Several people who filled out our previous newsletter survey suggested author Q&As. What better way to start than with a homegrown CBR author?*
How many times have you participated in
I have been a part of Cannonball since CBR3.
Has it changed the way you read?
It’s made me feel part of a community – and I love the idea of so many of us reading, reading, reading for such a great cause – and sharing opinions. I’m all about opinions. I also like reading other Cannonballer reviews – of books or genres I might not have considered reading before.
You are a reader who is also an author! What made you decide to create a graphic novel about Marilyn Monroe?
I wrote a blog post, “Why Marilyn Monroe (‘s Size) Still Matters” about Marilyn Monroe – in response to a magazine article that ticked me off in which the (male) author claimed that she couldn’t have been “fat” because he saw one of her dresses at an auction and it was tiny. I had so many responses to that post that I decided I was onto something and started reading and writing more about her and learning about her life. I discovered that she was quite an interesting person and suffered from many health problems and was so much more than just the tragic beauty as she is usually portrayed. I am also an artist, so I started doing some drawings – and many, many drawings and words later – my first book, Unfinished: A Graphic Novel of Marilyn Monroe.
Are you working on anything new?
As a matter of fact, I recently put out two more graphic novels (much shorter than the Marilyn piece) based on short stories I have written: Alice and Johnny: … and Sex and Violence and Bob (a road trip/love triangle), and Walk At Night (a horror/romance). I’m currently working on two new projects. One is an adaptation of the Greek myth about Jason & Medea and the Argonauts (also with images), and the other is an ’80s coming-of-age story that may or may not have images. I guess once I got on a roll I couldn’t stop!
The CBR reviews were overwhelmingly positive! How nerve-wracking were those to read?
Actually, when I’m working on something it’s kind of like being in a bubble, so it was really great to hear some outside opinions. But of course I held my breath as I read them! And everyone was really honest and really nice. One of the most common criticisms was that it was hard to read the text/fonts. I’m happy to report that I really took those comments to heart and worked on changing the fonts throughout the book. The new, improved, larger font version looks great I think, and thanks so much to everyone who helped me make this important change to make Unfinished a better book.
Can you tell us any insider scoop about the publishing process?
I had been taking a writing class at my local arts center and my teacher was very supportive and gave me some suggestions for literary agents. I contacted those folks (and many more), but didn’t get much response except the occasional kindly worded rejection. It just seemed like the traditional publishing route might not be the way to go for me, and I was ready to share Unfinished now. After some more research I started experimenting with self-publishing on Amazon’s Kindle/print platform and I couldn’t be happier. They print on demand, which is great for me, so I don’t have to spend a lot of money up front on boxes of books that put the burden on me to sell. I can take advantage of Amazon’s marketing, and so far have made quite a few sales in the US and even overseas, without a lot of promotion. I’ve been thinking lately about marketing and maybe enlisting some help in that area to get a wider audience.
What was it that first helped you fall in love with reading? Was it a particular book? A person? Something else?
There have always been lots of books in my life for as long as I can remember. Like many, I started out with Golden Books and Dr. Seuss, but my mom also read to us at bedtime. I was given an amazing illustrated book, D’Aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths, which was a huge influence on me and got me drawing and dreaming of art school. As a teen, I started raiding my parents’ bookcases and discovered Agatha Christie, Ray Bradbury, Kurt Vonnegut, and so much more.
Let’s talk favorite pies! Cream pie? Fruit? Pot? Kidney?
Sweet – Apple, Lemon
Savory – Plain or veggie pizza pie. My grandmother made a mean artichoke pie and a savory Sicilian filled bread/pie called sfincioni that I am still trying to duplicate.
I just wish I spent more time reading and less on my computer. That’s a goal that Cannonball Read helps me at least aspire to.
*Thanks to all who participated in the survey. If you’re not receiving the newsletter already and would like to, subscribe now and never miss another survey. Or contact us any time if you have questions or suggestions.