Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’m a retired children’s psychotherapist who recently started writing literary science fiction for adults. Rarity from the Hollow is my debut novel and follows publication of three short stories in magazines.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Rarity from the Hollow is the adventure of a most unlikely savior of the universe, an eleven year old human. The story was inspired by the resiliency of a child abuse victim who was receiving treatment in an intensive mental health program where I worked in 2006. This girl exemplified victimization to empowerment. Author proceeds from this project have been donated to child abuse prevention.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I tend to consider various options for closures of scenes in my dreams, wake up when I have a great idea, type the closing lines for that scene to link it to the next, and then return to bed.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
It would be impossible to list all of the authors/books which have influenced me, but three that come to mind right now would be Charles Dickens and how his work addressed social problems in fiction, George Orwell in emphasizing that fiction was more than simple enjoyment but a way of prompting consideration of how to make the world a better place, and Douglas Adams for having similar values as Dickens and Orwell, but who insisted that the ride through the novel must be fun and a little outrageous to totally such readers into the higher purpose of the work.
What are you working on now?
I would love to say that I’ve been spending a lot of time putting the finishing touches on Ivy, the next Lacy Dawn Adventure that asks “how far will a child go to save a parent from addition.” However, I’ve been stuck in self-promotional activities for the last few months and have been neglectful of my love — creative writing. The way I look at it, if Rarity from the Hollow does not make its mark in the world after having won two Gold Medals from major book review organizations and other accolades from notable book critics, I refuse to spend more of my limited time on this planet marketing. I’d rather go out of this world writing even if it means that nobody will ever read what I’ve written.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I’m learning fast that the best site for promotions must involve spending money. I’ve never spent a penny having Rarity from the Hollow published, edited, for the book cover, or promoted. It’s a traditional small press publication with author proceeds donated to child abuse prevention. As a retiree living on a low fixed income, I can’t afford to advertise, not even the $25 that this site charges for a book feature. A lot of people, blog owners, have helped to promote this project, but I have yet to find a free promotional site that reaches readers the way that skilled publicists do when working for one of the Big Five publishers. Maybe this interview will draw attention. If you have read it this far down, it must be doing something. Right?
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Unlike me, start when you are young because it could take years to self-promote a single title. And, don’t give up — keep your passion hot so that it can catch fire when kindling is encountered. At this point in literature, there are probably more authors and book bloggers who have given up or otherwise closed down than that are active. My bet is that this number represents a lot of good books that will never see the light of day.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
The best advice that I’ve heard came from my deceased aunt and applies to more than just books and their marketing: “It never hurts to ask, all they can do is to say no.” If a person doesn’t have the gumption to ask for help in this highly competitive marketplace, and to accept a “no” without having one’s feelings hurt, I recommend moving on to a more self-affirming activity.
What are you reading now?
I don’t know why so many young authors have been asking me to do so, but I’ve been privately accepting novels written by inexperienced authors and providing comments. This is not an invitation because I’ve said yes so often that my TBR pile is very high. I almost never write reviews, so if you are an aspiring author please don’t look at me as a resource for one. I’ve found some fun and interesting stories, a couple with the higher meaning that I most appreciate. Soon, I hope to become more selfish and to find my old copy of “Another Roadside Attraction” by Tom Robbins and reread it — an anthem from younger days to bring back fond memories.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I’ll continue to self-promote Rarity from the Hollow until I feel that I’ve given it my best shot. That’s the main thing, make it or not. I need to feel that I’ve given this novel everything within my realm of possibilities, realistic options and not the ones that put me into the “poor house.” I’ll also put the finishing touches on Ivy, I’ve told you about that novel, and submit it to the publisher for editing with my fingers crossed. After that, I haven’t decided on whether to go back into self-promotions or to just write for enjoyment.
What is your favorite book of all time?
It is really tough to name a favorite book of all time because I have eclectic reading tastes, so my answer to that question will vary depending on mood, current events, and whatever else influence my thinking at the moment. How about this one — the Bible as the best fantasy adventure of all time. That should be a big enough controversial answer to catch a little attention. Sorry.