Shannon Clarke raised a family and worked waterfront jobs in America’s oldest seaport. Her childhood dream to become a sea captain is revived when her long-lost seafaring uncle Patrick, visits with a salty tale of their maritime family ancestry of pirates and privateers. He shares recovered family letters and artifacts from the Golden Age of piracy. They take to the sea in Patrick’s brigantine to follow the siren song of their ancestors in quest of destiny, truth and treasure. The voyage is fraught with raw forces of nature, past traumas and present-day sea raiders as their talents and beliefs of family, identity and purpose are shaken to the core.
James Masciarelli is a writer, coach, and serial entrepreneur. His leadership roles span social work, high-tech human resources, executive search, board governance, and angel investing. Known for thought leading articles in professional publications, his first book, PowerSkills is considered the seminal book on relationship and stakeholder management for personal, career and business success.
James and creative wife Judi enjoy endless summer in Naples, Florida and Gloucester, Ma. He now writes short stories and novels.
It is my pleasure to have Jim Masciarelli as my guest author today. Jim and I have been friends for quite a few years and it is wonderful to be able to tell others about his book, Beyond Beauport.
JT: Let’s start with inspiration. What was the trigger for you to write this book?
Jim: It was my love of sea stories, maritime history, piracy, and the intriguing working women of fishing port of Gloucester, Massachusetts.
JT: If this book was sitting on a shelf in a traditional bookstore like Barnes & Noble. Where would we find it?
Jim: The genre is clearly Adventure, so I would guess it would go there. If there was a place for sub-genres under that, maybe thriller, sea stories, or even women’s fiction since the main protagonist is a strong female in a mid-life quest.
JT: Yes, Shannon Clark is an interesting character. You have her so well defined. As a guy, did you find it hard to capture a female protagonist?
Jim: Great question. This began as a hypothesis for an adventure novel. I had consumed maritime history and pirate history books and learned about women navigators and yes, pirates. A female protagonist in an adventure novel out of her comfort zone on the high seas. Not a bodice ripper was my aim. I knew many of the working women of the Gloucester waterfront and how hearty, funny, tough, and family-oriented they were. Many knew hard times. I decided to interview as many as I could—twenty-six. Their stories, likes, dislikes, skills, work and family experiences blended into a female protagonist in mid-life. Empathy is the helpful and magical way to deep character development. I want to feel what my characters feel and to surprise myself.
JT: Let’s talk about the cover for a minute. I love the fiery red hair against the backdrop of the sea with the waves crashing in white foam. Did you design your own book cover or have a cover designer? How much input do you have?
Jim: My wife is a former graphic designer and we developed several mock ups for our Publisher Koehler Books.
JT: Are you traditionally published, an Indie Author or use a small independent press?And why did you choose that route?
Jim: I used a small independent press. At the time, Koehler books offered a hybrid model with excellent support which can lead to their traditional publishing. Now I have the book under Nimbus Press with faster time to market.
JT: Do you have a brand?
Jim: I’d call my brand Eclectic. I write satire, short stories, creative non-fiction and long fiction.
JT: Have you published other books?
Jim: Yes, PowerSkills a recognized seminal book on relationship management for career and personal success with licensed courses for corporations and associations. A precursor to today’s stakeholder relationship management thinking and platforms.
JT: How long have you been writing Commercially/Academically or for Pleasure?
Jim: Since 1978, I wrote thought leading articles on leadership skills for professional publications.
JT: That is quite a leap from non-fiction, professional publications to fiction. Did you find that difficult? What were some of the challenges?
Jim: I have been fortunate in several careers. So going into uncharted territory excites me. I started with a course on screenplays, participated in critique groups. I have read over 36 books on writing fiction. Somewhat helpful and conflicting advice. I joined Grub Steet Boston, Sanibel Island Writers and Marco Island writers. Many workshops. I had to set writing goals because I do get lost in research.
JT: What do you like BEST about writing or being an author?
Jim: The creative and editing process force a writer to scalpel no matter how hard to cut bloat. Learning something new every day and cataloging story ideas. I love researching topics, observe behavior, character, people and places with an eye for entertaining stories. I like to share drafts with readers that will beat it up and provide useful feedback.
JT: I love the research too. What do you like LEAST about writing or being an author?
Jim: The need to have multiple platforms, apps, to produce and get your work out there.
JT: One of the most challenging things for writers is getting your book out there. How do you market your books?
Jim: I have a tip sheet that I can offer to bookstores or organization that explains my book, my marketing and my Meta Data to make it easier for them to get the information they need. I speak to Affinity groups, book clubs, amazon, and at times social media. I enjoy doing speaking engagements. I find that networking and participating in writing conferences is helpful.
JT: If you were to give advice to a new author looking to get published, what would you say?
Jim: Perfect your work before gong to market and have low expectations of agents until you have successfully published in journals, articles, and self-publishing
JT: Thank you so much for spending a few minutes with Writing Under Fire. Readers, below is where you can purchase Jim’s book(s)
Amazon Author Page: https://author.amazon.com/profile