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Happy Halloween Everyone!

Today I’m excited to interview Angela Brown and Gwen Gardner, who have joined forces in publishing their books and have a blog together, Partners in ParanormYA. Angela’s been a follower since I started blogging and I’m just getting to know Gwen. This is the final stop in their blog tour.

Angela’s book NEVERLOVE and Gwen’s book GIVIN’ UP THE GHOST were released on October 8, 2012. Since they’re partnering for their book releases, I thought it’d be fun to interview them together. I was excited when they agreed. And what perfect books to spotlight on Halloween!

Here’s a blurb on NEVERLOVE from Goodreads

For seventeen-year-old Abigail, one rash decision leads to an unexpected chance for redemption. At V'Salicus Academy, a unique institute where she trains to become an agent of heaven, she struggles with the pain of her past, the changes of the present and accepts a loveless future until her path – and heart – crosses with Basil’s.

Basil's off-chance slip of the tongue binds him to a life of servitude to the Devourer, the master of hell. His existence has no upside until a chance meeting with Abigail brings new perspective.

Keeping the truth of their present lives from each other brings disaster when secrets are brought to light and the life of Abigail’s mentor is put on the line.

Can Abigail and Basil save her mentor and salvage their love amid the chaos? Or will they lose it all, destined forever to NEVERLOVE? 

Here’s a blurb on GIVIN’ UP THE GHOST from Goodreads:

Friend or Foe?

Murder victim Bart Bagley is not content to merely roll over in his 
grave. He wants his murderer caught and he wants teenage ghost whisperer, Indigo Eady, to help him.
It becomes obvious that Bart’s temper lead to more than one disagreement, but is it enough to want him dead? With nothing but a cold trail and a hot list of “friendly” suspects, Indigo and her friends race to find the killer before they become the next victims.

An Indigo Eady Paranormal Mystery

Indigo Eady is not clumsy. At least, that’s what she keeps telling everyone. Can she help that the overactive spirit community of Sabrina Shores causes her psychic abilities to short-circuit? It’s unfortunate that her cute new friend Badger is often on the receiving end of her mishaps. At times, she is positively hazardous to his health. Even so, sparks start to fly in more than one direction...

Hi Angela and Gwen. Thanks so much for joining us.

1.  Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became a writer.

First, we’d like to thank you, Natalie, for having us here today.  I adore Literary Rambles and all you and Casey do for authors and readers.  As for me, not a whole lot to tell.  I started writing in elementary school and toyed with the idea of writing through my teen years.  Just didn’t think anyone would take me seriously.  I grabbed the pen by the top when my daughter (nicknamed Chipmunk) was born.  I wanted to be an example of going for your dreams, not just lip service.

I’m a bit of a late bloomer. I graduated college at 41 and started writing at 50. I wanted to write since college, but procrastinated, telling myself that someday I would. But when you’re 50, “someday” is staring you in the face in a big way. I quit my job, moved to the mountains and started to write. 

2.  Yay for late bloomers, Gwen. I'm one too. Share how you came up with the idea for your story.

Honestly, Neverlove is the product of reader interest in my A to Z blogging challenge turned blog opera.  The trials of Abby and Basil were a daily drama during April 2012.  Enough readers mentioned wanting to know more about the characters so I said, “Well, why not?”  And here we are.  The blogging challenge theme was originally inspired by Adele’s song, “Set fire to the rain.”

I’ve always been fascinated with the paranormal, psychics and ghosts and all of that. So when I decided to write a book, I knew my main character would be a ghost whispering psychic. The only thing that really changed is that I changed it from middle grade to young adult. 

3.  I remember you doing that for the A to Z challenge last year, Angela. So awesome it turned into a book. Who is your favorite character in your story and why?

That would be Abby.  There are so many tidbits of “me” interwoven into her and so much more that I wish I could be.  She’s damaged and learning to deal with that.  I can understand where she’s coming from.

I hate to choose a favorite, because I love them all! But if I had to choose, I’d have to say Indigo Eady is my favorite. I wrote my entire book in third person, but it didn’t have a hook and the characters just didn’t grab me - until I played with Indigo’s voice in first person. That’s when she came alive. So I changed the whole book to first person in Indigo’s voice, and got to know her really well. That’s why she’s my favorite - I know her better than the others. 

4.  For this one, I have separate questions for each of you. For Angela, I know you’re a single mom, have a demanding job, blog regularly and follow blogs, and set writing goals for yourself that you meet. I know because you post them regularly on your blog, (which I recommend you all follow). How do you juggle it all and stay productive?

For Gwen, I read on your website that you quit your successful corporate job and moved to the mountains to write. What made you decide this and how do you schedule your time to stay productive?

It’s funny you ask.  I can think of two words:  God and Passion. Wrap that in copious amounts of Wild Cherry Pepsi, late nights to read, write and blog and early mornings to make sure the Chipmunk gets off to school with a happy belly and a smile.  There’s some sleep in there somewhere…I think lol!  The encouragement I’ve received from family and friends has also helped tremendously.

To elaborate on what I said above, 50 is rather a milestone in life. I had a high paying, steady job, but it isn’t what I wanted to do with my life. When you’re 50, life’s too short to not be doing what you want. So I threw it all in. It’s been tough financially, but I’m ever so much happier as a broke writer.

5.  I know what you mean about the sleep, Angela. And Gwen, I admire your bravery in following your dreams. It's a big step to quit a successful job like you did.

You both decided to self-publish your books and you have partnered up to do it. I think that’s a fabulous idea to join forces like you have. Share with us what went into your decision to self-publish and how you decided to do it together.

I’d been considering self-publishing Neverlove from the moment I decided to make it a novel.  Everything started falling into place with Gwen.  One e-mail led to a great conversation then on to the fateful moment of me asking Gwen if she’d like to partner up to self-publish and promote our books together.  It’s been stupendous having a fantastic partner like Gwen along this journey.

What I write isn’t exactly a main stream genre. It’s what I call young adult light paranormal “cozy” mystery. I think that most people enjoy heavier, more in-your-face types of paranormal fiction. Long story short, I didn’t think a publisher would be interested in my brand. So I decided to (once again) take things into my own hands and self-publish. Angela and I became critique partners, and she was aware I wanted to self publish. So our partnership just sort of evolved from there. 

6.  Did you find any resources especially helpful as you learned all the nuts and bolts of self-publishing a book?

Other bloggers have been the best!  Seriously.  I don’t think I could have done this without the great resources shared by other bloggers.  Rock on writing community!

Most of what I learned came from other bloggers. Blogging writers are so good about sharing their experiences. If something works for them, they share it. If something doesn’t work for them, they share that too.  There is an enormous amount of information circulating throughout the blogosphere. 

7.  Yes, the blogging community is very supportive of each other. And there are many self-published authors willing to share what they've learned from their own experiences self-publishing. What are you working on now?

I’m at the beginning stages of the sequel to Neverlove. I also have a middle grade novel that’s been begging escape and I have a YA urban fantasy/dystopian that I’m sort of in limbo with because the vampire aspect has it sort of “questionable” as to audience appeal.

I’m working on the second book in my Indigo Eady Paranormal “Cozy” Mystery Series, called A Guilty Ghost Surprised.

Thanks Angela and Gwen for sharing all your advice. You can find Angela at Goodreads, Twitter, Amazon or my blog page Angela Brown in Pursuit of Publishness. And you can find Gwen at GoodReads, Amazon, and at her blog, Gwen Gardner, YA Author

Angela and Gwen are each generously offering an e-book of their books for a giveaway. 

To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment by midnight on November 10th. I’ll announce the winner on November 12th. If your e-mail is not on Blogger, please list it in your comment. 

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. International entries are welcome.

 Here's what's coming up:

On Monday I'll be interviewing a teen for my ASK THE EXPERT series and sharing THE SPINDLERS by Lauren Oliver with you and giving away two copies of it. I'm a huge fan of Lauren's and I was excited to get an ARC. The world building in her new book is amazing and it's a great story.

Next Wednesday I'll be participating in a blog tour for debut author Lea Nolan and giving away a copy of her new book CONJURE. The awesome Elana Johnson is organizing her blog tour and I was excited when she asked me to be part of it. Lea's book is about hidden pirate bounty and unleashing a Gullah curse and sounds fantastic.

Next Friday I'm hosting debut author Chris Howard and giving away a copy of his book ROOTLESS, a dystopian world about a world about trees. Does it sound like a unique dystopian story? 

And don't forget our Tuesday Tips and Casey's Thursday agent spotlights.

Hope to see you Monday!


Anonymous said...

Great interview, Natalie. So proud of both of these ladies for following their dreams. They have definitely worked hard, which is evident in the works they've produced.

I have the books already, so no need to enter me in the giveaway. :)

Angela Brown said...

Happy Halloween! Thanks so much for having Gwen and me here today. Very exciting and honored to be here.

Donna K. Weaver said...

How fun. I've got my copy of Nevermore and can't wait for it to move up on my to-read lisst.

Theresa Milstein said...

A perfect post for Hallowen. Please enter me in the giveaway!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Wonderful interview!!! Gwen and Angela are wonderful writers, and I love their success story!

Gwen Gardner said...

Natalie, thank you so much for hosting us here today. I'm so glad to be here, and thanks for making us so welcome. I love your Happy Halloween animation up above.

Happy Halloween!

Gwen Gardner said...

Linda, I seem to be following you around this morning. Thanks so much your support.

Gwen Gardner said...

Donna, I've read it twice. You're going to love Neverlove!

Gwen Gardner said...

Theresa, it is great timing for our paranormal books. Everything just fell into place!

Gwen Gardner said...

Thanks Tyrean! I seem to be following you around this morning, too. Thanks so much for your support during our tour.

Gwen Gardner said...

Hey Partner! *waves*

Stina said...

Great interview. I love the blogging community too when it comes to the advice the self published authors are sharing with the rest of us. We learn from their successes and struggles.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Great interview, ladies! And I know what you mean Gwen about fifty staring you in the face...

Kessie said...

I've heard of the duel-promotion model, and I'm very curious to see it in action. Kudos to you both! I'll look up your books!

Angela Ackerman said...

I couldn't agree more...having the wisdom of other bloggers is so wonderful. How did any of us do this before the Internet?

Congrats on the books, ladies!


Lisa said...

Angela and Gwen, your books sound awesome. I love that yours came from the A to Z Challenge, Angela. I did something creative with that, too, a couple years ago and just added it to my website as bonus material. Good luck with your books!

Jody Lamb said...

Ladies, how exciting! High five!

Carmen said...

They both sound fabulous! Good luck!

Gwen Gardner said...

Stina, I'd be nowhere without the blogging community!

Gwen Gardner said...

Alex, you're almost there, aren't you? Makes you want to put things in gear and get going.

Gwen Gardner said...

Thanks Kessie. It worked really well for us and we had loads of fun.

Gwen Gardner said...

Angela, I wouldn't be nearly as far along in my career without the internet. I'm loving your book, too. I have it on ebook but I'm going to buy the print book as well.

Gwen Gardner said...

Thanks, Lisa! That's a great idea for bonus material.

Gwen Gardner said...

Jody, high five back at you! And thank you:)

Gwen Gardner said...

Thanks Carmen!

Robyn Campbell said...

The blogging community is the breath of life infused into all these writers. Thank you! Wonderful interview. Er, yeah, fifty staring at ya. Uh-huh. *sigh*

*waves to Natalie*

Tricia C. said...

As an over-50 single mom, I admire both of these women. Such an amazing accomplishment . Would love to have these for my students to read. Thanks so much!!

awamom at yahoo dot com