Welcome to my bar Claudia! What can I pour for you to start?
Thanks, I’d love a decent glass of Napa Cabernet!
You’re practically my neighbor! We met at a multi-author signing event in metro Detroit. Have you done many of those? What did you think of that one? Going to try any more of them?
Overheard at the Detroit Indie Author Mashup in March: "No I don't think we can sneak out for a beer, yet..."
My favorite multi-author event is Printers Row in Chicago. I’ve been three times and would definitely go again if time and finances allowed. I’ve also done Kerrytown and the Detroit Mashup tour where I met you. Author events are a great place to meet other authors and industry folks, and most importantly, readers, so yes, I’m a fan.
Tell Liz fans about your journey to publication—hard? easy? long? short? any advice for newbies?
The journey to publication is grueling, just in terms of nerves. I was fortunate enough to be picked up by a boutique publisher fairly quickly, but the experience was disappointing on many levels. I’ve experienced two small publishers in my short career and am now completely indie. I love the freedom that allows me!
Newbies must “DO THEIR HOMEWORK.” I can’t emphasize that enough. Listen to seasoned authors, editors, conference chairs, agents, etc. when making your decisions. And don’t expect to sell thousands of books out of the gate. Unrealistic expectations can discourage newbies. Also, hire a professional editor. There’s nothing worse than tossing your poorly edited book into the mix. It’s a sure recipe for failure. I could teach an entire class on this, as could you! There are so many “don’ts” to be aware of. There are many traps and many mistakes to be made. Nothing you can’t climb out of, but holding on to more of your dollars is an essential step for authors.
Huh, I'm pretty sure I don't have a whole lot to offer by way of advice other than "don't do all the dumb sh*t I've done (and continue to do)" but you know, it's been "one of those" weeks in my Liz-land. Oh look, empty glass. What’s next for you?
I try to keep my glass half full, so I’ll have more wine, please!
Tell us about your latest book. It’s on my TBR but I have read The Wrong Guy (see below for my thoughts).
Here’s the back cover blurb:
Between the Lines tells the story of three girls who become friends during the racially-charged aftermath of the 1967 Detroit Riots.
Hattie Percha is crushed when the riots start on her tenth birthday, and when she must move away from her treasured childhood home and friends, attending public school for the first time, she’s afraid her life is over. Then, she meets Beverly Jo Nichols, her first black friend, and Crackers, a fearless tomboy. Despite opposition from Hattie’s mother and a racist teacher, the unlikely friends join forces. As the self-proclaimed Dream Girls, they challenge bigotry and intolerance, willing to do whatever it takes to hold onto what’s most precious to them all, their friendship.
What stands out about this middle grades book is that I’ve been visiting schools since its March release and have presented to over 3,000 students. Teachers can contact me through my website, www.claudiawhitsitt.com if they are interested in having me talk to their students about the book and the writing process. I can’t even describe the high we all have after talking writing for an hour!
What inspired you to start writing? What did you do before that?
Since I was a fifth grader, I’ve wanted to write books. I love the complete escape a good story allows and thought it would be entirely cool to be able to give that gift to a reader. My fifth grade stories were short though, I had no idea how conflict pushed a story forward, so wrote mostly Cinderella tales, hoping my own Prince Charming would show up while I was writing! (Liz: He did, by the way and he is one awesome coffee-fetcher!)
When I was raising my family, I wrote my kids letters all the time, on their birthdays, their first days of school, their graduations, their marriages.
Friends always told me I should write a novel, partly because I’ve led such a crazy life, but when an incident arose twenty years ago, I knew I’d eventually sit down and get a story on paper—the story was just too good to ignore. The bizarre situation began with my husband’s identity theft. Years after having his passport stolen, a woman showed up at parent-teacher conferences (I was a teacher for 37 years before becoming a full-time author!) and claimed I was married to her husband. I fictionalized the story and the result was my first mystery/suspense, Identity Issues.
And a nightcap—what’s your poison?
You’re a great bartender! I’ll have a Bailey’s on the rocks, please!
Bio: Award-winning author Claudia Whitsitt began publishing her work in 2011. She loves writing as much as anything and believes that everyone should find their passion and spend time doing what they love. When she isn't reading or writing, you can find her outdoors—walking with her BFF, swimming laps, pulling weeds, sitting with her hubby on the deck and enjoying a quiet evening. She's also happiest when she's spending time with her grown children, doing the things they did so many years ago--playing board games, cooking, eating, and laughing together.
Buy Links for
Between The Lines:
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1w12Ub4
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1FGsioO
Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/1H4RqDK
Nook US: http://bit.ly/18MiuMR
Nook UK: http://bit.ly/1H7quXt
iTunes US: http://apple.co/1EyQUOi
iTunes UK: http://apple.co/1OaxXH4
iTunes CA: http://apple.co/1xCIQXK
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1I6eFOQ
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1MQWCiq
Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/1bjZI0N
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1I6fs2d
Identity Issues, Intimacy Issues, and Internal Issues are only available on Amazon.
The Wrong Guy:
Facebook: Claudia Whitsitt, Author
Blog Tour Link and contest entry:
And now....A Liz Review of "The Wrong Guy," By Claudia Whitsitt:
(I purchased a copy of this book from the author at the Detroit Indie Author Mashup)
I love reading (and writing) books set in places where I've lived. I think it gives a story more bite or backbone and allows me to relate more to what's happening to the characters. The Wrong Guy is set in Ypsilanti, Michigan, home to Eastern Michigan University. I live about equa-distant between Ann Arbor and Ypsi now that I've downsized and spend just as much time there as I do/did in A2. Ms. Whitsitt does a lovely job creating a realistic setting for this re-telling of a true story about a campus murder.
Her way of re-telling is through the eyes of a young co-ed, Katie, who's trying to navigate the choppy waters of high school to college transition and all that represents to a girl with a firm Catholic background. When she finds herself caught in the middle of not only her first romantic relationship but the investigation when another co-ed is murdered, even though the supposed perpetrator of the first murder is behind bars, her world is turned inside out.
It's an incredibly creative way to give perspective on a story that I know rocked a community to its core in the late sixties. I highly recommend it for anyone who likes mysteries, or just a plain-old, well-crafted novel. Congrats on this one! I'm off to grab another Claudia Whitsitt novel!
Liz gives The Wrong Guy her highest rating: 5 Cheers!