Bon vivant Alana Siegel has been a feature in the M3 Coffee Shoppe. Red spun her over to a table to a quieter chat about what she has been busy doing and to discuss The Charm.
M3: The M3 Readers need to know who you are so give me your press release as an introduction.
AS: Alana Siegel was raised on Long Island, New York. She graduated from the Leonard N. Stern School of Business at New York University. Since early childhood she has loved to read fantasy books. Add a little romance and a happy ending and in her eyes you have a perfect afternoon of reading.
M3: Before we go any further, any one you need to thank?
AS: I would like to thank my family for their unrelenting support of my ideas and inspiring me with their own dedication and passion for projects. A special thank you to my PR and editing teams for taking a break from their day jobs to lend their creativity and advice, inspiring my dynamic characters, and enduring the countless hours I talked about the book. Also, I would like to thank the other indie authors in the world for sharing their marketing knowledge and guiding me through the scary jungle of social media. Lastly, I would like to thank my readers for taking the journey with me.
M3: I see you have your Pulitzer speech already prepared! Tell the M3 Readers how you got your start in the publishing world.
AS: Reading has always been my passion. I love getting lost in a fantasy adventure with characters who feel like old friends. I cherish books like Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Twilight, and Percy Jackson that transport you to another world filled with creative troubles and inventive stories, but are also relatable. I began writing The Charm because I had a story of my own. I wanted to extend the reading adventure and share it with others.
M3: I know your day job is a non-writing gig. How do you find the time to write?
AS: Writing has always been a hobby that was maintained on long train rides in and out of Manhattan between the hours spent at my day job. I wrote the novel, The Charm, by writing emails to myself on an iPad. Then, I would piece it all together over the weekends.
M3: Ingenious! Some of our techies are probably taking notes. What other advice can you give newbies to the field?
AS: If you turn writing into a hobby instead of a job, you will find success. Enjoy the journey, and never give up.
M3: In the non-writing job world, has the economy changed the way you do things?
AS: Yes, I am grateful for the things I have, including a job to pay the bills and time to spend on my passions, like writing.
M3: Excellent attitude! What do you have in the works at the moment?
AS: Olivia Hart and the Gifted Program is a series that follows high school kids with special abilities as they deal with everyday teenage drama and supernatural plot twists. The good news is that readers don’t have to say goodbye to Olivia and her friends once The Charm is over. I have completed a first draft for book two which I hope to release this summer, and a general story arc for book three.
M3: What makes The Charm so close to your heart?
AS: The Charm is close to my heart because I enjoyed the entire process of its creation. I loved scribbling emails to myself when an idea popped into my head. I loved talking about characters and plots with my friends and family. And I loved sharing the story with readers.
M3: How is The Charm different from other books in the genre?
AS: The characters are easy to identify with, and they take you back to the days of high school. Everyone made it through the melodramatic teenage years and experienced life changes because of it. Most importantly, Olivia Hart has the ability to compel people with her mind. Imagine how different high school would have been if you had the ability to charm your way out of trouble.
M3: Secret time. What is it you never want me to tell the M3 Readers about the book?
AS: Many of the characters and situations are based (loosely) on people and events in my life. For example, in high school, my ex-boyfriend brought flowers to a girl in the same class as me, just to make me jealous. (It didn’t work!). Secondly, the book was originally supposed to be about descendents of Greek gods. When I mentioned this idea to a friend, they said, “Oh, like the Percy Jackson books?” I quickly read Rick Riordan’s masterpieces and switched up my story, but there are still mythological themes weaved in.
M3: Oh, that is hysterical. “Mum” is the word. (Giggles) Let’s talk shop. Do you think the publishing industry looks at self-produced material as inferior?
AS: Yes, but the publishing industry is changing for the better. Great books can now be read by the masses without getting tangled up in the politics of the publishing industry. With websites to post book reviews, the end users (the readers) are now the judges of a book, instead of the large publishing houses.
M3: At least the authors are listening to the clients! How do you feel about your colleagues?
AS: Joining Twitter, I was able to contact thousands of authors, and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that they were welcoming and willing to help. They retweeted my novel to their followers, shared my story on their blog, and passed along helpful tips and advice. I have only good things to say about my colleagues.
M3: Your turn to address your clientele head on. Tell the M3 Readers in 15 words or less why they need to buy The Charm.
AS: This fantasy book is a pleasure to read, full of smart and thoughtful surprises.
Dearest M3 Readers,
Please take a few moments to check out Alana Siegel, her new title, The Charm. Visit Alana’s blog to learn more about the author and her book. Follow her on Twitter for the latest on the series, Olivia Hart and the Gifted Program.
Thank you for your continued support of the talented M3 Coffee Shoppe authors. When you tweet and +1 this post, please use the hashtags #authors, #books and #WW.
(c) Ann Marie Dwyer 2012
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