Thursday, 2 May 2013

Author Interview - AB Whelan


Author A.B. Whelan A.B.Whelan is a Hungarian born, American writer. She currently lives with her husband and two children in Southern California. While growing up in a wealthy Eastern European family, she had a chance to travel Europe. Later as an adult, she visited Africa and the Middle East and lived in Ecuador and in Crete.


What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life? My parents always had high expectations for me, and I have accomplished quite a lot in life. Yet I consider my greatest accomplishment, which nothing else could be compared to, is giving birth to my children. Creating a new life is a pure miracle. Sometimes I look at my children and I’m in awe how wonderful life is. Since I’ve become a mom, I’ve grown very selfless. However, I’m still restless. I always have to be doing and learning something new.

How has your upbringing influenced your writing? I consider myself religious, but I’m not a fanatic about it. My beliefs have a way of sneaking into my stories. Also, growing up in a socialist country, I faced a very different style of living from that which Americans know. I also experienced loss, pain, but also happiness. I’m a very complex person today because of what I’ve lived through.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? I wrote my first book in 2011, about how I met my American husband. It’s not your typical fairy tale story. I wanted my kids to have something to remember us by once we’re gone. I wanted them to read my diary one day and understand us and where we came from and how we ended up together. My kids speak better English than Hungarian, so I chose to write in English. I enjoyed the retelling of this unique story and when a close relative came up with the idea of turning my diary into a novel, I was all over it. I haven’t stopped since and, considering that I have about ten more book ideas, probably I won’t stop for a long time, if ever.

When did you first know you could be a writer? When I sent my first novel to a professional review company and they rated it four stars. Then it started to sell, slowly though, because back then I wasn’t promoting my books at all. And I received more positive feedback. My newest book earned five star reviews, praise from Kirkus Reviews, high ratings on Amazon and Goodreads. I guess I’m starting to believe that I might have a future as a full-time writer.

What do you consider most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general? If you have a vivid imagination as I think I do, writing a book is not difficult. Selling it is what causes difficulties. I don’t write to follow a popular genre. I don’t try to copy other authors, but I do research them to learn about promotional tricks and ideas. It’s a constant struggle because every time I sit down at the computer, I have to decide whether to work on my new book or spend hours spreading the word about the existing ones.

Another challenge I see in writing is striking an emotional cord in the readers. That’s where most books fail. It doesn’t matter how amazing the story is if the author can’t connect her characters with the readers.

Have you developed a specific writing style? I always walk the readers into and through the story. I make sure they feel the turmoil the protagonist goes through, understand her choices, and cry or laugh with her. Since I read criticisms of my work, positive and negative, there was a time when I unwittingly tried to meet everyone’s expectations, which is impossible. I don’t do that anymore. I concentrate on connecting with those readers who enjoy the same kinds of books that I write.

Can you share a little of your current work with us? Excerpt of Valley of Darkness Part 1 (Fields of Elysium, #2):

“Maybe we should stay down here until my parents get home. I don’t want them to get the wrong idea.
What do you think?” I said, moving toward the couch.

“What do you want to do?” Victor asked, his sexy smile teasing and breathtaking at the same time.

I reached for the remote control. “Here. Let’s watch some T.V.” I suggested and pressed the on button.

“Great. I have never watched television on Earth. Let’s see what goodies this magic box holds,” Victor said, and eased himself down on the chocolate-leather sofa.

“It’s nothing compared to the four-dimensional projection you guys have, but not that bad.”

Victor grunted his disapproval. “I don’t care. It’s fine.”

A beautiful Asian female voice with a sexy British accent filled the room and I turned to look at the screen.  My eyes focused on the title at the bottom. ‘Breaking News.’

In the background, there was a gas station cordoned off with that yellow tape nobody wants to see around his house. The place was vaguely familiar to me; perhaps we had gotten gas there before. I lived in Los Angeles, where bad things happened to people daily, but Victor didn’t need to see that. He had enough reason not to trust people from Earth already so I quickly muted it and pressed the program guide button.

“So what do you want to watch?” I asked Victor, ready to skip through the thousand channels.

“I don’t really care. Just come, sit next to me.” He patted the cushion by his side.
I dropped into his lap instead, keeping an eye on the door for my parents’ arrival. They had enough for one day to digest. I didn’t want to push my limits.

“So. What are you interested in? Documentary? Drama? Reality show? Carto – the words stuck in me as my eyes beheld something familiar on the left upper corner of the screen, where the breaking news was still underway.

“Isn’t that my car? There. Look.” I enlarged the image into full screen.

I scooted over to the side, and Victor leaned forward.

“It sure looks like it. Can you read the license plate?” I couldn’t so I turned the volume up.

The shooter is still at large. The police set parameters around the area. They are stopping every car and checking every alley, but there is no sign of the man who took the life of two innocent civilians, identified as James and Grace Bennett, a married couple from Beverly Hills….”

How do you promote this book? Unfortunately I don’t spend enough time promoting my books and connecting with readers. I should, but I’m not a full-time writer and my time is very limited. It takes about six to seven months to write and edit my manuscripts with my editor, proofreader, and test readers. Promoting a book takes even longer. Luckily, I’ve met some fantastic authors and we help each other with promotions. I also make sure to send out plenty of review copies to professional companies and to readers. Oh, boy! I could use an assistant. J

Have you started another book yet? Fields of Elysium has been published recently. It’s a romantic science-fiction/fantasy about a teen girl who, living under the wings of her parents, finally gets the chance to fly out of the nest and start living her life. And not just any kind of life but a very unique one. Molly becomes the first teenager to discover a secret passage between Earth and the planet Arkana, where mankind had been given the second chance. The story follows Molly’s journey from ordinary to extraordinary and from lonely to popular, through first love and heartbreak. Currently I’m working on book two. It’s such a sweet story; I can’t let go of the characters just yet.

What are some of the best tools available today for writers, especially those just starting out? There are wonderful book bloggers who are willing to read and review books, post giveaways/author interviews/guest posts, and much more. The Goodreads community is very helpful spreading the word about books. Tons of online social media sites discuss books; you just have to reach out to them. Promoting a book and building an author platform has never been easier, yet harder at the same time. There are hundreds of tools available for an author to put her name out, yet it’s getting more difficult to stand out when Amazon alone publishes over 30,000 books a month.

Do you have any advice for writers? Don’t rush into publishing your book. If it’s a series, finish the first two or three volumes before you publish the first one. Make a detailed marketing plan and follow through on it. Don’t make any sudden decisions. Don’t hesitate to give your book away for free to reviewers. If you are an unknown author and someone volunteers to read your book, you should be extremely grateful. Without readers there would be no need for writers.


fields new
Fields of Elysium by A.B. Whelan How can love mend a heart full of hate? Small town girl, Molly Bennett, moves to Los Angeles where she becomes an outsider while attending Beverly Hills High School. It seems life cannot be any more dreadful. Then one day after school, something magical happens. On a secluded hike in the Hollywood Hills, Molly chases her disobedient mutt and only friend into a hidden cavern. She stumbles upon a strange glimmering gateway that transports her to Arkana, a planet that is the cradle of an advanced human race. 

There, teenagers navigate amazing flying vehicles, compete in perilous games for glory, and possess supernatural powers. While Molly tries to wrap her mind around this unbelievable discovery, she meets the alluring and mysterious Victor Sorren. He is a Sentinel Apprentice, whose hatred toward people from Earth is beyond understanding. Yet every time Victor unpredictably saves Molly's life, his heart draws closer to hers, no matter how much he tries to fight against it. It further complicates things that their growing friendship is strictly forbidden. Earth people are prohibited in Arkana, yet Molly continues to cross through the portal to Arkana to see Victor. Torn between their double lives, they go down a dangerous path, from where there is no return and multiple endings. Fields of Elysium is a suspenseful, romantic tale full of forbidden secrets, unimaginable danger, deception, and the never-ending fight for true love.

PRAISE "The novel's take on otherworldly travel is a compelling one, and the romantic plot will likely appeal to Twilight fans." - Kirkus Reviews "I expected a good love story with a paranormal twist. I got so much more. I think you should take the chance and read it. Let this book take you on the adventure, fall in love." - Young Adult and Teen Readers "Fields of Elysium is a fabulous read. ... Whelan paints her faith into the fabric of her story with deft, light brushstrokes, making her work accessible to all, no matter their spiritual beliefs or background." - Readers Favorite 

 "I escaped into this fantasy world, author, A.B.Whelan, created and I didn’t want Molly to go. From detailed descriptions, to sweet romance, and to all the twist and turns in the story, it had me captivated from page one." - Mary Ting, author of the Crossroads Saga "Whelan's writing is very vivid and descriptive. It's more formal than the average YA novel, but I enjoyed the lyrical and mesmerizing quality to it. I thought the overall story read like a fairy tale--very sweet." - Megan Thomason, author of Daynight
  $25 Tour Giveaway Ends 5/15/13 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash.

Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://www.iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Books Sold - 6 Nov 2011 to 31 May 2012

Some of you have asked me for my total number of books sold to evaluate KDP Select so here it is. Bear in mind, that results will vary based on genre and author. Good luck and remember, Keep Moving Forward.

Total - 120,836

1. Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped Out
Amazon Kindle - 42,559
Paperback -
Smashwords -

2. Frequent Traveller
Amazon Kindle - 35277
Paperback -
Smashwords -

3. Dora's Essentials - Books, Blogs & Smiles 1
Amazon Kindle - 462
Smashwords -

4. Mirror Me Martha (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle - 281
Smashwords -

5. Drive On Hope (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle - 190
Smashwords -

6. Blog-A-Licious Directory 2012
Amazon Kindle - 1
Smashwords -

7. Pandora's Reading Room 1
Amazon Kindle -
Paperback - N/A

8. The Cat That Barked (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle -

9. Dora's Essentials - Examining Anxiety
Amazon Kindle -

10. Dora's Essentials - Books, Blogs & Smiles 2
Amazon Kindle -

11. Elevenses from Around the World
Amazon Kindle -

12. Genetically Modified Foods vs. Sustainability
Amazon Kindle -

Blog-A-Licius - Sherbet Blossom

SherbetBlossom

Blog-A-Licious

Dealightfully Frugal

Blog-A-Licious - The Few, The Proud, The Wife

Blog-A-Licious

My Soul Slippers

Blog-A-Licous - Textbook Mommy

Blog-A-Licious - Blue Frogs Legs

Blog-A-Licious - Pretty All True

Pretty All True

Blog-A-Licious - tbaoo

tbaoo

Blog-A-Licious

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Blog-A-Licious - The Invisible Art

Blog-A-Licious - Rediscovering Domesticity

Rediscovering Domesticity

Blog-A-Licious - Quiver Full

Blog-A-Licious - Cori's Big Mouth

Blog-A-Licious - Great Fun

Greatfun4kids

Blog-A-Licious - Busy Wife

Blog-A-Licious - Steps To Happiness

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Blog-A-Licious - Toby & Max


Blog-A-Licious - Amelie

Raising Amelie

Blog-A-Licious - Peas In A Pod

Blog-A-Licious - Riley

Blognostics - Poetry

BlogNostics

My Awards - September 2010

My Awards - September 2010
Awarded By Jo Frances

My Awards - May 2011

My Awards - May 2011
Awarded By Alejandro Guzman

My Awards - May 2011

My Awards - May 2011
Awarded by Kriti Mukherjee

My Awards - April 2011

My Awards - April 2011
Awarded By Roy Durham

My Awards - June 2011

My Awards - June 2011
Awarded By Sulekha Rawat

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