I want to chat with you about your novels and publishing business, but I can’t resist asking about your life in Paris, France first. You were born here in America, and yet now you’re in the City of Lights. I think I want to be you! Tell us about that journey.
Hi Cathy, Thanks for inviting me to your blog! Like so many American students, I took French in school and dreamed of one day living in Paris. As it turned out, I enjoyed the language so much that I continued it through college, and through this interest, ended up meeting a lot of French expats in my hometown of Sarasota, Fl.
One of these friends helped me plan a trip to France to improve my French, and introduced me to a young man who could show me around Paris. He used to be her neighbor when she lived in France, and he was a college student, too. As they say, the rest is history! We got married couple of years later, spent a few years in the U.S. and then returned to Paris—where I’d always wanted to live!
I love it. You are living a love story. We should make a movie about your life. You write the script.
Speaking of writing, you have three books Close To Destiny, Paris Rue Des Martyrs, and That’s Paris. Can you give us a couple of sentences about each book?
Close to Destiny is a magical realism novel about righting the wrongs of the past. A young woman facing inner demons is plagued by strange encounters at a London hotel. The experiences make her question her own notion of reality—and the power she holds over her own destiny.
Paris, Rue des Martyrs, contemporary fiction, is about encounters that make a difference. Four strangers in Paris are at a moment of crisis in their lives. And at that moment, their stories entwine as their paths cross on this typically Parisian street—the Rue des Martyrs.
That’s Paris is a multi-author short story anthology, with a foreword by best-selling author Stephen Clarke (A Year in the Merde). From culinary treats (and catastrophes) to swoon-worthy romantic encounters (and heartbreaking mishaps), this anthology takes the reader on a journey through Paris—and what it’s really like to live here!
Did you always plan on becoming a writer? What other jobs and experiences have you had?
I always loved to read, and as a teenager started writing a bit, but the idea of creating an entire novel scared me. By the time I was in my early 20s though, the need to write was too great, overpowering any intimidation. And so I set to work. In the meantime, I became a journalist, writing for The Associated Press, a business journal in Boston, and finally for Bloomberg News in Paris.
That all sounds very exciting, especially from the perspective of my life here in suburbia, where the most exciting thing is listening to the coyotes howling.
What do you like about writing? How many hours a day do you write?
I love the idea, that, through my characters, I can experience many adventures. Because as I write, I feel as if I’m right there with them. In Paris, Rue des Martyrs, I “became” an aging actor, an emerald broker, a young artist and a Parisian housewife. I also enjoy the fact that there aren’t the constraints of reality—I especially appreciated this as I wrote Close to Destiny. Anything can happen! I usually write in the morning for about three hours at a time.
Tell us about your road to publishing. For me, it was not smooth at all. Rocky. Bumpy. Disappointing. And then, finally, the novels sold, before I started throwing things.
I worked as a journalist and wrote for many years in my spare time. I was rejected by some agents and then landed one. Unfortunately, he couldn’t sell Paris, Rue des Martyrs to a major publishing house and wasn’t interested in trying smaller houses. My agent started an ebook imprint so published my novel that way last year. But I wanted a different strategy. I wanted my book out in paperback, and I wanted some marketing support.
And now you own your own publishing business, Velvet Morning Press. Tell us about this change in events, though. What do you like about it, what’s a challenge?
I met self-published author Vicki Lesage, who was doing better on her own than I was with my agent. We realized that we could help each other—and probably a lot of other young writers too. So we formed Velvet Morning Press. I like the fact that we have control over the time frame for our projects.
Once a manuscript is polished, we can publish the book in four months. The biggest challenge is visibility. Since we’re small, we have to work really hard to get our name out there and show that we can produce quality books. We are grateful for the help of authors who are well-known and who have followed us on social media and promote our work.
What’s the difference between publishing with a major publishing house, self publishing, and what you offer at Velvet Morning Press?
Like major publishing houses, we edit, do cover design and formatting, and publish our clients’ books in paperback and ebook form. And like the majors, we are selective and don’t charge authors fees. Like them, we use a royalty model. Other than our size, the main differences between the majors and us:
*We bring our books to market in about four months.
*We only accept very polished work. We will edit, but if a book really needs major rewriting, we will pass on the project.
*We don’t have a big budget like the majors, and we know that we can’t compete on that level. So we don’t. We can’t pay for advertisements in a major newspaper, but we use our creativity to market in different ways. And so far, so good.
We only work with self-published authors through our separate “author services” branch. Through that service, we offer editing, formatting etc. for a fee to authors who are not clients of our publishing house.
So far, submissions to our publishing house mainly have come from authors who are seeking to be traditionally published. I think many writers who love self-publishing continue to go down that road.
As a publisher, what are you looking for in a novel?
We look for novels that have us hooked within the first few pages. We look for engaging, interesting characters. And we look for carefully edited work. If I see that the author has made a bunch of spelling errors that are even highlighted by the computer’s spell check, to me, this seems sloppy. As a writer myself, I wouldn’t submit a manuscript like that.
And when you’re not writing, not working on your publishing business, if there is time left over, what do you just love to do?
Reading, modern dance, strolling around Paris with my husband, having a “girl’s afternoon out” with my 4-year-old daughter.
Five things we must do if we visit Paris that are not your typical tourist attractions…
*The Rue des Martyrs in Montmartre (the setting of Paris, Rue des Martyrs) is now more and more on the radar screens of tourists, but it is still is a great example of a traditional Parisian neighborhood. Stop at a café and watch the world go by.
*The Promenade Plantee, in the 12th arrondissement is an elevated walkway along an old railway. Today, it’s lined with flowers, plants and trees above the hustle and bustle below. A great place for a walk!
*For fans of Hemingway, take a stroll by his old apartment at 74, Rue du Cardinal-Lemoine. And walk around the neighborhood, imaging how Hemingway must have saw it. (Things looked about the same back then as Paris doesn’t change much!)
*Take a side street, explore a neighborhood. This is where you’ll also have a chance of finding the best food—at a modest, neighborhood café that is filled with locals.
*Walk along any of the bridges at sunset and watch how the light illuminates the beautiful historic buildings, turning them golden!
Let’s let everyone take a peek as your newest book, Close to Destiny.
It was my third time. Don’t they always say things happen in
threes? Knife slitting through fragile skin, still damp.
Water pounding like giant teardrops. Sitting at the edge of the
bathtub, knees shaking, watching scarlet water flow.
What seemed like a second turned into eternity. Blinding light.
Voices. Madness. Silence.
That’s all I could write, all I could remember.
I didn’t want to think about it. I didn’t want to analyze the situation or understand
There have been too many coincidences, too many dreams, too many feelings
leading me down the same road. I still don’t understand how Destiny knew all
that she did—about me, then and now.
About you. About everyone, it seems.
OK, she was a medium, but what does that really mean? That she had access to
the deepest secrets of everyone on the planet? Maybe it doesn’t matter, anyway. If
I’m willing to accept such an outlandish story, I guess I should be willing to
accept the mysterious nature of Destiny.
That said, I can’t continue this way.
Thanks for chatting with us, Adria!
Adria J. Cimino’s links:
Close to Destiny on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Close-Destiny-Adria-J-Cimino/dp/0692346945
Paris, Rue des Martyrs on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Paris-Rue-Martyrs-Adria-Cimino/dp/0692335072
That’s Paris: An Anthology of Life, Love and Sarcasm in the City of Light on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Thats-Paris-Anthology-Sarcasm-Light/dp/0692340114
Adria’s blog: http://adriainparis.blogspot.fr/
Adria’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AdriaJ.inParis
Adria’s Twitter handle: @Adria_in_Paris
Sign-up for Adria’s New Release Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/8y0K1