Theresa Dodaro is a writer from New York. She has a background in publishing and marketing. It wasn’t until Dodaro had a near-death illness that she finally decided to work on the novels she always dreamed of writing. Here’s how she started her work and publishing her books.
Q: What was your first novel?
A: When my daughter was 15, I started to write my first novel, “The Tin Box Secret,” published in 2015. This book was a chance for me to go back to my own childhood and re-write it as I wish it could have been. It was a story of forgiveness and was extremely cathartic to write. My own story is woven into a fictional story of three girls growing up in 1968 in Baldwin. They find a tin box with old letters in it that tell a family secret for one of the girls that dates back to 1912, and a forbidden love affair set against the building of the Ashokan Reservoir in upstate New York to supply water to a growing New York City.
Q: What book is up next on your publishing list?
A: In , I will be publishing my fifth novel, “The Bayman’s Daughter.” As with “The Outlander” novels, in “The Bayman’s Daughter,” history is told through the love story of two people from different time periods when one is transported back through time. Together, Hannah and Philip live through the local and global events of the 20th Century that bridge the years between.
Q: How does self-publishing work?
A: Although my books are read by people across the country, they are all self-published. Self-publishing with Amazon … [allows books to be] available to the world. Marketing is left to the author, though, and marketing is hard work. The books are printed on-demand, so there is no up-front cost to the author to have books printed and stored. The book can also be offered in a digital form for Kindle. I have also had my first novel, “The Tin Box Secret,” produced on Audible, at an additional cost. But it is expensive to hire a professional voice actor to record a novel.
Q: How does one go about writing a book?
A: There are plotters and pantsers. Plotters plot out their novels; pantsers write by the seat of their pants. Although I consider myself a “pantser,” as I write historical fiction, history does give me an outline to write by. I am always surprised by the story as it develops. I feel like I am reading the story as I am writing it. I’m lucky in that I type very fast and can keep up with my thoughts as I write. I do also keep a list of characters. I also make a private family tree on Ancestry for my characters so that I can keep the family relations and dates straight.
The privilege of a self-published or indie-published author is that they can write when they want. There is no deadline other than what they set for themselves. I am so grateful for this. There have been many times when I thought the story was told and then an idea pops into my head that makes the story so much better. If I had a deadline, I wouldn’t have the luxury of writing my best. I write when I feel like writing, rather than being forced to write in order to make a deadline. That leads to better writing.
Q: What is your favorite part about writing?
A: My favorite part of writing is that I get to read the books I want to read. As much as I enjoy reading my stories as I write them, I enjoy even more hearing from readers who don’t know me. These readers seek me out to let me know how much they enjoy my novels. That is how an author knows that their work is good. Friends and relatives may tell you they love your stories, whether if they do or not. But strangers will tell you the truth.
Writing is the easy part, it’s the marketing and promoting that takes enormous effort. An author cannot only write, an author needs to be able to speak about their work. I am engaged to speak at libraries, schools, and at community organizations. But my favorite speaking engagements are with book clubs that have enjoyed reading my novels.