Who’s That Indie Author? Margaret Rodenberg

Margaret Rodenberg

Author Name: Margaret Rodenberg

Genre: Historical Fiction

Book: Finding Napoleon – it’s based partly on Napoleon Bonaparte’s own attempt to write a novel and costars his little-known last love, Albine de Montholon.

Are you a full-time author? If not, what’s your side gig? I’m an escapee from the business world who’s thrilled to be a full-time author.

Favorite author/books: A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald are three perfect novels that I reread every few years. For more recent releases, I loved Stephanie Dray’s The Women of Chateau Lafayette, Louis Bayard’s Courting Mr. Lincoln, and Emily St John Mandel’s The Glass Hotel.

What experiences or people have influenced your writing the most? I lived in France as a young teen, which sparked my passion for travel, history, and language. Plus, I come from a bookish family and took it for granted that I’d write novels.

Do you keep a writing journal and if so, how do you use it? No, but during my travels, I jot down notes, collect mementos, and take a ton of photos.

Do you belong to a writers’ group? If so, describe your experience: When I was starting out, I lucked into a supportive circle of talented women writers. We met in person every three weeks for ten years. I still have a weekly check-in with one of them, and others read drafts for me. I also have a remote group of insightful writers whose monthly critiques are invaluable.

Are you up with the sun or do you burn the midnight oil? I prefer a leisurely awakening so midmorning coffee to midnight oil are best for me.

How do you get over a writing slump? I don’t have “slumps” so much as distractions. When I do get frustrated with a project, I switch to a different aspect of the work—marketing, researching, or organizing—or to a different section of the manuscript.

Do you prefer writing dialogue or descriptive passages? Oh, I love dialogue—that’s where the drama happens. Plus, I’m a theatre buff, so I like the talky stuff.

What are you working on now? A French Revolution-era dystopian novel about social justice that speaks to our time.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about writing and publishing a book? Do it! But make the writing itself—the immense intellectual gratification—your primary reward. Be realistic about the publishing industry and the financial rewards.

Do you listen to podcasts? If so, which podcasts do you find the most interesting? I listen to reruns of the day’s cable news shows, book podcasts such as write-minded, The NYT Book Review or Book Riot, and French and Spanish language lessons. Mostly, I listen to audio books.

Favorite escape: Going anywhere with my husband. We’re as happy in a Paris art museum as we are kayaking in British Columbia or hiking in our local national park.

Have you ever tried Kombucha tea? Yes, but I’m not an enthusiast.

Do you prefer a couch with pillows or no pillows? If the couch is deep, I want a pillow for support, but, please, don’t surround me with  them.

Would you rather rake leaves, shovel snow or weed? Shoveling snow on a clear, crisp day. Love the invigorating workout!

Favorite mask – disposable paper, plain fabric, colorful print or something else? I recently bought an adjustable gaiter with a slot for disposable filters (double ‘em up!) that I really like.

Biggest writing challenge since Covid-19: Initially, I had difficulty focusing, because I was anxious about the future. Now, I burrow into my writing and try to forget the outside world.

Website and social media links:
Website: margaretrodenberg.com
Facebook Author Page: @MargaretRodenberg.author
Instagram: margaretrodenberg
Twitter: @MargaretRodenberg
Email: margaret@mrodenberg.com


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Who’s That Indie Author? Lorelei Brush

Lorelei Brush

Author Name: Lorelei Brush

Genre: I write both Upmarket Women’s Fiction and Historical Fiction.

Books: Uncovering is my debut novel. Its story: When the head of her Pakistani family slips from fundamentalism to terrorism, young nurse Shahnaz struggles between her religion, which prizes obedience, and her passion to help pregnant women deliver healthy babies. Her saga uncovers the power of women in a society ordered by men.

My second novel, Chasing the American Dream, is set in 1955 Cleveland. David’s gaze catches the martial stride of a brutal ex-S.S. Major he’d sent to Nuremberg. David reverts to habits he mastered in the Office of Strategic Services in a quest for justice yet finds himself in a fight with the U.S. government which threatens his own American dream.

Are you a full-time author? If not, what’s your side gig? I’m retired from international development work and embrace the pleasures of writing fiction.

Favorite author/books: I love Kristin Hannah, Susan Meissner, and Kate Quinn and inhale their novels as they are released. I regularly return to Georgette Heyer and Dick Francis.

What experiences or people have influenced your writing the most? My professional editor Holly and a diverse writers’ group.

Do you keep a writing journal and if so, how do you use it? I write down ideas, critiques from my writers group meetings, and research findings.

Do you belong to a writers’ group? If so, describe your experience: I started with 8 others who had taken a year-long course to draft a novel. We pushed each another to decide if the book was worth finishing or not. Three of us are now published. Currently, I work with one other writer to perfect new work and create publicity for the published novels.

Are you up with the sun or do you burn the midnight oil? Up with the sun!

How do you get over a writing slump? I take myself to task: What’s stopping me? Often, it’s an issue I can’t resolve but research can.

Do you prefer writing dialogue or descriptive passages? Dialogue. I can see the scene in my head, shift from the persona on one character into another, and play out the action.

What are you working on now? Dancing in the Moonlight, a story of a young family struggling with their child’s disabilities.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about writing and publishing a book? (1) Spend time on learning your craft. Writing fiction is different from your day job. (2) Find a writers’ group.

Do you listen to podcasts? Only rarely.

Favorite escape: Hiking in Colorado!

Have you ever tried Kombucha tea? No.

Do you prefer a couch with pillows or no pillows? None.

Would you rather rake leaves, shovel snow or weed?  Shovel snow. Love the cold.

Favorite mask? Paper. It’s OK if I lose it.

Biggest writing challenge since Covid-19: Being stuck at home!

Website and social media links:
Website: www.LoreleiBrush.com
Facebook: Author – Lorelei Brush


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Who’s That Indie Author? Susan Blackmon

Susan Blackmon

Author Name: Susan Blackmon

Genre: Historical Fiction

Books: Love in Key West series are generational stories following the vibrant history of Key West, FL. Released books include: Salvaged Love, Love in Key West, Love Again, Enduring Love and Once Upon an Island Christmas.

Are you a full-time author? If not, what’s your side gig? I took a full time leap and it’s paying off. I got two books published last year. Hoping to release book 6 this year. It’s a blessing and a curse. Not as much pressure to write when you don’t feel like it but also no pressure to be as absolutely productive as possible at all times.

Favorite author/books: Oh, my gosh! I have so many favorite authors I can never choose. Names like Laura Ingalls Wilder, L.M. Montgomery, Georgette Heyer, and Jane Austin would start the list but my current favorites are Mimi Matthews, Amanda Cabot, and Fiona Valpy. As for books, I rarely read a book more than once. The exceptions would be the Little House and Anne of Green Gables series and of those Anne of Green Gables would be my favorite. I was amused and sympathetic to all of Anne Shirley’s escapades. I also wished I could be half as bold and daring as her.

What experiences or people have influenced your writing the most? I wouldn’t be writing novels if not for a cruise ship detour that got me hooked on the history of Key West. I’ve dabbled in writing my whole life. I always thought I could write a novel but was never inspired to do so until an unexpected visit to the island, a trolley tour run down of the island history, and a spark of inspiration from the Shipwreck Historium Museum. Salvaged Love started out as just a lark. It was the encouragement of friends and family that brought it to fruition. And now I can’t stop writing.

Do you keep a writing journal and if so, how do you use it? Not really. I’m not much of one for journaling in general. When it comes to the writing process, I use phone notes for the spur of the moment thoughts. I have sticky notes and lists for to do items (real and digital). The rest of it is kept in one tidy program called Liquid Story Binder. It gives me a place to not only write but create with outlines, builders, dossiers, pictures to inspire, and many more tools to craft your thoughts into that next great read.

Do you belong to a writers’ group? If so, describe your experience: At my last job at a big company I had a wonderful group of coworkers interested in writing with two of us self-published and a third on the cusp of it. We started an amazing group that seemed to benefit us all even thought we were at different stages in the process and had a wide variety of interests as well. I miss them. Lately, my time has been jealously guarded for writing so joining another group has not crossed my mind… yet.

Are you up with the sun or do you burn the midnight oil? It used to be only after the sun went down, but now, I’m all over the place. I try to take advantage of any moment of inspiration and every moment of quiet which could be staying up until 3am or rising at 5. Once was both of those at once

How do you get over a writing slump? I used to try to fight my way to the other side but I soon learned the best thing to do was make something creative and especially reading. So often I’ll be reading one thing and get an idea that is so completely unrelated I’m often shaking my head wondering where it came from but thrilled to be inspired again.

Do you prefer writing dialogue or descriptive passages? Depends on which one is coming easily or giving me fits. I like descriptive because I don’t get bogged down by those quotation marks. I soon found out I can’t move forward if something I’ve just done has known errors. My brain doesn’t have an ignore option so I must fix before I can continue writing. On the other hand, dialogue is often more fun.

What are you working on now? The sixth book in the series, Divided Love. It is set during the Civil War. Several interesting events happened in Key West and the closest battles were on the water making for a different take on this epic conflict in our history.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about writing and publishing a book? Don’t let fear stop you. If you’re inspired – write! If you’ve written something you or others believe is good – share it – just make sure you give it a proper polish first. The best part of independent publishing is you don’t have to fit the cookie cutter.

Do you listen to podcasts? If so, which podcasts do you find the most interesting? A very selective few. Mostly Dave Chesson of Kindlepreneur. He gives great info for indies.

Favorite escape: THE BEACH – gotta have my salt & sand fix

Have you ever tried Kombucha tea? Yes, yes I have. Once. A family member was home brewing it. Most disgusting thing I ever saw. Taste? Ok. Not terrible. Not great.

Do you prefer a couch with pillows or no pillows? Love those pillows! But they’ve got to be the right size, supporting the right spot. Beauty and function or they’re history.

Would you rather rake leaves, shovel snow or weed? Of the three – rake leaves but the bagging lawnmower took that job so I’m left with just the weeds and there are plenty of them on my patch of land.

Favorite mask – disposable paper, plain fabric, colorful print or something else? I haven’t invested in anything other than disposable in the continual optimistic hope ‘this too shall pass’ and soon.

Biggest writing challenge since Covid-19: The actual disease has been minimal for my family, many of us have had relatively mild cases, but the lack of what used to be normal health care services has hit hard with my father becoming paralyzed from a compressed disk almost simultaneously with the initial lock down. The result has been I’ve spent a lot more time helping my parents cope with their new reality.

Website and social media links:
Website: susanblackmonauthor.com
Twitter: @SusanBlackmon17
Facebook: @SusanBlackmonAuthor  · Author
Pinterest: Susan Blackmon Author
Goodreads: Susan Blackmon


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Who’s That Indie Author? Angela Paolantonio

Angela Paolantonio

Author Name: Angela Paolantonio

Genre: Memoir/Place-Based Travel Memoir/Women’s Studies

Books: Still Life with Saints (2020), The Ghosts of Italy (2016)

Are you a full-time author? If not, what’s your side gig? No I am not a full-time author. Once a twenty-year resident of Los Angeles life and culture, I have been an artist agent and photo editor/director for national and international advertising and editorial companies. Now in Italy, I’m an English language coach and consultant, while also keeping my other art and photography interests alive as curator and consultant for art and photography exhibits, books, and events in both Italy and the U.S.

Favorite author/books: At the moment my favorite international author is Elena Ferrante. I read her Neapolitan Novels, there are four in all, about a year or two before they hit the USA market. They were recommended by an Italian friend. Ferrante captures the life of Italian women’s experiences beautifully, accurately, in spectacular emotional prose. Other favorite authors or books are too numerous to list!

What experiences or people have influenced your writing the most? As a memoirist, experiences and people are the main influences for my writing.

Do you keep a writing journal and if so, how do you use it? I do not journal, however, I have kept and filled many plain notebooks with experiences, feelings, drawings, and ephemera for years, both in the USA and Italy. They resemble more art journals than writing journals. I have referenced them when writing; they inform me of where I’ve been.

Do you belong to a writers’ group? If so, describe your experience: I do not belong to any writers’ group.

Are you up with the sun or do you burn the midnight oil? I’m still a morning person. But with the help of a good Italian espresso or two I can burn the midnight oil with the best of them!

How do you get over a writing slump? I don’t typically have writing slumps. But to loosen up, I may write a letter or a blog post or do a twenty-minute stream of conscious exercise by hand.

Do you prefer writing dialogue or descriptive passages? I love both.

What are you working on now? I am always taking notes—as I recall my own stories of the many experiences I have had here over the years or listen closely when a neighbor or an acquaintance is telling me theirs. So book three or a screenplay…

What advice would you give to someone thinking about writing and publishing a book? It is one of the most rewarding creative processes I have ever experienced. But it is a longer process than you may think at first. The time you put into it is all your own. Be prepared to be challenged.

Do you listen to podcasts? If so, which podcasts do you find the most interesting?  I have only recently been listening to podcasts due to our sort of global lockdown. Here in Italy we were the first. I love The Michelle Obama Podcast, Dax Shepard on Armchair Expert is great, and I like You and Me Both with Hilary Clinton. I’ve also been a guest on one called The Literary Goddess.

Favorite escape: An LA movie theater for a matinee. A medieval city in Italy. A simple passeggiata.

Have you ever tried Kombucha tea? I made Kombucha tea super moons ago in LA when an artist friend gave me a starter.

Do you prefer a couch with pillows or no pillows? I prefer a big deep couch with no pillows.

Would you rather rake leaves, shovel snow or weed? I’m an East Coast girl who lived for twenty years in LA, so all three.

Favorite mask – disposable paper, plain fabric, colorful print or something else? A plain white, pleated mask officially issued from the Regione di Campania.

Biggest writing challenge since Covid-19: Publishing Still Life With Saints by the end of this year. We did it!

Website and social media links:
Website: angelapaolantonio.com  
Blog: lamericana@blogspot.com
BookLife: Angela Paolantonio
Instagram: AMPaolantonio | @ghostsofitaly


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Who’s That Indie Author? Bruce W. Bishop

Author Name: Bruce W. Bishop

Genre: Historical Fiction / Family Saga

Book: Unconventional Daughters

Are you a full-time author? If not, what’s your side gig? Thank you for asking! Yes, I am, and I still occasionally write freelance articles.

Favorite authors/books: Margaret Atwood, Timothy Findlay, Tom Harpur, A Separate Peace by John Knowles, On Writing by Stephen King

What experiences or people have influenced your writing the most? The first time I imagined becoming a ‘real’ journalist was when I was my high school’s newspaper editor in the mid-1970s. I later sold articles to local and city newspapers which gave me more confidence to continue the craft. But it wasn’t until I became the president of the Travel Media Association of Canada and seeing my byline in national newspapers that I felt I was a bona fide, legitimate writer.

Do you keep a writing journal and if so, how do you use it? I haven’t kept a journal for many years but I normally use a travel diary if I am away for a week or longer.

Do you belong to a writers’ group? If so, describe your experience: I was directly involved with a national writers’ organization, as mentioned above, for some time, and it was one of the most fascinating and enjoyable periods of my life.

Are you up with the sun or do you burn the midnight oil? I suppose as is typical with many Geminis, I do both! But I tend to be up with the sun in the warmer months. I don’t think I do my best writing late at night.

How do you get over a writing slump? It’s funny, but I was talking about this with my brother recently. I don’t normally refer to this as a ‘writer’s block’ (or slump) but more of a ‘writer’s fear’. In other words, will I be able to write something that people actually want to read? When I put myself in the reader’s shoes, I don’t want to disappoint and I want to entertain and/or enlighten, if I possibly can.  

Do you prefer writing dialogue or descriptive passages? Dialogue, for sure. This may harken back to my college days and courses in film theory and screenwriting.

What are you working on now? It’s an interlinked novel with Unconventional Daughters, which I’m calling Unrepentant Sons. One won’t have to have read Daughters in order to enjoy Sons, but some of the characters from the first novel are in the second. It also takes place in the same time period as when the first book finishes (mid-1930s).

What advice would you give to someone thinking about writing and publishing a book? Just do it! It is one of the best decisions I have ever made, and it was the pandemic lockdown that really convinced me to do so. We have such a finite time on earth, and living in a period of major societal and economic change should be enough to convince anyone to at least attempt to write and publish.  Initially, for at least three months, I researched the traditional publishing route, including how to get a literary agent. Then I decided to go the independent route because I didn’t want to waste any more time seeing my novel published, and to me, that’s a big “pro” with self-publishing.

Do you listen to podcasts? If so, which podcasts do you find the most interesting? No, I don’t. I wish I could devote more time for leisure reading and perhaps listening to podcasts. Podcasting is a wonderful medium we could not have envisioned thirty years ago.

Favorite escape:  A deserted beach, anywhere.

Have you ever tried Kombucha tea?  I’ve heard of it, but haven’t tried it yet. Is it savory or sweet? I usually prefer dry or bitter to sweet.

Do you prefer a couch with pillows or no pillows? Pillows, for sure, to barricade myself before a good movie!

Would you rather rake leaves, shovel snow or weed? If I had to do either of the three, I guess I would choose raking leaves, which I did a lot in my past. Living in a city apartment now gives me the freedom not to have rake, shovel or weed!

Favorite mask – disposable paper, plain fabric, colorful print or something else? I’ve tried homemade with fabric, a heavy-duty one that smothers, and finally chose to only use the disposable ones.

Biggest writing challenge since Covid-19: I’m almost afraid to say that there hasn’t been a writing challenge during the pandemic because I have accomplished more since its beginning than in the previous couple of years. I consider myself to be very fortunate in this regard.

Website and social media links:
Website: brucebishopauthor.com
Facebook: @bbishop.writer · Author
Twitter: @Bruce_W_Bishop
Instagram: bruceinhali
Goodreads: Bruce W Bishop
YouTube: Bruce Bishop_Canada


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Who’s That Indie Author? Kaitlyn Jain

Author Name: Kaitlyn Jain

Genre: Non-fiction, travel, memoir

Book: Passports and Pacifiers—Traveling the World, One Tantrum at a Time

Are you a full-time author? If not, what’s your side gig? I spent fifteen years doing marketing and project management in corporate America. As of a few weeks ago, I’m taking a (short?) break to focus on writing, along with overseeing virtual learning.

Favorite author/books: Bill Bryson, Isabelle Allende, Malcolm Gladwell, To Kill a Mockingbird

What experiences or people have influenced your writing the most? I’ve been blessed with great teachers and a fantastic college professor who encouraged my creativity. Traveling with the kids in Scandinavia inspired the book. I recognized the absurdity of what we were doing, but also the pure joy, and I wanted to encourage others to see the world.

Do you keep a writing journal and if so, how do you use it? I’m not the best at keeping it current, but I use it while traveling and write in it when I have time.

Do you belong to a writers’ group? If so, describe your experience: Yes. We meet twice a month to review two pieces. Each of us brings diverse strengths and we’re all at different phases. It’s been a great learning experience—and I’ve read more sci-fi in the past year than I have in my entire life.

Are you up with the sun or do you burn the midnight oil? Neither. I love sleep so try to get in as much as I can while the kids are asleep.

How do you get over a writing slump? Reading a good book, writing in my journal, or just getting out there and experiencing new things. I come up with my best ideas when I’m running or putting my littlest down for a nap—and try to remember what I was thinking in case I fall asleep before she does!

Do you prefer writing dialogue or descriptive passages? I usually start with descriptive passages and change to dialogue to improve the flow. Descriptive is easier for me but the dialogue balances it to make the reading less dense.

What are you working on now? Since I’m launching my first book February 2021, I’m focused on successfully getting this out the door! I have started a second book, similar in content, but with a different spin.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about writing and publishing a book? Go for it! It’s important to try new things and push yourself to do things you’re not quite sure you can do. I find that challenges are merely opportunities you haven’t succeeded at yet.

Do you listen to podcasts? If so, which podcasts do you find the most interesting? Not really.

Favorite escape: I love reading and travel. I’ve visited nearly every state and 25+ countries. This year, when we couldn’t travel, I read a lot and hiked with my family.

Have you ever tried Kombucha tea? No. My mom loves it though so, based on my genes, perhaps I will at some point.

Do you prefer a couch with pillows or no pillows? Pillows, for sure, though they’re always a mess in my house. They need to be put back or rearranged since they’re inevitably removed for some fort or turned wrong when the kids are pretending the floor is lava.

Would you rather rake leaves, shovel snow or weed? Not weeds. I got poison ivy this summer and it was MISERABLE. I like shoveling because that means there’s snow to play in and go sledding. You can take the girl out of Michigan, but can’t take the Michigan out of the girl.

Favorite mask – disposable paper, plain fabric, colorful print or something else? Reusable and colorful. I usually wear a green mask bearing the name of my kids’ school since I’m PTA president and need to encourage sales.

Biggest writing challenge since Covid-19: Focus and time. Without childcare for three months (and my husband and I both working full-time), it was quite difficult to do much beyond put food on the table. Plus, for my genre, actually going anywhere! I can’t wait to travel with my kids again.

Website and social media links:
Website: www.kaitlynjain.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/PassportsandPacifiers/
Twitter: @KaitlynJain
Instagram: kaitlyn.jain


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Who’s That Indie Author? R. Lee Ingalls

R. Lee Ingalls

Author Name: R. Lee Ingalls

Genre: Non-Fiction

Book: Ingalls on the Prairie – The Gene and Fern Ingalls Story

Favorite author: Laura Ingalls Wilder

Are you a full-time author? No I am not. If not, what’s your side gig? I am a Project Manager by career.

What experiences or people have influenced your writing the most? Laura Ingalls Wilder is a family member and knowing I was part of that family was the initial event that caused me to decide to write a book. My parents and their life together was an amazing thing to see, a love story of a different type.

Do you keep a writing journal and if so, how do you use it? I do not but I have been jotting down memory joggers for a couple decades.

Do you belong to a writers’ group? If so, describe your experience: No I do not.

Are you up with the sun or do you burn the midnight oil? I am up with the sun but can and do write late in the day as well. Normally I write new material in the morning and do my edits in the afternoon / early evening.

How do you get over a writing slump? I just start typing whatever comes into my mind.

Do you prefer writing dialogue or descriptive passages? Descriptive passages for sure.

What are you working on now? My second book is what I thought would be my first book but as I began to write I found my parents story to be much more compelling. My second book will also be non-fiction but my story.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about writing and publishing a book? Do it, don’t wait, begin now and don’t force it. I finally allowed the story to take a more organic path and then everything fell into place.

Do you listen to podcasts? If so, which podcasts do you find the most interesting? No, not really but I have been invited to participate in a couple mostly addressing the connection and continuing story of the Ingalls / Little House on the Prairie story.

Favorite escape: I love going on cruises, they are relaxing and I can completely disconnect.

Have you ever tried Kombucha tea? No I have not.

Do you prefer a couch with pillows or no pillows? With pillows

Would you rather rake leaves, shovel snow or weed? Rake leaves

Favorite mask – disposable paper, plain fabric, colorful print or something else? I have a variety but normally I wear one with a pattern and reusable.

Biggest writing challenge since COVID-19: No writing challenge it actually freed up my time to be able to complete my book, but the lack of travel and social distancing has limited my ability to promote my book.

Website and social media links:
Website: www.ingallsontheprairie.com
Instagram: ingallsontheprairie
Facebook: R Lee Ingalls Author


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Who’s That Indie Author? Michelle Cameron

Author Name: Michelle Cameron

Genre: Historical Fiction. Jewish historical fiction, to be more precise.

Books: In the Shadow of the Globe – a verse novel about the life and loves of William Shakespeare

The Fruit of Her Hands: the story of Shira of Ashkenaz – about my 13th Century rabbi ancestor

Beyond the Ghetto Gates  – about Napoleon’s freeing Italy’s Jews from their restrictive ghetto during his 1796-7 military campaign. Awarded a Silver Medal in Historical Fiction from the Independent Book Publishers Awards.

Are you a full-time author? If not, what’s your side gig? I wish I could be a full-time author! Maybe when I retire…. But my side gig complements my own writing – I am a director of The Writers Circle, a NJ-based organization that offers workshops and events in creative writing to children, teens, and adults. With the pandemic, we’ve gone completely virtual, so our instructors and students come from all over the world.

Favorite author/books: I read (and re-read) daily, so this is a tough question. I am the ultimate Jane Austen fan, however – with the t-shirt to prove it, bought during a Janeite pilgrimage to Bath! And since I wanted to immerse myself in that time period while writing Beyond the Ghetto Gates, I happily re-read every book she wrote while working on my own.

What experiences or people have influenced your writing the most? I learn something from every book I read ever since I began to “read like a writer.” And the fact that I attended high school in Israel means I received a far more in-depth education in Jewish history than I would have in the US, something that comes in handy while writing Jewish historical fiction!

Do you keep a writing journal and if so, how do you use it? I don’t keep a writing journal. My limited writing time goes to my current project.

Do you belong to a writers’ group? If so, describe your experience: I used to belong to a writer’s group when I was just getting serious about my writing and was very much encouraged by my fellow writers. Now that I’m working at The Writers Circle, I don’t have time for a writers’ group myself. However, I have many writer friends who are willing to beta read my work – and I’m happy to return the favor!

Are you up with the sun or do you burn the midnight oil? Up with the sun, definitely! When I was still working a full-time job and had a young family, I would wake up at 4:30 am to write – and did that for some five years. These days, that’s not necessary, but I do try and fit in some writing first thing every morning.

How do you get over a writing slump? By sitting down anyway and writing terrible, terrible prose. I call these my “chipping rock” days. Whether I find a kernel of goodness inside that I can further develop or end up throwing the entire section out, I still keep my date with the muse.

This, by the way, is a phrase borrowed by my youngest son, who is himself a talented writer. He called his muse Angela and had a set time of day when he kept his own date with her. Sometimes she’d stand him up, but he always kept faith.

Do you prefer writing dialogue or descriptive passages? I’m definitely a dialogue girl – it comes naturally to me and I love when my characters speak to one another (and to me). Description comes harder and in fact, I always add a descriptive pass during revision, when I focus on more fully fleshing out the setting. As a historical novelist, getting the place right is critical.

What are you working on now? A sequel to Beyond the Ghetto Gates. Napoleon’s next adventure was a curious military and scientific expedition to Egypt and Israel, mainly undertaken to harm British interests in the region. He gathered some 126 savants – artists and scientists – and brought them along with his loyal troops. He triumphed until he reached Acre (Akko) when a combined Turkish and British force handed him his first defeat.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about writing and publishing a book? Find a community of like-minded writers to share the work with and get it into the best possible shape possible. Publication can be a hard and discouraging road these days, so it shouldn’t be the only goal. Loving to sit down and write (or, at the very least, to paraphrase Dorothy Parker, loving have written) has to be any aspiring writer’s ultimate reward.

Do you listen to podcasts? If so, which podcasts do you find the most interesting? I love podcasts about books and craft in particular. And a dear friend, Susanne Dunlap, is recording an amazing series about historical novels, It’s Just Historical. I was honored to be one of her early guests.

Favorite escape: Reading. Best done while soaking in a tub.

Have you ever tried Kombucha tea? I have not.

Do you prefer a couch with pillows or no pillows? With just enough pillows so I can recline comfortably. Not too many to prevent me from sitting up.

Would you rather rake leaves, shovel snow or weed? I used to love raking leaves on a sunny autumn day, but I don’t do it much anymore. I do still shovel snow out of sheer necessity, but I don’t enjoy it. And I never liked weeding.

Favorite mask – disposable paper, plain fabric, colorful print or something else? I have all three and wear them interchangeably. I think my plain fabric masks feel the most comfortable and cover the nose and mouth most securely, but they do fog up my glasses, which the disposable paper is less inclined to do. So it depends on what I’m doing out in the world. But I’m fortunate that I’m an introvert anyway and all my work and promotion these days is done virtually. I don’t go out except for walks and to the supermarket.

Biggest writing challenge since Covid-19: Ironically, time to write. This is because a lot of planning went into moving all of The Writers Circle’s in-person workshops, summer programs, and events virtual all of a sudden in mid-March. TWC’s response to the pandemic was to offer even more writing programs – an entire new schedule of shorter-session virtual workshops to help combat isolation. Coordinating all of this took a great deal of planning and was complicated by the fact that my novel was published in April. So all of my promotional events had to be either offered via Zoom or rescheduled, and I had to invest much more time into my social media efforts.

Website and social media links:
Website: https://michelle-cameron.com
Facebook: @michellecameronauthor
Instagram: michellecameronwriter
Twitter: @mcameron_writer


Are you an indie or self-published author?  Do you want to build your author network? Get your name out on Who’s That Indie Author!

Email bvitelli2009@gmail.com for a bio template and other details.

Book Club Mom’s October 2020 recap

I had a great October, but it was very busy at work and at home. Despite the busy times, I managed to squeeze in some good books, a movie and some short fiction, as well as keep up with author updates and two new indie author profiles. And I made the leap to Instagram, so far a lot of fun! Click here if you want to connect with me there.

I’ve started using the new block editor, so bear with me as I find my way around.

These are the last of some flowers I grew from seeds over the summer. I forget the name, but aren’t they pretty?

Here’s a rundown of what happened on Book Club Mom this month.

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier – 5 stars

The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand – 3.5 stars

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely – 4.5 stars

Looker by Laura Sims – 4 stars

From left: Carrie Rubin, Jill Weatherholt and Giselle Roeder

Carrie Rubin

Jill Weatherholt

Giselle Roeder

From left: Jonathan Pongratz and Bill Moseley

Jonathan Pongratz

Bill Moseley

Rebecca (1940)

The Best American Short Stories 2004 – “Intervention” by Jill McCorkle

How was your month? I hope you are staying healthy and finding fun things to do.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Who’s That Indie Author? Bill Moseley

Author Name: Bill Moseley

Genre: Young Adult Fiction / Adventure

Book: La Cuesta Encantada

Are you a full-time author? If not, what’s your side gig? I’m not a full-time author. My side gig is working in higher education. I’m the Dean of Academic Technology at Bakersfield College, a community college in California. I’m just getting more serious about writing, and it’s an important creative outlet for me.

Favorite author/books: I really love books, and my taste in reading is really varied. As a child, I loved The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. Lately, I lean a little more toward Neil Gaiman and I really love the sort of whimsical adventure that he creates in The Graveyard Book. Toni Morrison’s work, especially the Song of Solomon, is really powerful. I admire how she gives readers a glimpse into another culture in such a visceral way.

What experiences or people have influenced your writing the most? I think my writing is a combination of a wild imagination, the places I’ve been, and a childhood obsession with Indiana Jones movies and the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland, with a side interest in romantic comedies. This book, in particular, takes place in some of my favorite locations – places where I played and visited as a child. I think of it as a story that’s been woven together in my imagination for much of my life.

Do you keep a writing journal and if so, how do you use it? I don’t. First, I’m not formally trained as a writer, so I’m guessing my approach is somewhat unconventional. Second, my work has been sort of project-oriented so far, and I spend a lot of time thinking about ideas and developing scenes in my head.

Do you belong to a writers’ group? If so, describe your experience: I don’t, but I’d love to. I think community is one of the best ways to develop any skill.

Are you up with the sun or do you burn the midnight oil? I used to burn the midnight oil.  With age, I’ve shifted the other direction. I’m up early these days, to walk with my wife before we start the day. If I’m honest, I feel like my best time for writing is in the afternoon – I think some days I get tired of the grind, and my brain is looking for a way to get creative by that time.

How do you get over a writing slump? I don’t think I’ve had a real slump. I often write when I have enough pent up creative energy that I am anxious to sit down and get some words on the page. I think in the few times when I just haven’t been feeling it (writing my dissertation comes to mind), the trick is to just write something. Even if it isn’t your best, there are times when the forward movement of just doing it is what matters. Anne Lamott’s notion of a shitty first draft applies here, I think.

Do you prefer writing dialogue or descriptive passages? Descriptive, I think. I’m a visual person, and I often “see” the things that I write long before they hit the page. They play out in my mind like a movie. I hope one day to be able to describe them the way I see them in my mind, but I’m not there yet.

What are you working on now? I’ve started outlining the sequel to La Cuesta Encantada, because there is some more story there that I want to tell. I have another story in my mind that I’ve been thinking about for a while, as well, but I’ve decided to hold on to that for now. As an academic, I usually have another non-fiction project or two in the works as well. I’m also working on a non-fiction book on the topic of failure, and how failure can be used as a tool for growth and development. Reclaiming Failure is something I hope to have published in early to mid-2021.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about writing and publishing a book? The world always needs more books. Stories are important to us as a society. Writing a book is hard, and the competition for the attention of agents and publishers is insane. However, if you want to write, and you enjoy writing, then you should do it. Honestly, I think that’s the best reason to do anything. Publishing – even self-publishing – is a nice way to celebrate the completion of your work, and to share your work with others. I think it’s probably natural to fantasize about dropping the next bestseller, but make sure you have the intrinsic motivation above all else.

Do you listen to podcasts? If so, which podcasts do you find the most interesting? I do listen to podcasts. The one writing-related podcast I listen to is called “Story Grid.” It’s an application of the book by the same title. This book and podcast were very helpful in guiding my thinking around how to put together an effective novel. I’m also a pretty regular listener of “Armchair Expert,” “The Tim Ferriss Show,” and “Up First.”

Favorite escape: Almost anything creative, from drawing and painting, to cooking, and even writing computer code (this is very creative, despite the reputation it has for being sort of stiff and mechanical). I also love to travel (pre-COVID) and get active with my family (we have seven kids, so there is always someone to do something with).

Have you ever tried Kombucha tea? Nope. Can’t get past the smell for some reason.

Do you prefer a couch with pillows or no pillows? I’ll say no pillows, mostly because my ideal couch is long and wide enough for me, a fairly large human, to easily take a nap on without limbs hanging off onto the floor. Pillows just take up space that I would rather use for myself.

Would you rather rake leaves, shovel snow or weed? Hard stop on weeding. I will avoid that at all costs. Being a California native, I’ve never shoveled snow, and I’m not sad about that.  There is a certain satisfaction in raking leaves on a nice fall afternoon. When I was young, my grandparents had a house with three very large mulberry trees in the front yard. I remember raking those leaves, and how satisfying it was to make them into neat piles that I could jump into. The earthy smell of leaves in the fall still takes me right back to that place.

Favorite mask – disposable paper, plain fabric, colorful print or something else? Plain black, but with straps that go around the back of my head. I must have an abnormally large head, because when I wear the kind with ear loops, my ears get pulled straight out to the sides.

Biggest writing challenge since COVID-19: In my day job, I’m in charge of distance education for a college of almost 40,000 students. As you can imagine, this has been a busy time. Fortunately for me, writing is something that I really want to be doing, so I find the time in between other things.

Website and social media links:
www.bmoseley.com – This is my personal site, and everything else links from there.  Thanks so much for this opportunity.  I’ve really enjoyed reading the other “Who’s that Indie Author?” entries.


Are you an indie or self-published author?  Do you want to build your author network? Get your name out on Who’s That Indie Author!

Email bvitelli2009@gmail.com for a bio template and other details.