When I was a kid, the newspaper would arrive wrapped in plastic in case it rained, and delivered by hand, to the vicinity of our mailbox. Normally, by a kid who would rather be doing anything else but delivering the mail. And my parents would drag it in, unwrapping it carefully and scanning through the adverts to glean pertinent information on what is happening around the world. Now we jump to my generation. Information and news snippets are everywhere. From the moment we wake up, our phones buzz alive and our televisions blare. My kids no longer can get jobs delivering newspapers reluctantly or otherwise, because the standard media form is disappearing. Instead, we are plugged into a new kind of media entanglement, where news can change from one minute to the next and each of us is an 'on the spot' reporter. And I wondered how that affects us as authors? Are we now 'on the spot' writers, who are pumping out entertainment for the masses or do we still keep the slow write going? I was keen to chat this month to two authors, one who has written a memoir, and the other who uses his life experiences in his fiction writing to see how they managed to disentangle their thoughts.
This month's authors:
Lisa Jo Symonds
Lisa Jo has written a gritty memoir about her life and I was interested to find out about her process:
What was the most challenging part of writing a memoir?
The most challenging part of writing a memoir was having to be so careful in my wording, even having to eliminate things I really wanted to include, in order to avoid hurting or offending people I love.
How did you tackle the issues of confidentiality?
Confidentiality was tough, to say the least. I had to be very crafty in my writing to not expose people and tie them to events. Honestly, you will find that my book, The Hands that Held Me, maybe the only book that was ever written without one name within it. That took every ounce of talent I have to pull off an edge of your seat story...with no names.
What process did you go through to get your book published and what struggles did you have?
I had no struggles getting my book published whatsoever. My story sells itself. I hear of others who struggle and never land a publisher. I feel for them, its such a competitive market.
What are your plans for the future? Are you writing more books?
After I graduate with my dual degree in July (Bachelor's and Master's Degree in Health Sciences -Public Health), I plan to work from home, researching the spread of disease and bioterroris and write articles for medical and public health journals. And, yes, I plan to write another book, this time writing all I could not write in my first book.
Lisa Jo loves to interact with her readers via Facebook. You can find her on : https://www.facebook.com/TheHandsThatHeldMe/ I hope you can take a moment to support her, and I extend my thanks for being interviewed!
Grahame Peace From a lover of fashion to a lover of the written word this gentleman has created a unique style from both of these loves. I asked Grahame what inspired him and this is what he told me:
You went from a fashion focus in your youth to a fashion focus in your writing. What inspired you to bring a pen to paper after so many years?
I was born in 1958 in the North of England at a place called Huddersfield, in West Yorkshire, where I still live. It’s famous as a textile town, although it’s now a University town. I attended school in the early 1960s/70s, and young men from my background certainly did not do ‘fashion’ as a career. So, I drifted into mental health nursing, which became my career for over 36 years. However, fashion was always my passion, and it never went away. I wish fashion had been my career, it should have been, but writing about fashion, has in a strange way, allowed me to have the fashion career I always wanted, and pay homage to some great historic French, British, Italian, and American designers. In terms of writing, they say you should write about what you know, and I found that a good starting point, so my first two books have a strong fashion focus. Working in mental health is rewarding, but it’s also emotionally draining, so I wanted to write something entertaining and light-hearted, nothing too dark. My book genres are humorous, paranormal-historical-mysteries, fantasy, and fashion fiction. The third book in my fashion fiction genre has just been released worldwide on Amazon it’s a Romantic Comedy called, ‘The Fabulous Life of Patrina Fletcher’ who’s a social media and reality TV star, she’s very 2019! Patrina appeared in my book, ‘The Psychic Agency’, which is book four in my ‘Ghost from the Molly-House’ series. I liked her character so much I decided I had to tell her story; I hope people will love her as much as I do.
Do you like to research your books, or do you prefer to use your imagination?
Yes, I spend hours researching history and all manner of subjects for my books, in particular, my ‘Ghost from the Molly-House’ books, which are about a time-traveling ghost, with a wicked sense of humor. It’s often the real history that drives the stories, which I then sprinkle liberally with my wild imagination. I should add that fashion has a habit of creeping into these books as well, but it’s much more in the background. I’m currently working on book six in the series, which should be out early next year on Amazon and will be titled, ‘The Sirens Call’, it’s set in Cornwall in England in 1936.
What do you think is the most important thing to do or be as an author?
Good question, it’s a very overcrowded profession, so first you have to be determined and stick at it, few writers are an overnight success. It’s a craft that has to be learned, so the more you read and write, the better you will become. Don’t write to be rich and famous, yes, that would be lovely if it happens, but write for the love and joy of writing, and do pay attention to detail. Be prepared for hard work, and long hours not just with the book and editing, but the marketing, which is very tough and time-consuming. For me, it’s been a big learning curve, and I’m still learning. I treat my writing as a very demanding hobby, one which requires my full attention.
Who inspires you and why?
I always enjoyed writing, but most of it had been for work reports and academic assignments. So, when I retired from my career in mental health nursing, I had the opportunity to dip my toe in the water, and it went from there. I had an awful review for my first book (no longer in print), and while some of the comments were justified others were inaccurate and just not true, so I lost confidence for a while, but gradually I picked my writing back up again, like it or not, everyone’s a critic in one form or another. However, on reflection, I’m grateful for that lousy review; it helped me to develop my skills. I want to be the best writer I can be, so as I write I hopefully continue to improve and will continue to do so, ‘practice makes perfect’ as they say.
Grahame is on loads of book sites like Goodreads and Bookbub, but his main forums are listed below.
I hope you can take a moment to support him by checking out one of his pages, and I extend my thanks for being interviewed!
I wish to thank you for taking the time to read and engage with me! Happy reading everyone! VK Tritschler