Stevie Turner, Author
Don Massenzio's Interview
You will often find Don Massenzio's helpful tips for Indie authors/publishers on many of his WordPress blogs, which you can discover here: https://donmassenzio.wordpress.com/
Today he was kind enough to answer 20 of my questions, which I will share with you below:
You can find Don's books on Amazon by clicking this worldwide link:
1. You were born in Syracuse to first generation Italian/American parents. Have you ever been to Italy? Can you speak Italian?
I was fortunate enough to travel to Italy with my parents when I was in high school as part of a school trip. My Italian is limited to what I remember from studying Italian in school and from listening to my grandmother speak when I was a kid. She was from Sicily, however, so her dialect was much different than the formal Italian that I learned. I can read Italian fairly well, but speaking it is not something I’m comfortable with.
2. What feels more like home to you; New York or Florida?
New York will always be home, but when I’m traveling to cold places in the winter time, I’m glad that Florida is my adopted home. I feel like I’m going on vacation every weekend.
3. You write to combat the long hours of travel, hotel stays and homesickness that your job entails. Apart from writing, what do you do for a living?
I am a manager at a very large consulting company and I specialize in the healthcare IT field.
4. Because you travel so much in your job, do you prefer to stay at home in your spare time/holidays?
I do prefer to stay home although we often take trips so that my children can experience travel. We have spent Christmas in New York, Easter in California, and have taken Caribbean cruises.
5. Your first published book ‘Frankly Speaking’ rose to the top of the Amazon charts. Which marketing strategies did you use?
I tried every marketing strategy you can think of. It was a slow rise that culminated with spending considerably on Facebook advertising coupled with interviews and a newspaper article on the book.
6. Were any of the characters in ‘Frankly Speaking’ based on real-life people?
I think that the characters are combinations of people I have known. The main character is slightly autobiographical as he is a transplant from New York to Florida and plays the piano as I do.
7. When ‘Frankly Speaking’ was at the top of the charts, were you contacted by literary agents?
I was not, other than those that wanted me to invest in getting my book published. I didn’t see an upside to this.
8. Which social media do you think is best for promoting books?
My blog has been a successful way to gain some exposure from myself as an author, but Facebook ads have been the most effective.
9. Do you think it’s a good idea to pay for advertising on social media to promote books?
It’s a good idea if you are focused and know what you’re doing. I took a very useful course on Facebook ads that helps me spend minimally for maximum results.
10. What are you working on now?
I just turned in the fourth book in the Frank series to my editor. Beyond that, I’m working on a screenplay for Blood Orange, continuing to write my serial, Road Kill, on my blog and I’m laying out the next Frank book.
11. Which of your books sells the most copies?
It varies, but right now, my latest book, Blood Orange is selling the most.
12. If you could ask advice from one author, who would it be and what would you ask?
If it were an independent author, I would ask how they balance writing, promotion, and other things like blog posting and social media interaction.
13. Your favourite book of all time is Harper Lee’s ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.’ Have you read ‘Go Set a Watchman?’ If so, how does it compare with ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’?
I read it in two days when it came out. It was disappointing on a couple of levels. First, the character of Atticus is portrayed in a different light that contradicted his image in the first book. Second, it wasn’t written well. It appears that it may have been individuals trying to capitalize on Ms. Lee’s writing when she was not in a position to stop them.
14. If you could save one possession in a fire, which one would it be?
Are my family and pets safe? Then it would be the thumb drive with all of my writing and possibly the old 78 RPM recordings of my dad singing a song for my mom.
15. What’s number one on your bucket list?
I would love to take my family on a Mediterranean cruise to Italy, Greece and Spain.
16. Do you have any unusual hobbies?
I am a musician and love to play and arrange music when I have the time.
17. You have two children. Are they showing a creative talent in music or writing?
My older daughter is more of an athlete, but loves to read and write. My younger daughter, who is eight, wants to write books and we have worked together on putting small books together. She also dances and is passionate about baking.
18. How do you see the future for traditional publishing?
Much like the record industry, independent publishing is slowly changing the way traditional publishing works. From my standpoint, being able to take my work directly to the readers and getting immediate feedback would be tough to give up in favor of the traditional mode.
19. What’s your favourite piece of music/song?
This depends on my mood. I think I was born in the wrong decade because I love old standards. One of my favorites is ‘Someone to Watch Over Me’ by George and Ira Gershwin. I also like some modern music. Ed Sheeran is a talented and unpretentious artist. I also like John Legend. I can’t zero in on a specific piece of music, however.
20. Do you like to sing along to songs on the radio?
I was a musician in a band for many years, so I don’t really listen to music on the radio that much. I tend to listen to talk when I’m driving.
Thanks Don for your interesting answers. If any author or publisher would also like to be interviewed, please contact me here on my website http://www.stevie-turner-author.co.uk