I am happy to feature our first author interview with Linda Mansfield, author of Stories for the 12 Days of Christmas.
- Hello. Thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
- I’m happy to be here. I am an Indianapolis-based author, reporter, and public-relations representative. I own Restart Communications, a motorsports PR firm. My book of fictional short stories with a Christmas theme, “Stories for the 12 Days of Christmas,” was published in April 2015. I anticipate having three sequels out in 2017.
- Tell us about your newest book. “Stories for the 12 Days of Christmas” is a self-published collection of 13 fictional but realistic stories set at Christmas to provide short breaks for teens through seniors. It is not a kids’ book nor is it a romance. Seven of the stories have female main characters and six have male main characters from diverse backgrounds.
- Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? I won an essay-writing contest in junior-high school that gave me the confidence to pursue journalism. I became a reporter at my local newspaper while still in high school, and I’ve been a reporter, editor and PR person ever since.
- What are your current projects? I’m working on three stand-alone sequels to “Stories for the 12 Days of Christmas” entitled “Twelve Stories for Spring,” “Twelve Stories for Summer” and “Twelve Stories for Fall.” I plan to release all three in 2017.
- What books have most influenced your life? “The Holy Bible” and “Black Beauty.“
- What inspired you to write your first book? In short, bad driving. One December I observed several women in black SUVs competing for parking spaces at a local mall. They were stressed, and they definitely had lost whatever Christmas spirit they might have had. They all needed a “time out.” I thought I might help by providing short breaks in the form of Christmas stories to help them relax and remember the real reason for the season. These stories are each less than 2,000 words, and the book can be picked up and put down as time permits.
- Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special? This question doesn’t really apply to me, because I have 13 main characters in the book.
- Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? I simply want my readers to relax when the holidays get too hectic, and remember the real reason we celebrate this holiday.
- Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book? This doesn’t really apply to my book, but Julie Roberts is always good because she usually plays spunky characters, and there are a lot of spunky characters in my book.
- When did you decide to become a writer? In my teens.
- Why do you write? It’s one of my few talents. It comes naturally to me.
- What made you decide to sit down and actually start something? I sort of already answered this one.
- Do you write full-time or part-time? I write full-time, but the bulk of my writing consists of press releases, feature stories on motorsports, and Website copy.
- What is the hardest thing about writing? The discipline required to do it and the ability to not take criticism too personally.
- What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book? Characters come easily to me, but plot is a little harder.
- What is the easiest thing about writing? It’s really fun when you’re on a roll and can hardly keep up with your fingers.
- What book are you reading now? This morning I finished another author’s collection of short stories set at Christmas that I didn’t know existed until two days ago. I was surprised that two writers living on two different continents had the same idea and I was afraid her book would be better than mine, but I like mine better so all is well.
- What is one random thing about you? I once competed in the “One Lap of America” rally, driving around the United States in seven days.
- What is your preferred medium of writing? Pen and paper or strictly tablet and computer? Laptop all the way.
- What does your writing process look like? It totally depends on what I’m writing, but a lot of stalling is involved unless the deadline prohibits it.
- Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)? I do get some ideas in the shower, but I never have been able to stand on my head.
- How important are names to you in your books? They’re only important to me. I will admit some of the names I use are adaptations of names of people I know.
- Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? Making a living at it is difficult. I think my writing could be popular if it ever “hits.”
- Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future? I sent copies to many retail outlets hoping they would carry my book, not realizing that self-published books have little to zero chances in this regard without strong sales figures to back it up. It’s a catch 22.
- What is your favorite motivational phrase? “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”
- .What is your favorite book and why? “Black Beauty” because it teaches people to be compassionate to animals without killing off the main character.
- Do you have any advice for other writers? One word: write. It’s impossible to edit something that’s still in your head.
- What do you like to do when you’re not writing? I like to read and go out to eat with my friends. I’m very active in auto racing in my other life.
- From where do you gain your inspiration? From life!
- What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around? The main advantage of self-publishing is that right or wrong, you control your project.
- How do you market your books? I have a Web site, a Facebook page, a Twitter account and a blog. I do several book signings each year, and I’m always keeping my eye out for retail outlets that might carry it.
- Why did you choose this route? Traditional publishing takes too long and there are too many meetings. I hate meetings.
- Would you or do you use a PR agency? I AM a PR agency. See RestartCommunications.com.
- Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?
- What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book? It depends. I go in spurts, but I guess it probably averages out to about 60 percent writing and 40 percent marketing.
- What do you do to get book reviews? I try to encourage them, but I honestly haven’t done too much in this area.
- How successful has your quest for reviews been so far?
- Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers?
- What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews? Try not to take either too personally.
- Any amusing story about marketing books that happened to you? Not yet!
- What’s your views on social media for marketing? It’s a brave new world out there.
- Which social network worked best for you? Facebook and Twitter.
- Any tips on what to do and what not to do? Not really.
- Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why? My, that came out of nowhere! I would like to meet Mark Twain.
- If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why? Good question for which I don’t have a good answer.
- What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
- How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Web site: LindaMansfieldBooks.com
Facebook: Linda Mansfield — Author
I’m thinking about doing more on YouTube; when I do I’ll mention it on Facebook and Twitter.
Thank you for being our first guest author and much luck in the future.