Monday, October 26, 2015

Interview with Abby Bardi, THE SECRET LETTERS

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book?
When thirty-seven-year-old slacker-chef Julie Barlow's mother dies, her older sister Pam finds a cache of old letters from someone who appears to be their mother's former lover. The date stamped on the letters combined with a difficult relationship with her father leads Julie to conclude that the letters' author was a Native American man named J. Fallingwater who must have been her real father.

Inspired by her new identity, Julie uses her small inheritance to make her dream come true: she opens a restaurant called Falling Water that is an immediate success, and life seems to be looking up. Her sister Norma is pressuring everyone to sell their mother's house, and her brother Ricky is a loveable drunk who has yet to learn responsibility, but the family seems to be turning a corner.
Then tragedy strikes, and Julie and her siblings have to stick together more than ever before. With all the secrets and setbacks, will Julie lose everything she has worked so hard for?

Do you have a favorite character?

I love all the characters in The Secret Letters because I have lived with them for a long time, so they’ve come to seem real to me, but my favorite it Julie, the narrator. I love the way she isn’t necessarily the sharpest tack in the box, but she cares so much about her family and her restaurant. She’s all heart.

How long before you got your offer of representation/your first contract? Was it for your first novel?
By the time I got my first book contract, for my first novel The Book of Fred, I was already on my third agent. My first two agents had repped two other novels but had not been able to sell them, though one came close. They were both amazing agents, but it’s a tricky business.

Are you currently under a traditional publishing contract for future books?

I have loved working with HarperCollins Australia! They’ve really done a wonderful job, and they all seem to be incredibly nice. They plan to publish my next novel, Double-Take, in March 2016.

Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?

I belonged to a group for a long time some years ago, and while we no longer meet, I often talk one or two of them into critiquing my writing via email. Even when they don’t actually read things, I still hear their voices in my head. They’re all wonderful writers and critics. Recently, I’ve been sharing work with two of my best friends from high school, also very gifted writers and readers, though we tend to focus on poems, since they’re shorter.

What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?

I write every single morning, preferably before anyone else is awake. Even my dog is still asleep when I write. I crave total silence and solitude.

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?

Yes! Itunes and Kobo.

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?

I’m on Twitter, but I tend to spend way too much time on Facebook.

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?

I find it hard to juggle everything I have to do with writing—for example, I should be grading papers right now, and then I have to give my dog a flea bath. But I try to write every single morning, without fail. It’s that concept of paying yourself first.

Besides writing, do you have any other passions?

Yes! I am passionate about teaching (I teach writing and literature), my family, my dog, Bollywood films and music, and belly dance.

What’s next for you?

In addition to the novel coming out in March, I am working on two other novels. I’m always writing!

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Abby Bardi is the author of THE BOOK OF FRED. She grew up in Chicago, went to college in California, then spent a decade teaching English in Japan and England. She currently teaches at a college in Maryland and lives in historic Ellicott City with her husband and dog.

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