In celebration of the release of FOR WHOM THE BELL TROLLS, Book Three of the Goblin’s Apprentice series, on July 24, 2012, Book One, TO GNOME ME IS TO LOVE ME, will be a FREE download on July 20/21, and Book Two, THE FAST AND THE FAERIEOUS, will be a FREE download on July 22-23.
Deirdra: When did you first know you wanted to be an author?
M. A. Golla: I’d love to say that I was born with a pencil in my hand, but that would be lying. Over the years, I dabbled in writing. I wrote an article for my local Girl Scout paper when I was nine, but that was about it for a couple of decades. It wasn’t until I took a novel writing class in my late 20’s when realized I wanted to write, but that teacher manage to scar me for about another fifteen years. The reality is that other things in my life took priority over writing--my horse(s) were a big part of my life for years as I rode, trained and showed my horse in English Hunter show divisions, eventually I stopped showing and concentrated on developing my last horse as a three day event horse.
My real interest in writing peaked after my daughter was born and I went to work part-time. I had more time on my hands and, after I sorted a billion recipes, I needed something to do with my time. It had been over twenty years since I had to use the English language, and the learning curve was STEEP!
Deirdra: What is your writing and educational background?
M. A. Golla: I have a BS degree in Medical Technology, along with a slew of letters after my name and title that don’t mean a darn thing any longer. I worked for 23 years in a large hospital laboratory, exclusively using my left brain and allowing my right brain to wither way into dust, which probably explains my learning curve when I started writing.
My writing background was simply learning how to do it the hard way. Luckily, I joined a local romance writing group and they took me under their wings prior to ripping the Band-Aid off my ego and allowing me to bleed all over the pages of my manuscripts. The person, who stated that you have to write a million words of crap, was right. I think I’m finally over the million words of crap, but that doesn’t mean I still don’t write crap, I do. I just recognize it as such and fix it.
Deirdra: Can you tell us a little about your book, TO GNOME ME IS TO LOVE ME.
M. A. Golla: The fourth manuscript that I wrote was called, THE LEPRECHAUN CONNECTION. It was a fantasy novel that came close to being published by Bell Bridge Books. Deb Dixon loved it, but it needed work and it wasn’t quite right for their imprint. She was so encouraging in her rejection, but I had reached a crossroads. I knew I wasn’t really a romance writer. Oh, I love reading romance, but my stories were heavier on the plot instead of the internal conflict of the story.
I took a little mental break from writing, and during this time, my daughter and I came up with some picture book stories that I wrote about a naughty little fly named Peter. I never tried to get these stories published (she still hasn’t forgiven me!), but it opened my mind to pursue the types of stories that I like to write--middle grade. I love the age group, the plots, the fun, and everything about these stories.
But what type of character should I write about? This was when I realized I could write the main character from LEPRECHAUN as her younger self when she first discovered the Mythicals who live in our world. Two name changes and one story later (rewritten a gazillion times), we have Kyte Webber, age 11, in TO GNOME ME IS TO LOVE ME.
Yes, my friends, the entire series of The Goblin’s Apprentice books is really backstory!
Deirdra: Are you planning on self-publishing, finding and agent, going with a small press or other? And why?
M. A. Golla: I tried to find an agent/publisher for the Goblin’s Apprentice stories/short stories, but no one was interested at the time. About a year later, one of my friends self-published her romance with great success, so I decided to electronically publish these middle grade stories. I knew I was ahead of the curve as very few kids had their own e-readers and parents are loath to share.
As soon as school starts, and my daughter is out of my hair, I plan to convert these stories to be available in print.
Deirdra: What do you hope readers will get from your books?
M. A. Golla: Fun escapism.
Look, I read to escape the real world. I want to live vicariously through the characters in a story, whether it’s living in medieval times, Steampunk or dancing with faeries. I want to experience excitement, adventure, danger, mystery, and all that jazz when I read. If I learn something new, then that’s a bonus. This is what I enjoy reading and this is what I enjoy writing.
Deirdra: What are your goals as an author for the next three years?
M. A. Golla: Oh, boy, I have a lot on my plate. So many ideas and so little time. For the short term, TROLL will be my last middle grade story until I get a few other projects off my desk. I’m already developing the storyline for Book Four, with a tentative title, OF DRAGON’S BLOOD AND TEARS. I’ll keep jotting ideas and notes down as they come to me.
I’m writing a non-fiction story about my weight loss journey (I’ve lost almost 50 pounds! Wowzers!). I’ve been blogging about it on my Weighty Wednesday blogs. I’ll tell it like it is, so if you want sugar coating then you need to dig into the stash of M&M’s that you’ve hidden from your family. You know what I mean . . . those M&M’s that are sitting in your unused crockpot. Yeah, those M&M’s.
And I have a rough outline and a few pages written of a four books series, featuring elementals. The characters are tougher and once I start them, I need to concentrate on their personalities.
Deirdra: What is the best complement you could receive from a reader?
M. A. Golla: All of them. My MIL read one of my Kyte Webber short stories (Lost Leprechaun Loot) to a group of underprivileged children at her church. The little girl drew a picture of Kyte for me. I have a folder on my computer that I call Warm & Fuzzy with all the emails that I’ve received. Some of my Amazon reviews have been funny, mainly those who are from adults out of my target age range (8-12 years) and they are surprised that they enjoyed the book.
Just because a book is written for a particular age group of readers, it doesn’t mean people of different ages might not enjoy it.