Monday, June 15, 2015

Molly Greene - An Author Interview in the HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Mystery Author Molly Greene. She is the author of the Gen Delacourt Mystery series. 

Author Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Suspense

Website: Molly Greene: Writer - Blogger & Author, Gen Delacourt Mysteries
Twitter: @mollygreene
E-Mail: authormollygreene (at) gmail (dot) com
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Google+: Check Out Google+
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Amazon Author Profile

Author Description:
Hi readers! I'm a blogger and author of both fiction and non-fiction. My titles include Blog It! The author's guide to building a successful online brand (blogs based on WordPress), and the Gen Delacourt Mystery Series: Mark of the Loon, The Last Fairytale, Paint Me Gone, A Thousand Tombs, Swindle Town, Lock the Cellar Door, and Midnight at Half Moon Bay (out soon).

I currently live in the mountains outside San Diego, California, the city where I was born and raised - but I LOVE Northern California so much that I use various Bay Area locations as the setting for my fiction series. Meanwhile, I write about my life and self-publishing topics at Stop by and say hello!

Each Gen Delacourt Mystery works well as a standalone story…

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

Congratulations on your book: Lock the Cellar Door. Rumor has it that you have another book on the horizon called Midnight at Half Moon Bay. Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?

Thank you! Yes, I’m currently at work on Midnight at Half Moon Bay, Book 7 in my Gen Delacourt Mystery Series, and I hope to release it October 1, 2015. Here’s a snippet from the scene that introduces one of the main characters, Captain Heywood McDuffy, a.k.a. “Duff.”

Gen Delacourt glanced around the packed bar. It was midday Saturday and she watched as the lunch crowd poured in, getting ready to explode the seams of the small eatery. Then someone tapped her shoulder and she pivoted on the stool.

A fiftyish man stood there, wearing shorts and a Hawaiian shirt and a faded ball cap that was once khaki but now bleached to bone. He had a little paunch, barely visible beneath the untucked Aloha, but it wasn’t his gut that interested her. It was his face, brown as a nut and wrinkled into a map of the world. He looked as if he’d spent his life on the water. Gen figured his dermatologist saw dollar signs just looking at him.

“Heywood McDuffy,” he said, and stuck out his hand. “Thanks for coming.”

You have a good following on twitter. How important have your social media relationships been? How did you build your following in your niche? Do you see a carry over to your writing success?

I fired up my blog and twitter account simultaneously in early 2011 and worked hard to build them both. But I made an error back then that is common to new authors on social media: I wrote blog posts almost exclusively for writers. I didn’t have a book out yet, I didn’t have readers or fans, so at the time it just made sense to share what I was learning with my peers. My posts became popular among other authors who were also trying to navigate the self-publishing learning curve, and they followed me on twitter and subscribed to my blog.

These author-to-author relationships have been ultra-important to me in terms of learning and support, and while some of my blog readers are also fans of my books, I can’t say my blog success has helped sell my titles the way some other successful authors’ social media efforts have worked for them. But I wouldn’t change a thing!

Do you do any book signings, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? If so, when and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?

I have never done a book signing because I have not created print versions of my books! It’s difficult for self-published authors to get into bookstores, except locally. So far, no personal appearances or speaking gigs (acccckkk!). I’ve been busy – I published three books in the past twelve months, and this online interview is the first I’ve done in almost a year. It’s time for me to get out more! Until then, my personal Facebook page or my Reader’s Club is the best way to get news.

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?

Thank you! My background is in sales support – flyers, ad copy, etc. – so I know enough Photoshop to get myself in trouble. A professional cover artist did the first cover for Book 1, Mark of the Loon, when I published it back in 2011, and it was gorgeous. But after a while, I fooled around with another cover idea – the one I currently use – and liked it so much I decided to create my own going forward. My first cover design was the most challenging; after that the brand was in place, and each successive cover was a matter of finding proper images and adding the new title.

I love to create a first draft cover idea before I ever begin a book, so I browse stock images for inspiration. Sometimes a single photograph will inspire a title and a plot idea! (I use Dreamstime and Depositphotos stock image sale sites to search for images, they’re both very reasonable.) To date, I haven’t gotten readers involved in my plots or covers, but I hope to in the future.

You have a reading group signup on your site. Do they help you with feedback about your novels, provide reviews and increase sales? How can readers find you there?

I rely on my two trusted beta readers to provide feedback on works in progress, then a handful of my Reader’s Club members receive advance review copies of unpublished books and read and review for me. My goal is to have 100 ARC readers, and have 100 reviews posted within two weeks of each new book launch. So anyone who is interested in being an advance reader should email me right NOW!

As for feedback on novels, I include my email address in the back of every book and invite readers to send me a message about their thoughts, what they liked and didn’t like about a particular book, and what they’d like to see happen to the characters in the future.

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’ve done half a dozen free promos, and only a couple of 99 cent promos. And I’m in KDP Select, so scheduling free or 99 cent days is simple. Since December 2014 I’ve been fortunate to have been included in BookBub promotions four times. So far, they’ve only accepted my titles for free giveaways, so I have yet to try them out on a 99 cent promotion – looking forward to seeing the results of that one day.

My personal experience with free giveaways has been fabulous, but gauging success depends on an individual author’s goals. My primary objective with freebies is to build reviews, and for some reason, free giveaways generate more reviews than 99 cent promotions. My secondary goal with any promo is to sell other titles in the series, the third goal is to build my Reader’s Club email list.

I like the way you capture your reader list by offering something as a reward for signing up? How successful has your approach been? Have you seen an uptick in sales? What ways do you use your list?

I actually have two lists, the first one for subscribers to my blog, which is mainly other authors. I offer a free twitter tip sheet and a sign-up incentive for blog subscribers, and to date have about 1800 subscribers. I definitely saw an increase in sign-ups when I offered that giveaway as an incentive to subscribe. I use that list to send a blog excerpt every week, and included in each email is a link to my fiction novels.

I just started my Reader’s Club list at the end of 2014 and, so far, I have only used it to announce the launch of Swindle Town in February 2015, and again last week for the launch of Lock the Cellar Door. Eventually I must write a short story or a novella or some kind of giveaway to subscribers of that list, but I haven’t done it yet.

You have a great blog. You do a great job keeping readers informed, marketing your books and providing useful information to other writers. What is your primary goal? And where in the world do you find the time to create great novels, take care of the social media and maintain your blog? (See Molly’s book ‘Blog It’ below.)

Thanks! My primary goal with my blog is to share what I – and other authors – have learned in the self-publishing process, and where we’ve succeeded and failed. As of January 2015, I’ve brought in more guest bloggers and am stepping back a bit from posting my own articles every week so I can focus on writing novels. I also spend less “real time” on twitter than I used to. Because, to answer your question, it’s a challenge to find time for all of it, and writing more books must take priority!

What is your method of getting reviews for your novels? Do you seek professional reviews, use social media or do you rely on your reading audience to supply them?

Reviews make all the difference. Last year I queried a million book bloggers to request reviews and it was tough and time consuming. Once I got accepted to BookBub that plan went out the window, as free book giveaways can generate dozens of reviews. So now I rely on my handful of ARC readers to post the first ten or so reviews, and then wait a while for readers to fill in the next twenty. Once I have 30 reviews, I submit the book to BookBub as a free giveaway, and over the next couple of months following that promotion, the title typically accrues 100 reviews. That’s my method in a nutshell!

Tell us about the services you provide for Blogging and Coaching? How can readers find out more about the services you provide?

I offered blog coaching services until the end of 2014, when I decided to funnel all my time into writing more books in my series. Last year I wrote three, and I’m on schedule to write and publish three more in 2015. The only way I can do that is to focus on the writing, almost to the exclusion of everything else. But my blog still contains all kinds of information designed to help bloggers make a go of their own websites, and authors navigate the stormy waters of the self-publishing process. And it’s free!

Author's Book List
Lock the Cellar Door - Gen Delacourt Mystery Book 6
Detective Gen Delacourt’s life is perfect … until a ceiling collapses on her fiancé during an earthquake. The resulting head injury leaves him tormented and remote, with little recollection of their relationship. All he remembers is the image of a woman in a window and the desperate sound of her sobbing. Frantic and alone, Gen turns to fellow private investigator Devlin Boyle for help. Together they unearth the mystery of Mack’s presence in the mansion, why he is now terrified of the dark, and who was weeping. Will Mack recover?

Order the Book From: Amazon

Swindle Town - Gen Delacourt Mystery Book 5
Gen Delacourt is plunged deep into San Francisco’s exclusive, high-end bar scene when she’s hired to find a rash of missing wine bottles. As the mystery unfolds, her search leads away from the wayward empties and into the moneyed lair of a hidden extortionist. Everyone she encounters is wearing a mask, and the players’ deception spells danger for Gen, and, finally, pits her between two women who want the same man. Can she save Shiloh James, childhood friend of the man she loves?

Order the Book From: Amazon

A Thousand Tombs - Gen Delacourt Mystery Book 4
Private Investigator Gen Delacourt and brand-new boyfriend Mack Hackett are about to walk into a restaurant when a teenage boy barrels down the sidewalk and into their lives. Luca Torello is circumspect about who he was running from and why, but the story slowly comes out. It involves an ancient coin, a pawn shop, and a group of Italians caught up in an intrigue as old as life itself. As Gen struggles to make sense of who is telling the truth, her budding relationship with Mack goes off the rails, her trust and loyalty are questioned, and she is thrown into the midst of a mystery that began with the dawn of time.

Order the Book From: Amazon

Paint Me Gone - Gen Delacourt Mystery Book 3
Private Investigator Genevieve Delacourt is hired to find a missing sibling, but it proves to be a convoluted task. The search is complicated by two things: the woman was thought to have committed suicide over twenty years before, and she was the only suspect in a stranger’s murder before she disappeared.

Gen’s client, Sophie Keene, revives the case when an unsigned painting that depicts her sister in unmistakable detail finds its way into Sophie’s hands. The painting holds the key to the missing woman’s story, and as Gen unravels the mystery, the threads of her own complicated romantic life fray out of control.

In need of help, Gen turns to old friend and one-time romantic interest SFPD Detective Mackenzie Hackett and his insider access to the cold case file, and is forced to fully confront her feelings for the man after their unresolved past.

Order the Book From: Amazon

The Last Fairytale - Gen Delacourt Mystery Book 2
Bree Butler shelved her dream of becoming an investigative journalist long ago. But when she finds a young biotech executive dead on his office floor, she begins to think she might have another shot at it – even though she’s a suspect in the homicide investigation. Bree and her old college friend, Detective Gen Delacourt (who we first met in Mark of the Loon), begin a danger-filled quest to unravel the puzzle. The deeper they dig, the more truth about their own personal lives is revealed along with the dead man’s. They’ll both begin again after this is solved … if Bree makes it out alive.

Order the Book From: Amazon

Mark of the Loon - Gen Delacourt Mystery Book 1
Madison Boone is keen to buy a fabulous stone cottage in the country and she nixes her budding relationship with Coleman Welles to do it. But once the renovation begins, the property’s long-buried secret threatens to derail everything. Can her friends help solve the mystery?

Want to know more? ...
What happens when a single workaholic falls in love with an old stone cottage in Northern California? In Mark of the Loon, Madison renovates and sells property in addition to her busy real estate sales career. Her work-centric lifestyle leaves little time for anything beyond business and her three wise, hilarious friends. When Madison buys the Blackburne’s former house, a series of mysterious events both endanger her and lead her to love – and a permanent home. Mark of the Loon is the skillful combination of history, mystery, and romance in a novel that explores choices, taking risks, dealing with loss, deep, satisfying, unconditional friendships – and introduces Genevieve Delacourt as an impressive amateur sleuth!

Order the Book From: Amazon

Blog It! The author's guide to building a successful online brand
The complete manual of blogging strategies and best practices covering who, what, when, where, how, and why and designed to help any author build a thriving, successful, dynamic online presence without sacrificing writing time or losing their minds!

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - KOBO

Author Recommended by: HBSystems Publications
Publisher of ebooks, writing industry blogger and the sponsor of the following blogs:
HBS Author's Spotlight
eBook Author’s Corner
Top Shelf Author Advice
Mystery Reader’s Circle

Check out the index of other Spotlight authors. Spotlight Index.


  1. James, thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity! I deeply appreciate your interest and your support. Writing can be a tough gig, but the authors I've met along the way have been wonderful, yourself included. Thanks again!

  2. Loved hearing more about you, Molly! You've been so generous with your time for such a long time it's nice to see your books doing so well. Keep up the good work, and happy writing!