Welcome to Day 11 of #NJ12DaysOfAuthors June Series! @MauraBeth2014 #TheEdgeOfFear @RRBC_Org @RRBC_RWISA @Tweets4RWISA #RRBC
RaveReviewsbyNJ ♦ July 12, 2021 ♦ 37 Comments
At the end of this series, 1 lucky visitor will win a (12) Kindle e-book pack which will include a copy of each book featured in this series + a $10 Amazon gift card + a book trailer, courtesy of 4WillsPublishing! Simply leave a comment below to be entered into the drawing!
On the 11th day of the June “12 Days of Authors” Series… Nonnie’s gift to you…
AUTHOR, MAURA BETH BRENNAN!
I grew up in the 50’s in what, I think, would now be called an “exburb.” We were really far out from everything and from other kids, and so I learned early on to use my imagination. I went to an all-girls Catholic high school, married young, had a daughter, got a divorce, remarried and eventually got a job writing job descriptions and other materials for the Department of Defense. I had gone to classes at night to get a degree, and also took some creative writing courses along the way. After my early retirement, I decided to spend some time pursuing my dream of writing a novel. Okay, that’s it. I mean, how boring is that life story? Nothing too exciting there, although I did manage to get a short story out of one of my experiences. I won’t tell you which short story as I must protect the guilty.
NJ: Hi, Maura Beth! Thanks for joining me here today. I know we’re behind schedule but, it’ll be fun all the same. So, let’s dive right in so that we can learn more about you. Is your author name a pen name or your birth name?
MB: First, I must warn you, Nonnie, I am the most ordinary and boring person possible. Maura Beth Brennan is a pen name.
NJ: What made you decide to write under a pen name?
MB: When I started writing and decided to publish, my husband was nervous about me using my own name. He imagined all sorts of nefarious things that could happen (in our family, we don’t lovingly call him “Mr. Doom and Gloom” for nothing. I could write a story just with some of the cautionary things he says that seem hilarious after the fact.) Anyway, I did it to make him feel better. Maura and Beth are really just shortened versions of my first and middle names. Brennan is my paternal Grandmother’s maiden name, and since both my father and she were great story tellers, I thought that would be a good name to use. I try to “channel” them when I write.
NJ: OK. How long have you been writing?
MB: I started writing when I was pretty young, making little booklets up with illustrations and stories to give to my parents. I entered a county-wide writing contest when I was in about fifth grade, won first prize, and was encouraged to keep writing stories that I sometimes sent away to magazines so I could begin collecting rejection notices at an early age. As I said, I took a number of creative writing courses as an adult and then signed up for National Novel Writing Month, I think in 2017, through which I wrote the first draft of my first novel, The Edge of Memory. The bug had bitten me pretty badly by then, and here we are.
NJ: Are you indie-published or traditionally published?
MB: My first book was published by what is called a “hybrid” publisher, because I was so new and couldn’t figure out how to do anything. I have nothing bad to say about them, they were very easy to work with, but what I didn’t like was that I couldn’t manipulate the price for sales and promotions. So I decided to go the total-indie route after that, and sort of practiced with my short stories. My second novel, The Edge of Fear, was done independently and I love the freedom that gives me.
NJ: Which is your favorite books out of the ones you have published thus far and why?
MB: Now, Nonnie, that is a Sophie’s Choice sort of thing you are asking! I love each piece while I am writing it, and constantly fall in love with my characters. But since you ask, I would have to say that although “The Edge of Memory” is especially dear to me, because it is my first full-length novel, “The Edge of Fear” is my current favorite because it my newest and all those characters are still fresh in my mind.
NJ: OK. Give us just a little background on that book. What is it about?
MB: The Edge of Fear is the continuation of the story of Hattie, the heroine of my first novel. It is a stand-alone though, and can be read without reading the first one. It picks Hattie’s story up after she is married and is living the life of her dreams, with an adored husband and daughter, a beautiful home, and a job she loves. But she is troubled by premonitions of something bad about to happen. Her ex-husband has found out about her good fortune and wants to get some of her money for himself. He comes up with a devious plan, and novels being what they are, of course something very bad does happen and Hattie’s life is shattered. Eventually, when all else fails, Hattie decides she must take matters into her own hands. She sets out on a journey with her best friend to reclaim her life. At its heart, this story is really an exploration of friendship, and a good part of the story centers on the interaction between Hattie and her best friend, Celine. I had a dear friend in mind when I wrote that aspect of the story, and I dedicated the book to her. We’ve gotten each other through quite a few bad times.
NJ: Where can readers purchase your book and how much is it?
MB: The book is available through all major on-line retailers, and is currently still $.99 on Amazon, although the price is scheduled to go back to $3.99. The universal link is: https://books2read.com/u/m0Ko7Y
NJ: Maura Beth, I must say, I am so pleased that you give answers to questions just as they are posed. I mean, did you happen to sit in on Patty Perrin’s interview? OMG! I’m drinking now because of that interview! No, seriously! Geeez! I have been in this business long enough to know that quite a few readers have a purchase price point and will only spend so much on an e-book. How do you price your books and what is your logic behind the pricing?
MB: I try to stay within the norm for like products, whether a novel or short story. I price the items like those of other indie authors. No one will buy a book from someone who is not famous, if it is priced too high.
NJ: You got that right, Maura Beth. People are close to their dollars and some refuse to take a chance on a name they aren’t familiar with. Best to price competitively and sell more books than to price high and sell no books at all. Maura Beth, I got on Twitter many years ago because my social media manager at the time, told me that I needed to be on Twitter. He did not give me an actual reason as to why (I had to learn my “why” on my own), just that I needed to be there. What was your main reason for getting on Twitter? For support? For fun?
MB: Twitter was basically something I started using when I got frustrated with Facebook. I tried following a few people and found it to be so much fun. I really enjoy it.
NJ: I’ve never even put too much time into Facebook. I didn’t like what I saw there coming from folks on a personal level so never ventured there long enough to find a real interest in it. Twitter is fun for me and it serves a real purpose in book promotions. What other social media platforms do you use to market your book(s), and have you found them to be beneficial?
MB: The only other platform I am using now, with my pen name that is, is Facebook. But I find it difficult to get people to “like” my page, and the ads never seem to do much for me. It seems like such a cumbersome process somehow. I am on Pinterest and LinkedIn, but under my own name, so I don’t try to advertise or mention my books. I mostly seem to look at pictures of puppies and kittens. I am not very good a social media, and still have a lot to learn. (Note: advice welcome!!)
NJ: I’m sure you’ll have some visitors in the audience to offer you that advice you’re seeking. Supporting others is a huge part of my identity. I believe that when you invest your time and support in others, you find that your circle grows by leaps and bounds of others giving the same to you. When I first got involved heavily on Twitter, I was pushing others more than I was pushing myself – I continue to do so. Do you support others on social media? If so, how?
MB: Well, of course through RRBC I am a member of the Tweet Support Team, which I absolutely love. I was doing lots of retweeting of other authors before that, just not with any particular group. Now, I so enjoy tweeting about indie authors, because they do not have the advantage of a big publishing house behind them. So we fellow authors have to give them a helping hand. It is so much fun! And, I get so much support from others, it really makes me smile! That is all due to RRBC, really.
NJ: That’s great to hear, Maura Beth! RRBC is truly thebomb.com, isn’t it? (I heard that from a teenager on television). It is amazing!!!! So, do you actually take the time to read tweets from others before you retweet them, or do you just hit “retweet” without ever engaging in the tweet?
MB: I absolutely always read any tweet I retweet or blog I reblog.
NJ: Wise woman. Maura Beth, if you could map out the perfect way that you would want others to support you on social media, how would you ask your followers to support you? Just imagine that everyone who reads this interview will run out and follow you. How could they best support you? What would you have them do?
MB: Well, of course, I would love them to race to buy my books, especially my latest, and then leave a review. And, if they could tell a friend or two, tweet on Twitter or post on Facebook to say they liked my story, that would be the icing on the cake.
NJ: Did you hear that, audience? Support her! Maura Beth, we all learn something new almost every day while on social media and I like sharing what I have learned with other authors, in hopes that it will benefit them in some way. Have you come across any writing resources that might benefit other authors? If so, share 2 or 3 of them with us, please.
MB: I must recommend a book that was very helpful to me, and that is Stephen King’s “On Writing.” I once read that another “must read” for writers is Dorothea Brande’s “Becoming a Writer.” Although it is very old, as a new writer I found that one helpful, too. Now, I am taking courses through Coursera, which has a writing program of five courses. They are excellent. And, not least by any means, RRBC and RWISA are helpful in establishing contacts, being part of a community, and continuing to improve writing skills.
NJ: Authors are always seeking good formatting services. Who do you use to format your books, and would you recommend them?
MB: The publishing platform I use makes it very easy to format. So, I do it myself. They give very broad guidelines that seem pretty straightforward. The platform is Draft2Digital.
NJ: Can you share with our audience 2 or 3 of the top methods you use to market your books?
MB: Ugh. Marketing. My biggest bugaboo. I use Facebook (not very well, though) and Twitter. Also, I will be scheduling blogs soon and am hopeful that those will be useful. 4WillsPub created my trailer and WOW! Nonnie, I really love this trailer. The music is perfect and really conveys the feeling I was hoping to create in my story. Also, the hooded figure – I got chills, and I wrote the book!! The Hattie image at the end was great, and the vehicle driving into the distance – loved it. You nailed it!
NJ: Maura Beth, I’m flattered that you love your trailer! The more I watched it, the more I loved it, too! Thank you! We’re happy if you’re happy. 4WillsPub aims to please! Now, what is the one bit of writing advice you would give to any author, experienced or newbie?
MB: The best advice I ever got was through NaNoWriMo, which is: just write every day and DO NOT STOP TO EDIT!!! Get to the end of the book. Let the book (and yourself) rest. After at least 2-3 weeks, then go back and let the fun begin! Have a shot of Scotch (okay, that wasn’t part of the advice. I added that).
NJ: I sort of figured you added the Scotch advice. Hahaha! Is your reputation as a writer important to you, OR might we look up one day and find that you are in a Twitter brawl with someone?
MB: I think a writer’s reputation is everything, so yes, reputation is very important to me. I would never take part in a Twitter brawl. I use the “block” function if I see someone who seems nasty and is looking for a fight.
NJ: Good for you, MB. In your opinion, what is the biggest difference between the writers you see today around social media, versus the writers of old?
MB: That is such an interesting question, but difficult to answer. I guess I would say that writers of old had less immediate distraction and didn’t have to contend with maintaining a social media presence. They did have to contend with reviewers, newspaper reporters, and fan letters and the like, but I doubt the distractions and worries were as constant. Now, it seems writers just can’t get away from it. Also, they weren’t under pressure to have some “big event” on the first page, or in the first chapter, so I find that the classics often have a slower pace, build the setting and characters more thoroughly, and delve into issues more deeply. I love that.
NJ: Do you value professionalism in the literary arena and worry that the lack thereof makes it harder for those of us who wish to be taken seriously in this business? Or does the unprofessional behavior of some around social media not bother you at all?
MB: I don’t like to see mean, nasty, or unprofessional behavior in this business. I prefer a “we’re all in this together” sort of attitude. Meanness is like a cancer, and tends to spread, so – stay away from it!!
NJ: Well said. If you have ever received any, how do you handle not-so-flattering reviews of your book(s)?
MB: Ah ha! Bad reviews! I have received a few, and I will admit, they smart and the bad feeling stays with me for a few days. I try to take the comments to heart, though, and take a look at what they point out in order to learn from them. I got a two-star review of one of my short stories once, though, that made me scratch my head. It said that the story, which was clearly marked “a short story” on the cover, was too short! I admit it was tempting not to respond to that one with, “Well, duh.”
NJ: Too funny! Now here’s my most favorite question as I’ve found that some authors don’t appreciate you telling them the truth at all. And if you do, you better run for cover! That is, if you’re not like me. I welcome those unprofessional attitudes, because someone needs to point out the unprofessionalism of tantrums being thrown, when you’re not feeding the egos of those who have allowed their heads to swell, due to all the nonsense and untruths they’ve been fed in the past. These unprofessional tantrums give us all a bad name, especially if we’re Indie. Now, do you appreciate honesty regarding your writing because you know that only honest feedback allows you to grow as a writer, or are you one of those who would prefer that others lie to you and tell you only what they know you want to hear?
MB: No, I prefer honesty. It doesn’t do any good to say things you don’t mean in a review, or to another writer. Honesty is how we learn and improve. Also, false or dishonest “great” reviews hurt the reader, because they will buy the book and be disappointed. That leads to distrust in the reading community, too. But, just as we certainly shouldn’t be afraid to leave a poor or critical review, I do think we shouldn’t be afraid to praise and give great reviews, or 5-star reviews, to books that we love and that seem to meet all the criteria – great plot and pacing, realistic dialog, good writing with few or no errors. We want those authors to be encouraged and rewarded for their hard work. So, honesty in all things, just like my Mama told me.
NJ: Your Mama was right. Maura Beth, we know that you have a blog. Do you blog about any specific topics or are you a random-topic-blogger?
MB: Well, Nonnie, I am a very naughty blogger, in that I hardly ever blog. I was dragged to having a blog kicking and screaming, by a couple of people in RRBC who shall remain nameless, like you, Nonnie.
NJ: (Is it me, or did anyone else hear her say that folks were going to remain nameless? Am I not a folk?)
MB: I mostly reblog at this point but am planning to highlight some interesting people I know in the near future. Life seems pretty funny to me sometimes, so maybe I’ll share that viewpoint.
NJ: Maura Beth, thanks for allowing me the pleasure of highlighting you today!
OTHER QUICK FACTS ABOUT MAURA BETH…
I think of what I write as Women’s Fiction, but I have also listed both novels as Thrillers, specifically Domestic Thrillers.
I have published two novels and four short stories two date, with two more short stories ready to go, one being for the Alpha and Omega competition through RRBC.
- Writing is a hobby
FOLLOW MAURA BETH ON…
Guests, thank you so much for dropping by to support Maura Beth on Day 11 of the June “12 DAYS OF AUTHORS” Series! It would be awesome if you would pick up a copy of her book above, and after reading, share your review to Amazon. Ensure that you leave her a comment below, and also LIKE her feature before you leave, for your chance to win the grand prize package listed above! We’d both appreciate it if you would share this feature to Twitter and Facebook, as well.
To follow along with the rest of the features in this series, visit the “12 DAYS OF AUTHORS” home page! There will be a new series in July! I’d also love it if you would #follow my site, as well as following me on Twitter @NonnieJules, as my truest joy is in service to others. I’d love to support you, too!
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DISCLAIMER: Any guest material appearing at WATCH NONNIE WRITE! is not edited, proofed or changed in any manner by the the owner of this blog. Material is posted as it is written and submitted. It is not my place to make changes to someone else’s writing, as what I view as needing correcting, just might be the way the author intended the material to read.
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Interesting interview, Nonnie. Lots of details I relate to (like thinking you’re boring–me too!–about myself–not you).
Jacqui, so nice to see you here, as I know you’re busy with your new book. As for the boring thing – well, we live through our characters, right, and they’re pretty interesting!
Great interview! Edge of Fear is on my kindle… Sharing!
Thank you, Bette for stopping by and for sharing! I so appreciate it!
Reblogged this on Maura Beth Brennan and commented:
#RRBC founder and president, Nonnie Jules, was kind enough to interview me for her series, 12 Days of Authors. Check it out here, and follow her blog. Hope you follow mine, too!
Oh my gosh, I just saw that this interview came out days ago and my sincerest apologies to Nonnie, and all who made a comment here, for missing it! I have been experiencing some health issues recently (you haven’t seen me much, that is why) and this past week was filled with several medical tests, etc., so I was very distracted. So, apologies again, and thank you, Nonnie, for spending your time and considerable talents on this. I will now get to work reading and replying to all these comments. Thank you all for taking the time to comment, too. What a fabulous group you all are!💓💞💖
What a great interview. Thank you, Maura Beth for sharing yourself with us. I loved Edge of Fear. Enjoy your special day. Nonnie, your quips are fresh and worth waiting for. Thank you both.
John, thank you for stopping by here today. I know you are always busy with your work getting recognition and giving support for our Vets and I certainly applaud you for that! Glad you enjoyed my book!
Reblogged this on Wanda Adams Fischer and commented:
This is a wonderful interview! Check out Maura Beth’s books. I just finished “The Edge of Fear” and will be posting a review soon. Stay tuned…
Wanda, thank you so much for the reblog! Thanks for stopping by and I am happy you read my book! I look forward to seeing your review!
Great interview, Nonnie! I really have enjoyed Maura Beth’s writing (I owe you a review of The Edge of Fear, by the way), and now the interview is the icing on the cake! It’s funny about your husband’s worry about your using your own name–mine had the same issue with my using my own name on the radio, and some “gloom and doom” has happened with that, but hey, it may find its way into a story in the future. We writers have to find our material SOMEWHERE, right? I just have to add that I am loving these interviews. Far better than anything I could find on TV! (Well, I did like the home run derby last night, but that’s another story…) Thanks, Nonnie and Maura Beth!
Wanda, so funny that we share a “worry-wort” husband, but it sounds like in your case, maybe he had a point (hope it was nothing serious! I’ll watch for your story, maybe?). My favorite quote from George (my sweetie) was when I was raving about the autumn leaves one day, and he said, “Well, they’ll all be dead in a week.” True story!
Speaking of responding with a “duh” I got a similar review on my short story “Newspaper Chronicles” The reader gave it a 2 stars because she said it read like a diary. “Duh!” Isn’t that what chronicles mean?
Hi Maura Beth. I will take a look at your tips. Thank you for sharing your story.
Thank you Nonnie for bringing Maura to us.
Shirley, thanks so much for stopping by! Some of these reviews are really head-scratchers, aren’t they? I have that story of yours on my kindle working its way up the line. Looking forward to it!
Always terrific to meet authors who are new to me, and this is no exception. Celebrating your every success, Maura Beth!
Annette, so nice to see you here – I have seen you on some of the blogs I read. Thanks for stopping by!
Hi Nonnie, Maura Beth’s interview here is a lot like her stories. Engaging, different, thrilling, funny, and all around good time. Course Nonnie’s commentary is worth reading top to bottom. Another great dog photo (you of course aren’t nameless Nonnie just special). Thanks for the morning fun ladies.
Hi, Rox, thanks for stopping by! I agree, Nonnie’s commentary is always fresh (and I was just being silly about the name – I had a boss who used to do this – he’d say, “Liz asked me not to tell you she said this, but . . .. So we all used to joke about it.) I love all these dog photos, too! I just bought your latest short story and look forward to reading it!
This interview is brilliant, Mr Doom made me smile, thanks for sharing Maura Beth and Nonnie.
Kathleen, so nice of you to stop by! I have lots of Mr. Doom stories. He loves them more than anybody, and tells them himself!
Hi Maura Beth,
You have and are leading a very interesting life. I had to smile when you mentioned Doreatha Brandt. I hunted until I found her book Becoming a writer, in 2012. I first heard about her in a book on writing that I was reading from John Gardner, who is on my mentor list. After reading her book on writing I put her on my mentor list too. I also have the book by Stephen King but haven’t taken the time to read it. I have many books on the writing craft and like you, I can’t count the writing classes that I have taken and am still taking I believe that a writer never finishes learning. In fact, people never finish learning which is contrary to what many people think.
I enjoyed reading about you and I liked your Facebook page and left a comment there.
Take care and keep on writing and learning. Both of them go hand in hand.
Pat, as usual your comments are so thoughtful and fun to read! It is funny about that Brandt book, I was recommended it in a class I took. I’m glad someone else heard of it! The King one is good, too, and full of great stories of his writing life. I agree about the learning – it is part of the fun of life, I think. Shalom aleichem to you too, Pat! (I love that you say that)
I enjoyed hearing some of your comments. Thanks for sharing.
Randy, thanks for stopping by and commenting. I must mention that I read Blood on the Chesapeake and loved it! I am somewhat familiar with the area, so that was a real treat, too. I intend to read the Cape May one, as I live about an hour from there. I’ll read it in the winter, so I can pretend I’m there, strolling on the beach. It is a really pretty and unique town!
I’ve ready many of Maura Beth’s stories, including the two novels she mentioned and have enjoyed all of them. Her short stories are great! I hope your followers will grab her books! She is always so supportive of others. It would be nice to see people support her today. 😊
Yvette, thanks for your kind comments. You know, I am a fan of yours, and have read Breathless, which I loved, and your first novel and new short are on my kindle and moving up. I’m, sadly, a fairly slow reader, so it takes me a while to go through a book. I appreciate how supportive you are of so many other writers, Yvette, always there with your beautiful smile!
What a fun interview, Nonnie! I’ve heard there’s a good program for people I’ve driven to drink. AA, or something like that. Maura Beth, it’s a pleasure getting to know you better. I read and enjoyed your book very much. Anyone would want to read it after seeing the beautiful trailer, and they won’t be disappointed.
Patty, thanks for stopping by! I am so happy you liked my book. I agree about that trailer – how lucky was I that Nonnie and 4Wills did it for me. I love it!! About AA – what is that exactly, Patty, uh, Automobiles Anonymous or something? Hmmm . . .
Reblogged this on PTL Perrin Writes… and commented:
What a great interview with author Maura Beth Brennan! You’ll enjoy Nonnie’s and Maura Beth’s answers, and her books are amazing! Enjoy!
Patty, thanks so much for reblogging Nonnie’s great interview. So appreciated!
Enjoy, Maura Beth!
I am in absolute agreement about a shot of scotch, maybe two. It is nice to get to know a bit more about you, Maura Beth. Nonnie, thank you for another enjoyable interview.
Oh Karen, cold fireball isn’t bad either.
I’m not a drinker, but for me, it’s chocolate. Same thing!
Hey, Karen, now you’re talking. Just kidding, I know, but I will say, sometimes it feels like writing could drive a person to drink, though. I loved Race into Murder, Karen!
Nonnie, a thousand pardons for missing this when first posted. I am very annoyed with myself right now and shall deny myself that second cookie I was reaching for. You do such a great job with these interviews, making each one special and so interesting! (Were you a reporter in a former life?) I have enjoyed each one and now wonder if I missed one or two others, which I will check out after this. Thank you, again!
Nonnie, in its great wisdom, WordPress put my comment to you somewhere else, at the bottom of this page, I think. Can’t be anything I did. Right? Right?