Today I gave my first book-related interview, which was my first interview, period. I met with a reporter from the Standard Times
, my hometown newspaper. See, Dad knows the current senior editor (they used to play golf together) and called him about his writer-kid (that's me), and kvelled (which is what someone does when they're proud of their kid) about my novel, I. Joseph Kellerman
, (as if you aren't well aware of the title already) and told him how I began to write it while hiking the A.T. I could hear the man on the other end saying, "Uh-huuuuh! Ooooh! Hmmmm!" and so forth, and then Dad asked him if that was something he'd be interested in for the paper. So what it boils down to is that I just got some free press. Yyyayyyy!
But I still feel like I'm peddling vacuum cleaners (no offense to vacuum cleaner peddlers) rather than a novel worthy of being read. Does that mean I don't think it's worthy? Well, no. That just means I feel like I'm tooting my own horn. It's one thing when someone else toots it for me. That I sorta like. But I'm not comfortable doing the tooting myself. I suppose it could be said that keeping on-line, public journals is horn-tooting, too. Hmm, I guess that's sorta true. So maybe I'm being hypocritical. But these journals are a subtler form of tooting, don't you think? I mean, yeah sure, I hope people who read my ramblings will then be inspired to spend their hard-earned money on a copy of my novel (although these less-than-literary entries may actually work against me), but ... oh, heck, never mind. I've turned from horn-tooting to hole-digging here.
So, anyway, I did a lot of babbling, while the reporter did some scribbling in her notebook and occasionally got a word in to ask me a question. I have a tough time talking specifically about my book, other than to sit there and explain the plot, which I don't want to do, so I ended up talking much more about the trail I was on when the idea for the novel came to me (thanks in part to my hiking buddy, Kit "Split P" Maloney, who planted the seed that grew into Dr. Kellerman). I also talked about my publisher, my favorite high school English teacher, and my artist husband, Steve. I love tooting his
So, what else? Well, this past Wednesday I gave an informal presentation to the (very small) men's group at the North Kingstown Senior Center, of which Dad is a member. Another chance to practice book promotion. (And maybe even sell one!) But I think I need to shift the weight of my discussions a little more towards book-talk. I mentioned I. Joseph Kellerman
now and then while babbling about trail-walking, but it came off more like intermittent asides than one of two main ideas.
See, I figure that people may be more inspired to read a book by an unknown author if they feel they know a little something about that author. Don'tcha think? And since hiking is my "companion activity" to writing and I come up with many, if not most, of my ideas while walking trails, I think the two topics go well together, regardless of the fact that my novels (so far) have nothing to do with hiking. *taking breath* I suppose if I were a psychiatrist like my main character, Dr. Kellerman, or shared a common past with him, then I'd feel comfortable speaking about those topics. I did my homework when writing this novel -- you bet your bippy I did -- but I'm no expert. No matter how much I'd learn about those things (mental illness, post-traumatic stress disorder, etc.), I still wouldn't feel right lecturing about them. Not unless I were actually a psychiatrist or had lived a similar life. That's just me, though. I see and read and hear plenty of interviews by authors who've done oodles of research on subjects they've written about but haven't personally experienced, and I've sure been convinced of their knowledge. But I'm not that confident. Maybe I'll feel differently when it comes to a future book.
That brings me to a well-used saying I was recently reading a thread about in an online writers' forum. It's the old "Write what you know" thing. How many times I've heard that, I can't even guess. When some people have said that to me, they've also said they mean "Write what you've lived." But I don't buy that at all. I mean, people write sci-fi, fantasy, historical novels. Have they lived exactly what they've written? Of course not. Elements of what they've written maybe, but you know what I mean. To me, "Write what you know," translates to "Know your characters. Know your story." Then do your homework, if need be, and do it well. If writers were supposed to write only about what they'd personally experienced, there'd be few novels on the shelves.
Well, that'll do it for now. Until next time,