Clash of the Titles
by April Gardner
Today's post is shared by April Gardner, author of Wounded Spirits.
There’s something for everyone at Clash of the Titles, but today we’ll hear what authors JoAnn Durgin and Margaret Brownley took away from it. These two talented ladies competed in our Back-cover Blurbs week. This particular challenge was unique in that the authors were revealed from the first day and encouraged to spread the word about their appearance on COTT.
Today, they’re here to tell us what they thought about it.
What motivated you to participate in COTT’s literary challenge?
Margaret: It sounded like fun. So many blogs are similar but this was refreshingly different.
JoAnn: My book was just on the cusp of release, and the marketing phase had begun. Time to get my name out there and gain some visibility. Plus, I love a good challenge, and wanted to see if my back cover copy would pass muster.
April: Marketing can be a big, scary monster. At COTT, we aim to make it a little easier for authors. I hope we did just that for both of you.
What did you find most enjoyable, or perhaps surprising, during your week?
Margaret: It was fun reading and responding to comments. It didn’t feel like a contest, it was more of a celebration—a week long party!
JoAnn: I loved the comments and questions from readers and other writers. You can learn so much from the give-and-take and observations, and it helps me as an author to gain the unique insight into what readers like and can take away from what I’ve written. It’s gratifying and enlightening.
April: The comments are a lot of fun, aren’t they? An author can always use encouragement!
Did you think you would win?
Margaret: I think we both won because of the great exposure. Contests are so subjective you never know how they will turn out. I figured if most of the responders were western fans I had a chance. If not, so what, it was fun.
April: Margaret, you’re so right! Great exposure is what we aim to achieve for all our visiting authors.
JoAnn: I honestly had no idea. My worthy competitor writes a totally different genre, and I believed it was more a matter of who voted and which genre they preferred. I’m so thankful we all have different tastes – something for everyone, and that’s the way it should be.
April: Congratulations, JoAnn!
Tell us about the book you entered in the clash.
JoAnn: Awakening is my first published book, although I’ve written many. This particular book was written about 12 years ago, and is loosely-based on my love story with my husband. It is the beginning of a series and introduces my core characters, Sam Lewis and Lexa Clarke. It is a contemporary romantic adventure set in Texas, and I believe it fills a void in contemporary Christian romance – it has everything from humor, drama, emotion, mystery and adventure – you name it. I don’t adhere to the “only three kisses per book” rule, and I don’t keep my characters apart until the very end where they share epiphanies, a sweet kiss and ride off into the sunset together. I feel it’s a greater test of faith and love when a couple works through difficulties and challenges together throughout the course of the book.
Margaret: In A Suitor for Jenny, confirmed bachelors aren’t the only problem that confronts Jenny Higgins when she rolls into Rocky Creek, Texas determined to find suitable husbands for her two younger sisters. The town falls short of her expectations, but she refuses to be discouraged. Once her sisters are safely married, Jenny plans to put the past behind her, move far, far away and start afresh.
Armed with “The Complete and Authoritative Manual for Attracting and Procuring a Husband,” she follows every rule in the book. Much to her dismay none of the men meet the stringent requirements, one of which is passing the PHAT (Potential Husband Attitude Test).
Jenny thinks she knows how to pick perfect husbands and it take two rebellious sisters, a handsome marshal, and a whole lot of faith to convince her otherwise.
I have struggled to write some back cover blurbs and breezed through writing others. Did you find it difficult to write the back cover blurb for your book?
JoAnn: Not especially. Ironically enough, I find it more difficult to write a synopsis, but the back cover copy was fun. With Awakening, I worried that I was giving away too much. However, I realized that you have to dangle a carrot in front of the reader to whet her appetite – but then not give away all the book’s secrets. A writer needs to give the reader enough details about her characters to showcase why her book is different and why they should choose that particular book to read. I love the element of surprise, and there are a number of them in Sam and Lexa’s story. But you need to read it to find out!
Margaret: Some back covers are easier to write than others. A Suitor for Jenny was a dream to write because there were so many fun elements to work with. Who can resist the Potential Husband Attitude Test (PHAT)?
April: Thank you, ladies, for chatting with us about your experience on Clash of the Titles. You’re both great sports. Come back to play with us any day!