My guest is Alina Adams. She is the author of four romance novels - When a Man Loves a Woman is available as an enhanced multimedia edition, five skating mysteries, two non-fiction books, and three New York Times best-selling tie-ins to the soap operas, "As the World Turns" and "Guiding Light". She is currently in the process of digitizing and enhancing her entire backlist, as well as partnering with other authors to do the same for their out of print books and media properties.
Anne – Welcome, Alina. What one or two lines best sums you up as an author?
Alina - And then what happened? And then? And then?
Anne – Cute! What activity (cause, charity, organization) consumes your time when you’re away from the keyboard?
Alina - My husband is a teacher, and we’re both passionate about education, not just that of our own three kids’, but everyone’s. I write a column on it for Examiner.com and he develops educational software and other Instructional Technology. In fact, an enhanced e-book we produced, The Worldwide Dessert Contest by Dan Elish is a way to get kids hooked into reading, by offering not just a story on a page, but music and videos to be experienced as part of it, more HERE. I realize you asked for what I do away from the keyboard but… I kind of do everything on the keyboard.
Anne – I understand! Sometimes I think the computer is a part of my anatomy. Tell us about your most recent release.
Anne - Enhanced e-books are my current passion, digitalizing my own backlist and working with other previously published authors to do the same. In addition to The Worldwide Dessert Contest: Enhanced Multimedia Edition, there is my own romance title, When a Man Loves a Woman: Enhanced Multimedia Edition, and all five of my Figure Skating Mysteries (previously for Berkley Prime Crime), Murder on Ice, On Thin Ice, Axel of Evil, Death Drop, and Skate Crime.
Plus, I created an original non-fiction title, Soap Opera 451: A Time Capsuleof Daytime Drama’s Greatest Moments, where you can read interviews with the actors, writers and producers who created the top moments selected by fans – then click on a link and immediately watch the scenes on your laptop, desktop, iPad, phone, tablet, etc.
Anne - How long does it take you to write a book?
Alina - When I worked at Procter & Gamble Productions, I wrote tie-in novels for their soap operas, “As the World Turns” and “Guiding Light.” The process of merging television and book production was not an easy one. I was writing the books close to a year in advance of when it would show up on air. But, because book production is so much slower than television, I still needed to write the book in six weeks (to tie-in to a TV story that hadn’t been written yet, and could possibly change. For instance, in “The Man From Oakdale,” the character of Dusty is dead. Everyone talks about him being dead. Alas, by the time the book was released, Dusty was alive again. Oops.)
Also for P&G, I wrote an officially sanctioned continuation to one of their off-the-air soap operas, “Another World”. It was a weekly series, and each webisode was about 7000 words. Your average book is between 70,000 to 100,000 words, so that would be a book every two months or so.
I don’t know if I’m a good writer. But, I am a fast one.
Anne – I’m always envious of fast writers. I tend to plod along. Word by excruciating word! How long did your journey from wannabe writer to published author take?
Alina - I wrote my first full-length novel when I was 17. I sent it out. Shockingly, it did not get published. I kept writing and sending out my manuscript until, at the age of 23, an editor rejected a woman’s fiction novel I had written, but suggested I try my hand at a Regency romance, since that was where they tended to publish new writers. I read my first Regency romance in two days, wrote an outline and three sample chapters in a week and then, at the editor’s request, an entire book in a month. She bought that book (and sent me three pages of single-spaced typed revisions). It was published about a year later. Like I said, I do things fast.
Anne - How many rejections did you acquire along the way? What kept you going?
Alina - I honestly don’t remember how many rejections I accumulated. I sent out multiple queries and partials at a time, and I kept a file for each of them with a list of where I sent the manuscript, when, and what the response was. If I had to guess, I’d say about 7 or 8 manuscripts with an average of ten rejections each…? (And none of them ended up selling. After I sold the first Regency, I kept writing new material.) What kept me going was that, honestly, there is nothing else I’d rather do than write. So what choice did I have?
Anne - How many books have you written to date? Are you most proud of one in particular? If so, why?
Alina - Well, I’ve written dozens and dozens of books. I’ve published two Regency romances, two contemporary romances, five murder mysteries, two non-fiction books on figure skating, three soap opera tie-ins, and an original enhanced e-book. If I had to pick the one I’m most proud of, though, I’d have to say, Soap Opera 451: A Time Capsule of Daytime Drama’s Greatest Moments, simply because both the way I got input for the book (crowd-sourcing) and the enhanced e-book technology I developed for it truly makes this project one of a kind. No one has ever done anything like it before, and I enjoy being a pioneer. I can’t wait to see where enhanced e-books will go in the future!
Anne - What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Alina - Stopping and making sure that my children are fed, bathed and not sticking forks in the electrical outlets, while also making sure my husband doesn’t feel neglected and that the bills are paid. I love writing so much and I tend to get so wrapped up in the tale I’m spinning, it’s hard to step away and live life… so that I ultimately have something interesting to write about.
Anne - Any words of advice for struggling, unpublished writers?
Alina - If you can do something else for a living, do it. If you can’t, and your goal is to be published, rather than just to write for your own enjoyment, then write, write, write, and send, send, send. I cannot stress this enough. I know it’s a controversial stance, but I do not believe in writing classes, writing majors, writing programs or writing groups.
If you want to be a writer, don’t study writing. Study history, anthropology, sociology, psychology. Study people and what they do and why they do it and what the consequences are.
Writing classes and writing groups only teach you how to write to please the person reading your work. Which is a very useful skill (in fact, it’s the key skill to a professional career), but instead of learning to write to please other aspiring writers and/or college professors, you might as well be learning to write to please the people who can actually purchase your work – editors. Send your writing out and see what feedback you get from them. Because, in the end, they’re the only voices that matter.
Anne – Great advice. Where can readers reach you online?
Alina – At my websites: http://www.AlinaAdams.com and
Anne - You’ve offered to give an ecopy of one of your books to a reader. Tell us about it.
Alina - I will send an e-book of either When a Man Loves a Woman: EnhancedMultimedia Edition or Murder on Ice: Enhanced Multimedia Edition to the winner. (Their choice.) I am also happy to send *everyone* who leaves a comment "Skate Crime: Multimedia" an excerpt sample of what my enhanced e-books are like.
Anne - What question would you like them to comment on to enter their name in the draw?
Alina - I have added professional skating footage to my figure skating mystery novels and music to my romance novels. And that’s just the beginning! What kind of enhanced extras (audio, video, links, historical background, bonus material, anything!) would you like to see in an enhanced e-book?
Anne – Thank you so much for dropping by today, Alina, and best of luck to one lucky reader who will receive your book!
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