Elias: Welcome, PJ. You kept me waiting a long time to interview you.
PJ: I apologise profusely. It shan't happen again!
Elias: PJ, are you from another planet sent to Earth to destroy us all?
PJ: No, I was sent by the Greek gods to restore their powers. I am using the Mystic Princesses as my front for now. As little girls become enamored with the series, they will learn that they also have inherited powers similar to the Mystic Princesses. I will then have the little girls band together to bring the message of the gods back to the people of the Earth. I'm keeping that message a secret for now, because I don't want to blow my whole operation.
Elias: Your book, The Mystic Princesses and the Whirpool seems to be based on the Greek Mythology but set in modern times. Which character from the Greek Mythology would you be? I would be Zeus, of course.
PJ: I would be Athena, the Goddess of wisdom and purposeful battle. But, that would also make you my father since you have claimed to be Zeus. I would use my war shield to block your lighting spears and cabbages. And I would use my wisdom and intelligence to outwit you. Because everyone knows that children are smarter than their parents, especially during their teenage years.
Elias: Why did you become an author? Was it to follow in my footsteps?
PJ: I've always been an author, as I've written since high school. I wouldn't follow in your footsteps though, because they are littered with rotten cabbages and slimy slugs.
Elias: For your next book, will your main protagonist have the power to throw cabbages?
PJ: No, my protagonist has the ability to turn the other characters into birds which will then eat your slugs. However, one character does throw fireballs. So, I could have her throw flaming cabbages if I decided that it was warranted.
Elias: You're also noted for your poetry. Complete this rhyme: Elias Zapple gave a cabbage to PJ LaRue...
PJ: Elias Zapple gave a cabbage to PJ LaRue.
She thought, so many are hungry, I'll make a stew.
I'll need carrots, onions, potatoes, and of course, some beef.
When Elias smelled the stew, he said, "Don't forget the bay leaf."
But PJ added an extra ingredient much to Elias' surprise.
A chewy, slimy slug lay on his spoon staring right into his eyes.
Elias: Will a book based on Roman Mythology or based on my slugs be coming soon?
PJ: My next book still focuses on Greek Mythology. However, the third book will feature the daughter of Pele, the Hawaiian volcano goddess. The fourth book will feature the daughter of Mother Nature. Because of that, I can see where the fourth book has potential to incorporate both slugs and cabbages, but you will have to pay me large sums of money and make all my publishing dreams come true to make that happen.
Elias: You started the group, Best Family-Friendly Book Club, did you copy this idea from the great Elias Zapple's Fun-tastic Children's Books (Slugs Welcome)?
PJ: No. I only recently heard of your group, and I am enjoying being a member of it, when you aren't tossing cabbages or infesting people with slugs. I started Best Family-Friendly Book Club with a couple of other authors nearly a year ago because we couldn't find a group that fit our needs. While it is predominately children's book authors and books we have YA and adult family-friendly books, as well. We have some teachers and librarians in the group. Our motto is that we can leave our books out on the coffee table without being embarrassed if someone stops by unexpectedly, especially our mothers and grandmothers.
Elias: Ever considered breeding slugs?
PJ: No. kittens maybe, but definitely not slugs. How many slug farms do you run? And how much cabbage does each slug eat per day?
Elias: If the Mystic Princesses were to be made into a film, who would you like to see play the roles of the Mystic Princesses? I have five slugs that would be perfect!
PJ: I might consider having your slugs can play the antagonists, the Children of Ares.
Princess Coral – played by MacKenzie Foy
Princess Harmonie – played by Maggie Batson
Princess Breanna – played by Rhiannon Leigh Wryn
Princess Catie – played by Willow Smith
Princess Janna – played by Isabella Acres
Elias: You're quite an experienced self-published author now. Any advice for new authors about to publish their first novels, perhaps advice along the lines of 'do everything Elias Zapple does'?
PJ: This is everything I wish I'd known the first year after I published. (And even before publishing!)
~Join both of our groups to meet other authors, but wear body armor when visiting the Fun-tastic page.
~Other groups to check out are IndiesUnlimited and Book Viral on Facebook and @BookViral on Twitter.
~ Follow RachelintheOC Thompson and BadReadHeadMedia on Facebook and @BadRedHeadMedia on Twitter. She understands marketing, books and blogs relevant advice.
~Start a blog and post regularly. You will build an audience. I'm still working on the blog posting side of this, but I'm doing pretty well with posting book reviews.
~To find your readers, go through the bloggers that have already found them. Google "children's book bloggers" or "YA book bloggers" or "slug and cabbage bloggers," etc. Select a few of those bloggers and visit their sites regularly, comment,
Share on Facebook and tweet them. Be their friend. But this is the key, keep being their friend after you've had your blog tour. Don't use them and drop them. When book 2 comes around, you still want them as your their friend.
~Understand that other authors are not your audience. They are your support network. If you make friends with them and share their work, then they will help spread the news about your book, but don't push them to buy your book.
~Do not spam people with your book links all the time. Social media users hate that! If all you have in your tweets and shares are links to books, you are spamming. General rule of thumb that I've learned along the way (from Rachel
~1/3 content relative to the subject or readers of your books, 1/3 other interesting articles, quotes or pictures unrelated to your books, 1/3 sharing other authors' works and your own work.
~Set writing goals and make a time calendar so that you don't spend so much time on social media that your writing or your relationship suffers.
~If you review another author's work (even a friend's book) and don't like it, or it has major issues with the grammar and editing, you need to have a policy about how to handle the situation. Your name is going on that review and other readers are relying on the reviews when they buy the books. I personally prefer to talk privately to authors about issues, so that they can be corrected. In this day of POD and ebooks, one is not stuck with a huge print run when errors are found. And, if you trash an author's book publicly, you've made an enemy.
Elias: When do you plan to publish your next cabbage book?
PJ: I am currently working with a new illustrator to reissue the 1st book, The Mystic Princesses and the Whirlpool. When I decided to change artists, I wanted the artwork to be consistent throughout the series.
~My website is also being redesigned. As soon as that is complete, I will end the 1st edition and it will no longer be available for sale. I will then begin sharing the new look while I wait for the rest of the illustrations.
~I hope the 2nd edition will be published in the spring.
~I have written the 2nd book in the series, The Mystic Princesses and the Magic Show. It is in the final stages of edits. It is set in New Orleans and Alaska. I hope to publish it during late 2014.
~I have started writing the 3rd book in the series. Right now, it is tentatively called The Mystic Princesses and the Volcano. It is set on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Thanks, PJ! And please make it a little bit sunnier here in the UK!
The Mystic Princesses and the Whirpool
Princess Harmonie, the daughter of Aphrodite, makes people feel peaceful. Her life in New York is disrupted when the war-god, Ares, demands that his five warrior children capture her so they can fight and cause wars. Princess Harmonie must give up all that she loves, including her beloved brother, Eros, move to Hawaii, and live with her new protectors, whom she doesn’t even know. Together, the five girls are The Mystic Princesses, and they learn they have inherited powers from their mythological parents. Along the way, The Mystic Princesses learn life-lessons in personal safety, trust, keeping secrets that could cause harm and stopping bullies. But will the princesses learn how to use their powers in time to protect Princess Harmonie from the Children of Ares, when their hiding place is discovered?
My moustache is great, my slugs are great, my cabbages are great and Elias Zapple is meh.