Monday, May 08, 2006
FEATURED AUTHOR: Alethea M. Pascascio
SORMAG: Tell us about the person and the writer?
Alethea M. Pascascio: I was born and raised in Gary, IN and currently reside in Illinois, but I can’t stand cold weather. So, I spend most of my winters indoors. Of course that would change if I lived in one of my ideal locations like Figi, Hawaii, or even Texas or Florida.
I recently tired of corporate America and gave up my career in Engineering to become a fulltime mother, wife, and writer. My husband of eight years and I have two daughters.
A self-proclaimed master of relaxation, I find my best times to write are early in the morning after prayer and meditation or late at night when my daughters and husband are asleep. The sight and sounds of rain and thunderstorms also enrich the creative process for me. I find that this process calms me enough to create a heartbeat for each character.
When not writing, I love to indulge my passion for traveling, attending church, watching movies, reading fiction and non-fiction, chatting with friends, shooting pool, watching NFL and NBA games, and shopping.
I am a woman who is very passionate about helping people go beyond the boundaries they’ve set for themselves. And I also have a fire inside of me to help women who settle for less than they deserve. I’ve been there and know the feeling of dread that often comes with merely existing and not living. Of course, there are so many things that can cause this to happen to woman and the life of my main character (Faith Donnovan) in my debut novel, Bag Lady, is a good example. And what ends up being her catalyst for doing better is knowing better.
SORMAG: Tell us about your current book?
PASCASCIO: In my debut novel Bag Lady, Faith Donnovann has a life that includes childhood drama and dysfunction. And at the age of 18, she leaves home with more than clothes in her baggage- some times, the invisible is far worse than the visible. As the novel progresses we go on a very dramatic life-changing journey with Faith, who enters a series of tumultuous relationships including one that almost kills her. Eventually, Faith and her life change for the better when she yearns for true love and lets go of the past through forgiveness. Her life then takes an unfamiliar turn down a path that leads to the type of man she once thought was a fairy tale- a good one. Meet Justin Herrera, a dashing Central American/Belizean- Faith’s knight in shining armor.
SORMAG: What would you like your readers to take away from your book?
PASCASCIO: There are so many messages in this book, but what is most essential is, forgiveness is essential. Unforgiveness is like a cancer. It eats away at you and can manifest itself in ways you’d never expect. It can rob people of health, happiness, and harmony. Another message is that another man is never the answer to our problems. This is how we as women get caught up in one bad relationship after the next. The issues within us that need fixing only attract men with their own set of issues. Ultimately, I want readers to realize that self-healing brings not only strength but the ability to make those good choices and attract good men.
SORMAG: Tell us about your publishing experience?
PASCASCIO: My publishing experience has been very interesting. From the onset, I wanted to self-publish then someone talked me into submitting my manuscript to traditional publishers. I submitted to a few places and received one rejection letter. I then received another letter from the Acquisitions Editor at Genesis Press. She asked that I have my manuscript line edited then resubmit it to her. I waited awhile before doing it because in my heart I really wanted to self-publish. After a couple of months, I finally decided to continue and see where this traditional publishing avenue would lead me. So, I had the manuscript edited and acquired an agent at the same time. It didn’t take long for me to realize that the agent had entirely too much on her agenda to represent me effectively, so, after four months or so, I dissolved our relationship. As far as Genesis Press is concerned, it seems as if my manuscript got lost in a black whole. I never heard back from them, but later on I was told that there was a shift in personnel, so, there could be a plethora of reasons for the break in communication. Anyway, I took it as a sign for me to follow my heart. This resulted in the birth of my own imprint, Queen Publications.
SORMAG: Do you think an agent is necessary?
PASCASCIO: Many authors have gotten contracts without an agent, however, agents are often instrumental in helping authors land contracts with the large publishing houses. So, do I think an agent is necessary… most often they are, if you’re trying to land a major publishing contract with one of the big-name publishers.
SORMAG: What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
PASCASCIO: Wow, what an engaging question. I wish non-writers would know and understand the painstaking process of producing quality literature. Writing, editing, rewriting, deleting and even starting again and again- the entire process can take months. It’s not easy, so, the net time you read a book, understand that it was a labor of love. Even if you don’t like the book, at least give the author credit for trying.
SORMAG: Do you have any promotional tips for writers?
PASCASCIO: Network, network, network. Also, various reader and writer yahoo groups are great places to promote your work. And it is essential for you to be open to helping others promote their work… remember, what you make happen for others- others will make happen for you.
SORMAG: What is a favorite book from your childhood?
PASCASCIO: When I was very young, for some reason, I loved Curious George. Then by the time I was a teenager, I was hooked on The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. That book is a classic and its subject matter transcends age groups.
SORMAG: What was the last book to keep you up at night reading it?
PASCASCIO: Of course, fiction is my first love, but there are also some great non-fiction books out there. The last book that kept me up at night reading was a non-fiction by the title of The Fourth Dimension by Dr. David Yonggi Cho.
SORMAG: What resources do you use on the net?
PASCASCIO: I use various resources that provide news and insight into what is going in the reader and writer communities. Some of these sites are blacknews.com, msnbc.com, yahoo.com, sormag.com, aalbc.com, ebonyreaders.com and various book club websites.
SORMAG: How can readers get in contact with you?
PASCASCIO: Mail: Queen Publications, P.O. Box 496 Antioch, IL 60002
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