Who is your favorite author and why? That’s impossible to answer. But I can list my favorite authors. I love these authors because even though some of their work might be considered commercial successes, they are not just entertainers. They truly have something to say:
Marilynne Robinson, Margaret Atwood, Truman Capote, John Boyne, Rebecca Miller, Jeanette Winterson, Patti Smith, Raymond Carver, Anne Lamott, Milan Kundera, Gwen Harwood, Sharon Olds, Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath
Can we expect any more books from you in the future? Absolutely. I will never stop writing, so I can’t see why I would stop releasing books.
What are some of the best tools available today for writers, especially those just starting out? Definitely blogging, and all sorts of social media. Some excellent community websites to look into are:
What contributes to making a writer successful? Persistence and stamina all the way.
Do you have any advice for writers? Learn the rules and then break them intelligently.
What do you do to unwind and relax? You’ll always catch me reading when I go to bed. But I’m also a sucker for a great TV series. My favorites are Homeland, Grey’s Anatomy, Dexter and Fringe.
When you wish to end your career, stop writing, and look back on your life, what thoughts would you like to have? That I don’t regret one minute of it.
You are also a musician. How would you describe your discography until today? Grunge-pop, atmospheric? To be honest I have no idea. My style varies quite a lot from album to album. Bar the latest album, Melody Hill, which is the soundtrack to my novel, String Bridge, I think my music is in major need of reproduction. If only I had the money, then I could make my music sound how I hear it in my head, rather than what my wallet determines.
Do you consider yourself above all a singer/songwriter or a writer? A writer for sure. I was born into music, so it came naturally, but writing is something I gradually learned I wanted for myself and had a strong passion to pursue.
What gives you the hardest time? Lyrics for a song or a poem? Neither. I love to write both, and when I love something, the word “hard” does not have a place in my vocabulary.
What are the messages that you think your readers will take away after reading your books? Take control. You are the only one who can make your life what you want it to be. Embrace the good and the bad. If you look at the bigger picture, there is no such thing as a bad experience. Believe in love and hope; if there’s a will, there’s a way.
Tell us about Vine Leaves Press … Is self-publishing the only solution? Vine Leaves Press is my self-publishing imprint. No, self-publishing is not the only solution, but nowadays, if you’re not writing about vampires, werewolves, or paranormal activity, it’s really hard to get that big break because the Big 5 publishers are only looking for what is going to make them money. And what makes money nowadays is not the modern day F. Scott Fitzgerald. It’s logical. It’s business. But it’s not the be-all-and-end-all.
Publishing has changed so much over the past few years, and I think it’s time people learn to embrace it, just like they had to embrace the digital revolution of the music industry. Independent artists are everywhere now. What people have to understand is, authors don’t self publish because they’re lazy to go through the slog of submitting queries to agents, or editing their manuscripts properly, or simply out of impatience to see their work in print. Self-published authors are, in fact, some of the most motivated and tough-skinned authors I’ve ever known.
A lot of them, including me, have huge stories behind the reason they self publish. Stories that most people will never know about, because when someone releases a book, it’s not like you can say on the blurb, “This book is self-published, but I actually once had an agent and a book deal with a Big 6 publisher, but decided to go the indie route because I felt it was better for me, both professionally and emotionally.”
“This book is self-published because I spent years and years querying it, was told that the writing was great, but no agent believed they could sell it. So … here’s my book. I don’t need to sell a million copies, a few hundred is enough for me. Plus it’s been through so many edits after all the agent feedback, I doubt you’ll be able to find one thing wrong with it.”
“This book is self-published, but actually it was once traditionally published by a small press. Unfortunately they liquidated and I had to get it back on the market as quickly as possible before all my marketing efforts went to waste.”
So … I urge everyone who is skeptical about self-published works, to think about the story behind it, and the effort it’s taken to get it out there, and the heartache the writer has been through to finally come to the decision to do it on their own. Self-publishing is no longer for the impatient … it’s for authors who have done everything they can before finally deciding to take their fate into their own hands.
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Genre – Cyberpunk / Dystopian / Short Story in Verse
Rating – PG13