Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Author Interview - Sally Smith O'Rourke


Sally Smith O’Rourke is a surgical scrub nurse at the City of Hope national cancer research hospital in Duarte, California and resides in the near-by Victorian village of Monrovia. With her late husband, author Michael O’Rourke (aka F.M. O’Rourke) Smith O’Rourke owned and operated a medical advertising company where she used her diverse talents to produce and co-write teaching films and videos. Working not only with major medical and surgical manufacturing companies but also network television. These endeavors ultimately led to a collaboration on two feature films (direct to video) and three published novels.

The wife and husband writing team of Sally Smith and Michael O’Rourke, being long-time fans of Jane Austen, wrote The Man Who Loved Jane Austen released by Kensington Books in 2006. Kensington followed that very successful effort with The Maidenstone Lighthouse in 2007 and Christmas at Sea Pines Cottage in 2009, both also collaborative projects by Smith and O’Rourke. Published after her partner and spouse’s untimely death in 2001, the publisher chose not to use the names Michael O’Rourke and Sally Smith (as the manuscripts were presented), releasing all three books under Sally Smith O’Rourke. Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen is Sally Smith O’Rourke’s first solo novel.

What is your favor quote, by whom and why? It is not what we say or think that defines us, but what we do.

My parents taught me that you can say anything but it’s your actions that matter. Mother used as an example that ‘you can say you love someone until your blue in the face but if you don’t act like it, it’s meaningless.

When I found the Jane Austen quote it became one of my favorites.

What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life? This book, Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen. In spite of the fact that three other books have been published with my name on them, they were all written in collaboration with my late husband, Michael O’Rourke. The prequel to Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen, The Man Who Loved Jane Austen was a true collaboration of love, in fact Mike called it the ultimate valentine because it was created out of the love we had for each other. So Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen is truly the first book I’ve written entirely on my own.

How has your upbringing influenced your writing? My mother was a voracious reader and fairly disappointed that I wasn’t. In an effort to spark some interest she gave me a book called Forever Amber which she hoped I’d like because it is an historical romance and I love history. It worked; while I never was the avid reader mother was it did start things rolling.

It was my mother’s encouragement that kept me writing after winning several oratory contests in high school, not because I was a good speaker but because I wrote good speeches.

What inspired you to write your first book? Jane Austen and my husband were the initial inspiration but the actual writing of this book began when I was working on a little book that was to be a journal ‘austencibly’ written by Jane Austen chronicling the five days she spent with the American Mr. Darcy from The Man Who Loved Jane Austen. 

At the end of an early entry she writes “I wonder what Mr. Darcy is doing right now.” I wrote a chapter answering that, and Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen was born. Ultimately that answer became chapter five in the completed novel.

Who or what has influenced your writing over the years? My late husband had the most influence on me. He encouraged me to write, taught me almost everything I know about writing fiction and we collaborated on a lot of thing books, television and film. When I write it’s as though he is still with me and we are working together again.

What do you find the most challenging thing about writing? The biggest challenge is to write. One of the most important  lessons Mike taught me was to write every day. You have to treat writing like a job even if it is a second job as it is for me. (I’m a surgical scrub nurse by day)

Have you ever had writer’s block? Since I do treat writing as a job I’ve never experienced writer’s block. I may not like what I did the day before but I did it and it may even lead me in a different direction then I originally planned. On the other hand I haven’t really been writing fiction for very long so perhaps I simply haven’t experienced it yet. 

Is there a message in your novel? I didn’t plan on a message and I’ve found that people take away what they would like from the experience of reading it. Anna Horner of The Diary of an Eccentric made a nice point and I wish I could claim credit for doing it on purpose but I can’t.

Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen is a sweet love story about new beginnings, magical adventures, and cherishing the moments, however brief they might be, you’ve had with the people who’ve changed your life. It’s about not losing who you are amidst societal constraints and believing that happily ever after is possible, if you’re willing to take a chance.

Have you started another book yet? I have written another book which I am currently reworking. It’s a major overhaul so it will take some time but I’m hoping to finish by the end of the year. Physician, Heal Thyself is about two doctors who were scheduled to marry after graduating from medical school but the bride calls it off after seeing her intended with another woman. Twenty years later they meet again and the truth comes out. When is cheating not cheating?

What is your greatest strength as a writer? Until reviews started coming in for Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen I’m not sure I could have answered this question. It seems that my descriptions are so vivid that people feel like they are watching the story from across the room.

“I felt I was sitting by the fire listening to Aunt Jane telling a story. It was heaven.”
“I’m not a reader holding the book, I am a guest who has been warmly invited into the story.”

Even a not so complimentary reviewer said:
“Aside from all this, the writing is actually very good. The author has a talent for vivid description and paints a beautiful scene wherever she takes us.”

The audio book with Kendra Hoffman wonderful narration is now available at Audible.com, Amazon and iTunes

Trade paperback available at Amazon and eBooks available pretty much everywhere.


Link to embed audio book trailer -


Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen
Was Mr. Darcy real? Is time travel really possible? For pragmatic Manhattan artist Eliza Knight the answer to both questions is absolutely, Yes! And Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley Farms, Virginia is the reason why!

His tale of love and romance in Regency England leaves Eliza in no doubt that Fitz Darcy is the embodiment of Jane Austen’s legendary hero. And she’s falling in love with him. But can the man who loved the inimitable Jane Austen ever love average, ordinary Eliza Knight?

Eliza’s doubts grow, perhaps out of proportion, when things start to happen in the quiet hamlet of Chawton, England; events that could change everything. Will the beloved author become the wedge that divides Fitz and Eliza or the tie that binds them?
 
Praise for Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen
O’Rourke creates a world that defies cynicism and demands suspension of disbelief – even in this age of doubt and hyper-realism. Sheer escapism at its best. Clever, charming and affectionate. ~Jocelyn

Bury …the reader must tenaciously read on rather than put the book down to satisfy their hunger for the story to resolve, which it does in characteristically Jane Austen fashion. ~Erin Murdock

In Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen, author Sally Smith O’Rourke creates a compelling story that investigates what and who might have inspired Jane Austen. While the story line is certainly far-fetched, it is a truly unique idea, one that captivated this reader until the very last page. ~Meg Massey

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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 -

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SherbetBlossom

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Dealightfully Frugal

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

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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

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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

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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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