IndieView with Lesley Fletcher, author of Crystal Ball Persuasion

It is neither a romance nor chick lit but rather geared toward dreamers, drifters and those who love true adventure and travel mixed with some mysticism. 

Lesley Fletcher – 16 January 2017

The Back Flap

Since being given her mentor’s gift of a premonition from a very young age, Gypsy has had her sights on a life far away from the one she leads. Standing in her way are two men; one who has been waiting a lifetime for her love and one who depends on her gifts for a living wage.

Trusting the Universe, she throws herself into a new life when she finds the seeker who fits the premonition. She sets out with a new identity and a zest for adventure on her quest for the truth. Their journey together leads to questions about what the future will hold and how the past will impact it. There is only one thing is set in stone. Neither will ever return to their former life.

Accompanying her on the adventurous escape and leading the way is Jules, a woman whose life was recently thrown into merciless turmoil. Together they conquer goals, soul search and open their bruised and broken hearts as they travel to far off destinations. Their journey is filled with mystical charm, sisterhood and page-turning events as the story unfolds.

Along the way a question arises – Will building a fresh life based on crystal ball readings, intuition and a premonition, also change destiny?

About the book

What is the book about?

The core of the story is about two women, from entirely different backgrounds, who are thrown together at a time of turmoil in both lives and how they emerge from that turmoil. It is dressed in gypsy lore, poignant personal stories of loss and hardship, many moments of tension and travel to Iraq, Turkey, Jordan and England, where they experience eye opening discoveries.

When did you start writing the book?

I think I have been writing this book for at least seven years, at least in my mind. The phrase ‘everyone has a book in them’ ran rampant for many years prior to that.

How long did it take you to write it?

All said, it took three years.

Where did you get the idea from?

This idea had been floating around my head for a long while. I ended up researching more and more into Gypsy lifestyle(s) and the Gypsy soul. There is a tremendous interest in the subject and I was intrigued by that fact. I had written a poetry/art book by the title ‘5 Pillars of the Gypsy’ which was a reflection of my own life and so it ended up being a natural next step to write a full novel, incorporating much of my own experiences in travel and in witnessing astounding cross-cultural similarities as well as the importance of female friendships.

Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?

Yes, absolutely. There were two parts actually. One was finding a natural way for two women who were from completely different backgrounds to bond in a genuine way.

The other was a more practical writing dilemma. I have often read books where the middle of the book is sluggish and I was absolutely determined not to let that happen in Crystal Ball Persuasion. I researched for a couple of months, throwing scenarios back and forth on the page until I conquered that potential lull. I can happily report all the angst on my part was worth it!

What came easily?

The characters came to me freely because I made them real and relatable and each one had a part of me in them. I also wrote in short parts to be sure to have a ‘wow’ factor regularly throughout. In fact I labeled them as chapters (30+) to be certain and then through the editing process knit them together, whittling down to 16 final chapters.

Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know?

There is one male character who was based on someone I know quite well, in Istanbul. He ended up being a pivotal part of the plot. I think, if he read the book, he would be tickled.

Of course over periods of time we come across different people and as a writer, make a mental note of interesting characteristics and tendencies.

We all know how important it is for writers to read. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you?

Jodi Pincoult comes to mind first because each book I have read of hers grabs me from the beginning. Also Louise Penny because she breaks a lot of the rules of writing and her books take place in Quebec which is where I was born and live now.

Do you have a target reader?

The book caters to women who have loved, lost and perhaps want to start again, or at least get to know the mindset of someone who leaves their life to start anew. It is neither a romance nor chick lit but rather geared toward dreamers, drifters and those who love true adventure and travel mixed with some mysticism.

About Writing

Do you have a writing process? If so can you please describe it?

I had to change my writing style because my old one wasn’t productive enough. I obtained a used laptop and set up at my dining room table where there is plenty of light and switched from a morning to afternoon time slot. Once that was done, I dedicated time for research, which was a huge part of the book, and writing time of about two hours a day (total).

Do you outline? If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences?

I did outline the whole book but rather loosely, leaving myself plenty of leeway for change. Because I did extensive character profiling, I found much of the plot surfaced on its own.

Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished?

Upon completion of a few chapters, I printed a hard copy to go over when I found myself at a loss for words. I find it much easier to recognise areas of need in print format. I guess I am old school when it comes to digital copy.

Did you hire a professional editor?

Absolutely. I have more of an artistic mind and would never trust my own eyes for the final product. My attention to detail in that respect is sadly lacking.

Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, what gets the fingers tapping?

All silence works best for me, but I did listen to music of the countries my characters visited in off-writing hours. I found it helped set the tone really well.

About Publishing

Did you submit your work to Agents?

No. Life is too short and I am too impatient to wait.

What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? Was it a particular event or a gradual process?

I really think it is six of one and a half dozen of the other. As an author you still have to do much of the footwork (marketing) of your book, so I choose to go it alone.

Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself?

Metà e metà. I worked with two different book cover designers after designing and altering the original jpeg. One did the font and one did the layout and design. It was really a team effort.

Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it?

Some of my plans went up in smoke so winging it at the time being. I have dabbled a bit but have not had concrete results as yet.

Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors?

Listen and learn. The learning curve is huge at first and never ever stops. If you think even for one moment that because you write a book, family, friends and the general public will rush to buy it and give you a review within a week, you will be crushed. The true definition of Indie should be – you are on your own now!

Listen and believe other Indie authors, after doing your own research. Not every genre requires the same set of ‘rules’.

Learn what a platform is and how to use it.

About You

Where did you grow up?

I was born in Montreal and grew up in London Ontario. Since the grass is always greener somewhere else at a point in life, I moved back to the Montreal area and have had no regrets.

What would you like readers to know about you?

I think, going back over older interviews, my vision has always been the same. Life, love, laugh and embrace the whole world. I am curious by nature and very grounded as well as fascinated by humanity.

What are you working on now?

I am still at the mulling stage. I have two different projects in mind. One is a follow up to Crystal Ball Persuasion as two readers have asked me – what happened to so and so? (which is very flattering), and a completely different story which is sure to present a challenge.

End of Interview:

For more from Lesley you could start with her website. Then check out one or both of her blogs, the first one is aimed at her books while the second appears to include both books and her art. Last, you might follow her on Twitter or like her page on Facebook.

Get your copy of Crystal Ball Persuasion from Amazon US or Amazon UK.

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