T. B. Markinson and I have been collaborating as author and editor for a while now. I admire her work ethic and commitment to helping fellow indies. Beyond that, she loves to travel and enjoys the pursuit of tasty food and beverages. It’s always great to work with a client on a similar wavelength. Our working relationship is one filled with humor and numerous e-mail anecdotes as we’ve gotten to know each other as co-workers and friends.
1. Please provide a brief synopsis of your book.
The Miracle Girl is a lesbian romance. Newspaper publisher and world traveler JJ Cavendish continually feels pressured to live up to her Miracle Girl nickname. Not many people know she’s living a carefully crafted lie. She may not hide ties to the LGBT community, but she does hide past struggles with addiction.
When the Colorado native is handpicked to take the helm at a dying Denver newspaper, she ends up reconnecting with her long lost love in this contemporary lesbian romance. Only there’s a catch. If JJ fires the most belligerent editor at the paper, she risks losing the love of her life.
Mid-afternoon office romps abound in this romantic comedy while also focusing on what it takes for a newspaper to remain relevant in this age of social media.
Must JJ lose everything in order to gain a life more fully her own?
2. Tell us a little bit about what motivates or inspires your writing.
Way back in the dinosaur age, when I was in the sixth grade, our teacher asked each of us to write a story about Christmas. Usually I hated homework, but this assignment inspired me. To get in the mood, I sat by our Christmas tree in the dark except for the bubble lights and I penned my story. My teacher loved it and wrote a note at the top that read: You should be a writer when you grow up.
That was it. Ever since then I’ve wanted to write stories. Not just about Christmas, though.
3. Writing aside, what passions drive your life?
I love to travel. So far I’ve been to been to twenty-three countries and have lived in two countries. Currently I live in London and each day is a new adventure. My dog, Miles, loves to explore our neighborhood and frequently we set off in a different direction and discover new things around every corner. He’s wonderful at finding pubs. For me, life in London is about experiencing new places, cultures, meeting people from all over, and of course, I enjoy trying new beers.
4. It’s hard to pick just one, but what do you consider your favorite novel and why?
Oh gosh, the first one that popped into my head is The Great Gatsby. I’ve read this novel at least five times and I’ve listened to the audiobook at least twice. Each time I find a different sentence that makes me stop and think, “Wow.” I love authors from this time period, but this is my favorite novel. The glitz, angst, intrigue, betrayal, gangsters, and obsession. I’m nerdy enough that I have a T-shirt with the original cover of The Great Gatsby and I wear it at least once a week.
5. What is the name of your blog and what can readers expect to find there?
I have two blogs. My 50 Year Project chronicles my challenge to visit 192 countries, read 1001 books, and to watch AFI’s top 100 movies. I started this blog when I was in a rut, only focusing on the bad: work, bills, and everyday stress. I started this blog to break out of my blahs and to focus on the things I love: books, movies, and travel.
My writing blog, Making my Mark, follows my ups and downs in self-publishing. I include guest posts, giveaways, and updates on my writing.
6. What does your drafting and/or editing process entail?
Um, to be honest, and I’m hesitant to answer, since Jeri is one of the editors I work with (and can’t live without), but my process is chaos! I start with a simple idea for a story. I’m not a fan of outlining a story so once I have an idea I sit at my laptop and hammer away. I don’t write the story from start to finish and I spend days rearranging bits I’ve written. To complicate things, I’m usually working on more than one project.
When I edit, I try to focus more. Sometimes I lock myself away in the pub (they serve tea, not just beer) and I read the draft and comments from beginning to end for several days. I even use a red pen, even though I hated it when my teachers did.
7. Are you traditionally published or self-published?
I self-published. After studying the market and publishers, it sounded like my best option. Publishing lesbian fiction as an unknown author meant more than likely I would have had to work with an extremely small publisher and while researching a handful of companies over a span of six months, two of the publishers closed and I heard that the other publishers relied almost solely on the author for marketing. I decided it would be best to do it all myself. However, I should note that I work with editors, proofreaders, e-book and paperback formatters, and a book cover designer. Self-publishing can be misleading and I’m fortunate to work with such a wonderful team of people.
8. Can you offer one or two helpful tips for fellow writers when it comes to marketing and publicity?
The best advice I can say is don’t give up. There will be bumps and bruises when venturing into the marketing world, such as getting turned down by book bloggers for reviews, but learn from your mistakes and keep going. It’s best to follow the trends in publishing and social media to find your marketing niche, but it’s also important to realize how quickly trends change. You have to adapt and try new things.
9. What future projects can we look forward to?
As I said earlier, I work on a few projects at a time, and currently I’m writing a prequel to my A Woman Lost series and I’m crafting a new adult lesbian novel. And I’m editing some short stories I’ve written over the years.
10. Is there anything else you want your potential readers to know?
I would like to take a moment to thank my wonderful partner. In 2011 her company transferred us from Boston to London and at the time I didn’t know what I would do. She said, “You’ve always wanted to be a writer, so write.” Without her nudge, I may not have realized my dream of publishing my stories. For that, I’ll always be grateful.
You can connect with T. B. Markinson and her social media websites via her blog.
Is there anything else you would like to know about T. B.? Also, I hope everyone has a great Fourth of July. I’ll be on vacation and no post will appear next Monday.
Permission must be granted by T. B. Markinson to use the images in this post.
I always love reading these interviews Jeri! T.B, it seems as though interesting lives make for the most interesting stories and you have the talent to convert one to the other. Bravo! And I love that your first real encouragement came from a teacher… I think then still way too undervalued. Your book sounds interesting. I’ll check it out:)
I don’t think teachers get enough encouragement and appreciated, not to mention pay. I’ve been fortunate and have had many wonderful teachers who’ve cheered me.
Great interview as always, Jeri & T.B.! I love the cover of The Miracle Girl 🙂
Thanks! I was wowed the first time I saw the cover.
Great interview, and always interesting to see someone who has explored smaller publishers – and of course written a lesbian novel! Thanks T.B. & Jeri.
I like smaller publishers. Probably because I’ve always cheered for the little guy. I have a habit of losing a lot of sport bets.
I always enjoy the author interviews. I liked hearing that T. B. Markinson is often working on different projects at the same time. I do that too but sometimes wonder if that dilutes focus. And a dog that is good at finding pubs! How cool is that!
I also worry about working on several projects and wonder about focus. But I also know when I’m stuck, I’m stuck and I rather make progress on something. And Miles is a wonderful dog. His latest pub find was awesome and we ended up spotting the royal baby on the way home from that pub.
It’s always great getting an insight into these authors via the interview platform. This one of course was great because of the authors love of travel. Something in common is always a great way to start.
It’s always a pleasure to meet someone who loves to travel. Do you have a favorite place? For me, it’s hard to choose, but I have to say Botswana, the landscape, the people, and the amazing animals was a once in a lifetime experience.
I think I’d really enjoy this story. I’m a former journalist and I closely follow the struggle of newspapers to survive. And I visit Denver pretty frequently where one of the two daily newspapers has folded and the other has shrunk pretty significantly.
Many years ago, I worked at a newspaper and I loved it. However, it was sad to see how it kept dwindling in size and prestige. I’m a firm believer in the power of the press, but it’s hard to see small and medium-sized papers surviving.
The Great Gatsby is one of my favorite books as well. I agree, you have a wonderful partner! Best of luck with the book – the cover is awesome! (happy vacation Jeri!)
Thanks so much!
The plot sounds intriguing …. Well, I guess an alternative sexuality is always interesting… Nevertheless, I am not sure if I should have used the adjective “alternative”, at least legally speaking, judging for the last achievements in USA as to equal marriage…. (wait… should I use the word “equal” here… ?)…
Well timed interview!… I much enjoyed the reading and I particularly liked the author’s answer to question number 2… All my best wishes, dear Jeri. Aquileana 😀
It was wonderful to hear the news about marriage last week. I live in London now, but I had my fingers crossed. Many countries are legalizing it and I was wowed when Ireland did so recently since they are a Catholic country. Exciting times.
I absolutely love the idea of the 50 year challenge. It makes me want to do something like that myself.
As far as the one note from your teacher inspiring you to be a writer- that just goes to show the real value in good teachers. That teacher probably has no clue all that has been created because of their single comment.
The 50 Year Project really helps me keep centered on the good stuff in life. And it’s fun to do the planning. If you start a project I wish you the best of luck.
As for my teacher, the sad thing is I can’t even remember her name it was so long ago, but I’ll always remember the note. When I close my eyes today I can still picture it. Good teachers don’t get enough praise. They do so much and play a vital role in society.
T.B., I love your 50-year challenge. Is “my challenge to visit 192 countries” based on an inclusive list of all the countries? It’s hard to keep up on the numbers of how many there are, and some use different methods of counting. I just wondered if you want to go see them ALL?! 🙂
I settled on 192 because at the time, the UN recognized 192 countries. I think the number is up to 193, but I haven’t made the change in my goal just yet. And yes, I would love to visit them all. Only time will tell if I succeed.
I love learning anything & everything about writing.
It lets me know I’m not alone in this crazy world.
Love the cover of your book, TB! I’d like that tattoo!
this is interesting: *** My 50 Year Project chronicles my challenge to visit 192 countries, read 1001 books, and to watch AFI’s top 100 movies***
Besides The Great Gatsby, what other books kicked your ass?
How about Great Movies.
What has been your all time fave. country?
I’m SOOO nosy!
Thanks, Jeri. You continually inspire!! xx
From my list, my favorite books so far have been: Cannery Row, Dracula, Frankenstein, All Quiet on the Western Front, The House of the Seven Gables, Mrs. Dalloway, Great Expectations, The Bell Jar, and Tipping the Velvet.
And the movies: Pulp Fiction, Goodfellas, Toy Story, The Apartment, and Bringing Up Baby
Favorite country is harder so I’ve been to so many different place. The first place that really knocked my socks off was Botswana. While there I saw so many animals I’d only see on Animal Planet or at the zoo. I even saw lions mating in the wild. Seriously, not sure if I’ll ever be able to top that experience.
I loved that the author has been to do many countries. I would love to do that. That’s is awesome that the teacher wrote that note at a young age. So encouraging. I think it is peaceful to write by the Christmas tree with the lights. Your book sounds interesting and you obviously live a great life with tons of inspiration. Wish you the best on your book! 😉
I live in such a tiny flat in London now, I can’t fit a Christmas tree. But there’s a Christmas market in Hyde Park every year and maybe I should try writing there while enjoying a brat and beer by a fire.
Wonderful interview Jeri and the book sounds really interesting. Haven’t been to London in nearly 10 years but it has always been one of my favorite places. I used to love to take the train into the countryside on the weekends to find interesting pubs and restaurants and meet up with friends and clients. My great grandparents were born somewhere in England and I even found the village where they lived courtesy of Ancestry.com. I keep telling myself one of these days I must go exploring there.
London is a fabulous city. We need to explore the countryside more. We did visit Edinburgh recently and that city was so much fun. And so many good pubs! My partner has some English ancestors. I should do some research. Might make for a good story. Hope you get a chance to come back and explore.
It seems to me with the recent legislation regarding same-sex marriage, this would be prime time for publishers to be interested in your book due to its genre. As both a traditionally published and self published author, I agree share your experience and tips about the marketplace. I wish you the best.
The timing is pretty good right now. It’s exciting to see all the changes, not just in the US. Gay marriage became legal in the UK recently and I was here. And Ireland just legalized it and I’ll be visiting Dublin in August. It’s wonderful to see and I hope the trend continues.
Thanks Jeri! I think one of my favorite editing conversations we’ve had is about rabbit turds. Sometimes I wish the readers could see all the conversations that occur behind the scenes. However, I am glad we stuck with rabbit turds instead of hamster turds. Just sounds funnier.
Have a marvelous trip and happy 4th of July.
Nice interview. It’s great to read that self-published authors reach out regarding other aspects of the book, such as editing, formatting, book covers, etc. We seem to still have this unprofessional stigma attached to us.
Traveling is one of the best story motivators. I love reading about new places and experiences.
Good luck, TB!
Self-Publishing is a deceptive term since so many think I do everything for myself. So not true. I work with wonderful people.
Teachers and parents are our strongest influencers aren’t they? Thanks for letting us know how you heard what your teacher said and followed your writing path.
Having published both ways – indie and small publisher – you are a MOST wise woman T.B. Congratulations on your new book!
I was lucky to have supportive people all along the way. Everyone needs people to believe in them. Thanks!
Good interview, Jeri, and grats to T.B.! It’s nice to know you had someone to nudge and support you while writing. 🙂
Hi Loni! I’ve been fortunate and have had many people support me along the way. It makes it much easier to know people believe in you.
It’s always encouraging to hear about how an author finds success – you seem to have a good formula! Also intrigued that you don’t follow an outline? That’s also encouraging, as your writing process mirrors my own (minus the pub!) Thanks for the uplifting words, and continued success!
I know there are those who swear by penning an outline first, but that is the best way to spur writer’s block for me. I’ve always hated being told what to do. Keep on writing and do it your way.
Another great article about an author. I like her suggestions about never giving up. I know my books sales are low, and I have trouble promoting, but I keep going. Thanks for sharing this with us.
I know how you feel, William. When I have a book sales drought, it can be discouraging, but I keep plugging away and then all of a sudden, sales and reviews pick up. It takes time. One day at a time and one sale at a time.
What a nice interview! I love the story of how her teacher appreciated her writing and said she’d be a writer someday. I tend to work on a variety of projects too. I don’t consider it to result in loss of focus because unlike multitasking, working on a variety of tasks, sequentially, lets me focus well and when I start to lose interest or creativity, to move to another and get focused again.
Many would probably quirk an eyebrow if they saw my desk and all the random notes about different projects, but working on so many at once helps me stay focused in an odd way. And like you said, it allows me a brief break when I hit a slump or the dreaded wall. For me, progress on anything makes me happy.
Another great interview. Good luck with your 50 yr project.
Thanks Jason. I’ll take all the luck I can get to accomplish the 50 Year Project. Off to Ireland next month!
T.B., loved this interview and I love your adventurous spirit! I preordered your book and wowza, gorgeous cover! I’m super jealous of your travel. 😉 I thinks it’s awesome you live in London – that would be amazing! Good luck with your release and launch.
great questions, Jeri!
I love the cover Erin designed! Thanks so much for the support.
Moving to London has been a wonderful experience. Just the other day I was walking my do through Kensington Gardens and I stopped and said, “I can’t believe I live here.” And I’ve been in London for four years. I still feel giddy about it.
I’m always so intrigued by your author interviews Jeri, and this one is no exception! I love seeing the pictures! And I got a chuckle at the bit about pubs serving tea as well as beer. 😉 Ah, the glamorous life of a writer!
In the past when I’ve mentioned that I like to work at the pub, people would give me a look that said, “Yeah, right.” But they do serve tea. And many don’t have televisions and it helps me focus away from home. My dog and cat can be downright demanding and distracting.
I’m happy to have found you through Jeri’s blog. Honestly I needed your inspirational advice when it comes to marketing, as I’m currently in my own rut pushing my self-published short read of a book. It’s so hard to NOT give up, though, since there are bills and other monetary things that need my attention.
My wife and I are also living abroad (Korea) and are prepping to move back home. Do you see you and your partner living in London for a long time or is her job a career that will send you two around the world?
Thanks for letting us into your life and writing process, though you were somewhat hesitant with the latter. I guess we all need a little chaos:)
I understand. Life gets in the way of most things, not just self-publishing. And it’s so hard not to give up. It’s something I deal with all the time. But then a sale or a review reminds me to keep going. Just keep going.
Right now, we’d love to stay in London, but that may not be feasible with the job. Things are a bit up in the air at the moment, which is stressful. Who knows what will happen.
Best of luck with your move. International moves are never fun. And good luck with your writing career.
I am reading your first book A Woman Lost. I find it intriguing. I find myself wanting to know more. I find myself yelling at the book at times and lauging at the charcters interactions. I also love your podcast I have listened to every episode