Bio of author, Addison Westlake: I made my debut as an author around 13-years-old rewriting Sweet Valley High books. In one version Elisabeth and Jessica Wakefield were preteens living in a British orphanage.
Later in my adolescence I launched into a self-important Personal Reflection Phase with a lot of thought pieces, meditations on themes and poetry reflecting in sad words about sad things, sadly. My 20s ushered in an even more unappealing Political Phase with a lot of angry, partially informed commentary raging against the machine, the lever operating the machine and the guy funding the production of the lever and the machine.
I’m happy to say that I’ve now returned From Whence I Came! I’m back, baby, on the main quad of Sweet Valley High where hot guys drive hot cars and it only rains when you don’t have a date for the prom. And then the sun comes out, anyway, because everything works out after all!
When did you start writing? Around 13-years-old. During a long summer I started rewriting the “Sweet Valley High” series. As if anyone could improve on that!
Describe yourself in five words: Parisian, chic, effortlessly slender, elegant…wait, did you mean for real?
Where is your favorite place to write? My favorite place to write is anywhere I can find time to write. Frequently this means writing in the mini van while my 2-year-old naps in the car seat and we wait for the older kids to finish school or activities. It’s pretty glamorous; I’ll scribble on the backs of envelopes or forms I need to fill out (whoops). Also, there’s a small table in the kitchen by the window where I show amazing capacity to block out filth and clutter and write away.
What is on your desk? Desk? That’s an awesome idea!
Take us through a typical day of you life: Hectic! I’ll just highlight the typical start and end for you:
START OF THE DAY:
- 3am overly-imaginative 4-year-old calls out and requires comforting and convincing that there are no such things as witches.
- 5:55am 2-year-old yells “Want Lunch!” I stumble to her crib to discover she’s somehow stripped herself of PJs and diaper and is in her naked, plump glory, an incredible scowl on her angry morning face. “Lunch!” she again demands as I gather her up into my arms and give her a ‘nuggle’—she’ll only be a baby a little while longer, with that amazing soft plump warm feel and just a hint, too, of that baby smell. I reassure her I’ll get her breakfast in a minute, after I bring her into bed with me and Daddy and attempt to get another 20 minutes of sleep. That doesn’t work.
END OF THE DAY:
- 9:05pm girls are finally down after yelling for “bubble water” and requesting several more rounds of goodnight kisses. My son is likely still reading under his covers.
- 9:25pm Tell my son he really has to go to sleep. Lunches are packed—yes, cream cheese bagels yet again. I dare any teacher to suggest I provide a more varied diet. Dirty dishes are still in an endless supply, popping up around the house, laughing at me and mocking my pain.
- 9:35pm My husband and I know we need to discuss health benefits because the plan we’re on is changing in some completely incomprehensible way which will likely cost of thousands of dollars if we make the wrong decision. Instead, we watch “Chopped” together on the couch.
- 9:40pm Husband and I are both fast asleep. At some later point we somehow manage to get back up into our bed without either one regaining full consciousness.
Who or what do you admire most? My husband who works so hard.
What is your favorite part of the writing/editing/publishing process? Cooking up new ideas that make me laugh.
What is your favorite word? Pamplemousse, the French word for grapefruit.
Salty or sweet? Sweet.
Hard/paperbacks or eBooks? Both! My husband and I have stacks of books on our bedside tables and we love the library—but what’s easier than a Kindle?
What did you do to celebrate your first book being published? My wonderful girlfriends printed out the Amazon page with my book and made a little card out of it & we toasted with champagne. And my husband gave me my anniversary gift a week early to celebrate—I do like sparkles…
Can you tell us about any upcoming projects? Why, yes! In January I’ll be publishing a compilation of humorous essays I’ve written over the past year or so about parenting. Haven’t figured out the title yet, but it might be “Mommy Looks So Tired” (with a special thank-you to the grocery story clerk who observed that about me on a day when I really thought I had it all together).
I’m also working on another romantic comedy novel and will be excited to publish that in about a year.
Top 10 Ways to Sink your New Book Like The Titanic
Two weeks ago I self-published my romantic comedy novel “Christmas in Wine Country” on Amazon as an ebook. And let me tell you, it’s been a wild ride. Apparently, there’s this thing called “marketing” or “advertising” your work. Some experts even recommend starting this process BEFORE you publish. Crazy, right?
Anyway, I’ve learned a lot in the past two weeks about trying to get the word out about a new book. And I’ve come across a lot of helpful advice on the Internet, usually written by best-selling, self-published authors who’ve gone from zero to hero with savvy marketing plans and amazing headshots of themselves that they didn’t just crop out of a photo in which they’re surrounded by four children.
Well, how about some how-tos from someone who’s doing most things wrong? Let’s turn my pain into your gain.
Here’s my Top 10 List of Things Not To Do when Promoting Your New Book:
#10 Tweet, repeatedly, to no followers.
#9 Have difficulty navigating your new gmail account so that when people express interest in your book you don’t see their emails and never reply.
#8 Feel too awkward promoting your book to mention it to anyone.
#7 Insist that your book defies categorization – not chick lit, not rom com, not women’s lit, not romance. It can’t be boxed-in or even really described, you just have to read it.
#6 Spend a lot of time wondering if it’s really all worth it.
#5 Glance up from your computer screen, look around and really take in the filth. Feel compelled to clean instead of whatever else you were doing to promote your book.
#4 Start reading that 5-pound tome that won the Pulitzer Prize in fiction. Wonder how much better it is than your book. Tweet about it.
#3 Miss out on sleep by having nightmares that your new job is blogging for a pimp. (This actually happened to me. I don’t mean to be presumptuously self-analytical, but is it possible that I’m conflicted about promoting my work??? Funniest part of my dream: trying to find the “upside” of pimp-blogging. As in, “maybe the content will be so risqué that my blog will get a lot of followers!”
#2 Devote the majority of your time to emailing the publicists of super famous people and telling them how much better your book is than their clients’ movie/single/TV show, etc. Then asking for the endorsement of aforementioned super famous people.
#1 Widely publicize your mother’s review of your book, but only if she self-identifies as your mother and her review is mixed. “Well, my daughter’s always been something of a disappointment…”
I’ll close simply by giving my new book a huge plug—“Christmas in Wine Country” a romantic comedy, the perfect holiday read! Curl up with a glass of wine, it’ll make you laugh out loud! Over 8,000 copies downloaded this weekend during my 2 free promo days when, in the Free Kindle category, it ranked #24 OVERALL, #2 in Humor and #9 in Contemporary Romance!
Wait, what? I’m not supposed to plug my book in a guest blog? It’s not about self-promotion, it’s about connecting with potential new readers? Darn it. Make that #11 on my list of what not to do.
**Click HERE to read a blurb and 1st chapter tease of “Christmas in Wine Country!”