Friday, January 4, 2013

#AuthorInterview - Jeffrey H. Baer ~ A Song Apart

I am so excited to have Jeffrey H Baer here today for an interview to talk about his general fiction book, A Song ApartBefore we get to the interview, check out the description of A Song Apart:
Amazon Product Link
Rising pop singer Shannon Kistler never expected to see college student Kevin Derow on a Manhattan street wearing her concert shirt. But she offers gratitude in her own way, leaving her biggest fan in shock. When the two teenagers meet again six days later, Shannon slips Kevin her phone number, and the unlikely romance begins.

Soon they find they have several things in common: lonely childhoods, a passion for music, and making unpopular choices about their own lives. The public cannot take Shannon seriously as a teenaged recording artist, but she risks her sudden success by making some public mistakes after breaking into a soulless music industry with unusual ease. Meanwhile Kevin loses the respect of family, friends and coworkers over the girl he idolizes–and unwittingly blows the lid off a payola scheme devised by Shannon's record label, threatening her career and possibly his own freedom.

A Song Apart revolves around two young people from distinct backgrounds who choose to follow their hearts rather than their peers and find a greater reward at the end of their paths. 

It's great to have you here, Jeffrey!

Thanks. I appreciate it. 

So, why don't you tell us a little bit more in depth about your book?

A Song Apart is about two teenagers–an up-and-coming pop star and her most surprising fan– whose lives collide on a Manhattan street. They’re hopelessly drawn to each other and fall in love, but they still have to cope with society’s unreasonable disapproval of their own life choices. I tried to get it published via the traditional route, but it was rejected 336 times (337 if you count the telephone rejection). After hearing agents decide they couldn’t sell A Song Apart, I hooked up with CreateSpace (Amazon’s print-on-demand service) to offer the book to the people who really wanted to read it–the public. 

A lot of authors are finding Amazon to be a viable option in publishing.

Who is your favorite character in the book and why? 

Kevin Derow, the protagonist. At 19 years old he has the chutzpah to stand up for himself and make no excuses for who he is. I wish I’d done the same thing at his age. 

Good thing we can always live vicariously through our characters! So, have you always wanted to be a writer? 

Something always nagged at me to become a writer since I was so good at it, but I never thought it was practical. I actually hoped to major in accounting in college, but after several years I realized I didn’t know how to crunch numbers the way they should be crunched. I detoured into journalism for a year, but my heart wasn’t in it and my imagination was too hyperactive to be a reporter.

Most writers I talk to have always wanted to write, but I figured out my love for it later on too. I guess it doesn't matter when we figure it out, just that we do! 

Okay, movies or books? Which do you prefer? 

No preference, as long as they both tell a good story. 

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

I sing and play guitar, as well as compose old school R&B-style songs with software. When summer rolls around, I visit the karaoke stage on the Coney Island boardwalk to sing for the public. I’m also a sports fan; I root for the Mets, Knicks and the Dallas Cowboys. 

Sounds like music is an important part of your life. I'm not big on sports, though I do follow football. The Cowboys are the team for a lot of my family members, but I root for the Miami Dolphins...too bad we missed the playoffs this year!

What does the future hold for you? Are there any new projects in the works that you want to tell us about? 

I began writing a novel, a parody of Sidney Sheldon’s books, called Desperate People–and let’s face it, that’s all he ever wrote about. It’s set in 1979 New York City during the twilight of the disco era, in which a gorgeous club owner comes between an FBI agent and the head of an organized crime family. Researching it has been tough, especially where the Mafia is concerned, but I’m not giving up on it. Still, I heard another project calling to me, begging for revision–The Strickland File, which I wrote between 1997 and 2003. It’s about a college graduate coping with politics and adversity at his new job–and it’s based on experience. : / 

You certainly have lots to keep you busy. Good luck on both the researching and the revisions!

More about Jeffrey:
I was born January 21, 1969 in Brooklyn, NY. My dad was stationed in Fort Huachuca, AZ after his return from Vietnam, so I was an army brat without knowing it. 

My childhood was like a lot of others–difficult. I was advanced for my age, as everyone discovered when I read the Times Square message boards at age two– out loud, no less. My grandparents told me how surprised the pedestrians were; I was too engaged to notice, or else I'd pass the hat around. 

Unfortunately, the other kids weren't surprised. In fact, they were downright offended and often reminded me as much. The worst of it came in junior high school, when the entire grade hated my guts without knowing why. Looking back on it, I should've thanked those kids for giving me all that attention. 

I realized I could write when our seventh-grade English teacher asked us to write an essay about a famous woman. Since I loved listening to pop music, I wrote my essay about Roberta Flack, but I was out sick the day after handing it in. The next Monday a girl in my class complained “Gee, thanks, Jeff. We all really wanted to hear about Roberta Flack.” Apparently the teacher was so impressed with my essay, he read it to the class–and my classmates had yet another reason to consider me persona non grata. 

My so-called “bad reputation” followed me to high school. Suffice it to say I was never so relieved in my life than graduation day. 

I entered Baruch College in 1987 to study accounting, but after seven years I realized I didn’t know how to crunch numbers the way they should be crunched. I detoured into journalism for a year, but my heart wasn’t in it, so I took time off to sort out my career goals. At the same time I worked as a receivables manager for a Manhattan-based trade magazine. It was the worst job I ever had, as I coped with office politics and the nastiest, most manipulative boss I ever had. But the experience inspired THE STRICKLAND FILE, which I wrote between 1997 and 2003 and am revising at the moment. 

After Mill Hollow I worked at a list management company called Stevens-Knox & Associates for sixteen months. After losing that job I had trouble finding steady work for fourteen years. But in April 2002 I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, which is high-functioning autism that affects social skills. It answered a lot of questions, particularly why I was socially inept as a child and couldn’t get jobs on my own. Now I work part-time for a security firm thanks to a supported-employment group called JobPath. 

In addition to writing fiction, I compose songs using software. I enjoy old school R&B as well as 70s pop. I also sing and play guitar, bass and drums. 

Want to connect with Jeffrey or find out where to buy his book?
Web site:
Twitter: @JBaer10314
Facebook: (book page, where I prefer to chat with readers)
Amazon link: (readers can toggle between book and Kindle version)
Smashwords link: (e-book version for all other gadgets)

Thanks so much for being here today, Jeffrey! Best of luck to you in all your future endeavors! 

And thanks to all my readers for stopping by and reading more about this book. Have a terrific weekend and happy reading!! 

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