Howdy all, today I am thrilled to be sitting down and chatting with one of my favorite people and authors, Angel A. Walker! Not only is Angel a good friend, but she also has a new book out, a delightful contemporary romantic/comedy called 'Such is Life'. I thought we could all sit down around the kitchen table, grab a fresh pot and a few mugs, and chat with this very talented lady!
V.L. - Hi, Angel, and welcome to my blog! Thanks for taking the time to drop in and have a cuppa. I know how exciting and exhausting it is when you launch your book, there isn`t enough time in the day for everything, is there? So we`re extra thankful for your taking time to visit! For those who aren`t familiar with you or your novel let`s start off with some info about you and the book you`ve just released in print.
Angel - Well, let's go with the boring stuff first. I grew up in Mansfield. I went to Mansfield University graduating in Communication with an emphasis in Public Relations. I've always like to write. After watching Scream I decided I wanted to be a writer. I always imagined myself sitting around a table with other writers making up jokes and plots. Now it's what I get to do every day and I couldn't be happier.
Now on to the fun part. My first novel ‘Such is Life’ is a romantic comedy that I like to refer to as my baby. It's the first time besides writing poems in my creative writing class that I've ever let anyone read my work. Such is Life`s main character, Melissa Jones, dreads going home any time she has to. This time though it's even worse because she has her ten year high school reunion and her ex-boyfriend's wedding. Needless to say nothing goes right, except for the first time in her life the men from her past finally decide that want to be a part of her present.
As much as it sounds like a cheesy love story with a happy ending I believe it's a cheesy love story with a surprise ending. I kid! I like to sum everything up just by telling people that if you want a good laugh and reminisce about past loves it a good read. Everyone has a high school sweetheart and everyone has someone that they wished they would have said the words they thought in their head, but never said out loud. And EVERYONE has someone they like to stare at everyday and think, "He is way too good looking for me." It's a book that everyone can relate to and if you can't relate I promise it will tickle your funny bone until it hurts (in a good way).
V.L. - That`s a pretty large leap from PR to creative writing and you do it quite well! Do you think that your background in PR & Communications has been an asset being a self-published author? Does it give you an edge in marketing, something all us self-pubbers have to do daily it seems? What do you like best about marketing your baby? What do you like least?
The book sounds fantastic! I`ve heard snippets in our writers group and have laughed until my belly hurts. I`m reading it now and will have my review later this week. You mentioned that Melissa hates going home anytime she has to. Why is that? Let`s poke and prod in your protagonist`s head a little bit!
Angel - I think having a background in PR helps quite a bit. I try to use what I learned from school to promote and also a big part is sending emails and speaking with people. I had a whole class on making fliers, contacting businesses, and writing up promos/ads. That's the most fun. I love to write up radio ads. I haven't been able to do that yet, but it's my favorite part. My least favorite part is trying to promote online. Between Twitter, Facebook, and GoodReads I'm quite sick of the internet. I've decided to focus now on dealing with people in the flesh.
Everyone who reads ‘Such is Life’ always tells me that the main character Melissa Jones is just like me. The only similarities I've noticed are we're both extremely sarcastic, we're both funny, and when it comes to relationships we are completely clueless. Okay, maybe we are a lot alike. The differences are her hesitation when it comes to going home to her mother. They don't quite get along and Mel likes to keep her mouth shut, and her mother is the complete and utter drunken opposite. Considering her mom doesn't consider wine to be an alcoholic beverage she tends to drink first and think later. Writing the mother in my novel was a lot of fun.
V.L. - Having that background can only be a bonus for a self-pubber. For those reading along, we self-published authors don`t have the PR machine of a huge publishing house behind us, so all marketing and promotional work falls on the author. So, would you say the internet is a good marketing device for writers? Why do you prefer dealing with people on a one to one basis when the internet touches millions?
I can see many similarities between your girl Melissa and you! I`ve had folks comment that my protagonist, Libby, is a great deal like me as well. Did you plan on putting so much of yourself into Melissa, or did her voice and yours just merge as the story unfolded?
Angel - The internet touches millions, but everyone is online trying to promote their books. Selling books in person starting in your area you don't have to fight for the attention quite as much. I'd have to say that's where you get the upper hand because if you can get your name out there maybe then the internet should be your second stop.
I had to base a little bit on the character on me and others that I knew because it was easier to remember characteristics. When I first wrote the book I based it off of specific people. Then I realized that the characters weren't working for the story and I had to mix things up. Melissa`s character I had to mix up because it didn't work completely, which is why I say she's not me. It actually drives me nuts that people think it's me because then they try to guess who the guys are and they ask me questions like, "Oh my god was he really like that?" And all I'm thinking is what are they talking about? I did however use my friend’s names and they all understood that I used their names to be flattering. They were all happy I did, but I also think that might be the reason too that people see it as me. The new series I'm writing I didn't use anyone's name I knew. Never again.
V.L. - I totally agree with you, Angel. My Facebook feed is literally filled with author`s selling their books. After awhile I tend to not even see the promo, which is sad, but that`s the way our minds work I suppose. So how has the local reaction been to your book? Are there any shops carrying it? Where can folks find 'Such is Life'?
I think that your personality and wit comes through in Melissa. She`s very sarcastic and sharp, just as you are. Now 'Such is Life' is the first of a trilogy, correct? I`ve noticed that Melissa seems to have a weakness for alcohol, almost using it as a crutch. Her mother also drinks. Will we see you touching upon this behavior, and how it may affect Melissa, in the next book of the series?
So I take it that you`re working on yet another series?! How do you find the time, girl? Please, tell us a little bit about the new work.
Angel - I have two ways that people can buy my book. From My Shelf Books is carrying copies in store and online. Now if people want to buy a signed copy they can order from my website - Angel A.Walker. The local reaction to the book has been overwhelming. People keep asking me for the second book and I have to inform them to put the brakes on I just released the first one. It's been great though. I love that people are enjoying it. I almost forgot people can also buy it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords.
In the second book the only one who touches upon it is her assistant Brett Thomas. He has no problem telling her how he feels about it by making snarky comments that make her angry. She tries hard not to be like her mother but it slips in every once in awhile. In the third book the drinking isn't much as a problem as it is in the first two.
Well, after I finished writing ‘Such is Love and Happiness’ and ‘Such is a New Beginning’ I thought about writing a fourth but I felt as if Melissa Jones told her story and it was time to move on. Plus, I'm not a love story type a gal. I prefer to read a good mystery like Agatha Christie or a good crime novel like Karin Slaughter or Lisa Jackson.
I needed that challenge and I started writing my ‘Justified’ series. The first novel I named ‘Justified Obsessions’ and the second is named ‘Justified Earnings’. It's ten times more challenging than ‘Such is Life’. I write from different characters point of views and I have to do tons more research. I didn't have to research for ‘Such is Life’, but I need to know police procedures and psychological behavior now. It's a lot of work and I love every second of it. I'm just about done with ‘Justified Earnings’. I`m going to start my next in the series, ‘Justified Killings’. I love writing crime! I know though that it's taking me a shorter time to write these novels because I can't stop, but it's going to take me time for ‘Justified Killings’. I might do a co-author on that one.
V.L. - It sounds as if you`ve covered all the bases as far as making it easy for readers to find your book!
So we do see Melissa working through this potentially destructive behavior. Good. I like that you didn`t make your protagonist squeaky clean. Even in a Rom/Com series our characters have to work at their flaws.
Wow, that`s a huge leap in genres! From Romantic/Comedy to Crime Drama. Ahh, research. Yes, I`m familiar with that. I have an Edith Hamilton book that is nearly worn out from all the research. Have you always had a yearning to pen crime novels, or was this something that just blossomed one day and you ran with it, given your passion for reading the genre? How long does it take you to write a novel, say from first word to being ready to hand it to the Beta readers?
Angel- I am a big believer in not being the same as everyone else. I follow some of the rules of a rom/com but I hate the whole happy ending bull-crap. It's not realistic and not every relationship blooms out of thin air. I actually can't stand to read a story about two people who meet in the rain and fall in love over a cup of coffee. Please, I've had plenty of cups of coffee in the rain and not once did it lead to someone at the end of the night telling me they love me. I personally would rather watch that as a movie than in a book, though I'm somewhat of a hypocrite, because in crime novels I love the little side of romance in them. I swear I'm going to marry Will Trent.
I've always wanted to write crime. I love the idea of writing from the victim and from the villain. When I was sixteen and watched Scream for the first time I knew I wanted to write a "Who Dunnit" novel. Now I actually get to do it. Don't get me wrong writing ‘Such is Life’ was amazing and I wish it didn't have to end. I love Mel and I love Brett but their love story is done. Plus, I'm a firm believer in a love story lasting two three books not a whole entire series. Crime novels and can go on and on if you do it right. Karin Slaughter's series has twelve books following the same characters (somewhat) and I still can't put them down. If you ever get a chance to read her. Do it!
‘Such is Life’ took me a year. ‘Such is Love and Happiness’ took about six months. ‘Such is a New Beginning’ I did it in about three months doing the NaNoWriMo writing challenge. ‘Justified Obsessions’ I wrote in February and finished in March. Now I'm working on ‘Justified Earnings’ and I'm almost done with it. A little stuck plot wise but almost done. If anyone knows anything about high end escorts it would help me dearly. (And no that's not at joke.) I want to write ‘Justified Killings’ right away, but I have to work on ‘Such is Love and Happiness’ so it's out by the end of the year. Editing is a real pain in the a**, but ‘Justified Killings’ is going to be a challenge and I LOVE a challenge.
V.L. – I know nothing about high-end escorts, but if you ever need Greek god or goat tips, I`m your girl!
Thank you so much for coming over and having a klatch with us, Angel! I wish you much success with your debut novel and all your other projects. *Hugs*
My review of Angel`s ‘Such is Life’ will be up on Thursday. See y`all then!