Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Ann McCauley Interview, by Carol Smallwood

1. How did Runaway Grandma gain the seal of: Top 100 Book Club Choices?

It happened about 8 months after the book’s release and on its own momentum because several book clubs around the country were reading it at the same time. These book clubs used Bookmovement.com to record and rate the books they were reading. Of course, I’d done a considerable amount of marketing.

2. How is one nominated for the Foreword Book of the Year Award?

I placed an ad for Runaway Grandma in ForeWord, a literary magazine, they read the book and nominated it for Book of the Year in Women’s Issues, since it deals with elder financial abuse. Another very nice surprise!

3. When did you begin writing for publication?

I had done some freelance work for the local newspapers and a few church and nursing journals while still working as an RN. I stopped working full time in 2002. I’d been trying to write my first novel, Mother Love, for five years, in my spare time and had only completed 40 pages! It took me nine months of writing at least four to five hours a day, five days a week to complete the first draft.

4. What are you working on now?

Actually, I am in the end of preparing a revised edition of Mother Love. The ownership of the novel reverted back to me last year, but through a series of stressful errors I discovered I did not own the cover or the formatting, only the words! My grandson, a college art student, created my new cover which I like it much better than the old one anyway…and then after the reformatting was completed, I ended up doing major edits since my writing has improved considerably since the early days. Initially I only planned to make it available for ebooks but now it will be available online in paperback on B&N and Amazon in a few weeks.
I also have a collection of short stories, almost ready for a publisher and another novel in second draft stage.

5. I am really enjoying reading your novel, Mother Love. Can you tell us how it
came about?

I had the idea in my head for many years before it became a novel. I didn’t need a story outline because I’d worked out nearly everything in my head. I do not get bored, when I am in situations that hold little interest for me, I d simply tune out with a pleasant expression, nod my head occasionally when someone looks at me questioningly and plot my stories! As a young girl, I’d gone through a stage of wanting to be a missionary, and later a Peace Corps volunteer. When I read that Jimmy Carter’s mother was a Peace Corps volunteer…and slowly over the years it evolved.

6. Mother Love is 111,764 words. How did you manage keeping it such a page

I’m glad most of Mother Love’s readers felt it was a page turner; I tried to maintain a pace that would not allow the reader’s mind to drift away from my characters and their problems. Barbara, her parents, mother in-law, all had their foibles but it made them more real. Family was everything to them as it is to me.
Being the oldest of seven children, I especially enjoyed writing the parts of the sibling interactions because that’s kind of how it is. We all live in different parts of the U.S. and yet when there is a family crisis of any kind, even though we may not have spoken to each other in weeks or even months, we pull together, irritating and loving each other all at the same time!
One day my sister called while I was writing Mother Love, and asked, “How are the kids?”
I answered, “Do you mean the real ones or the ones from my book?”

7. What suggestions do you have for writers just starting out?

First of all, if a person wants to write, he/she must write! I have met many people since my books n have been published who say things like, “Oh I should/could write a book with everything that’s happened to me.”
Secondly, writers must be readers. Read all kind of books and a wide variety of authors. Also read books about writing.
Finally all writers need a support group of other writers. It may take some time to find the right one for you.

Carol Smallwood co-edited (Molly Peacock, foreword) Women on Poetry: Tips on Writing, Teaching and Publishing by Successful Women Poets (McFarland, 2012); Compartments: Poems on Nature, Femininity and Other Realms (Anaphora Literary Press, 2011) was nominated for the Pushcart. Women Writing on Family: Tips on Writing, Teaching and Publishing, (Key Publishing House, 2012) is her most recent book. Bringing Arts into the Library, (American Library Association) is forthcoming.

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