My guest today is Katina Ferguson: Author, Mother and loving daughter
You would wonder why I added that particular one about being loving daughter. The answer is simple, Katina became an author by simply chatting with her father. I was impressed when I learned that from her. I also was impressed by the comments of her father that not every book has to be an epic. One could be humorous, chatty and pass on sterling life lessons. I would love to say more but I guess this chat should suffice
1, Conversations with Dad has brought about Fergyville series, tell us more
I talk to my dad every 3 to 4 weeks, just to catch up things and see how he's doing. I tell him about the chaos of having three young kids in the house (what he calls pay-back), I talk about how tired I am, I talk about how tired my husband is, I talk about the car that needs fixing etc. It all sounds grim and dry, but I find humor in it all and the conversations become fun and lively. Right now, the driver-side door of my car won't open. Initially I thought someone tried to break into the car and messed up the lock. I even showed my husband subtle scratch marks near the key hole where the wanna-be car thief tried to tamper with the lock. After having a police officer look at the car, he said there was absolutely no evidence of an attempted break-in (at all). Go figure…it's true that I've missed the mark a couple times trying to get the key in the lock, but I never noticed the marks until the lock when bad (ha-ha). I'm not inclined to take the car to a mechanic (or locksmith) just yet, I want to exhaust all possible do-it-yourself avenues before we spend money on the door. Until then, however, I find creative ways to get into the driver seat (from the passenger side) without giving the general public the idea that I'm mentally retarded. These are the kind of stories I share with my Dad, and a string of these types of stories led him to nudge me in the direction of writing the Fergyville series.
2. Humour and anecdotes have become ‘teaching’ pieces without been prudish or boring how did you achieve that?
I love humor. It's how I learn, it's how I cope with life, it is pretty much a part of my DNA. I've become pretty comfortable with laughing at myself, even more comfortable with laughing at others (note, it's not my best social skill) and as long as humor is in the mix then I think it wipes out the chances of the material being boring. The other kicker is drama. When lessons have dramatic consequences I think it does a good job of keeping the reader's interest as well.
3. Your first is part of a series, which sounds like a serial epic or enter-educate collection, who is your primary audience?
I would have to say that my primary audience is men and women in their 30s. I think most of them would find themselves in same stages and phase of life as the characters in the book and would relate to them most, but I've had reviewers in their 20s and others in their 40s show great appreciation for the material, so I'm happy to welcome them into the demographic as well.
4. paranormal and science fiction may be made into this type of series, what do you think?
I have to agree. Paranormal and science fiction can set a different stage for these kind of stories to play out, but essentially the story would be the same.
5.You are a mother as well as author what do your children think of Fergyville?
My children are very young, so they have no idea I am writing Fergyville. They know that mommy works from home and that she's on the computer a lot (ha-ha).
6. When you observe people, and they give you ideas for your characters do you also wish to impart something to your readers?
That's a 50/50. My primary reason for drawing inspiration from real people is to create characters that are "real". If a reader can see a bit of themselves in a character (or two) then I know they will connect with the story, especially if the character does something that they would also do. On the other hand, the people I observe may present a style of humor, or drama, or a bizarre perspective I choose to share with the readers for entertainment purposes only.
7. What genre of writing will you call your series?
It would definitely fall within the realm of material that is contemporary. For genre, I've mixed in drama, with humor and mystery, so it's hard to find a box to put the series in, but if I'd have to pick one I'd have to go with drama.
8. This might be a hard tack from me, but if you were to pick reading material between this and Harry Potter, what will you choose?
Unfortunately I have yet to read a single Harry Potter book (don't shoot me!), so it's a bit hard to answer the question. If I wanted something quick to read, then I'd pick my book, but if I had an afternoon to myself (hubby and kids had gone off somewhere and left me to my own devices) then I'd certainly pick up a Harry Potter book.
9. The minds of young adults and children are malleable and easily molded by what they read as it fires their imagination, can your book be recommended for young persons?
I wondered about that. I would not recommend my book to young persons (anyone younger than 18), but I'm sure they could handle the material just fine. My writing isn't vulgar (though you'll find the occasional expletive) and I aim to keep it as realistic as possible, but sometimes one never knows how young people are going to process, or use, the information. In all fairness though, a lot of people I know now (at 30-something) are not much different from when I knew them in high school, so cutting out the high school crowd (because of their age) is just a precaution.
10, What has been the reaction to your book?
So far everyone that has read the book loved it. They love the characters most and find them to be well developed. A few readers were surprised to find that wasn't a standalone novelette (there is a cliff hanger at the end), so I've modified the product description for the book to reflect the fact that Episode 1: The New Plan is a first installment. I'm especially happy to get positive feedback from men. It lets me know that I've kept the viewpoints universal and not overly feminine.
11. Authors grow by the day and finding recognition becomes a bit tougher, do you hope one or all of the series might become a television hit sometime?
That is a thought that enters my mind occasionally. In 2004 when I started to really get into writing, my first batch of stories was for graphic novels and animated sitcoms. I was leaning heavily script-writing styles (even for the graphic novel) and envisioned those stories making it to the silver screen one day. With this series, I'm not sure how well it would translate as a television series, but if a producer wanted to option Fergvyville I would happily consent.
12. Who are your favourite authors?
I wish I could say that I had a favourite "anything", but that's not usually the case with me. No favourite food, color, music and no favorite author either. When something is good, or appeals to me, I keep it (yes, my tastes are eclectic). If you looked at my bookshelf you wouldn't find more of one author than another. I will say that a book that had a profound impact on me (I wasn't expecting to feel the way I did about his book) was The Last Lecture, by Randy Pausch. Another author, someone I discovered on Goodreads, is Haresh Daswani. He's not well known, only has one book out, but I found his book (The Evolution of Insanity) to be among my current favourites. I like his way of seeing things and illustrating concepts.
13. Share a typical day with our readers
My typical day varies by season. In the summer time (like now), when all my kids are home from preschool and elementary, the typical day involves entertaining them, teaching them (reading, math, etc), saving my house from their destructive tendencies, using their nap time (quiet time) to market my book, and in the evenings (if I'm not worn out by then) I write the next book.
14. Please give tips and hints on publishing, and what you have noticed publishers generally want.
Tip #1: If you are self-published, have more than one proofreader look at your book. The minute a proofreader becomes familiar with your text, they are likely to miss a couple things ─part of the brains wonderful auto-correct feature. Traditional publishers have many eyes looking at one manuscript and if you're self-published you should too. Three is my lucky number.
Tip#2: Get involved in a writing group and have them critique parts of your material. If you find that a lot of people don't "get it", then the problem isn't them, it's your execution…it may need some fine tuning.
Tip#3: Look for the angle that no one sees. Some genres of material are completely saturated with material (I think of paranormal vampire books when I say this), so what is your book bringing to the market that the others are not? Unique perspectives are hard to come by, but if you set your brain to actively look for one, there will be an impending eureka moment lined up for you. When it does manifest, you'll have a new story, an interesting plot and a better way to market your book.
Tip#4: Write no matter what. Write what you are passionate about. In this day and age you can afford to do that. If you can't find a home for your manuscript (and it is well written… so that's not the reason it is rejected by a publisher) then you have the option to self-publish at no cost to you; Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Lulu.com etc. Move on to your next manuscript, if it finds a home, super! If not, self-publish and move on to the next book …I think you get the point. With each book you become a writer and the more material you have out there, the better your chances of jumpstarting your career as a writer, or at the very least, gaining a following of readers who love your "voice".
Katina's book has been reviewed and has generally received an avarage 4 out of 5 stars rating. I will present a few:
I give Fergyville 4 out of 5 stars
Fergyville Episode One was a very well written novella that captured my attention from the very first sentence. I could feel Frank's annoyance, not so much with his job but more with the customers who kept pestering him, demanding the often impossible. I could also relate to Catherine and her growing frustration at trying to get everything right. The atmosphere was one of marital normalcy, and yet I could sense something in the air. Subtle hints placed by the author, who really knows how to play on emotion, throughout the writing that increased my anticipation and growing dread. I really liked the cliff hanger at the end and can't wait for the next instalment in the series to find out what happens next.
If you want a short, well written mystery that will draw you in immediately and leave you wondering what's going on, get this.
Barnes and Noble:http://productsearch.barnesandnoble.com/search/results.aspx?store=EBOOK&WRD=fergyville&page=index&prod=univ&choice=ebook&query=Fergyville&flag=False&pos=-1&box=Fergyville&ugrp=2