This week my guest is Carolyn M. Bowen, author of The Long Road Home.
Hello, thank you for agreeing to this interview.
- Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Answer: I love storytelling with a slant toward mysteries and romantic suspense. My background also includes marketing and communications.
- Discuss your newest book.
Answer: My latest novel, The Long Road Home, is a fast-paced romantic suspense/mystery/thriller. The leading character experiences a southern twist of fate. Here’s a brief blurb:
Kate’s life was in turmoil after the death of her parents. She’d always been protected and sheltered by them. Suddenly she finds herself with a conniving fiancé living under her roof, a powerful businessman with terrorist ties from across the ocean trying to kill her and more family secrets than most American politicians. She was also unaware that a half-brother she knew nothing of was about to enter her life. Her situation was getting precarious right at the moment she was least able to cope with it.
- Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Answer: I can’t remember when I didn’t love books and the idea of writing.
- What are your current projects?
Answer: I’m playing with some ideas for a new novel and will decide which one I’ll move forward with during 2017. It’ll be a novel of romantic suspense with criminal minds playing roles.
- What books have most influenced your life?
Answer: My favorite book is the classic Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell followed by the family saga by Colleen McCullough, The Thorn Birds.
- What inspired you to write your first book?
Answer: I always knew I would write novels. It was more about the time had come to get it done.
- Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
Answer: Although she faced many challenges, she kept putting one foot in front of the other until she found level footing.
- Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Answer: Never give up when things look impossible. You may not see the answer now but if you’ll wait and be persistent in discovering the truth, you’ll come through in the end.
- What is the hardest thing about writing?
Answer: Laughing – It’s not the initial creative writing that’s a problem. It’s the personal then professional editing that requires lots of rewriting through several drafts.
- What is the easiest thing about writing?
Answer: Honestly, writing my latest book, The Long Road Home was a breeze. It was like a story that wanted to be told through me.
- What book are you reading now?
Answer: Night School (Jack Reacher) by Lee Child
- What is one random thing about you?
Answer: I’m a private person with boldness.
- What does your writing process look like?
Answer: It depends on the story inspiration. It could include a deluxe outline with all the characters and their roles defined. The package would also include a complete synopsis prior to the writing of the first word in draft form. My favorite of course, is my experience in writing The Long Road Home. Just sit down and write from inspiration each day until complete. I am in awe that it happened and am grateful for the inspiration. I’m ready to do it again! (Smiles)
- Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?
Answer: Yes, I don’t like any distractions when writing. That includes people, television, radio, phone, computer, etc. When I’m writing you’ll probably not be able to reach me on a private level.
- What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Answer: Traveling to explore new places that could take center stage in my next novel.
- What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?
Answer: Advantages – Being in control of the finished product (timeline) and using marketing expertise to expand readership. Being able to develop a relationship with readers and others (reviewers, bloggers, news outlets, retailers, etc.) makes for a wonderful writing life.
Disadvantages: Publishers already have reviewers, publications, media outlets, PR departments, and social media influence. This is something most new writers don’t have initially.
- What are your views on social media for marketing?
Answer: If you are generating book sales from social media, then do it. Don’t do it because everyone says it’s what you need to do. Do your analytics on each social media platform and see what’s working and adjust accordingly. Don’t spend your valuable writing time marketing to the masses when no one is listening. It’s all about developing relationships and that takes time.
- Which social network worked best for you?
Answer: I’m on social media sites that I’m either investigating or is already working for me. You can Google me and whatever site comes up first will probably (for that day) be an indicator of what working at that moment in time.
- Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future?
Answer: As a communications professional, I recognize branding is one of the most important things you can do in a business. I’ve learned there’s no automatic carry through for other ventures. The work is the same. Bottom line, you need to brand yourself as an author in much the same way you would any other business.
- Would you or do you use a PR agency?
Answer: With my background in marketing, I prefer to do my own publicity but with an added benefit of a PR firm specializing in book promotions.
- Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?
Answer: Gosh, this is a hard truth that no one wants to hear. Please don’t depend on family and friends to market your book. It’s not that they don’t like you! It’s just they have other interest. (And, I know they owe you!) You’re now a published author. If you don’t know how to market as a professional – learn or seek someone’s advice.
- What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book?
Answer: I don’t even think about marketing while I’m writing a novel. I don’t begin marketing my book until I have a release date. Once that happens, you’ll see me in multiple places (my tribe) telling potential readers (target audience) why they should read my book.
- What do you do to get book reviews?
Answer: I wish I had the 1700+ reviewers that major publishers have on command, but I don’t. I let my novels speak for themselves and believe the right people will come forward and give it the reviews it deserves.
- How can readers discover more about you and you work
Answer: I’d love for readers to follow my blog where I give the latest updates on my writing life. I’m also on Amazon and Barnes and Noble with websites listed below.
Website: Carolyn M. Bowen, Author
The Writing Life: https://cmbowenauthor.wordpress.com/
Amazon Carolyn M. Bowen’s Author Page:
Barnes and Noble: The Long Road Home by Carolyn M. Bowen ~ http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-long-road-home-bowen-m-carolyn/1125259372?ean=9781622177455
Goodreads: Carolyn M. Bowen, Author
Twitter: CMBowen, Author
Facebook: Carolyn M. Bowen, Author
Thank you for your valuable insight into the writing process. Watch this space for another interview with a mystery/suspense writer next week.
Wanda DeHaven Pyle, author of Windborne and the Legacy Trilogy