At the M3 Coffee Shoppe, Red finished up in the kitchen and headed down the hall to the office to check comments when she caught her reflection in the mirror at the end of the hall. So, maybe answering some questions for the M3 Readers about T3 and the upcoming books was not a totally bad idea.
M3: So, what does the book jacket say about you?
AMD: Ann Marie “Red” Dwyer is first and foremost a mother. After that, her titles in order of importance are grandmother, daughter, sister, friend. She occupies her time, not otherwise consumed by family, freelance writing. At the time of the publishing of this book, she is finishing her second fiction novel, a book of poetry and a parenting book on grieving the loss of a newborn.
She lives with and homeschools her autistic, mid-life crisis toddlers in South Carolina. She blogs incessantly at M3 – Momma’s Money Matters about blogging, psychology, parenting and money…good advice delivered with a bit of snark and humor…and the occasional poem. She supports the South Carolina Autism Society and encourages everyone to contribute to autism research. You could be the missing piece to the autism puzzle.
M3: That’s a mouthful. Anyone to thank?
M3: The number one question seems to be: How do you find time?
AMD: I do not lose it. I have two lists each day: One I will do and one I may have time to accomplish. The first holds things like children’s school and attempting to overcome my domestic handicap. The other holds deadlines. Very firm deadlines. When I get to it, I pursue those items without distraction and until completion. I cover it in Chapter Six: Discipline.
M3: Sounds tough. So, the M3 Readers would not be interested in your day job?
AMD: The M3 Readers are my day job.
M3: Has the economy changed how you opeate?
AMD: Only on M3. I monetized the site so it can help carry its own water. Other than that, I write because it is what I was meant to do. Ask me that again once I have sold my first million copies.
M3: Let’s talk about T3. How is it different from all the other toddler books on the market?
AMD: It is the only one which opens the door to the similarity between the behavior of toddlers and teenagers. It is also the only one which parallels toddler behavior and that of office mates, friends and mates. Some of the non-parents who have read it tried to convince me to name it something besides Taming the Terrible Twos: A Parents’ Survival Guide.
M3: Another garlic pod. In all your diversity, what makes this close to your heart?
AMD: Firsthand experience. Not many parents have toddlers and teens simultaneously. Even fewer have a spouse as a model for the comparison.
M3: Sounds like a recipe for anti-anxiety medication. Have you had any triumph over the traditional industry?
AMD: Selling 1,000 copies of the book in three months the old fashioned way before the industry realized there was a large market for ebooks. I released this book three years ago without the help of Amazon or any of the current online ebook publishers. I emailed the copies by hand to those who purchased it. Very few people sell that many, that fast and without help.
M3: So, how important is your social media marketing?
AMD: Integral to success. Smashing people over the head with a book is not polite in person or in the virtual world. Creating buzz without begging for sales an art form.
AMD: The next release is going to be Mantra’s book. After that I am teetering between releasing a fiction or one of the grief books. Based on events IRL, I will likely release Killing Us Softly after Mantra for a Muse. That leaves two other fiction books and one other grief book before I begin the flash fiction book.
M3: That is enough to drive most people to drink. Do you ever go on hiatus?
AMD: Yes. I took off two years after T3. When I sat back down in front of the screen for the first time, I paid for it. I wrote for nearly two weeks without reprieve. Now, I schedule time off in smaller doses. It makes for less arthritis meds.
In the last 25 years, I have never been at a true loss for words. What I write may not be what everyone expects or even wants to read, but it is no less what I need to write. Taking a break gives me a chance to process some of what I need to write so it comes across coherently. This reduces the number of rewrites substantially.
M3: An exercise of working smart, not hard. You know a lot of hardworking people. How do you feel about your colleagues?
AMD: Fruit salad.
AMD: Everyone has a different recipe for fruit salad. Some people put in tropical fruits, others citrus, still others firm fruits. Then, there are those who think it is not fruit salad without marshmallows. My colleagues are always a bowl of fruit salad. Even those who are not to my taste on their own, lend flavor to the salad, making the experience a sweet one.
M3: I think you need a break. Should I even ask if you have advice for a newbie?
AMD: Yes, I do. Yes, you should. My best advice is to find a mentor. No. Do not read everything ever published by someone you may never meet, and if you do, who will never answer your questions. If you only find someone who is only a few miles ahead on the road, listen to what they can tell you about the rocks in the path.
Then, ignore those who tell you not to be true to yourself. If you love your subject, your characters, your plot, do not change them to suit someone else. Listen to the Grammar Nazis: They are making your work better. Listen to your beta readers: They are telling you what they understand. Tell the editors who think you should have made the left in Albuquerque to step off.
M3: Interesting mix. Be your own agent and tell the M3 Readers in 15 words or less why they should by your book.
AMD: I am my own agent, funny that. “Look into an uncracked crystal ball for why your toddler (teen, spouse) acts that way.”
M3: You know everyone is dying for me to get a secret.
AMD: I can imagine.
M3: So, nothing?
AMD: Do not tell the M3 Readers I never rewrite. It would destroy hundreds of years of literature classes. I prefer an adaptation of a construction adage: Writing it right the first time is far easier than rewriting. This is a big part of my time secret. If you do not have time to write it, how can you possibly find time to rewrite it? I am going to stop before this becomes a post.
M3: It already is.
Dearest M3 Readers,
You are the most supportive audience. You are already on M3, so take a moment to check out Taming the Terrible Twos: A Parents’ Survival Guide. The ebook is available on Amazon and the paperback is available on CreateSpace. Follow along for news about new books on Twitter and Facebook with the widgets in the right sidebar.
If you are interested in an autographed copy of the book, let me know in the comments.
When you tweet or +1 this post, please use the hashtags #authors, #books and #WW.
Enter to win a copy of T3. You can enter each day!
(c) Red Dwyer 2012
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