Welcome to my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, scriptwriters, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with literary novelist Florence Osmund. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Morgen: Hello, Florence. Please tell us something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer.
Florence: After a long career working in corporate America, I retired to write books. I’ve always been a writer—correspondence, reports, proposals, newsletters…the list goes on and on. But writing fiction is delightfully different and something I thoroughly enjoy.
Morgen: Me too. I can’t imagine doing anything else now (at my ripe old age of 45). 🙂 What have you had published to-date? Do you write under a pseudonym?
Florence: I write under my real name. I figure if I put that much effort into something, my name is going to be on it! My first novel, “The Coach House,” was released in April, 2012. The sequel, “Daughters,” is currently in production. I have a third novel partially written.
Morgen: I have five like that, they’re on my ‘to do list’ this year. You’ve self-published, what lead to you going your own way?
Florence: Initially, I tried to get published the traditional way and sent hundreds of query letters to agents around the country. While I was collecting rejection letters, I kept hearing more and more about authors who were successful self-publishing, and the more success stories that emerged, the less taboo self-publishing became, so I decided to give it a try. Best decision I ever made.
Morgen: Me too, so far. Are your books available as eBooks? How involved were you in that process? Do you read eBooks or is it paper all the way?
Florence: My books are available on Kindle, and in fact, I sell more on Kindle than in paperback. I was fairly certain I wasn’t going to like reading books on a screen, especially after looking at a screen all day writing, but when I was forced to buy a Kindle in order to read a book I wanted to review, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked it. I still like the look and feel of a traditional book, but the Kindle is okay, too.
Morgen: Most people do but as you say, it’s great having the choice. Did you choose the titles / covers of your books? How important do you think they are?
Florence: Since I self-published, I had total control over the title and cover. Both are extremely important if your book is going to be sold from book shelves, as most readers choose books by their first impression. I would say the same goes for printed books sold on Amazon.com and similar sites. I surmise it is less important for eBooks.
Morgen: You’re probably right, given they are invariably cheaper and less of a ‘risk’, although considering how small the pictures are they probably have to work twice as hard at saying “pick me!” Do you manage to write every day? Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?
Florence: There are very few days I don’t write, and right now I have more thoughts swimming around in my head than time to get them planted into a story. I’m hoping that never stops.
Morgen: I hope so too, for both of us. Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Florence: I initially plot my stories, but I can’t say they always end up the way I plotted them. Sometimes they have a mind of their own.
Morgen: I love it when that happens, especially when the characters take over. Do you have a method for creating your characters, their names and what do you think makes them believable?
Florence: I don’t have a particular method for creating characters. In fact, much of the time they seem to create themselves. I find characters to be believable when the reader is able to connect with them, and in order for a reader to connect, certain characteristics must be revealed—their internal thoughts, flaws, values, secrets, dreams, opinions, fears, idiosyncrasies, emotional triggers, and feelings to name a few.
Morgen: Which makes them all the more believable. Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
Florence: I currently spend more time editing than it takes me to do the initial writing. That said, the more I write, the less editing I find myself having to do, so I must be getting better.
Morgen: Like a lot in life it’s all about practice. Do you have to do much research?
Florence: My books take place in the 1940s, so I do find myself spending time researching. Thank goodness for the Internet and public libraries.
Morgen: Absolutely. It’s fantastic having so much at our fingertips. How much of the marketing do you do for your published works or indeed for yourself as a ‘brand’?
Florence: I spend my mornings participating in author-related online discussion groups and marketing my first book. While my second book is in production, I spend the afternoons working on a third one.
Morgen: Mmm, I should do that. I’ve not done any editing or much writing since November. I keep saying, “I’ll just clear these few emails” but one step forward, two steps backwards and the next thing I know it’s time to go to bed! What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Florence: I have dedicated my webpage and blog to new authors, offering substantial advice I wish I had been given when I first started writing. I believe the most valuable piece of advice to new authors is if they are passionate about writing, they should continue with it. Eventually they will find their niche, and the rewards will be wonderful.
Morgen: Ooh great. I’ll have to have a look, and link it to mine. Is there a word, phrase or quote you like?
Florence: I love the line in the movie Arsenic and Old Lace when Cary Grant says, “Insanity runs in my family…it practically gallops.”
Morgen: 🙂 I think I have that movie but have never watched it. <note to self: go and check> 🙂 What do you do when you’re not writing?
Florence: I love all types of theatre, the symphony, and going to the movies.
Morgen: Going to the cinema is the only time I sit and do nothing. That said, I’m still analysing the dialogue and character behaviours. We never switch off, do we? Are you on any forums or networking sites? If so, how valuable do you find them?
Florence: I am an active participant in several author-related online discussion groups on LinkedIn, Goodreads and Facebook. I find them very interesting and helpful.
Morgen: Where can we find out about you and your writing?
Florence: Here are my links:
- Website http://www.florenceosmund.com
- Blog http://www.florenceosmundbooks.wordpress.com
- Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/florenceosmundbooks
- LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/in/florenceosmund
- Amazon author page http://www.amazon.com/author/florenceosmund
- Amazon book page http://amzn.to/MkLdb0
- Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/8800692-florence-osmund
Morgen: Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
Florence: I am passionate about people not making judgments about others based on their outward appearances. You will find that thread in each and every one of my books.
Morgen: Not judging a book by its cover. It’s very easy to do but yes, we really shouldn’t. Thank you, Florence.
I then invited Florence to include a synopsis of her book…
The Coach House story begins in 1945 Chicago. Newlyweds Marie Marchetti and her husband, Richard, have the perfect life together. Or at least it seems until Marie discovers cryptic receipts hidden in their basement and a gun in Richard’s desk drawer. When she learns he secretly attends a mobster’s funeral, her suspicions are heightened, and when she inadvertently interrupts a meeting between him and his so-called business associates in their home, he causes her to fall down the basement steps, compelling Marie to run for her life.
Ending up in Atchison, Kansas, Marie rents a coach house apartment tucked behind a three-story Victorian home and quietly sets up a new life for herself. Richard soon learns her whereabouts and lets her know he is not out of the picture yet, but ironically, it is the discovery of the identity of Marie’s real father and his ethnicity that unexpectedly affect her life more than Richard ever could.
Florence Osmund grew up in a Victorian home in Libertyville, Illinois, complete with a coach house, the same house she used as inspiration for her first two books. She earned her master’s degree from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management and has obtained more than three decades of experience in management positions in corporate America. Osmund currently resides in Chicago where she is working on the sequel to this novel.
Florence returns on the 12th March with her author spotlight.
If you are reading this and you write, in whatever genre, and are thinking “ooh, I’d like to do this” then you can… just email me and I’ll send you the information. They do now (January 2013) carry a fee (£10 / €12.50 / $15) for the new interviews on the mixed blog but everything else (see Opportunities on the main blog) is free.
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