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Author, Avid Tweeter & Blogger, Lover of books, Teacher of Maths & Swimming, Mother, Speaks Spanish, Friend to many...

Sunday, 4 January 2015

LOSING IT ALL by Marsha Cornelius - Interview & Book Review #RBRT

HAPPY NEW YEAR to all

I have had a wonderful holiday and finally managed to keep away from gadgets for a few days! Progress... Saying this, does a kindle count as a gadget? I was reading after all!

I had a fantastic time with family and have recharged my batteries. Today, the Christmas decorations are down and I have to prepare for my youngest 6th Birthday in the next week. 

I was extremely chuffed to create this hair style on her over Christmas! Creativity comes in many guises.

It is a scary thought to think that I started writing nearly 5 years ago already... the phrase, 'where has the time gone?' truly applies in my case.

Anyway, I have read some brilliant books recently. My latest one was called THE FIRST VET, which I highly recommend. Before that I read LOSING IT ALL via Rosie's Book Review Team, and I was lucky enough to get an interview with Marsha! So sit back, read & enjoy. 

I wish you all the best for 2015.

LOTS OF HUGS,
Vanessa

Welcome, Marsha! Thank you for agreeing to ‘talk’ to me via my blog. First things first, time for us to find out about you via one of your books…

I read “Losing it All” and thought it was different to any book I have ever read before. 

This was my review… 

5 stars – Review on Amazon and Goodreads

“What an original and heart-warming book! This is life at its worst, with the best outcome.

I admit that I did not think it would be my kind of read when I started it, but as I progressed I got sucked into this desperate world of homelessness, domestic abuse, and bad luck.

Overall, the characters were beautifully developed and I loved it. The author has managed to take a difficult situation and write about it. I don't know many that could do this.

Highly recommend if you want to read about romance against the odds”

What do you think of my review? 

I'm so glad that you enjoyed the story, and could appreciate the hardships my characters overcame. 

You story is different to others. It exposes the harsh reality of being homeless or getting abandoned or evicted. What or who inspired you to write it? 

I live in a rural area near Atlanta, Georgia. When we first moved out here, I took long walks in the woods, and came across an abandoned house. Although the windows were broken out, and the door was hanging loose, the structure was sound. I began to imagine who would be willing to fix up this old place, and Frank, my main character, slowly took form in my mind.  He's a homeless man who lives in a cobbled shanty near the railyards of Atlanta. For a man like Frank, having all that space, and a dry roof over his head, would be fantastic. 

The world you portray is one many of us choose to ignore. Yet, for me, it made me think about the fact that we are always striving for our easier existence. The question is could we do what Frank did? Would we be happy without our creature comforts? What do you think?

When I was younger, I loved to go camping: sleep in a tent, cook on an open fire, squat in the woods. Now? I don't mind hiking all day, but at night, I want a shower and a bed. (And a toilet nearby for my nocturnal visits.) I don't think there are many people who could endure Frank's lifestyle. Most people can't even endure being without their phones! 

I currently volunteer every week at the storage facility for FOODBANK on the Isle of Wight. The volume of donations we receive is incredible. The stories I hear about the people who receive the food at the distribution centres is even more amazing. Do you do currently do any voluntary work?

I've done volunteer work in the past, but not this year. In fact, I volunteered for a soup kitchen in downtown Atlanta. That's where I gleaned some of my research on homeless shelters and community services. 

What do you think makes a great writer? The story or the writing? I would say both, but believe that without a good story, the writing is empty. Do you agree with me? 

For the most part, I agree that there must be a good story. But I've come across examples where there is hardly any story at all, it's the writing that carries the reader along. I just finished Emma Donoghue's Hood. By today's standards, there is very little plot: no twists, or crises; no cliff-hanger, or evil antagonist. It's simply seven days of a young woman reminiscing about her relationship with her lover. The writing is so beautiful, though, that the reader is carried through the story effortlessly.  
 
Does anything you have ever been through come close to what you put your characters through?

Not at all. I've always considered myself a resilient person. I've lost jobs, gotten divorced and started over from scratch, but I never felt like I was losing control; that I didn't have friends or family that would be there to support me.  That was one of the tricky parts of writing Losing It All. I had to paint both Frank and Chloe into corners where they had nowhere to turn. 

Without giving a lot away, I have to say that the ending was fantastic. Was this important to you? You could have done many things with this story.

Oh, believe me, I wrote many different endings to the story. And I was tempted to write a more severe ending. But basically, I'm an old softy, so the ending had to be a happy one. 

Regardless of a great story, publicity and marketing is what really sells a book. Many people have mixed views on the use of social media. Do you think it is important? (I found you via an online Book Club after all). If so, how do you prioritise your time?

Social media is my only means of getting out the word on my books, so it's very important to me.  I tried book signings, but it's just not cost effective for a beginning author like me. I know big-name authors can draw people into a store who are willing to pay $20 for a hardcover book, but not indie authors like me.  I truly regret the demise of so many independent bookstores. They've been driven out by big-box stores like Barnes and Noble and online sites like Amazon. But whether we like it or not, digital books are the future.  Some online book sites, like Book Bub, and Pixel of Ink, have been a boon for my book sales, both when I list my books as free, and also when I reduce the price. My problem with social media is that it's so easy to get sucked into spending hours online chatting with readers, so I have to budget my time. My writing comes first. I spend my mornings working on a book. Then when my brain has lost it's edge, I get on Twitter and Facebook, and check my e-mails.  

Do you have an author you admire? If so, why?

I really admire Russell Blake. He's an indie author who has become very successful. He has a great website, and he owes all of his accomplishments to his marketing tenacity. I 'met' him years ago on Twitter when he was fairly new to the indie market, so I've seen how far he has advanced.  

What are you working on now? Tell us about it…

Book number five is at the editor's, so I'll be looking at a rewrite soon. Once it's complete, it should be ready for release this spring. The book is called, It's a Boy. It's a speculative story about women controlling the political and corporate worlds, and men are second-class citizens. My main character is Mason, who lives in this subservient society, and makes a series of mistakes that leads him down a path of moral corruption. 

Where we can find out more about you and buy your books?

My website is: http://mrcornelius.com

I can also be found at

Amazon Author page: http://amzn.to/SLhv6O (US)  http://ow.ly/CiOJs  (UK) 


Thank you for your time and for letting me read your book via Rosie’s Book Review Team.

2 comments:

  1. Great review and interview, so lovely to find out more about Marsha.

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  2. A great review, Vanessa! And well done with the beautiful hairstyle for your daughter. So glad to hear your batteries are fully charged again!

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