Saturday, September 7, 2019

World of Writing - Author Interview



World of Writing - Author Interview



It is always a pleasure to have a discussion on this blog with other authors... it inspires our readers, but it is also a source of joy for us as well. Today we are featuring Francesca Crolley. 

She has had her writing featured in multiple publications, including Sustainable Plant, Facility Management Magazine, and Desert Star Weekly. She's the proud mom of two young adults and two cats and is a lifelong geek who loves everything from Star Trek to Marvel to Lord of the Rings



Francesca invites our readers to drop by her website: 
https://happinessme.net/



Q: Choosing a vocation in one avenue or another in the realm of the Arts requires a lot of self-discipline and tenacity, but there is always that driving force behind it all. What is it that motivates you to write?

A: Writing just came naturally to me ever since I was a kid. I’ve always loved creating, drawing, building websites and making crafts. Writing is another form of creativity, one that seemed to be inside me. My mom was also a writer… stories and comics, so that also rubbed off on me because creativity was just a natural part of our home life. One author in particular, 
Erma Bombeck, impacted me a lot - I loved her humorous and relatable style. What motivates me most as a writer, however, is that I want to help people. In fact, this was the answer I gave my 6th grade teacher when he asked what we wanted to do when we grew up.

Q: Working from home requires a particular skill in time management... How do you spend your writing time?

A: It’s mixed into several areas. 
My time is divided between research, making infographics to explain data, choosing the best images to illustrate my point, and of course, writing - which is the base of everything else I do. A lot of time is spent in research of, for example, scientific studies that speak to nutrition or stress or other factors that impact our lives and our happiness. My focus is to distill lots of information down into little nuggets of action and simplified tips that people can apply to their lives.




Q: Often people who work from a home office, manage producing the product and also the behind the scenes activities like taxes, marketing and record keeping. Yet while working at home, one can also get caught up in all the chores and people start asking more from them such as can you pick up this, call so and so, meet for coffee etc.. How do you manage to balance working at home... or do you?

A: This is a great question, and this is an issue that many people that work from home struggle with. The way I get around being interrupted during my time working at home is to treat it just like you would an office job and set those same boundaries and a “clock in/out time”. Your friend wouldn’t expect you to leave your office job at any time of the day. 

I find that if I take the lead and set those same time boundaries – “Sorry, I’m working right now, but I get off at 5PM and I could meet you after that.” – that people quickly understand working from home needs to be respected the same as any other job. 


Q: It sounds like you have been writing for many years... What is your favourite genre of writing?

A: I’ve tried writing fiction before, but I always end up coming back to the first person and telling stories of my own life and weaving that into advice that people can hopefully use to make their lives better. Non-fiction and self-help genres seem to have grabbed me and said, “Hey, this is where you’re supposed to be right now!”. Although I am a huge fan of non-fiction and fantasy (Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, etc..). I've been finding an idea for a time-travel, redemption type story has been floating around in my brain for years, so that might be something I explore in the future. 


Q: What keeps you writing while getting rejection letters or struggling with writer's block?

A: The most helpful tact with writer’s block has been to jump around and to not think I have to write my book from the first to the last chapter in order. I’m a Virgo, so we tend to be very organized and orderly, but I’ve found that when I’m stuck in one chapter that jumping to another chapter where I feel more inspired to write that day, is a great way past writer’s block.

As for rejection or just trying to get your book known, I keep remembering stories about people that are well-known authors or scientists now but went through many rejections before their work was recognized. Such as J.K. Rowling who had her first Harry Potter book rejected multiple times before it was finally picked up. Thomas Edison famously said about the lightbulb, “I haven’t failed I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” (Imagine if he stopped at 9,999 failures!)

You just have to believe in yourself. The way I look at it is that if my book helps just one person in their life, then I’m a success already, no matter how many books I sell.


Q: Have you had experiences that gave you pause, made you re-think your writing style?

A: This is more of an inspiration from my mom right after her death that made me re-think my writing style. She passed unexpectedly from an aggressive brain tumour that was found just weeks before she died. She was going to edit my book, but unfortunately passed away before I finished the first draft.

One day about a two weeks after she died, I had this recommended account that just popped up on my Twitter feed (it was one of her accounts I never knew about), that brought me to a website of hers about roman riding and three wonderful stories she had written about her life working with horses. Suddenly I realized that mom was telling me I needed to put more personal stories in my book, it was heavy on the advice, light on stories. So, I did just that, and feel like it was my mom doing her editing from Heaven.


Q: That was a powerful experience, thank you for sharing that. With this in mind, do you feel there is still a place for the important role that writers play in today’s world?

A: Writers are the ones that tell the world what’s going on, tell future generations what happened in the past, that inspire us with heroic stories, that help us learn and grow, that take us to places we’ve never been before much like a form of virtual reality in text. In today’s world, writers can change hearts and minds by telling the stories of people doing the right thing for the right reasons and reminding us about our humanity and the great things we can achieve when we strive to do good in the world.

In a nutshell, the world would be lost without writers.


Q: What are some of the tools you use for marketing, promotion and advertising?

A: Luckily, I had a background in marketing ever since I learned to write my first press release when working for the Junior League of Fort Myers in the 1990’s. That helped me know that anything and everything is the best way to go about marketing, and to keep promoting it always, long after your book has first been released.

Some of the tools I use are:

· Social media (to facilitate posting, I use HootSuite) and I use Instagram: 
https://www.instagram.com/happinessmedaily

· Free press release sites (like PRlog.org and openpr.com)

· Emailing my press release to magazines, local news outlets, trade journals (US & International)

· Kindle’s author tools

· Book and Author promotion sites (you can find many of these online, like Brummet’s Conscious Blog)

· Pay-Per-Click Ads (I haven’t bought these yet, but plan to. I know from my day job that they can be very effective.)

· Having a website with a blog (Blogs are a great way to generate SEO traffic over time)

· Using the HARO (Help A Reporter Out) service.


Q: What is your proudest writer moment?

A: Other than finishing my book and actually seeing it on the Amazon website for sale (a huge moment for any author), mine proudest moment was having the courage to take a huge step towards being a professional author.

Time to write in between work and life (grocery shopping, housework, etc..) was tough to find. I had this dream inside me build a community at HappinessMe.net and write “My Happy Life Jump-Start Guide”. I knew that my book and happy living community would end up just being a dream that was never realized, unless I somehow carved out more time.

So, I came up with the idea to ask my bosses if I could work 2 less hours per day for a comparable pay cut. I was taking a chance financially, but not one that would be too risky. It would allow me to still continue working at a company I had been with for over 15 years while at the same time launching my dream of writing and helping people.

As the day I planned to ask was approaching, I was getting more nervous, but I knew I just had to do this. I wrote an email to introduce the idea to my bosses, and butterflies in my stomach turned to big giant hawks... in other words, I was pretty stressed and nervous about the outcome. But I’d never know if I didn’t hit “send.”

A call with my bosses after they received my email couldn’t have gone better. Not only were they not upset, they were proud of me, fully supported me, and were thrilled I also wanted to continue at my company.

Having the courage to take that big step was one of my proudest moments, and it allowed me the additional time I needed to pursue my writing dreams while also being able to take care of my family. 

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Thank you everyone for joining us for this extended interview - a bit longer than we usually do, but I just could not bring myself to edit anything out. A note of appreciation to Francesca for joining us, and to all our readers for your support. Please feel free to share this interview, and to visit our website below:
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Visit the Brummet's @: http://BrummetMedia.ca

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