Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Interview with author Ann Carbine Best: Part I
Last week I reviewed a book I greatly enjoyed reading, In The Mirror, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets by Ann Carbine Best (WiDo Publishing, 2011). Ann is not only a gifted writer but a delightful person to know. I hope you’ll also enjoy learning more about this author and some behind-the-scenes details about her books in this two-part interview. The second part is scheduled to run Thursday, so be sure to watch for it!
By the way, Ann would like to send a signed copy of her book to one lucky winner. Contest details are at the end of this post. Did you miss last week's book review? It's available at http://michellefayard.blogspot.com/2011/07/book-review-giveaway-contest-in-mirror.html. And now for the interview ...
When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing stories in first grade. I started writing poetry when I was a junior in high school. I love both mediums of expression.
This is a memoir that reads as smoothly as fiction. How did you decide to write a memoir as opposed to fiction?
It began as an autobiographical novel written in third person. This way I figured if I were uncomfortable “digging deeper,” this would give me the liberty to fictionalize; it would give me distance. But it was after I’d signed the contract with WiDo Publishing and began working with my first editor that I changed course. She made the comment, “I hope we’ll be satisfied with the Robert character.” This was the character based on my first husband, for whom I had a lot of conflicted emotions and didn’t really like him very much; I also didn’t want to get into my second marriage, but more significantly, the writing wasn’t flowing because emotionally I was pulling back. This was, on the deepest level, “true” stuff.
Wrestling with the situation for several agonizing days while wondering if the publisher would cancel my contract, I woke up with an epiphany. I had to change to first person and do the memoir, pieces of which I had written in the past. I had to tell my “true” story. Immediately, the writing began to flow and the “story” fell into place—although there were many more edits to go since we were all looking for perfection, or as close to it as we could get.
How did you choose the title?
I’ve never been good with titles. My working title was Eternity is Not Forever. My editor proposed Choices. I liked this one since this is a theme in the memoir. But then, based on a scene near the beginning of the book, she suggested In the Mirror Alone. As the story unfolded, I said I would prefer In the Mirror. Then near the end of the editing process they proposed the subtitle A Memoir of Shattered Secrets. I’m happy with both.
What was the hardest part about writing this book?
Facing painful memories, especially the ones during my first marriage.
What message in your book do you hope will most resonate with your readers?
That our actions have consequences, good or bad, that our choices affect not just us personally but also, and especially, those around us. One of my readers, Clarissa Draper, captured this theme when she said, “It's a memoir, so don’t expect happy endings or even closure but expect it to make you look at your life and your choices. Expect it to make you see how your life and your marriage choices can impact your children.”
What marketing have you found works best for your genre?
Word of mouth. But you have to have someone’s “mouth” to respond to your writing. I found this through blogging. I made many good friends for 15 months after I signed the contract. Actually, since I’m housebound with my disabled daughter, I couldn’t market any other way.
Can you tell us a little about the challenges of getting a first book published?
From what I’ve read about the current book publishing climate, even the well-known writers have challenges. So I’m not sure (yet) if a second book would be easier or more difficult to place than a first one. In my case, I had a story that I knew very few agents and/or publishers would look at. I lucked out with the small press I sent it to.
What do you like best about your publisher, WiDo Publishing?
I like the fact that I can call the publisher and talk to him “face to face.” By phone or e-mail I can order paperback copies of the book, and they’re printed and delivered to me in a timely manner.
If readers could remember only one thing about you and your memoir, what would it be?
That although I didn’t have any control over some of the things that happened, how I responded to what I was dealt was crucial for me and my children.
Visit Ann at http://anncarbinebest.com/.
WIN A COPY OF IN THE MIRROR!
Would you like to have a copy of this inspirational book? Here’s how you can enter for up to eight chances to win:
+1 Become a new follower. (+2 If you’re already following.)
+1 Subscribe to Bird’s-eye View. (+2 If you already subscribe.)
+1 Tweet this contest.
+2 Follow my tweets.
+1 Post this on your Facebook wall.
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Then comment on this post with your point total and your e-mail address! If you commented on last week’s book review, commenting on this post will give you an additional +1; give yourself another +1 for retweeting and another +1 for a new FB wall post.
The contest will be open until midnight July 17, and the winner will be announced July 20. Good luck!