ANNIVERSARY COUNTDOWN: 5 YEARS OF INFINITE HOUSE OF BOOKS COUNTDOWN – JULY TO DECEMBER 2013 RECAP

INFINITE HOUSE OF BOOKS turns 5 years old in April of 2017. Due to a massive failure with the blog’s previous hosting provider, all blogs prior to February 2015 were lost. However, the administrator has the original assets on file and a calendar of  featured content. As a lead-up to the anniversary, features will be released on the fifth of each month that chronicle a period in the blog’s past and some of the highlights still worth noting today. This post is the fourth in the series. Enjoy!

INFINITE HOUSE OF BOOKS (focused on interviews and guest posts) and sister site DISCOVER WORDS (now closed; focused on excerpts) both continued to grow steadily over this period.

Here are samples of some of the books showcased between July and December of 2013 at INFINITE HOUSE OF BOOKS.

July: THE FAMILY THAT STAYS TOGETHER by Deborah Plummer Bussey

This is still available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle.

Below is a reprint of the original interview with the author.

What initially got you interested in writing?

One of my fondest childhood memories was going to the county library that was located at the end of my street.  In those days, absent video games, Xboxes, and iPads and when television only had three channels, I spent a lot of time at the library checking out book after book.  My parents encouraged my reading and challenged me to read more than the ten books for the library’s summer reading club.  That was always such an easy contest.

My sisters and I spent lots of time outdoors making up stories about each other, entertaining ourselves and showcasing the tales to a neighborhood audience.  While a Girl Scout, my Scout Leader, Mrs. Ford surprised me with a blank journal as gift.  “I noticed you liked to write,” she said when she handed it to me.  I wondered how she knew that and at the same time wondered if it was true.  Did I really like to write?  I knew I liked to read, but was I a writer?  I ended up majoring in English along with psychology and learned that I really did like to write and was encouraged to write professionally.

 

How did you decide to make the move into becoming a published author?

Because I was in academia it was publish or perish if I wanted to succeed.  I was first published as a psychology researcher.  I then decided to write a non-fiction book on friendship patterns for a wider audience than the professional academic community. After that process, I wanted to keep writing because I loved the process but wanted to have more fun doing it.  A friend, an attorney who writes fiction in her spare time, encouraged me to write fiction.

What do you want readers to take away from reading your works?

I hope that is sparks the kitchen table kind of conversations about contemporary diversity issues—the tension between sexual orientation and religion, cross racial friendships and interracial marriages, stereotypes about age-appropriate behavior, the susceptibility of  materialism as a way to achieve happiness. I also hope that they really like the characters and want to have Kathy and Tina as friends.

What do you find most rewarding about writing?

I write fiction because it is cathartic to make something up and not have to have citations for every thought that you put on paper as you do in academic writing.

What do you find most challenging about writing?

It takes a long, long time to write even a really good paragraph.  The editing process is also grueling.

What advice do you give people wanting to enter the field?

The more you write the better writer you become. Also have a lot of diverse friends and experiences that will broaden your way of knowing and being and enhance your writing.

Is there anything else besides writing that people would find interesting about you?

In my next life, I am coming back as a Beyonce. If not as Beyonce then I will come back as a celebrity chef.  However, a good friend of mine called dibs on Beyonce awhile back, so I have to have a second option. Since I love to cook it would be good to be a celebrity chef.

What are the best ways to connect with you, or find out more about your work?

Please visit my website www.dlplummer.com or like my Facebook page www.facebook.com/DeborahPlummerBussey and follow me on twitter@ SisterNun

Thank you!

 

August: INHERITANCE RISING by Honey A. Hutson

This is still available on Amazon.

Here is a reprint of the interview with the author.


What initially got you interested in writing?

I’ve actually been creating and writing stories since I was old enough to start talking to myself! It was just something that has been deeply embedded in who and what I was to become.

How did you decide to make the move into becoming a published author?

I think I always knew I’d publish my work someday. I spent the first part of my life honing my skill and it was just a natural progression to spend the other part sharing that hard work with others who would enjoy it. I get no greater joy than to have others enjoy reading the stories I’ve created. All the money in the world cannot replace that feeling, which makes it all worth it no matter where I eventually end up in that career.
What do you want readers to take away from reading your works?
I want them to take a sense of breaking stereotypes, of self-responsibility and building strong characters within ones self. Everyone has an important role to play in their own lives and others and no one should be afraid of embracing that role actively. My characters are active participants in their lives and those around them. I particularly emphasize strong female characters, no damsels in distress here!

What do you find most rewarding about writing?

Being able to create strong characters with a purpose all their own and bringing those characters to readers who love them. To have someone I don’t know walk up to me out of the blue and tell me how much they enjoyed a book or story I wrote is everything I ever wanted from my work and I’ve achieved that goal over and over again. It’s all about the readers and it is very rewarding to see your work enjoyed so much.

What do you find most challenging about writing?

Marketing and getting people to review the book is the most difficult thing. The work doesn’t end when you write “The End” or when it goes off to the publisher for publication. It has just begun.

What advice would you give to people wanting to enter the field?

I would say know what you’re getting into. Do your homework, understand that writing itself is hard work and knowing when to “kill your darlings” and being able to take criticism is critical. It is a lot of work and if you break it into actually pay by the hour you really are a starving artist for a long time before, and if, you ever make it. This is one of those things you do because you love it, the rest comes if it comes and if it doesn’t all you have is your love for the writing!

Is there anything else besides writing you think people would find interesting
about you?

I love photography, the outdoors and traveling to new and spooky places! I live for autumn and Halloween, which naturally shows up quite a bit in my writing.

What are the best ways to connect with you, or find out more about your work?

I have an author page on Facebook where I share give-a-ways of my books both hard copy and EBook and news of releases, interviews and snippets about my work and myself. This fall I have a new release coming and the third book in my series will be out around the end of the year and I might have a surprise coming for my readers in October!
Twitter: @hhutson

 

September: SKY’S END by Lesley Young

This book is still available in paperback via Amazon and Kindle.

 

October: STAINED by Cheryl Rainfield

The book is still available in hardback and paperback on Amazon, Kindle, audio CD on Amazon, and also on Audible.

The author’s original interview follows.

What initially got you interested in writing?

 

I love books. I used to read almost constantly—even while walking to school or getting dressed in the morning. It helped me escape the abuse I was living, and gave me hope, comfort, and validation. So I had a deep love of books. And writing,  for me, came more naturally than speaking—it was my safe way of communicating. My abusers told me they’d kill me if I talked—but they didn’t mention writing. (smiling) In my head, writing wasn’t talking. I loved writing—it felt safe to me—and I was also good at it; I got a lot of praise from my teachers. And I had a deep need to break silence about the abuse and torture, to try to make a healing difference. So my love of fiction and writing, and my need to have a voice and be heard, drove me to write and later to try to get published.

 

How did you decide to make the move into becoming a published author?

 

I’ve always had a strong desire to be heard (after being silenced for so long by my abusers) and to try to make a positive, healing difference in the world. Books are my way to do that. But I didn’t get serious about getting published, about studying writing technique and getting feedback from other authors and persistently resubmitting my work rejection after rejection, until I took a course on children’s writing that turned into a writing critique group. I stuck with that group for almost ten years, and kept honing my craft and submitting and resubmitting my work, until finally an editor picked my book out of the slush pile. That book was SCARS. And with that, I got my dream. STAINED is my third book published through a US publisher (I’ve also had two books published through a small Canadian press, and one self-published book) and it’s a delight to me every time. I’m so excited about STAINED coming out!

 

What do you want readers to take away from reading your works?

 

I want readers to know that no matter how deep their pain or what trauma they’ve suffered, they are not alone, there are other people who’ve been there and understand, and they are strong—usually stronger than they know. I want them to know that healing is possible, that things can and do get better, and that they can save themselves if they need to. Sometimes we have to be the ones to save ourselves—just as Sarah did in STAINED, and just as I had to over and over again until I was truly safe.

 

 

What do you find most rewarding about writing?

 

I love the feeling of writing flowing onto a page, of emotional truths being mixed into fiction and becoming more powerful, of having a voice now instead of being silenced—and of making a positive difference in the world through my books. It’s incredibly rewarding to get reader letters telling me how much they loved my books or identified with my characters or how SCARS helped them not kill themselves, stop cutting, get help or talk to someone for the very first time about their pain, feel less alone, or understand someone they know—even their child—who’s cutting or queer or a sexual abuse survivor. It’s such a wonderful thing to get those letters.

 

What do you find most challenging about writing?

 

I love writing and editing—it gives me a voice and it feels so right for me—but sometimes, because I’m drawing on my own trauma to write, I find it painful or find myself reliving some of my trauma. But what’s harder for me are the challenges in the business of writing. Sometimes I can find it painful to read a negative review—though I have to step back and remind myself that my book is not me, even if so much of myself is in my book. It’s so much easier for me to take in negative than positive (I was taught that through abuse), and even though I have so many glowing reviews, the bits of negative ones stick with me.

 

I also find it very painful when people try to challenge my books and remove them from libraries; I remember how much pain I was in and how horribly alone I felt as a child and teen, always looking for something in books that would tell me I wasn’t the only one and I wasn’t crazy. Books helped me survive, and I know from reader letters that I receive that my books are helping others survive and thrive now. So keeping my books out of the hands of teens who need it hurts. And all those years of rejections I received before I got published—those were hard and wore at my soul. Not the first few years as much, but after 7, 8, 9 years it really got to me and I started to feel despair. Thankfully I got published after about 10 years of rejections! It’s also hard when things happen like if you lose an editor you love or your publisher closes—my first publisher WestSide Books closed before HUNTED even got into the stores, and so I also lost my editor. BUT something wonderful came out of that—I’m now with a much bigger publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and am working with another amazing editor, both of who have treated me and STAINED wonderfully.

 

 

What advice would you give to people wanting to enter the field?

 

If you want to get published, I think it helps to read as much as you can, especially in the genre you write. Learn writing technique and editing—through books, conferences, classes, critique groups, and listen to the feedback you receive, especially if more than one person says it; it will help you get published sooner. But always listen to and trust your gut; sift through the feedback and only use what works best for you.

 

Research before you submit your book to either publishers or agents (or both); make sure you’re submitting your book to the appropriate people. Get a copy of Writer’s Market or subscribe to their website to find publishers and agents accepting submissions and their contact info. And if your dream is to get published, then don’t give up. Keep submitting, revising, and resubmitting your work. It took me 10 years and hundreds of rejections before I got published.

 

You can see some of the writing technique books I really recommend here: http://astore.amazon.com/rainfield-writing-books-20

 

 

Is there anything else besides writing you think people would find interesting

about you?

 

I put a lot of my life experiences—my trauma, healing, and passions—into my work. For instance, like Sarah in STAINED, I know what it’s like to be held captive, withheld food and water, repeatedly raped, and having my life threatened. Like Sarah, I’ve been bullied, have struggled with body image and low self esteem, and love comics and superheroes. And like Sarah, I am strong emotionally, and had to be the one to save myself.

 

I always write strong girl characters and emotionally strong boy characters; I think we need to see more of them in books, TV, movies, etc. And I always have queer characters in my work, whether they’re the main character or secondary characters. I’m queer, and I think it’s important that the LGBT community is reflected in books in positive ways. I also try to incorporate other forms of diversity in my books.

 

I love writing, creating art, reading books and comics, spending time with my friends, and playing with my little dog Petal, a sweet hairy-hairless Chinese Crested dog. If you’re curious about her, you can see some photos up on my blog: http://cherylrainfield.com/blog/index.php/2013/09/12/my-little-dog-petal-companion-comfort-and-joy-to-this-writer/ I also frequently tweet photos of Petal and put them up on Facebook. (smiling) She is part of my family, and I love her dearly.

 

 

What are the best ways to connect with you, or find out more about your work?

 

You can connect with me on:

 

My website: http://www.CherylRainfield.com

My blog: http://www.CherylRainfield.com/blog

Twitter: http://www.Twitter.com/CherylRainfield

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/cherylrainfield/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cheryl.rainfield

my FaceBook author fan page: https://www.facebook.com/cheryl.rainfield.fan.page

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/raindew001

 

 

November: FRAGILE BRILLIANCE by Tammy Blackwell

This book can still be found in paperback on Amazon or on Kindle.

Here is a reprint of the author’s original interview about the book.

+ What initially got you interested in writing?

I think I was born interested in writing. When I was really young I wanted to grow up to be Dolly Parton. I would work hard on writing my country-western songs, even though I didn’t know how to do important writing-type things, like spell. Or hold a pencil. But I still remember some of the oh-so-insightful lyrics today.  

+ How did you decide to make the move into becoming a published author?

Several things led up to me writing and subsequently publishing my first novel, but the thing that most made me think, “I can do this” was meeting some actual published authors for the first time. I realized they were just people who worked really hard and made their dreams come true. I decided if they could do it, I could at least try.

+ What do you want readers to take away from reading your works?

Blame it on growing up in the 1980s where all of our cartoons included a “one to grow on” or “knowing is half the battle” message, but I intend for my novels to be very didactic. I go into each of them with a message (or several messages) I want the reader to walk away with. (I know. I’m one of those adults. It’s horrible.) The biggest thing I hope my readers take away is the knowledge that we’re all strong in our own ways, and that our strength comes from staying true to our own thoughts and beliefs.

 
+ What do you find most rewarding about writing?
Connecting with readers. The hardest days are worth it when someone tells me that one of my books has helped them through a hard time or made them smile.

+ What do you find most challenging about writing?

The writing part. Seriously, putting one word after the other is next to impossible.

+ What advice would you give to people wanting to enter the field?

Don’t just want it. Do it. Get your butt in a chair and write. It’s the only way to become a writer.

+ Is there anything else besides writing you think people would find interesting about you?

When I’m not writing books, I’m a YA librarian, which is pretty much the coolest job on earth.

+ What are the best ways to connect with you, or find out more about your work?

Website: misstammywrites.com

Twitter: @Miss_Tammy

Tumblr: misstammywrites.tumblr.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MissTammyJean

 

December: IN ALL PLACES by Misty Moncur

You can still get this book in paperback on Amazon and also on Kindle.

Join us again next month on the 5th to find out the highlights of January to June 2014 as the countdown continues to INFINITE HOUSE OF BOOKS and its 5th anniversary in April 2017!