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IndieView with Bronwyn Elsmore, author of Backwards Into the Future

That is the wonderful thing about reading fiction – it allows us to transcend boundaries and wear the shoes of a range of people we would not know any other way. Through reading we connect, human to human, in spite of apparent boundaries.

Bronwyn Elsmore – 26 August 2017

The Back Flap

You can’t go back, her friends say, but Mary has to do it. Going back to her old hometown is the only way she can silence a voice from the past. And find her childhood friend, Ana.

Kui is pushing her, Ana is holding back, and between the two women there’s much to be resolved.

The plum tree and the manuka have gone, but a lemon tree thrives. The mystery surrounding the last voyage of the Marakihau may never be solved; but if Ana returns, their friendship and some things from the past can be recovered. Can’t they?

About the book

What is the book about?

So much, along these lines and themes – growing up in a small town, social changes between then and now, friendship, cross-cultural understanding, cultural heritage, historical late 20th century, nostalgia.

“Everyone knows you can’t go back. Everyone except Mary, because she’s back in her old hometown. That’s because of two people from the past – one pushing her, the other proving hard to find. The mystery surrounding the boat with painted eyes may never be solved, but if Ana returns too, perhaps some things may be resolved.”

When did you start writing the book?

The book, as it is now, about 3 years ago. But the germ existed long before that. It began as an idea I wrote as a short story, but that form could not contain all it wanted to be. I came back to that seedling story about three years ago, unearthed it, nutured it, and helped it grow.

How long did it take you to write it?

Less than a year, I think. Once it started to form it developed and grew quite quickly.

Where did you get the idea from?

I grew up in a small town that is the inspiration for the town at the centre of the story. Though the storyline and plot of Backwards Into the Future are fiction, the background very much reflects how things were when I was growing up in similar circumstances.

Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?

No, not really. I found it a pleasure to write, though a little painful too in places. I laughed and cried as I typed.

What came easily?

Writing the parts inspired by fun memories of people and events.

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

The main characters are fictitious. However, they could well be real as they so much reflect the sorts of people I knew as I grew up. Some of the minor characters do remind me very much of some living at the time, but they are long gone so will never know!

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?

I can not point to any that I would say influenced me to the extent that I have consciously tried to emulate them. But over so many years of reading a very wide variety of authors, I guess they have all influenced me to some extent – either positively or less so.

Do you have a target reader?

For this book, I expect it will be enjoyed most by readers who like fiction with the feel of a memoir; more mature people who like to look back and remember; younger people looking to understand what past decades were like, and perhaps the way in which their parents were raised. And, since it is set in New Zealand, all who grew up here, or are interested in this country. Having said that, I have had positive responses from readers who have quite different backgrounds. That is the wonderful thing about reading fiction – it allows us to transcend boundaries and wear the shoes of a range of people we would not know any other way. Through reading we connect, human to human, in spite of apparent boundaries.

About Writing

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

Go into my dedicated office.

Try to avoid interruptions. That’s easier said than done, since my office is at home. The phone rings, email messages come in, the cat wants food, and there are other things to be done.

After years of putting in long hours and pushing myself, I’m now easing up a little and allowing myself more down time.

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

I tend to have a different process for each work. Over my career I have written across many genres – shorter and longer fiction, non-fiction, plays. With some works I do a lot of research first – and there’s always some, no matter what I write, in order to get the facts right. Some books need more prior planning and plotting, as do plays, and others I allow to evolve with a lesser amount of pre-planning.

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

I do a lot of rewriting and polishing as I go. Even so, the first draft is simply that – a first draft. I am a compulsive rewriter.  I never reread anything I have written without altering it in some way. That makes it so difficult to reach a point where I say, enough, publish.

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

Oh no, that’s something I avoid. I need to concentrate on the words. I find well-written prose has a rhythm of its own and music can interrupt it.

About Publishing

Did you submit your work to Agents?

I have an agent to handle my plays but not for my prose works.

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

My earlier books were all published through the traditional route, and some are still handled by them. I am not against working with publishers. But with new technology an author can bring out a book of comparable quality, in much less time, and keep control of their work.

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

This is where I say lucky, lucky me! My son is a professional in the area of digital design, so it’s a professional job and yet I get to have more say in it than with an outside publisher.

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

I thought I had a plan, but I find it changes as new opportunities come up.

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

Don’t be in a hurry to publish. Be self-critical. Write, rewrite over and over. Polish, repolish.

About You

Where did you grow up?

In a small town of about 5000 people, North Island, New Zealand.

Where do you live now?

In Auckland, the largest city of New Zealand. Sometimes I think I should do as the main character of my novel Backwards Into the Future does, and return to small town living. But Auckland is a beautiful place. It’s called “the City of Sails” as it’s built around two great harbours.

What would you like readers to know about you?

I believe my readers are intelligent people who bring to their reading knowledge and wisdom they have accrued throughout their lives. I respect that and like to leave spaces where I expect them to add depth according to their life experience and imagination.

What are you working on now?

A collection of short stories and another novel.

End of Interview:

For more from Bronwyn, visit her website.

Get your copy of Backwards Into the Future from Amazon US or Amazon UK.

 

IndieView with Brian Peyton Joyner, author of The Wisdom of Stones

I need to throw some more conflict at him. I had a writing teacher who taught us, “Whenever things are easy for your character, put him on a thin branch at the top of the tree.” She paused for effect. “And then throw rocks at him.”

Brain Peyton Joyner – 22 August 2017 Continue reading

IndieView with Melinda Richarz Lyons, author of Heir to a Secret

I believe it is never too late to be productive and
do something you really love. Retirement has given me the opportunity to pursue my writing.

Melinda Richarz Lyons – 19 August 2017 Continue reading

IndieView with David L. Faucheux, author of Across Two Novembers

My target reader is anyone who is curious and wants to step into a different world, who wants to learn about books, who is intrigued by trivia, and who enjoys a good meal while listening to music.

David L. Faucheux – 17 August 2017

The Back Flap

Friends and family. Restaurants and recipes. Hobbies and history. TV programs the author loved when he could still see and music he enjoys. The schools and training centers he attended and the two degrees he attained. The career that eluded him and the physical problems that challenge him. And books, books, books: over 200 of them quoted from or reviewed. And even more: trivia bits, blog bits, and even Louisiana factoids. All In all, an astonishing work of erudition and remembrance.

About the book

What is the book about?

The book is basically a journal that covers one year in my life.  To expand further, it is a journal wrapped around a framework of books.  I take the reader into my world, one that many readers might not be aware of.

When did you start writing the book?

I started the book on November 16, 2013.

How long did it take you to write it?

I finished the rough draft on November 15, 2014, but the editing was not completed until spring of 2017.

Where did you get the idea from?

Part of my introduction explains this best.  “I have long wanted to write and publish something, be it an historic novel, a young adult novel, or nonfiction. When, in November 2013, Dr. Katherine Schneider asked me to read and review her just–published Occupying Aging, I conquered my usual reservations: Would I be a good reviewer? Would I be able to write something interesting and help her book sales? I dove in and managed to post a usable review at Goodreads.com. While reading her book and formulating my review, I thought, Oh! I just might be able to write something in this journal–type format. So I jumped in right then, not waiting to begin on the more traditional January 1. I thought that to wait was to postpone indefinitely and fail; to start could mean a chance at a successful resolution. Who says a journal has to run from January 1 to December 31 to be of interest?

Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?

I found writing hard work.  I become easily tired as a result of Fibromyalgia Syndrome. The accompanying brain fog made the editing process particularly difficult. I could only write a bit, then read over my work, and try to make it interesting, snappy, fresh. I’d write, then think, ‘No one could possibly care if I went eat out, read a book, took a Jeopardy audition online test via telephone, attended a convention of a blindness consumer group, or visited family and neighbors.’ I am not sure that studding my book with Did-You-Know trivia nuggets or incorporating bits from an audio blog that I kept was a great idea, but I wanted the book to have depth and to show that one can still have a rich existence, a life of the mind, even if one cannot physically climb mountains or tandem bicycle around the world.  (I’d like to do these things — in moderation — if I recover my energy and regularize my sleep pattern.)  Just getting the tone right was challenging.  Should I be amusing, a bit profane, didactic, or some mixture of all of these?

What came easily?

It was fun deciding what books to mention and what book reviews to include.

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

The book is nonfiction, but the names of several characters were changed and some details adapted to preserve privacy.  The book is a glimpse into my world, but it’s not meant to be an open house.

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?

I enjoy many authors.  Nonfiction writers that I admire either for their style or their ability to explain a complex facet of the modern world would include Frederick Morton, A Nervous Splendor and Michael Lewis, Liar’s Poker.  Nonfiction that takes me into a world that I’d otherwise not get to experience fascinates me especially if the author reads the work and reads it well as Tony Danza did with his I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had.  Sweeping historic fiction of the kind written by Gary Jennings, James Clavell, and James Michener kept me spellbound during most of the 1980s and early 1990s.  I hope we see it’s return in the coming decades.

Do you have a target reader?

My target reader is anyone who is curious and wants to step into a different world, who wants to learn about books, who is intrigued by trivia, and who enjoys a good meal while listening to music.

About Writing

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

I have tried to write fiction using several methods I read about.  I found this journal method, because of its granularity, to work best for me.

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

No.

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

I try to edit as I go – cleaning up after myself — rather like I cook.  I can’t help but wonder if I am stifling what creativity I have.

Did you hire a professional editor?

Yes, and my book needed work.  My editor said my grasp of punctuation and grammar was rather good, but she had to check lots of formatting and facts to insure accuracy.

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

Music would distract me.  I couldn’t listen to music as a kid in school while doing homework.  I’d be distracted and get into the groove too much.

About Publishing

Did you submit your work to Agents?

No

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 felt no mainstream publisher would have the interest in my book or the patience to work with me.  I had heard horror stories of big houses letting writers figure out their own publicity methods and not offering them much in the way of support, even financial support.  I further heard that I’d lose control of my book for years and might not make any money.  It frightened me.

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

My editor’s husband assisted me with the cover.  It was a collaboration.

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

Yes, I have a marketing plan.  I have combed through the profiles of more than 600 Amazon reviewers and sent out 82 book review queries.  I am attempting to reach out to book blog tour companies as I have read about them in several eBooks that help one promote.  I have submitted my book to Booklife, part of Publishers Weekly, hoping for a review.  I have entered a writing contest for nonfiction authors.  I have sent print copies of my book to various journalists with whom I have had email contact for several years.  I have also had book cards printed to pass out.

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

Do your research.  Learn what editors can and will do for you.  Learn what they charge per hour and if they help with the actual uploading of the finished book to vendors such as Amazon or SmashWords.  Talk to your local writers groups.  And just do it.  Have fun, but realize it’s a process that you learn as you go.

About You

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in South Louisiana and attended a residential school for the blind located in Baton Rouge.

Where do you live now?

Lafayette, Louisiana

What would you like readers to know about you?

I’d want them to know I am a curious person, ready for a change, and hoping for this book to act as a catalyst of that change.

What are you working on now?

I have been toying with the idea of writing the story of an ancestor of mine who came to Louisiana in 1779 from the Canary Islands.  She was not even a teen yet.  She matters because her genes carried the chromosomal dynamite that caused the blindness that appears in some of her descendants.

End of Interview:

Get your copy of Across Two Novembers from Amazon US or Amazon UK.

IndieView with Samuel W. Reed, author of The Fabulist

I don’t know that I had any idea what I was actually writing until I was 20 pages in. Or maybe two and a half years after I started. I was just writing. And parts of it were a mess. But there was this feeling of inspiration that my fingers literally could not keep up with.  

Samuel W. Reed – 8 August 2017 Continue reading

IndieView with Chris DiCroce, author of Burning Man

I set out to write a great story. That was the goal. I didn’t think about a genre or a demographic. That would have been constraining. For me, trying to sculpt something for a specific audience before knowing what the piece was going to be would be disaster.

Chris DiCroce – 5 August 2017 Continue reading

IndieView with Max Everhart, author of All the Different Ways Love Can Feel

The word “struggled” has a negative connotation. I don’t think of writing as a struggle because, while time-consuming and labor-intensive, it is something I genuinely enjoy. I’m not in the Dorothy Parker camp who said, “I hate writing. I love having written.” 

Max Everhart – 25 July 2017 Continue reading

Allirea’s Realm: coffee and conversation with Joe Vercillo

 

I was asked to beta Joe’s book without any idea what it was about.  I went into it blind and was quite surprised that it had a picture of a rat on the cover.  I began to read and immediately got sucked into a coming of age of a rat.  Talk about being shocked.  Great job, Joe, it was a fun read.

Joe Vercillo is a professional ice-hockey goalie, singer-songwriter, and actor from Toronto, Canada.  Stumbling upon the love of his life, he journeyed down to Princeton, New Jersey, and found a dead mouse in a garage.  The rest is history.

Out of this entire interview, this will be the most important question.  Are you a coffee drinker?

Not so much.

If yes, what is your favorite, if not, what is your beverage of choice?

I am more of chai latte, hot chocolate, green tea person, though I do enjoy the odd espresso when I’m hanging with Italian relatives and friends!

I have read your coming of age rat book (it was strangely fantastic), WHAT WERE YOU THINKING AND WHY A RAT????

Haha! Glad you enjoyed it. I came across a dead mouse in the garage last summer and made up a back story for why he was lying out in the open like that. My fiancé, who (as you know) is an indie author, encouraged me to turn the story into a book, so I did. I used to have a fear of rats, but I’ve always been strangely fascinated by them, especially seeing them in New York City.

Is this your first book?

Yes

What made you decide that you could write a book?

The encouragement of my indie author fiancé! I would never have done it without her help and support.

What do you do for leisure or entertainment?

Play lots of hockey, make music and perform once in a while, travel lots, and Netflix and HBO in my downtime.

How would your friends describe you, in one word?

Chill

Tell me the ONE character in your book that is the most like you.  You can only pick ONE, no cheating?  (This should be interesting since your book is about a rat)

Princeton is most like me. But maybe more so back in my late 20s. Rodents get a bad rep by the way! haha

What were you like as a child?

Pretty happy and adventurous, I loved playing outdoors with friends, biking around, building forts, the usual.

What were your childhood dreams?

To play in the NHL! Hockey is life 😀

Who is your real-life hero?

My parents

Why?

All of the sacrifices they’ve made to give my brother and I a good life growing up

What would be your best achievement to date?

Living my life the way I want to live it.

Have you ever been banned from a public place? 

No, but I’ve been ejected from places many times due to the antics of my best friend Joey. (Second City, concerts, sporting events, bars, weddings etc)

I need to get an interview with Joey.  Can you set it up?  😀

If you had a warning label, what would yours say?

Handle with care: FRAGILE

Whats the craziest thing you’ve ever done for someone?

Drove almost 40 straight hours in a Uhaul, from southern Ontario to northern Alberta, to help a friend move.

Are you a good dresser?

I like to think so, but who knows. To each their own.

Do you hold grudges?

Never!

What has been your most embarrassing moment?

I was on a first date at the beach and got crapped on by a seagull. Brutal.

When can we expect your next book?

Fall 2017

Get your copy of Joe’s book, Age Six Racer, from Amazon US or Amazon UK.

IndieView with A.K. Smith, author of A Deep Thing

I’m influenced by fantastic stories. Books that take me away, teach me something new and keep me turning the pages, are books that I would love to mimic.

A.K. Smith – 13 May 2017 Continue reading

#Free for your #Kindle, 6/20/2016

The author of each of these books has indicated their intent to schedule these books for a free day for the Kindle versions today on Amazon. Sometimes plans change or mistakes happen, so be sure to verify the price before hitting that “buy me” button.

Six Months to a Year

Six Months to a Year by E.P. Grace

Amazon US

Amazon UK

A Chance for Charity

A Chance for Charity by SL Baum

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Authors interested in having their free book featured either here on Monday or a sister site on Thursday, visit this page for details.