Monday, April 25, 2016

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Nancy M. Rollins

Tell me about yourself. What got you started in Writing?

When growing up, I seem to be a bit of a dreamer.  As I look back, I never minded telling tall tales or writing, although I was a slow reader and a terrible speller. I was blessed with a wild imagination, and utilized this creative side in the essays or stories I wrote. 

During those early school years, my bubbly personality sent me fluttering around others like an insect with wings.  Foolishly, I became a high school dropout at sixteen, and had to pursue my education later in life. 

With time comes maturity. My one and current marriage came two years after leaving school. We raised three children, which now have children of their own. As a family we have traveled more than most, before coming to Florida to live.

On the professional side, my work has leaned towards children or in the medical field. I obtained a GED, and went on to take both vocational and some college courses.  In recent years, my interest in writing returned and I began to dabble in poems and stories.  Amateur illustration, graphic design and photography were additional hobbies that followed.







How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?
           
A strict writing schedule may work best for some, but as long as I can make time to jot down a few ideas each day, I am happy.  Instead of block hours, my routine is working around whatever I have scheduled on the home front. 
            
Often I can be found on the computer past midnight. Other times, I may work the entire morning and afternoon. Writing a few minutes or hours each day will strengthen an inspiring author’s growth in his craft. I believe we all must find what works best individually.  It is surprising how quickly minutes can turn into hours when doing what we enjoy.

How and where do you write? Do you prefer a laptop or some other method of getting your words down?             

Creating a relaxing atmosphere is the first step before writing. Unless you are extremely good at tuning out noise, the television can become a big detraction if left on. I usually turn on some of my favorite music and write in a place that I won’t be disturbed. 

An idea for a story can emerge anywhere or during any given moment. Having a pen and notebook nearby is important for not losing phases or thoughts. Don’t ask how many times I didn’t write down a word and forgot it later on.

When it comes to creating a story, the first draft is usually on a standard piece of paper. I make lots of changes and prefer to look it over before it is typed on the desk computer. My laptop also comes in handy. It may be used as a back up for my working computer files, or other projects. One of these is a deluxe word search for kids.

What’s your favorite part about writing? What’s your least favorite part about writing?

What pulls me in most about writing is the versatility. A writer can travel anywhere or transform into any character. The story line may be true; it may be pure science fiction. A writer has the freedom to change topics, settings, or plots in the unpublished book.

If I was to pick the least favorite part of writing it would be the research. Even with a fictional book, a certain amount of truth statements or locations are usually included to make the story realistic. I am currently working on educational books. Although they are written for children, they require some research.  

How did you come up with your book idea? How long did it take you to write your book?

It’s All About the Chirp, Snap and Quack is actually a spin off from another idea. One of my hobbies is photography and the other graphic design.  I had been designing mugs. One day while watching my grandchildren at the park, I began to snap wildlife photos. Before too long, my wildlife collection grew with each returning trip for more.
           
As I examined the photographs, cute little phases crossed my mind. I downloaded the pictures onto files I made on my computer. I wrote sayings under the ones I could imagine on a mug or t-shirt. One day after several more new photos, I came up with the idea to put them into a book. It’s All About the Chirp, Snap and Quack was that book. Now I have future plans for two similar ones.   

What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?

In my opinion, marketing is more difficult than putting together the book. Not having much previous success, I hired a publishing coach to point me in the right direction. With her assistance, she designed a blog, author page, book trailer, bookmarks, and submitted It’s All About the Chirp, Snap and Quack in my name. She advertised my book on her sites, and created contests and blogs where authors could submit their book covers and ads.

GET THE BOOK AT AMAZON!

Next step was to join groups and try to get my book noticed. My book is posted on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedln, Google +, and author pages. Each day it is best to try to move forward. I post poems on Scriggler, leave comments on blogs I find interesting, and have joined several writing groups. Many allow authors to post their books for free.

Here are some tips: Create a contact list. Emailing places or calling local bookstores may lead to some success. Book reviews and book signings are extremely important when trying to get your book known. I have a book signing scheduled at a local library and another at B&N. With both I will be one of a group of local authors. Scouting around for places to do guest appearances or leave books does take work.

To touch once again on creating a contact list, I made a book ad. This advertisement is slowly being sent to libraries and independent bookstores in and out of state. To make each one personal, I address the heading to the business in which the email is intended.

One last thing I do for marketing is place ads on Facebook. I feel a sponsor advertisement will receive more views on the weekend. I have considered other marketing sites like Amazon and others on Twitter.   

What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?

Christmas at the Claus House ~ Saving Clara Deer was released four and a half months before It’s All About the Chirp, Snap and Quack. The book is for Santa lovers, and the efforts to save a sick deer. I do not have any other published books out as yet.
            
It is my intention to release other books. I have several manuscripts either finished or in varies stages of completion. Most manuscripts are in need of illustrations. My current focus is on a deluxe word search for children, which will be a 200 page workbook and a second wildlife book.     
Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it.

I actually have a few. Some manuscripts were stored on a shelf after being rejected by traditional publishers. Usually, I moved on to the next project rather quickly. One big mistake I made was to submit work before it was proof read or edited. That’s a certain no-no with any inspiring writer. Often another person will spot mistakes the author has missed. We as writers can be too close to our work.
            
The manuscript deepest on the back burner is an unfinished novel. The story is about a dog a boy receives for his birthday, when all he wanted was a new bike. Did I mention the child is also afraid of dogs? This children’s book was put away at its halfway point because of other projects. It’s almost time to pick it back up.

What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn’t believe he/she has enough talent?

Don’t give up on your dream! For some, words seem to fall into place and seeing their work published in a magazine or book comes easily. For others like me, it turns more into a struggle. With the number of submissions, the odds are against even a seasoned writer. It takes a writer with thick skin and sheer willpower to succeed.
            
Writing skills develop with practice. Read similar work to gain further insight and never shy away from asking questions. Join a writing group and share. Reading one’s work to others, even for five minutes, can generate great feedback on how to improve a manuscript. Many towns or libraries have their own writing groups that meet monthly or once a week.
            
A story is in each one of us. It takes perseverance and luck to achieve our goals. An inspiring writer should not give up. When the work is finally in print, it will feel like magic. All the hours, the research, and the lack of sleep will be forgotten, as ideas for a new book begins.

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Thank you, Nancy!

Learn more about Nancy by clicking the following links:


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