Saturday, 10 March 2018

Fab Firsts - Q&A with Linda Smolkin - Blog Tour

Fab Firsts is my semi-regular feature, that is highlighting books that are firsts. When interviewing authors, it will be about their first book, as well as other firsts in their lives.

If you are an author wanting to take part in Fab Firsts then please do email on gilbster at gmail dot com and I'll whizz the questions over to you.

I hope you enjoy this look at a variety of hopefully fabulous firsts,.

Can you tell us a bit about your first book? 

My debut novel, Among the Branded, came out in May 2017. The story connects the past with the present and follows Stephanie Britain, an art director who works at a branding and design firm. She befriends a Holocaust survivor and, at the same time, finds out something troubling about one of her clients. Throughout the story, she deals with difficult choices of how to remain professional while taking a stand for what she believes in. The novel also touches on friendship, family, and the lessons history can teach us.

What was your original inspiration to become a writer, and to write your debut? 

I’ve been a writer forever! I studied journalism at university and then became a copywriter. I’ve worked in the marketing field for a long time. I write my novels on the side around working full-time as a writer. Many years ago I wrote my first novel but it’s in a drawer somewhere where it will stay there! Among the Branded is the third novel I’ve written, but the first published. 

How long did it take you to write your first book? 

It took me about nine months to write the first draft and twice that long to do all of the editing and revisions. From outline to when it was actually published, it took four years Among the Branded.
If you could do anything differently in retrospect, what would you change about your debut, or how you went about writing it? Honestly, I try not to look back and think about that or it would drive me crazy! I’m happy with the way it turned out. Sometimes I think I should have put an author’s note in the back, mainly because it has historical aspects to the story even though it’s contemporary fiction. But I suppose I could always go back and do that at any time. 

Was your first book self or traditionally published, and how did you go about making that decision? 

It was self-published. While waiting to hear back from agents for another novel, I started writing Among the Branded and queried it for about a year before deciding to go indie.  Once I made the decision, I treated it like a business and took very similar steps as in traditional publishing, such as hiring an editor, formatter, and cover designer. 

Do you have any tips for other first time authors? 

There’s no need to rush to publish. Make sure you take the time to make the story the best it can be. If you want to self-publish and can afford it, hire an editor. And the last bit of advice: write what you want to write and not what you think the trends are because you’ll have to live with your story for a very long time!

Tell us about your first…

Memory: Feeding our dog runny eggs from my plate when my parents turned away from the table. I hated eggs as a child!

Holiday you went on: We went on a family trip to Atlantic City, New Jersey. I remember riding my bike on the boardwalk. 

Album you purchased: I don’t remember the first album I bought, but the Walkman became very popular as I was growing up and the first cassette I bought was by The Go-Go’s.

Time you were in trouble: I was playing with matches in the bathroom. After draining the sink, I forgot to check and some of the matches didn’t go down. My father found them and let’s just say I’m not a very good liar.

Dish you cooked: I think it was an omelette. I’m not really known for my cooking skills, but I do make an awesome omelette!

Time you were really scared: Definitely when I watched the Exorcist. I think I slept with the light on for a month. 

Thank you so much Linda for taking the time to answer my questions.

Amazon UK

What if a 70-year-old letter from World War II changed the course of your life?

While attending Valor of the ’40s, art director Stephanie Britain stumbles upon a flea market selling letters from the war. She buys a handful, hoping they’ll inspire the redesign for a client’s website at her branding and design firm. She’s at first drawn by the lost art of penmanship, but soon discovers a hidden treasure nestled inside declarations of love from homesick soldiers. Stephanie enlists a coworker to translate one and realizes it’s not a love letter after all. When a shocking discovery about a client causes Stephanie to question her principles and dedication to her firm’s business, she’s forced to make a difficult decision—one that could give her peace of mind, yet ruin her career in the process.

Contemporary fiction with a historical touch, AMONG THE BRANDED explores family life, an unexpected friendship, and moral conflicts that make us wonder what’s more important: our livelihood or our beliefs. This moving debut novel by Linda Smolkin is a great addition for readers who enjoy books by Jodi Picoult, Kristin Hannah, and Liane Moriarty.

AUTHOR BIO:  Linda Smolkin always wanted to be a writer—ever since she saw her first TV commercial and wondered how to pen those clever ads. She got her degree in journalism and became a copywriter. Linda landed a job at an ad agency, where she worked for several years before joining the nonprofit world. She's currently working on her second novel, which will be released in Spring 2018. When not in front of the computer, she's behind the drums (slightly) annoying her husband, son, and their 70-pound dog. 


Follow along with the rest of the blog tour

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