Monday, June 9, 2014

Straight from the Mouth of 'Message from a Blue Jay' Faye Rapoport DesPres

Faye Rapoport DesPres is the author of the new memoir-in-essays, Message from a Blue Jay. She earned her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the Solstice MFA Program at Pine Manor College. Her essays, fiction, poetry, and reviews have appeared in Ascent, International Gymnast Magazine, Platte Valley Review, Superstition Review, In the Arts, Fourth Genre, TheWhistling Fire, the Writer’s Chronicleand other journals and magazines. Faye was born in New York City and has lived in England, Israel, and Colorado. She currently lives in the Boston area with her husband, Jean-Paul Des Pres, and their cats.
Purchase Faye’s memoir, Message from a Blue Jay, on AMAZON 
Thanks for letting us interrogate you!  Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author? 
I wanted to do something extraordinary with my life – I didn’t want to go through life without both fully living (and examining life) and achieving something special. 
Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be?  I mean what are the perks and what are the demands? 
Some of it is all it’s cracked up to be! It feels great to hold your book in your hands, to read positive reviews, to have people tell you that they enjoyed your book and it really touched them. It’s nice to have that monkey off your shoulder that for years said, “You haven’t done this yet, you haven’t done this yet!” At the same time, you have to really put yourself out there to publish and promote a book, especially in creative nonfiction. You have to share things about your life that until that moment were somewhat private, and you have to work hard to promote your book. 
Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like? 
I went the traditional route, although my publisher is a small but rapidly growing independent press. I’ve been thrilled with that decision – Buddhapuss Ink has really put their heart and soul into helping to market and promote the book, and make me feel like part of the Buddhapuss author family. 
My husband is very supportive, although sometimes he walks in while I’m working and starts to chat, and I don’t know how to tell him that I’m focused on what I’m doing and need to concentrate.
Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you? 
I don’t have children, but my cats have been okay with it because they can usually sit on my lap while I write. Sometimes they get annoyed and sit in front of my computer monitor, and then I know I have to pay some attention to them. 
This is for pet lovers.  If you don’t own a pet, skip this question, but do your pets actually get their food on time or do they have to wait until you type just one more word? 
They make sure they get their food on time. Presenting themselves in front of the computer monitor does the trick. I know my priorities – pets first. 
This is for plant lovers.  If you don’t own a plant, skip this question, but if you do, are they actually still alive? 
Um, some are, and some aren’t. But it wasn’t out of neglect! I tried! 
In writing your book, how did you deal with the phone ringing, your family needing dinner or your boss calling you saying you’re late? 
I wrote really early in the morning when everyone thought I was crazy for even being awake. 
What was the craziest or insane thing that happened to you in the book publishing process?
My publisher asked for my manuscript via Twitter. I never expected to find a publisher that way after months of working with an agent the usual way. 
How about the social networks?  Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid? 
I only do Facebook and Twitter. Facebook is a real time-suck, so I don’t want to get involved with anything else that will suck even more time! 
Book sales.  Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)?  How are you making the sales happen for you? 
I don’t know numbers yet, although Amazon sold out of its first shipment in half a day. I try not to focus on sales, although every curious author glances now and then and says, “What? I’ve dropped down to 500,326 on Amazon? Just yesterday I was 475,381! 
What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?
I did it! I did it! I did it! 
Okay, too much sugar for you today!  Here’s a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in.  Now…can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above doesn’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way? 
I do love knowing that I set a goal – years ago – and achieved it. That means the world to me. I am proud of my book; I feel good about it. I am happy that people are liking it and being positively affected by it. Yes, it’s all good. Although, talk to me after some negative reviews and a drop in sales, and who knows? I’ll have to take stock and remember that none of that was the point in the first place.

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