Guest Author: Niki Barrie

My guest today is Niki Barrie, author of children’s book Clover and the Twins. Niki’s real-life passion for animals inspired her not only to write this story, but to donate 10% of her book proceeds to Dogs Forever. Take a look at what she has to say.

If you are interested in participating in the program, you can submit here.

Niki Barrie

1. Tell us your name, and a link to where we can find you (blog, Facebook, etc).

Nicoletta (Niki) Barrie

Blog:  http://cloverandthetwins.wordpress.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/BookCloverAndTheTwinsTheSearchForTheCloverleafDogs?ref=hl  (my book page)

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/niki.barrie.9

I’m also on linked in and have a professional website at loupemedia.com

2. How many books have you written? This can include both published and unpublished works. Describe each of them in 1-2 sentences apiece (if published, feel free to include the links as well).

Just one fiction. It was released in January. The link on Amazon.com is:  http://www.amazon.com/Clover-Twins-search-Cloverleaf-dogs/dp/1480175102/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1365794610&sr=1-1&keywords=clover+and+the+twins

clover_frtcover Short description:  A marathon of a book with twists and turns that take you from Chicago to Dobbs Ferry across the country and back to Chicago again. All the while an evil villain pursues his prey, the adopted dog of twins Channel and Bezel Sini. When the girls arrive in Chicago, the last stop on their promotional tour for Dogs Forever rescue organization, Clover falls into peril and the twins must come to her rescue. Will love and human kindness prevail?

3. Tell me a little bit about your current WIP.

I am about to start a sequel to Clover and the Twins: The Search for the Cloverleaf Dogs, tentatively titled Clover and the Twins: The Cloverleaf Dogs Go to Therapy.

This new book will cover the dogs becoming therapy dogs and that whole process and weave into that a new villain called Dr. B.B. Einstein, who claims the dogs are his “property.”

4. What does writing preparation look like for you? Do you do full outlines and character profiles, or do you just start with a general idea and write?

I just start writing and sometimes not in the beginning but in the middle or in pieces. With the first Clover book, I built character profiles first but it wasn’t until the editing process that I really got serious about distinguishing one twin from the other and even one dog from the other.

 5. Editing is a challenge for many writers. Give us some of your tips for editing efficiently and well.

Editing is my strength. I have been a working editor for more than 20 years. The best advice I can give is to edit out anything that doesn’t go anywhere. For example, you don’t need to explain that Pottstown, USA is a village of 17,000 people whose lives revolve around a fading steel industry IF the industry doesn’t figure into the rest of the book and you only spend one chapter in Pottstown, then maybe you only need to say Pottstown is a small village. Also, spelling is important, because misspellings take away from your credibility. And lastly, be consistent–in the personalities of your characters; in the attributes you give any person, place or thing.

6. Research is another challenge writers face, but is an important part of the writing process. What are some of your research tips?

I keep clipping files on anything I think I might need or could use. My newspapers and magazines are always filled with holes from my clipping articles out of them. I keep a file on my computer for ideas and another for background for the Clover series; that’s where I put stuff I find on the internet just in passing and also stuff I go out and look for.

7. if you have been published (self or traditionally), what type of marketing did you find worked the best for you? What was the least helpful?

Mine is a children’s book – an adventure novel for kids 8-up. Marketing is not my strong suit, but I think gatherings have worked the best for me–readings to classrooms, libraries, in book stores and at book launch parties.

I need to find out how to get my book in libraries. Apparently, it’s not easy.

8. What genre do you write in? What are some of the challenges to writing this particular genre well?

I am writing for kids 8 up. I don’t really know what the challenges are. I can’t think about anything but getting the words out when I write so my vocabulary at times might be too much for young kids. It’s ok if they’re reading on kindle because then it’s easy to look up a word they don’t understand. I do try to use words and phrases that you can guess what they mean, like “preposterous” or “in a pickle”. I like using unusual, maybe not so overused words and phrases like these because I think they’re fun and I think kids might think they’re fun too.

9. What advice would you give to a writer who is starting out

Never be afraid to ask questions. Join organizations that will help you on your path. Take advantage of anyone who shows an interest in helping you…you need mentoring though I don’t think it all has to come from one person. And read, read, read. Find out what you like to read and why.

A lot of writers will say write about what you know, but I would rather say write about what you want to know about. Explore the world with your writing. Learn and teach.

10. What are your writing, editing, marketing, and research goals for 2013?

Do the research on therapy dogs so I can write about it intelligently. Finish my second book with less editing by maybe creating an outline first (which I can change at any time–nobody’s looking over my shoulder). Learn more about marketing.

 11. Pretend I am from a publishing house and you are looking for me to take on one of your books. Pitch it to me in 1-2 paragraphs.

My first book was an epic tale with twists and turns on every page. The sequel has more of a balance between calm meaningful moments during dog therapy training and moments of conflict between the dogs or the twins and Dr. B.B. Einstein. Dr. Einstein claims that the Cloverleaf Dogs belong to him and when his efforts in court don’t bring the desired results, he takes to other measures to get what he wants.

12. Finally, is there anything else you would like your readers to know?

Yea, I love dogs and I hate hearing about/seeing animal abuse–dog fighting, abandoning animals or starving them and much more. Those are the reasons I wrote my first book and the reasons I’ll write my second. I’ve used the name of the animal rescue Dogs Forever in my book and that is a very real organization to which I am contributing 10% of my sales of the first book. I wrote a little ebook  called, What You Need to Know before You Adopt a Dog, which is available FREE on Dogs Forever’s website at http://dog-rescue-iowa.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/How-to-Choose-a-Dog.pdf

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