Wednesday, September 23, 2009

HURRY! While Supplies Last!

Our Publisher has just announced that they are giving customers 10% off on "The Mango Tree Cafe, Loi Kroh Road" if they purchase through their site.

If you haven't purchased the book that has everyone buzzing, do it now and save 10% NOW!

Just Click HERE:

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"Lights, Cameras, Prologue"

As I've mentioned before in other posts, I am a firm believer of grabbing the reader's attention from the first word. I know that when I open a new book, I don't want to wait to be hopelessly hooked with the storyline.

I remember sitting in front of my laptop screen watching my cursor blink impatiently as if it were waiting for me to type some letters for it to place upon my word document. Alan and I had been emailing back and forth regarding the beginning of "The Mango Tree Cafe, Loi Kroh Road" as we both weren't satisfied with the current beginning.

I know I wanted the story to lure the reader in quickly and quietly into the jungles of Thailand. I wanted to have the reader be able to picture what "Larry," the main character looked like, felt and thought as we find him sitting on the veranda in the glare of the morning sun. After countless rewrites, I came up with an idea...Larry was considered the supreme storyteller by his friends. The recounting of his boyhood home, his experiences along the journey reflect this art of storytelling. I decided to show the unkind effects of a journey that was too long and difficult for this sensitive man's soul.

A man whose oratory skill was unmatched was now mute. One can only wonder about the stories that can no longer be released from his psyche.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

One Novel, Two Authors - Ecstasy and Agony of Collaboration

I wanted to be part of this project." That project was creating the novel "The MangoTree Cafe: Loi Kroh Road," which won the Indie Book Award and could well wind up being the film sequel to "Casablanca." And that's how Taryn Simpson took on the unthinkable: Collaborating on a work of fiction. Most of us, whether writers or businesspeople, know the difficulty of working together on much more straightforward tasks. Fiction? That's why I arranged this exclusive interviews with Simpson.
The Ecstasy and Agony of Collaboration: An exclusive interview with Taryn Simpson, co-author of novel "The Mango Tree Cafe."

JG: I was astounded that you collaborated on, of all things, fiction. How did that come about?

TS: Yeah, Jane, I suppose that it is pretty unusual.
I'm a ghostwriter by trade and a writer friend of mine contacted me. She had a potential client who had a novel which needed some punching up. She asked: Are you interested?

I said: Sure. Next I said: I will call the client and get more information. She said: Oh, I forgot to mention that he [Alan Solomon] is located in Beijing. As in China.

Sheesh. I wondered how the distance between us would work out. That was among the key issues to consider. Others were the language. Would there be a barrier there? Would references, metaphors or potential storylines be lost between Asian culture and American culture?

So, I contacted the "client" - Alan Solomon - and I began to question him about the project and he stopped my questioning. He simply emailed the first chapter, with the instructions: If you like it, we'll talk, if you don't, no harm done.

I read the first chapter. The rest is history. I saw where the novel needed a lot of work and quite a bit of rewriting. I knew that this wouldn't be just another ghostwriting job. I wanted to be part of the project. I've ghosted a lot of novels and books and I have never felt that way before about any project. I often to refer to it as the "Serendipity Project."

JG: How do we who want to go where you went choose a partner?
TS: Obviously, there needs to be a connection between the two writers. I was concerned about this with Alan [Solomon] in the beginning. But the more we discussed the story, our views about what should be included or excluded and so on I realized that we were compatible.
Whether the writers are in the same town or half a world away, the best way to seek out a good collaborative fit for yourself is to be brutally honest about your writing habits and ideas. Be willing to share that information with your potential writing partner.
So, that's what I did. I shared that information with Alan [Solomon] and he told me about his habits and ideas. Then he emailed me and explicitly stated: I'm ridiculously easy to work with. He was right.

JG: Was it a difficult process? Candor appreciated.

TS: It had its challenges. Being an American, it's hard for me to fathom that people in other countries don't have the same freedoms we do. If you have lived in the U.S. all your life, you tend to adopt the mindset of "If I have a certain freedom, surely everyone else has it too." Although watching the news I know differently.

For example, when I created a blog for the book, Alan Solomon wasn't able to view it online for some time. That was because of China's strict internet laws.

Another challenge was that I had a certain time frame where I catch Alan Solomon online. Remember, if the time in Nashville, Tennessee is 8 P.M., it is 8 A.M. in Beijing.

JG: What were the most satisfying parts?

TS: Oh, this is going to be difficult. Overall, I loved the fact that I got "lost" in "The Mango Tree Cafe" as a reader. I've never been to Thailand. But the events of the novel were so real to me that I felt like I have been there. It was a very strange feeling. And meeting people in Nashville who had actually been there was just surreal.

Also, I love many sections of the book. The ones which stand out in my mind include the metamorphosis the main character goes through. It covers from the time he is a child to current age of around 50ish. He is able to gain a realization about himself and his father which is melancholy at best. It's a sweet, sad, and all too painfully familiar feeling of knowing what it feels like to be so ultimately different from others and realizing that regardless of the lifestyle you lead, you can't run from what is inside yourself.

I don't want to give too much away. Let's just leave it at: It's a very poignant story.
One more thing. There is also the setting. It includes visions of a lush jungle full of exotic fish, elephants and street dogs. You can get a feel for some of this here on YouTube.

JG: What do you recommend to others thinking about collaborating on fiction?

TS: If you love fiction and find a like-minded soul who shares that passion, collaborating makes good sense. However, if you aren't ready to give and take on every facet of the story, then it may be best to go it alone. For me as a ghostwriter, it's almost second nature to be flexible.

JG: How about non-fiction?

TS: I would think that it's MUCH easier to write non-fiction with a partner. My philosophy is: If it makes sense to you, then by all means take the bull by the horns.

JG: Thank you so much.
Here is where you can order "The Mango Tree Cafe." You can contact Taryn Simpson about her services at