Friday, March 15, 2013

Guest Post: Author Micki Peluso

How/why did you start to write?

I began writing as a catharsis for my deep grief over the loss of my 14 year old daughter in a DWI vehicular homicide. It was poems at first, then a short story version of the tragedy which was published in “Victimology: an International Journal”. I also did editorials which were read on TV stations, and wrote petitions to the judge as the trial of the drunk driver arrived. This led to a staff journalist career for an award winning bi-weekly newspaper, The Staten Island Register, as well as freelance journalism. My daily newspaper published my slice of life humor and pathos stories, mostly centered on my lost daughter and my other five children and then grandchildren. I taught myself to write in all genres except screen writing to find which I liked best. Almost all of my stories have been published in print magazines, won contests and published in e-zines.

How did you become an author?

After the accident, when none in my large family were able to speak about Noelle, I again turned to expressing my feelings through writing. I began a memoir which would become a celebration of her life rather than a eulogy of her death. I had it half written when I ran into a severe memory block concerning the five years before her death, even though I could remember each detail of the actual event. Life interrupted me as well and I was too busy working as a freelancer, and doing inventory work at home, while helping my oldest daughter raise her young sons. Three heart attacks, and two open heart surgeries later, I was finally able to break through the block caused by the trauma and continue the book within a year.

What was your first published piece?

My first published short non-fiction story was “And Then There Were Five”, a story relating the reactions of my other five children, my husband and myself over the loss of Noelle.This story dealt with the reactions of my five children after losing Noelle, and how we came to terms with her loss.

Where was it published?

It was published in Victimology: An International Journal, followed in the next two issues by two related poems.

How long ago?

It was published in 1986

What did you do before embarking on your writing career? Was it an asset to your writing? How?

I was a home Mom, loving the wonderful job of raising six, bright, beautiful, funny, rambunctious kids. They were/are my love, my life; my treasures. They were later the inspiration for my short slice of life stories, and of course they were mortified when I published funny stories of their antics in my daily newspaper. I have an ‘Erma Bombeck’ style of humor writing and none of them--including their father, who was like the father in “Sound of Music”, whistling for the kids when it was dinner time—were spared in my hysterical stories about our lives. Our pets were fodder for my stories as well. I realized while finishing the memoir of Noelle’s life, that it had to reflect all the comedic escapades she shared with us—the funniest child in the family.

What inspires you?

Everything inspires me: life, especially the birth of a child, God and my relationship with him which has kept me sane, this beautiful earth we’ve been privileged to live on, the miracles I’ve witnessed, each time I awake to a new and different day, and amidst all the sorrows we face, the indomitable spirit we all have to get up and move forward with hope for a better future.

Please share one of your successful author platform building technique

My publisher taught me many useful marketing skills, the most effective for me being working with community affairs and groups like The Red Hatters, The Grandmother Clubs, The New York Professional Women’s Groups, and MADD (Mothers against Drunk Driving). I also used my local TV cable station, as a guest promoting my book and speaking about victims of drunk driving. I’ve spoken and sold books at PTA meetings, Church meetings and carry my books wherever I go. When I was in the hospital my books were in the window waiting for the nurses to buy them. I’ve even sold books to telemarketers trying to sell me somethingJ. Online marketing keeps me busy as I try to do what works best—sell myself and then the books sell themselves. This is a pleasure as I love people and have met long-time friends marketing my books—yes they all bought the book.

Parting words

. . . And the Whippoorwill Sang is a true story written as a death bed promise to my dying child. Many paranormal events happened as I finished the book and afterward, so I know that Noelle had a hand in writing this along with me. The book is dedicated not only to her, but to all the children and young adults whose lives were cut short by drunk or drugged drivers. Each one has a story to tell and I have tried to tell mine for all of them.

Tagline: Happy times, a summer day, a driving drunk, eight lives forever changed
The elusive whippoorwill swoops down the mountains.
Through night into dawn it's song mourns summer's loss--
as I cry mine.
AND THE WHIPPOORWILL SANG, a 300 page memoir, opens with eloping teenagers, Micki and Butch, in a bizarre double wedding ceremony with Micki’s mother. The couple share comical escapades, spanning decades. A terrible accident occurs in a placid valley nestled in the Susquehanna Mountains. Micki narrates happier days while confronting an uncertain future. One of her six children is fighting for life in the hospital. The family embarks upon its unbearable journey to the other side of sorrow . . .
And so in the throes of grief, a writing career was born.