I reviewed Marylu Zuk’s book Whose ASS Is That? over on Ugly Reviews and it fetched a 4/5 star-review. It’s a book that will make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. I put a few questions to Ms Zuk, feel free to ask your own in the comment section below.
Barnes and Noble
Is Whose ASS Is That? your first published book?
Yes! I have a mental dartboard with a variety of topics I’m narrowing for my next book.
Will your next book be in the same vein as the first?
Yes. My plan is to do a series of life’s moments from a humorous perspective. Successful comedians (I’m not one) have found that people laugh at real life scenarios because they can identify with them. I believe I communicate things best using lyrical type poetry and humor. I’ve had more than one male suggest I do the same topic from a man’s perspective. Others have suggested they would love a book on menopause or empty-nesters to give as gifts.
How did you find your publisher?
Finding a publisher posed a bit of a challenge as my book didn’t cleanly align with standard genres. Researching publishers I often found ‘no poetry’ noted at the very end of submission guidelines. My book rhymes, but I don’t consider it poetry per se. It is an illustrated storybook for grown-ups. How many of those are there? Go The F#*k to Sleep was gaining popularity at the same time I was starting to query so I had a lone, slightly similar in genre, compadre for purposes of comparison.
Ultimately, I found my publisher through a casual introduction by a mutual friend. I had previously heard of her company, but threw up my own roadblock by thinking she only published children’s and middle-grade books. I did further research, saw that she had recently published an adult novel, made a mental note that she was open-minded and queried. To my good fortune, my book made her laugh and she believed we had a winner.
Sherry Kaier, (my publisher) of The Artists’ Orchard, and I have had a wonderful working relationship. She listens to grasp my vision, then injects her expertise to either affirm my direction or explain why it would be better to do something differently. I would most definitely recommend her as I found that our styles complemented one another.
When I complete my next book, I hope she’ll be willing to continue our working relationship!
How do your juggle a writing schedule?
I wait until everyone’s bellies are full and they are otherwise occupied, and I begin.
What’s the best/worst part of being a writer? For me, the best part of writing is that it’s therapeutic. I can write about things I wouldn’t typically discuss or make public. The worst part? I have not answer for that one. I’m a natural Pollyanna. I find a silver lining in anything.
Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer?
My works starts with pen and paper. And post-its. And more paper. Because I write in rhyming verse, I’m constantly rearranging the order of things and creating long lists of potential rhymes.
Do you have a critique/editing partner?
Partners, plural. Once I broke the silence and shared with others that I’d written the book, I sought experienced writers and editors for feedback. When certain feedback became consistent, I began a working relationship with a developmental editor that I would, without a doubt, collaborate with on future projects.
Was there anything you struggled with during writing Whose ASS Is That?
Early on, I feared the possibility that readers/reviewers might overlook my fundamental message: the importance of appreciating and embracing one’s individuality.
It’s quite expensive for a short book. How is that value for money?
The book is written storybook-style, with short rhyming verses that resonate with women. I have repeatedly had readers tell me they keep it on their end table or by their bedside and read it again as a pick-me-up when they might be feeling blue. As a gift that will bring a smile to a friend, for under $20 (paper) or under $30 (hardcover) – I think it’s priced appropriately.
What was that spark (defining moment) that made you put pen to paper?
Aha, this I remember vividly. I was getting dressed for a promotional event that would be held at an outdoor concert venue. We were asked to wear jeans and a t-shirt promoting our new logo. In my day-to-day work life, I typically wore a conservative suit – then rushed home and jumped into my pj’s. Before I ran out the door, I grabbed a hand mirror and stood with my back to the full length mirror to catch a glimpse of how I looked in my outfit and I literally said out loud, ‘Oh my God! Whose ass is that?’.
For years, the phrase spun in my head until I started to add to it, and it eventually became the illustrated storybook length version published by The Artists’ Orchard.
How did you find your illustrator?
I started by looking through hundreds of online portfolios, and approaching creative acquaintances. Some backed off immediately based stylistic or media differences. Others provided samples for review, but I ultimately found my illustrator through word of mouth. The more I spoke about my vision for the book, the more people stepped in with suggestions and referrals. Once I saw Traycee’s initial sample, I knew we were on the same page. I provided her with my vision for most of the verses, we brainstormed together on others, and she hid herself away and waited for the words to speak to her on a few that stumped us both.
How long did it take you to write Whose ASS Is That?
This is difficult to answer. From my initial idea to published book, we’re talking 11 years. But, from the time I seriously sat down and decided to write the book… it took two years to bring it to life.
So, it your bum really big?
Big is a relative term. I’d describe it instead as wide, and square, and fat, and flat!