Hello and welcome to “WHO’S ON THE SHELF?” with yours truly, Nonnie Jules! Since we are a book club, we had to offer something that included a book shelf. A lot of interviews merely cover an author’s work or an individual’s career stories. Here on this “SHELF,” we get down and dirty and ask the questions no other interviewer dare ask. We ask the questions that you want to open up a book and find the answers to on your favorite authors and fellow book club members, but no one has dared to cover them. WE get personal! Because when you sit on the RRBC “SHELF”, YOU are an open book!
Today, I have with me on the “SHELF” our Current “SPOTLIGHT” Author, Gwen Plano!
NJ: Before we get started, how does the “shelf” feel to you, Gwen? Is it comfy?
Gwen: It feels surprisingly homey.
NJ: Let’s start by confirming whether or not your author name is your birth name or a pen name?
Gwen: I use my married name when I write—Gwendolyn M Plano, though I go by Gwen.
NJ: Tell us where you were born? Do you still live there now? If not, what city and state are you calling home these days?
Gwen: I grew up in the Imperial Valley desert—the southernmost area of California. Currently, I call Branson, Missouri my home.
NJ: Married or single?
Gwen: I am very happily married. Larry and I just celebrated our 9th anniversary.
NJ: Kids or no? If yes, how many? Sons or Daughters?
Gwen: I have three sons and one daughter.
NJ: Favorite child (if you have any, and be honest…I’m sure they’re not reading this interview):
Gwen: Each child is as dear to me as the next, though for different reasons.
NJ: Pets? What kind? (Please don’t say cats *sigh* Who’s the Producer here? Can I ever get some dog people on my shelf?)
Gwen: After our sweet Bichon Frise passed away, we’ve not had a four legged friend in the home. That said, we live in the country, and our backyard is a favorite stomping ground for creatures of all types.
NJ: Favorite food:
Gwen: I love a good steak, a fresh green salad and homemade biscuits.
NJ: Favorite color:
Gwen: Blues of all shades, especially teal.
NJ: Hence that nice blouse you’re wearing. Looks good on you, by the way. So, what’s your favorite sport?
Gwen: I follow baseball a bit, and recently attended a Cardinals game. It was a great game, and
NJ: Favorite TV Show:
Gwen: I’d have to say it’s a tie between Madam Secretary and Scandal.
NJ: Scandal? Yayyyyy! We must chat! On Thursdays of course (when the new season begins…during the commercial breaks, that is! LOL). Favorite Actress/Actor…
Gwen: Two people stand out for me: Meryl Streep and Denzel Washington.
NJ: Gwen, you’re batting 100 here with me today! Keep it up! Couch potato or workout nut? Be honest.
Gwen: I’m not a couch potato, but I’m also not a workout nut. I love long walks or hikes, but my computer rules my life at times.
NJ: I know what you mean. I’m trying to come up with a way to run with my laptop in front of me. I’m a workout nut, I love my runs, but I’m married to my computers! Biggest pet peeve that makes you want to stomach-punch somebody? (For the record, NJ does not condone violence but she does believe in being honest so she has to admit that there are times when she feels like some friendly stomach-punching is a little necessary).
Gwen: I’m very troubled by prejudice in all its many forms.
NJ: I love the way you put things, Gwen. “Very troubled.” I just shoot for the harshest words I can find! “Troubled?” NO, me, not so much. I’m more along the lines of just “angry, peeved and ticked”! Are you neat or messy?
Gwen: My home is neat, but my desk is a disaster. So, I think my answer is…it depends!
NJ: We really are twin sisters! My home…let’s just say that you can eat right off the floors. My office? Well, I tend to keep that door closed at all times. Facebook or Twitter?
Gwen: This past year I gravitated to Twitter. There was a time when I swore I would never tweet, but to my total surprise, I discovered that I like meeting folks through the 140 characters
NJ: Name two of the most supportive people you’ve met on either Facebook or Twitter? Hurry and tell us so we can become their friend.
Gwen: Gosh, RRBC members are extraordinary; I truly cannot pick just two. With my recent mishap (breaking my right arm) Harmony Kent has gone out of her way to help me. I’m ever so grateful.
NJ: I agree, RRBC members are great! That Harmony can be a military saergant, though, when it comes to missing work on the Tweet Support Team. I would think that she would have still insisted you tweet, even with a broken arm! Are we talking about the same Harmony Kent? Goes by the name of “Harmz” in some parts? Hmmmm. The one you speak of sounds almost angelic. The one I speak of, scares me. (Just teasing, guys…LOL. Now just watch, Harmz is gonna “accidentally” mess up something of mine for this tease!). Nonnie Jules or Wonderwoman? Be honest.
Gwen: Nonnie Jules any day!! One of the first books I read in RRBC was SUGARCOATIN’ is for Candy & PACIFYIN’ is for Kids. I was so excited that I quickly wrote to my publisher and suggested that she recommend it to all new writers.
NJ: Awww, Gwen…how sweet of you! Thank you so much! I’m so glad you enjoyed it. I need to go in and tweak it a bit, and just as soon as I find some free minutes in my busy life, I will get to it. But, it’s still a pleasant read in its current state, I’m sure. Name two favorite INDIE books that you’ve read…
Gwen: This is difficult! I don’t know that I can pick favorites, but I can select books that have lasting images. One such book is The Color of the Wild by Gin Getz. The other is Daydream’s Daughter, Nightmare’s Friend by Nonnie Jules.
NJ: ONE good INDIE book you read that was so good you wished the entire world would read it:
Gwen: A book that quickly comes to mind is the historical novel, In the Shadow of Lies, by M. A. Adler. Though the story is situated in upstate California during WWII, the prejudices and violence that erupt extend far beyond that area. Adler is masterful in capturing that intensity.
NJ: What was so great about it?
Gwen: There is a universal quality to the book, because the themes are not constrained by time. Prejudice takes many forms, and Adler’s characters expose its subtlety and its cruelty.
NJ: After you read books, do you post reviews?
Gwen: Yes, I see that as my responsibility.
NJ: What do you think readers should base their reviews on?
Gwen: I think reviews should be based upon the overall effectiveness of the book.
NJ: Are you one of those who are afraid to be honest in their reviews lest the author gets upset with you, or is honesty your best policy, especially in reviews?
Gwen: When I write a review, I am honest though I might also be generous. If a book needs a lot of work, most likely I will not write a review. I’d rather write directly to the author.
NJ: Read any poorly written books lately?
Gwen: Thankfully, I have not. Several months ago, however, I was sent a book which I had to refuse. It simply was not one I could recommend to anyone.
NJ: Are you an author?
Gwen: Yes, my first book was published last summer.
NJ: How long have you been writing?
Gwen: I’m a retired educator, and in my former role, I’d often write short pieces for various projects. These last two years, however, I’ve focused on writing my first book.
NJ: What books have you written?
NJ: Do you have a blog or website?
Gwen: My blog is on my website: www.gwenplano.com
NJ: Name three great online resources or organizations that every author should belong to:
Gwen: Gosh, there are so many, but RRBC tops the list. I also like Books Go Social and recently, I stumbled upon Jane Friedman.com which has much helpful information.
NJ: Which online resource or organization has helped you as an author the most?
Gwen: Rave Reviews Book Club has directly and indirectly helped me tremendously.
NJ: How were you helped by them?
Gwen: The Indie world can be quite competitive, but the camaraderie within the Club counters that cut-throat attitude by creating an environment of mutual support. This quality resonates strongly with my spirit, and because of that, I feel very much at home in the Club. I like to help others, and through the Club, I offer support in all the ways I can.
NJ: You are so right about the support and relationships built in this club. We are family here at RRBC and if you get in here and make yourself known, you automatically are accepted into this awesome family of support and love! Genuine support and love, at that! Since you’re sitting on the SHELF, you’re obviously a Rave Reviews Book Club member, so what do you think of the
Gwen: I have great respect for the ideals embodied by RRBC. The leadership provided by you Nonnie and your team is exemplary. I look forward to your first conference (maybe it should be held in Branson!), as I’d like to meet each of you in person.
NJ: Well, Gwen, we need to put that place in Marlena’s head when she begins to seek out perfect locations for our first conference. Have you come across any other online entities like RRBC?
NJ: Would you recommend it to your friends and family?
Gwen: I recommend it to everyone!
NJ: You’re just so awesome, Gwen! Thank you! Well, this shelf is getting hard on my hiney, so we’re going to wrap this interview up. Any final words?
Gwen: Thank you very much for this opportunity. It’s been a delight sitting with you on the shelf.
NJ: Thank you so much for joining me on the shelf, Gwen! You have made our interview on the SHELF today so pleasant and peaceful! Not a hint of violence ever entered my mind. THANK YOU for keeping me so centered and sane. To my guests, please support Gwen by picking up a copy of her book, LETTING GO INTO PERFECT LOVE. You can also support Gwen by visiting her blog stops on her tour which ends on Saturday. You can find the tour line up here.
Have you joined Rave Reviews Book Club yet? Well, here’s your chance! And since Gwen was on the “SHELF” today, tell them she sent you. Make it a great day, my friends. We’ll see you next time, right here on the “SHELF”!!