I find it incredibly relaxing and fun.

📌If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?

I need a time machine to go back to age fourteen. That’s when I had my first novel published and had a wonderful opportunity placed in front of me. But I was too young to take advantage of what I had. I was incredibly introverted and overly sensitive to criticism, which led me to shrink away from my good fortune and hide in the shadows for two decades.


📌Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?

I’ve written some novellas that I personally feel attached to, but in all honesty, I’ve fully accepted the fact that they are not worthy of being published. 🙂


🌟Thank you so much everyone for viewing my post and big thanks to Misty for doing this interview with me!😍

*Interview With Frank Morelli ~Author of No Sad Songs*

Hello lovelies! I hope everyone is having a fantabulous weekend! Today I wanted to share an interview with you with an author that I became to admire, Frank Morelli. I am currently reading his novel, No Sad Songs, and I am totally fangirling over it! Not only do I love Frank’s writing style, Frank is an interesting and good person. He is always ready to take the extra step for his readers and be more involved in whatever way he can. Frank can also be found on his WordPress site @ I loved the results of this interview and I hope you enjoy learning more about him and his upcoming novel, No Sad Songs. I will start with the synopsis of No Sad Songs and then we will get to learning more about the author behind the book!😍

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgFollowing a family tragedy, eighteen-year-old Gabe LoScuda suddenly finds himself thrust into the role of caregiver for his ailing grandfather.

Between the shopping trips and the doctor visits with Grandpa, Gabe and his friend John try to salvage their senior year, meet girls, and make the varsity baseball team.

It doesn’t take long for Gabe to realize that going to school and looking after a grandfather with Alzheimer’s is more work than he ever imagined. And when long-lost Uncle Nick appears on the scene, Gabe soon finds that living with Nick and Grandpa is like babysitting two grown men.

Aside from John, the only person who truly understands Gabe is Sofia, a punk-rocking rebel he meets at the veteran’s hospital.When these three unlikely friends are faced with a serious dilemma, will they do what it takes to save Grandpa?

If there’s a chance of preserving the final shreds of Grandpa’s dignity, Gabe may have to make the most gut-wrenching decision of his life—and there’s no way out.

Available February 20Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgPre-order Today!

Add on Goodreads No Sad Songs

 Frank Morelli, Author of No Sad Songs

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m from the Philadelphia area originally, but now I live just outside of Greensboro, NC with my best friend/partner in crime/chief critic, Alexandra, and our crazy gang of cats and dogs. We don’t have any children, but we’re passionate about rescuing animals, so the second we bought a house with a big, wooded backyard we adopted lots of pets. At the moment, we have two doggies (Stan and Brooklyn) and two cats (Jackie and Henry Aaron). Both of us are massive baseball fans, so we named our buddies after some of our favorite players and baseball towns. We spend the vast majority of our time reading, writing, editing, and cooking.    

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

No Sad Songs is the story of Gabe LoScuda, a high school senior who loses his parents and is forced to take on the role of caregiver for his ailing grandfather, an Alzheimer’s patient. The story is definitely close to my heart because I wrote it as a way to exorcise the demons of watching my own father take care of my grandfather when I was a teen. To this day, I wrestle with the question: did I do enough to help my father? It’s the exact kind of conflict Gabe battles throughout the book, as we watch him struggle to be a student, a caretaker, an adult and a kid all at the same time. No Sad Songs a story about our innate sense of duty that, as humans, we often allow to override the very essence of our lives…even when it becomes clear that our help is no longer making a dent.  It’s a feeling that Alzheimer’s caretakers deal with everyday. And there are over 15 million of them–family members of the afflicted–right now in this country as I write this line. 

What do you do when you are not writing?

I’m a naturally active person and writing is one of the most sedentary professions on the planet, so I try to spend my off time doing things that involve exercise. Writing is also a solitary act and it makes me miss being part of a team. My solution has been to never stop playing the sports I love. On teams. With old guys. My knees and my back are not fans of this strategy, but if I lather up with enough Tiger Balm I’m good for a few games of ice hockey a week at the local rink. Believe me, all the bumps and bruises are worth it when you find something that prevents you from ever forgetting what it feels like to be a kid.

Do you have a day job as well?

I’m a teacher by day and a writer in the early morning and late at night. Like the vast majority of writers, I find the balancing act of work life and writing life to be a constant struggle. There’s not much time for sleep. That said, I’ve been teaching for fifteen years and I wouldn’t trade a day of it for anything in the world. Teaching and coaching middle and high school aged students is part of what I was put on this planet to do, and my experiences in the classroom are exactly what allowed me to see how my writing style and my mindset are best suited for communicating with a young adult audience. On top of all that, I learn from my students on a daily basis. They see through the nonsense adults often get mired in. They understand truth, justice, and balance. I firmly believe today’s brand of teenager is what has made the young adult book market so influential in recent years. They are discerning and smart, and I feel honored when I can use my experience to help them avoid the obstacles that may lie in their paths.

When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

I didn’t really know it at the time, but I probably started writing when I was about seven or eight years old. That’s when I became annoyed at the limitations of the original Nintendo Game System and decided it was my duty to rewrite the book on just about every video game ever invented. As far as I know, none of my game ideas ever made it to prime time, most likely because I squirreled them away and never showed them to anyone besides my younger brother. I also wrote some really terrible poetry in high school. But it wasn’t until college that I started treating writing more like a career choice. I got into journalism and wrote sports stories for various local newspapers, and then I moved to New York City to chase a job in publishing. But sitting in a cubicle wasn’t my idea of the writing life, so I became a NYC Public School teacher and began spending my summers writing for about ten hours a day. For fifteen years! I spent most of my time writing short stories, flash fiction and essays. I finally took the plunge into writing novels about five years ago. No Sad Songs took about two years start to finish. 

How did you choose the genre you write in? Where do you get your ideas?

I wouldn’t say I chose the genre I write in. It definitely chose me. I spent a long time spinning my wheels and writing across many different genres, until it finally dawned on me: why don’t I take what I do in the classroom and translate it into what I do on the page? The first chapter of No Sad Songs is literally the first piece of young adult fiction I’ve ever written. It’s not a long chapter. Only a few pages. But as soon as I wrote the last word of the first draft of that very first chapter, I just knew. Falling into my niche and finding that focus has made all the difference. As far as where I get my ideas, I think most writers would agree that you need to write what you know. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to write an autobiography. It just means your personal experiences need to bleed out on the page and dictate the directions you plan to take your characters. It’s the only way to create reality within a fantasy. 

Do you ever experience writer’s block?

Not anymore, but that’s only because I stopped believing in the concept of writer’s block. When you get to the point where you have deadlines to meet, whether self-imposed or thrust upon you by an editor, there’s really no time for writer’s block. You can’t sit around sipping drinks and waiting for inspiration if you ever want to finish something as complicated as a novel. You have to sit down in the chair everyday and write, even when it feels like all you’re doing is splattering gibberish on the page. Some of my best writing has come in these moments, and it makes you realize writer’s block only happens when you’re fighting against yourself. When this happens in a baseball game, a coach would tell his hitter, “You’re gripping the bat too hard.” When it happens to a writer, the writer has become the hitter and the coach.

Do you work with an outline, or just write?

When I first started writing short stories I was so against the idea of planning a story ahead of time. It was like a cardinal sin to me. It was also an example of short-sighting thinking. You might be able to write something short without a road map, but if you’re trying to write a novel you better know your final destination and every point in between. My pre-planning process has become increasingly more complicated over the years. I probably spend about two months creating and refining my characters, charting plot points, building believable settings, and doing miscellaneous research before I ever write the first word in chapter one. I create a master outline for the novel ahead of time and then break that down into smaller outlines for each individual chapter as I get to them. With that said, I try to keep my outlines basic so I’m not overly locked into anything and I still have freedom to create on the page. It seems to work for me, but I’m continually trying to refine my process and make it work better.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult? What inspired you to become an author?

J.D. Salinger’s A Catcher in the Rye and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird are the books that made me fall in love with reading when I was growing up. I didn’t know why at the time, but I’m now sure it’s because of the unique and authentic narrative voices created by both authors. I love voice. If I can hear a narrator’s voice in my head long after putting the book down, I’m basically in love. I think the voices of Holden Caulfield and Scout Finch play on a loop in the heads of many young adult authors. Certainly mine. The desire to be able to create a voice like one of these was definitely one of the things that inspired me to become an author, but there are so many others. I guess they all boil down to one thing: I love the idea of creating worlds that presumably go on without us between the covers of a book.

Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

Getting a book published is not easy. The competition is insane and the chances for rejection are plentiful. I lost count of how many times I’ve been rejected by agents, publishers, or editors. If you want to write, you have to learn to live with rejection. But it never gets easier to accept a rejection. To me, that’s the hardest part of getting anything published, whether it be a piece of flash fiction, an essay, or a two-thousand page novel. If you’re able to continue believing in your work and push on to the next submission, you’ll find the right person who will champion your book. Jon Wilson at Fish Out of Water Books was that person for me and I’m so thankful we found each other.

If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?

I wouldn’t change a thing about the book. No Sad Songs, as it stands, is exactly what I set out to write and I believe in it. I’m proud of what I created. The only thing I’d change is that I’d go into the process with a better awareness of the business side of things. Making blurb requests and seeking out press opportunities and finding reviews…these are not easy things to do. They consume time and they stop you from creating new work. But they’re essential if you ever want readers out there to know your book exists. Anticipating these steps on my next go around will definitely help me to find a better balance and build more buzz before the release date.  

How do you market your work?

Social media is a major tool, but I also try to keep my name visible in as many venues as possible. I continue to write short stories for publications like The Saturday Evening Post and I contribute a monthly column to Change Seven Magazine. Fish Out of Water Books also helps me to secure reviews and press in newspapers, blogs and other publications. I also have a bunch of public appearances coming up over the next few months. There’s really no better way to connect with your audience than by reading your work to them in a live setting. You can find a listing of my upcoming events here.

What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?

I think young adult literature thrives on the examination of current social issues. Whether a story is set in a present-day high school or in some far-away galaxy, I think a novel written for young adults must still focus on the issues that affect our youth in the current time. That’s one of the reasons why I felt it was important to write No Sad Songs, because Alzheimer’s isn’t just a disease that affects the old. It affects all of us.

Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?

A few years ago I abandoned a horror novel that took place in a real ghost town in Pennsylvania. The town of Centralia was a coal mining boom town that was officially evacuated back in the late 1980s after a mine fire had been raging under it for almost thirty years. The place is still on fire as we speak. I went to college not too far from the town and it fascinated me, so I tried to build a story around it, but I could never pull the threads together enough to gain any interest. It’s definitely a story that haunts me a little. I have a feeling I haven’t seen the last of it.  

What is your favorite book? I know this is always a difficult question!

This is an easy one for me. It’s Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Hands down. Atticus Finch is possibly my favorite character in all of literature.

Thanks for checking out my interview with Frank Morelli! Please leave your thoughts and comments!😍 Love ya guys!


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