Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author Cricket Rohman. She is the author of the School Days-Grimm Nights series.
Fiction, Mystery, Romance
Author Cricket Rohman
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Once upon a time . . . Cricket Rohman lived in Estes Park, Colorado, where deer, elk, and bobcats wandered by her home on a daily basis.
Before heading down the mountain to attend college in Greeley, Colorado, Cricket took up playing the guitar and sang with her brilliant brother's folk group, The Sundowners, and later, Friendship Sloop. During these singing years she was bitten by the show-biz bug and appeared in a few TV pilots, numerous commercials, and theatrical voice-overs. And, best of all, the writing bug began to nibble.
Prior to becoming a full-time author, Cricket's career path included the following jobs: audio/video producer, classroom teacher, school principal, and U of A, College of Education assistant professor.
"There is no doubt in my mind that the initial inspiration for my first novel, Kindergarten Baby, originated in my own kindergarten classroom. At first the story was going to be about a sweet kinder teacher . . . teaching. Well, one thing led to another, and there were days when plot details popped up that I didn't know I was capable of thinking. OMG! Where did that come from? I wondered. Some friends and family wondered, too."
SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author
Let’s start with what’s next. Do you have another book on the horizon? Rumor has it that you are writing a novel about an off-beat, adventurous, female protagonist. Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?
I am so glad you asked. My latest novel, Saving Madeline, is not only on the horizon, it is currently with my editor. A tease? My pleasure. Here you go— A naïve, though spunky young woman heads to L.A. to escape from her miserable life within a dysfunctional Midwestern family and to begin an “acting” career, but the unexpected arrival of a blind roommate and a woman with Alzheimer’s complicates her career plans. A ruthless drug dealer complicates them further putting her wilderness survival skills to the test. We hope to get this book picked up by one of the five major publishers, so it may take a while. We’ll see. I’m not known for my patience.
You have a good following on twitter. Since you started before the social media buzz, what impact has social media relationships had on your current success? How did you build your following in your niche? How much has it changed your book launch process?
I have a love/hate relationship with social media. I love being able to connect with so many wonderful people, but it takes time and focus away from writing. Having only a little over two years’ experience using social media, I learn something new every day with regard to how it all works. My debut novel launched in 2013, since then I’ve been striving to make my Internet communications interesting, informative and fun for my friends, my followers, my connections, my readers.
You do book signings, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? When and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?
I love all of the above. Visiting with readers in person—my favorite promotional (and learning) activity— makes all those solitary months living in the heads, hearts and emotions of my characters worthwhile. The energy and motivation I receive from current and future readers is amazing.
I’d be less than truthful, though, if I didn’t admit to a touch of nervousness at my first live TV interview on The Morning Blend in Tucson, especially when the hosts began to ask questions that were not on list I was given. Much of The Road Trip (Book 3 in the School Days-Grimm Nights Romantic Mystery Trilogy) takes place in Colorado. Several book signing/book talks are in the works for this summer and fall in and around Estes Park. We haven’t settled on the dates just yet. I usually create an Event on Facebook and Goodreads to announce signings and appearances. Believe it or not, my most successful signing took place in a parent/teacher supply store. So far, every teacher that comes in contact with the trilogy mentioned above “just has to have it.” The protagonist is an amazing teacher.
You have great covers. They carry a theme and your brand with them. How does your book cover creation process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach? Do you get your readers involved in its development?
I found a fantastic designer that loves the back and forth approach. We clicked immediately. I knew what I wanted as far as the content of each cover and shared that with the designer. She came up with several versions, I selected the one closest to my vision and we made modifications till we were both happy. I swear Jaycee (Sweet & Spicy Designs) can read my mind. I doubt that I will be allowed to maintain that level of control when it comes time to design Saving Madeline’s cover.
I like the idea of bundling a series of novels. You have put together a set of your novels called The School Days. What was the impact on your other sales? What was your main objective in bundling your novels?
My main objective was to offer readers another option, a great price, the entire trilogy in one click. So far I haven’t noticed any impact on the sales of any of my books. In all honesty, I’ve been so busy writing lately that I haven’t promoted the boxed set much. What I have noticed is that, other than a trickle, sales happen only when I promote. Where oh where is that book sales fairy godmother?
Between your book writing, marketing, family and all the other things that can get in your way, how do you manage your time? Do you have a set schedule or do your sort of play it by ear?
When it comes to writing, I am a morning person. The coffee machine is set for 5:45. If I’m not already awake, the tantalizing aroma of the tasty drink wakes me. I throw on my sweats, pour that first mug of coffee, and head to my home office. Because I had written myself a note the night before, I knew my writing goal for the day. So I power up my macbook, sit down, and begin. On a typical day I work on my current project until about three o’clock fighting the temptation to check facebook and twitter, etc. all the while. And then there’s my dog, Charlie.
December through May I write from my Tucson condo; From June through November, I write in a log cabin nestled in the Colorado mountains. I get more writing done at the cabin; the nearest small town is an hour’s drive away.
What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in any other type of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this? Did you run into any obstacles?
I have given paperback versions of my books to booksellers, my feedback readers, and a few readers that get everyone they know to purchase my one of my books (if only I had that kind of sales talent). I tried two giveaways on Goodreads and was happy with the number of readers that signed up for the giveaway. When I published my first full-length novel, Kindergarten Baby, I was able to get BookBub to list it (for free). Of course I didn’t make a dime, but it really launched my future sales as well as reviews.
Do you maintain a reader list? What are the methods you use to find your readers and create the list and the relationship? Do you use social media, forums, newsletters and/or support groups to build your list?
I hope you ask all of the authors you interview this question. I have a lot to learn in this area. I do maintain a list; a list that is in dire need of lengthening. I have high hopes that I will meet knew people through my recently created blog. I truly do love to talk with readers and I welcome any connection whether through any of the social media outlets or my email.
I like your blog. You do a great job keeping readers informed, marketing your books and you have some funny posts. What is your primary goal?
Thanks. I’m delighted that you like it. My blog is not a writer’s blog (so many writers have those). It is a blog for anyone looking for a quick, entertaining read and a glance at something interesting, colorful, or laughable. I should have called it the One-Minute Blog. Its real title is: Love, Laughter, and Life’s Little Mysteries. I don’t try to sell books on my blog, though the easy-to-use book links are there, should someone be so inclined. My goal is to have conversations with people all over the world, and maybe, just maybe, someday, they will like me enough to read one of my books.
This year’s Tucson Festival of Books was a great event, enjoyed by thousands. A Book festival is a unique selling situation. How did you prepare for the festival? Did it meet your goals? If you had to do something different next year, what would that be?
I love the Tucson Festival of Books! So proud to be part of it. Because I’ve participated in signings before, I had most of what I needed for this event. I just restocked books, business cards, and bookmarks. The only downside this year was my location. Being set up on the inside of a large booth, I missed much of the aisle traffic and, therefore, had fewer people to talk with. Before next year’s festival arrives I will have created a banner for my display table and an entertaining presentation/session to offer the festival coordinators. Stay tuned!
Hit The Road, Jake! - The Lindsey Lark Series Book 3
Thrilling, romantic, and sprinkled with humor, HIT THE ROAD, JAKE! reinvents the ‘buddy movie’ concept with the written word … and a pretty woman. Jake and Lindsey are good at tracking down offenders responsible for petty theft and blackmail, but when new mysteries become personal—slashed tires, spattered blood, steamy love letters, a stolen pet—everything changes.
Who is this enemy that secretly harasses them from town to town? Jake calls in some favors and manages to finagle the DNA testing of several blood samples. The results are shocking, and the dangers they face become deadly.
Practically newlyweds, the couple thought they’d created the perfect win-win plan. While traveling between Tucson and Estes Park in their RV, Jake would solve embarrassing mysteries that schools wished to keep under wraps, and Lindsey, being the ‘cover’ for their presence, would conduct workshops for teachers. Then all hell broke loose.
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Letters, Lovers, & Lies - The Lindsey Lark Series Book 2
Mysterious, romantic, and sprinkled with a few heartwarming students and a delightful dog, LETTERS, LOVERS, & LIES captures the importance of persistence and the power of love. Jake and Lindsey are in love, but so much stands in their way. Letters from a dead man. Unwanted advances from a transgender acquaintance. Separation and jealousy. A few things in the couple’s favor? They are smart, multi-talented, and they love to laugh.
Lindsey Lark, keynote speaker, goes on tour while her boyfriend, Jake, writes a detective novel. Sounds simple enough, but a mystery soon dominates their lives when bizarre notices of her ex-husband’s funeral arrive. Foul play is suspected and murder is on someone’s mind.
Lad, a retired Secret Service agent, is Lindsey’s right-hand man for the duration of the tour. He’s handsome, he’s a man of few words, and, as the list of threats lengthens, he takes on the role of bodyguard, much to Jake’s dismay.
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Wanted: An Honest Man - The Lindsey Lark Series Book 1
With a little mystery and a little romance, WANTED: AN HONEST MAN captures the bittersweet growth of a young woman trying to make sense of her turbulent life. Lindsey, a beautiful, talented teacher is a fighter and a positive thinker, but after the man of her dreams betrays her, then steals her beloved dog, she struggles. Strange, threatening phone calls begin to haunt her. A stalker, perhaps?
Though she doesn’t want to be alone, she isn’t ready to go looking for new love, but men find her anyway. A handsome college student involved in some tricky human research gets into trouble in more ways than one. His inherent propensity to play detective, though helpful at times, seems to attract Murphy and his darned Law far too often … and now his eyes are on Lindsey. Will his heart follow?
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