Welcome Connie. You are a versatile author, writing cook books and then a paranormal ghost book. When did you first know you wanted to be a writer and was there a particular inspiration to get started?
I was ten years old and won a writing contest for the C.A.R.(Children of the American Revolution). I knew that I loved to write and was fair at it. My mother said you need to find a profession to make money at not play. I went to college for Elementary Education. I should have done English. But it took 50 years for me to have the time—kids, work, life. I remember the day, we had moved to Florida to retire. I figured I’d take 2 months off then go look for a job. I was a mortgage closer at the time. You remember what was happening in 2007 and 2008 the housing market was going into the toilet. I was sitting on the lanai with my eyes closed. I felt this tap on my shoulders, looked around saw nothing. I closed my eyes again and something said to me, “You now have time to write your cookbook and novel, go to it NOW.” I got up and started putting together the outline for my cookbook—In Addition…to the Entrée. Three years later it was done and printed. Now a year later, I have my novel completed and being edited and hopefully printed in October. The Bonnie Neuk Tea Room: Friends and Uninvited Guests (Ghosts).
Do you have a background in writing or take any special writing courses that helped you along the way?
I have a degree in Elem. Education with a minor in Photography. The Photograph helped me with the cookbook. All 200 photos were taken by me. I have taken several courses in writing, character development and plot. I still am taking course now. I always think you can learn something new.
How long did it take you to publish your fist manuscript?
I self printed my first book, the cookbook. My son has a printing company in China so I printed through him—PRC Book Printing. firstname.lastname@example.org It took me a year and a half to write, photography and get it edited. Then about six months to have a book design work with me on the layout. It was a back and forth for 10-15 hours for 5 days a week. I knew just what I wanted the book to look like. It took time.
The novel took about a year of writing, re-writing and re-re-writing. I would write a chapter, then wait a day and print it out and edit it, then re type it and them re-edit it and change things, then re type it. Now I am having it professional edited. I’m not the best person in grammar.
Do you always write in the same genre?
I do not always write in the same genre. My first book was a cookbook. My second is a novel—paranormal mystery. Who knows what the next will be.
Many of us cross over genres and it is difficult to pinpoint one to fit our books. For the book we are promoting today, what shelf would we find it on if it were in a bricks and mortar bookstore?
You could find it on the mystery section, but maybe in the paranormal also. Although this is not like some of the paranormal violent novel, it’s just a friendly ghost or two.
Are you published through a traditional publishing house? If yes, how did you find your agent and publisher?
No, I self printed my cookbook. The novel I am self publishing through Create Space.
Author, Jennie Nash was quoted on Writer Unboxed that she reads other novels to study structure. Do you follow a structure pattern such as staying in chronological order, or alternating points in time or different POV’s.
I do not follow a structure pattern. I write from the heart and see where it takes me. I do outline each chapter, but I also change the outline as I get into the story.
What was the hardest part for you in the writing process; the outline, synopsis, query or building the story itself?
I can’t say which was the hardest—they are all challenging as you are writing. As I said I make an outline, but change it at times as I am writing and get another twist in. Building the story is the fun part, not necessarily the easy part.
It is not enough to write a book and wait for the money to start rolling in. What marketing techniques do you implement to increase your sales?
Writing the book was the easy part, marketing it the challenge as in trying to sell the book and get it to an audience. I still need help with that part.
Are you a pantser or a planner?
I am definitely a planner.
What advise would you give to new writers just getting started with their first manuscript?
My advice is to keep writing. Write everyday and edit the next. Then write again. It doesn’t have to be a long period of time, but do it everyday. Not everyone likes to write, then edit, I just find it more rewarding to complete a chapter that I am comfortable with, then move on to the next. Not saying, I haven’t writing two or three chapters at a time because I get on a roll before I go back and edit it.
What is the premise of your novel we are promoting today? The Bonnie Neuk Tea Room: Friends and Uninvited Guests (Ghosts)
Victoria Storm, divorces her husband of twenty five years, takes her comfort, stuffed bear and starts out on a new life’s adventure. One day her phone rings and someone tells her that her grandmother owned a tea room in 1932. Who was this anonymous caller? She returns to her hometown of Metuchen, New Jersey, buys and renovates an old house, and creates a tea room called the Bonnie Neuk—named after her grandmother’s tea room. She meets new friends, shares new experience and finds out that her tea room has some unexpected guests from out of this world! The adventures with these uninvited guests go on all while serving tea, scones and homemade soup to her guests.
Can you share a few paragraphs from your book to whet out appetite?
Here is a page from my novel: The Bonnie Neuk Tea Room: Friends and Uninvited Guests (Ghosts)
Working hard until late in the evening after moving in to my new home, I wanted to unwind. The best way is to make a cup of Rooibos tea and relax in Auntie’s chair that enveloped me with its sturdy arm. It made me feel secure. These herbal leaves or tisanes are from Africa. Tisane is a catch-all term for any non-caffeinated beverage made from the infusion of herbs and/or spices. It is naturally caffeine free, with a rich red color and a sweet nutty flavor.
Closing my eyes to inhale the fragrance of the nutty tea, I felt a cool breeze and a hint of lavender. Suddenly, the room became extremely cold and the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. Despite my fear, I looked up to see in the far corner of the room what looked like a person—a young man, his body image not defined, but rather fuzzy. I stared at the figure until I gathered enough courage to speak. “I pray for the white light to protect me. My name is Victoria Thorn Storm. Having bought this house as a means to a new start for my life, I mean you no harm and come in peace. My dream is to remodel this house into The Bonnie Neuk, a tea room similar to the one my grand mom Thorn had in Metuchen many years ago. Who are you? What is your name? What do you want?” The room remained deadly cold and quiet. His shape became more defined, and I noticed he was dressed in a WWII Army uniform. I sat still for what seemed like hours. In reality only minutes had passed.
The voice said with surprise, “You can see me? Time is irrelevant. I have been drifting in this house for many years. I can’t leave. Most people don’t see or hear me, and some tried to ignore me. I want to be known and looked upon with respect. I am a soldier and have fought for the honor of my country. I was one of the twenty-seven killed many years ago in a freak bus and train accident. We were returning to the base from maneuvers. I was the oldest soldier. The young man sitting next to me was twenty one. Your name sounds familiar. Did I know you? My name is Derrick,” he stated in a scratchy, but audible voice. “I hope to be friends with the owner of this house.”
On a hunch, I asked him, “Did you move a lunch bag of one of the workers the other day?”
“I could have… It did make everyone laugh.” After a long pause he said, “I will return.”
The air turned warmer and the room silent. The voice, fuzzy figure, and the smell of lavender vanished as quickly as they had appeared. It’s un-nerving from the get-go to realize that you are seeing a ghost let alone talking to one.
Thank you Connie. Where can readers buy your books?
My website is www.thebonnieneuktearoom.com You can buy my book on my website and I will sign it for you.
You can buy my book on Create Space using this link. https://www.CreateSpace.com/4775503. Click Add to Cart and Check Out.
Or you can order on Amazon on the following links.