Bio of Martha Reynolds: She’s a graduate of Providence College and studied at the Universite de Fribourg in Switzerland. Martha returned to Switzerland numerous times and is always looking forward to her next trip. Recently, she ended an accomplished career as a fraud investigator (many stories to tell!) and now writes full-time. Martha and her husband, and their little dog Bonnie, live in Rhode Island, never far from the ocean.
Q & A with Martha Reynolds
Describe yourself in five sentences: I’m living proof that it’s never too late to pursue a dream. Even when I was doing something I didn’t like, I always tried to do it well. When I stopped looking for the perfect man, I found the right man. I inherited my mother’s propensity to gain weight, and (fortunately) my father’s sense of humor. I have an older sister and a younger sister; yep, classic middle child.
Tell us about your books: My debut novel is “Chocolate for Breakfast.” It tells the tale of a young woman who spends her junior year of college in Switzerland. Yes, I spent my junior year in Switzerland! And I lived in a tiny room. And during that year, my father died unexpectedly. Other than that, my life was pretty boring, so I decided to make up a story about a young woman named Bernadette. Her year in Switzerland was much more riveting! ‘Bernie’ makes adult decisions and the rest of her life is really characterized by those decisions. I always said that even if only my friends and family read my books, I still didn’t want them to suck. From the feedback I’ve received so far, I’m very pleased.
What is the writing/editing process like for you? I write freely for as long as it takes, not worrying about spelling, grammar, punctuation. I just write everything that’s in my head. Every thought, every idea that relates to the work in progress. I have used an Excel spreadsheet to sketch out my characters. That’s just so I stay consistent on things like birthdays, anniversaries, favorite colors, etc. When I begin to edit, I slow way down. In the case of “Chocolate for Breakfast,” it took about six months for the editing. I did some of it, then turned it over to my editor, Teresa Kennedy. She didn’t think my original ending worked (she was right), so I completely rewrote it, and I think this ending works very well.
Hardback/Paperback or eBooks? Why? Chocolate for Breakfast is an e-book only. Because it was my first effort, I’d overspent my budget on editing, formatting, and the gorgeous book cover. I wouldn’t have gone with hardcovers anyway, as I think they’re overpriced and most people I know don’t read them. I have had some people ask for the paperback version of this book, and I feel bad that it isn’t available to them, although there’s a free Kindle app that enables anyone to read a book on their computer, or even their phone.
If you could write anywhere, where would it be? Easy question – Switzerland. By the lake in the summer, high in the mountains in a cozy chalet in the winter. As long as I have some solitude.
What are you reading right now? I just finished “Girl Unmoored” by Jennifer Gooch Hummer and am about to start “Where We Belong” by Emily Giffin.
For an author, how important is social media? For me, it’s everything. I don’t know what I would do to market my book without it. For the past year and a half, I’ve worked on building my platform through Twitter, Facebook, my Facebook writer page, LinkedIn, and my blog. Twitter friends retweeted information about my book, Facebook friends shared the Amazon link – I’m very grateful to all of them. And I’ve learned so much about publishing and marketing from the writer blogs I subscribe to. (sorry, I know I ended that sentence with a preposition, but writing ‘the blogs to which I subscribe’ sounded way too stuffy!)
What authors do you admire? Oh, there are so many! Flannery O’Connor, Claire Cook, Tonya Kappes, Amy Tan, the late Maeve Binchy. Just so many wonderful writers! And, of course, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Faulkner. Harper Lee. Kathryn Stockett. Stop me, I’ll just keep going.
How did you celebrate your first book being published? Just a quiet dinner out with my husband, then screaming it all over the internet 🙂
Tell us about your daily routine: I wake up around 7:30 most days. Two cups of coffee and usually a power shake (almond milk, banana, protein powder, and frozen fruit), then it’s upstairs to write. I try to write for at least three hours each day. The afternoon is spent with household chores and reading, catching up on e-mail, blogs, etc. I’m usually up until 11:00 at night, and may do more writing, if I’m inspired. And now I always keep a notebook with me, because there are words, phrases, thoughts that must be written down!
What’s the best advice you’ve been given? Probably “to live your life without regret.” My husband has helped me to see that more clearly, and it’s really because of him that I’m writing full-time.
Can you tell us about any of your upcoming projects? I’m writing a novel now about a high-school reunion. There’s a lot of angst that accompanies a reunion, especially after so many years. Ghosts from the past can haunt a person for decades, and I’m tapping into some of that.
To enter to win a FREE Kindle download by Martha Reynolds, please leave a comment telling us what your favorite kind of chocolate is, along with your email address! A winner will be picked on Friday, September 7th!