Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Forever Friends Anthology Blog Tour

I am excited to be able to share an anthology that I was privileged to be a part of. It is called Forever Friends and was compiled, edited and published by Shelagh Watkins of the UK. Today, Shelagh will be answering some questions I asked her. I hope you enjoy the interview.

I have also included the Publisher's Description of Forever Friends.

“This collection of stories and poems, created by members of the Published Authors Forum on the worldwide web, reflects the bond of friendship between writers from all over the world. Forever Friends is a celebration of the power of friendship and human relationships. The breadth and depth of the stories cover all ages from young to old. Filled with love and respect for family, friends, pets and even a telescope, these tales are guaranteed to entertain the most discerning reader. Thoughtful poems of friendship and love will bring smiles or tears and encourage readers to read the next story. The fiction and non-fiction works in this book express friendship as timeless, enduring and forever.”

And now, my interview with Shelagh.

Shelagh: This is the ninth post on the blog tour. If you missed last week’s tour and have just joined the tour, welcome! If you read all the blogs, thank you for following the tour! Every day, I have mentioned what a wonderful book Forever Friends is. Today is no exception; this wonderful book is gathering quite a following thanks to amazon offering the anthology at the giveaway price of $9.99! You will see a link to the amazon website below if you would like to place an order for the book. Last week, I answered questions posed by Mary Muhammad and Helen Wisocki. Today, I will be answering Sue’s questions.

Sue: What was the high point of putting together and editing the Forever Friends Anthology?

Shelagh: The high point of any project is the finished article. Seeing the book for the first time was quite a thrill. Finding the photo for the book cover after hours of searching was an eureka moment. The final edit, when I changed the section headings and moved stories and poems from one section to another and saw the jigsaw pieces finally fall into place with no missing pieces was another magical moment -- similar to filling in the last answer to a crossword puzzle, knowing that all the other answers had been filled in correctly. The high points exist because of the striving for excellence. Without all the hard work there would be no sense of accomplishment.

Sue: How did you come up with the title?

Shelagh: We discussed the title on the forum and several suggestions were considered. I found an old greetings card of two young children, a boy and a girl, with the words “… always friends” on the front of the card. I used the image in several suggestions for the cover for the anthology and changed the words to “Forever Friends”. I didn’t use the picture but I kept the title. It’s interesting that work was done that never came to light. I didn’t have copyright for the photograph of the boy and girl, so I did an oil painting from the photo in case we decided to use it for the cover. I’m not sorry we didn’t use my artwork; I think the cover of the book is spot on.

: Would you please explain a little bit about the process of putting together and editing Forever Friends?

Shelagh: Firstly, I set up sections for the book that included the word “friend” and listed the short stories under the section headings as they arrived. When I began editing the stories, I realized that the contents of the stories covered more than one aspect of friendship and that I would be able to move the stories around and avoid ending up with short sections and long sections.

I didn’t have time to send out suggestions for editorial changes, so I made the changes and then sent out the corrected files to the contributors for their approval. Every story came back with full approval of the changes I had made plus some changes the contributors wanted to make themselves. The extra changes meant that files were sent back and forth until all changes had been accepted and approved.

The final edit was done within days of going to press and produced a wonderful book.

Sue: In hindsight, what things would you do differently?

Shelagh: I would take twice as long to compile the book. Four months from start to finish was far too much work. It also gave the impression that it was possible to produce a quality book in a short space of time but the truth is I worked around the clock to make sure the book came out by the end of September. I remember my father working forty-eight hour shifts when he was a young man to make sure he did not lose a contract. It seemed like history was repeating itself.

Has putting together Forever Friends and editing it changed your life in any way? If so, how?

Shelagh: It has made me into a publisher. Something I would not have predicted three years ago when I knew next to nothing about the publishing business.

Sue: What have you learned from this experience?

Shelagh: I learned a great deal about publishing and about writers, and how to deal with difficult people and situations. I also learned about how to set up a virtual book tour!

Would you consider doing another anthology? If so, what topics would you be interested in doing?

Shelagh: I would need to think about that long and hard. Maybe I will see things differently in 2009. Who knows?

Sue: Do you have any additional comments you would like to make?

Shelagh: Thank you to everyone who contributed. Together, I think we have put together a wonderful book. My dearest wish would be for a commercial publisher to pick up the book and pay the contributors for their work. That would make my day! I would like to thank Sue for inviting me to say more about Forever Friends. Sue’s story in the anthology is short and sweet with a touch of romance and a happy ending. Just the thing for a quick read before bedtime! As well as writing short stories, Sue is busy setting up her own publishing company, Weaving Dreams. Maybe Sue will take on the mantle of Editor and Publisher of the next anthology. Who knows?

Please follow the tour to learn more about the book.

Thanks again for reading this and best wishes for the holiday season!
Shelagh Watkins

Sue: I would like to thank Shelagh for giving me the opportunity to be a part of the Forever Friends Anthology and her blog tour as well. Information on purchasing Forever Friends and the rest of the blog tour stops are below.

Til Next Time!

Forever Friends is available now from all major online stores, including amazon.com: Forever Friends
and barnesandnoble.com: Forever Friends

Blog Tour Stops

December 1 Chelle Cordero
December 2 Zada Connaway
December 3 Mary Muhammad
December 4 Helen Wisocki
December 5 Pam Robertson
December 6 Dick Stodghill
December 7 Philip Spires
December 8 Milena Gomez
December 9 L. Sue Durkin
December 10 A. Ahad
December 11 Malcolm R. Campbell
December 12 Lynn C. Johnston
December 13 Dianne Sagan
December 14 Donald James Parker
December 15 Karina Kantas
December 16 Grace Bridges
December 17 Tiziana Rinaldi Castro
December 18 Yvonne Oots
December 19 Dana Rettig


shelagh said...

Thank you for inviting me to your blog, Sue! You did a brilliant job!

Helen Wisocki said...

Wow! Sue, I'm so impressed with the in-depth questions that you asked Shelagh. And Shelagh, I loved your thoughtful answers! Great job on this interview!

Donald James Parker said...

Another great blog post. Thanks Sue.
And thanks for contributing your story.

loveambassador said...

Hi Sue and Shelagh,

I have participated in blog tours and love assisting other writers to promote their work. You both did a wonderful job.

As a writer and publisher I know how much work goes into getting a book published. Congratualtions Shelagh on getting your book published. And Sue looks like you are doing a great job with your blog. Love to exchange links with you.

Annie Lawrence

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

This was a wonderful interview. Thank you for sharing, Shelagh. You've done a terrific job.

Sue D. said...

I want to thank Shelagh for being here today.

I also want to thank all of you who commented. I really appreciated the input. It was much needed, especially today. It helped brighten my day.

Blessings from my spirit to your spirit!

Zada Connaway said...

Great questions, Sue! And a good story you wrote. I think most everyone can identify with a friendship like the one you described.

Wonderful answers, Shelagh. You are very informative.

Pam Robertson said...

Great interview, and insights to the book. This blog tour has been excellent and I am looking forward to the ongoing success of the anthology!

Sun Singer said...

Nice post, Sue. It's been a pleasure following the tour from place to place, reading sometimes, and commenting sometimes (after reading).