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    A few Words with 'Dear Friend' Gina L. Mulligan

    Author and philanthropist Gina L. Mulligan began her award-winning writing career more than 20 years ago. Starting out as a successful freelance journalist she eventually moved on to short stories and then historical fiction, releasing her first novel, “Remember the Ladies,” in May of 2016. She quickly followed that up with her second novel, “From Across the Room,” in September of that same year. Mulligan’s latest project is a lot more personal. Drawing on her own experience of battling breast cancer, Mulligan started the charity Girls Love Mail, which collects letters of hope and encouragement from around the globe to be distributed to women through cancer treatment centers and programs nationwide. To date, Girls Love Mail has collected over 100,000 letters, 100 of which are featured in Mulligan’s new book “Dear Friend: Letters of Encouragement, Humor and Love for Women with Breast Cancer.” The project has drawn national attention that keeps her very busy, but Gina graciously made time recently to sit down with the Open Mic to talk about “Dear Friend," the art and craft of historical fiction and the state of the publishing industry.

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    A Few Words With Historical Fiction Author Erika Mailman

     

    The morning of August 4, 1892 in Fall River, Massachusetts started out like most any other warm summer New England day. But before noon, the prosperous mill town would be rocked by two horrifyingly brutal murders that continue to fascinate and mystify the American public and the world to this day. More than a century later author Erika Mailman has tapped into the infamous and terrifying legacy of the person accused but ultimately exonerated of those crimes, Lizzie Borden, as a backdrop to her new novel, "The Murderer's Maid: A Lizzie Borden Novel." I sat down with Mailman recently to talk about the book, the craft of historical fiction and the public's ongoing fascination with one of America's most notorious crimes.

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    A Few Words with Editor Extraordinaire Jane Friedman

    When it comes to maneuvering the complex labyrinth that comprises the modern publishing industry, few voices are as respected as former Writer's Digest publisher Jane Friedman. Teacher, consultant, editor, blogger, author, speaker - there are few hats she hasn't worn in her 20-plus years in the business. Her e-book "Publishing 101" is considered essential reading for aspiring authors, and her industry newsletter, The Hot Sheet, equally so for authors of all stripes. She shared some time with me recently to talk about the industry and some of the key do's and don't for writers looking to make their mark on the world. 

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    A few Words With the Multi-Talented Chuck Sambuchino

    Many aspiring authors know Chuck Sambuchino from his time at Writer's Digest, where for many years he was the editor of the publication's indispensable annual "Guide to Literary Agents." When he was not helping others find an agent, Chuck was also a pretty successful author himself, penning the hilarious "How to Survive A Garden Gnome Attack" and "When Clowns Attack" among his many books. This year he left WD and struck out on his own, drawing on his extensive background as a reporter, author, editor, playwright and speaker to help writers on their own path to success. We caught up with him recently to learn more about his new gig and how he helps writers looking to help themselves.

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    A Killer Combo: A Few Words with True Crime/Memoir Author Mardi Jo Link

     

    Mardi Jo Link - Bootstrapper!

    Successful authors are usually loath to risk alienating the loyal readers they have worked so hard to acquire, so any foray into another genre is usually done under a pen name. But as with many things in her life, Mardi Jo Link isn't one to do something just because "that's how it's done." Already a successful true crime writer with several books to her credit - including one NYT bestseller - in 2013 she turned away from crime to pen the fascinating memoir "Bootstrapper: From Broke to Badass on a Northern Michigan Farm," the story of her struggles to save her farm and raise her three sons in the wake of a devastating divorce.The book won numerous regional awards and has been optioned by Hollywood superstar and Academy Award winner Rachel Weisz. She has written one other memoir and is currently working on a new true crime project. I sat down with her recently to talk about her work, movie options and the joys and challenges of crossing genres.

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