IndieView with Tay LaRoi, author of Portraits of a Faerie Queen

Jocelyn’s struggle to find a balance between independence and asking for help is very reflective of where I was as a teenager. I know I can’t be the only one who struggled with that and I’d love for teens like me to learn earlier rather than later that they don’t have to have everything figured out yet. 

Tay LaRoi – 14 September 2017 Continue reading

IndieView with Howard Kaplan, author of The Damascus Cover

The novel was originally published by a major publisher then amazingly long in the dust bin and out of print, a feature film adaptation was made starring Jonathan Rhy Meyers and Sir John Hurt one of his last films, for worldwide release in the spring of 2018.

Howard Kaplan – 12 September 2017 Continue reading

IndieView with Robert Dunn, author of Savage Joy

Those two parts – the literary world of The New Yorker magazine and the downtown punk scene – meshed and conflicted in very interesting ways.

Robert Dunn – 9 September 2017 Continue reading

IndieView with Kristin I. Morris and Joseph J Zielinski, Ph.D., authors of Jamarr’s Promise

As I continued therapy through this journey, I continually said, “this should be a book.” I know that I can’t be their only victim, and writing a book could help another caseworker in my situation. 

Kristin I. Morris – 7 September 2017 Continue reading

IndieView with Mike Sims, author of Vic/Tim

I have been told by some that some of the events that happen in the book are too ridiculous and do not happen in real life. The funny thing is the ones they talk about were the ones that did come from real life.

Mike Sims – 5 September 2017 Continue reading

IndieView with Kate Hickey, author of It’s Me

I wanted to be one of those writers, typing away in the morning at a coffee shop. But that’s not me. I can only write at night from my home office.

Kate Hickey – 2 September 2017 Continue reading

IndieView with Mike MacDee, author of Kingdom of Famine

And sometimes you write a good villain and aren’t sure how to send her off. Good bad guys need to have equally good sendoffs or it’s anticlimactic. I lost track of how many times I rewrote the ending.

Mike MacDee – 31 August 2017 Continue reading

IndieView with Frank McNair, author of Life on the Line

My agent retired and I am a 65-year-old man with a first novel. Given the state of publishing today, I was never going to find an agent.

Frank McNair – 28 August 2017 Continue reading

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 Mark Spano, author of Midland Club

My maternal grandfather was a stone mason. He was given to arranging then rearranging the stones many times before he mortared them. I guess I take after my grandfather. I do a lot of repositioning until it feels right. 

Mark Spano – 24 August 2017

The Back Flap

Midland Club is a knotted, engrossing tale of corruption, lies, and murder in a Midwestern town. One man refuses to believe Puce Bordeaux’s death was suicide, despite Sheriff Brundy’s assertion. That man is Rich St. Pierre, a member of the wealthy, white, First Family of the town who was locked up, along with Puce, after a raid on a dive where the town’s otherwise hidden homosexuals hung out. He’s certain that Puce, the quiet, gentile “Negro” who served as a waiter in the exclusive Midland Club for decades, was killed. He’s certain that the subsequent death of Puce’s priest, Monsignor Corliss, was also murder. Ostracized since the raid by his influential family, Rich also knows that his own life will be in grave danger if he attempts to prove his assumptions by unraveling one of the town’s most scandalous secrets – a secret that will embarrass and humiliate one of the most corrupt and powerful men in the town.

About the book

What is the book about?

This is a murder mystery that takes place in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1959.

When did you start writing the book?

I wrote the book in 1980.

How long did it take you to write it?

It took approximately a year to write. I worked through it with my writers’ group.

Where did you get the idea?

My childhood.

Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?

I’m a perfectionist when it comes to diction. I did many rewrites.

What came easily?

The characters.

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

That’s hard to say. The characters are my inventions, but they are certainly made in part from people I’ve known.

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 would say Christopher Isherwood has influenced my diction. His prose is flawless. Other writers I love include Eudora Welty, Italo Calvino, Marcel Proust, Tennessee Williams, Samuel Beckett, Edward Albee, Virginia Woolf, and so many others.

Do you have a target reader?

I guess I have targeted an adult reader. I write about some gay characters, but my characters and stories are about people responding to life. Setting is very important to me. I have a very strong sense of place.

About Writing

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

This is what I usually do, but these are not hard-and-fast rules for me:

I take notes for a long while. Another writer friend calls this “percolation.” I think a lot about characters, conflicts, settings, and so on. Every now and then, I write a conversation between characters. I could hold those notes for months or years.

Then, I set to writing. My maternal grandfather was a stone mason. He was given to arranging then rearranging the stones many times before he mortared them. I guess I take after my grandfather. I do a lot of repositioning until it feels right.

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

I outline after a fashion. I have an idea about chapters sometimes, for example, that I write down in some order, but that order changes and changes.

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

In the early stages I edit as I go. The first pages of a book are an acorn, so to speak. Once that acorn is formed, the oak tree grows from it. I spend a great deal of time at the front end of the project. Once it’s formed, it begins to write itself. That may sound easier than it actually is in terms of work, but there is no question that once I get the acorn part I can hammer out the rest day by day.

Did you hire a professional editor?

I am no longer in any official writers’ workshop, but I am lucky enough to have several writer friends. We read each other’s work, and each edits his or her own work based on suggestions.

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

I do. Music often figures in my stories. I listen to the music that is related to the story, but not always. Sometimes, I just listen to music I like.

About Publishing

Did you submit your work to Agents?

When I first wrote the book it got a lot of attention from agents and publishers, then nothing happened. It went into a drawer.

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

With Midland Club, it was a very particular event. A friend who had read the book back in 1980 when I first wrote it asked if I had a manuscript. He said he hadn’t read the book for a while and wanted to read it again. A month later, he sent it back to me in a format for publication and demanded that I publish it!

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

It was a collaboration with colleagues and a designer.

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

I work with a publicist. She keeps me on task with the marketing plan.

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

I write because I love to write. So I have many unpublished manuscripts. But like me, you will write if you must. The publishing part has changed greatly since I first began writing. Nonetheless, I just stay at it – whether or not it will ever contribute to my income.

About You

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in downtown Kansas City, Missouri. I describe the inner city neighborhood of my childhood  in Midland Club.

Where do you live now?

I live on 11 acres in rural Orange County, North Carolina, near Chapel Hill.

What would you like readers to know about you?

I don’t especially feel that the particulars of my life are the focus here. If one writes, and I write, one wants others to read what one has written. So I guess I want readers to know that I am grateful that they are interested enough to read my books. I hope they enjoy them and love them as much in the reading as I have in the writing.

What are you working on now?

My publicist and colleagues are insistent that I write another story about Rich St. Pierre, the protagonist of Midland Club. So I’ve begun another mystery story with Rich set in Kansas City in the summer of 1963.

“The older I get, the more clearly I remember things that never happened.” — Mark Twain

End of Interview:

For more from Mark, visit his website or like his Facebook page.

Get your copy of Midland Club from Amazon US or Amazon UK.