What practical advice do you have for beginning writers?
Show your work to people outside your family--preferably to other writers--but don't take other writers' criticism to heart. Examine all of it and look for commonalities before you start editing. Oh, and don't despair if your family doesn't even like your writing. They might not be comfortable with the you the evidences itself within the confines of fiction. Don't sweat it. You will also lose friends over your writing. I did, so I suppose they weren't that good of friends to begin with. Never let a bad review get you down for long. Not everyone will like your writing.
How do you network online to promote your book?
Say thank you to book bloggers, many of whom invest countless hours in the interest of advancing the work of writers like me and providing value to their readers, and Retweet their Tweets (or share their posts on Facebook). Leave comments on others' blogs, talk to people on Twitter, and take a sincere interest in others. Offer to review books for their site or offer a guest post. Do review swaps or swap guest posts with other writers. I know it's hard but try hard NOT to burn your bridges with anyone. Do review swaps or swap guest posts with other writers.
What makes the perfect book blog?
I like bloggers who follow-through when they say they will review your book. For me, perfect blogs are like living rooms you'd feel comfortable settling into for a while, and seem like comfy places to hang out. I like bloggers who respond to your comments and have RSS feeds for their posts you can subscribe to. Sometimes bloggers have cupcakes or coffee cups instead of starred ratings and that is always fun to post on my social media site--that I got four cupcakes.
What inspired you to write your book?
Travel is a muse for me. I was most impressed by Shaker Village when I visited in 2005. I wrote a short story featuring my viewpoint character, then I shared it with my writing group, who said they would definitely read more if I added onto the story.
Whose footsteps would you say you have followed? What authors do you admire?
I have so many authors I admire but some contemporary ones from who I learned a lot are for Karen Joy Fowler for The Jane Austen Book Club (CLEVER!), Ann Patchett for Bel Canto(blending beauty and grit), Judith Guest for Ordinary People (authentic, meaningful, and powerful dialogue), and William Goldman for The Princess Bride (sheer, playful ingenuity).
Gale Martin is an award-winning writer of contemporary fiction who plied her childhood penchant for telling tall tales into a legitimate literary pursuit once she hit midlife. She began writing her first novel at age eleven, finishing it three and a half decades later.
Her first novel, DON JUAN IN HANKEY, PA, is a humorous homage to Don Giovanni, Mozart's famous tragicomic opera about the last two days of Don Juan's life. It was named a Finalist in the 2012 National Indie Excellence Awards for New Fiction. Her second novel GRACE UNEXPECTED is wryly witty women's fiction featuring Grace Savage, a 30-something protagonist with a heart of gold, wrapped in lead.
Gale would commit a misdemeanor to score some Babybel cheese and goes weak-kneed for hummingbirds. She is a wife and mother of one and a communications director by profession.
She blogs about opera--the art form, not the platform and is an opera reviewer for Bachtrack, an online site featuring classical performance worldwide. She can name any aria in three notes. Okay, five notes, perfectly sung, with full orchestration.
She has a master of arts in creative writing from Wilkes University. She lives in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, which serves as a rich source of inspiration for her writing.
Thirty-something Grace Savage has slogged through crummy jobs and dead-end relationships with men who would rather go bald than say “I do”. In search of respite from her current job, she visits Shaker Village in New Hampshire. Instead of renewal, she learns that Shaker men and women lived and worked side by side in complete celibacy.
When her longtime boyfriend dumps her instead of proposing, Grace avows the sexless Shaker ways. Resolved to stick to a new plan – the Shaker Plan – despite ovaries ticking like time bombs, she returns to her life in Pennsylvania. Almost immediately, she's juggling two eligible bachelors: Addison, a young beat reporter; and True, an anthropology professor. Both men have soul mate potential to test her newfound Shaker-style self-control, and Grace seems to be on the fast track to a proposal… until secrets revealed deliver a death rattle to the Shaker Plan.