About a week before I retired from a job in the healthcare field in December 2019, a coworker commented that I should do something from my bucket list. I immediately replied that I would write a novel. I wondered why I had replied so quickly and with such conviction. I took a few writing courses in high school and considered college and a career in writing, but decided to go to nursing school instead. I hadn’t thought about writing a book since my adolescence. I didn’t realize writing a novel was on my bucket list. Beneath A Blanket Of Snow is my first novel. I also enjoy bicycling, playing Mah Jongg, reading, and playing piano.
Due to the wonderful reviews from readers, I decided to keep writing. My second novel, If We Had Known, was released in April 2021.
Please visit my website http://www.arlenelomazoffmarron.com
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1) First, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me! When did you know that writing is what you were called to do? What is it about being a writer that you love the most? What about being a writer frustrates you the most?
About a week before I retired from a career in the healthcare field in December 2019, a coworker commented that I should do something from my bucket list. I immediately replied that I would write a novel. I wondered why I had replied so quickly and with such conviction, as I hadn’t thought about writing a book since my adolescence. I took a few writing courses in high school and considered college and a career in writing, but decided to go to nursing school instead. I didn’t realize writing a novel was on my bucket list. I have written two novels since that innocent comment.
I love putting my ideas into a story that people enjoy reading. Surprisingly, I enjoy creating the characters. When I started my first book, I worried about how I would do this. But once I got into my characters’ heads, and got to know them, I really enjoyed it.
The frustrating part is getting my name and my books out to the public. There are reportedly more than a million books published every year, and most go unnoticed. Social media, word of mouth, and creative marketing help, but it’s still an uphill battle.
2) Can you tell us a little about your book(s) and where our readers can find out more about them and you?
I have written two books: Beneath A Blanket Of Snow, and If We Had Known. They are contemporary fiction. I consider them family fiction, because they deal with issues like relationships, finances, secrets, and regrets. Most of my readers have been female, and middle aged, but men have read my books and given glowing reviews!
3) Where do you draw your inspiration from for the stories that you manage to weave together and the characters that you create?
I have always been a daydreamer. For many years I traveled to work on public transportation, and I would study the other passengers and wonder about them—their lives, their jobs, their families.
4) Do you have a schedule for when you write? Do you outline your novels? How long does it generally take you to finish a novel? What projects are you currently working on?
I wrote the draft of both of my novels in less than three months each. When I am writing, I generally write every day. I have most of the information about plots in my head. I keep a list of characters, but most of the story develops as I am writing. I have had one instance where a character knew a spouse’s secret, and revealed it during a dialogue. But I didn’t know this character knew this, until my fingers typed the dialogue! My readers were surprised, but probably don’t know that the author was, too!
I have an idea for a third novel, which I hope to start soon. I’ve been busy trying to market my current books.
5) What’s the first book you ever read that really moved you emotionally? Who is your favorite author to read? What book are you currently reading?
My favorite book is The Grapes of Wrath. I really got into the family’s struggles, but it was the ending—the last few pages—that sealed it for me. I have a copy of the book, and occasionally I read the last few pages again.
I like to read books about families and relationships, which is probably why I write them too. I like a bit of historical fiction. I like Kristin Hannah, Anita Shreve, and Jodi Picoult.
6) What has been your most significant achievement as a writer thus far? Where do you see yourself within your career in the next five years?
I have been featured in my township’s magazine, and my books are in the local libraries. But I think the biggest achievement is writing my books in my sixties, in retirement, at an age where many people are slowing down. I’m thrilled with the reviews and the ratings for my books.
7) How have you dealt with rejection within your writing career? What is your advice for other writers to better be able to cope or navigate their way through the publishing process, be it traditional or self-publishing?
I opted to self-publish, mostly due to my age, so I didn’t experience rejection from agents or publishers. However, not everyone loves an author’s writings, no matter how good they are. Even the most famous writers don’t experience 5-star reviews from everyone. While one reader thinks a book was too slow, others rave about the attention to detail and the character development. I know I have written good books, and have to accept an occasional review that isn’t great.
8) Do you find it hard to juggle the creative side of being a writer against the business side of being a writer, in terms of marketing and promotion and things of that nature? How hard has it been (or easy) for you to build up your author platform?
I found that writing the book is the easy part! Getting my name and my books out there to readers is much more difficult for me. I have learned a lot and am active on social media, but it’s an ongoing job to promote my writing.
9) So many writers say that they hate reading their own work. Do you ever enjoy reading your own work back to yourself after it’s out there for the rest of the world?
I genuinely like what I have written. I am proud of my writing, the sentence structure, the dialogue, and the character development.
10) Do you believe that there is ever a point in life where it’s too late for an aspiring writer to become successful in this industry? Do you feel a late start would hinder their chances?
I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to write good stories that readers enjoyed, in my sixties, so it can be done. My age was the primary reason for choosing to self-publish. It’s not that I thought I had no chance with a traditional publisher; I didn’t want to spend what would likely be at least several years waiting to see if it would happen.
11) I feel like writing is a remarkable tool to help people not only express themselves, but also to cope emotionally and mentally. I know for me I write to be and feel more authentic. What unique quality is there about you, about your art, that you feel represents your authenticity? How does writing help you to be more empowered in your purpose?
Perhaps due to my age, although my books are fiction, many of the feelings, emotions, and attitudes of the characters are based on my experiences. Although I did not endure what my main female character did in Beneath A Blanket Of Snow, my first novel, I based her feelings and actions on some things I personally experienced. I did not expect to put bits of myself in my books, but I did.