Friday, August 18, 2017

Interview with Michelle Jester, THE FUNERAL FLOWER

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers?
Yes, I did try the traditional route initially. I sent out query letters to agents and publishers.

How long before you got your offer of representation? Was it for your first novel?
I heard from several agents around the three week mark, which I felt was encouraging. I didn’t get overly excited though, mainly because I somewhat understood the process a bit and for one reason or another on both sides, neither really worked out. Either I was too unwavering or they were. So, I basically shelved the book after that until around the eleventh month when I received the first call from a publisher. It was one of my favorite publishers (!!) who had been forwarded one of my query letters from one of those agents (who is now a dear friend). After that, two other publishers contacted me.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish your book?
The main factor which pushed me to self-publish was because of the strong “opinions” from the agents/publishers. One said I shouldn’t include so much God content, while another said I shouldn’t include so much harsh subject matter. Having to exclude either of those elements really made my book no longer mine. “The best chance your book has,” my husband said one day, “is to be what it is.” So, on June 19, 2016, I started the journey to self-publish my first novel, The Funeral Flower. Its debut was a year and a day later on June 20, 2017.

What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?
One of my most important ‘processes’ is to wear rings that have something to do with the story. For The Funeral Flower I had two rings, one a cameo style with a carnation and the other one was just a frilly, white carnation. As far as music or silence, it differs from scene to scene and day to day.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
Yes, four. It was an incredible team and I found each editor offered a ‘specialty’ or something they really excelled at.

Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
The paperback is through Barnes and Noble, ebook through Kindle, Nook, iBooks, and Kobo. Several independent booksellers are also carrying it in their stores and on their sites; however I do not have the full list of those. Here are the short links:

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
My advice is to write your own way. Remember that everyone has different writing styles like we all have different fashion styles. We may be influenced by designers or others who wear clothing we like, but we don’t mirror them fully. We each have our own place in this world. SO BE YOURSELF and let your work reflect that.

Besides writing, do you have any other passions?
I try to fall in love with as many things in life as I can. My top passions though are photography, nature, reading and people. 

Some fun facts about you, which do you prefer –  (I really am the worst at answering these kind of questions)
dogs or cats? Dogs
Chocolate or vanilla? Depends on what it is. Ice cream: vanilla. Candy: chocolate.
Coffee or Tea? LOVE THEM BOTH!
Talk or Text? Depends. Text is often preferable unless it’s an emergency, a serious topic or a confidential one. However, sometimes I just need to connect and talk.
Day or Night? LOVE THEM BOTH!

What’s next for you?
We just wrapped the first part of filming the book trailer for Love, Cutter and the novel will soon be off to editing!

The Funeral Flower
Michelle Jester
Publication date: June 20th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult

Devastated by the death of her grandfather, six-year-old Kelly Rodgers barely manages to cope with the profound loss. Already facing issues at school, she finds herself spiraling deeper into despair, when a fateful interaction through the fence in her backyard gives her hope. In the years following, Kelly realizes that life’s tragedies can be dealt with through acceptance; until another series of agonizing events leaves her heart in pieces.
Finding herself thrown into new surroundings, Kelly embraces her life and resolves to never fall in love. That decision is easy to keep until her junior year when she is drawn by an unavoidable attraction to the new guy, tormented James Delaney. The moment he looks up at her and smiles, her body betrays her. And he notices. She is determined to avoid him, but soon Kelly is forced to face the inevitable truth: She doesn’t want to avoid James… and he won’t let her.
Even though tragedy always follows love.
This book is intended for mature audiences due to critical subject matter. Note: Due to mature content recommended for Ages 17+

Author Bio:
I am a hopeless romantic (I think this is the most important thing to know about me). In addition, I live in Greenwell Springs, Louisiana with my husband and high school sweetheart. Together we have a son and daughter.
Throughout my life writing and photography have been my main creative outlets. Especially when I am stressed, I know I can go to either of those things and pour out that anxiety into something good and productive.

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