Thursday, June 5, 2008

A Page Out of Life Giveaway #1 and Ask the Author

Wow! I received ?? total entries for the first giveaway and some really GREAT answers to the question "How has scrapbooking enhanced the relationships in your life, either existing or new?".

But without further ado, the winner of the first copy of A Page Out of Life by Kathleen Reid is commentor number................

Congratulations, nachtstern!!

Nachtstern, please send me an email with your full name and address so that I can get your copy of A Page Out of Life out to you right away!

And now, I have a special treat for ALL visiting my blog today. Kathleen Reid, the author of A Page Out of Life herself, has agreed to visit and answer questions from A Matter of Memories readers - that's YOU!!

And don't dispair if you didn't win a free copy the first time around - you've got three more chances! The questions that you submit for Kathleen in the comments of this post will serve as your entry in the next drawing! Only one question per person please.

But if you'd like a way to double your chances to win, make a post to your blog about this giveaway (be sure to give them the link to this post and leave a separate comment here with a link to that post). Don't have a blog? You could also post a new thread in your favorite scrapbooking message board and do the same.

I will except new questions through Saturday, June 7th at 11:59 p.m. CST and the second random winner will be announced on Monday. (We've got to give Karen a little time to answer your questions. :-) ) Be sure to check back for the announcement!

I have a ton of questions for Kathleen myself, but wanted to leave the door open for YOUR questions. However, I did ask Kathleen two questions just to get things started.

JMP: I understand that this is your second novel. How did you get your start as an author?

KR: I had no idea it was going to be so hard to break into the publishing world years ago! It took more time and effort than I ever imagined.

My first break came when I won an award at a writer’s conference in 2003. That changed everything. I sent out ten letters the next day to literary agents and two of them expressed interest immediately. I also received another offer of publication from a small southern publishing house!

As much as I loved Paris Match, I really only reached a southern audience. It’s my goal for A Page Out of Life to develop a national readership for my work.

Also, I’ve been working on the craft of fiction writing for nearly fifteen years. I have three full length manuscripts collecting dust on my shelf!! That’s more than a thousand pages of material . . .

When I completed this manuscript, my agent shopped it to several major publishing houses. I was fortunate that my work caught the attention of the fiction team at Berkley Books (a division of Penguin) Working for a company like Penguin Books is a real honor for me.

JMP: Are you a scrapbooker? What is your experience with scrapbooking?

KR: My scrapbooking really evolved as I researched and wrote the novel.

Back in 2004 when I started A Page Out of Life, I had always made beautiful traditional albums for my husband for our anniversary every year; I had also done baby books for my kids.

I’m a regular at Ben Franklin in Richmond thanks to my kids’ school projects etc. I saw all of these scrapbooking supplies, stickers and letters displayed.

I started talking to friends, reading about scrapbooking in magazines and interviewing people (e.g. Creative Memories consultants, etc.) who shared their passion with me. Then, as my interest grew, I started to read everything I could get my hands on from the book Scrapbooking for Dummies to Scrapbooks etc. magazine.

It was an “aha!” moment in my research when first I realized (in 2004) that no one had done a work of fiction about scrapbooking and second, that scrapbooking was an art form. Suddenly, thanks to my strong art background, I felt confident enough to write about it. (I was a tour guide at our Virginia Museum of Fine Arts for five years and absolutely loved it!)

I probably think Ashley’s response, initial skepticism, and then her decision to plunge right in very much mirrors my own experience. I considered myself “craft challenged” at first, thinking I could not create anything pretty enough or good enough to match what I saw in magazines.

As I wrote each scene and studied different techniques, I became more and more intrigued. But it was my friends at Memories Galore here in Richmond that really taught me everything that I know today! They answered all of my questions and really helped me every step of the way as I researched over the years. I worked very closely with one particular teacher, Dawn Hobbs, who’s awesome.

A couple of months ago, I made a scrapbook for each of my characters without pictures that I’ve used on television several times. I’m thinking of creating an album BEFORE I write the next book- it would be really interesting to try this approach to my craft of fiction writing.

Now it's your turn...ask away!
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