I’m thrilled to interview Geraldine Solon today. Geraldine is an award-winning, best-selling author, and her debut novel Love Letters has been optioned by Dream Real Pictures and is currently being adapted for film. Geraldine’s second novel, The Assignment, was a quarter-finalist entry in the 2011 Amazon Novel Breakthrough Award contest.
Interview: Geraldine Solon
I’m crazy funny on the outside but passionate and emotional on the inside.
What are you passionate about? What keeps you awake at night?
Travel, nature, books, movies, people. My imaginary friends talking to me is what keeps me awake at night. :)
If a magic carpet would take you anyplace in the world, where would you go? Why?
Paris, because it’s the most romantic city in the world.
If you could change one thing in your life, what would it be? Why?
Nothing, I love my life and treasure all my experiences. I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t made the choices I made back then.
About The Assignment
Could you please take us behind the scenes? Tell us something about your book that we couldn’t pick up by reading the description or blurbs.
In a nutshell, it’s a powerful love story combined with tragedies. Circumstances required my characters who love each other to be apart by the choices they were forced to make.
What would you like readers to take away from this book? Is there a message?
The themes of my book are love, betrayal and forgiveness. The greatest message is that love conquers all and despite pain and tragedy, good always prevail.
Did you begin with story, place, character, voice? Why?
I began writing the book with the setting in mind. I wanted to set the story in the Philippines where I grew up to feature the culture, history and way of life. Upon deciding that, I started writing the book using a male character. Marina Suarez, one of the main characters in my book was originally a male character-Manolo Suarez, but after writing a hundred thirty pages, I started getting writer’s block and felt the female hormones screaming at me. That’s when I felt compelled to change her gender to a woman. To my surprise, the creative juices began flowing again and it weaved the story even better.
What were the hardest and most enjoyable aspects of writing this book? Why?
Writing novels is an emotional experience. I enjoyed writing the first chapter since that’s when the story is still raw and I’m filled with excitement. I also enjoyed including the sub-plots and connecting the story together. The most difficult part was doing the rewrites and edits because I wasn’t using my creative side so much.
Writing and Publishing
How do you go about revising? How long does this process take? Do you enjoy it?
After finishing the first draft, I set aside the book for a month. Yes, a month because that’s the best way to take a step back from your story. Once I dive in, I examine the bigger picture like voice, POV, structure, characterization, themes, setting, etc. and begin taking down notes on what I should include or delete. That whole process takes another month and then I start doing rewrites. After my third draft, I send it to my editor who takes a month to complete her edits. So the whole process takes six to seven months until it’s finalized. I don’t enjoy the editing part too much because it’s so different from the writing aspect where you’re more creative and excited. Editing seems to be more technical.
Why did you decide to go indie with this book? The publishing world is quickly evolving. How do you envision the future?
I decided to go Indie with my current novel, The Assignment because I felt that I already built a brand and generated a strong following. Whether an author chooses, the traditional or indie route, at the end of the day, authors need readers. I also prefer to have more control of my work and release the book right away. I see Indie publishing taking over traditional publishing. What occurred to the music industry is now happening to the publishing industry wherein digital has taken over paper and it’s simpler for authors to do it themselves and upload their eBooks on Amazon and other venues.
What did you do to prepare for your launch?
I organized blog tours, used social media to promote the book, connected with writer’s groups, cross-promoted with other authors, conducted speaking engagements, taught workshops, TV interviews and magazine/newspaper write-ups.
What’s worked best for you, marketing-wise? Why? Have you tried anything that hasn’t worked? What would you change?
It’s a combination of different marketing strategies. I believe in the power of social media, cross-promoting with other authors, speaking engagements and networking with other writers. As authors, we spend a lot of solitary time writing our books and it’s important to be visible and connected with a writer’s community. You are basically a brand, and to sell yourself, you need to reach out to your readers and build relationships with them. Authors should never think that they can do all their marketing alone. I tried doing that in the beginning and it didn’t work. Marketing your book is like having a full-time job-it requires a lot of work but in the end, the rewards are fruitful.
Lefty or righty? I’m actually Ambidextrous
Introvert or extrovert? Extrovert
Plane, train or automobile? Automobile
Beer or wine? Beer. LOL!
Water: ice or no ice? No ice
Light or dark? Dark
Winter or summer? Summer
Walking or running? Walking
Sit on a beach or sit by a fire? Sit on a beach
Book or audiotape? Book
Read or write? Both
Draft or revise? Draft
Writer’s group or editor? Both
If you were to give one tip to aspiring writers, what would it be?
Never stop believing in your dream.
What are you working on now?
I’m writing another novel called, The Lady with the Silk Shawl. It’s still in the early stages involving three women that are sent to each other for a deeper purpose.
How can your fans connect with you?
About Geraldine Solon
Geraldine Solon is the award-winning, bestselling author of Women’s fiction and Romance novels. Her debut novel, Love Letters won the Beach Book Festival for the Romance category and made it to Finalist for the 2011 Global eBook Awards. Dream Real Pictures has optioned Love Letters and is currently being adapted into film. Her upcoming novel, The Assignment made it to Quarter Finalist for the 2011 Amazon Novel Breakthrough Award contest. Geraldine is a member of the California Writers Club and has studied writing courses at Stanford University. You can visit her website at www.geraldinesolon.com
About The Assignment
American travel journalist Sophie Matthews is searching for that elusive place called home. Working for Constar Communications has allowed her to see the world and experience different cultures, but the nomadic lifestyle has not enabled her to have much of a personal life. As she approaches her fortieth birthday, Sophie’s priorities shift and she decides to quit her job to pursue a different dream-meeting a man, settling down, and starting a family. Her boss, Greg Sullivan, has one request-that Sophie complete her last assignment featuring the life of artist/writer Marina Suarez.
During World War II, Marina’s entire village was captured by Japanese soldiers leaving Marina as the sole survivor. How she was able to survive the slaughter of her village and family remains a mystery. Sophie is intrigued by the assignment, but hesitant to return to the Philippines, which left her with a broken heart ten years ago at the hands of Eric Santiago, the only man she has ever loved. As fate would have it, Sophie soon finds herself in the busy streets of Manila and crosses paths with Eric Santiago once again. As Sophie tries to unravel the mystery of Marina’s life, she learns that Eric is the only one who can help her put the pieces together. But when she discovers Marina’s deep, dark secret, little does Sophie know that it will change her life forever.