IndieView with Stella Brians, author of The Paperback Writer of Central Park

It found peace in New York City in a very ethereal way. Many of my feelings and memories about New York City during that time are kept in my novel as a sort of time capsule.

Stella Brians – 4 March 2017

The Back Flap

Book One in The Hidden World of Wysteria Series

Elizabeth is homeless in New York City, sleeping in hostels when she can and barely surviving. Writing her novel keeps her going, and when it is published her life changes forever. Along with her Brit Punk friend Sarah, she starts a writer’s group for other indie writers. It is in that group that she meets River, a New Age hippie in whom she finds true love and a kindred spirit. The couple face both joy and tragedy in the city that never sleeps, before moving to a cottage in Mystic Connecticut to start a new life together. It is behind a bookcase in their attic that they discover the hidden world of Wysteria.

About the book

What is the book about?

The Paperback Writer of Central Park is about a young author who goes from being homeless in New York City to leading a group of indie authors towards their dreams. My book is also about her love and connection with River, a kindred spirit who relates to her when most of the world does not. It is about their friendship with British punk Sarah, and their shared love of New York City. My novel is also about nature, and their eventual discovery of Wysteria, a New Age afterlife. The Paperback Writer of Central Park is the first volume in my Hidden World of Wysteria Series.

When did you start writing the book?

I began writing The Paperback Writer of Central Park in 2015.

How long did it take you to write it?

It took about three drafts and a year and a half.

Where did you get the idea from?

In 2009, I took a trip to New York City and stayed for a while in hostels. It was a very freeing experience, and most of the time I stayed in the upper West side of Manhattan. I would spend my days writing in a journal, taking walks, and visiting the Saint John the Divine Cathedral. Aside from the enormous and striking cathedral, I will note three peculiarities that interest me to this day about the cathedral. A very unusual fountain known as The Peace Fountain sits to the side of the cathedral. It is sculpted to depict the conflicts of good and evil. Angelic white peacocks stroll the grounds, and beyond the fountain is a children’s garden. I mention this because of the spiritual and New Age content of the books in my Hidden World of Wysteria Series.

It found peace in New York City in a very ethereal way. Many of my feelings and memories about New York City during that time are kept in my novel as a sort of time capsule.

In my novel, the main character Elizabeth befriends a punk rocker from England. Her name is Sarah, and was the one character I based almost completely on fact.

We met in the first hostel I stayed at, and we became friends. What I remember most about her is that she loved the Sex Pistols, and this movie Suburbia (1983.) She was such a sweet and fun person to hang out with. We lost touch after awhile, but I hope to find her again someday.

Other elements of my life that inspired The Paperback Writer of Central Park was growing up in beautiful New England, and being enchanted by rain and the poetic side of nature. Many of my New Age beliefs also inspired the book as well.

Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?

I think I struggled most in the very early stages with the plot and characters. Originally, The Paperback Writer was supposed to be a short story.

What came easily?

Once I worked through and rewrote weak elements of the story, I decided to make it into a novel. From there, the rest fell into place. After that, it became the first novel in a Metaphysical Fantasy series.

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

All of the characters are fictional except for Sarah. Many are inspired by real people, or people I have observed or met. When you are a writer, it is helpful to people watch and to get ideas that way.

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?

My father is an author as well, and he influenced how I write in the sense that I remember to constantly improve, and to write the truth with class. Other than that, I would say that Laura Whitcomb’s style heavily influenced me. I loved her romantic, dream like tone in A Certain Slant of Light.

Do you have a target reader?

My target audience is 15—100. There are adult elements in my novels, but they are written with a gentle whimsical tone that I feel would engage a wide range of readers.

About Writing

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

I tend to jot down ideas in a notebook or on my computer, and from there I do character and plot sketches. I sketch my characters too, and try to get into the environment that surrounds them. However, I do not plan too much as I am a discovery writer.

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

I outline briefly, just enough to know where I am going. I leave the rest to creativity.

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

I edit as I go, and once finished I print the manuscript out and edit it long-hand. I feel that it is more genuine that way, and it works well for my thinking process. I want to make my novels the best they can be.

Did you hire a professional editor?

I write, edit, design the cover, and any art that goes along with it.

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

I love to listen to New Age music while I write, or soft rock. Notable albums that have helped me write are: Deep Breakfast by Ray Lynch, and Everyone Else is Doing it, So Why Can’t We? by The Cranberries.

About Publishing

Did you submit your work to Agents?

I sent The Paperback Writer of Central Park to a few, but I am passionate about self-publishing. I felt that due to the unique nature of my work and the integrity of it, self-publishing was right for me.

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

Deciding to self-publish was a gradual process, because I wanted to give traditional publishing a fair chance. As months went by, I did an enormous amount of research on the publishing world, and even did a college paper on self-publishing. Ultimately, I chose self-publishing because I could keep the rights to my work, and be as creative as I wanted to be. I am a very independent soul, and I would have trouble with a publisher stepping on my toes. It is important for me to create uninhibited, while producing honest work that I hope people will love as much as I do.

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

I always do my own covers, and the art is my own save for the photograph of the Avery Point Lighthouse that is on the cover of Wysteria (Volume Two in my series). That was taken by my mother, and she did a fantastic job.

The photograph on the cover of The Paperback Writer of Central Park was an old shot that I had taken from a disposable camera when I lived in Colchester, Connecticut. It worked perfectly for the book.

I am going a different creative route with the third book in the series, as I will be illustrating the cover and providing some interior drawings as well.

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

As a new indie author, I am discovering what works best, and what does not.

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

I would like to suggest that you do as much research as you can. Taking writing workshops can be very helpful. Always make sure that you can keep the rights to your own work, and be as creative as you want to be. This is so important.

It is vital that you advocate for yourself as an indie author. Hang up flyers where you can, ask bookstores if they would be interested in selling your book, politely ask for interviews from online blogs and magazines. Always be creative, kind, and professional.

A website I suggest is Scribophile, it is a wonderfully supportive online writing group.

I would also like to suggest The Fiction Writer’s Handbook, by Anthony Maulucci. It is a very helpful guide that I have used in the past.

About You

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Connecticut. I was born in Hartford, but my family moved to Norwich in the early nineties. Norwich is a historic little town, and has inspired my Hidden World of Wysteria Series on different levels.  I am an alumnus of Norwich Free Academy in Connecticut.

What would you like readers to know about you?

I love to write, read, and sketch. Some of my favorite bands are The Beatles, Iron Maiden, My Chemical Romance, and The Cure. My favorite thing in the world is to spend time with my soulmate, Clint.

What are you working on now?

I am working on the third volume in my Hidden World of Wysteria Series.

End of Interview:

For more from Stella, visit her website, her Tumblr page, or follow her on Twitter.

Get your copy of The Paperback Writer of Central Park from Amazon US or Amazon UK.


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