Thursday, October 20, 2011

Interview with Linda Frank

Briefly describe your journey in writing your book. 
My journey lasted over 20 years since my mother told me about a man she met during World War II. I’d wanted to write nonfiction about him—a magazine piece or biography—but doors were literally closed when I sought to interview people who would have been primary sources of information, including his widow. Not knowing whether this was due to simply privacy concerns or something more mysterious, I created a plot around the few bits I knew, and one of the main characters is someone like what I know of this man. But the primary protagonist is a 60 year old woman, because I found it hard to write in the voice of a 96 year old man and because I relate to women “of a certain age” and know they’re great readers! The story involves a unique twist on Nazi art looting, and my journey included significant research on this topic since long before the Internet and Google. I have book shelves and a huge clipping file to prove it!

What genre are your books?  Do you write in more than one genre?
 AFTER THE AUCTION, my first novel is mystery and historical and a woman’s story and Jewish-themed, so I guess its genre is hybrid. But I’m thrilled that some readers consider it gripping enough to be called a thriller. I’m writing another, a sequel of sorts with the same main characters, and I also write blog and magazine pieces.
Did you query agents and traditional publishers?  Did you receive an offer of representation or a book contract?
I’ve queried, pitched (and been told my pitch was excellent), submitted to no avail.  And continue to do so—somewhat half-heartedly—as I write the second. Ultimately, I self-published the print version of my book and would do so again, if necessary, rather than query and pitch endlessly. I’d like to think I have 20 years to spend on creating the second and further books but I can’t count on it.

What factors influenced your decision to sign with Untreed Reads?
I wanted the ebook version to be accessible in formats for all ereaders, and Untreed Reads offered this without my having to personally upload and trust my less than stellar tech capabilities. Also, in the interest of full disclosure, I had a personal relationship with the company’s owners and wanted to give them the business.

How involved are you during the creative process for your book’s cover design?
I was referred to my cover designer through Untreed Reads partner, KD Sullivan, even before the publication of the print version, which I brought out a few months before the ebook (next time I’d aim for simultaneous publication). I was quite involved in a back-and-forth online process, though the designer and I never met in person.

Do you plan to self-publish any other books or will you stay with Untreed Reads?
I will stay with Untreed Reads for the ebook of my next novel but will also bring out a print version, self-published, if necessary.

What kinds of social media [twitter, facebook, webpage, blog, writing forums] are you involved with trying to garner attention for your book(s)?
I tweet, maintain both personal and “fan” Facebook pages, as well as blogging on my web site and on other sites that accept my pitches.

How do you feel about the world of digital publishing?  Do you think it will replace traditional publishing one day?
I think digital publishing is a phenomenon that’s here to stay. However, I can’t believe that traditional print publishing will ever completely cease to exist.

What is the biggest thing you’ve learned during your journey as an author?
It’s all about the marketing, which I guess I knew, but also people actually LIKE my book, which came as a total shock, given the amount of rejection I encountered in the process.

Do you have any advice for new authors?
Just DO IT!

What’s next for you?
As I mentioned, I’m writing a second novel, a sequel with many of the same characters. It’s set mainly in China and involves the history of Jews there. I’m also working on a nonfiction book or series of essays—not sure yet—relating to China from my personal family perspective (my son is a long-term ex-pat married to a Chinese woman).