Thursday, May 17, 2012

Blogiversary Bash: Valerie J. Lewis Coleman (Chatting With Buckeyes)

I thought it was only fitting to end my blogiversary bash with a Chatting With Buckeyes Interview!! Please help welcome an Ohio author that lives just a hop skip and a jump away from me, Valerie J. Lewis Coleman. I found Valerie when I signed up to go to the Dayton Book Expo, which she organized. I thought it was wonderful that someone was organizing something like this for our part of Ohio. I knew I had to have be apart of Chatting With Buckeyes.
Can you tell us a bit about The Forbidden Secrets of the Goody Box?

Sure. Frustrated with personal relationship failures and those of my girlfriends, I wised up and surveyed men for answers. I also covertly listened when they had that man-cave, barber-shop, locker-room conversation that women aren't normally privy to and put the secrets in the book. The Forbidden Secrets of the Goody Box takes readers on a journey with three women - two single and one married - who try to understand men. Having amassed great career success, a satisfying relationship was an elusive, distant target. Debra Hampton couldn’t figure out why her philosophy on men—and what they wanted from women—wasn’t working. At first, she relied on the advice of her girlfriends, Sherry Harris and Rachel Nance, who had major issues of their own. For years, she was trapped in a cycle of shattered relationships, until a friend referred her to a relationship guru. After some resistance, Debra found refuge in his counsel. He helped her navigate through the storms of rejection and failed love to master the forbidden secrets. I provided a glimpse at a few things that Debra and her girlfriends learned:
  • Three things that lead women to make terrible relationship decisions
  •  Every man’s private marriage checklist
  •  A simple two-letter word that makes him want to pop the question
  •  Why he just won’t propose       Little signs that tell her he’s the one
  •  How to become a “man” whisperer with advice from men that women would be crazy to ignore

 How did you come up with the title?

I wanted a title that had the "wow" factor. I had a list of about ten different titles (some of which I may use for other books). As the story line came together, I "pitched" the synopsis and possible titles to a group of friends whom I knew would not hold back. After some minor tweaking, I ended up with The Forbidden Secrets of the Goody Box - What your father didn't tell you and your mother didn't know. 
What do you think makes the characters so real? 

The characters are real and believable because I created them as dimensional beings modeled after people. Since people are more than physical appearance, it was important to me that my characters had layers: emotional, mental, spiritual, relational, financial. Plus, I'm a people watcher. I study and observe mannerisms, expressions, diction, etc. and transferred some of my findings to the characters in the Goody Box book.
What are the rewards in writing both non fiction and fiction?

Everything I do, I do to help others excel. 
As an author of both nonfiction and fiction, I can offer book lovers a smorgasbord of options. Some messages are best conveyed in nonfiction: overcoming addiction, abuse and low self-esteem (Tainted Mirror An Anthology); avoiding stepfamily chaos (Blended Families An Anthology). Although the Goody Box book is full of applicable relational tools, I felt it best conveyed as a novel. My research results showed that tons of nonfiction, self-help relationship books exist; however, very few fictional accounts provide the relevant content like the Goody Box book. So while the book is entertaining, it is also empowering.

 Do you have a favorite comfort read, if so what is it? 

No, I don't have a favorite comfort read. Because I'm in a perpetual mode of self-improvement to better motivate others, I tend to read for growth and development versus comfort. My preferred method of escape is a great action or sci-fi movie, popcorn (hold the butter) and sweet tea. Sigh.

What is the best advice you can give to those working on getting a book published? 

Learn the business. Most writers are right-brain processors which means they are most efficient at creating. Book publishing is a business (left-brain processing) which can be treacherous for the unsuspecting, happy-go-lucky writer. I coach my clients to understand their publishing options, perform an intensive competitive analysis and then assess the option that best suits their needs. Many literary victims fall prey to predators that present themselves as publishers when actually they are book producers in sheep's clothing. These companies charge excessive fees for services that are free, inexpensive and intangible. I hate to see people manipulated, swindled and robbed of lifelong dreams, so I'm compiling more than ten years of experience into Self-Publishing Made Easy (Summer 2012) to help new writers avoid the pitfalls of publishing.

Ohio Questions: 

Do you have a favorite Ohio food or drink? No. I just love food.
Where is your favorite place to go in Ohio? I hate to admit that if I'm not presenting or conducting a workshop, I prefer the comforts of home.
Do you have a favorite local bookstore? The Little Bookstore in the North River Coffee House was my favorite. I loved it so much, that I mentioned the eatery in the Goody Box book. They closed last year; however, I learned that it will be re-opening soon. I'm excited!

What is the one thing that always surprises you about Ohio? This volatile weather. I wore open-toe sandals in March and boots in April.
Do you have a favorite tourist attraction to go to in Ohio? I'm surrounded by so many attractions that choosing one is difficult: Wright Patterson Air Force Base Museum, Paul Laurence Dunbar House, Ohio Caverns. I just learned about a resort in Maumee. I'm hosting a writer's retreat later this year and if the resort is everything I heard it is, it will be my favorite attraction.

Thanks, Colette, for the opportunity to share with your bloggers. I'd love to giveaway an autographed copy of The Forbidden Secrets of the Goody Box(US/Canada bloggers only, sorry!)

To enter the giveaway for an autographed copy of The Forbidden Secrets of the Goody Box, just leave your email address (buckeyegirlreads at gmail dot com) and a question for Valerie. You don't have to be a blog follower to enter, but it would be nice. Giveaway is open until 5/23/12 @ 11pm est. 

What your father didn't tell you and your mother didn't know Successful. Beautiful. Intelligent. Yet a satisfying relationship eludes Debra Hampton. At thirty-five years old, she can't figure out why her philosophy on men-and what they want from women-isn't working. She's trapped in a cycle of shattered relationships, until a friend refers her to a relationship guru. After some resistance, Debra finds refuge in the counsel of Doc Reid as he helps her navigate through the storms of rejection and failed love. Once he reveals the error of her ways, will Debra master the forbidden secrets to attract her soul mate or continue to keep love at bay?(goodreads)
The Forbidden Secrets of the Goody Box - What your father didn't tell you and your mother didn't know. Click here to read the first chapter. For Kindle, click here; for Nook and other formats, click here.
Where to find Valerie: