Saturday, 2 November 2013

Tara Ford, author of Calling All Services

Calling All Services by Tara Ford is available for Kindle from Amazon:
US: Calling All Services
UK: Calling All Services

Calling All Services by Tara Ford
Calling All Services by Tara Ford

Alex Frey, successful businesswoman, wife and mother to a busy and demanding family, doesn’t find it easy to take a break. So when she’s hospitalised with a mysterious illness, paralysed and afraid of what the future might bring, frustration meets fear and she can’t wait to escape the hospital, get back in control of things and return her family to the normality of salmon paste sandwiches.

At home, her husband Grant is determined to manage the kids, Alex’s parents, his sister and anything else life can throw at him while his wife is away recuperating. But what else can possibly go wrong while Alex is in hospital? The Frey family is about to find out. . .

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Author Quiz interviews Tara Ford...

If you had to sum up your book, Calling All Services, in three words, what would they be?
Umm, to sum up my book in three words I would have to choose: humorous, emotional and believable.

What are you working on now and what projects and ideas do you have lined up next?
I am currently working on my third novel, Calling All Customers. This is the third book in the Calling All... series and there are four books altogether. The series is about the lives of the family members from the first book, in one way or another but not always directly. The second book, Calling All Dentists, is currently in the publication process and I do hope it will be released early 2014.

Where did the inspiration for your first novel, Calling All Services, come from?
I have always wanted to write a book, for as long as I can remember but just couldn’t come up with a good enough idea or plot. I knew I wanted to write in the women’s fiction/humour genre too. Sadly, it took a rather unusual and sudden illness and some time spent in hospital before I realised my dream. Calling All Services is based, very loosely, around my experience and illness but it is a fictitious story. As I lay in the hospital, I seemed to start making up the story in my head and subsequently, I couldn’t wait to start writing it once I was home and able to.

Why do you enjoy writing in your usual genre?
I’ve always wanted to write in the women’s fiction/humour genre as I do tend to see life in a humorous way. I don’t take many things seriously and would consider myself to have a ‘sunny’ disposition. I have a lot of life experiences and believe that my sometimes dark humour can turn the simplest things in life into quite funny episodes. I always manage to make my friends laugh – however, I’m not always sure how or why. 

Would your book, Calling All Services, work best as a movie adaptation or as a TV series?
As a stand-alone, I think my book would make a good comedy movie but the whole series would do well as a TV series. Hopefully a long running one like Coronation Street!

If you could invite one character from your novel to a dinner party who would it be and why?
I think I would have to invite Dot, purely for the entertainment factor. She would annoy everyone else with her opinionated, incessant babble. Also, my dark humour would find it highly amusing.

Without being too specific and without revealing too much about the plot, have you ever killed off a character who you felt particularly attached to and if so was it an emotional experience writing the relevant scene?
No, I haven’t killed off anyone in Calling All Services but I have now experienced the ‘killing off’ of someone and it almost made me cry...well actually, if I’m to be honest – it did make me cry. I’m not telling you who, where, when or why, so my readers will just have to wait and see.

Do you have any useful marketing tips for other authors?
Maybe not useful, but my strategy is – market, market, market – network, network, network and never give up! I used to have a husband and lovely family – I think I’ve still got them somewhere in the living room but sadly, they don’t see me much, due to my ever-increasing, latest marketing and networking ideas.

If you could go back to the moment when you completed your first book and were at the stage where you were ready to release it to the world, is there anything you would do differently this time with regard to promotion?
Absolutely! I hadn’t actually realised how important reviews were. Looking back now, I wish that I had sent out review copies earlier. At least I have now learnt this for the future.

Do you foresee more and more authors making a living from their writing?
I’m not sure that I see many authors making a living from writing books, unless they are one of the well-known, best-selling authors. There are so many books out there and it can be quite daunting for a newly published author, when they realise the extent of the marketing and promotion required to ‘push’ their books. The competition is fierce and unless you make yourself stand out from the rest, you’re going to get swallowed up in the Amazon ‘has-been’ pile.

Do you have a favourite review or has anyone expressed a particularly nice compliment about your writing which stands out as your most memorable piece of praise?
I think my favourite review (and I have to add that I am so grateful for all of the reviews that I have received) has to be the most recent one that I received on Goodreads. Although the rating was slightly lower than the ratings I’ve received on Amazon, I felt that this review unpicked my book in a positive way. Here it is:

This novel, which takes place during a time period of roughly a week, provides us with a rather humorous (if it’s not you) take on what happened when one woman falls ill and her family is left to pick up the pieces. And things most certainly fall to pieces. One thing after another, after another happens right up until the very end where we get our resolution to the story arc.Here are some of my favorite things about this novel:•I simply adored the Englishness of this novel. The rather unique idiosyncrasies of British English snuck their way into this text and added an extra source of amusement. Add in a potentially unhealthy obsession with Tea on Grant’s behalf and I was thoroughly charmed. •In this case, the different layers of the text are revealed by different perspectives from the characters—Alex, businesswoman extraordinaire, at least until a mystery illness hits, Grant, the husband who tries to do it all and fails, her children, Emma, Jack, Aaron, or Alex’s parents, Dot and Charlie. I enjoyed that it allowed the reader to really experience the whole story and not just the one-sided narration that can sometimes occur in other single perspective books.•I could feel Grant’s annoyance at Dot’s meddling—something I’m sure that a lot of people feel about their mother-in-law. Personally, I admire his will power to put up with her, and her good friend Evelyn who lives across the street, meddling in his life. There is just simply so much action that takes place in a mere 325 pages and it makes this novel a worthy read. I feel that this would make a great read curled up with a cup of coffee on a rainy Sunday afternoon, or tea. Whatever floats your boat.

Would you rather have great reviews but average sales or great sales but average reviews?
I would rather have great reviews and average sales as I believe this would lead to more readers for my future books.

Would you rather sell 1000 books at $10/£10 each or 2000 books at $1/£1, i.e. what gives you the greater sense of satisfaction; overall earnings or overall sales?
I would much rather sell 2000 books at £1 as I haven’t written my book for the money and would much rather share my writing with as many people as possible.

What advice would you give to a new author who has just finished writing their first novel and is unsure as to what steps to take next?
Do plenty of research in to the publication of your book. There are so many different ways to publish these days. Make sure you get plenty of pre-publication reviews. Market and network as much as possible to get your name out there on internet.

Who do you see as your target audience?
I see my target audience as being mainly women, of all ages and backgrounds.

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Tara Ford, author of Calling All Services
Thanks for your comments, Tara, and good luck with your writing.

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Discover more about Tara Ford and her writing at her website and blog:

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Follow Tara Ford on facebook and twitter:
Facebook:  Tara Ford
Twitter:  @rata2e

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Calling All Services by Tara Ford is available for Kindle from Amazon:
US: Calling All Services
UK: Calling All Services

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