Zobie Marsh hides the fearsome talent of prophecy. Young, poor and grieving the loss of her beloved Black Gram, she leaves home suddenly to avoid the advances of her mother’s latest boyfriend. Her decision to travel to South Carolina sets in motion Heavenscribe, a spiritual transformation devised by angels to aid a dying world.
Bel Petersen seems to have it all: ample means, a loving marriage and a rewarding family life. But she’s suffered through a year of unexpected deaths, and near-constant nightmares that portend the downfall of civilization. Now she’s visiting Health Presbyterian daily as Milly battles a relentless bone cancer sure to end their decades-long friendship in a matter of weeks.
One evening as Bel unlocks her car in the hospital’s parking lot, four ambulances stream toward the Emergency entrance. There’s been a horrific traffic accident. She’s shocked to discover one of the victims didn’t make it into an ambulance—and he’s bleeding out in the passenger seat of a high school student’s car. Bel sends the student running to the hospital for help, and tends to the grievously injured man.
His dying words will lead her to Zobie, and reveal the spiritual awakening they must undertake together. If they fail, The Dimming will consume every human soul on the planet.
–Heavenscribe, Part One (synopsis)
As a relatively new resident in South Carolina, I recently had the privilege of meeting the well-respected and accomplished local author Ms. Christine Nolfi, who has amassed a dedicated following in the United States and around the world. Her twelfth novel, Heavenscribe, just published, has been an immediate success on the eBook scene.
We met for coffee in Mt. Pleasant. I found her to be open, forthright, encouraging and more than willing to share her experiences and wisdom in the field of writing and publishing. Her answers provide wonderful insights into the life of a successful writer.
What inspired you to believe you could write your first novel, Treasure Me?
Like many authors, I began writing in early childhood. This translated into work as a freelance writer. By my thirties, I’d opened a small PR firm. Soon after adopting my four children, I took the leap and began writing fiction.
I believe everyone deserves a second chance, a do-over, an opportunity to build a better life despite setbacks and obstacles. –Christine Nolfi
Is there a message in your work you want readers to grasp?
I’ve been called the queen of the redemption story. I believe everyone deserves a second chance, a do-over, an opportunity to build a better life despite setbacks and obstacles. In my newest series, Heavenscribe, I take these themes to a global level. The novel is mainstream with elements of magical realism—a departure from my romantic women’s fiction novels.
How do you work your storyline? Do you use an outline, or just write?
Last month I participated in creative roundtable with two other novelists to discuss the process in wonderful detail. The video aired at London Book Fair; you can view it on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmVFnqfr9l4
Are experiences in your work based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
In subtle ways, surely. Readers of every genre have certain expectations, and as an author, you must meet those expectations for any hope of success. In the case of more mainstream fiction, readers demand a writing style rich in emotion, with striking visuals and deep symbolism. They don’t want a surface read. If they aren’t quickly immersed in the story and the conflict, they’ll move on to another novel. To put it another way: readers demand a rich emotional experience, which I strive to supply book after book.
During the first 100 pages it’s easy to conduct a normal 9-to-5 routine. By page 250, all bets are off. I wake in the middle of the night with half of a scene spilling from my subconscious and hurry to my computer. –C. N.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Knowing when to stop working and break for the day. I get utterly caught up in the characters’ lives. During the first 100 pages it’s easy to conduct a normal 9-to-5 routine. By page 250, all bets are off. I wake in the middle of the night with half of a scene spilling from my subconscious and hurry to my computer. Midway through dinner I leap up to scramble for pen and paper because I’ve suddenly solved a story problem.
It becomes rather silly. Fortunately my family is very understanding.
How can readers get access to and buy your books?
Presently I publish on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo. Soon I’ll add GooglePlay. I have many reader-friends on Goodreads, and they’re among the first to hear of a new release. I also have a private reader group on Facebook where I host special giveaways and contests. If you’re an avid reader and would like to join my private reader group, please send mail to email@example.com with Private Reader Group in the subject line.
Share some of your successes on e-book sales and how the market has changed in favor of e-book sales.
The advent of eReading means books are no longer pulled off shelves within months of publication. A reader can discover my work at any time, and quickly download past releases. The biggest problem readers now encounter? How to discover books worth reading. This is where high review scores and Goodreads recommendations become very helpful.
Find a specific time of day to write, even if only for a few minutes. –C. N.
What are some specific recommendations to new or aspiring authors about self-publishing?
Find a specific time of day to write, even if only for a few minutes. Join a critique group to improve your skills. Don’t diminish your well being by pulling all-nighters pounding out fiction. This isn’t a college exam. Producing your best work comes with time, reading often and well, and having the courage to put emotion on paper.
There’s also a dizzying amount of advice now available, much of it less than useful. Build a fan base one reader at a time. Meet with local book clubs or join groups on Goodreads tailored to your genre. Begin a mailing list, and encourage new readers to sign up. There isn’t “one right way” to success.
Final words of wisdom for all aspiring and accomplished writers?
Carve out time each week to write the next book. Nothing assures success like a healthy backlist of well-received titles. Find a great editor and trusted beta readers. Query respected book blogs to review your books. Stay in touch with readers through Facebook, Goodreads, your mailing list, Twitter—again, find what works for you.
For other tips on book marketing, please visit “Help for Writers” on christinenolfi.com
Award-winning author Christine Nolfi provides readers with heartwarming and inspiring fiction. Her debut, Treasure Me, is a Next Generation Indie Awards finalist. The Midwest Book Review lists her books as “highly recommended” and her novels have enjoyed bestseller status. She has also written the manual for writers Reviews Sell Books. Look for her new series, Heavenscribe, which is her eighth novel to be published, and is Part One in this series. Heavenscribe: Part Two will be released on May 26th and then Part Three will be available in June.
GoodReads Author Page: http://tinyurl.com/7e2xgjq
FaceBook Author Page: http://tinyurl.com/c3sf4yv
Amazon Author Page: http://tinyurl.com/9due77l
What authors inspire you to grow in your writing? When is the last time you reached out to a fellow writer to connect, encourage and learn from one another?