Saturday, September 18, 2010

Interview with Spiritual Author Essa Adams

Join us as we chat with Essa Adams, author of the A Breath Floats By. Read on as we explore Essa Adam's world combining her spiritual writing style with plus size heroines to create her own brand of Women's Fiction.

**** Contest Alert ****
Post a comment on this interview by October 31, 2010 and be entered to win a copy of A Breath Floats By by Essa Adams. We are giving away 1 paperback copy and 5 ebook so there are plenty of chances to win. Don't forget to leave your email address with your comment so winners can be contacted.

1)Tell us about yourself? We could say I am eccentric. I live in the Great Lakes Region and run a small business with resources for the right environmental choices we all need to make. I write every second of my working day. Love Newfoundland dogs, pet skunks. Want to live in the UP or Nova Scotia and am such a gypsy that leasing suits me more than owning a home. Love rowing, biking, gardening. I am a plush post-menopausal woman who is bent on writing until I die.

2)How long have you been writing? What drove you to pick up that pen for the first time? My love of elementary English then high school term papers. My first novel was the well-received Forever, Moore (Forevermore by Emily Frost in early 1990s) which included a plus-size heroine -- soon to be re-released.

3)You call yourself a spiritual author. What exactly do you mean by spiritual author? Spirituality fiction. Not to be confused with spiritual fiction which often means religious-based. A Breath Floats By is more visionary, metaphysical, inspirational. Offering insight into the lives of women who hold spiritual gifts that they need to accept and use for their loved ones and the world. Spiritual gifts can include the intuitive, the dream messenger, reincarnation impressionist, the artist, singer, writer, cook, healer, dancer, mother, the goddess, the gardener, the recycling enthusiast.

The book is dedicated to all those on their journey to know their natural talent and gift. In the world now, we are asked to step up and be recognized by the spiritual world, to bring all we have to offer. That gift of bringing it all, that is the most blessed of all gifts because the joy of serving with our gifts is beyond beauty.

4)Your novel, A Breath Floats By features a plus size heroine. Please tell us a little about A Breath Floats by and the plus size heroine featured in this novel. I believe the story came to me, not me to it, and it practically plotted itself. I was surprised with the storyline, the honesty of the characters, their love complications. Basically, they are a soul group finding themselves incarnated in present-day. One married the best friend of her soul-flame… then realized it after she became pregnant. One intends to get her soul-flame back, do or die. One is bound to her life by regret. There are spiritual quests and friendship and outrage. There is this mystic turn I did not plan. I asked my daughter, ‘Why does this have to happen in my book?’ and she answered, ‘Why not your book?’ It’s not that the story is paranormal, it is more a light metaphysical of the possibilities that can happen to any one of us. There is a thin veil to life and the other side. I like for readers to imagine… imagine you look up and there is your personal psychic again and she has promised pre-birth that she will bring you to your work on time. Whether it kills you or not, she does not care… she just wants her soul-flame back. Now that, that is some good women’s fiction.

5)Why did you chose to feature a plus size heroine in A Breath Floats By? The women introduced themselves. Lindsay. Gooee. Heather Laurel. They are all plus-sized crones, if you will. Crones. Wise women. Goddess material. Women in the age of menopause.

The questions is, do plus-size women carry more energy to impact their surroundings. Are plus-size women energy and miracle conductors of their own right?

These women have been of the Ojibwe nation and Midwewin Grand Medicine Society. Before then, they were at the Druid universities. And before, they were orientated by the Kaloo to prepare for Jesus’ arrival and life work. Their soul group reaches into all the societies and eras when the large women were accepted and approached for their gifts… yes, all their gifts, wink. And here they are in modern era with no apologies and no explanation for their size… they just are.

6)What is up next for Essa Adams. Is there another novel in the work? Will it feature a plus-size heroine? All of them will feature plus-size heroines. It’s what I do.

7)What is the biggest challenge you have faced as a writer? Marketing. The marketing keeps me from the writing.

8)Where do you see yourself a year from now? With a marketer, so I can write.

I see Forever, Moore re-released. That novel introduces Malany and Moore, lovers bound by a slight reincarnation-tie that is elusive but very much felt. Also the anthology that follows A Breath Floats By with the character tie-ins and the past life incarnations of this soul group.

I see A Breath Floats By selling well on Amazon and worldwide, well enough. The readers are either into women’s fiction, the metaphysical, are into spirituality, and/or plush women who love to read about other plush women and big beautiful men. That’s quite a large world of potential readers.

I also see my online business of natural products growing naturally. I write what I believe, others find the products they need.

I see myself living in a different house because this lake cottage will be redesigned by then so it can be rented to vacationers. I see a butterfly and bird garden with a water fountain in the trees outside my small bungalow office…. quiet sunsets and wind chimes in the breeze. I am looking forward.

9)On a more personal level, you mention on your website that you are a life path consultant. What exactly is a life path consultant. How would those interested in having a life path consultation get in touch with you? Half my time is spent giving service through this compilation of life path resources we have in this world. We are not birthed here with no foundations. I believe there is a plan and we get some written instructions that has been with us from the days of Atlantis and the Kaloo. Astrological ascendants, flower essence soul-types and numerology. I believe in all these. I love doing these ‘reports’ for clients because they find such insight into their lives and their struggles. It worked for me. I realized all three gave even more insight, so I purposed the three to serve individuals. The life path guidance charts are actually essays deemed for each client, along with a personal letter that explains what I am seeing in my research for them and what I feel as an intuitive. If there has been a dream connection that I feel is for that particular client, I include it in the letter. The ‘charts’ are more writing. Loving it.

10)What are you reading now? What types of books (genres) do you read in general? Who are your favorite authors? Women’s fiction is my favorite genre. Anne Rivers Siddons, Maeve Binchy, Judith Marshall, Rebecca Wells. Kate Maloy, Rosamunde Pilcher, Michelle Wildgen. All women’s fiction.

11)Tell us about the online and offline personal appearances you have planned over the next couple of months. How can readers get in contact with you? Do you have a website? Being a very private person who only writes, I don’t use appearances for my promotion. Contact me through

My online sites are numerous, connecting me to all my passions.
Women’s Fiction Blog: Myths, Dense Observations and Lies We Are Told plus great books

Age of Menopause Blog

The Right Environmental Choice with resources and info on enviro-friendly garden, lawn, farm and commercial fertilizers, along with answers to greater longevity for vehicles and the best protocol for women using synthetic oil.

Pet Skunks for Sale Blog at

ESSA Books which encompasses my spirituality reading and reviews. There are more, but you get the idea…. writing wakes me in the morning.

12)What is the one thing you would like all of your readers to know about you? I do dream interpretations when there is a connection with someone. I don’t get to communicate with spirits, at least I don’t think so, hmmm. But I do this on donation only, just like the main character in A Breath Floats By. I feel I am to tell everyone this is available to them. The ones who will benefit will email with their request. It is what it is. And yes, I balked longer than Lindsay in the book. But I love doing the dreams now, I am not afraid.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Interview with Critically Acclaimed Author Susan Vaught

Join us as we chat with Susan Vaught, author of the critically acclaimed My Big Fat Manifesto. Please note that this interview was conducted in April so a few of the answers may be a bit dated. For more up to date information please visit Susan Vaught's website at

*****Contest Alert*****
Leave a comment on any interview including Susan Vaught's Interview and be entered to win a copy of one of the books we have available. See side panel under contest alert for contest details.

1)Tell us about yourself? I’m old now, older than I ever thought I’d get, but I’m finding that’s okay. I still love football (college and professional), women’s basketball, the Olympics, and other sports. I love reading and writing and farming—and I have way too many animals (kitties, a dog, and lots and lots of birds, including a parrot). I still work in the field of psychology and truly enjoy what I do. In that, as with many things, I believe I’m fortunate.

2)How long have you been writing? What drove you to pick up that pen for the first time? I’ve been writing since I was about eight years old. I started with a novel about a horse. I believe all little girls should get to write at least one horse story. That’s what I loved reading the most, tales like Misty of Chincoteague and all the Marguerite Henry books, Black Beauty—if it had a horse in it, I was there. When I couldn’t find any more horse books, I tried to write one of my own. Next came science fiction, then short stories and poetry. I never stopped for long after that. Writing soothes me, but it’s also a bit of a compulsion.

3)My Big Fat Manifesto is about an overweight high-school senior who writes a column in her school paper about being fat. Please tell us a little more about My Big Fat Manifesto. What motivated you to write this book? What would you like readers both teens and adults to take away from this book? I spent my life as Fat Girl, until I was around 40 years old. At my heaviest, I was over 400 pounds and couldn’t get an accurate weight. When I was 40, I made changes in my life and found a computer program that helped me process food and exercise mentally in ways I hadn’t before, and across a year or so, I moved down to “normal” weight—not ideal, but no longer obese. Toward the end of this process, I was working on a story about a girl who, amongst other things, was struggling to lose a few pounds to make weight for her sport. Every time I’d try to write in that girl’s voice, another louder and more sarcastic voice in my head would make obnoxious comments. I finally had to stop writing the first story and let Jamie, the main character in Big Fat Manifesto, have her say. As I’ve told people, I wasn’t Jamie, strength and attitude-wise, when I was her age. Jamie is the girl I wished I could have been. Through Jamie, I was able to give voice to some of what I went through and how I saw the world as a very large person. I’d love for teen and adult readers to walk away from My Big Fat Manifesto with a strong taste of Jamie’s humanity, her real-ness, her individuality. I want readers to see Jamie as a whole person, no matter what size she is, and I’d like readers to have a better grasp of what Fat Girls face on a daily basis.

4)Are there plans for another young adult plus size character in the future?
I don’t have plans at this time, but I suspect I will have characters like Jamie in future books. As Jamie noted, Fat Girls really should get to play the lead, at least as much as everyone else!

5)In December 2009 the second book in your Oathbreaker series (co-authored by JB Redmond) was released. Please tell us a little about this series. The Oathbreaker series is one story in two volumes. The tale centers around Aron Brailing, a young man taken from his family against his will and forced to become an assassin’s apprentice. He lives in a dangerous, treacherous world where people once had great psychic and magical powers, but destroyed their own abilities through stupid choices. Children like Aron are being born with these abilities again, and they’re all at risk. JB, my son, has always been an avid reader of fantasy and science fiction, and he’s always been a storyteller. He focused on the training of the assassins and many of the battle scenes. Because he has Cerebral Palsy and doesn’t see or use his hands well, he had to record his portions, and I typed them in for him. It was a wonderful and inspiring process.

6)You have written a good number of young adult fiction novels. Is this the only genre we will find books by Susan Vaught. Yes, if you don’t count some very boring nonfiction articles I’ve written professionally. I have some essays in some BenBella collections, about topics like Edward in Twilight, Eragon, and Prince Caspian. I do write grown-up romances under a different name, but I keep that work separate from my young adult endeavors.

7)What is the biggest challenge you have faced as a writer? Deadlines. Sometimes deadlines make me anxious and I freeze up a little in my writing. I usually meet deadlines or come very close, so I don’t know why I worry about them so much, but I do. Also, for myself, I’ve learned that “writer’s block” isn’t exactly writer’s block. When I get the sensation of not moving forward, I usually realize, after a brief break, that something’s off in my plot or characters. Once I adjust that, I move forward again. But, like deadlines, I worry about this when it happens, too!

8)As a woman juggling two demanding careers (Psychologist and Writer) how do you manage to find time for your careers and then squeeze in time for self? How do you keep a balance with all the roles you play in life? This is a significant challenge. I’ve adjusted my professional and writing schedules several times, trying to find optimal balance. I’m not sure I’m there yet, but I try. I also need at least an hour to two hours a day to do physical activity like walking and yoga and strength training, so that I keep off the weight I lost. It’s hard to work everything in on a regular basis, but I do fair at this.

9)Where do you see yourself a year from now? In a year, I would like to be continuing with my psychology day job, which I truly enjoy. I’d like to be working on a contemporary young adult novel, and a YA with a fantasy component (maybe with a romantic element to try something new). I’d also like to have better pens built for some of my birds, and for the number of cats in my house not to have increased past current levels (six). The last thing will probably be the hardest.

10)What are you reading now? Who are your favorite authors? What I’m reading now—Mistress of the Art of Death, by Ariana Franklin. It’s set in 12th century England, and the heroine is investigating a politically charged murder. I just finished Fatal Grace, by Louise Penny (I love her mysteries), and also just re-read Neil Gaiman’s Graveyard Book (adored this, especially the audio version that he reads). Neil Gaiman and George R.R. Martin are amongst my favorite authors, and Marion Zimmer Bradley and Octavia Butler, and Nnedi Okorafor (her latest, Who Fears Death is just as awesome as the first two books I read of hers). I also like Orson Scott Card and wait pathetically for new Ender novels, and I think I will always be a Stephen King fan, because horror is a secret pleasure…I could make this list endless. Really.

11)Do you have any personal appearance (either online or off) currently scheduled over the next couple of months. Where can readers connect with you up close and personal? I don’t have any personal appearances scheduled, but if I schedule one, I’ll post it on my website. Readers are welcome to email me. I try to answer everybody, even if it takes me a ton of time.

12)How can readers get in contact with you? Do you have a website?, and My son has, too!

13)What is the one thing you would like all of your readers to know about you?
That I’m grateful for every single one of them, and always try to write with them in mind—to intrigue, to satisfy, to give them the rewarding experiences they’re seeking when they pick up a story and start reading.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Interview with National Best-Selling Author Naleighna Kai

Join us as we chat with National Best-Selling Author Naleighna Kai about her newest and in my opinion her best release to date The Pleasure's All Mine. Sit back relax and read more about this dynamic woman doing her best to bring us fabulous women with curves.

*****Contest Alert*****
Leave a comment on Naleighna Kai's interview by September 30, 2010 and be entered to win a copy of The Pleasure's All Mine. See side panel for contest details. For a second chance to win a copy of The Pleasure's All Mine visit the Sexy Ebony BBW African American Book Club site and enter the August 2010 Featured Author Contest.

1) How long have you been writing? I started writing in December of 1999, so that makes it 11 years for writing and this year is the 10th Anniversary of my first published novel.

2) What drove you to pick up that pen for the first time? I met someone on the internet who challenged me to write after he had sent me poetry, erotic poetry, and erotic short stories. It was a spark when I wrote him back and then my minister (also an author), Sesvalah, encouraged me to continue to write as part of my sexual abuse therapy. My second novel, She Touched My Soul, was all about that healing process. I’ve writing ever since and each book mirrors some aspect of my life or some question about my life that I’m trying to answer.

3) Why did you chose to feature plus size heroines in your novels.
Because I’m a plus-size woman. There’s already enough books that wrote about slender women as heroines and woman my size as mothers, aunties, best friends, etc. I wanted women size 14 and up to take center stage, and feel good about it.

4) We will be giving away copies of The Pleasure Is All Mine on both the BBW Reviews Author Interview blog and The Sexy Ebony BBW AA Book Club site. Tell us a little about The Pleasure Is All Mine and the fierce plus size character in your novel. Why should readers run out and get their copy of your book today.
Because it’s the best book I’ve written to date. The majority of the people who have read all of my books love this one the most. I had fun writing this novel, took my time. My national bestselling novel, Every Woman Needs a Wife, was written in four days--four Fridays in a row from 8p.m.- to 6 a.m. at a little hole in the wall on the South Side of Chicago. I took my time with The Pleasure’s All Mine. Raven is a lot like me in some ways, nothing like me in other. She’s an author, raised by two women who were together for several years, has an author son, owns her own publishing company, has traveled to Hawaii and is looking for love. Hmmmm, but some of the experiences that she has in the book are pure fiction. Pierce, the Castle, the married couple who “conditions” her for that one night as a Maid of the Castle. When a meal is good, sometimes people will say, “guuuurl, you stuck your foot in those greens…” Well, I stuck my a$$ in this book, because it feels good to me, as an avid reader. I wrote something I like to read over and over. And because of this book I understand how and why my brother and sister never felt that I was actually their sister for all these years. I finally forgave them.

5) You self-published The Pleasure’s All Mine through Macro Publishing Group. But before we get into Macro Publishing Group and the other side of the fierce woman you are, why did you decide to self-publish The Pleasure’s All Mine?
Because this novel was itching to get out. I’m in between publishing deals right now and it’s been four years since my last release. When an author is out of a reader’s eye too long…well, let’s just say it’s harder to make a comeback. I started off self-published before getting the deal with an imprint of Simon & Schuster. While waiting, I just went back to the familiar and I’m out there hitting the literary chit’lin circuit so “Naleighna Kai” stays out there; meets new people and greets old friends.

6) Tell us a little about Macro Publishing and its various activities both in and outside the literary community. When I wrote my first novel, More Than Enough, I was so excited about the writing process and starting my own company, that I wanted everyone in my life to write. I started my best friend to writing, my minister to writing, my son to writing, my dog to writing (mind you, I didn’t have a dog), but I was elated that I could do something I never imagined doing. I published a few other people before realizing that babysitting other people’s children can be more costly and time-consuming than nurturing your own, and it put the thing that I finally found a connection to on the back burner. I wasn’t writing as much. Through it all, I found out that I love doing something else just as much as writing--marketing and promotion. So I shifted my focus away from publishing others, helped the current wave of authors with Macro to start their own houses and publish their own books, then moved into the realm of publicity and event planning--all literary related. I’m loving it. I’ve connected with major sponsors such as Loreal, Kama Sutra, Harley Davidson and all of the major publishing house who have been crucial to the success of The Cavalcade of Authors and my other signature events.

7) Writing wise what is next for Naleighna Kai. Is there another plus size heroine in your future? My next novels are: Slaves of Heaven and Rich Woman’s Fetish. I think all of my lead characters will have some “weight on them” with a “close to slender side kick.” There are enough authors who write about size 0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 already. Not so much on 14 and up. And truthfully, when I find that someone writes that a character is voluptuous or curvy, my mind does not go to 0-12, I picture someone like me.

8) And what is next for Lissa Woodson, the mother, writer, and entrepreneur behind Naleighna Kai?
Right now, I’m working on my next novel, Slaves of Heaven, which is totally different than what I normally write. My son is home from Nashville, so it’s been a bit of a challenge to find the mother-son dynamic now that he’s a “grown ass man.” I’m currently the publicist for L.A. Banks and for Sea Lion Book and it’s forcing me to get a handle on the young adult novel world--which is different than what I’m used to. I’m also still doing publicity work and touring to promote, The Pleasure’s All Mine and the rest of my books, along with my son and my minister, Sesvalah, with whom I co-wrote, Speak it into Existence--an inspirational book.

9) What is a typical day like in Lissa Woodson's world. How do you manage time for self along with everything else? I work a 9 to 5 at an international law firm, I’m the publicist to New York Times bestselling author, L.A. Banks, myself as Naleighna Kai, my son, NAACP Image Award Nominee, and my minister, Rev. Renee Sesvalah Cobb-Dishman.

10)What is the biggest challenge you have faced as a writer? Settling down and finishing one novel at a time. I have several “nearly finished” projects that haven’t made it to finish status because the next idea comes in so strong and takes over. I finally made a commitment to myself not to start the next book or work on one of the back burner projects until I finish what’s on my plate right this minute. It’s a challenge, but I’m making it work.

11) What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your entire career? Learning the difference between someone who considers you an associate and one who considers you a friend. Learning the difference between giving your time and sacrificing yourself. Learning that saying Yes to yourself might mean saying No to someone else. Compartmentalizing my time so that I’m more effective at my day job, being an author, event planner, publicist, and balancing my dreams and goals and checking them off one by one.

12) Where do you see yourself a year from now? Releasing my next novel, traveling to promote the book and having a whole lot of fun, writing, doing marketing and promotion work for some wonderful people, about 100 pounds lighter (I’ll still be plus size, though!)

13) What are you reading now? As I type, I’m just finishing up, What Becomes of the Brokenhearted by E. Lynn Harris. A wonderful memoir, up there with the memoir of Diane Carroll (The Legs are the Last to Go) and Susan D. Peters’ Sweet Liberia: Lessons from the Coalpot.

14) Who are your favorite authors? Octavia Butler, L.A. Banks, Leslie Esdaile Banks, Iris Johansen, Sandra Brown, Sidney Sheldon, Harrold Robbins, E. Lynn Harris, Beverly Jenkins, Brenda Jackson, Rochelle Alers, there’s so many that I could take a whole page!

15) How can readers get in contact with you? Do you have a website?
They can reach me at or

16) What is the one thing you would like all of your readers to know about you?
I’m enjoying the journey. If someone told me that twelve years ago I would be a national best-selling author, I would have choked on my drink. But since I started, I’ve learned a lot about me, what I’m made of, what I’m willing to put up with, and to send folks who don’t mean me any good--packing. I’ve met so many wonderful people, my favorite authors, people who love my books, people who still have an eyebrow raised trying to understand where I’m coming from. I’ve become a better person for the experience, and feel that in some way, I’m living my life’s purpose.

17) If you could tell one thing to every aspiring writer what would it be?
It wouldn’t be just one thing, aspiring writers can visit and see everything I have to say to them (I’ve put up resources, told of my journey and give advice under the resources for aspiring writers section).

About Naleighna Kai: Naleighna Kai, a Chicago native is a motivational speaker, the national bestselling author of Every Woman Needs a Wife, author of The Pleasure’s All Mine, and co-author of Speak it into Existence with Sesvalah. She started writing in December of 1999, self-publishing her first novel and landing a book deal with an imprint of Simon & Schuster. She works for a major international law firm and is the CEO of Macro Marketing & Promotions Group, and consultant to several national bestselling and aspiring writers. Naleighna is the mother of J. L. Woodson, the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literature for his book, Superwoman’s Child: Son of a Single Mother. She is currently working on her next novels, Slaves of Heaven and Rich Woman’s Fetish.

*****Contest Alert*****
Leave a comment on Naleighna Kai's interview by September 30, 2010 and be entered to win a copy of The Pleasure's All Mine. See side panel for contest details

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Interview with Author C Leigh Purtill

Join us as we chat with C. Leigh Purtill, author of the critically acclaimed All About Vee. Take a seat and read on as we chat with Purtill about Vee, the entire Fat Girls In LA trilogy and her literary journey as a whole.

*****Contest Alert*****
Leave a comment on C. Leigh Purtill's interview by June 30, 2010 and be entered to win a copy of one of the books we have available. See side panel for contest details

1) Tell us about yourself? I've been in LA for about 10 years but I still consider myself a New Yorker! I grew up on the east coast and moved around a lot and that has really informed my writing. Most of my characters are movers or otherwise fish-out-of-water like I was. I like that I've had a number of careers in my life which has also had an influence on my books. I've worked in engineering and marketing, film and television, and some other odd jobs that have given me insight into terrific characters and their worlds. Currently I write and teach ballet, which is my other great passion.

2) How long have you been writing? What drove you to pick up that pen for the first time? How long have you been writing books with plus size characters? I began writing screenplays in film school but after 5 years and 12 scripts, I couldn't come up with the high concept story I needed to break in to that end of the business. I had an idea for a story about 3 young women who moved to LA and I realized that it had to be a novel, not a script. The characters of the Vees - Veronica, Val, and Virginia- were based on seeing a woman standing on the corner in Beverly Hills who didn't look like the typical woman who would be standing there: she wasn't super skinny with designer clothes and spiky heeled Jimmy Choos. I wondered who she might be, what she might be doing in this area which was known for talent agencies - and Veronica and her friends developed from there. The book that resulted was the first I ever wrote!

3) Positive images of plus size young adults are hard to come by especially in the literary world but you have one in All About Vee. Please tell us a little about your book All About Vee? Why did you decide to write this book? Why did you choose to make Vee plus-size? VEE is the story of Veronica May, an 18 year old theater actress from Arizona who moves to LA to become a star in the movies after she learns her dead mother had attempted to do the same thing. She leaves behind 2 of her very best friends, who are also plus-size, as well as her father and his impending marriage. In LA, she finds that her weight is a major deterrent to getting work and making friends - but not in the ways that she would have expected. As a young woman, I too struggled with my weight - I have always had issues with it and when I moved to LA, I felt a little like Veronica: no matter how good I thought I looked, I was always too large and that was really amazing to me! Especially coming from a city like New York which is incredibly diverse! So in my mind, every woman in LA feels like a "fat girl." And from the responses I've gotten, there are lots of people who agree with me. :)

4) The Rise of Ginny Cooper is second book in the Fat Girls In LA trilogy can give us a bit of a preview of the second book. This book picks up 3 months after Vee ends and is told from Ginny's point of view. Ginny and Val move out to LA to be with Veronica and pursue their own dreams. Ginny has always wanted to be a writer and has a screenplay based on the Vees' life in Arizona. She would also love to have a boyfriend, which is something she never had back in her hometown. Ginny's experiences in LA - being asked to change your script for someone else, meeting men who want something from you, being someone's assistant - are all things a LOT of people trying to break into this industry do. Only for Ginny, they are slightly different - and more personal -because a lot of them have to with her size. But in the end, it's positive because I believe all 3 girls are positive role models for all shapes and sizes.

5) In January of 2010 The Rise of Ginny Cooper was made available on The Story Siren Website. Any plans to do this again for those that missed it in January. Are you any closer to finding a publishing home for the sequel? I would love to put all 4 sections of the novel together and release it as one. I'm still looking into that. No publisher yet but I'm confident I will move forward with it (and the 3rd book which focuses on Val) regardless. Digital publishing may be the way to go.

6) Outside of the Fat Girls in LA Trilogy are there any other books featuring plus size characters in the works? I'd actually like to do some short stories with my Vees - I have lived with them and loved them for so long that I find it hard to let go of them. So I might be doing that.

7) What is the biggest challenge you have faced as a writer? Getting noticed! There are a lot of books out there and not a lot of publisher marketing dollars so writers are called on to do most of it themselves. The writing is the easy part, actually. I have learned to write really quickly and to edit quickly and to love rewriting but when it comes to promotion, that is tricky. Not just for me but for most writers. We are predominantly introspective, shy people so asking us to promote ourselves is hard to do. The internet helps since we can hide behind our words or an avatar!

8) Where do you see yourself a year from now? With 2 books out from a new young adult series (they will be out in September 2010) and a new publisher for my own original works, including the sequels to Vee. Still writing, still teaching!

9) What are you reading now? I read a lot of YA books for research - so I know what's in the market and what books teens think are great. In that YA genre, I do enjoy reading books with plus-size characters. On my nightstand is Allen Zadoff's "Food, Girls and Other Things I Can't Have" which has a plus-size male protagonist and is based on Allen's own high school years. Allen is a great, funny guy!

10) Who are your favorite authors? Some of my very favorite authors write with plus-size heroines: Meg Cabot, Jennifer Weiner and Liza Palmer, to name a few. I also love genre writers like Stephen King and Ray Bradbury and women's fiction writers like Elizabeth Berg and Anne Tyler. I could probably go on and on- I have really eclectic tastes in books!

11) How can readers get in contact with you? Do you have a website? I love to hear from readers via email or Facebook. My website is

12) What is the one thing you would like all of your readers to know about you? I truly believe the most gorgeous women in the world are those who love their bodies, no matter what their size.

About C. Leigh Purtill: For a complete bio visit

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Winners Announcement

It is that time again. A few of our ongoing contest have come to an end so we will be sending out a few books. But first let me say thank you to everyone that visited BBW Reviews Author Interviews. Your visits t the this blog and the BBW Reviews site are the reason why we are determined to highlight books with images of real woman.

And The Winner Is

Leni - lenikaye@.......

Leni has won a copy of Now You Wanna Come Back by Anna Black and a copy of The Giving Season by Rebecca Brock

Please forward your mailing address to us directly at

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Interview with Bestselling Author Jennie Shortridge

Join us as we chat with Bestselling Author Jennie Shortridge about her Curvy Book Eating Heaven, her current release and her literary journey

*****Contest Alert*****
Leave a comment on Jennie Shortridge's interview by April 30, 2010 and be entered to win a copy of all 4 of Jennie Shortridges books. See side panel for contest details

1)Tell us about yourself? I am a middle child (other middle children know what that entails) and I grew up in a household that had its share of stuff. My mom suffered from mental illness and we sometimes had a tough go of it. My three sisters made life so much better; we were and are very close. I have lived in the Pacific Northwest for eight years now, but grew up mostly in Denver. My husband, who is from Australia, and I met as musicians twenty years ago and still like to spend time in our home studio. We have no kids but we do have one very spoiled cat.

2)How long have you been writing? I’ve always written stories and poems, and songs as a working musician for much of my adult life. I’ve been writing as a sole profession since 1995 when I burned out on corporate America. I started out as a freelance magazine writer and published in Mademoiselle, Glamour, Natural Home, and a bunch of other magazines and newspapers.

3)What drove you to pick up that pen for the first time? I seem to have a need to make sense of the world, to make sense of people and the things they do, undoubtedly because of my childhood. I’ve always written as a way to do this, in some way or another. I wrote short stories that were largely unpublished for years; the first time I thought to try a novel was in 1997, after one of the few got published and a publisher asked if I might write a novel based on it. I acted as though I’d already thought of that, and discovered on page one that I was made to write “long” instead of “short.”

4)Your novel Eating Heaven features a plus size heroine and has received excellent review both in the US and overseas. Tell us a little about Eating Heaven and its plus size heroine. Eating Heaven has at its heart a large and lonely food magazine writer, Ellie, who has been reduced to writing “lighten up your French favorites till they taste like cardboard” recipes to make a living. When her favorite uncle is diagnosed with terminal cancer, she is his only option as caregiver and moves in with him, cooking all his favorite foods “one last time” and discovering family secrets in the process.

5)Why did you decide to feature a plus size heroine in Eating Heaven?
Ellie is a good eater, like me. She loves to cook, loves to eat, and loves to feed others. Her generosity was best portrayed in a woman with some substance, I thought, but I left her actual size up to readers, saying only that she felt too big, and had been called big her entire life. Most of us, I think, feel too big, or too something, and I wanted to call attention to that in our anorexic-crazed society.

6)Are there any plans to write more books featuring plus size characters?
Characters come to me as who they are, and they are all different body shapes and sizes. In my current book, When She Flew, Officer Jessica Villareal would really like to fit back into size 12 uniform pants, but that doesn’t rule her life. Her mission in the story is to save a girl in trouble as a way to make up for the loss of her own daughter.

7)Your most recent novel, When She Flew, is the story of an Iraq war veteran raising his daughter off the radar and the woman who forced with the choice of tearing this family apart. Tell us a little about this novel and how you came up with the concept for this novel. When She Flew is based on true events that took place in the woods near Portland, OR in 2004, when police found a Vietnam vet raising his 12-year-old daughter in an encampment. I was mesmerized by the story at the time, and in 2007 made contact with the police sergeant in charge of the search team, and we worked together for the next year as I created fictional characters and subplots, while using true police and forest details.

8)What was the biggest challenge you faced while writing When She Flew?
I had to continually figure out what to fictionalize and what to use from the actual story. I didn’t want to write about the real people involved because they’d been hassled so much by the media. I ended up with Ray, an Iraq war vet dealing with PTSD, his daughter Lindy, who is totally enamored of birds and nature, and Jess, a second generation cop whose own teenage daughter has left home with her baby. These characters all relate to each other on many levels, and the themes of parenting, safety, security, and how society views alternative lifestyles rose to the top.

9)When will your next book be released? If you can, tell us a little about your next book? The next book will be summer 2011, and is another fictionalization of true events when a man went missing for six weeks, and was found many states away suffering from amnesia. In the news story, his fiancĂ©e has gone to get him and bring him home and start again, even though he had no memory of her. I loved that story and wanted to know what happened next, so I’m writing it!

10)What is the biggest challenge you have faced as a writer? It’s a challenging profession in many ways, from learning how to write a novel-length work to trying to get it published. I think my biggest challenge now is finding time to write while also getting out into the world to promote the book I’ve most recently published. It’s the hardest job I’ve ever had, and the one I’ve loved the most.

11)Where do you see yourself a year from now? My new book (which I’ve tentatively titled The Amnesiac’s Love Story) will be almost out and I’ll be gearing up for a tour and writing the next next book. Hopefully I’ll have sneaked in a vacation to somewhere beachy between now and then!

12)What are you reading now? Who are your favorite authors? On my nightstand is The Girl Who Fell to Earth by Heidi Durrow. There are so many great authors these days, that when I think of my favorites, they’re always the ones from my childhood and young adulthood: Mark Twain, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Barbara Kingsolver, Alice Walker, John Irving, Tom Robbins.

13)Tell us about any online and offline personal appearances you have planned over the next couple of months. Where can readers connect with you up close and personal? I’m always doing events and teaching, and these are always posted on the events page of my web site, I’m also on Facebook pretty much every day! Come see me.

14)How can readers get in contact with you? Do you have a website? First and foremost, I connect with most readers on Facebook these days, and I also have a web site with tons of background material and info,

15)What is the one thing you would like all of your readers to know about you?
That they are the reason I write. I love my readers, and connect on a deep level with so many of them. I love their emails and letters and notes. They make my day!

About The Author: Author Jennie Shortridge has published four bestselling novels: When She Flew (2009), Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe (2008), Eating Heaven (2005) and Riding with the Queen, (NAL 2003). When not writing books, teaching writers workshops, or volunteering with kids, Jennie stays busy as a founding member of, a collective of Northwest authors devoted both to raising funds for community literacy projects and to raising awareness of Northwest literature. On occasion, Jennie and her husband Matt record music in their Seattle home studio.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Interview with Author David L

Join us as we chat with David L, Author of My Life Is A Movie, Over Your Dead Body, and Chalk Outline Confessions

***** Contest Alert *****
Leave a comment on this interview and be entered to win any of the books we have available. For contest details please read the side panel. don't forget to leave an email address with your comment. We can't send you a book if we can't contact the winner.

1)Tell us about yourself? I am an author signed to my own publishing imprint, Total Package Publications – a company which is actively seeking writers that are both serious about their craft as well as having a fresh, new story to tell to the masses. Before my first title, OVER YOUR DEAD BODY was published, I was writing for syndicated magazines as well as testing the free agent literary market via my articles based on subjects ranging from working with at risk youth to becoming an author in a very saturated market. Presently, I am working with a film company which is adapting my first title into a movie and is expected to begin shooting sometime later this year. Besides all of the above, I am an avid writer who also enjoys touring in order to get my books into the hands of all book readers interested in what I have to say.

2)How long have you been writing? What drove you to pick up that pen for the first time? I have been writing for about eight years. I began my first book, IT’S LIKE BUTTER, BABY sometime in 2002. By the spring of 2004, it was completed and released through a publishing company in Canada. Although it was not properly marketed or distributed, it was well received and offered me an opportunity to recoup my investment and brand both myself as an individual, and my company, Total Package Publications. I first realized I wanted to write and had the GOD-given talent to do so way back in grade school. While everyone was playing Atari and trying to get a paper route, I was making and selling comic books to the neighborhood kids. Not just writing them. I was coming up with the storyline, cover design, character outline – everything! I was about eleven or twelve. That eventually evolved into other writing projects such as the school newspaper. I would write about current and controversial topics that plagued my community on an ongoing basis. I appreciated the reaction of my peers and the positive feedback, so I kept writing. Eventually, my articles turned into full-scale stories.

3) You have a number of titles available. Please let our readers know which of your titles have plus size characters and their role in the books. Presently I have 3 titles available. They are (in order they were written): OVER YOUR DEAD BODY, CHALK OUTLINE CONFESSIONS, MY LIFE IS A MOVIE and coming sometime in June of this year – REPRESENT. Although none of the characters in my books can be defined as “plus size,” I can guarantee I do not discriminate! Whether a specific character is of a certain race, heritage, questioning their sexuality and/or “plus size,” it is what makes up our population, so consequently, there will always be room in my books for these individuals. In my second title, CHALK OUTLINE CONFESSIONS the main character previously dealt with what she considered to be an obsession with being overweight. As a result, she became fixated on going to the gym daily and eventually developed a clinical disorder over her fixation on weight.

4) Why did you chose to feature plus size heroines in your novels. I did not consciously decide to choose a once “plus-size” heroine in any of my titles. Whenever I create the storyline for a book, I first draft a synopsis on what the character traits will be as well as how I envision what each character will look like. Francine (the main character in CHALK OUTLINE CONFESSIONS) is an example. Without giving away too much information, my purpose for this novel was to both enlighten as well as entertain my readers with a character who grew (not literally!) with each chapter – thereby also developing new twists and turns for my reading audience to appreciate in order to see the before and after continuum of her growth.

5)Tell us about your most recent novel My Life Is A Movie? Why should readers run to get a copy of this book? Does it feature a plus size heroine? My newest book, MY LIFE IS A MOVIE was made available during the summer of 2009 and takes the reader back into time. The exact year is 1988. A time when life was simpler, yet an era being duplicated today with fashion, slang, and culture. I delve into the lives of three High School seniors, each going in separate directions of their lives. Consequently, choices are made and based on those choices; life events are forever altered to match those choices. The general theme is upbeat and action-packed, and everyone who reads the book will be able to identify with at least one of the main characters. Although none of the MAIN characters are “plus-sized,” many of the supporting characters can be described as such.

6)Do you plan to write more books featuring plus size characters? Unless I write a non-fiction novel on myself (which is very unlikely to ever happen!), both plus-sized men and women will always have a place in any of my future titles. The reason is simple and straightforward: my intention whenever writing a book is to provide an alternate reality for my reader to delve into a peaceful place. A place which includes ALL types of individuals – both Black and White, large and small, all the way to shy and outgoing. Thus far, I can say with confidence with my present titles – I have a perfect record!

7)When will your next book be released? Tell us a little about your next book? Will it feature a plus size character? The name of my next title, REPRESENT is expected to be released sometime around mid June of this year. The book takes place in modern-day New York and follows the life of a young man who recently witnessed his older brother get a life sentence for his numerous crimes. Now little brother has a choice: take over the family drug business or be considered an outcast to the ones that has raised him. His once promising football career over, he makes the choice to enter the family business – along with all of the dire consequences and pitfalls that come along with that way of life. A critical life choice has to be made within the storyline as he is faced with a major decision – leave his life of crime or end up another statistic. Like all of my other book titles, this book has its share of “plus-sized” characters for everyone to enjoy!

8) What is the biggest challenge you have faced as a writer? My biggest challenge faced as a writer is getting individuals to understand that this business is not as simple as picking up a pen and paper, thinking this is an overnight hobby or spur-of-the-moment idea! I continue to be amazed over how similar the publishing industry is compared to the music industry. In the murky world of publishing, distribution and niche marketing is key. No matter how well you’ve written a body of work, no one will ever know about you unless it is distributed and promoted correctly. Secondly, you need to establish a core fan base. Readers can sometimes be very fickle and possibly forget about you when that next “hot” author comes out. My goal from the very beginning was, and still is to stay humble and appreciative of those that supported my vision from day one. A special “shout-out” to those that I am referring to right now…you know who you are!

9) Where do you see yourself a year from now? A year from now, I see myself concentrating more on putting out that next hot author of the decade. In order to do this, constant and continued dedication will be implemented both towards my writing as well as my publishing company. A year from now, my plan is to take over the literary market. A year from now, I will be reading this interview and telling whoever may be next to me, “I TOLD YOU SO!”

10) What are you reading now? Who are your favorite authors? There are no books that I am reading at this moment. The time it takes for me to read someone else’s book is negatively taking away the time that I need to work on my next novel. Consequently, I do not remember the last title I have read from anyone. One of my favorite authors of the past include: The Honorable Elijah Muhammad. His book Message To The Black Man can be summed up in one word: CLASSIC!

11)Tell us about the online and offline personal appearances you have planned over the next couple of months. Where can readers connect with you up close and personal. Some of my upcoming personal appearances this year include: Delaware Black Expo on April 24th, The Urban Arts Festival in Queens, NY on May 1st and 2nd, Positively Dover Festival in Dover, Delaware on June 26th, the Harlem Book Fair in Harlem, NY on July 17th, and the Brooklyn Book Festival on September 12th. Interested attendees can visit my website for updated information.

12)How can readers get in contact with you? Do you have a website? Readers can get up close and personal with me in a variety of ways: email, website, author sign-ins, etc. I am very much in “the streets” and do everything possible to take questions for upcoming writers trying to get into the industry. Have a question for me or want to comment on any of my novels? Get in touch with me via email at:, author website:, or postal mail: P.O. Box 3237, C/O David L., Mount Vernon, NY 10553.

13)What is the one thing you would like all of your readers to know about you? I try to keep my eye to the streets whenever possible. When I’m not writing, I am looking for every opportunity to brand myself and take my writing skills to the next level. Activities that I’m constantly involved in include public speaking in the areas of race relations, self-publishing, and effective marketing and my personal passion – working with at-risk foster care youth in the community. I am often asked what the last book I’ve read was and my answer is always the same: “the time it takes me to read someone else’s book, I could be hard at work writing my next one!”

About David L: David L., author and publisher, holds a BS. in Communications and Human Relations and a Masters in Social Work with a concentration in clinical administration.

David L. has authored several published articles relating to race relations; "How To" articles in becoming a self-published au-thor. David L. is also very active in his community and participates in public speaking engagements with various schools and foster care agencies."