THE SILVER LOCKET by Sophia Bar-Lev is the author’s third novel. A former elementary and high school teacher, Bar-Lev now devotes full time to writing, her lifelong passion. She is an avid reader, loves to travel, enjoys cooking and baking and spending time with her family. Her vivid descriptions, tasteful humor and insightful treatment of human behavior render her novels not only entertaining but thought-provoking.
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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’ve had this inner drive to write since I was a child, turning in my first ‘book’ of 8 pages to my second grade teacher! I continued writing over the years despite other responsibilities and determined that once I got past raising children and holding down a job because I had to, I would do what I really loved which is to write. Now I do and I love it!
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?
Writing can be an enemy as well as a friend; it can yield great pleasure and satisfaction one the one hand and discouraging frustration on the other; but in the end, most writers – myself included – keep on writing because it’s what we love. Writers, I think, have this drive to get something said and we don’t give up.
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 self-published route on the advice of a few people I respect. It has its ups and downs. The folks I worked with at Create Space were wonderful but I quickly learned that in the new paradigm of publishing, an author has to be a marketer as well. That’s a real learning curve for many of us and demands a significant time investment. However, my overall evaluation is that self-publishing is the way to go at present at least until such time as one’s book gets the attention of a big name publisher. I like the control you keep over your work that self-publishing gives you, but distribution and publicity is the challenge. However, there are some great book publicists out there to help.
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?
Fortunately for me, my children are all grown and married. My husband is very supportive and only occasionally has he mildly complained when I lost track of time and forgot to start dinner!! I do tend to get so engrossed in my writing that I lost all track of time. He’s really good about it. It would be very different if I still had children at home.
Are your plants actually still alive?
I laughed right out loud when I read this question. My plants are alive but only because they’re low maintenance!!!
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?
Early on in the process, I turned the ringer off on my phone and learned to use an alarm clock for starting dinner. However, I must confess, sometimes I’ve been so engrossed that the alarm clock went off and I didn’t hear it! For true!!
My husband heard it at the other end of the house but I didn’t and it was on my desk! Now that’s called super concentration I guess.
What was the craziest or insane thing that happened to you in the book publishing process?
After I uploaded the manuscript to Create Space, I panicked. Was it good enough? Did I go through it enough times to be sure there were no mistakes?
Would anybody like it? Then all of a sudden I realized I forgot to include the Dedication in the final manuscript. Fortunately, my account specialist was awesome and fixed it for me.
How about the social networks? Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid?
Facebook has helped as well as Twitter. I registered on Goodreads and have had minimal response from there so I haven’t paid much attention to it. There are hundreds and hundreds of books on Goodreads. I felt lost in the crowd. But Facebook has several ‘groups’ for authors and those have been helpful.
Book sales. Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)? How are you making the sales happen for you?
Started out with Facebook, my website and some promotional emails but that wasn’t enough. I searched out book publicists and hired the one I liked best. She’s been great.
What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?
People who write reviews and you can tell they never finished the book! It’s so annoying. And people who post sarcastic comments. Whatever happened to old fashioned courtesy? You can write a negative review without being mean.
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?
Sure can – I’ll give you a specific example. Recently a reader contacted me on the website and invited me to have a SKYPE visit with her book club who had just finished reading and discussing one of my earlier novels. It was the most delightful and encouraging experience any author could hope for. The ladies were great; they asked superb questions and shared valuable insights they had gained including ideas I’d never thought of but that they’d derived from the novel. It was thrilling.
Knowing that readers get something valuable from my novels is the best reward of all.