Friday, September 21, 2007

The Street Smarts Marketing Author’s Corner Features Elena Dorothy Bowman

This week’s featured author is Elena Dorothy Bowman. Elena writes in several genre's including: futuristic science fiction and mystery romance novels that have a touch of the paranormal running through them. Currently, she has written eight novels and one novella.

1. Tell us about yourself – where you are from, how you got started writing, what you do when you are not writing (or anything you want our readers to know)?

I grew up in Dorchester, Massachusetts with my parents and four brothers. Graduated from the local high school and went on to a secretarial school. It wasn't my choice, it was my parents. Since I was more interested in aeronautics I joined the local Civil Air Patrol to satisfy my obsession with flight, and yes, we did fly.

After graduating from the secretarial school I met and married my husband, and went to work for the United States Navy in Washington, D.C. with the Bureau of Ordinance. My husband, who is a Navy veteran, decided to enter Northeastern University, so we came back to Massachusetts and I took a position with the Department of The Army while my husband was earning his degree in Engineering.

After the birth of our second daughter I decided to stay home to raise our girls. In the following years the birth of my two sons added to our family. After the birth of our second son, we moved from my parent's home in Dorchester to our own home in Chelmsford, Massachusetts. Due to financial problems I went back to work for an aerospace company, and in doing so, entered their college program to earn a degree in Engineering and Management.

Graduating with honors, I was promoted to a software engineer in their Missile Division. I tested, researched and wrote technical papers dealing with the work I was engaged in. Meanwhile, my children were growing up and each have entered various colleges and earned degrees in Engineering, Physics, Gemology, Film, while one decided to change disciplines and is pursuing a degree in Law. My husband and I worked for the same company for more than 25 years, and we both retired at the same time. I now write full time.

I have been writing for over thirty years. I actually started writing when I was a teenager, although I didn't submit any of it for publication. I started to write in earnest as a challenge to myself. I really wanted to see if I could write a full-length novel, not just short stories or the technical papers that I was working on. The only professional organization I presently belong to is the National League of American PenWomen where I am the President of the Merrimack Valley Branch of the NLAPW.

2. What inspired you to write your first book?
I started writing fiction seriously during my lunch hours at work. I needed the diversion since most of my writing at that time was devoted to technical writing. With my first published novel, I guess it started with my smoking. Yes, I used to smoke. I don't now, haven't for many years. But one day while sitting in my office during a break, after a real rough morning, I lit a cigarette.

I watched the curled smoke from my cigarette rise toward the corner of the office disappearing into a crack in the wall. I watched this for several minutes wondering where the smoke was going. Was it just being swallowed up into the wall, or did it vanish into the nooks and crannies that were hidden from view and led to God knows where. Needless to say, my imagination took hold and before I knew it I was writing the first chapter to my science fiction/mystery/romance novel Sarah's Landing-I-Contact.

I have since taken the smoking aspect out of the story and replaced that part of it with a human being — the lead character — which ultimately led to the birth of four complete novels in The Sarah's Landing Series.

All four books in the series have been released in ebook format by Write Words, Inc., The print editions will be released by their imprint Cambridge Books.

3. How many books have you written?
At present, I have written eight full novels and one novella. All of my books have been published in ebook format by Write Words, Inc.'s Two are presently in trade paperback editions, with the others to be released by Write Words, Inc.'s Cambridge Books.

4. How do you decide on their topic?
With the first novel I wrote, I had already decided on a science fiction theme. Deciding on the title took more time than I thought it would, but I finally ended up with Sarah's Landing-I-Contact. I didn't expect to write a series, but that's what happened. Sarah's Landing became a four novel series. After I completed the first novel, the thought for the second, third, and fourth, novels just seemed to make themselves known and wanted to be written.

When the series was complete, I thought of trying a mystery, and that too, ended into a three-book series. The thought for another novel thrust itself forward when I wondered, what if the continent that existed in times past, didn't really completely disappear…that's when Time-Rift was born.

The novella was based on a true story.

5. What works best to keep you focused and on track?
When family members are busy doing their own thing and leave me be. Sometimes the afternoons are quiet enough to keep me focused. But now that the kids are up and out, as long as there isn't anything pressing, I can devote my time to writing.

6. Do you write to make money or for the love of writing?
Well I haven't been as successful as JK Rowling, so I guess it must be for the love of it. My husband says I'm obsessed.

7. What are some traditional methods of marketing you have used to gain visibility for you and your books?
Book signings at major book stores, Press Releases, interviews with local newspapers and television stations, Library Author Days, postcards, gift shops and word of mouth.

8. What are some unique methods?
Through the Internet with all the available opportunities I find. Writer's groups, some paying, some not, blogs, MySpace, gather, and many other avenues.

9. Do you sell through a website?
No, I sell through book signings, groups meetings, book stores and gift shops, neighbors I catch walking around the neighborhood and any other place I can.

10. Do you plan on writing additional books?
Yes, actually, I am close to completing one book and have another in the works. I would say the one I am presently working on might be considered science fiction or paranormal. The other I have in the works is more of a historical novel which could end up into a series. I am not too clear on that at this point in time.

(You can visit Elena's blog at

This interview was done in conjunction with Nikki Leigh, author of Book Promo 101 – and

Kathleen Gage
The Street Smarts Marketer

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