Claret knew when Red was drizzling simple syrup over lemon cake, she needed to make a line of vanilla-extras. The only author sweet enough to pull off lemon pound cake is Christine Nolfi. With a second novel out since the last time she was in the M3 Coffee Shoppe, Red had plenty to ask Christine about repeat performances, marketing and public relations.
M3: There are a number of the M3 Readers who follow you on Twitter. For the newcomers, give us a quick look into who you are.
CN: Some writers are gifted with an unusual life and I’m certainly one of those. I’ve lived in Ohio, Virginia, California, Utah and now South Carolina. In college, I was featured on the front page of the Houston Postfor a lark that erased all my debt. I first met my four adopted children in the sweltering heat of the tropics. I helped build several companies and was lucky enough to earn a living doing what I love best—writing—in a PR firm I owned.
In 2004, I made the wisest and most irrational decision of my life—I began writing fiction full-time. All those years of hard work pay off daily in sweet notes and comments by readers. Please continue the mail, tweets and comments on Facebook, Goodreads and other sites. I cherish your support and love chatting with readers.
M3: With all you do, Christine, you make it very simple. We have done all the pleasantry, nuts and bolts, so I want to focus on taking the path again. What made this trip through the publishing obstacle course?
CN: Writing the second book in a series—or in this case, the prequel to Treasure Me—was certainly easier. The feisty and often hilarious secondary characters were already in place. Many readers were familiar with the fictional town of Liberty, Ohio and the sole restaurant, The Second Chance Grill. And I enjoyed the added benefit of notes from readers asking, “Will you please finish the next book? I’m waiting for the next installment!”
M3: I sympathize. Much. We all know haste makes waste in terms of the time we spend rewriting. Can you impart some practical advice for authors preparing a subsequent book in a series?
CN: Get your facts straight. Some readers will chew through several series books in a short amount of time. They’ll notice if you’ve changed a character’s eye color or a landmark has moved to the other end of town.
M3: It is why I praise beta readers for the time they invest memorizing all the details. Let’s talk about some of the ways different for a second book are good. Want to start with marketing strategy?
CN: Great question, especially since everything has changed. After USA Today selected Treasure Me as one of the best of the independent novels, readers began to seek out my books. There’s now a Goodreads thread you can join if you’d like to discuss the Liberty series with other readers. I connect more often with readers on many sites. Several cross-promotion events are in the works with other authors. And I’ve begun advertising all three books, although nothing beats word-of-mouth from one reader to the next.
M3: As I recall, Treasure Me went KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). Are you going to repeat?
CN: It certainly worked for Treasure Me—shot the book to #8 on the Amazon Free List and resulted in thousands of downloads. But I don’t plan to use the program again anytime soon. All three of my novels enjoy stellar reviews by book review sites; the praise tends to build my readership.
M3: Readers are the reason any of is write. Otherwise, we would all be diaryists. *giggles* On that note, tell me about the relationship you have built with the members at Goodreads.
CN: Nothing compares. GoodReads is a white gloves and party manners site brimming with engaging authors and the sweetest readers on the planet. Every week I spent several hours chatting with readers through direct message or on threads. And not just about my books—I’m also an avid reader and love picking up ideas for works to add to my TBR list.
M3: My tower of being read fell and nearly squashed the dog. Any chance you are going to take a break?
CN: Not on your life. From now until March 2013, I’ve committed to several ad campaigns, blog tours, a host of features on book sites—and I’m hoping to release my fourth novel, a stand-alone romantic suspense, before Christmas. Not that this feels like work. Writing fiction is a joy.
M3: I cannot say a word. What do you have in the WIP folder?
M3: If we put it to a poll around here, you are going to be writing the dark one. Since just your WIP list is indicative of your flexibility, what makes Second Chance Grill different from the other contemporary fiction currently hitting the stands?
CN: The positive reviews seem to indicate readers are surprised a book that begins on a humorous note can quickly become poignant. There’s an art to carrying a reader through many emotions—from laughter to tears then back again—and each of my novels undergoes countless revisions to strike the perfect balance.
Given the positive reception to both Second Chance Grill and Treasure Me, I plan to write ten books in the series—or more. I’ve already begun the third installment, which pits Liberty’s feisty town matriarch Theodora Hendricks against the nefarious Wish Kaminsky, a character in absentia in Treasure Me. Their interactions are by turns hilarious and deeply moving.
M3: Which is part of what makes your books and characters so memorable. While reviews are on the table, tell me what you think about soliciting pre-release reviews.
CN: For many years I owned a PR firm, and I can tell you from a professional standpoint, authors should seek review prior to release. Book reviewers are busy people. Yes, they may adore your particular brand of fiction, but they have fifty other books waiting for review. Which is why I’m always happy to wait in line. Some reviewers goes to great lengths to post on Amazon the day a book goes live, and I’m forever in their debt.
M3: All of your books have excellent reviews. Let’s wrap this up, it is nearly time for lunch. In 15 words or less, why should the M3 Readers buy Second Chance Grill?
CN: Because you enjoy movies like Steel Magnolias and books like Fried Green Tomatoes.
M3: And these characters are more memorable than those. Great to see you today, Christine.
Dearest M3 Readers,
She offers a plethora of platforms to connect:
Christine is offering a dual pack. Up for grabs are the first two books in the Liberty series: Treasure Me and Second Chance Grill. You can enter everyday, but you only have until Tuesday.
Thank you for your continual support of the talented authors and artist in the M3 Coffee Shoppe.
When you tweet and +1 this post, please use the hastags: #authors #giveaways #freebooks. If you would like to repin any of the Writer’s Spotlight interviews, you are only a click away. Red.
(c) Red Dwyer 2012
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