Sola Olu, author of The Summer Called Angel, launches her blog tour!
How long could you have faith? Believe in the impossible? Rely on the strength of the smallest person you have ever met? In the memoir The Summer Called Angel, Sola Olu tells of her family’s refusal to accept the possibility that their premature daughter would not defeat the odds.
The Summer Called Angel is a memoir about survival: survival of a premature baby, survival of a brand new family, survival of love, and survival of faith. This memoir is both frightening and inspiring. You’ll find yourself cheering on this family fighting for the life they dreamed of and wondering where they find their strength. This book also includes a few welcome additions such as poems and resources for other families of premature infants.
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Create Space (November 7, 2012)
Twitter hashtag: #SummerCalledAngel
The Summer Called Angel: A Story of Hope on the Journey through Prematurity, is available as a print and e-book at Amazon.com, as well as your local independent bookstore.
Book Giveaway Contest: To win a copy of The Summer Called Angel, please enter using the Rafflecopter form at the bottom of this post. The giveaway contest closes this Friday, January 25 at 12:00 AM EST. We will announce the winner the same day in the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck!
About the Author:
Sola Olu was born and raised in Nigeria. As a child, she loved making up stories and as soon as she could write she started putting them down on paper. She holds degrees in English and Information Systems, Sola works in the retail industry and volunteers as a counselor to mothers of premature babies. Her writings include essays, poetry and children's stories. She loves to cook, travel and attend the theater. She lives in Illinois with her husband and two children.
Find out more about the author by visiting her online:
Sola's author website: http://www.solaolu.com/
Sola's blog: http://www.solaolu.com/Blog.html
------Interview by Jodi Webb
WOW: What type of writing had you done before you began work on The Summer Called Angel?
Sola: Just a lot of half projects on my computer, essays, unpublished romance manuscripts, children's stories, and a blog that I abandoned but have this year restarted: http://solamusings.blogspot.com/. The Summer Called Angel took me eight years to write because I was working, had two kids and took time to take care of myself.
WOW: It's good you took time to take care of yourself! It's something all of us need to do. So, do you have any memoir writers you enjoy?
Sola: I like Sue Silverman and enjoyed her guide to memoir writing, Fearless Confessions: A Writer's Guide to Memoir, as I edited mine.
WOW: We love Sue William Silverman! She actually did a blog tour with WOW for Fearless Confessions. It's such a great guide, and I'm so glad you used it for your book!
How did The Summer Called Angel come into being? Did it begin as something written during your experience of dealing with your daughter's premature birth as a personal exercise . . . a journal, letters, a blog? Or was it something you wrote after the fact, looking back on your experiences?
Sola: A little bit of both. It began as a journal. During my daughter's hospital stay, it began as a "mummy was here today . . ." kind of journal entry, just to have something to remember that time; but as her hospital stay became longer, it became more difficult and I actually stopped for a long time until she came home. Of course, with her home and with all then therapies, I again stopped for a while, then wrote from recollection; and then I had my second child, and I'm like now the story takes a different turn. Eventually, I requested her medical notes to ensure that I had the right sequence of events and to add to how I felt as well as validate the medical issues we had to deal with.
WOW: I found your book incredibly emotional, as it brought back some of my own experiences with premature labor. Was it difficult reliving your family's experiences?
Sola: Oh sorry to hear about that. It was difficult. And it's funny you bring that up because I had a family member tell me to "move on." For a long time I was very emotional, even though she was fine; I would remember some painful episodes and tear up, but writing helped me through. I guess that was why there were so many stops—you have to be ready to write about what you went through, and then the healing comes with that. Ultimately, the story ends well. I decided to put everything out there because when I was going through those emotions of dealing with a sick child, I wondered if those feelings were valid or maybe I was just weak. But in speaking to other parents through the volunteer program I joined after my daughter came home, I realized other parents have those feelings too; and by putting it out there, I'm saying, "It's OK to cry. It's OK to heal in your own way."
And I also say I am in no way diminishing the fact that there are so many stories out there that don't have a happy ending and I can't imagine how people cope when they have to deal with that.
WOW: What made you decide to publish your experiences as a book?
Sola: It's funny—I have always dreamt of being an author. I wrote two young adult romance novels when I was a teenager. When my premature birth happened, I didn't think, Oh here's a book . . ., even though I started journaling. The first time I thought about it becoming a book was when we were coming home from hospital one day and I told my husband that we had missed summer—we didn't have a summer—and he replied that yes we did, we had a summer called Angel. My inner writer had flipped up and I thought, Hmmm that sounds like the title of a book, but at that time I didn't know what the ending would be.
So my dream of becoming an author came through with my memoir, and that has now given me the inspiration to dig up my old manuscripts and revamp.
WOW: That's a great story about your title. Can you tell us a bit about your path to publication? Did you look for an agent or traditional publisher or did you feel that self-publishing was the best choice for you?
Sola: I went for a writers conference in 2010 at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. It was my first, and I plan to go again this year. While there, I learned so many things about the publishing industry and writing in general. Even though I "pitched" to agents and they seemed interested, I guess I felt overwhelmed by the whole traditional publishing route, and just came back, looked around, and selected self-publishing. I just felt I had written for 6 years at that point and I was ready. It would take another 2 years from that point though—to eventually revise, edit, and get the memoir published.
Would I choose that route again? I'm not sure—I hope not. I hope I'm able to find a publisher for my next work.
WOW: From your experience, what are the advantages (or disadvantages) of self-publishing?
Sola: The advantages of self-publishing are that you're in control of your own pace, you set your time frame and commit to it; you have editorial control of what goes in your publication; and if you have a more flexible contract, you can publish almost anywhere, especially the e-book format.
The disadvantages—especially if you're a novice like me—are that you sometimes don't have a clue what you're getting into. I learned the hard lesson that salesmen are all the same, and will sell to you to make a commission, so choose your packages very carefully. Almost every correction I made, I had to pay a fee, and it took 7-10 business days.
You also do all your own marketing. Most book stores will not carry print on demand, so you ultimately have to get your own ISBN if you want your book in stores.
WOW: What are you working on now?
Sola: A children's book for now and then back to my young adult manuscripts. I am very excited. Thank you.
WOW: Thank you, Sola, for chatting with us today! I admire you for putting yourself out there with The Summer Called Angel, and I look forward to your future projects.
----------Blog Tour Dates
Monday, January 21 @ The Muffin
Stop by for an interview and book giveaway!
Tuesday, January 22 @ The Book Cast
Have you ever wondered what determination sounds like? Listen to an audio interview with Sola Olu, author of The Summer Called Angel and you'll hear it in her voice.
Wednesday, January 23 @ Thoughts in Progress
Sola Olu, author of The Summer Called Angel, stops by today with some thoughts about premature birth.
Thursday, January 24 @ CMash Loves to Read
Stop by for an introduction to Sola Olu, memoirist, about her family's struggle and triumph over prematurity.
Monday, January 28 @ Read These Books and Use Them!
New mom Margo reviews The Summer Called Angel, a memoir about the challenges a new mom faced.
Thursday, January 31 @ Joanna Celeste
Check out a review of a heartwarming memoir: The Summer Called Angel.
Monday, February 4@ GEO Librarian
Stop by for a visit with Sola Olu, author of the memoir The Summer Called Angel.
Wednesday, February 6 @ Words by Webb
Don't miss a review of a touching memoir of the survival of a brand new family: The Summer Called Angel.
Friday, February 8 @ Capability Mom
Don't miss a guest post by Sola Olu on the healing power of writing.
Monday, February 11 @ Tiffany Talks Books
Have you been thinking about love lately? Learn what true love is when you read the review of The Summer Called Angel by Sola Olu. Last chance to win a copy on the tour!
Thursday, February 14 @ Read it Here First
Don't miss today's interview with Sola Olu, the author of the memoir The Summer Called Angel.
To view all our touring authors, check out our Events Calendar. Keep up with blog stops and giveaways in real time by following us on Twitter @WOWBlogTour.
If you have a website or blog and would like to host one of our touring authors or schedule a tour of your own, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Book Giveaway Contest: Enter to win a copy of The Summer Called Angel! Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. We will announce the winner in the Rafflecopter widget this Friday, January 25.
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