Complementing my daily blog interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the one hundred and thirty-seventh is of non-fiction author and first-place winner of the non-fiction Shirley You Jest! Book Award (of which I’m a sponsor) Robin O’Bryant.
Robin O’Bryant is a humor columnist and stay-at-home-mother to three daughters born within four years. She finally figured out where babies come from and got herself under control.
Her first book, Ketchup is a Vegetable and Other Lies Moms Tell Themselves, has been rated #1 by reader reviews on Amazon in two genres: Humor Essays and Parenting & Families since December 2011.
Robin won the South Carolina Press Association’s award for Best Humor Column for 2012. She was a Circle of Mom’s Top 25 Funniest Moms 2011 and 2012. Babble has listed Robin’s Chicks as Top 10 Funniest Parenting Blog and her work has been featured on Huffington Post. She uses her blog and newspaper columns to teach women helpful tips such as: how to breastfeed behind your back (only applies to lactating women with a DD cup or larger), how to talk to your daughters about man parts, and how to write a proper gold fish obituary.
And now from the author herself:
I’ve been an avid reader and writer my entire life. As a child it was common for me to have dark circles under my eyes from staying up into the wee hours to read. I’ve journaled since I could write a complete sentence and throughout my life I have been told repeatedly, “You should write a book.”
I wanted to, I really did. I wanted to be a writer but I had no idea what to write about. I was good at expressing myself in words but I wasn’t creating new worlds or going all J.K. Rowling in my free time. Reading and writing were private passions until my third child was born. Three daughters in four years, it’s all a blur. Do the math, people. That’s a lot of crazy.
I was writing about my kids extensively, because that’s what I do. I am compelled to write about my life. But because my husband and I lived hundreds of miles from our families, I was also sending out mass emails on a daily and weekly basis to update our families on our shenanigans. And I heard it again and again, “You should write a book.” (Please note: this doesn’t always mean you should and I realized that this was my mom and she might be a little biased.) I realized I might have an audience when my family members started forwarding my emails to everyone in their contact lists and I began receiving feedback from people I didn’t know. I started a blog and somehow convinced the editor of our local paper to let me write a weekly family humor column.
I started outlining Ketchup is a Vegetable and Other Lies Moms Tell Themselves and wrote like a mad woman. I signed with Jenny Bent in July of 2009 and began the arduous process of editing and revising. Because platform is so important, I had a lot of work to do in building my blog readership and expanding my humor column. Jenny has been a great source of information, an editor, advocate, writing teacher, butt-kicking motivator for me for the last three and half years.
We decided to take a calculated risk and self-publish Ketchup (available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble) to further expand my platform. It worked. I’ve sold a fair share of books and Ketchup has spent almost 11 months rated #1 by reader reviews in two categories on Amazon: Humor Essays and Parenting & Families.
Due to the success of the book, we published a separate e-book only collection of my best humor columns titled A Second Helping (available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble). I’m currently working on the proposal for my third book.
You can keep up with me online by reading my blog, Robin’s Chicks, liking my Facebook Author page or following me on Twitter. November 30th is Ketchup’s first birthday and I’ll be giving away signed copies on my Facebook page for the next few weeks!
Morgen: Congratulations. Thank you, Robin.
The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with writer and publisher Rosemary Kind – the five hundred and fifty-fifth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.
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Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are fortnightly episodes, usually released on Sundays, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.