Monday, September 13, 2010
DEBUT AUTHOR: Ava Bleu
Ava Bleu lives and loves in the Midwest, countering bitter winters with smooth jazz and tasty edibles. A book-lover, author, artist and photographer, Ava believes creativity in any form is worth celebrating. She can be found in bookstores and the public library camped next to the cookbooks and/or on the town keeping an eye out for hero-material.
The Diva of Peddler’s Creek
African American romance novelist Taylor Beir will stop at nothing to get her mother off her back, including relocating to teach a little boy she’s never met how to read. But Christopher Doubleday doesn’t want to learn. Handsome older brother, Boyd, has an invisible stick up his backside. And she suspects sweet Mary and Jesse are trying transform her into the mythical “good girl” she’s never been; either by power of suggestion or bribing her with endless goodies from Mary’s kitchen.
Taylor may be down—and stuffed—but she’s not out. Someday the townspeople of Peddler’s Creek, West Virginia will realize their hostility is misplaced and recognize her for the gentle, misunderstood soul she really is. And they will admit that Taylor Beir truly is the best thing to ever happen to their tiny, dirt road, middle-of-nowhere, backwater town of Peddler’s Creek, West Virginia … if they know what’s good for them.
How did you start out your writing career?
I used to write to relax and eventually the light bulb went on in my head, why not do it for a living?
What did you learn while writing this book?
I really enjoy humor in romance.
What did you hope to accomplish with this book?
I wanted to make readers hungry and make them laugh. I think I accomplished both :).
I also wanted to put African American characters in a rural community. That isn’t done much in contemporary romance and I thought it’d be a nice change and reminder that black people aren’t just one monolithic group. We come with different life experiences and live in many different environments.
What is the toughest test you've faced as a writer?
Years of rejection! You learn to question if you really want to be a writer or if you just want to say you are.
If you had the opportunity to talk with three writers, who would you choose and why?
Toni Morrison: Do I really need to explain?
Sharon Bell Mathis: Because she wrote the first book I ever read with an African American family as the focus. Teacup Full of Roses is the first book that ever moved me to tears.
Judy Blume: I just can’t figure out how she is able to channel the feelings of teenaged girls. Who can do that after the age of twenty-one?
What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?
1. Failure is not the enemy, it’s more like the annoying coach.
2. It’s never too early to start.
3. Just because other writers have gotten there quicker, doesn’t mean they’re better.
Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?
Do take advantage of story ideas that crop up naturally but …
Don’t shy away from taking a leap into unknown territory.
I borrowed this question from Author Carleene Brice, What is your author fantasy?
Some people fantasize about Blair Underwood or Denzel… okay, yes, I dream about them, too. But I also dream about seeing my work on a nighttime soap opera. Yes, it gets me as hot and bothered as Blair. Well … almost…
What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
Even successful authors sometimes have to keep their day jobs.
What was the best advice you’d ever gotten about the publishing industry? The worst?
Succeeding in the industry is not always just about talent. Sometimes it’s about timing and sometimes even professionals make mistakes.
I can’t think of any bad advice. No one ever told me it would be easy; that would be the only bad advice anyone could give me.
If you could visit any place in the world where would you travel to?
France. Yes, it’s the food thing again.
What is something readers would be surprised you do?
LOL. Ah, the advantage of being unknown, no one knows who I am and, therefore, no expectations. I don’t know about the “doing” but on the “being” front I can tell you this: people may be surprised to know that I am even more beautiful than my avatar. Way more. Are you listening, Blair?
Our theme this month is Online Marketing. What online marketing have you found works well for you?
Well, this is my debut and it has not been released yet so the jury is out on what works. I plan to try everything and then try to figure out what actually took. But I love seeing my book cover on postcards and bookmarks. I’d buy my book.
Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?
Everyone deserves love.
Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?
My tagline is “Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Love” and my next romance continues that theme. I’m still in the revision process but I can’t wait to get the next one out there.
How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
Join my mailing list! Readers can sign up or read my blog at http://www.booksbyava.com/. They can also find me at DIVAS UNITE on Facebook. I will be running contests and giveaways to coincide with my launch so readers really should get on my list ASAP.
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