Why I do what I do - A Glimpse

Aug. 23, 2018

As an editor and writer, I sometimes get asked why I do what I do, and how it is that I enjoy it so much. In the past, I’d wondered how it was that people could actually say they didn't read, but over time, I've come to understand we’re all wired differently, with different strengths, talents and gifts (it’s still no excuse for not reading!). I've also come to understand that sometimes, our passion for things can appear a little (or maybe a lot) strange and alien-y to others, and vice versa. Regardless, I’ll try to explain a little about why I do what I do.

So, allow me to digress with this post – I’m going to talk less about books, and a little more about me (although I can hardly talk about myself without talking about books).

I’m a thirty-something-year-old reading junkie who fell in love with reading at a very early age. Or perhaps I didn't just fall in love... perhaps I was already created to love right from the beginning of my life 😉 

My earliest memory of reading a book was at age 8, and thinking back now, I’m not sure how exactly I got hold of the books I used to read, but somehow I saw, grabbed, and devoured them like they were food to my soul. Fast forward to a few years later as a teenager earning pocket money – yeah you can guess what I used those monies on! I devoured Mills & Boon series, Harlequin Silhouette series, Malory Towers and Famous Five series, Nancy Drew series, Sweet Valley High series… you name it, I read it all. Through those books, I created my own world in my own mind, and through those books, I began to imagine and envision my own characters, settings, plot. Because of those books, I began to write my own stories.

I was an introvert through and through, living in my own mind and loving it! To the outside world, I was this quiet little girl, sometimes a little too quiet… if only they knew how loud my mind was, how energetic my soul felt, living in these dream worlds.

I fell hard for the written word, and as I transitioned to university, I knew what I wanted to do, who I wanted to be. I wanted to play with words for a living; read them, write them, fix them, whatever it would take, however long it would take, regardless of what anyone would think. 

Today, I’m living that dream, however long it might have taken me to get here. I love what I do, and because of my passion for words, this awesome blog was born. Through this blog, I’ve been able to connect with wonderful authors and readers alike, share my love for books, and appreciate the efforts and courage it takes authors to put themselves out there – it’s never an easy accomplishment.

You must be a great beta reader, someone once said to me. But I’m not just a beta reader (although I’m a great one and actively offer this critique service to authors). I don’t simply read books robotically and move on to the next. Reading a good book to me is like savouring the sweet and sour taste of an aged wine, or listening to music that speaks to your soul. I’m moved by the play on words by great authors, which is why literary fiction is, to date, my favourite genre in fiction. Lit Fic authors like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Margaret Atwood, Jane Austen, George Orwell, Lois Lowry, Neil Gaiman, and Celeste Ng play with (and on) words so insanely, I get pleasure pangs every time I read their works. It’s not because the words used are delightful or pleasing. On the contrary – the words are sometimes hard to swallow. They’re deep, revealing, enlightening. The words show, rather than tell. That’s where the beauty in these words lies for me - the act of revealing the truth in all its unpretty, yet exquisite, nakedness.

In time, I’ll start sharing my little eccentric stories on here for all to read and enjoy! For now, get on that reading wagon (if you haven’t already), and join me in my reading challenge.

More author interviews and book reviews to come soon, so expect to hear about some riveting books and their amazing authors!

Happy reading!


Interview with Carla Feagan, Author of A Life Worth Living; The Journey of an Authentic Soul

Jul. 25, 2018
I was privileged to invite Ms. Feagan for an interview with BooKecCenTric to discuss her latest bookA Life Worth Living; The Journey of an Authentic Soul. Enjoy!


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What's your book about, and what inspired you to write it? 
@CarlaFeagan: The book is a memoir about my life. By allowing others to hear my truth, my understanding of my life, my trials, tribulations, strengths, and weaknesses shows that they are not alone. For this is also their story, not in whole, but in parts, in the emotional parts, in the parts that are hidden, in the parts that they are ashamed to acknowledge. The ability to help people understand that there is a way out... to live a life they truly deserve.

Who is your target audience, and why do you think this book will appeal to them
@CarlaFeagan: My main target audience is women from ages 30 to 65 as most women have an internal belief system that interacts with their daily life. This audience has more ability to resonate with the stories in the memoir and either see how far they have come or determine what still needs to be worked on.

What message do you wish to pass across to your readers with this book
@CarlaFeagan: The main message is that you are not alone. Others have had hard times and belief systems that are not good for them. There is a way out, not to allow the past to affect the person you are in the here and now.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book? 
 @CarlaFeagan: I would have to say the business of publishing is the hardest thing. The writing was the easy part. It is getting the book into the hands of the reader that is the challenging part as it needs to be looked at as a business, not a hobby.

As a writer, is there anything you've learned about yourself while writing this book
@CarlaFeagan: The writing of the book was extremely cathartic for me. It put the pieces of the puzzle of my life into perspective and I came to a higher understanding of why I made the decisions I did. I have moved forward, and those past beliefs no longer have control of me.

For your own reading, do you prefer eBooks or traditional paper/hard back books, and why?   
@CarlaFeagan: I love traditional paperback books for many reasons. The main one is it brings me to a place of comfort as I was an avid reader in my youth and the smell and feel of a paperback always brings me back to this safe space. Also, I don’t have to worry about running out of battery with a paperback.

What is your niche genre, and if you were to write in a different genre, what would it be? 
@CarlaFeaganThis is my debut book. It is a memoir; however, I have another book waiting to be let out about the year I spent traveling the world by myself. Poetry has also shed its skin and come out while writing.  That may be another avenue I explore.  From this thought pattern I gather that my niche genre would be non-fiction.

What books and authors have most influenced you? @CarlaFeagan: I am an avid reader spanning multiple genre’s. The authors that have influenced me are many I am afraid to write them as the list will be long and I will probably forget them. Steven King – the Dark Tower Series, Diana Gabaldon – the Outlander series are two that immediately come to mind.

Is there anything you'd like readers to know about you? @CarlaFeagan: I am an extreme introvert at heart. While I have learned to be more extroverted, I quite enjoy my alone time.

Do you have any more books in the works?
@CarlaFeagan: I have a few ideas percolating and once this book has launched I am certainly going to explore writing another book … or two … or four 😊

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones? @CarlaFeagan: I don’t feel like there are any bad reviews. If something I write does not resonate with someone then I don’t take it personally. My job as a writer is not to try and please everyone it is to make an impression on those who resonate with my topic. So, yes, I read my book reviews, if the bad ones offer constructive criticism I learn from it. If the bad reviews are because of topic, genre or someone got triggered then I don’t take it personally as that is their perspective.

What is your preferred method to have readers get in touch with or follow you (i.e., website, personal blog, Facebook page, Goodreads, etc.)? 
@CarlaFeagan: The contact form on my website is the best way to get in contact with me.  However, I do respond to all forms of contact.

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Carla Feagan was born in Changi, Singapore on a British RAF Base. After Singapore, her family moved to England and then to Canada when she was 7. Carla has lived all over Western and Central Canada including the North West Territories. She holds an honors degree in Computer Systems Technology and has worked as a salesperson, an accountant, a computer programmer, a manager, and a business owner.  In 2015, she left her job to experience her own EAT, PRAY, LOVE journey to 21 countries for a year.  Carla currently lives and works remotely from Playa del Carmen, MX, understanding the true value in creating the life you want.

Website link:
www.carlafeagan.com

Interview with Jane O'Brien, Author of Ivy and Fox

June 2, 2018


I was privileged to invite Ms. O'Brien for an interview with BooKecCenTric to discuss her latest bookIvy and Fox. Enjoy!


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Thank you @JaneO'Brien for your time today. Let’s talk about Ivy and Fox. What’s it about, and what inspired you to write it?
@JaneO'Brien: Ivy and Fox is the third book in a series called The Unforgettables. Each book touches base with a famous person from West Michigan, who is in some way fictionally connected to Ivy's family tree. Through her genealogy research she discovers her ancestors' love stories and it fuels her own.

Who is your target audience, and why do you think this book will appeal to them?
@JaneO'Brien: At first, I thought these books were for women, but I have found that men like the mystery and suspense, too.  My target audience is someone who enjoys history flashbacks, while still enjoying a spicy romance in the present.

What message do you wish to pass across to your readers with this book?
@JaneO'Brien: I believe the main focus of most of my books is that family is important, and who came before us paved the way for who we are today. If it weren't for them and their sacrifices, and a few twists of fate, our lives would be totally different.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
@JaneO'Brien: The most difficult thing is always the ending, and since I thought Ivy and Fox was the end of the series, I struggled with it, because I did not want to let my 'babies' go, but it soon became clear that there was more to come. I had some unfinished business that I needed to attend to, so I am now writing book four in the series, in hopes of finally wrapping up the loose ends.

As a writer, is there anything you've learned about yourself while writing this book?
@JaneO'Brien: I usually put a little something of myself in my books and this one was no different. I am romantic and very sentimental, and I am sure only my family would recognize what parts are actually me. But I did discover that I have missed a close connection to grandparents and perhaps that is why I wrote about Ivy's family. By creating a family for her, I was creating one for myself.

For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books, and why?  
@JaneO'Brien: I love the smell and feel of real books, and as a former librarian, I always said I would never give up reading an actual book, but I have to admit to being hooked on my Kindle. I miss walking through the stacks, though, searching for my next treasure, but ebooks are just so darn convenient.  I can't give them up.

What is your niche genre, and if you were to write in a different genre, what would it be?
@JaneO'Brien: My niche is romance with a hint of mystery. I don't know if I can write in another genre. I'm not good at fantasy, murder, or comedy. As a matter of fact, even writing a few funny lines is difficult. So I guess I'll stay in my lane for now.

What books and authors have most influenced you?
@JaneO'Brien: I have been very influenced by Sandra Dallas, Nicholas Sparks, and James Michael Pratt. I love sweet love stories that sometimes bring a tear to the eye. One of my all time favorite books is The Diary of Mattie Spencer by Sandra Dallas. I felt like Mattie was me when I was reading it, even though it was about a pioneer woman. Mattie loved quilts and herbs and so do I. It was amazing.

Is there anything you'd like readers to know about you?
@JaneO'Brien: I am a senior citizen who published my first book only four years ago, and now I am working on my tenth. I am having the time of my life. If there is something you always wanted to do, plunge in and do it. Nothing is impossible. You may not be the best, but who cares if you're having fun.

Do you have any more books in the works?
@JaneO'Brien: I am working on the fourth book of The Unforgettables now, called Georgi and Jack. It should be out sometime this summer. I also recently completed a Christmas novella that I am saving for next year.

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
@JaneO'Brien: I definitely read them. And I listen to constructive criticism. Yes, the bad ones hurt, but then I remind myself that not everyone will like the story line or my writing style. I can't possibly please them all. Still ----

What is your preferred method to have readers get in touch with or follow you (i.e., website, personal blog, Facebook page, Goodreads, etc.)?
@JaneO'Brien: If they have a question about my book, I like them to write to my email address at authorjaneobrien@gmail.com. I always answer back. But my Facebook page and Goodreads is good for quick comments.

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Jane O'Brien resides in West Michigan where she was born and raised. She is married and the mother of two daughters, both authors in their own right. She's had a variety of jobs and hobbies including: piano teacher, librarian, genealogist, gardener, and quilter.

O'Brien loves to write about her experiences living along the Lake Michigan shoreline as a youth, and then later in the woods near inland lakes and rivers. She takes pride in being able to introduce her readers to her beautiful state. She has recently moved back to the lake shore.

Website link:



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