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Author Interviews

Thanks for allowing me to interview you, Amy! Here we have author of From Zero to Four Kids in Thirty Seconds. I asked her here to talk about her life's work, her family, and just anything interesting.
  • Well, here we go. First question, when did you decide you wanted to write novels? 
When I discovered Erma Bombeck’s books as a teenager, I hoped that maybe my life would be interesting and funny enough one day that I could write something humorous, too.  Of course, back then, I had no idea I’d end up marrying a guy with four kids, and that I’d end up with a small zoo inside my house.
  • Haha, I don't think anyone does. Sounds like my house when we had a friend living with us. Oh, man, it was crazy.When did you publish your first book? 
My book From Zero to Four Kids in Thirty Seconds was published on Amazon as an e-book in December 2011.  The paperback version was published on Amazon in March 2012.  
  • So, it hasn't been very long. When did you write your first book (published or not)? 
My book took about a year and a half of concentrated time to write.  In my house, there isn’t much concentrated time, though, because I have a fun husband, two dogs, a cat, a ferret and twelve hamsters.  If I ran away for a couple of months, I could probably get more writing done, but what fun would that be?
  • Wow! That's insane. Never thought I'd find anyone with a crazier house than mine. WSo, whe you have a chance to read, what is your favorite genre? 
Humor.  I find a lot of humor in life and think there are still people in need of a good laugh.  In my book, I laugh at myself, my beau, Mark, and even my mother.  My blog postings at are also light-hearted.
  • We always need some laughs in our life, I'll have to subscribe to your blog. do you have a muse that sparks your creativity? If so, what/who is it?
 I find a lot that’s amus-ing but I don’t have a muse.  
  • Interesting. Well then, what sparked the idea for your novel(s)? 
When I became a stepmom in the mid 1990s, there weren’t a lot of uplifting resources out there to help me figure out what I was getting myself into in becoming a stepmom.  So I sat down and started writing what I had experienced, which, with some distance, was pretty darn funny.  I also realized that my experience was all the more interesting because I was dealing with three girls and one boy, and because of their ages—three, five, 13 and 15.  Based on my experience, I include 70 tips in my book, including “Tip #12:  There is no dictionary of common toys children play with, or a book of common responses when, say, dolls are sick.  Relax and trust yourself to blunder through.”  
  • That will be soo helpful for all soon-to-be moms! Do you ever listen to music when you write? If so, who do you listen to? 
 I only listen to music when I need to shut out any noise around me, like when the NCAA basketball games were on in the background—not that I’m not a basketball fan but well, most games are won in the last few minutes, so I tuned them out until then.  Because my computer is old and slow, I generally just go to free tunes on an online radio site and get right back to typing.  
  • Ah. My laptop has had tons of viruses, so I know how you feel. Do you have a certain place where you write the best?
I would write best on a tropical island with a warm breeze and birds singing and where a guy name Swen brought me those colorful fruity drinks whenever I need one.  But since that’s not likely to happen, I settle for my kitchen table mostly.  
  • Haha, I think we ALL would do our best (or worst depending on our attention span and how hot he was) work. What is your favorite part of writing? 
Two things:  the positive responses from people who said they got a laugh or two from my writing, and the amazing people out there that do reviews, book blog sites and help authors promote books without getting a dime for their efforts.  The passion of the book-ish people out there is amazing.
  • It's always great to find people as in love with books as myself. Do you have a favorite author?
 Erma Bombeck.  
  • Do they ever inspire you as you write? 
She did….
  • Can you describe your writing routine for us?
I write for a half hour during my lunch break at work in the inspiring setting of a government office cubicle.  After work, and after dinner, exercising the dogs and other housely duties, I write in the evenings until my eyes go cross-eyed or I find myself writing gibberish.  On the weekends I write every spare moment I can, which is why there are some really nifty cobwebs in my house.  
  • What advice would you give someone trying to become a published author? 
Network, network, network.  I’ve stumbled upon one site after another related to books and it’s taken months to begin to figure out which sites have advantages for me and which do not.  For example, BookBlogs has been the number one site for me to get followers, subscribers and Like-ers and for finding book reviewers, several of whom are participating in my upcoming book blog tour.  I found you there as well!  Authonomy is a good site for writers with or without complete manuscripts, but only the most popular postings get reviewed by editors at this site, which is run by HarperCollins.  So it takes a while to figure out the various sites and how best to use them.  Then it’s a matter of finding the time to use them.  
  • Yes, I've learned you need to network a lot to get popular. I like to use Goodreads, BookBlogs, and Amazon. Do you ever do book signings?If so, where can we find you?
In November 2011, I discovered that Michigan State University has a machine that can crank out paperbacks in the time it takes to make a cup of espresso.  I had numerous copies of my book made there to give to reviewers, friends and family, which helped get the word out while I was hiring out someone to professionally format my book for online book sales.  My first book signing was at my mom’s and involved two of her best friends getting MSU copies signed.  I blogged about that to remind myself (and others) that every author has a humble beginning.  In an ongoing effort to stumble upon a publisher, from April 8th-28th I’m having a virtual book tour, and many of the tour spots will have give-aways of the final paperback version of my book (imagine glossy cover, fancy fonts) which I will sign for the winners.  My dream is still to have a book signing at a book store, which is why I appreciate the exposure from this interview.  Thank you!

No, thank you! We readers do so enjoy learning all about authors and how they write. It's a fascinating thing.

Hobbies/Home Life  
  • What do you do you do for fun?
 I throw on my ghillie suit, creep outside in my backyard or around a nearby park and photograph wildlife.  I also enjoy fishing, particularly when I out-fish Mark.
  • Very nice. I love photography, and I have a brother thaat is a fishing fanatic. Can you tell us about your kids?
I have four great stepkids that are all 21 and older and either contributing--or on their way to contributing--to society somehow. Because they chat with me when they call and at least pretend to like me, they’re my best evidence that at least some of the advice in my book is sound.  They all show up for birthday parties and holidays and are all really great kids.
  • That's great! Are you married? How did your hubbie propose? 
My hubby—who is by nature quite cool and confident--asked for my dad’s permission to marry me in Chapter 7 of my book which is called:  “Is That Sweat Dripping Off Your Forehead, Honey?” He proposed to me in the next, hilarious chapter, “Delay of Game:  Ten Yard Penalty.”
  • Huh. I can't wait to read your book to find out EXACTLY what happened.What’s your favorite food? 
I’m impartial to Mexican food because it’s tasty and messy.  My all-time favorite restaurant is The Roadhouse Mexican Bar and Grill in the tiny northern Michigan town of Benzonia.  Their icy cold beer is nice, too.
  • Yumm. Favorite drink? 
Mark and I found some amazing tropical drinks at a restaurant in Bonaire on our honeymoon years ago, but that place didn’t survive a particularly evil hurricane.  With that no longer an option, an icy cold beer will do just fine.  
  • They sound tasty! Favorite color? 
Right now, blue.  My book cover has a nifty shade of blue that’s bright and cheery.  You can see it and read comments about my book on my landing page.
  • Favorite music genre? 
Whatever Adele is classified as.
  • Haha, she's her own genre! Just kidding I just have no idea...Favorite artist? 
Adele.  And I’m a die-hard John Denver fan.  Both Adele and John have phenomenal voices and their range is amazing, though John is probably more home on the range than Adele.  
  • I've never heard of him. I'm more of a AC/DC type of girl. When you are at home alone, what is the first thing you do?  
Get my lap dog situated on my lap, turn on the computer and whistle while I network. 

Haha, that sounds great! Thanks for allowing me to interview you!


Thank you for the opportunity to interview you, Reina!
So, when did you decide you wanted to write novels? 
I began writing novels in 2009. It started as more of a compulsion than a decision. :) 
When did you publish your first book?
My first book, A Gentleman’s Daughter: Her Choice, was published in December, 2011. 
When did you write your first book (published or not)?
I wrote my first book in 2009, though I’ve been writing short stories since I was a  little girl.

What is your favorite genre?

It’s difficult to pick one, but probably either sweet romance or women’s fiction.

I like those genre's, too. Do you have a muse? If so, what/who is it?

Sometimes my muse is an actor (lol--like Sean Bean or Richard Armitage), or my own dreams or the world around me.

Cool, that's fascinating! What sparked the idea for your novel(s)?

The ideas for both my books were sparked by dreams.

Do you listen to music when you write? If so, who do you listen to?

I only listen to music when writing a contemporary novel. I make playlists which fit the novel--for Certain Sure (a contemporary romance), I listened to various songs, from “Come on Eileen” to Lou Rawls’ “There Will Be Love.”

Huh, I'll have to look them up. Where do you write best?

Anywhere, but usually at home while my sons are at school.

Haha, I can understand that. my brothers are LOUD. What is your favorite part of writing?

Getting to know my characters and having them take the story places I hadn’t intended.

Who is your favorite author? 

For historical, Georgette Heyer. There are too many to list! :)

I've never heard of her either. I'm learning LOTS from this interview, today. I'm gonna have to look her up, too. Do they inspire you as you write?

Not exactly. I try to read a lot and learn from other writers, though.

Makes since. How have you grown as a writer since your first book?

I believe I’m a better writer, both in mechanics as well as characterization and plotting. I’ve learned so much in these last few years about the craft of writing--and I hope to keep improving.

I hope you do, too! We always need a great, new writer! Can you describe your writing routine for us?

I try to write every morning after I drop my sons at school. I come home, make tea or coffee if it’s not summertime, open the computer, check social media, and then write for a few hours. Sometimes chores get in the way, but when I’m in the middle of a book, that’s the schedule I strive for.  

What advice would you give someone trying to become a published author?

Write and read as much as possible. Join a professional writers group (I’m in Romance Writers of America), take classes or attend meetings, and follow the path you feel is right for you. I chose to self-publish, but this path isn’t right for everyone. Find a path that works for you, both in your writing and professionally, and stay on it. Of course, paths wind and branch off in unexpected ways, but that’s part of the fun. :)

Great advice! Do you ever do book signings? If so, where can we find you?

Yes, I’ll be on an author panel with a few other indie authors this May 19th at the Castro Valley Public Library (CA). I post events on Goodreads, Google+, Twitter, and my blog,


What do you do you do for fun?

Write! ;) I like to bake, spend time with family and friends, read, shop--these days I find fun wherever I can! :)

Sounds fun. Do you have any kids? Let's talk about them.

I have two boys--5 and 7--who are both in school. They’re a lot of fun, though sometimes at night I just wish they’d fall asleep! They keep me busy but it’s a good busy. :)

They sound like bundles of fun! What’s your favorite food?

A warm chocolate chip cookie.

Mmmmm, yummy. Favorite drink?

A Shirley Temple. lol

Haha. Favorite color?


Pink? Oh, dear, lol. Favorite music genre?

I don’t have just one--classical, pop, R&B, showtunes, and Big Band are my top 5.

Favorite artist?

In music, DeBussy, Sam Ramey, Rogers and Hammerstein, and Tom Jones are a few. In art, the Impressionists and Norman Rockwell. :)

When you are at home alone, what is the first thing you do?

Enjoy the quiet. :)

Me, too!

Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Sarah!

No, problem, it's been a pleasure getting to know you!