My latest book is The Circle of Friends, Book V…Heather. Described as “encouragement personified”, this Southern-based, YA series portrays love and friendship overcoming all obstacles. Book V follows Heather, a feisty young woman about to embark on a coaching career at Clemson. Sadly, her father lies dying of cancer, her sister appears incapable of achievement, and a cocky player challenges her patience. Life changes when she encounters a man capable of handling her dominant attitude. However, the last thing Heather needs is a serious relationship with a man equally fixated on work and opposed to marriage…
Tell us something about yourself.
I’m originally from Oregon, but I’ve lived all across the US and now reside in North Carolina. Ten years associating with a motivation training system and experience as a foster parent gave me the in-depth knowledge of relationships, personality traits, and success principles. Known as “Spunk On A Stick,” I’m a member of the National Speakers Association and travel extensively for speaking engagements. I maintain a dozen websites & blogs, manage an online writer’s group, and contribute to several other sites and newsletters. “Overcoming Obstacles With SPUNK! The Keys to Leadership & Goal-Setting”, ties all of my goal-setting and leadership seminar information together and my YA series, The Circle of Friends, features morally grounded, positive stories that appeal to both teens and concerned parents. I’m a professional photographer by trade and possess a passion for roller coasters!
What inspired you to write this book?
I knew I wanted to write something uplifting and positive. My motivation training had taught me so much about relationships, success principles, attitudes… how could I not write something in that same vein? A dream inspired Book I of the series, and once I began forming the outlines, I could see how each character faced a challenge (or two) in his or her life, so I poured a message of hope into each book. The stories overlap and entwine as the characters discover that through friendship, love, and belief, they can accomplish anything!
How do you do research for your books?
I do a lot of research online and through books. During the course of this series, I learned about Olympic Swimming, college and professional football, college basketball. For this particular book, I contacted the head coach at Clemson, and Ms. Cristy McKinney was gracious enough to fill me in on the duties of an assistant basketball coach. And that is what makes research so fun – meeting new people!
Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?
My next project will be a teen version of “Overcoming Obstacles with SPUNK!” Young people in this country are desparate for hope and I want to create a book that addresses their issues and concerns.
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
Do your research before committing your pen to paper! You should write what you love, but if you have high aspirations for your work, be sure there is a market waiting for your book. Pouring your heart into a book with no real market only leads to frustration.
What are you doing to promote your latest book?
I did a four-week virtual tour as well as several physical events, including a fundraiser for a teen organization. Promoting this series is an ongoing process, though. Online I maintain two websites, a blog, and a writer’s club. I’m involved in several social networks and have a group fan page on Facebook. I post articles online, contribute to several newsletters, participate in online conferences, and do online radio. In the real world, I do many speaking engagements, teach seminars, book signings, media interviews, attend book festivals, and promote myself with cards, brochures, postcards, and bookmarks. My website is even on the back of my vehicle! (So if you see a red Tribute, look for The Circle of Friends.)
Where can readers learn more about you and your book?
My series website is www.thecircleoffriends.net and my speaker site is www.spunkonastick.net I also have a blog, Spunk on a Stick’s Tips – www.circleoffriendsbooks.blogspot.com. The book trailer can be viewed on YouTube. This latest book is available retail and online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Dancing Lemur Press. It’s also available as an eBook at the publisher’s site, Smashwords, and for the Kindle.