In the next few months, I will post author interviews, both fiction and non-fiction.
Our first Guest Author on the Month is Lilly Robbins Brock.First of all, congratulations on your wonderful new book: Food Gift Recipes From Nature's Bounty: Easy & Delicious Recipes to Make and Share for Every Occasion.
What got you into writing?
I have been wanting to write ever since I was a little girl. While growing up, I wrote poetry and short stories. My mother had saved them and gave them to me years later. I chuckle as I look at them now. Upon adulthood, life happened. College, career, marriage and children. I started my interior design business in 1980, and it has been going strong up to the present. I did manage to fit in a monthly newsletter to my clients which they loved. Presently, I am retiring and looking forward to writing every minute that I can squeeze in.
What is your genre?
Historical fiction is my chosen genre. I have studied the genealogy of my family line, and love knowing how my ancestors lived. There are so many stories to be told. I'm addicted to history. Recently, however, I finished a nonfiction book--a recipe book with the theme of giving the gift of food originating from the bounty of food from our orchard and garden. I love preserving the food and going to my freezer or pantry shelves to hand pick a gift when the need arises. The whole idea inspired me to write a book and share my recipes and ideas.
What is your writing process?
I always begin my writing project with research. Some writers research later and fill in, but for me, many times a piece of information will inspire a part of the story. I find it necessary to become intimate with the research so that it is "within" me when I write. I categorize my research into files according to subject matter. Having such a wealth of information on hand, assures me that I will always have some "gold" to keep me moving forward.
From where do you draw your inspiration?
Almost anything can trigger an idea or inspiration for a story. As mentioned earlier, history offers a plethora of ideas, stories and inspiration. It could also be something as simple as watching people, and I will challenge myself to try to guess about what their life story may be based on their actions and reactions to other people. Whether I'm correct or not, and of course most of the time I would never know, I have an idea for a story. One of my favorite things to do is to listen to our sometimes forgotten elderly citizens' comments and stories. With a little urging, they will tell me about their past.
What is your goal for the next five years?
My goal for the next few years is to continue writing for as long as I continue to enjoy it. My husband and I want to write one particular story that took place 350 years ago involving both of our ancestors who knew each other in a small town of 100. They were involved in a massacre. They fought together, died together and some survived together. Mine was a two year old boy. If he hadn't, I wouldn't be here today. My husband and I discovered this incident in history separately and we're sharing with each other while realizing it was the same story. So 350 years later, the families are reunited! Sitting in my desk drawer is a paranormal historical romance/tragedy waiting to be finished. There's plenty to write!
What are your views about self- versus traditional publishing?
I have only experienced self publishing. Years ago, when I knew I would eventually write, I started studying both methods. Self publishing was just emerging, but I knew it would take off--there are so many advantages. While there are some advantages to traditional publishing, I lean to self publishing for the simple reason that you are in more control of how and when you publish as well as the percentage of the royalty.
What have you learnt from your experience?
I have learned not to "go it" alone. Joining the writing groups on line has been extremely helpful, and the writers are all so supportive. I'm sure many will be lifetime friends. I have also joined a writes' group in the town near us. The interaction is wonderful, and the exchange of ideas and information is priceless.
What is your most important message to your readers?
What would we do without readers? As writers, we like to know if readers like what we are writing--so let us know. Blogs are a great way to become involved. For me, I would enjoy interacting with the reader while writing a particular story. Perhaps asking an opinion on a particular character or a book cover.
What is your advice to aspiring writers?
My advice to writers is to get all our ducks in a row ahead of time. Learn what they need to be. Stay persistent to write everyday even if it's just a paragraph. I use a trick of not finishing a sentence at the end of a paragraph so that I can easily pick up where I left off without having to come up with a new paragraph with my brain not being warmed up yet. As I mentioned before, don't "go it" alone. You do not want to be an island unto yourself.
Don't give up on your desire to write even if life is happening as it did for me. I knew that the "someday" would come. If you can't start right away, keep educating yourself as the time goes by. Time passes no matter what you do, you might as well have some knowledge stacked up to be ready to go. Keep a journal of happenings. Keep a notebook to write down little snippets of events that you witness. One day you will have a stockpile waiting for you. Much better than a blank mind and computer screen, right? One more thing, write because you want to write without dollar signs in your head. Making a lot of money is a long road ahead. I'm still on that road.
Lilly Brock can be reached at www.lillyrobbinsbrock.com
Get Lilly's book here: Food-Gift-Recipes-Natures-Bounty
Want to learn how to write fiction? Check out these helpful books.
Sunanda Chatterjee is a practicing physician in Southern California. When she is not by the microscope making diagnoses, she loves to write fiction.