As we broke away from our interview on Thursday with author Mara Purl, we began to talk about the hardcover release of “What the Heart Knows” and the new cover design painted by watercolorist Mary Helsaple. Today, we will engage in conversation about the creative artistic marketing of the book as well as Mara’s life as a multi-dimensional artist.
The Interview Continues –
Sue: What other creative things are you doing with marketing and merchandising as part of your new arrangement with Bellekeep Books?
Mara: I have written a short story “When Hummers Dream” which is a prequel to “What the Heart Knows” available through Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes and Noble’s Nook e-readers. It is free until Labor Day. “When Hummers Dream” is a Best Seller on the Kindle free e-book list. After I wrote the short story, I realized there are many bird enthusiasts that follow all kinds of hummingbirds. I got invited to speak at a Hummingbird Garden in Phoenix. I look forward to that!
We are having an internet launch on September 27 and there will be some bonus items included in the purchase of the hardcover “What the Heart Knows.” We also incorporated a heart cockleshell dingbat on the pages and each subsequent book in the series will have a different kind of shell dingbat aside the chapter numbers. Also, as part of the merchandising, there will be shell charms that people can purchase to match the dingbats in the books. They can begin to build their charm bracelets. It is our way of incorporating books and art. I created my protagonist Miranda Jones, a painter out of my love for art.
Also, at the back of the book “What the Heart Knows” there will be questions to the reader to ask them whether they are listening……are they listening to their own hearts?
Sue: Mara, you have worn many artistic hats over the course of your life time, as performing artist, award-winning author, screenwriter, songwriter and journalist. Were your parents always supportive of your career in the Arts?
Mara: Yes! Tremendously supportive…always.
Sue: A little while after we met, I found out that you graduated from Bennington College with a degree in the Arts. As you know now, my place of residence of almost 30 years was in Bennington County,Vermont. Has your career matched your vision when you decided upon this field of study many years ago?
Mara: Yes.Vermont is a magical place with independent spirit. Winter was long but the solitude became a cauldron for internal development. The mentors at Bennington College were wonderful and had extraordinary influence on me. I met two Bennington grads as a teen and both said it would be a good fit. The decision ended up a heart decision for me. There were small classes and I learned how to talk in front of people. You had to contribute because there was little other structure and few others in the class. I learned to be a self starter there.
Sue: I was going to ask you to what do you attribute your success in working in so many dimensions of the Arts, but you may have just answered my question, in part.
Mara: Yes, I did. I found that in the quiet came self growth. And you ask yourself what are you here to do? I learned in my college years that the rest doesn’t happen unless you become a self-starter. I have concern about kids today and all the external they are exposed to – the TV, the iPods, the cell phones, all the digital devices. They can’t be quiet and be with themselves in quiet spaces. They are plugged into something constantly.
Sue: What has it meant to you personally to be able to follow your dreams and pursue your passions in the Arts?
Mara: It’s funny, years into my career, I came across a guy that I had known way back, he said to me “you didn’t sell out.” At first I didn’t know what he meant, but what he meant is I stuck with what I wanted to do. But, I didn’t know what else to do. I was just being me. For some people painful choices have to be made but I say it is never too late to come back to your core mission.
Sue: To wrap things up, what words of advice can you give to the younger generations who are interested in pursuing careers in the Arts?
Mara: Listen to your heart and soul. Look for mentors that have walked the path in what you want to do. There will be well meaning people and ask their advice but there has to be internal and external balance. Finally consult with yourself only you really know.
Sue: This has been a busy month for you. You have been on virtual blog tours for weeks and you have a few more to go. Mara, I appreciate so much your taking the time to stop by All Things Fulfilling and giving us insight into your books and also into your career as a person who has so successfully made their living in the Arts.
Sue: One last question – where can we look for “What the Heart Knows?”
Mara: In bookstores, through links on my own website www.marapurl.com, on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, on i-Readers. Just Google and you will find it.
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