A Charming Idea, Mara Purl

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Today’s blog is part 2 of my interview with Mara Purl, author of the Milford-Haven series. The second book, Where the Heart Lives was the subject of yesterday’s blog. Please scroll down to read it.

Sue: Mara, I’d like to talk with you for a few minutes about books, in general, and what, if any, shift you have noticed among readers in recent years?

Mara: Readers know what they like to read, and with people being so busy these days, I think people are looking for more specific categories of books. Rather than just say, general fiction, they are looking types of fiction such as women’s fiction or family sagas or romance. My books are categorized in all three.

Authors are offering free sample chapters of e-books, prequels that are free, and 99 cent e-books which allows readers to venture into trying new genres and new authors they otherwise may have never discovered.  Short stories had been diminishing in the marketplace, and with the arrival of e-books, they are making a return. Serial story telling has also had a resurgence. 

Because of space constraints, in the past, booksellers have been hesitant to carry whole series of books; not wanting to take up too much space with just one author’s books. With e-books, there is not that concern of taking up too much shelf space. Thus, readers have the ability to read a whole series from beginning to end. Collecting and reading an entire series presents no constraints in storage in electronic (e-book) format.  

For fans of books that bring the reader through a chronology of generations, such as Louis L’Amour books, e-books can be very useful way to fulfill the readers desires to collect an entire series without having to find space to store them in their homes. 

Sue: I have noticed your wonderful newly redesigned website. There are all kinds of fun things for your readers on the site, including jewelry for fans of the Milford- Haven Books. Tell me what it has meant to you to follow the spirit of your character, Miranda Jones, and use your artistic expression to take your creativity in a new direction.

Mara:  Women love jewelry, and I have noticed that stories go along with jewelry that women wear. Women say, “oh, that necklace or bracelet was given to me by so and so, or it used to be my grandmothers, or I got that piece of jewelry when……” I thought that women may like to collect jewelry that will remind them of the Milford-Haven books they have read. As a talisman or reminder to listen to the heart. So, each book has a different shell “dingbat” (an ornament, character or spacer used in typesetting) and each will be available as a charm and can be collected for bracelets. The first book What the Heart Knows has a heart cockle shell “dingbat” in it, and then the 2nd book in the series Where the Heart Lives is a placuna shell, (called a windowpane oyster) which is a marine bivalve that is flat and translucent, in shape).  

Sue: Where can these charms and bracelets be purchased?  I will put a link to your newly designed website for our readers, and people can keep their eyes open for them as an upcoming product. Mara’s Blog site www.marapurlcom.  Link to Milford-Haven book charms on Pinterest  http://pinterest.com/marapurl/.

Mara: Yes, they are still in the development phase by a jeweler in Colorado Springs, but once available, they can be shipped anywhere in the world and if you go to my newly redesigned website, there is information.

Sue: Mara, I appreciate so much the opportunity to interview you again. I am so pleased at the success you are having with the Milford-Haven series. When will Bellekeep Books publish the third in the series When Hearts Keep Secrets be available? I look forward to reading the next book.

Mara: Look for When Hearts Keep Secrets in 2013. Probably in autumn of the year. Also, the e-book “When Whales Watch” the prequel to the second book  is available through Amazon.

For more information on all of Mara Purls’ publications,Click here

This blog brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, author of Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpectedand www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.

Speaking the Language of Heart and Art

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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.

This blog brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.