Monday, May 9, 2011

Meet Australian Novelist & Television Host - Sylvia Massara!

Welcome back to my salon where today I'll share another wonderful result of cyberspace, social media and the way we booklovers transcend distance and time (zones.) For this is how I met Australian novelist, screenwriter, and television producer & host Sylvia Massara.

Sylvia Massara
Perry: Welcome to Madame Perry's Salon, Sylvia. We have a lot to talk about. First, I don’t know how you have time to be such a prolific writer, blogger, television show host, and still make time to help other authors. Your three novels – The Soul Bearers, The Other Boyfriend, and Like Casablanca are in print as well as e-books. Why did you choose to add the e-book format?

Massara: I kind of “stumbled” into digital publishing, Jennifer. My initial aim was to get my first two novels published through a traditional publisher, but this was taking such a long time—not to mention the number of publishers and agents who didn’t even reply to my letters of enquiry or submissions! Anyway, for a while I did nothing and as I was working a fulltime job, I pretty much shelved everything. And then I got sick. I developed a lower back/pelvic problem that made it impossible for me to continue working for about a year, and it was during this time that I took solace in the social media.

This is how I discovered the world of digital publishing. You know how it is, one thing led to another, and suddenly I was engrossed in formatting my novels into e-books. So my intent was to self-publish in e-book format, and later bring the novels out in paperback.

So far, The Other Boyfriend is out in paperback as well as e-book format. I wanted to test the waters and see what sold best. To date, my e-book sales far outweigh my paperback sales, so now I’m thinking that I will stay with the e-book formats; at least until Hollywood discovers one of my books and makes it to a movie, and then I’m sure that a traditional publisher or two will approach me for the book rights. LOL.

Perry: While reading The Other Boyfriend I truly enjoyed that I could ‘see’ the characters because they were so well drawn. Their dialogue, mannerisms, and settings were vividly described so I felt that I was in the scene live and in person! How much time is spent developing the characters for each book?

Massara: This varies with every writer. With me it happens fairly quickly. In the space of a couple of hours I’ll have most of my characters mapped out. You see, my characters live inside my head all the time, and I guess it’s a matter of who shouts the loudest to come out and be written in a novel. I told another interviewer only the other day that she should call me “Sybil”!

Perry: Actually, Sybil came to mind when you were describing the characters shouting at you from inside your head. In the past few years video book trailers have become quite the clever marketing tool for authors. You have three great ones, and I especially enjoyed the one for Like Casablanca. Do you create them yourself?

Massara: Yes, I do. This is courtesy of that illness I had. During the time I was ill, not only did I learn to publish digitally, but I also learned a lot about social media, blogging, making and editing videos and promoting my novels through book trailers.

I love being creative; whether it’s writing, filming videos or making trailers. I’ve always been a creative person and I guess always will be. So now you see why I walk around with all these characters inside my head. LOL. I am always engaged in some creative pursuit.

Perry: You are the creator and host of The Lit Chick Show. Entertaining, funny and sharp, TLCS is a virtual television show where you interview authors. Is this your first foray into the broadcasting milieu?

Massara: I’ve never had a talk show, if that’s what you mean—not even a virtual one. But from age 5, I always wanted to be an actress. This was my primary dream, but unfortunately I didn’t follow it. Acting is always seen as an insecure career, and out of all the actors in the world, I’ve been told that only around 2% can make a fulltime living out of it. Mind you, it seems the same thing applies to authors!

Having said this, I polished off some ambitions when I was younger. During my late 20s and early 30s I was involved in writing screenplays, and a few of them received recognition from some well known Hollywood names, but I guess it was not my destiny that the screenplays would make it to film. Lots of screenplays end up on the shelf. Hollywood proved to be rather fickle and I was disappointed, to say the least.

The one thing I did, which I thoroughly enjoyed during this time, was acting. At the late age of 33 years, I finally decided to get some acting gigs and I was lucky to land a few TV commercials, documentaries and bit parts in a few TV series. One of them, which I’m not sure if it’s known in the US, was called Home and Away. This is a soapy, and the springboard into Hollywood for Aussie actresses Melissa George (Amityville Horror) and Isla Fisher (Confessions of a Shopaholic).

I was lucky to be in a scene with Melissa George in “Home and Away”, where I played the part of a sales assistant in a maternity-wear store, and where I helped her pick out a dress. And regarding Isla Fisher, I didn’t work directly with her, but I shared the same make-up trailer with her and we had a really nice chat. The other evening I watched “Confessions of a Shopaholic” and I sat there thinking about the time I met her and how nice she was to me at the time.

But back to your question, The Lit Chick Show is my first foray into broadcasting on my own, and something I enjoy doing in order to support fellow authors promote their work. I love doing the introductions and better still, interviewing face to face if the author happens to be on my side of the world. I was very lucky to catch Mark Coker, CEO of Smashwords, when he was out in Sydney as part of his mini-world tour and he very kindly agreed to feature as a special guest on my show. I was so excited that I made him an honorary Aussie on camera!

Perry: That’s why you are so natural in front of the camera, and your guests seem comfortable as well. Sylvia, I’m so glad you joined us here at Madame Perry’s Salon. We’re looking forward to more books, more episodes of The Lit Chick Show, and for your books to be made into films. I hope you’ll have a part for an American actress. You know, a modern mix of Rosalind Russell and Eve Arden. Just a thought.

Jennifer 'Mme' Perry

Massara: Jennifer, the minute any of my books become movies you are guaranteed a cameo role right alongside of me :-) In the meantime, I would love to feature you on The Lit Chick Show so you can come and tell us all about your wonderful Salon.


Thank you for featuring me on Madame Perry's Salon; I think this is a wonderful place to be and I feel honoured. You've made me feel much at ease and very welcome.

 Perry: An invitation I am thrilled to accept. Thank you.

You can buy Sylvia's books in print, download them, watch The Lit Chick Show, plus follow her on twitter, facebook, and LinkedIn.



18 comments:

Sylvia Massara said...

Dear Jennifer,

Thank you for inviting me to your Salon. It was a wonderful experience!

Warm regards,
Sylvia Massara

Novelist and host of The Lit Chick Show

Barbara Forte Abate said...

Such an interesting interview. As an author who was recently featured on Sylvia's Lit Chick show, it's been wonderful to see the tables turned and have an opportunity to learn a good deal more about my host!

I especially love that the very first question you asked, Madame Perry, is the one I've most wondered myself -- considering that Sylvia seems to have the schedule of ten people :-)

Wonderful interview!

Kinia Colbert said...

What a great interview Madame Perry!

I was totally engrossed in your conversation with Syvia. I believe
that every creative artist can understand her career highs and lows.

There is no doubt in my mind that her determined personality will achieve wonderful things.

I really enjoyed learning more about all of your guest, again this was another one of your very interesting peeks into the lives of such talented writers.

Keep them coming Madame Perry, there are a lot of us waiting to see who you'll introduce next!

Donna said...

Fascinating books. I am a new follower. I would love it if you had a moment to visit/follow my blog. Look forward to following you. Love your blog name too!
Donna
http://mylife-in-stories.blogspot.com

Lara Sterling said...

Hi Madame Perry,

Great to find out about your salon. Wonderful idea! And it's nice to see Sylvia Massara profiled here.
--Lara

Darcia Helle said...

This is my first visit to Madame Perry's salon. Such a great blog title!

Sylvia, all this time I've known you and I had no idea that you were a famous TV star. :) I enjoyed the interview. And I can certainly relate to those characters living in your head. I often say that, if I didn't write to let the characters out, I'd be suffering from multiple personality disorder.

Barbara said...

A very interesting interview. I am not an author, just a reader, and not so avid at that. i do however enjoy the company of you lit chicks!

mike draper said...

Enjoyed your blog and interview, in particular the reference to the possibilities of the books being made into film.
Mike

David H. said...

Splendid exchange, both of you! Sylvia is an interesting and clever person - Sybil or not! :) Now I'm curious about her work.

Nelson Souzza said...

Hello! My first visit, will visit you again. I am a new follower. Seriously, I thoroughly enjoyed your posts. Congratulations for your work. If you wish to follow back that would be great I'm at http://nelsonsouzza.blogspot.com
Greetings from Rio de Janeiro/Brasil

Sylvia Massara said...

Hi all, and thank you for your comments. It's great to meet you in Madame Perry's Salon. Jennifer has a great blog, and now I'm trying to persuade her to drop in on my little "literary show"; the same goes for all of you who made comments on this thread: whether you're a writer, reader or both, it doesn't matter. I am always interested in your views about anything literary.

Feel free to contact me through the show (link is in my signature below).

Thank you for your support, and I look forward to meeting you!

Regards from Sydney, Australia
Sylvia Massara
Novelist and host of The Lit Chick Show

Nelson Souzza said...

Thank you for stopping by! I really do appreciate your taking the time to leave a comment...I read each and everyone of them. I hope your day is a good one and that you will come back again soon. Take care. Nelson Souzza :)

Sylvia Massara said...

Hi Nelson, great to hear from you. You know, I was in your beautiful city when I was only 10 years old. I still remember sailing into Rio de Janeiro and it's dramatic harbour. Absolutely breathtaking!

Cheers,
Sylvia Massara
Novelist and host of The Lit Chick Show

Christopher Hudson said...

Hey, this is darned interesting ... an Australian author interviewed by Madame Perry, who is ... wait a minute, what is Madame Perry's background?

Sylvia Massara said...

Hi Christopher,

Now I'm trying to get Jennifer to fly to Australia so we can combine our efforts and do a show special on The Lit Chick Show and have the Madame Perry's Salon featuring on the show, live from Sydney. Woo hoo!

Regards,
Sylvia Massara
Novelist and host of The Lit Chick Show

Christopher Hudson said...

Should be a boffo show!

Jessica said...

It is amazing how technology changes things. I have many more paperback and hardcover books than I do e-books but I have started buying more and more e-books. I think I will read more about what the book The Other Boyfriend is about.

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