Who or what has been your main inspiration?
My main inspiration was Cy, I suppose, but I greatly admired the writing and direction of Billy Wilder, Joe Mankiewicz, and Orson Welles.
What are you working on now?
I’m currently working on a young adult adventure thriller. Very different. And I rather like it, because I can invent freely as I go along. Very different from writing a memoir but a lot of fun. With luck I may finish it by this time next year. I’m a slow writer.
Who are your favorite authors?
So many. My top faves? if cast on a desert island I would want books by Lawrence Durrell, Somerset Maugham, Gore Vidal, Arthur Koestler, Erich Maria Remarque, Scott Fitzgerald, E.F. Benson, Oscar Wilde, and Beryl Bainbridge.
What are you reading currently?
For a few years now, I’ve been listening to a composer of serious music called Bruce Montgomery. I recently discovered he also wrote mysteries under the name of Edmund Crispin. And he’s awfully good. I’m rather enjoying The Case of The Gilded Fly. He wrote three other mysteries and can’t wait to read those, too.
Can you tell us about the promotional stuff you’ve done for the book?
We’ve done several events at bookstores, which were very successful — at one, they ran out my book! That was exciting. We’ve also approached several groups we thought might be interested in hosting an event, like the English Speaking Union and the Arts Club of Washington. On the internet, Frances started a blog with deleted scenes from the book, recipes, pictures, etc. It’s called England Rents, Rants, & Raves. After the book came out, we set up a website, and I also have a recipe column on Anglotopia.net and we both maintain a fairly active presence on Shelfari/Goodreads.
Frances has been doing the bulk of the marketing, as well as editing all my stuff. She’s phenomenal. Meanwhile, I’m trying to write a new book. And during the day we try to earn a living running our advertising agency, The Creative Shop.
In arketing terms, what is working, and what is not?
In terms of instant impact, traditional outlets probably still work the best, but they are very difficult to get — I did an interview on BBC America, for example, and reached such a huge audience in minutes! We saw immediate impact on the Amazon ranking. Obviously, we are trying to get the word out about the book in any way we can — traditional and new media, YouTube, blogs, websites, book events, or just talking to people we meet and handing out business cards — it all helps and it all counts. It all gets down to word of mouth, and getting the word out is quite a challenge. Trying to figure out what is working and what is not working is hard to say, especially in the ether world. Yet, even so, I think the blog worked very well, we discovered a lot of readers and we’ve even made some good and caring friends via the blogs and sites we visit. And despite the work and time involved it’s all been a lot of fun.