Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Ashes Ashes The Twins Fall Down by Pauline L. Hawkins (Author Interview & Guest Post / Book Review)

In association with Crossroad Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews welcomes Pauline L. Hawkins, author of Ashes Ashes The Twins Fall Down!

Author Guest Post

How Did It Feel To Have Your First Book Published?

Wow, exciting, scary, proud, there were all kinds of emotions. At one point I wanted to stand on top of the house and shout to the world that my book was published. Even though my book was published and the press release had gone out I didn't have an actual copy of my book in my hand. Without the actual paperback book in your hand it still doesn't seem completely real. You can't touch the cover, thumb through the pages, smell the ink, and that stuff just helps to solidify that your book has really been published. 

I didn't realize how many decisions there are that go into publishing a book. I expected to have to come up with a cover but I guess I thought that the back cover of a book just magically appeared all written, wrong. Then I had to select font style and size, paper color, where the page numbers would be located. I also had to determine if the book name and/or the chapter title would display at the top of the pages and if so where. I did self publishing so I guess I thought maybe there were templates and stuff for all this already and to a certain extent there is. But, there are choices and this was my book so who else was going to make the decisions. I think the hardest decision was the front cover. I had a cover all picked out and preliminarily completed and the illustrators at Outskirts Press did a mock up of what they thought the front cover should look like. Let's just say I was so undecided that I had to take a vote of my family and friends. Low and behold my cover lost and Outskirts Press cover won. 

Next, it didn't take me very long to realize that the work doesn't stop with writing and publishing your book, that's the easy stuff. Since I self published I wasn't dealing with a publishing company with a budget to market me I had to market me. Also, I didn't and don't have an agent which is one of the reasons I chose to self publish. So there was and is no one out there shouting my praises or encouraging everyone to buy my book. I am learning a whole new world that I didn't know existed but I've been lucky enough to hook up with some individuals that are very good mentors and guides to marketing yourself and your book. I can definitely say that publishing my first book has certainly caused me to step out of my comfort zone but I'm enjoying it and loving it. This is what I want to do from here on out I've just got to get the exposure and books sold. 

Author Interview

How long have you been a writer?

I started writing in high school, just the regular high school assignments but I found that I liked it and I was good at it. For the next several years I only wrote for pleasure, things like journals, free-writing when I was sitting at the computer, things like that. But in 1997 I started writing technical manuals for the company I worked for and that helped fulfill some of the need for creating and writing. It wasn't until 2003 that I decided to write my debut book, Ashes Ashes The Twins Fall Down.

Do you have a "day job," or is being an author your career?

Actually at the end of March 2012, I became a victim of a reduction in the work force at the company that I had worked for 22 years. It was then that I decided to publish my book and start a new career. My intention is for Ashes Ashes The Twins Fall Down to become enough of a financial success that I don't have to go to work for another company and can just write. I have probably 5 more books right now bouncing around in my head that would just love to come out and find their way to a book.

What inspired you to become a writer? Describe your journey as a writer.

I think I've always been a writer. I've always had stories bouncing around inside my head and most anyone who knows me will tell you that I have an over-active imagination. I don't know why but I find it mush easier to share my thoughts and emotions in writing then verbally. I'm not sure if it's the anonymity that allows me to share what I'm thinking and what I'm feeling. Writing also helps you arrange your thoughts and make more sense out of what you want to say. I can't tell you how many times I've written a few pages or even a chapter and then decided I wanted to head in a different direction and scrap them and start over. But as enjoyable as writing is it is still work. We all get writer's block, we all find ourselves not in the mood to write when we need to be to meet a deadline or whatever and we are all our own worst critics. You also sometimes find yourself being discouraged by family and friends when they tell you that your writing is a "nice" hobby or that your book is "nice" but it's no best seller. Ouch!

Please give a brief description/storyline about Ashes Ashes The Twins Fall Down

Ashes Ashes The Twins Fall Down is a look at the events of 9/11 from both a personal perspective and an informational perspective. I've shared my experience of 9/11, it's repercussions on my family, my job and how I viewed the world. The book is a story of coping with the news, reframing how I thought about America and the world, and making a conscious decision to become better informed. I've tried to provide a thought provoking context for the events of 9/11, personal stories, and hard core facts that not everyone may be aware of. 

What was the inspiration for this story?

Obviously the initial inspiration for this story was the attacks on 9/11. But what initially caused me to sit down and start writing this story was my own need to deal with my grief of 9/11. I didn't initially set out to write a book on 9/11 but the more I wrote the more I needed to come out and before I knew it I was on my way to a book.  

How did it feel to have your first book published? 

Wow, exciting, scary; at one point I wanted to stand on top of the house and shout to the world that my book was published. But the work doesn't stop with publishing you have to get the word out there that your book is available. Publishing my first book has certainly caused me to step out of my comfort zone but I'm enjoying it and loving it.

Do you write books for a specific genre? 

I guess I'd have to say that my books will be non-fiction and probably memoirs. That doesn't mean that I won't step out of that genre/category if there's a book inside trying to get out but this is where I'm leaning towards. 

What genres are your favorite(s)? What are some of your favorite books that you have read and why?

Fiction / Fantasy / Romance. I'm a big vampire fan and I love Anne Rice - Queen of the Damned. Ms. Rice is able to paint such a vivid picture of the surroundings of her books and her vampires take on an almost real sense. I've always been a romance novel reader. I like the sex, the romance, the idea of the handsome dark stranger. I guess maybe it's that little girl image of the knight in shining armor rescuing the maiden and living happily ever after.  

Do you have a special "spot/area" where you like to do your writing?

In my horses paddock or stall. I wind up actually doing most of my writing sitting at my desk but my truly favorite place to write is with my horse. I'd like to be able to have my own land instead of having to board her and then I could write with her all the time.  

How do you come up with the ideas that become the storyline for your books?

My life. I think we all probably have much more exciting lives then we give ourselves credit for. Anyone with children and a spouse probably has a lot of stories they could share even if they're just short stories. I think people like these that are real and stories that they can see themselves and/or their lives in. 

When you write, do you adhere to a strict work schedule, or do you work whenever the inspiration strikes?

I tried adhering to a strict schedule but I found I'd spend a lot of time just sitting staring at the screen or doing other things. I have to go with when the spirit moves me. 

What aspects of storytelling do you like the best, and what aspects do you struggle with the most? 

Where I'm bringing out real emotion, making the reader really feel what the character is feeling. Painting the setting. I don't know why that's so hard for my creativity but it is.

What are your favorite things to do when you are not writing? 

Playing with my horse; amateur photography; playing with my Apple products; going to Pet Expos. 

What is/was the best piece of writing advice that you have received? 

Write with your heart and write what you know. 

What is the most gratifying thing you feel or get as a writer? 

To create something that is all yours, good or bad.

How do you usually communicate with your readers/fans? 

Currently via Twitter, Facebook, or my website with blog. I try to share all of the same information on all three.

Is there anything in your book based on real life experiences or are they purely all from your imagination?

The experiences are all real life and mine with the exception of one character that is the story of a co-worker and her anniversary trip.  

What authors have been your inspiration or influenced you to become a writer?

There really aren't any specific authors that actually inspired or influenced me. I think they all did collectively give me the confidence to take the chance. 

What is your definition of success as a writer? 

Having a book published that is liked by the readers. Critics are important but the everyday reader that I think we all write to/for. Having a financially successful book that allows you the ability to write the next book and to not have to worry about money.

Are you currently writing a new book? If yes, would you care to share a bit with us?

I have two different subjects I'm trying to decide between. I'm trying to decide if I should take all my Medicare experience/knowledge and write some kind of help book for senior citizens and individuals like me helping their aging parents with Medicare; or write about marrying my high school sweetheart after 28 years and everything blowing up in my face in less than a week. Would your readers like to vote on their choice?

Thank you Pauline for stopping by and sharing a little bit about yourself and your writing career with us!

About The Author

Pauline L. Hawkins was born in Munson Army Hospital at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas on Easter Sunday. As her mother says, Pauline chose to enter the world in the middle of a tornado, and she has been going strong ever since. Pauline and her two adult sons currently reside in Texas, where she has been in the health insurance industry for almost thirty years, working her way up from the mailroom to corporate management and claims payment. In 2002, Pauline received her Instructional Design certification, which allows her to create instructor-led and learner-paced training curricula, along with computer-based learning activities and website creation. She has enjoyed the opportunity to exercise her creativity. Pauline has enjoyed writing since she was in high school, and has decided to start sharing her stories. Ashes Ashes The Twins Fall Down is her debut book.

Pauline L. Hawkins' Ashes Ashes The Twins Fall Down Virtual Book Tour Page On Crossroad Tours

Virtual Book Tour Contest Giveaway

Win 1 of 3 Signed Print Copies Of 
Ashes Ashes The Twins Fall Down

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Ashes Ashes The Twins Fall Down Trailer

Book Review 

Ashes Ashes The Twins Fall Down by Pauline L. Hawkins
Publisher: Anole Publishing
Publication Date: June 15, 2012
Format: Paperback - 124 pages / Kindle - 269 KB
ISBN: 0578105306
Genre: Non-Fiction / Memoir / US History

BUY THE BOOK: Ashes Ashes The Twins Fall Down

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Crossroad Tours.

Book Description:

9/11: The Day That Defined a Generation Where were you on 9/11? That question has become part of the fabric of our lives as Americans. On that bright, sunny day, none of us had any idea what was in store and how it would change our lives. Depending on what part of the country you lived in, you may not have known anything was going on until several hours after the first plane struck. You may not have heard the news until you got to work, turned on your car radio, or received a call from a loved one asking if you had seen or heard the news. Ashes Ashes The Twins Fall Down is a look at the events of 9/11 from personal and informational perspectives. Author, Pauline Hawkins, who lived in Texas at the time of the attacks, shares her experience of 9/11, and its repercussions for her family, her job, and how she viewed the world. Pauline's story of coping with the news, reframing how she thought about America and the world, and making a conscious decision to become better-informed will resonate with anyone who lived through 9/11. In addition to her personal testimony, Pauline provides a thought-provoking context for the events of 9/11, including political background, social commentary, and reflections on the contributions of everyday heroes. You'll come away from this book both enlightened and comforted by Pauline's honesty and common sense, as well as her heartfelt appreciation of those who sacrificed for our country, and those who continue to work toward healing and rebuilding.

My Book Review:

Who doesn't remember that fateful day that changed the way we look at the world? Those famous words "Where were you on 9/11?" is revisited every year as our nation commemorates, remembers and reflects upon that day when 9/11 rolls around on the calendar. It is a day that we will never forget, and nor should we.

In Ashes Ashes The Twins Fall Down, author Pauline L. Hawkins shares her personal memoir of that tragic day and what it meant to her. Written in a thoughtful way, the author shares her thoughts, feelings and lessons that she learned from the events that unfolded that day. In deciding to write her memoir, she has done a wonderful preparation by doing an extensive and thorough research, and provides the reader with valuable information that they may/may not have known that came out of the the tragedy: who Osama Bin Laden was; The Patriot Act; and the staggering statistics that still makes the heart feel pain and sorrow for the people lost in the tragedy.

Like Ms. Hawkins, I believe that the tragedy of 9/11 has changed the way we look at the world around us, and how the lasting effects of that fatal day and the aftermath will forever remain with us. Kudos to Ms. Hawkins for sharing her thoughts and information with us. I think that even eleven years later, we should never ever forget what 9/11 stands for, instead we should continue to think, learn and discuss what the events of 9/11 and those special people who were lost in that tragedy mean to each and every one of us.


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