Book Release and Interview: A.M. Bostwick

abigail bostwickYou are invited to the book release party of The Great Cat Nap by A.M. Bostwick and published by Cornerstone Press. This event is  Thursday, Dec. 12, at 6:30pm at the CPS Cafe on the campus of the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point.

I’m going to be there, and I hope you will too. Come, bring a friend, buy a book, listen to the author talk, eat some cookies—it’ll be a lot of fun. I’m lucky to have the author with me on today’s blog. The A in A.M. Bostwick stands for Abigail. Welcome, Abigail!

Abigail: Thank you for having me, Elizabeth!

Elizabeth: Tell us about your book.

abigail bostwick coverAbigail: The Great Cat Nap is a middle grade novel, all told from the point-of-view of a cat. Ace is the feline companion of an editor at a small town newspaper in Lakeville, Wisconsin. When famous show cat, Ruby the Russian, goes missing, Ace is on the story. But Ace bites off more than he can chew when he agrees to play amateur detective and find the lost show cat. Ace has to call on his feline friends, a few dogs, and even a couple bad-tempered rodents in an effort to solve the case. He’ll need to break a cat out of the pound for priceless information and fight a single-pawed battle with animal smugglers to get answers! Ace likes his milk neat, and his jelly donuts thick with icing. My hope is that this book will appeal to not only adolescents, but mainstream mystery readers, feline and animal enthusiasts as well as adventure lovers.

Elizabeth: Where did the idea come from?

Abigail: Well, I’ve always been an animal lover. Some of my earliest memories involve cats or dogs! And some of the first stories I ever wrote as a child were about cats. When I first sat down and seriously tried to write a book, I wanted to have fun with it. I wanted to escape. I drew on my experience as a lifelong cat owner (my own black cat, Boots, inspired Ace) as well as my years as a newspaper reporter to write this novel.

Elizabeth: Did you have to do much research to put the story together?

Abigail: Not a lot! I already knew a lot about small town newspapers, politics, hard crime and felines! Not to mention dogs and their relationship with cats. After that, it was a lot of creativity and imagination – thinking about how a cat might react to situations differently than a human might, how their relationships work to humans and animals and what they would do if they had strong motivation to solve a problem.

Elizabeth: Is this your first experience being published?

Abigail: It is! And it is so thrilling!

Elizabeth: Have you written anything else?

Abigail: I have. I began writing as a child. I’ve always been an avid reader and a writer. Earlier this year, I submitted my first manuscript to agents. I signed with a great one, and am currently working on revisions for a young adult novel to be submitted to publishing houses in 2014. Another novel I wrote earned an award in a contest from the Wisconsin Romance Writers of America earlier this year. As a writer, Ace was my first character, though The Great Cat Nap was not the first novel I wrote. The first novel I wrote was terrible! However, it taught me a lot about not only the writing process, but MY writing process.

Elizabeth: What is your writing process?

Abigail: Staple myself to the chair! I do my best writing in the early morning, usually at my office desk or with my laptop on the sun porch in summer. Getting into my character’s heads is one of my favorite things about the writing process. I spend a lot of time trying to understand what they want, what drives them. Seeing the world through their perspective. I do love characters who get into trouble! I also read a lot. If you want to learn to write, I feel you need to read. And read everything – the great, the good and the bad. Take it apart, find what works and what doesn’t.

Elizabeth: What can you tell me about working with the student-run publishing house Cornerstone Press?

Abigail: It’s been fabulous! I can’t tell you how much it means to have my first-ever novel published by the very university that I graduated from. It’s been a real honor, and so humbling to have my manuscript chosen out of so many. The students and staff have been so supportive, encouraging and wonderful to work with. A real class act.

Elizabeth: Enough about your book, tell us about yourself.

Abigail: I’m a writer, reader and a runner. Besides writing, my other love in life is art. I also adore animals, and spending time with my family and my friends. I live in the Northwoods of Wisconsin where I am an occasional contributing writer for the Tomahawk Leader and live with my husband, dog and thrill-seeking cat.

Elizabeth: We’ve now reached the time in our interview for the let’s-get-to-know-the-author-better, nearly-pointless, sort-of-silly, rapid-fire questions:

Elizabeth: Coffee or tea?

Abigail: Tea.

Elizabeth: Ocean or mountain?

Abigail: Ocean.

Elizabeth: Hiking or shopping?

Abigail: Depends on my mood!

Elizabeth: Violin or piano?

Abigail: Piano.

Elizabeth: Mystery or fantasy?

Abigail: Goodness…depends on my mood! Again, I love both!

Elizabeth: Darcy or Heathcliff?

Abigail: Heathcliff.

Elizabeth: Love scene or death scene?

Abigail: Death scene.

If you’d like to learn more about Abigail Bostwick and her The Great Cat Nap, come to the book release party: Thursday, Dec 12, 6:30, CPS Cafe, UWSP.

You can order copies of The Great Cat Nap from Cornerstone Press or buy them at many central Wisconsin bookstores.

Contact Abigail at Abigail.bostwick at gmail.com and follow her on Twitter at @bostwickAM.

Don’t forget: Come to the book release party for Abigail Bostwick’s The Great Cat Nap: Thursday, Dec. 12, at 6:30pm at the CPS Cafe on the UWSP campus.

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NaNoWriMo Update

Well, it’s December 3 which means that NaNoWriMo is over. How did I do, you ask?  Well, I am not an official “winner.”  The adult goal for the month is 50,000 words, and I didn’t write that much. My word count for the month was:

<drum roll, please>

20,115

I’m actually very pleased with that number. My goal for the month wasn’t  50,000 words; my goal was to finish my story. Unfortunately, I didn’t do that either.  I would say that I am about three-quarters through the first draft.  It is a middle-grade story, which I’m calling Snow White and the Queen.

And though I didn’t make either goal, I’m still pretty happy about how much I wrote. And the story! It is coming together in a way that pleases me.  Really, what more can I ask for?

Author Interview: Cindy Thomson

cindy headshotToday I’m welcoming Cindy Thomson to my series of author interviews. Cindy is the author of  Grace’s Pictures, the first in the Ellis Island series of Christian historicals. Brigid of Ireland was her first historical novel and tells the story of a pagan girl embracing Christianity in 6th century Ireland. Cindy is also the author of two nonfiction books: Celtic Wisdom: Treasures from Ireland, and co-author of Three Finger: the Mordecai Brown Story.

Elizabeth: Welcome, Cindy. Can you tell us about your most recent novel, Grace’s Pictures?

cindy book coverCindy: Thanks for having me, Elizabeth! Grace’s Pictures is set at the turn of the twentieth century in New York City. It was a fascinating time when immigration was reaching record numbers, the difference between the extremely poor and the extremely wealthy was vast with a small number of people in between, and a time when the police department was still corrupt. But there was another side too with folks reaching out to help by forming immigrant aid societies. During this time the Brownie camera was introduced, which brought photography to the common person for the first time, making it possible to take quick snapshots out in public. I imagined that could cause some trouble. Here is the blurb:

Grace McCaffery hopes that the bustling streets of New York hold all the promise that the lush hills of Ireland did not. As her efforts to earn enough money to bring her mother to America fail, she wonders if her new Brownie camera could be the answer. But a casual stroll through a beautiful New York City park turns into a hostile run-in with local gangsters, who are convinced her camera holds the first and only photos of their elusive leader. A policeman with a personal commitment to help those less fortunate finds Grace attractive and longs to help her, but Grace believes such men cannot be trusted. Spread thin between her quest to rescue her mother, do well in a new nanny job, and avoid the gang intent on intimidating her, Grace must put her faith in unlikely sources to learn the true meaning of courage and forgiveness.

Elizabeth: Grace’s Pictures fits into several categories: historical, romance and Christian. Is there one genre you feel best describes it?

Cindy: Others have also described it as suspense. I just call it historical. It has not been advertised as romance, although there is a love story.

Elizabeth: What first made you interested in historical fiction?

Cindy: I have always been interested in genealogy. I write for genealogy magazines. It’s been said that one in four Americans can trace at least one ancestor through Ellis Island, so I chose this setting because I think it speaks to our history as Americans. The sacrifices our ancestors made for us by overcoming huge obstacles (Grace grew up in a poorhouse in Ireland) helps us appreciate our lives today. Grace comes to America a frightened immigrant, and she has to deal with some scary circumstances. Learning how to overcome them along with the negative messages in her head, lies her father told her about herself, transforms Grace in the end.

Elizabeth: How much historical fact is woven into your stories?

Cindy: I try to make my stories as historically accurate as possible. There are some historical figures in the story such as Jacob Riis, the author of How the Other Half Lives, who helped expose the conditions in the tenements. At the beginning of the story Grace has her picture taken on Ellis Island by Augustus Sherman. If you have seen any of the photographs of Ellis Island immigrants, chances are they were Sherman photographs. He was an Ellis Island registry clerk who took these photographs as a hobby. The immigrant aid societies of the time were doing important work, and while Hawkins House is fictional, it represents the efforts many people were making. The police department was just as corrupt as I portray, and the Hudson Dusters were a real gang of cocaine addicts.

Elizabeth: What are some of your future plans for the Ellis Island series?

Cindy: Thanks for asking! The second book, Annie’s Stories, is due to release next July. Annie is the housekeeper mentioned in Grace’s Pictures. Grace and Owen make an appearance in this book. In Grace’s Pictures I feature the new Brownie camera. In Annie’s Stories I feature the new children’s book of the time, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. There is a strong bookish theme in this story that I really enjoyed exploring.

In addition, I’m working on bringing the stories that Annie’s father wrote for herdescribed in the novelto readers. The first one will be exclusively for my newsletter subscribers. (You can sign up here: www.cindyswriting.com.)

I’m also plotting out a novella that will be connected to these stories, and again, my newsletter subscribers will the first to know when it’s available.

Elizabeth: What is your writing process?

Cindy: Basically, in the morning I go through email, post on Facebook and Twitter, and follow up on marketing ideas. After lunch usually is the time I start writing, but truly it depends on my schedule and deadlines. Deadlines force me to work whenever I need to. I did a large part of a rewrite on my last book while I was on a long airplane trip (to Ireland!)

Elizabeth: Enough of your books—tell us about yourself.

Cindy: I’m a former teacher who writes full-time from a fabulous home office. I’m really blessed to have this loft workspace where I look out on trees. Like I said, genealogy is something I enjoy, but it’s so very addictive I have to be careful it doesn’t suck up too much time. I love to read a really good book. I’m also a huge baseball fan. I have three grown boys and a daughter-in-law, and a keen interest in all things Irish.

Elizabeth: Where can readers meet you in person?

cindy book talkCindy: I attend many Irish festivals in and around Ohio. People who are interested in Irish culture are often interested in reading about it. Plus they are so much fun! I am available to meet with book clubs, either in person or via Skype or telephone. On this page readers can find out how to have me come speak to their group or club: http://www.togather.com/cindy-thomson

We’ve now reached the time in our interview for the let’s-get-to-know-the-author-better, nearly-pointless, sort-of-silly, rapid-fire questions:

Elizabeth: Coffee or tea?

Cindy: Tea

Elizabeth: Ocean or mountain?

Cindy: Wow. Tough one. I seriously can’t choose. That’s one thing I love about Ireland. You are never far from either.

Elizabeth: Hiking or shopping?

Cindy: Oh, come on! Both!!

Elizabeth: Violin or piano?

Cindy: For me it’s to listen to because I can’t play. I would say piano, but then again, there is nothing like an Irish fiddle. (Natalie MacMaster, anyone?)

Elizabeth: Mystery or fantasy?

Cindy: I truly read across all genres.

Elizabeth: Darcy or Heathcliff?

Cindy: Darcy.

Elizabeth: Love scene or death scene?

Cindy:Love!

To learn more about Cindy and her writing at:

www.cindyswriting.com

www.facebook.com/cindyswriting

www.twitter.com/cindyswriting

Buy her book here: http://bit.ly/17ZXbnO

Thanks to Cindy for joining me today!