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About the blogger:
Debra Hamel is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.


Books by Debra Hamel:

THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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Kindle | paperback (UK)

KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
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READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


paperback | Kindle | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


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TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


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paperback | hardcover (UK)

SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


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ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


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IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


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PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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Book-blog.com by Debra Hamel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



Rose, M.J.: Author interview

M.J. Rose is the author of five novels, Lip Service, In Fidelity, Flesh Tones, Sheet Music and The Halo Effect. She also is a contributor to Writer's Digest, Poets & Writers, Oprah Magazine, The Readerville Journal, and Pages. Rose is also the co-author with Angela Adair Hoy of How to Publish and Promote Online, and with Doug Clegg of Buzz Your Book.

Getting published has been an adventure for Rose, who self-published Lip Service late in 1998 after several traditional publishers turned it down. Editors had loved it, but didn't know how to position it or market it since it didn't fit into any one genre. Frustrated, but curious and convinced that there was a readership for her work, she set up a web site where readers could download her book for $9.95 and began to seriously market the novel on the Internet.

After selling over 2500 copies (in both electronic and trade paper format) Lip Service became the first e-book and the first self-published novel chosen by the LiteraryGuild/Doubleday Book Club as well as being the first e-book to go on to be published by a mainstream New York publishing house.

Rose has since been called the "poster girl" of e-publishing by Time magazine and she has been profiled in Forbes, The New York Times, Business 2.0, Working Woman, Newsweek, Poets & Writers and other publications, both in the U.S. and abroad. She has appeared on The Today Show, Fox News, The Jim Lehrer NewsHour.

Rose graduated from Syracuse University and spent the '80s in advertising. She was the Creative Director of Rosenfeld Sirowitz and Lawson and she has a commercial in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.

She lives in Connecticut with Doug Scofield, a composer, and their very spoiled dog, Winka.

Visit the author's web site at http://www.mjrose.com or contact her at MJRoseAuthor@aol.com.

1. Tell us a little about your most recent book, the erotic thriller The Halo Effect.

This is the first book in my new series featuring the sex therapy clinic The Butterfield Institute and psychiatrist Dr. Morgan Snow. The novel, with a mix of psychological suspense, intrigue and adventure, takes what I hope is a provocative look at sexual crime through the eyes of a woman who has devoted her career to studying and talking about them. Morgan is probably my favorite of all my characters--she's so real to me and her issues seem so heartbreaking and admirable at the same time. I've also been told that the book is impossible to put down and that I'm keeping people up all night. And honestly, I could not be more thrilled. There is no comment an author likes to hear more.

Click here for some reviews. (Here is a review of The Halo Effect at book-blog.com.)

2. Are you working on a new book?

Yes, I recently finished the second book in the series and am going to be starting on the third as soon as I stop procrastinating. (Which I am doing by reading: John Searles's Strange But True, Caroline Leavitt's Girls in Trouble, Doug Clegg's The Hour Before Dark and my old favorite, Rebbeca by Daphne duMaurier.)

3. Do you adhere to a schedule when you write? For example, do you write a certain number of pages a day, or write for a set number of hours?

Yes. When I'm working on a novel I write about four to five hours a day. In two to three hour spurts. I start at one in the afternoon. 

I work from a very very short chapter outline and I race through the first draft and don't reread a word until I reach the end.

The second draft (my favorite) is a leisurely line by line edit where I question every word. I love nodding and rewriting. I once spent a week on a paragraph and was in heaven.

I've learned more about being a writer from John Gardner's book, THE ART OF FICTION, than from any other person or source and I highly recommend it.

4. In John Darnton's collection of essays Writers on Writing, author Kent Haruf reports that he writes his first draft with a stocking cap pulled down over his eyes. Have you anything similarly bizarre to report about your own writing habits? Or, more mundanely, how do you go about writing? Do you use a computer? Typewriter? Legal pads?

The strangest thing about my writing is the time I spend not writing. Two to three months before I start on the outline of a book, I make a very detailed scrapbook full of "stuff" from my character's life. I also have to have a talisman for him or her - some object that actually belongs to him or her. I wrote an article about this and you can read it here.

And that has lead to me teaching an online class on my process--details here--and I teach an online marketing class for authors too--click here.

5. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

First I fell in love with reading. Then I thought I wanted to be a writer. That was about 6 years old. But then I fell in love with wanting to be an artist and even went to art school and got my BFA. Then I went into advertising. At another point I wanted to be a sex therapist. But no matter whatever else I did or tried to do--I always wrote--even if I didn't think I wanted to be a "writer." So the real answer is that I was a writer before I even knew I wanted to devote my life to being one.

6. How many books do you read a year?

I read about one book a week, but at the same time I listen to one book a week on audio. So total is 100 books a year. I think the most important thing anyone who wants to be a writer or who is a writer can do is buy books and read. Not just to educate yourself with other writers' work so you keep learning, but to help contribute to the industry that you are in or want to be in. Writers who read the most get published. Really. The more supportive you are of other writers, the more books you buy and read, the more likely it is you will get published.

7. How do you decide which books to add to your books-to-be-read shelf, or its equivalent? Do you rely on book reviews? Amazon customer reviews? Friends' recommendations? Random bookstore browsing?

Word of mouth is probably number one. I get that from Readerville.com--which is a site and a forum I am addicted to. Plus I read www.bookreporter.com and blogs like http://www.sarahweinman.com/confessions/ and http://marksarvas.blogs.com/elegvar/ religiously.

I also browse a lot and pick up books for their covers--then read the flap copy, then glance at blurbs or reviews--but it's really the subject matter that convinces me.

I also try to read the books of every writer who I meet and like.

8. Having stocked your to-be-read shelf, how do you select the book you'll read next?

That's a tough one. It's random. There are some books that stay on that pile for years. I keep thinking I'll get to it but I just don't. The only things that move up to the top of the pile are friends' books or a total favorite author's new book: Greg Iles, Daniel Silva, Katherine Neville, Robert Goddard, Alice Hoffman, Mark Salzman, Laurie R. King's Kate Martinelli Series, Carol O'Connell--and there are more I can't think of--any of those will get automatically put on top.

9. Have you had any interesting experiences arising from people recognizing you in the street? Have policemen declined to ticket a famous novelist, for example?

A teenager heard who I was and starting screaming. It turned out she and every girl in her eighth-grade class had passed along my novel LIP SERVICE to each other and had even made up a lunchroom game based on the book: the girls who came up with the dirtiest pun--like the title--won and everyone would chip in and buy her lunch the next day.

I didn't know if I should be flattered or worried.

10. Finally, the desert island scenario. You wash up on an island that has, remarkably, an exceedingly well-stocked library, but which also has a schoolmarmish librarian who will only let you take out a total of five books the whole time you're there. You'll be stuck on the island indefinitely. What five books do you select?

Yikes. Five books is not five volumes. So. I'd take Marcel Proust's Remembrance of Things Past, which I have never read--but is long. And I'd take Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. I like The Fountainhead better but Atlas is twice as long. Then I'd take Rebecca by DuMaurier because it is one of my top five favorite novels and I reread it every few years anyway and never get tired of it. Next I'd take Crime and Punishment and Les Miserables. Two classics I read in high school but am sure I completely missed.

The problem would never be not having the right books on the island--it would be being able to write on the island. Because for me writing is as good as reading. I just hope my books are as entertaining for the readers to read as they are for me to write.

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