The Willow Tree Interviews Author John Reinhard Dizon

Author Interviews John Reinhard DizonTiara is an action-packed historical fiction and romantic thriller centering around the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland in 1998. The main female protagonist is Princess Jennifer of Edinburgh, a civil rights activist involved in the negotiations between the British government and the coalition groups in Ulster. She becomes an object of fascination to Berlin Mansfield, an international terrorist of Irish descent who is equally intent on attending the historic event as it transpires. The two eventually cross paths in a tale of intrigue and suspense with the future of a nation at stake.

1. How do you work through self-doubts and fear?

You have to believe in your product, and reinforce that belief with validation. From there you have to aggressively market your product. If you fail, you have to let go and let God.

2. Why do you write?

It’s what I’m good at, and it’s the one thing at which I remain competent as all the other doors begin to close at this advanced age.

3. What writing are you most proud of? (Add a link if you like)

That’d be a tie between Tiara and Nightcrawler, though The Standard is a great book that was forsaken by the publisher in favor of their soft porn brand. You can find Tiara on Amazon here.

4. What are you most proud of in your personal life?

In order of achievement: having been a ‘founding father’ of punk rock in Brooklyn during the 70’s, wrestled professionally during the 80’s, earned degrees in Korean martial arts and my BA at UTSA in the 90’s, resurrected The Spoiler heavy metal band in the 00’s, and published fifteen books (and counting) in the 10’s.

5. What books did you love growing up?

I owned the entire James Bond collection as a teen and the entire Conan the Barbarian anthology in my twenties. Ian Fleming and Robert E. Howard have had a great influence on my writing style.

6. Who is your favorite author?

I’d have to go with William Shakespeare as the master of brevity and conciseness. I’d also have to mention Franz Kafka in having influenced me as a postmodernist author.

7. What book should everybody read at least once?

The Bible. It’s a matter of life and death.

8. Is there any books you really don’t enjoy?

I’m not fond of romances as I see it as buying a sandwich and only getting the bread. All of my books have a strong romantic element, but I wouldn’t categorize them as romances per se. To make an analogy, Titanic is all about Jack and Rose though the shipwreck is the backdrop. Tiara is about Jennifer and Berlin though to dismiss all the political elements as backdrop would devalue the novel.

9. What do you hope your obituary will day about you?

If I die as a failure, I will want them to bury me upside down so the world can kiss my butt goodbye.

10. Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you now live?

I grew up in Brooklyn NY, did eighteen years in San Antonio TX, and will die here in Missouri. Most of my novels are centered around NYC, though a few feature backdrops in Texas. I also write novels with a Missouri background as well. I recognize it as God’s plan for my life, allowing me to experience three of the most disparate yet essential areas of the USA to draw upon for my writing.

11. Where do you get your inspiration from?

Half of the time I’m looking for new worlds to conquer, so if I see a genre previously unexplored I’ll give it a whirl, as I did with steampunk in writing Stxeamtown. The other half of the time I come across a current topic or event that I can weigh in on. Women’s issues are also important to me, and I feature strong female characters in all my novels.

12. What marketing works for you?

The market is so glutted right now that it takes an act of God to become successful. Yet it is a proven fact that no one is going to come to your door looking for you. Your best chance is word-of-mouth promotion and having the reviews to back it up. My major focus is on social media, hoping that the work will eventually fall into the right hands with time remaining.

13. Do you find it hard to share your work?

Not at all. I’m putting about an hour into this questionnaire. I’m at the 20/80 point right now (20% writing, 80% promo) throughout my workday, and you’ve got to get the word out if you want someone to rescue you.

14. Is your family supportive? Do your friends support you?

All my family and friends are dead.

15. Do you plan to publish more books?

I’ve got Transplant coming out on Assent Publishing in May 2014, it’s a suspense/thriller novel. I’m having a war with the editor at ETreasures Publishing over Both Sides Now, a romantic comedy, but I’m expecting to either come out on top or self-pub it. I’ve also got Solstice Publishing dragging their feet for almost a year on my family saga, Generations, but it’s dump or get off the pot for them as well. I’ve also got Superstition, a supernatural Western, getting ready to self-pub, and Nightcrawler II going to the highest bidder. Stay tuned!

Connect with John on Facebook here!

Getting Social with Social Media Part II

How to Use Twitter & Tweet for Success

Getting Social with Social Media Part I went over LinkedIn basics. We discussed how to use specific tools available on LinkedIn to generate buzz, network, and promote your business. Now’s let’s learn how to use Twitter!

Twitter is an easy social media outlet to navigate compared to Facebook or LinkedIn. What makes Twitter a piece-of-cake to work with is it’s search bar feature similar to Google–but we’ll get into that later.

To start, similar to LinkedIn, set up your profile basics. It’s best practice to use the same default photo and headline. Setting up cohesive profiles across the board will ultimately help you establish your brand and notoriety. Essentially, people have an easier time recognizing and remembering you.

The Willow Tree Blog Writing TipsOnce you have your profile set up, start following others that are related to your field of interest. If you’re a business coach, search for “entrepreneurs” and follow them; the same goes for writers. Find fellow indie authors, your favorite novelist, popular writing journals, etc. As I’ve stated earlier, the super simple search function allows you to locate any business or person related to the industry you’re in.

After you’ve followed a decent amount of people, start having fun! Jump into the tweet-o-sphere and begin composing your first tweets. You’re only allowed 140 characters (they will let you know once you’ve hit your maximum). Add a “#” or multiple one’s after your post so that others intersted in that topic can search and find you.

Here’s an example of what a new novelist could tweet when promoting their book: “A great read written by a great person. Check it out here: #books #author #selfpublished.” Twitter will automatically truncate the link you share to help you reserve character count. Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 1.22.20 PMWant to see what you’ve just posted? Review your public tweets by locating the section under your profile header that says “Tweets.” This will take you to a page where you can view everything you’ve posted previously.

On the main page, you can view your Twitter feed. Similar to your LinkedIn feed, your twitter feed reveals the tweets from the people that you’re following. If you like a tweet and want to share it, you can do that Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 1.28.47 PMhere. The three main options you have are to reply to the tweeter (which is best if the tweeter poses a question), favorite (which will store the tweet in your archives if you particularly like it), and share it (this shares the tweet with your followers). All of this is public. So whoever searches for your Twitter name will see all of your activity.

For private messages, you can simply click the small envelope icon in the top right corner, and similar to email, type in the person’s Twitter user name and send a message. Keep in mind that direct messages only work if the person you’re trying to contact is already following you.

And that’s it! Those are the Twitter basics. For more advanced Twitter tips and tricks, check out this post here!