Guest Post: “Library Love” by Liz Kerin

Author Interview, Misc.

Meet Liz Kerin.

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Liz Kerin is an author, screenwriter, and playwright living in Los Angeles. She earned her degree in Dramatic Writing from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. The Phantom Forest is her first novel.

Social Media: Instagram | Twitter


The Guest Post.


“Library Love”

Anyone who becomes a published author probably has a deep, heartfelt connection to the local library in their hometown. I’m no exception, but I got more from my town’s library than stacks of summer reading and video tapes of obscure Broadway musicals. My local library gave my family a new lease on life.

My mom instilled a love for books in me. She never left home without a beach read in her tote bag (even in the dead of winter) and she always had huge pile of paperbacks on her nightstand. One day when I asked her if she was ever actually going to read all those books, she looked at me, horrified, and said, “Of course I am.”

When I was in 5th grade, my mom suffered a devastating brain injury that took away her ability to communicate verbally. She entered a rehabilitation facility after being released from the ICU, where she worked with a speech therapist every day. The injury also affected her mobility and cognitive processing. When she finally came home, her therapists recommended she get a part-time job in the local community to help her readjust. Our library was the first to extend her an offer.

I would come hang out with her after school, reading while she shelved and sorted books. It was a peaceful, slow-paced place, and it was perfect for both of us. I’d also had a rough couple of years, all things considered, and it was nice to feel like our community had made space for us. This was a place where she didn’t struggle to communicate—after all, it’s rude to talk in the library. Stranger’s didn’t ask me upsetting questions about my mom’s condition, like they would at the grocery store or at school functions. We could just be, in this quiet space, and get a little peace.

Without the library, I don’t think my mom would’ve had the courage to go back into the world and live her life again. She worked there for over 12 years—long after I graduated high school. I’m so thankful to them for the space they gave my family. Now that I’m about to be a published author, I can’t wait to go home and give my mom’s “library ladies” a signed copy to loan out to their readers.

For my mom and I, libraries are so much more than a place to get homework done and snag the hottest new YA release. They’re public spaces that put people’s privacy first. In the city I now live in, I see my local library extending help to the homeless—particularly children and teens. Just like in my hometown, these librarians saw a member of their community in need, and they offered them a safe space. There’s an episode of This American Life, called “The Room of Requirement,” about how libraries can become havens for people with all sorts of different needs. I think “The Room of Requirement” is the perfect way to describe our library. It became exactly what we needed, exactly when we needed it.

Guest Post with Kaya Quinsey: “Writing With Time in Mind”

Guest Post, Misc.

Kaya Quinsey - Headshot 6Meet Kaya Quinsey.

Kaya Quinsey holds her undergraduate and master’s degree in psychology. Her first novel, Paris Mends Broken Hearts, was released in April 2018. Her second book, A Coastal Christmas, was released in October 2018. Her books have sold in seven countries. Kaya’s passion for culture, travel, and psychology blend for a reading style that is fun, full of surprises, and easy to read. A romantic at heart, Kaya’s writing offers a contemporary twist to traditional love stories. She hopes to inspire women through her stories to fiercely chase their dreams.

Social Media Links:
Author Central:

Guest Post

Writing With Time in Mind



Here is some advice I’ve found helpful on how to finish your manuscript relatively quickly (and with minimal headaches). Enjoy!



1. Write first, edit later


If you start to painstakingly sift through sentences as soon as they are typed up, it is going to be a long road to get to the finished product. Some writers will type away at a blacked-out screen, so they aren’t even tempted to edit throughout the process. Get the words out, finish your idea, and don’t let yourself get in the way. This leads into my next point



2. Let go of perfectionism


It is difficult to finish writing a book if you are critiquing it the entire time. Remember that the more you practice, the better you will get. So keep practicing.



3. Write every day


I have found that writing on a daily basis has been helpful to maintain a plot driven story line. It takes discipline to stay focused, to keep writing, to have patience with yourself each day. Stick with it.



4. Set a word count


When working on a book, I typically aim for between 1000-2000 words per day. Within a relatively short span of time, you’ll have a first draft of your book.



5. Plan your plot


Having a general overview of what is going to happen in your story can be helpful so that you have a sense of direction when you are meeting your daily word count (see number 4), on a daily basis (see number 3). You don’t necessarily need to have it all figured out, but an overall big-picture idea can be helpful to guide the path.



6. Set hard deadlines for yourself 


When I say “hard headlines”, I don’t mean set difficult deadlines (e.g., “I will write a whole novel by Wednesday!”). What I mean is set goals about when you want to have Chapter 1, 2, 3, etc. done by. Keep those promises to yourself. Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect the first time you write it. There will be time to go over it all when you’re done! Which leads me to my final point…



7. Schedule time to revise



Congratulations! You’ve written a book. Now comes the real fun (just kidding).


Good luck with your writing and I wish you all the best.


Rae, thanks for having me on A New Look On Books.



Thank you Kaya for stopping by again!

In case you missed it, check out Kaya’s interview here!




Guest Post: “Small Business Thoughts for the Strange” with Haley Jenkins from Selcouth Station

Bookish Interview, Misc.

Meet Haley Jenkins.

Author Pic Full.jpg

Haley Jenkins holds a Creative Writing Master’s Degree from The University of Surrey and a Creative Writing Bachelor’s Degree from The University of Roehampton.

In 2016, Haley was awarded First Prize in the Elmbridge Literary Competition for her short story ‘Talisman’ and in 2014 won 3rd Prize in the Hopkins Poetry Prize. She has been published in two anthologies by Fincham Press – The Trouble with Parallel Universes (2014) and Screams & Silences (2015), as well as publications such as, Guttural MagazineTears in the Fencepainted spoken and The Journal of British & Irish Innovative Poetry. Her work has also appeared in online zines such as datableedzine, Rag Queen Periodical, epizootics and ez.Pzine (Pyre Publishing)Haley’s first poetry chapbook was published by Veer Books (August 2017). She runs Selcouth Station Press (, which she founded in April 2017. You can follow Selcouth Station on Facebook, Twitter (@SelcouthStation) and Instagram!



The Guest Post.

Small Business Thoughts for the Strange   

I’ve given myself more labels than I have been labelled. This is the price paid by all of us who think inwardly a little too much. I’ve called myself fat, useless, mad, bad, fucked-up and a few words in made-up colours and languages Google can’t translate. But somewhere along the line between sitting in college corridors alone and shying away from any social engagement where I might have to talk to someone, I became proud of my strangeness. I didn’t fit the mould, I never would, so why not celebrate that?


Selcouth Station Press arrived out of a desire to meet people like me, who wanted to write but for whom the Big Five, agents and contracts route was too scary, too demanding and let’s face it: too pressuring. I wanted to hear new voices, strange voices, engage with people who wanted to be seen and not just looked at or sold. There is a difference. It wasn’t easy – what did I know about running a press? I had volunteered with Veer Books, so I knew a lot about creating the physical books and editing. But how much did a small business cost? How do you find printers? How do you find writers? How do you use Twitter? The answers are: not as much as you might think if you’re smart about it, search engines, social media and Tweeting for a business is about consistency and sharing.


An important element of running a small business online is sharing and not just on Twitter. It is about not just asking for help but being the one to give it and giving it as freely as you can. I’ve built up a wonderful network of people by celebrating and promoting each other’s work, sending long emails about life and just being there. Ask for advice, email the writer whose work you loved in that zine, message a podcast you’d like to be on. The worst they can do is say no. I once emailed a famous photographer for a college project and got a very snooty response, asking why I even bothered emailing him when the Internet held everything I needed to know. I still printed off that email and stuck it in my portfolio: it was proof I had been brave enough to try. Being brave isn’t about not feeling scared, socially awkward or a fake, it is about doing it anyway. And you know what is brilliant about it? You don’t have to talk to anyone if you don’t want to.


Currently, Selcouth Station Press has three chapbooks to its name and we’re open for submissions on the theme of ‘Love’. After the next round of chapbooks, we’ll be looking into publishing solo collections. We regularly publish work online, including art work, interviews, guest blogs, fiction, poetry, flash fiction and reviews! We have two volunteer editors who joined me in the Spring, Sandra Partanen and Lorna Dicken, and we are open to collaborating with others. I am always happy to give insights and advice, you can message me at

Interview with Author Victoria Browne

Author Interview

Meet Victoria Browne.

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I was born and raised in south London. As a child, I would dream of becoming a writer but sadly dyslexia hindered this dream. ​Dyslexia for a creative writer is a cruel disability. I carried a vocabulary in my head that did not match my spelling ability.

At the age of twenty-five, I sought help, determined to learn to spell. I worked on developing my memory with a therapist, which helped me go back to the basics that I’d missed as school. Toward the end of my program, my therapist asked me to write a diary to help develop my reading and writing skills. I explained that I did not like writing diaries but had written some romantic scenes. My therapist suggested building a beginning and an end to one of the scenes I had written. This was the birth of my first book, Gut Feeling. I wanted my friends and family to read my work, and so I researched. This is how I discovered the world of self-publishing.

Being a dyslexic in the world of creative writing will always leave you vulnerable to harsh criticism. Though I never gave up on my abilities, only proud of them.

With a great deal of determination, I progressed to where I am today, living in Los Angeles, California with my Husband and rescue dog Tango. ​I spend my days as a, writer’s motivation coach, an author, and personal fitness coach.

In my spare time I enjoy Thai Boxing, and I like to drink copious amounts of champagne, whenever possible.   ​

Social media links:


The Interview.

What is your favorite social media outlet to connect with readers?

Instagram. I like it because it’s visual, but you can also use it like a blog to connect with users on a different level.

How do you think social media reflects readership?

Twitter is where I go for my new, Instagram for blogs and pictures, and Facebook for what’s going on in my town—along with junk media. They are the modern newspaper and magazine.

When writing elements of romance, are there certain tropes you like and or tend to avoid?

I try to avoid all clichés, though if it fits, and feels good it’s not an issue for me.

Did you have a different writing process for your short story Slip compared to your other full length works?

Not really. I like to have a plot written out for any length book I write. The difference with my short story “Slip,” is that the elements of the characters lives are based on the real lives of my mother and auntie. I had the idea for my story years ago, but as I sat down to write the plot I remembered a conflict my mum had with her sister. And so, I called my mother and asked if she wouldn’t mind me using their story as material for a book. I wanted to add real sole to my short story, and I hope I achieved this. I enjoyed talking to my mother about her childhood memories, and it was a different process adding real-life to fiction life.

I’m sure you’re asked this a lot… but… do you have a favorite of the books you published?

Slip, for the reasons above. It was nice working with my mother. And Gut Feeling because of where it came from. However, I do really like the story line of “Third Time Lucky – Notting Hill Gossip.”

(For my American readers. In England, we say “Third time lucky” instead of “Third time is a charm.”)

Writing coach, personal fitness coach, and author. How do you balance your work life and your writing life?

When I was in the world of finance with a 9 to 5 it was harder! However, now I am a personal trainer it is easy. Most clients like to see me before they go to work, after work, or weekends. So, during the day I am able to write, and coach. I also find that my writers like to schedule calls later in the evening after they have written or if they have a writing blocks. I basically work all the time, yet it all somehow fits in to my life!

What would you say to a child you, or a child in general, who has dyslexia but dreams of writing?

Talk to someone, tell them you need help. Do not be embarrassed of your abilities, and never think you cannot become an author because your dyslexic. You can do anything you set your mind to.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers today?

I would like to thank them for taking the time to read my Q&A. And, I’d like to thank you for asking such fun questions.


Thank you

Vix Browne

What a fun interview!

Check out Browne’s social media links to get to know more about her and her books.

Guest Post: Harsha Sheelam’s Self Publishing Tips

Guest Post

Meet Harsha Sheelam.


Harsha Sheelam always had the passion for writing. In the year 2016, she practiced writing more extensively. This led to her recognition in newspapers, magazines, blogs, and digital content. She possesses versatility in writing stories, debatable topics, politics, social, fashion, entertainment, reviews, fashion and lifestyle. Today she is a children’ book author, she debuted in 2017 with the book ‘Beautiful Inside and Out’ which is a collection of short stories. She launched it with the aim of empowering young girls and boys. She has the dedication to her craft which makes the children believe that they are beautiful inside and out. Same year her juvenile fiction novel, ‘Good Exists in all that Exists’ released. As the title suggests, the book is based around the theme of ‘good overpowering the bad’. There is a hidden meaning for every action. The book does not fail to enhance the enchanted experience of the reader.
Beginning of a new year, in 2018 ‘The House of Terry Atterberry’ made it to book-selling portals. Terry’s tales champion hard work, perseverance, honesty and compassion. The riches that kids gain through this book are overcoming fear, not undermining people, understanding no one is perfect, knowing your true friends, and more. The book is a collection of 15 inspiring fables from the life of a fictional character.
Today, 3 books old, and anticipating more, this is Harsha Sheelam for you.

Social links:


Guest Post

How can a self-published author market their book?

Self-publishing is a DIY platform has provided a new path for aspiring writers. Many authors have ditched vanity press, or publishing houses who take about a year to get a book into the market.

Thanks to the advancement of creativity and technology, self-publishing is now available at fingertips without the involvement of an established publisher, known for zero loyalty towards royalty. In traditional publishing, the publisher bears the costs and reaps substantial share of profits by comparison, in self-publishing, the author bears all the costs, and is the sole proprietor for all the profits.

The author controls the design, cover, interior, marketing and public relations. Though it’s a fairly easy task to get the book out for readers, marketing is not a small man’s job. Marketing and promoting the book is the best way to get new readers looking at your work. Without it, you will only have a niche customer group that includes your family and friends.

The most effective ways to push the sales, generate traffic on your website, and make your book a success are-

Pre-Book Launch
Cover reveal– Cover reveal is preferably done before the launch of the book. Here the authors try to build curiosity among their readers and new audience. The bloggers write about the cover and make it very intriguing for the readers. The cover reveal is the best way of pre-marketing the book.
Post Book Launch
Early Stages
Book reviews– Book reviews are the most traditional way of reaching out to readers. No author is unaware about book reviews. There are many who earn a living just by doing book reviews, while others do it out of interest. The critical analysis of the book through the review is helpful to generate feedback and interest about the book. Book reviews should be taken up during the early stages of the book launch.
Facebook Groups– Numerous groups on social media, most preferably, Facebook, provides a platform of discussion for authors in every genre. With no doubt, these groups are the most efficient way to build public relations, not only within your country, but globally as well. A global audience is what every author should aim for and not feel restricted to one territory.
Book Tours– Book bloggers have made it simple for authors to market their books. Few of them provide their services at a cost while others are kind to do it for free. Book tours are blog posts about the author, synopsis of their books, cover design and content of the book. Few bloggers also write a small review for the book. On the whole, the book tours are a complete package for authors. Websites with a lot of traffic are highly recommended for book tours even if it comes at a cost.


Later Stages
Author Interview– Author interviews are conducted by authors, virtual assistants and book bloggers who like to feature and support authors on their blog or website. The interview questions give the readers an answer about your work and what it’s all about. Not only do the interviews provide the author a push, but also help them to gain new followers and readers. Every blog or website has their followers and readers, when they learn about the author through the interview; it only attracts new people to the author’s website.
Podcasts– Author interviews through podcast channels are yet another way to put yourself out there. Podcast industry is growing on a daily basis with many author interview channels being labeled as No.1 on iTunes, and iHeartRadio. The audio files are posted on many podcast featuring online portals and also downloaded by listeners. This is the most modern way of promotion for authors. Few podcasts I’m aware of are Reading with Jedlie and The Author’s Show which provide an interview and book reading platform.
Guest Writing– Inviting guests to your website to write a blog suitable for your readers draws attention of the guest’s readers as well. In this way, a new audience is generated. Writing guest posts for another blog or website helps to gain unique readers and generates traffic on your website. When you do this, be aware of the genre you want to write about and if the website accepts posts in that genre. Also, when you’re doing the same for your website, do not drift away from your said purpose, and the kind of audience you would like to have.
Blogs– Traffic can be increased on your website by writing daily blogs of all the things you find interesting and will ‘fit in’ with your website. Blogs help in interaction between the writer and the reader. Allowing comments, likes and shares helps to build social presence, and is an efficient way for maintaining public relations.

-Harsha Sheelam


Check out Harsha’s other guest post published on A New Look On Books here!


Meet Marie Marquardt and her project #ReadForChange

Author Interview

Meet Marie Marquardt.

I am an author of young adult novels, a college professor, and an immigration advocate.

How are these all connected? After many years as a researcher, service provider, and – most importantly – friend with immigrants to Georgia, I felt frustrated. I often spoke to groups about our broken immigration system and the need for immigration reform. And I realized something: people begin to care when they meet and get to know someone who is living inside this broken system. It’s been my great honor to have such relationships over decades.

So, I began writing fictional (but very real) stories based on my experiences. My novels bring readers into intimate contact with messy, complicated, political situations. I believe that, through story, we can connect to other people in a deep, meaningful way – which can be a powerful tool against the hate, fear, and misunderstanding that plague our society.

And now, the formal bits: I am a Scholar-in-Residence at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology. In addition to DREAM THINGS TRUE, THE RADIUS OF US, and FLIGHT SEASON (available 2/20/18) I have co-authored two non-fiction books and written several articles on immigration. I have been interviewed about immigration on National Public Radio, Public Radio International, Voice of America, NBC, and BBC America, among other media outlets. I am honored to be the chair of El Refugio, a Georgia non-profit that serves detained immigrants and their families.

I live in Decatur, Georgia with my spouse, four children, a dog, and a bearded dragon.

For more information, visit:

Twitter: @MarieFMarquardt

Facebook: @mariemarquardtauthor

Instagram: @marie_marquardt

Onto the interview!

2018 has just begun and #ReadForChange is in the works. What is the one thing you hope this project achieves as the year continues and later ends?My goal for the project is simple: to celebrate great stories that bring readers into intimate contact with issues that matter now. I hope #ReadForChange will encourage people who love these stories to dig in deep, explore the social issues that animated authors to write them, and then get to work (stay at work!) building a better world.

How can the book community, such as bloggers and bookstagrammers, get involved with and support #ReadForChange?

Thanks for asking! I’d love for bloggers and bookstagrammers to spread the word about the monthly feature and giveaway through their networks. I’m also hoping booklovers will pick up the hashtag to talk about other great books – fiction and non-fiction – that tackle the social issue at the heart of each month’s feature.  There are so many great novels out there. The hardest parts of this plan sticking to only one a month! I really hope that the monthly feature will be a conversation starter, not a one-time event.

Tell us about the story behind the creation of Read For Change and the birth of the hashtag.

Here’s my super-honest answer:  YA authors are expected be out there on social media, and I get that.  But I have trouble engaging authentically, in a way that feels natural to me. One day, I was brainstorming with a couple of other authors, and we were talking about who we want to be in that space.  It hit me that I want to be part of a community of authors, bloggers, and readers who feel deeply and think deeply about what needs to change in our society. And, voila! #ReadForChange! I was so thrilled when the wonderful people at Teen Librarian Toolbox steeped in to partner with me. They’ve really motivated me!

Did a specific event or circumstance ultimately help you make the final decision to tackle this inspiring project?

My first novel came out in September 2015. It was inspired by a couple of decades of work and friendship with undocumented immigrants in the South, and by my heart’s enormous desire to promote fair and just immigration reform. I felt some pushback – shouldn’t I be writing fiction for fiction’s sake? This baffled me. I’ll never forget one of my first events as a YA author, when a fellow panelist dismissed “issue books” as somehow inauthentic, not worthy, not real literature. What books, I wondered, are NOT issue books? But I kept my mouth shut.

When my second novel came out — just days before the inauguration of our current president – I decided to never apologize for what motivates me to write: a deep desire to see change in the world. I also decided to seek other authors who share that same burning desire, and promote their stories as a way to build community and work together for a better world.

Why do you feel authors are now writing novels that speak to the heart of today’s issues and problems vs. a few years ago when those stories may not have been readily accepted? What changed in the writing trend?

So much has changed since November 2016. I think many of us – including many in the publishing industry – have woken up and realized that we need to use our voices (We need to make use of everything we have!) to draw attention to injustice and to seek a more just and inclusive society.  Novels have always been a part of that project, because they are uniquely capable of building empathy and shared understanding. What’s changed is our willingness to openly claim that right and responsibility as authors, agents, publishers, and booksellers.

I can’t tell you how thrilled I was when, for 2017 YallWest, I was asked to be on a panel called “Writing the Resistance”. Sitting at that table, between fabulous writers who are committed to justice, and talking about how the desire for change motivates us, I felt like I had come home. I hope #ReadForChange will open this ‘home’ to many more people!

Is there anything you’d like to share with the readers today about the upcoming #ReadForChange launch?

Tomorrow’s the day! You can find it on Teen Librarian Toolbox, or — if you want the first issue to come directly to your e-mail inbox — you can sign up for the newsletter here.

Thank you Marie for sharing #ReadForChange with us!

Marie’s book, Flight Season, is coming out 2/20! Check out her website for more details!