Howdy my lovelies! Welcome to another edition of Interview FoxSeat with guest author Carey V. Azzara
Azzara has published two books: Halley’s Gift, And Eight Other Extraordinary Tales http://bit.ly/1Xs1KS2 AND Uncommon Heroes and Cars http://bit.ly/1UeZDAA. He is the author of The Lottery Curse, literary fiction that shines lights on the dangers that befall Lottery winners. In addition, he has written a novel titled Kaitlin’s Mooring a story spanning five generations of the Deveau family in Maine.
He authored short stories published in Storyacious and the anthology, Swallowed by the Beast. He wrote Questionnaire Design for Business Research, a marketing research text.
Azzara has had many a twist and turn during his life he has accomplished a number of goals: two graduate degrees, a career in public health, VP of market research, President of AtHeath, LLC, raising a family, and rescuing a few dogs. He has published articles, reports, and books. They say writers write. Azzara writes for the joy of sharing his ideas and stories with you.
Book blurb: Halley’s Gift, And Eight Other Extraordinary Tales is a collection of fictional Novelettes.
Halley’s Gift explores the lives of extraordinary fictional
characters, and through the stories you will have the opportunity
to meet these unique people. Halley struggles with how to
use her amazing gift; barnstormer pilot Commander Hadley
takes chances that end his marriage; con artist Jack becomes
a hero in spite of himself; Leslie overcomes odds stacked
high against her; Kelly breaks the law, but it may be justice;
Elysha has an unexpected adventure when she steps up to
do the right thing; boy genius William learns to harness his
gift; Lucky McGregor makes his own luck; and finally, Victor
learns that when forces threaten those you care about most,
heroics emerge. I hope they help you reflect on your distinct
Uncommon Heroes and Cars is a collection of mostly fictional short stories
There can never be enough written about heroic acts and heroic people, we
all need the inspiration they give us. This book is a small contribution to help
fill that need. Most of the stories are fiction, but the characters, dogs, and
cars were largely informed by those I’ve known or admired.
In these pages you will find adventures, mysteries, and people from
many walks of life. In some stories, people are the heroes with cars playing a
supporting role, in others animals take on the heroic role. The stories include
gear heads, detectives, firefighters, soldiers, fathers, kids, dogs, cats and of
course cars. Each story is a snapshot of heroic acts some small, others large.
Real heroes walk among us who often go unnoticed. They shun the
bright lights of praise, doing the things they do for the sake of doing good
works. My hope is that after reading this collection of stories, you will be
inspired to perform acts of kindness and that those who receive your kindness
will pay it forward.
Why do you write? That’s easy – because I can. And what the hell it’s fun – yes hard work too, but hard work has never deterred me.
When did you decide to become a writer? I have been writing for decades, but more recently (last three or so years) I have turned my attention to writing fiction.
How long does it usually take you to complete a book? There is no one answer to this question. Each book is different. I have manuscripts that I started over a year ago and will probably not finish for two or three years. Part of the reality, for me at least, is I often work on more than one project at a time allowing the work to tell me where to push forward and when to hold back. Of course, at some point, you have to commit to finishing a project and then it’s full steam ahead.
What made you decide to sit down and actually start something? Some ideas simply cannot be ignored. When the muse graces me, I always listen – you don’t want to make the muse angry!
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured? Mornings seem to be most productive, but again when ideas come I just sit and start typing. I sometime jump out of my chair and my wife asks, “Where are you going.” I teller, “I have to write something down I’ll be right back,” but at times that means an hour or two later.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively? My first attempts at fiction were short stories, which have their own challenges, but as I became more engaged in writing fiction I felt hemmed in by the short story format – it didn’t allow for enough character development scene setting, or plot twists.
Do you listen to music or watch TV/movie while you write? No. I need focused energy to write.
What have you written? As my Bio indicates, I have written several books and stories. I have published two books of fiction; I have two more completely written, and three more in various stages of development. In addition, over the years I have collected numerous ideas, too many to list here, some of which are tens of thousands of words long – I’ll get back to many of them if I live long enough.
Is there any marketing technique you used that had an immediate impact on your sales figures? Yes I engaged a few fans to help me use word of mouth marketing (including my mom – turns out she’s a great saleswoman).
Any advice for aspiring authors? Yes. Here is an excerpt from a piece that was recently pushed on a publisher’s blog and is featured in a soon to be released eBook on Author Marketing:
Authors Have Two Jobs
What do authors need to do beside write? Answer: Get folks to read what they’ve written! Marketing is the other author’s job. Are you doing it?
An often-visited topic is how to create balance in our lives. Much has been written on this and it isn’t easy to achieve. Most of us face challenges that overshadow what we’d like to be doing versus what we do. We get lost. Within the confines of being an author balance is critically important; it’s a must achieve imperative to be successful. You cannot afford to get lost.
Imagine you are as talented as Mark Twain was, but no one finds your work; what then? You might achieve self-satisfaction, but not much else. So is it better to write a mediocre novel and be well read or a great novel that no knows about?
Of course, that’s a false premise although examples of both scenarios are certainly available. What you need to do is find a balance between writing and marketing. To be good at one and not the other is to limit your horizons. The publishing industry today expects authors to pull their weight when it comes to promotion and marketing. However, you won’t get their attention or your audience’s attention if your novel, short story, poem, or other writing isn’t compelling.
Where does that leave you? It’s tough out there as anyone who has been in the industry for more than a week can tell you. There are no silver bullets. However, pursuing an approach based on achieving balance will make a difference. Let me explain exactly what I mean when referring to balance.
Balance is largely the proportioning of your time and talents between creating products and marketing those products. As a writer, I know it’s generally more fun and rewarding to write than it is to market. However, you must do both. In fact, I’ll go a step further and say you must focus on marketing first!
Building an audience before you need one is the key. Of course, the task of building an audience never truly ends. However, it does become easier overtime. It’s like building a snowman. The small snowball you start out with takes a lot of effort to build into a larger snowball, but as it gains mass it becomes much larger for about the same effort.
If you have created an audience before you publish your first novel, the work to launch your literary masterpiece successfully will yield a better outcome than if you publish a book and then begin developing an audience. It’s simple mathematics.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he do that is so special? The main character in Halley’s Gift is not a he it’s a young woman age fifteen. Her gift is a supernatural ability to communicate with wilderness animals, specifically in the Gila Wilderness of New Mexico. She has adventures with bears, coyotes, and a cougar, but that’s all I’ll say.
Where do your ideas come from? No one place, some are from pure imagination. Others ideas were cobbled together from events I see and hear about everyday. Still others are from my experiences in life and the many people who I have been privileged to meet and know.
What is the hardest thing about writing? Actually, the hardest thing is not writing at all it’s editing and beyond that marketing.
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book? The last book I completed, Kaitlin’s Mooring, spans five generations. Making sure the timeline was correct and the characters were true to their era was challenging.
Which writers inspire you? Several, but if I had to pick one it would be Mark Twain – what a genius.
What is the current book you are promoting? I have completed a book titled The Lottery Curse, which is a collection of three novellas each with a different tale about someone who won the lottery only to face the greatest challenges of their lives. As the introductions states:
Winners beware. The pitfalls are many. The path to a well-played hand is riddled with trapdoors, landmines, and hurdles that must be overcome. Money can be a blessing, but when millions are thrust upon you in a single day it can also be a curse.
Lottery winners, who start out with a clear concept of what they value, what is most important to them, have a fighting chance. If you have a well-grounded approach to life, you may weather the hurricane of events that will inevitably crash over you when you are suddenly awash in cash. You must reckon with more than a few likely events that grow directly from the rich soil a new lottery winner is obliged to till.
You mentioned you’re writing a new story. How about a teaser? Okay this is from a book that is currently with my editor. It’s titled Kaitlin’s Mooring and features a relationship between a great grandson (Christopher) and his great grandfather. (Henry).
Two days later, Henry rested quietly in bed. A doctor making morning rounds came to check on him. He asked the family to leave the room and then he examined Henry and reviewed his chart. When he was done, the gray haired doctor peered over the top of his glasses, “How are you feeling Mr. Deveau?”
“Feel like a train hit me,” said Henry.
“I’m not too surprised you had a massive heart attack. I’m not going to beat around the bush Henry. Your doctor and I are less than optimistic about your recovery. At best, it will take a good deal of luck. I think you should be prepared for the worst and prepare your family too. Do you want me to talk with them?”
“Thank you no. I’ll talk with them. I especially want to tell my great grandson in my own way.”
“Of course, you let me know if you need anything from me,” the doctor said. Then added, “Henry I wish I had better news, but…well. We’ll keep you comfortable and pray for you.”
“Thanks Doc, everyone’s time comes, I guess it’s just my turn, I only wish I could have spent more time with little Christopher.”
He seems like a strong boy, I’m sure he’ll cope just fine, you and he have a lot of supportive people around you,” replied the doctor.
Kaitlin and Grace, along with Mike, Colleen and her husband had all been taking turns sitting with Henry. Chris won’t leave his side, but he was clearly exhausted.
Kaitlin demanded her son go home to get some sleep. “C’mon Chris you need to rest,” she told him.
“No, I’m not leaving Pops.” He said defying his mother outright. She tugged on his arm but he refused to move when she tried to pull him out of his chair.
Kaitlin was about to become more demanding. She released him when Grace stepped in, “Kaitlin, you know I don’t ordinarily interfere, but this time I’d like you to listen to me, let him stay.”
“I know dear. Come out in the hall where we can talk.”
Kaitlin followed Grace and once in the hall she said, “Granny, Chris has to get some rest or he’ll be useless or worse. I want…”
Grace forcefully interrupted her, “Kaitlin listen closely to what I’m about to tell you. Your grandfather may have less time than you were told; the fact is, well, he may never come home. He’s had a rough time of it and the doctors have warned me his condition is more dire than they originally thought. If Chris isn’t here when Henry passes he’ll never forgive us. Those two are connected emotionally at the hip. Let him stay. Trust me it’s the right thing to do.”
While the women were discussing Henry’s condition Henry motioned to Chris with his hand, “Come closer son,” he whispered. “I have something to tell you.” Henry continued to motion to Chris as the boy moved toward him; Chris’s face was marked by a puzzled and worried expression. “Closer, this is for your ears only,” said Henry.
Who is your favorite character in your book and why? I like Henry (Pops) because he reminds me of my grandmother – I know that may seem odd. But she was a wise woman who had more love and compassion than anyone I knew or have known since.
Do you have any “how to write” type books/instructional you’d like to recommend? Yes, I found the book Showing & Telling by Laurie Alberts helpful.
What is your next project? I am currently writing an historical fiction that takes place during the Great Depression. The idea sprang from memories that the eldest members of my family conveyed to me. It’s fiction, but it reflects the struggles of people who lived at that time. It takes place in NYC and combines a coming of age story with a romantic plot wrapped in the backdrop of the worst financial crisis of our time.
What one person from history would you like to meet and why? I’d like to meet Socrates and have him school me – I can’t image or more fascinating experience.
If there was one thing you could do to change the world, what would it be? I’d go back in time and tell the founding fathers that the second amendment would be a blundering mistake. It will have unintended consequences that will ruin the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent people needlessly.
Do you have any fur babies to brag about? If by ‘babies’ you mean projects. Sure. My next book The Lottery Curse is nearing publication here is the current front cover (it may or not be the final cover)
What is one great lesson you have learned as a writer? When ideas come whether for a new story or an existing project write them down as soon as possible because ideas can easily float away on the wind.
Do have a favorite car or truck model? What a great question and right in my wheelhouse. The book Uncommon Heroes and Cars has a number of stories about cars. My favorite car was a 1965 Austin Healey, which I restored and drove for years. Read about in the story Hey, Old Man, you Wanna Race?
Do you ever feel self-conscious when writing love/sex scenes? No not really, I like writing love scenes and I have dabbled in the erotica realm, more on that at a later time.
What do your fans mean to you? Fans are quiet literally the lifeblood of an author. Recently, one of my fans Mike announced that he and his wife were moving to Florida. He ordered twenty books because they wanted to pass them out among their new neighbors as a way of introducing themselves. Now that’s a fan, no a raving fan – Thanks Mike!
Is there anything else you would like to add? I am working with a publishing company named Something or Other Publishing. Part of the relationship is built on audience support for book ideas. If any of your readers would like to help, they can vote for The Lottery Curse. Nothing to purchase just vote; it takes only 30 seconds. http://bit.ly/Lottery-Curse
Many thanks Carey! For more about Carey and his work follow the links below: