“Shizzle, Inc” by Ana Spoke on tour

Available on Amazon
Available on Amazon.com

Today is Tuesday, and instead of letting you know how my writing is going, I want to introduce you this week to a talented young writer who just published her first book. It is getting great reviews and if you love comedy (and who does not love to laugh) please go check it out on Amazon.

Ana is on tour, well not in person, like most of us she has a day job, so a virtual tour it is. I was curious how she did it, so she is letting us know how this writer thingy is working out. Please also visit her blog to get more behind the scenes of the glamorous life of an author (spoiler: it is not like the Hollywood kind-a-glamerous). I started this blog and my ‘book-thingy’ very recent, lets just say she is way ahead of me. Enjoy:

Marco: Awesome you wrote a book. Is this your first one and what is it about.

Ana: Shizzle, Inc is the first book I’ve finished. There were lots more started that died on the vine, and perhaps for a good reason.

Shizzle, Inc is a comedy novel told from the perspective of Isa Maxwell, a recent community college graduate, who is losing her grip on life in more ways than one. Isa believes that the only solution to her financial and relationship woes is to become famous, like many nobodies before her have done on the reality TV. Luckily, Isa lands on her bottom in a billionaire’s office and, as a result, lands a job as his protégé. Just as things start looking up, they get more complicated. We are talking life and death, and maybe even slow torture kind of problematical.

I’ve had a lot of fun writing this novel, and I hope readers will have fun reading it. It wasn’t easy, with a full-time job to manage, but I will always cherish the evenings spent cracking myself up over my laptop.

Marco: Why was it important for you to write this story and even more important why did you want it out there in the ‘reader verse’?

Ana: I love making people laugh, probably more than anything. I even do it in my “serious” job, using humor to engage people in boring topics, illustrate a point, or even win over difficult customers. I’ve made my CEO laugh out loud in a presentation about financial modelling – I can’t help it!

I guess writing this novel has been the ultimate test of my funny bone – do I have enough oomph for a whole story, or should I go back to cracking up my colleagues and management? It is also a test of whether I have what it takes to reinvent myself as an author. As much as I love working for a bureaucratic giant, aghm, it doesn’t compare to the dream of writing full-time. Plus, I’m sure there’s an element of approval- and attention-seeking in there, too.

Marco: I just blogged about iteration and polishing you lines and the whole story. Are you a masochistic editor, do you read to story out loud, what are you methods?

Ana: I am an obsessive-compulsive editor. I can’t stop editing even when I’m writing the first, “vomit”, draft. I’ve spent probably a year editing and re-editing the story, and, having recently discovered bits of the very first draft, can say it was worth it. I have not tried reading it out loud, but I have printed and massacred endless copies. I have sent my drafts to several beta-readers. I have hired a structural editor; a copy editor, and a proofreader. I have used Grammarly to catch some of the very last mistakes. And then, after all that, I went through it one more time. Just in case.

Writing and publishing Shizzle, Inc has been a trip. To start with, it takes balls to say to yourself, “Hey, methinks I might write something. How ‘bout a novel?” It then takes constant effort not to: get distracted; start another novel; give up altogether; hang on to your darlings; get defensive and precious about every joke; get depressed and moody; question “why do it anyway, when I could be watching TV or going outside”; resist temptation to “just post it on Amazon and get it over with”; get so scared of finishing that you keep editing it for another decade, and so on. It is now a daily head trip when I look at it on Amazon and think, there it is. It didn’t exist, and now it does, and I’m the one responsible. And people like it. All of the six reviewers so far really, really like it!

I love every aspect of this new project/passion/hobby/budding career. I’ve loved answering questions on this blog tour, and I would like to thank you, Marco, for hosting me. Now it’s your turn – here are some curve balls for you:

  1. I see that you are a postdoctoral student, working on pharmaceutical protein research. How has this “other life” affected your writing?
  2. What has been your most significant writing achievement to date? 
  3. What are your plans for the next project?

Marco: I will get back to you about that, this time is al about you. 


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