Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Virtual BookTour: Maple Express+Interview and Giveaways

Novel Moments is one of the stops in the Maple Express virtual book tour.
The author of Maple Express, Peter A. Brandt, has offered to tell us a little more about himself and the novel. Peter has brought along some original giveaways. Read about them at the end of the post.
For now, welcome to Novel Moments, Peter.

Tell us a little about yourself 
 I am a Lead Technical Writer who has been writing technical documents since 1996. I began writing creatively only in the last 7 years, although I did a lot of writing in school before I let it slip away from me.
 
I am married and working in the Middle East. I am a Canadian and try to get back to North America at least once a year.

What keeps you writing?
At times I am not really sure. I seem to have an inner need to think up and tell my stories.

I really have a love hate relationship with writing. My wife laughs at me. I get disgusted with all the work I do writing and with what I perceive is little reward so then I tell her "that's it...I am done writing." I even took up learning to play the guitar to fill my nights.

Then months later I get a great idea for a book and I start writing again. Then I get sick of it and quit again, only now I want to learn how to play the violin. Soon I have another brilliant idea and I am back writing again.

So, where does that leave me. Not only do I continue to quit and start writing again but now I have a guitar and a violin I am trying to learn to play mixed in with it. As if the writing wasn't taking up all my time, now I am learning to play a couple of instruments. I must be psychotic!

The only saving grace I have is that I love the actually act of writing - fingertips dancing across the keyboard and words appearing on the page. I love to write for young adults because writing simple English for technical manuals lends itself closer to writing for that age group. I don't have to learn to write all of the $5 words that many authors like to use.

Can you tell us a little more about Maple Express?
It started from an interview I read with a medical professional. He talked about a widely held belief shared within the health community about a human condition that happens to us and I thought, "what if he's wrong." I began to imagine what I thought was what it could be like and I began to write.

I can't tell you this belief as it would give away the story.

What inspired you to write the novel?
My inspiration comes from within. When I visualize a story unfolding like a movie it becomes a compulsion for me to write it down.

How did you come up with the title?
I wanted Sara to come from a family that made their wealth off the land. Maple harvesting was something that both Canadians and Americans have in common. Vermont and Quebec are large producers and therefore both countries would understand the setting of the story.

As well, the title holds symbolism to the story, which readers will understand when they finish reading the book.

How long did it take you to research and write the novel?
The storyline came to me quickly. I knew where I wanted to start and I knew where it would end. The problem came when I tried to understand how I would get from point A to point B. It just didn't come to me so I had to stop writing and shelve the story for over a year before friends of mine started bugging me to finish it. So I sat down and really began to look at the story with a fresh new perspective and it finally came to me how it needed to flow.

Is there a certain message you would like readers to get out of this novel?
I want young people to understand things may look crappy and their self-esteem may not be where they would like it to be but our lives are long. There is plenty of time to become what they want to be in life.

I became an author at 48 and an actor at 50. I was just a late bloomer in everything I do in my life.

Do you experience writer’s block? How do you deal with it?
I did once and it was hard to focus on getting out of it. With me, writer's block appears as a loss in confidence with my writing.

We writers are a fickle lot and when I read or hear a negative comment or sales of a book aren't as good as I think they should be I lose the drive to write.

The last time I had writers block I read Stephen King's "On Writing" and it really helped me see that even the greatest writer in the world has obstacles to overcome. That made me feel much better and the writer's block disappeared.

Are you a full time writer? If not, how do you make time to write?
I am a full time Technical Writer so when I am writing novels I need to take an hour or so every evening and one day (usually Saturday) to write solid for 10 - 12 hours. I get much more accomplished on that one day than I can for the whole week.

How does your marketing schedule look like?
This is likely the worst part of my writing career. I had someone taking care of things for me with websites, press releases, and other ways to market but she ended up being unable to do that for me for this book release. Therefore, I contacted Goddess Fish Promotions who put me on my first blog tour. So far, it's been fun. I am getting to me some really nice people.

Which avenues do you use to market your books?
At present I am busy selling my books through Amazon Kindle and Smashwords. My two memoirs are still being sold as paperbacks because there are a lot of pictures in them. Maple Express is being sold on Kindle and Smashwords as eBooks. I've sent a partial to a publisher and I am hoping they will take care of the print for me. In the meantime, I will continue to sell my books as eBooks.

What books can we expect from you in the future?
"Holly Alexander and the Mystery of the Courthouse Square" is written, edited, and ready to go but I am going to wait until the summer / fall for the book release. I grew up with the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew mysteries and thought I would write one myself as a tribute to the books that saw me through my early years.

Holly Alexander moves to a small town and before she knows what happened she is in big trouble. It takes all of her investigating skills and the help of her new friends to get her out of it.

What was your best ever moment as a published author?
Seeing my first book in print, although the cover would come back to haunt me. It was not the kind of book you want sitting in the window of your local bookstore. As well, with the name "The Secrets of Harden Long" the title conjured up all kinds of perverted thoughts. The reality was it was a romantic comedy. I was so proud I had the cover made into a full sized poster. I suspect my own kids were appalled to see it hanging in my office. It finally just disappeared.

What other question are you dying to be asked?
 How do you keep that girlish figure at your age!
Okay seriously, that isn't the question but this one is - "How are you able to do everything you do - writing, acting, screenwriting, travelling around the world, learning to play the guitar and violin as well as holding down a full time job?"

And the answer is?
Well, the answer is I couldn't do it without my wife Carly. She takes excellent care of me and gives me the time necessary to do all of it. She bugs me about my health, gets me out walking when I don't want to and she feeds me nutritious meals. She is excellent gourmet vegetarian cook.

I include her in everything I do. I even got her a part in a movie I was in and she has a film credit on the IMDB under Carly Brandt. Now that was fun. I was proud of her. 

Do you have a message for your readers?
Thank you for your support. Authors take a lot of time and effort to write stories and then have the guts to place their book out in the market, knowing full well that people will love it or hate it - write it up with a nice review or trash it as not worthy. For humans who strive to be accepted, this is really sticking your neck out and authors do it because they believe in what they are writing.

I was on Amazon reading some of the comments about one of Stephen King books and there were over 300 people who said it was his best work and 57 who said it was the worst trash he had ever written. So, what did I learn from that?

"You can't please everyone so you got to please yourself." (Ricky Nelson - Garden Party).
That's who I write for…me. I can only hope others will like what I write as much as I do.

Thanks Liz it's been nice being here talking with you and I would love to invite your readers to come and visit me at my blog at www.simplesimonpublishing.com/blog.

Thank you so much, Peter, for telling us a little more about you and your novel. It was a pleasure having you here. I wish you all the best with your book.

 MAPLE EXPRESS
  Book Description