Friday, April 1, 2011
Maureen's release week comes to a close!
Did Angi call Maureen unsinkable? My bloggy friends, you have no idea. Read today's interview to learn about one - just one - of the hurdles Maureen has jumped on the way to a publishing career. Getting published is never easy, but Maureen proves the old adage - that the only way to guarantee failure is to quit. (Did Winston Churchill say that?)
I've known Maureen since I joined my local RWA chapter in 2005, when we were both unpublished. She's just one of those people you always knew would get there, no matter what life put in her way. So without further ado, today's interview with Maureen:
Simone: What’s your favorite movie of all time?
Maureen: I have so many favorite movies I can’t keep count, but ones that come to mind right now are: Crash, Broadcast News, Clueless, and Grand Canyon. I also just saw Win, Win the other night and loved it! It also reminded me how much I loved The Station Agent by the same screenwriter.
Simone: Where do you most like to read and how often?
Maureen: I read in bed pretty much every night. But I also really love to read on the subway or streetcar (if I get a seat). I find I can shut out everything around me on public transportation and really get a lot of reading done. Especially since I got a Kindle.
Simone: What’s the first book you remember reading?
Maureen: My mother claims I learned to read at age three by reading Hop on Pop to myself when she’d fall asleep on the couch during nap time. Apparently, my two sisters (one older, one younger) would both nap, but I refused. I’ve been a reading addict ever since. The first chapter book I have strong memories of reading was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I think in grade 2.
Simone: What’s your favorite kind of cheese?
Maureen: Goat cheese. For sure. I also really love this stinky cheese called Londres, but sometimes it’s a bit overbearing.
Simone: What’s the first thing you do when you finish writing a book?
Maureen: I wish I could say celebrate, but it’s usually more like: start obsessing about what’s wrong with it and what I could have done better. Unless my good friend Molly O’Keefe is around to take me out for beer and tell me I’m crazy.
Simone: Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?
Maureen: When reviews first started popping up online for these books, I read them all – obsessively—and my cheeks would get hot and my heart would race. But I’ve calmed down now (mostly) and don’t look at them all.
I’m not sure if I will let them influence my writing. The only negative reviews I’ve seen so far have been pretty specific to the stories and, frankly, in most cases they mention things I was already worried about or knew about and wouldn’t have changed. But the only way to use the feedback would be to rewrite those particular stories.
:) And that shipped has, as they say, sailed.
Simone: What do you do to unwind and relax?
Maureen: I watch a slightly embarrassing amount of television and go to a lot of movies. Both of these activities have the dual benefit of being not only fun and relaxing but research. I mean, it’s all storytelling, right?
Simone: I notice there’s more than one cover for each of the books on the booksellers’ websites, and I’ve heard these books had a rather rocky path to publication. Anything you can share?
Maureen: Well… While the publication story for this series started out like a fairy tale—I got a two book contract based on one chapter and an outline for Cinderella and only the title for Sleeping Beauty, all did not go smoothly from there. The books were originally going to be published by Phoenix Books, an independent, but highly commercial publisher based in Beverly Hills, better known for tabloid-driven non-fiction than children’s books. But they were branching out in a new direction and very excited about the series.
So excited, in fact, that they wanted to release the first two in the fall of 2010 and therefore, I had to write the books very quickly. Both books were due only four and a half months after I got the contract, and I quite literally did not take any time off (except three days around Christmas, when I also happened to be sick) from mid October 2009 until March 6, 2010. Long, long days, seven days a week for months.
As soon as I handed in the second book, I took a few days off. Slept. Then had to tackle the revisions, line edits, etc. I worked on those through March and April and I had just received a final copy edit for Cinderella from the editor at Phoenix when I got the news: Phoenix books had closed their doors. Bang. Clearly the editor didn’t know he was losing his job when he sent me revisions the day before it happened. My first reaction was actually relief that I could take the rest of the afternoon off. Then the reality of it all sank in.
The silver lining to the news was that Baker & Taylor (my now publisher) was interested pretty much immediately after seeing the pre-sales numbers from Phoenix. But I didn’t get the official word that they were going to publish the books until August 2010, less than six weeks before the books’ original (and still posted on Amazon, etc) release dates.
During that limbo time, I had no idea what to tell people. I didn’t want to be all, “Woe is me!”, especially when I thought there was still a good chance I’d have a happy ending, but without a contract, I couldn’t’ exactly share the whole truth. Let me tell you, it was so hard to have other writers, not to mention friends and family, congratulating me on my upcoming books when I had no idea whether or not these books would ever come out.
But now that they are coming out, I couldn’t be happier. It’s a little strange that the old versions of the books are still listed on booksellers’ online stores, and that the “real” versions are sometimes referred to as “reprints” when the first versions were never, well, printed… But I love the new covers and Baker & Taylor are doing a terrific job with the books.
So I got my happy ending after all.
Simone: What’s your favorite part of being an author?
Maureen: Holding my actual books was an unforgettable experience. And as nervous as it made me at first, I love seeing my books mentioned or reviewed on book blogs. I feel as if I’ve discovered this fabulous new culture of book lovers. I hadn’t realized how supportive and linked together the world of book bloggers are. Connecting with some of these fabulously supportive readers has been a fantastic experience.
And thank you to everyone, commenters and guests, for helping us celebrate release week!
Maureen’s giving away four books this week. Two of each title. The draw will be made on Saturday, April 2, 2011, from all the comments made Monday to Friday this week.
Better yet, if you come back and comment on more than one day, you'll get more than one entry. So, if you come back every day this week and leave a comment, you can have up to five chances to win one of four books!
If you live in the US or Canada, you'll get a signed copy, but if you don't happen to live in either of those two countries, you can still enter! Yes, that's right!!!!
Anyone who lives in a country that The Book Depository ships to, may enter! (except in jurisdictions where such contests are not legal)