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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."

_______________________________________

ASP: You had a successful career in advertising. What made you decide to become a novelist?

MJR: I had stories to tell that were longer than 30 seconds.

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 self-published books?

MJR: I developed a niche marketing plan to go after potential readers and worked at it tirelessly for months.

It's 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.

Yes, 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 Russia 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 researched together.

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 an obsession.    

ASP: This is your 9th novel. What is different about this book from your others?

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 about it?

MJR: THE REINCARNATIONIST is equal parts modern-day thriller, historical fiction and love story. With one foot in present-day Rome and New York and another in Rome 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:

"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 Rome 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 Reincarnationist 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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