Second Saturday Author Interview with Julie Seedorf

As you can see from the photo, we are in for a real treat today as we visit with the fun and unexpected Julie Seedorf, author of cozy-comic mysteries set in Minnesota.

weird pic of me

Thank you so much for joining us today, Julie, and for answering a few questions for me and your many curious fans… I mean the fans are curious to learn about you, not that they are necessarily odd, you understand…(ahem) Maybe we’d better get right to the questions:

  • You obviously wear many hats: mother, grandmother, computer technician, author – can you give us a snapshot of your career path? I began writing in high school for fun, fell in love with speech and enrolled in college for a short time wanting to become a speech teacher. It didn’t feel right so I left college and worked as a secretary, which is what it was called in those days. Got married, had three kids and became a full time mom for a time. Part time jobs always seemed to be offered to me. I don’t think I have ever applied for a job. I worked in activities in a nursing home, as a soda jerk, waitress, bartender, advertising rep, and volunteered as SADD advisor, Sunday School Superintendent, and more. I wrote programs for church Christmas and Lenten services. Someone offered me a job as office manager of a small computer firm after my kids were gone (another fell into). They trained me as a computer technician and then when they closed their business they helped me set up my own computer business. I closed that in 2012 to become a full time columnist and author.
  • You live in Minnesota. How similar is your home town to Fuchsia and Brilliant, the towns in your books? If they are alike, at all, I definitely want to move to Minnesota, snow and all. My community is very different from Fuchsia and Brilliant as it has the rules most people have in their communities. One thing it does have in common is that it is a small community, probably a little smaller than Fuchsia, but it has many caring people.
  • How did you connect with Cozy Cat Publishers? It was a fluke. I had never intended to get published. I was too chicken to send my book into anyone. One day I was reading a book by a Cozy Cat Author and thought it sounded a lot like the book I wrote. On a quick whim I immediately queried the company. They told me to send my manuscript. I wasn’t nervous about it because I thought I would get rejected. I got an answer and they told me they might consider it if I made changes. I took two months to do it and resent it and they accepted me. I call it a God thing.
  • The pets in your stories seem to have amazing abilities. Can you share any stories about your own, real life, pets? I have two shysters of my own. I would own more but I have someone in my household that keeps a reign on my animal love. Boris and Natasha were both rescues. Boris is laid back and huge, 17 pounds. He is the lover. We also have Natasha, in fact I have a couple of video’s out with her. She can get into anything. We have hooks on our bi-fold doors, Velcro on our cupboard doors and the backs of our recliners taped shut. The best story is one night when I was sleeping and I heard my closet door opening waking me up. Then I heard the bottom drawer in my closet chest  opening and then I heard a few noises that I wasn’t sure what they were. I opened my eyes and the empty coffee maker box was sitting in the middle of my bedroom. It had been tucked away tightly underneath a shelf in the closet. I heard noises coming from the box. Natasha had opened the closet, opened the bottom drawer and then moved on and maneuvered the box out of the closet and unhooked the tab holding the cover shut and then opened the top and got in. I couldn’t figure out how she did it so the next time I heard her in the middle of the night I got my camera on my cell phone out and videotaped it. You can see it on my youtube channel.  (Click here...I watched it and it is amazing!)
  • The question every author is asked: are you like Granny? How much of these stories are autobiographical? I think there is always a part of all of us in our books. I would like to be like Granny and I am in the fact that I don’t like conformity. But Granny is actually somewhat like my mother. She was stubborn, believed she could do anything and that she wasn’t old. She kept on going and could do anything including being on top of her roof fixing it, running a chainsaw etc. until she was around 92.

Well, this is surprising, Julie, look who just came in! Bunny Elder, what are you doing here? and who is that with you? 

grannyHi, J.B. This is my pal, Hermiony Vidalia Criony. When we heard that you and Julie were getting together, we decided to add our two cents. Move over, ladies, and let us take your seats, so I can interview Hermiony. Put down the pitchfork, Granny, before you poke someone’s eye out.

 

  • As a woman of a certain age, I know numbers don’t matter, but just how old are you, Granny? I am 25 but I am an undercover sleuth, you know, so I have to hide under this wrinkly body costume. Your  kids seem to think you are on the edge of decrepitude, but you look pretty spry to me.  – Do you remember Spry cooking oil? If you greased something up with that it would slip through your fingers. So as long as they think I’m, ah, that big word you used,  then I’m just like the cooking oil, slippery, and I can slip things right past their noses. Just like they did when they were teenagers. You know what they say, payback is  a *****.

  • Do you mind that Julie shares your secret passions – “naughty” books and lingerie – with the readers? I just hate it when J.B. tells everyone when I slip up or give in to temptations. A girl should have some secrets; don’t you agree? – I don’t mind, as long as my readers don’t tell my kids or Franklin or Silas. Oh wait, you probably haven’t met Silas. Anyway, if my readers tell my kids then I will put the kibosh on Julie telling tales.

  • Don’t your fancy purple leather pajamas sweat? Of course, the Oregon Coast where I live is warmer than Fuchsia, Minnesota.- Honey, I can’t answer that question for the readers because this is a G rated interview.

  • I envy your ability to eat what you want (all those chocolate truffles and doughnuts!) and not worry about cholesterol or extra pounds. Do you have an exercise regimen you can recommend? – Yup, you should try it sometime. You take your right hand, if you’re right-handed, and pick up a truffle or a donut and then you raise your right hand to your mouth, give it a twist and toss the truffle or the donut into your mouth. Then you lower your arm and hand, pick up another truffle and donut, give it a twist and toss. Great arm exercises. You forgot to add wine. I bend over my footstool, whip my arm in a big circle and open the footstool. Lift out the heavy bottle of wine, twist my wrist to pour it all while bent over, and then I lift the bottle back into the footstool, tap twice on the top of the footstool to make it secure and then I slowly unbend at the waist and lift the top of my body back up straight. Then I lift my right arm, grab my wrist with my left arm, open my mouth and gently move my wrists to tip up the glass and pour the wine into my mouth. I can give you a diagram sometime if you want to follow those exercises.

  • Julie provides you with some wonderful mysteries to solve, but your bad guys seem pretty tame compared to the nasty brutes J.B. gives me to deal with. Would you like a roommate? Ya know, I know it seems that way in the books, she tends to whitewash it, but if you knew what I really go through, but she insists this needs to be a cozy mystery so she refuses to tell the entire gruesome tale. Did you say broommate? You know a witch?

Well, thanks so much for dropping by, girls, so sorry you have to leave, right now. Bye, Bunny, bye, Granny! So long, see ya!  –  Whew! Please excuse that interruption, Julie. I know you understand how it is. We create these characters and before you know it, they have a mind of their own. Now, where were we? Oh yes:

  • Please tell us about your current work in progress – I’m working on Granny Pins A Pilferer, another Fuchsia Minnesota Mystery and The Joy Killer, which is a serious book about a woman examining her life and choices when she turns 65. Sounds interesting. I’ll have to read that before I hit the big six-five (again).
  • Any other plans for the future? I guess God has led me this far, so I don’t plan too much in the future. There will be another book in the Brilliant Minnesota Series after my new book The Penderghast Puzzle Protectors. It’s a hoot and has ties to Fuchsia but with an entire new cast of characters. puzzle bookJust released in February. And I am also a columnist for area newspapers. My column is called Something About Nothing on the premise we talk about nothings every day when we meet but underneath those nothings there is something wanting to be said if we take the time to listen.

Thanks so much for sharing with us today, Julie. It’s been great fun.

To learn more about Julie and her writing follow any of the links below:

http://julieseedorf.com
http://sprinklednotes.com
http://www.facebook.com/julie.seedorf.author
http://www.amazon.com/Julie-Seedorf/e/B009WAAANQ
http://www.twitter.com/julieseedorf
http://www.instagram.com/julie_seedorf

 

 

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Interview with fellow author, Karoline Barrett

One of the things I like best about being a published author is the wonderful people I meet. This includes both readers and fellow authors.

Another of my favorite things is introducing my new friends to my old friends. So, today, old friends, I want you to meet Karoline Barrett, author of The Art of Being Rebekkah, and future releases in her Bread & Batter Mysteries series,  Bun for your Life, coming November 2015 from Berkley Books/Intermix, and Raisin the Dead. 

Karoline has lived in a variety of locations, but she and her husband are currently living in a small Connecticut town. She likes spending time by the water, traveling, indulging in social media, attending New York Yankees games, or anything not involving math.

Welcome to my blog, Karoline. I’d like to ask you a few questions, so we can get to know you better, if you don’t mind.

Karoline BarrettKaroline – Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Jonna! These are always so much fun to do.  Ask away.

  • My blog is read by writers as well as their fans. I know many of them would love to learn the process you went through to find your agent. –  Once I finished my first book, The Art of Being Rebekkah, I researched agents, made a list, and began querying. I had requests for partials and fulls, but no takers. I found my agent, Fran Black of Literary Counsel, while I was browsing Twitter one day; I’d followed another one of her authors. I queried her and the rest is history, as the saying goes.
  • Cozy readers love puns in book titles. The name of your series is perfect for an almost limitless number of cute food and baking plays-on-words for titles of the books in the series. How did you come up with this clever series title?  – I love the name of the series, and the titles, too, but unfortunately, cannot take credit. My publisher, Penguin/Intermix came up with both of them!
  • What made you decide to offer both of your first two books in the Bread & Batter series for pre-order at the same time? – That was my publisher as well! The second book in the series, Raisin The Dead, will be out April 2016, so they probably thought it was a good idea to offer both for pre-order.
  • Was that a lot of work? – Not for me!   😉
  • Your first book, The Art of Being Rebekkah, is women’s fiction. Is writing a mystery different? – For me it was different, yes.
  • In what ways? In my Rebekkah book, there was a little intrigue and suspense, but it was primarily a story about a woman’s journey in discovering who she is. It was more character driven than plot driven. My mysteries have to have a…well, mystery. They’re humorous and have lots of twists to keep readers guessing.
  • While writing your books, who is your target reader? – Anyone who loves interesting characters, a good mystery, and an interesting plot with lots of twists. Oh, and a very handsome detective!
  • How do reader reviews influence your writing? – With my Rebekkah book, I got all positive reviews. I’m hoping my Bread and Batter series will as well. No author likes unfavorable reviews, but with those I’d realize everyone is entitled to their opinion and I’d keep striving to be the best storyteller I can be!

Thanks, so much, for sharing with us today, Karoline. I can’t wait to start reading your new series. I’m sure a lot of us will pre-order today.

To learn more about Karoline and her books go to her website.

Be sure to come back to this blog every month for our Second Saturday Interviews to meet current authors and discover great new books.

November 14th we will visit with Maureen K. Howard, the writing team creators of the Lake Erie Mysteries series, featuring their well-reviewed first novel, Sunny Side Up.

Amazon Pre-order for Indie Authors on Kindle

As I get closer to completion of my current work, I am considering whether there might be an advantage to offering the Kindle version of the new novel for pre-orders.

This is what Amazon says:

We’re excited to announce that you can now make your new books available for pre-order in Kindle Stores worldwide. With a few quick and easy steps you can create a pre-order page up to 90 days in advance of your book’s release date–your pre-order product page will be created within 24 hours. When you make your book available for pre-order, customers can order the book anytime leading up to the release date you set. We will deliver it to them on that date.

One advantage of using pre-order is that you can start promoting your Kindle book pre-order page on Author Central, Goodreads, your personal website, and other places ahead of its release to help build excitement for your book. Also, pre-orders will contribute toward sales rank and other Kindle Store merchandising ahead of release, which can help more readers discover your book.

Have any of you Indie authors had experience with Kindle pre-orders?

What about you readers? Does the pre-order option pique your interest?

I’d love to hear your thoughts as I try to make up my mind about taking advantage of this new Kindle feature.

Thanks!

Kindle Unlimited: Friend or Foe?

This week Amazon added their Kindle Unlimited subscription service. All KDP Select works are automatically included in the service, although authors are able to opt out, if they choose.

KDP Select has been good to me since I became an independent author. I’ve used the free promotional services and seen an increase in sales and reviews.

Since the roll-out of Kindle Unlimited I have seen articles suggesting this is not a good deal for independents and encouraging us to leave KDP Select and offer our books on a variety of sites, such as Smashwords, Kobo, iBooks, etc.

The main downside to leaving the exclusive KDP Select program would seem to be losing my access to Amazon’s Countdown Deals and free promotions.

I would love to hear from other independent authors on the pros and cons of our options in light of Kindle Unlimited.

For me, and for many others, I suspect,  marketing and promotion is the trickiest part of the adventure of being an independent author.