The Literary Life and How To Live It
by Anthony S. Policastro
An Interview with MJ Rose, author of "The Reincarnationist"
Author MJ Rose believes so, along with 60 million others in America and this partly inspired her to write, THE REINCARNATIONIST, her ninth book, a suspenseful historical thriller about gripping revelations on humanity and beyond.
This book, released on Sept. 1, appears to have been smoldering inside of MJ all of her life as she tells how it started although she didn't know it would be a book one day. "When I was
three years old, I told my great grandfather things about his childhood in that there was simply no way I could have known. He became convinced I was a reincarnation of someone in his past. Over time, after more incidents, my mother - a very sane and logical woman - also came to believe it."
I had stories to tell that were longer than 30 seconds.
You had a successful career in advertising. What made you decide to become a
ASP: Your first novel LIP SERVICE was originally rejected by traditional
publishers, discovered online and became the first self published novel to
become a Featured Alternate Selection at both the Doubleday Book Club and The
Literary Guild. It was released as a hard cover via Pocket Books in September of
1999. What are some of the things you did to make it one of the most successful
MJR: I developed a niche marketing plan to go after potential readers and
worked at it tirelessly for months.
pretty much all in a non-fiction book I've written with Doug Clegg – BUZZ
YOUR BOOK and in a class I teach every January with the same name. Sign
up is open now as a matter of fact and all the things I did, I now do for
other authors via my marketing company, AuthorBuzz.
ASP: Would you recommend this path to other authors?
MJR: To self-publish, no. To use the marketing service I've developed,
yes. I work with many of the top publishing companies including Simon &
Schuster, Random House and many best selling authors.
Self-publishing is overcrowded. With over 100,000 books being churned out a year
and no viable way to get the attention of readers or booksellers and competing
with the 75,000 books being published by traditional houses that have
distribution muscle and sales forces that the stores listen to, it's daunting.
there are success stories. About 20 of those 100,000 get noticed by the big
houses a year, but there are better ways.
ASP: What caused you to write about reincarnation?
MJR: When I was three years old, I told my great grandfather things about
his childhood in
that there was simply no way I could have known. He became convinced I was a
reincarnation of someone in his past. Over time, after more incidents, my mother
- a very sane and logical woman - also came to believe it.
So, reincarnation was an idea I grew up with, that my mom and I talked about and
At some point, the idea to write a novel about the subject was just there, the
way ideas seem to suddenly appear. And then for years, I flirted with the idea
of writing a novel about someone like my mother, who started out skeptical but
came to believe in reincarnation. But I kept putting it off, afraid that if I
did people would think I was a "woo woo weirdo."
A few years ago, on the exact anniversary of my mom's death, my niece said
some very provocative things to me about my mother - things she really
couldn't have known. That's when the pestering idea to write this novel became
ASP: This is your 9th novel. What is different about this book from your
MJR: When I was growing up, there were either good books or not such good
books - I didn't know about genres. And honestly, that's all I've ever
tried to do: write good books. But they all fall into slightly different genres.
So up till now I've stayed in the present time and written a lot of novels
with therapists as the main characters and had a lot to do with sex.
This is my first suspense novel with a historical element and that takes place
on a much bigger stage and doesn't have as much to do with sex, but rather
with the idea of reincarnation.
I think one of the problems right now for readers is how segmented books are and
how many terrific books aren't exposed to the full spectrum of readers because
of the marketing that's being done. For instance, what's REBECCA by Daphne
Du Maurier? Suspense? Romantic suspense? Mystery? General fiction? It gives me a
headache, and I'm in the biz. I can't imagine how crazy it must be for the
readers who don't realize how manipulated the system is.
ASP: What do you hope to accomplish with THE REINCARNATIONIST?
MJR: That I've written a novel that will keep someone turning the pages
but that when they're done reading the book they'll be left with something
to think about and will feel its been time well spent.
ASP: Was this book difficult to write?
MJR: Learning how to do the historical research and use it efficiently
and not get bogged down in it was complicated and took more time than I expected
but it was a great challenge.
ASP: What's THE REINCARNATIONIST about and how can we find out more
MJR: THE REINCARNATIONIST is equal parts modern-day thriller, historical
fiction and love story. With one foot in present-day
and another in
some 1,600 years ago, my story is about two worlds consumed by the fires of
intrigue and passion.
There are book trailers,
interviews with me, and a BookExpo podcast
about the book and a lot more info about the novel at my website.
I've even started a blog
devoted to the subject of reincarnation.
ASP: And what's the buzz on the book?
MJR: I'm really lucky that both the Library Journal and Publishers
Weekly gave it starred reviews and it is a Book
Sense pick for September. It also got three and half stars out of 4 in
People Magazine. They said: "Rose's ninth novel has intricate plotting,
erotic tension and a didn't-see-it-coming denouement."
New York Times Bestseller author Douglas Preston
wrote about THE REINCARNATIONIST:
by M.J. Rose has got to be one of the most original and exciting novels I've
read in a long time, with a premise so delicious I'm sick with envy I didn't
think of it myself. The novel's exhilarating story sweeps the reader across
the centuries, from ancient
to the present day, with stops in between. It will open your mind to some of
the incredible mysteries of the past and the greatest secrets of existence. The
is more than a page-turner—it's a page-burner. Don't miss it."
About the Interviewer
Anthony S. Policastro has been writing all his life first as a journalist, editor, and professional photographer and then as a freelance writer with his work published in The New York Times, Oceans, Diversion, and American and Popular Photographer magazines. He was also the editor-in-chief of Carolina Style magazine, a regional lifestyle publication similar to Southern Living magazine with national distribution. He is currently writing his fourth novel.
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Interview with Algonkian attendee, Greg Haas: "I could tell a story about how the process works. Fiction gave me a chance to go where non-fiction wouldn't let me…inside people at both ends of the political food chains heads. The final inspiration came from a strange place Karl Rove spent a great deal of time."
Interview with Algonkian attendee, Candy Somoza: "The preparation work got us thinking about the book in the store, how it got there, what makes it sell. While we read works and studied the writing, we also focused on the outside, so to speak, the marketing, and that was essential to prepare us."
Interview with Algonkian attendee, Barbara Marquart: I also wanted to tell a story that celebrates the deep bond between mothers and daughters - the struggles we all face to transcend our circumstances, forgive each other's failures and accept each other's limitations in order to find peace.
Interview with Algonkian attendee, author Thierry Sagnier: "I was stuck, hadn't done any serious writing for months, and a friend of mine—also a writer—suggested I attend a workshop to kickstart me. So I looked on the net and found that there were quite a few places that offered what I wanted, but when I researched the Algonkian conference, I recognized the name of a reporter I really respect. He'd been there and was highly complimentary, so that sealed it for me."
Interview with Algonkian attendee, Rae Bryant: "After completing the first draft of Ficklestick's , I wanted professional guidance and a community of writers to help me marinate the work. It was important to me as a first time novelist to seek feedback before finalizing the intricacies. By retaining a sense of early process malleability, I was able to really hear criticisms and then incorporate skills learned. Algonkian provided the perfect setting."
Interview with Algonkian attendee, author Julie Kaewert: "Because I was changing agents, I knew it was important to learn how to package the MS effectively ... When I saw the Seven Mountains Writers Conference on the website, it looked like just the thing. In fact, it far exceeded my expectations in every way."
Interview with Algonkian attendee, Alex Keto: "I've been to handful of other conferences and decided that if you find yourself in a large room with someone almost out of eyesight in the front talking at you, the results are what you would expect: generic advice that doesn't really help."