Welcome to my blog Zachary. Thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions about yourself, your book, and freelance writing.
Q. Tell us about your latest work—title, genre, etc. — and why you wrote it?
A. Off Balanced is my teenage memoir exploring how having a mild case of cerebral palsy affected me socially as a teen. My goals with Off Balanced include to empower discouraged teens with disabilities to see their handicaps positively and to encourage able-bodied individuals to think about life from the stand point of someone with a disability.
Q. Is there a story you want to tell behind or about your work(s)?
A. There is a lesson I hope people take away from my teenage memoir. That lesson is to embrace your differences as a part of you. If you accept yourself for who you are, life becomes beautiful. (I hope that doesn’t sound too corny.) J
Q. What draws you to your genre(s)? Why is this type of story compelling to you?
A. Past experience draws me to disability memoirs. Growing up I viewed my CP negatively so real life stories which can inspire the disability community to see their conditions positively hold a special place in my heart.
Q. Could you tell us a little more about your handicap and what impact it has, if any, on your life now?
A. Perhaps the following words from my book could answer this question best. “I’m lucky. I only have cerebral palsy to a mild degree. My main symptoms include awkward gait, poor balance, tight muscles, and poor vision in my left eye. The poor vision hinders my hand-eye coordination.” The way this impacts me today include small things, like the need for stretching daily to stay loose and needing a railing to go up and down stairs.
Q. Are you currently living independently or do you require assistance in everyday life matters?
A. I do not require assistance with everyday life matters. The only thing is I don’t drive because I don’t trust my hand-eye coordination. Therefore transportation is something I have to remain thoughtful about.
Q. What is your writing process like? Do you map the whole thing out or do you just let it unfold?
A. Originally I just started writing but 30-some pages in I read what I had back and thought “Wow, this sucks.” Therefore I scraped the written pages and mapped out the entire book.
Q. What kind of research was involved in writing your book?
A. I read other memoirs about people with cerebral palsy to get an idea of what I needed to do to make Off Balanced unique and compelling.
Q. How do you balance the need to have time to write with the needs of family, society, etc.?
A. I work my writing schedule around other life commitments. Sometimes this means keeping non-traditional hours.
Q. How supportive are your parents and other family members?
A. They are more supportive than I could ever ask for. I’m very fortunate.
Q. How much involvement do you have with other handicapped individuals?
A. In cyberspace I’ve made a number of connections with individuals with cerebral palsy and other disabilities. Off the web I volunteer on Fridays at an adult activity center for mentally challenged individuals.
Q. What impact do they have on your life?
A. The connections I’ve made online help to encourage me. For instance, John W. Quinn a fellow author with CP (Someone Like Me) has been of great support. The volunteer work lets me keep my life in perspective and stay optimistic.
Q. Have there been any authors in particular, that inspired your writing?
A. Not really. Creating an opportunity to share my story really is what motivated Off Balanced.
Q. What other projects are you currently working on or about to start?
A. I’m currently brainstorming ideas for my next book projects.
Q Could you share some of your marketing strategies? Which ones are the most effective in your opinion?
A. Overall, I’m basically looking for as many opportunities as possible to promote Off Balanced. The most effective way of doing this involves identifying your target audience and focusing on mediums connecting you to these individuals.
Q. What would be the top five, (or 3 or 1 or however many) things you would tell aspiring authors?
A. Top Three Things in no particular order:
1. Research the publishing industry and know the different options! I suggest reading Publishing & Marketing Realities for the Emerging Author by Christine Rose.
2. Realize getting published only marks the beginning. Marketing proves equally as tough as getting published.
3. Find a unique angle to make your book compelling and a “must buy.”
Q. I understand that you are a freelance writer Zachary. Please could you tell our readers where they may find your work?
A. I’ve done various work online, on various subjects. Past gigs include writing articles for the disability orientated website Disaboom and ghostwriting blog posts about social media marketing for Hudson Business Solutions. Amongst my current projects include providing fan opinion articles about the Cleveland Indians for Yahoo! Sports and writing content for the California based music website www.ocreloaded.com. Additionally, I have a submission “Turn Your Faults into Assets” published in the book Living in a World of Possibilities.
Q. What are your goals for the future?
A. Ah, where to start… Short term goal wise I’m focused on getting Off Balanced out there in paperback form so I can reach the maximum amount of readers as possible. Overall with my writing I aim to provide thought provoking work which can stimulate intelligent conversation, whether such discussion revolves around disability awareness, sports, or another topic.
Again, thanks Zachary for taking the time to share your knowledge with us. We appreciate you and your work.
Good luck with your current and future publications.
For more information:
Purchase: Amazon Kindle (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006LUAPBM) and B & N Nook (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/off-balanced-zachary-fenell/1107969203?ean=2940013875371&itm=1&usri=off+balanced+by+zachary+fenell)
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