Friday, 14 April 2017

Interview with author Lynn Hooghiemstra

My guest tonight is someone I’ve meant to interview for some time, but for one reason or another I’ve never got around to it. That’s no excuse, because as an American author with a Dutch heritage she’s a fascinating person to talk to and has a way with words that makes other authors envious.

E Lynn Hooghiemstra's profile photo, Image may contain: 1 person, close-up

Wow, thank you, Richard!

It’s all true, Lynn, but I hope I haven’t embarrassed you too much!

No, just feeling humbled.

Sorry! You know, It occurred to me that although I’ve known you for some years, I actually don’t know too much about you, but that’s so often the way! Can you fill in the early gaps?

I would be happy to. It’s been a pleasure following your career as I grow mine. And it all started with a simple connection on GoodReads, I think. 

I think you now live in Arizona, but I know you lived in Seattle for many years. How different do you find the two areas, in the same country, both from the climate point of view and culture?

Actually, I live in Colorado now, I don’t think I could handle the weather in Arizona. The climate in Colorado is very different from Seattle; it’s very dry here. I keep asking people if it ever rains because I’m actually missing rain. And being near water. This is the first time I’ve lived in a landlocked part of the country/world and it’s taking a little adjusting.
Culturally it’s different too. I’m still observing and learning. Boulder, the college town I live in, is quite liberal and shares many of Seattle’s mindsets, but much of state, outside of Boulder-Denver is quite rural and has some different attitudes, so I’d not encountered in person before. A learning experience, for sure.

Sounds a fascinating place. I read your novella “Tales from the Fountain Pen” last year and found the premise and story enthralling. It obviously resonated with you, so I’d love to hear the background to the story and what made you write it.

Tales from the Fountain Pen by [Hooghiemstra, E. Lynn]Thank you. Yes, “Tales from the Fountain Pen” is close to my heart. It’s loosely based on family stories and events from WWII. I’d tried to write the stories many different times, but it never came to together. Then one evening I was going through some old junk and pens, and found my mother’s fountain pen from the early 1940s. It still worked and on a whim I started writing with it and from there the stories started flowing. I can’t really explain it, it’s almost as if the pen held memory. A haunted pen if you will.

That’s amazing. Was it an idea , or an event that made you decide to write?

I’ve written for most of my life. My first piece was when I was 8 or 9, a poem about an ant that I gave to my mother for mother’s day. I might actually still have it somewhere tucked in an as yet still packed moving box. Writing is like breathing. I think in stories/scenarios, everywhere I go I see potential for stories. The people I meet are all possible characters.

I think most real authors feel as you do. I know you wrote a short story for a collection called “Moon Shot:  Murder and Mayhem on the Edge of Space” which was co-written with another author Jack Bates. Did you find it easy collaborating on writing?

Moon Shot: Murder and Mayhem on the Edge of Space by [Bates, Jack, Hooghiemstra, E. Lynn, Tyler, Jeremy K., MacRae, Andrew, Rorhus, Suzanne Berube, Howe, Jeff, Long, Laird]My short story “Mayhem on Mars” which was included in the anthology “Moon Shot” was picked after an open call from my publisher Untreed Reads for murder mysteries set in space. It was a fun challenge. I haven’t had the opportunity to co-write with another author yet, but I can think of a few I would love to co-author with. At the top of my list are Jonathan Maberry and James Rollins. (Yes, I have a book in mind too and spec’d out in my head!)

How did you get involved in writing for the anthology of short stories?

Submitted to an open call.

As a mum, when do you find the time to write?

I think it was the excellent, and often undervalued, author Penelope Fitzgerald who said women writers are in essence kitchen table scribblers. We learn to take what time we can and write wherever we find ourselves. I’ve sat in the bleachers at swimming or robotics competitions with a notebook, and with one eye on the action and one on the page. I’ve written in parking lots and on trains or planes. I’m never without my trusty Moleskine notebook (they’re the only ones that survive repeatedly being stuffed into bags). On a side note, I often get pulled out of line at airport security because I have too many pens in my purse.

Have pen, will travel! Do you have your own room to write in?

Nope, I write wherever I can. I do have a desk in my bedroom right now. As the offspring and I live in a small apartment as I regain my footing after divorce. He’s at college most of the time and I’m freelancing for now.

Your publisher is Untreed Reeds in America. How did you find them, or did they find you?

I found Untreed Reads in one of those Writers books that lists publishers. At the time they were a very new publisher and eager for writers. I sent them a manuscript and they liked it. It’s been a good relationship.
So far, they’ve published “Tales from the Fountain pen”, “Mayhem on Mars” in the anthology “Moon Shot: Murder and Mayhem on the Edge of Space” (slated for re-release in paperback) and under a pen name, “Out in the Dark” by Nicola Adams. That last one I’m going to produce as an audio book. I’ll let you know how that goes!

The audio market is growing fast, so I’ll look forward to hearing how it goes. What book genre do you like reading and do you have a favourite author (asides from myself, of course!)?

Of course, you, Richard.
But aside from that my choices in genre change depending on what I’m in the mood for.
It ranges from Science Fiction to Mystery to Thriller to comic books, with a little non-fiction thrown in there too.
Some other authors I like are:
Terry Pratchett, Elizabeth Peters, Peter F. Hamilton, James Rollins, Jonathan Maberry, Herge (‘cause who doesn’t like TinTin?), and at times I dip back into Agatha Christie too. So, wide and varied tastes.

As an author, do you prefer eBooks, or paperbacks?


So do I, though as an author the eBook covers a much larger reading market. I love to browse through bookshops. Do you?

Yes, I could spend hours in a bookshop … and I rarely leave without books!

What do you feel is the greatest thrill about being an author?

The freedom to explore an idea, a story, a time period. To inhabit a different story for a time and to chronicle that story to share with others.

Lynn, many thanks for letting me interview you.

Thank you, Richard. It’s been a pleasure.

You can get Lynn's books and stories on mazon at:-

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Self Publishing: Behind the Scenes with Authors Reach

Self Publishing: Behind the Scenes with Authors Reach

Richard Hardie is one of the founder members of Authors Reach, a co-operative of local authors turned self-publishers. Here’s how it works.   
The job of being an author doesn’t stop with the words “The End”. In many ways that’s just the beginning.
Publishers tend to spend their marketing budget on promoting books from authors who they know will turn out best-sellers time and time again, and they tend not to take risks with new or unknown writers. In many ways, who can blame them? However, that means there is a massive glass ceiling that makes it very difficult for a new author to get noticed by the reading marketplace, let alone bookshops, where shelf space is at a premium and margins are tight.
Towards the end of 2015, five UK authors decided to change that and started buying back the rights to their books from their various publishers in order to form their own company to market and promote their titles… which from experience, they were aware is something authors have to do anyway, with few exceptions.
In addition to writing books, each of the five authors brought a specific skill-set to the group, among them being proofreading, web design, artwork, media know-how, social media expertise and marketing. The five felt the combination made them a capable operation and they therefore launched Authors Reach Ltd last November to initially concentrate on promoting each other’s books. That developed, through a sharp learning curve, into knowing how to negotiate print runs, organise distribution and bookshop stocking, to the extent that all five are now representing Authors Reach at book fairs and literary festivals, book signings, and even speaking to groups on creative writing. Radio and television interviews are taking place, with all five founders now having given radio interviews, and podcasts are scheduled, leaving little time for the real job in hand… writing books!
What’s different? The five founders of Authors Reach – Richard Hardie, Catriona King, Shani Struthers, Gina Dickerson and Sarah England – are all previously traditionally published authors with a diverse collection of genres ranging from crime to the paranormal, romance to horror, and young adult (YA) to fantasy. They started their new venture fully aware of the problems that lay ahead of them. They had an agreed strategy, as well as a clear plan as to how to maximise sales through online book sellers, both paperback and e-book. Unlike many smaller publishers, Authors Reach believes that independent book shops have a future in the UK, alongside the bigger chains, and that creating relationships throughout the UK is most important. Authors Reach intends being part of that future by bringing their books to readers and bookshops alike.
At the beginning of 2016 the first two books were relaunched under the Authors Reach banner and logo, with new covers and ISBNs (Leap of Faith and Trouble With Swords). Both are now in print, stocked by distributors and on shop shelves. Further Authors Reach books will be following very soon, with a potential back catalogue of over twenty books.
Authors Reach may not be a major player, or even bijou yet, but the potential is massive and may even indicate the future of publishing.