Something a little different here today instead of my usual Sunday Book Review – which I happen to be only 3/4 of the way through my current read. So today I’m sharing my responses to a collaborative author interview series I was invited to partake in last month by Jasveena Prabhagaran at International Book Promotions. Jas is a generous promoter of the work of writers and always has a call out to authors to join in her monthly interview series, with every month’s features focused on a different genre of writing. If you are a member of any of my groups on Facebook or MeWe you will find Jas a member to all those groups, so it’s easy to meet her there.
You can find this interview HERE, along with answers to each question from 11 other authors. In this post, you will find the questions asked of all 12 of us with solely my answers.
1st Question: An author could easily write a fiction book out of some true events to keep things confidential. But you chose to write a non-fiction book. What encouraged you?
I’ve always been a truth teller and a sharer of stories of my observations. When I wrote my first book, it was born from a compilation of years of journaling about my life growing up with a narcissistic mother. Putting that book together became like a cathartic release. From that book forward, I wanted to continue talking about real life situations I encountered and overcame, wanting to share my experiences in hopes that others may be enlightened. I chose not to disguise my stories in fiction, but to share my truth openly.
2nd Question: What is the message you aim to deliver from the non-fiction book(s) you wrote?
All my books hold messages in them. I share my stories on various topics on life experiences so that others who relate can learn how I overcame my own obstacles, giving them hope that there is always a way for resolution if we first identify and admit our shortcomings.
3rd Question: Have you written anything based on your life experiences?
All my books are written based on my own life experiences. My books cover topics such as: growing up as an emotionally neglected child, living with a narcissistic mother, finding forgiveness, menopause humor, growing my self-esteem, travel observations, and how I kept a marriage going strong despite all the curve balls along the way.
4th Question: Have you felt called in some way to write a book on a given topic?
I’m not sure about a calling. But I can say with certainty that when I get an idea about something, I’m sure to write or talk about it in some method, whether it be by a new book or writing on my blog. If I learn something new, I feel compelled to share with others.
5th Question: There are cases of non-fiction books being fabricated with false and misleading information. How much truth should a non-fiction book hold?
If it’s a non-fiction or memoir book, it absolutely must be factual. It’s not uncommon for an author to use creative non-fiction, for instance, in memoir, when we recall an exact detail – example, maybe it wasn’t a bright, sunny day or perhaps the red dress was really green although we remember it as red, or the description of one of the character’s jobs has been changed to protect identity. These examples stated are just a few to demonstrate how truth may be altered, as memories are as the storyteller remembers something. And as far as changing names and occupations of characters goes, it is to protect identity and should be declared in the front matter of the book as a disclaimer. This is all acceptable for writing non-fiction – making up events and characters is not.
6th Question: Did you use references from other sources/facts/science when writing your book?
No, all of my stories are taken from my own real life experiences.
7th Question: What do you primarily aim to achieve with your book?
I write to share my experiences with others. I’ve always felt it was my duty to share what we learn with others. I hope that my stories inspire others by letting them know that there is always a way out of a bad situation. Despite there not being any overnight remedies for life, if we dissect the issues around us and strive to find solutions, we’ll find there is always one.
8th Question: Have you feared rejection or being judged by your family and friends with the topics you choose to discuss in your book?
Absolutely! I think every author fears rejection. But when we write personal stories, which almost always entail bringing in other people in our lives and ultimately, into our stories, it’s quite unnerving to think about the prospect of sharing it to the world. We worry about who we may upset, will we get sued, will that person in my book ever talk to me again? My advice is to write freely; don’t get blocked by possible repercussions. Get the story out on paper then begin working on the concerning issues when revisions begin. We must be cautious about our descriptions and wording. It’s highly advised to speak with the characters in our books for permissions and to settle uncomfortable conflicts before publishing.
9th Question: As a non-fiction writer, what is the challenge you face when writing your book(s)?
How much I can possibly tell without hurting someone else or divulging private information.
10th Question: Writing the truth is very liberating. How do you feel when the book is finally out and being acknowledged by the public?
I always feel apprehensive just before publishing, worrying if the book is good enough, entertaining enough in narration, and worrying about if my readers will enjoy it. But once the book is out, there is a sense of accomplishment and excitement in anticipation of the first review to come in, which gives me a sense of what the reader took from my book.
11th Question: Have you written anything else apart from non-fiction books?
I have written quite a bit of poetry and flash fiction and essays. But to be honest, even my poetry and fictional stories are always based on a truth – in these instances the truth is hidden within the story instead of directly spoken by me as I write in non-fiction.
12th Question: How do you market and brand yourself as an author?
Marketing is not my favorite part of being an Indie author, as many Indies will agree about marketing. We write because we have the passion. We market because we must get our names and our books out into a world that is swimming in millions of other books, so it becomes part of our job as writers to promote our own work. This is far from the fun stuff and also very time-consuming – eating into our writing lives.
I try to balance my marketing by sharing the works of others in my writing community, which causes the effect of others sharing in return. I run a blog on my website where I share all kinds of information, from my own stories, to writing tips, book reviews, author interviews and blog shares. I’m active on social media, doing the same. I run several groups on various social media sites. All these things are part of being an independently published author because if my presence isn’t kept alive, neither are my books. By sharing and helping others, we build good rapports with others in our writing community, and in turn we become part of other people’s network. The trick is to share useful information, share the work of others, join writing groups, keep abreast of the publishing business by subscribing to newsletters, and most importantly – don’t spam people with ‘buy my book’. Nobody is interested in being sold to. If we become a part of a community and give back, others are only too happy to help celebrate and share our victories.
Please visit International Book Promotions to read about 11 other author’s answers to these same questions, offering varying perspectives. And while you’re there, why not sign up to be interviewed too by Jasveena.
Originally posted at International Book Promotions – 12 Questions for 12 Nonfiction/Memoir Author Interviews