During the run of its 30th season premiere SEX WITH STRANGERS, Renaissance Theaterworks will shine a spotlight on Wisconsin authors. On Saturday, October 28th the company will host a Mini Book Fair in the Studio Theater lobby of the Broadway Theater Center from 3pm to 10pm featuring members of WisRWA. As an advance introduction to the authors, Renaissance asked them questions related to the various issues and conflicts presented in the play SEX WITH STRANGERS by Laura Eason. Here is the fifth interview of the series.
Mia Jo Celeste
Dark Worlds Ripe for Redemption
Mia Jo Celeste is from a family of English teachers and authors. After fifteen years as an English for Language Learners teacher, she is trying her hand at writing. She has completed four fantasy novels, the first of which is published by Wild Rose Press. She lives in Milwaukee with her husband and sons.
RTW: In the play, the character Olivia partially blames the failure of her first book on her editor’s choice in covers. How important do you think covers are to a book’s success or failure?
Mia: I believe readers really do judge books by their covers and that a compelling cover can pique a potential buyer’s interest. When my publisher hooked me up with an artist, I sent her all kinds of pictures of period gowns. I wanted to have my heroine facing off evil in a to-die-for dress and that’s exactly what I got.
RTW: Have you ever received a bad review? If so, how did you handle it? Did it ever discourage you or make you question your worth as a writer?
Mia: When I first started writing, I entered a lot of contests. I would stew over critical comments from judges. One fall I entered the same 25 pages in five contests. In one contest, the pages earned an incredibly low score. In two others, they received an average score and in two others they reached first or second place with almost perfect marks. I wondered how the exact same words could inspire such diverse results? I finally figured out that writing is art and readers’ reaction to art is subjective. Opinions vary. When I get any review, I remind myself—opinions will vary.
RTW: What would it mean to you to see your book for sale in an airport terminal shop?
Mia: I’m really looking forward to this experience. I hope it happens soon and for me it’ll be a measure of success. When it happens, my friends and followers should be prepared to see pictures and selfies of me with the book. No doubt, I’ll tweet and blog about it.
RTW: Do you let other people read your writing before you submit it to a publisher or an agent?
Mia: Yes. I believe that writing is communication and I regularly ask critique partners and readers for feedback to make sure my writing conveys the message I want to get across.