Author Spotlight no.371 – author and talk show radio host Francine Silverman

Complementing my interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the three hundred and seventy-first, is of author and talk show radio host Francine Silverman. If you would like to take part in an author spotlight, take a look at author-spotlights.

3 FranFrancine Silverman is a New York City girl, born and bred. As a child she loved writing letters and “poems” to friends and kept a diary. Ironically, her first published piece was at age 12 or 13 in the New York Post to columnist Dr. Rose Franzblau, complaining about her father’s failings. Fran never had any parental support on her writing and only discovered she had talent when a teacher at Bronx Community College gave her an A on a piece she penned.

Her first published article was in a judo publication. She and her husband belonged to a YMCA gym that had a track above the gym and they would watch the judo class below (their nephew was in the class). She got the idea to write about the beloved judo instructor while jogging around the perimeter. She recalls calling a writer she knew – the father of her daughter’s friend at school – and asking his take on the piece. He said it was full of clichés. It was but she was devastated!!

Fran honed her writing skills as a newspaper reporter. While married and raising a child, she worked at a local weekly newspaper as a sales person. She never liked it and one day interviewed a local doctor. She wrote the article and nervously asked the editor if she would publish it. Voila, she did, and from then on contributed articles. She remembers when she left the weekly, the staff said goodbye without fanfare. They were used to reporters and photographers leaving for greener pastures. She went on to freelance for a daily newspaper, doing feature articles. She was eventually hired by the daily and part of her responsibility was to go out and interview the man on the street about local issues – and take their pictures. Writing for newspapers was a wonderful experience and she recommends it to aspiring writers. Of course, there are less newspapers today but the Internet has many opportunities for writers.

During the time at the weekly and afterwards, she took myriad writing courses. A funny thing happened at one of them. She told the instructor where she would be working and he pooh-poohed the weekly. He must have assumed it was a rag. (Its editor later won a Pulitzer Prize!) A few months later, the instructor contacted her to ask if they would publish an article of his. Wonders never cease!

The second half of Fran’s life began with her ezine, Book Promotion Newsletter, launched in March 2003. She had written two guidebooks, Catskills Alive (Hunter Publishing 2000 and 2003) and Long Island Alive (Hunter Publishing 2003), but didn’t know how to market them or know any authors with whom to seek guidance. The ezine began with 10 authors and grew into the thousands. Recognizing the ingenuity of her subscribers through the questionnaires she sent them and their newsletter contributions, Fran took 325 of their best marketing strategies and put them into a book, Book Marketing from A-Z (Infinity Publishing 2003).

A reviewer at wrote: “In this book, more than 300 authors give the reader some insight on the who, what, where and when and how of marketing a book…There are a few known entities here, but for the most part, the authors in this book don’t have the recognition of someone like Stephen King, John Grisham… But that doesn’t mean their advice isn’t worthy. On the contrary, these folks get to the core of how to get your book out there, published and recognized.”

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Author Spotlight no.73 – Alana Woods

Complementing my daily blog interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the seventy-third, is of thriller novelist, short story, non-fiction author, editor, guest blogger and interviewee Alana Woods.

Alana Woods has been a professional editor for most of her working life. Within that editorial field she’s worked in a weapons facility, courtrooms, perched on the corner of a table in the offices of clients, and as the manager of a government department publishing unit with a million dollar plus budget.

Some years ago she decided to become a mature university student and slogged for five years to gain a first degree and then, because she fancied being one of a few rather than a thousand at the awards ceremony, went back for a post-graduate degree. For just a moment during that second awards ceremony, when she saw the single recipient of a masters stepping up to the podium, she thought that would be the epitome of cool. She says sense prevailed.

She’s a mother, grandmother, writer, editor, gardener, traveller, reader, and house builder and renovator (that one as the fetcher, carrier and holder for her husband who does pretty well all of the real work). Her short story, Tapestries and sleeping beauties, has a house-building theme. In fact, the house described is the first one that she and John built themselves, just substitute Alana for Carolyn in the chimney cleaning segment.

And now from the author herself:

I’d better say very quickly that the editor’s mantra is: never, ever, edit your own work.

One of my favourite language stories is when my children were in high school.  It used to drive me crazy that teachers would leave so many errors unmarked so I tackled an English teacher at a parent / teacher interview.  I said that when I was at school even the maths teacher would correct spelling etc. And what was I told? That if you corrected everything you would stifle creativity.

I was in for the kill then and asked how she thought they could be creative if they didn’t know how to use the language.  She was quiet for a moment then asked if I had any other concerns. And I’m sorry to say that I think that attitude still prevails, if the standard of writing from young people (that’s a gross generalisation of course) is anything to go by. However, it keeps me in a job, so I’m not complaining.

As for my writing, I have had some lovely compliments over the years. I remember one reader telling me that he re-read passages of Automaton over and over for the sheer beauty of them.

Others have said they think I’m a better storyteller than John Grisham and that makes me feel very warm and fuzzy. All I need now is his volume in sales. 🙂

My latest thriller, Imbroglio, is starting to receive similar comments.  Here’s a link to the opening, and I caution that it’s slightly risqué—the only part of the book that is, I hasten to add.

Thank you, Alana. You can find more about Alana and her writing via her website, Facebook page, Goodreads page, and You can also read her guest post on editing, and our interview. 🙂

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with humorous non-fiction author Amy L Peterson – the three hundred and thirtieth 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. You can read / download my eBooks from Smashwords, Sony Reader Store, Barnes & Noble, iTunes Bookstore and Kobo. My eBooks are now on Amazon, with more to follow, and I also have a quirky second-person viewpoint story in charity anthology Telling Tales.

I have a new forum at and you can follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, like me on Facebook, link with me on LinkedIn, find me on Tumblr, complete my website’s ‘Contact me‘ page or plain and simple, email me.