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Meet the Author Monday with Bob Boguslavski
June 27, 2016 | Heidi Angell



Source Link: Heidi Angell Blog

Hello Lovelies,

Another exciting author interview, today we get to meet Bob Boguslavski, who is a world wanderer, part-time typist, occasional wedding guest, marriage dodger, digital crate digger, experience + inane info accumulator and bon vivant. He is quite a creative fellow. Let's get on to the interview!

Hello Bob, and welcome to An Angell's Life. What is the current book you are promoting?


Wedding Chronicles is my first novel (of an eventual trilogy), which recounts some of the nuptials I have attended around the world, spun from a unique, “out there” male perspective. Its delivery and style is NOT your typical female-narrated and -driven romance novel with guaranteed HEA.

.

While billed as fiction, it has autobiographical, memoir and travelogue elements, blended together in mash-up fashion. There’s more going on than meets the eye—it has a lot to say about relationships, marriage and our world. It also has music playlists that act as an integral soundtrack, making it a multimedia experience.

“Keep it weird. They’ll get it later.” – Kid Koala (DJ, music producer + graphic novelist)

Wow, what a fun and creative twist! Very intriguing. Who are your favorite and least favorite characters in your book and why?

My own first person character is both my most and least favorite. Since the book is based on real life experiences (with a little artistic license thrown in), we all have good / bad days and facets.

Life doesn’t unfold in VCR / DVR mode, where rewind and fast forward exist. There’s no taking things back or skipping past the bits we don’t like.

My character is a bit of a marriage anti-hero, with a sense of black humor and satire to keep things off-balance, but ultimately with a good heart. The adage of nice guys finishing last rings true.

This is a big part of the reason I write under another name, to protect the guilty, the innocent and mostly … me!

I love your sense of humor already, and am definitely looking forward to reading Wedding Chronicles. What inspired this book and where do you come up with your stories?

The omniscient, proverbial “they” say to write what you know, so at 100+ weddings to date, there it was. There’s no need to make things up, when reality is stranger and funnier than fiction.

I’m still attending them, but the pace has mercifully slowed, and is much more manageable. There’s more raw fodder than needed for the trilogy’s completion.

Growing up, travel writers like Paul Theroux, Mark Twain, Jack Kerouac and Hunter S. Thompson influenced me for the global travelogue angle.


If you could have your book made into a movie, who would you cast, and who would you want to direct it?

A cast wouldn’t be needed, except for the prospect of celebrity actor voices. Animated cartoon treatment in the vein of South Park, or perhaps the “supermarionation” style of Team America: World Police (borrowing from the British 60s TV series, Thunderbirds) works best. The book is different in tone, style and structure, and there’s an air of surrealism to it, so this treatment would best preserve and present its off-the-wall approach. Given the episodic nature of the book (and all three when the trilogy is done), a TV series would be better than a movie.

The South Park / Team America duo of Trey Parker and Matt Stone would do a bang-up direction job, with the right sense of humor and decorum.

That sounds very entertaining, indeed! Tell us some unique things about you.

In no particular order, five things randomly grabbed from the bag.
•   I flip through magazines from back to front, and then decide what to read.
•   I read a novel’s ending first, and then go to the beginning. I like surprises, but prefer to know how they turn out ahead of time. I wrote the ending of my novel first as well—that way I knew where it’s going.
•   Favorite sandwiches – Reubens and Cubans, and not because they rhyme.
•   I eat (and actually enjoy) bacon straight out of the pack, but not more than one or two slices at a time. Hey, it’s already cured, and a great gauge to test quality and freshness. I’m not a vegetarian, although I once was, for a few months while working in a particular region of India.
•   I travel light, with a highly adaptable, nearly 20-year-old, brown leather carry-on I call Betty, which has logged many miles. I had her re-tuned a few years back—she’s still in fine form and built to last.

Thank you so much for joining us, Bob! It has been a real treat getting to know you and your project.

Are you as intrigued about Bob's book as I am? Well be sure to grab a copy from Amazon today!

Want to keep up with Bob? Follow him on Twitter, see what great books he reads on Goodreads, Keep up with news on the Wedding Trilogy through their Facebook page, and keep up with Bob on his Facebook page, Google+ page. He has some great pins on his Pinterest page with photoboards from all the weddings from the novel.

Want to see the music playlists that accompany the novel? Check out Bob's YouTube channel or Spotify. Lastly, let Bob delight you with his musical aptitude on SoundCloud.

Hope you enjoyed meeting Bob as much as I did.

Until next time,

Keep Reading!
Here's an author interview with Bob Boguslavski!
Saturday March 22, 2014

Source Link: The Book Landers



The Book Lander: What are the hardest and easiest things about writing?

Bob Boguslavski: I see them as being related.

The hardest thing about writing is trying to recount something you haven’t experienced in real life. I think that in order to accurately describe or detail it, you need to do a lot of research, talk to people who have lived it, and then try to put the topic, passage or experience together from that perspective. I think this hard work is needed, so that anybody reading the piece at hand who has experienced will see it as being credible. Now you can’t necessarily do this at length for every single little thing. Further, if you are writing something from a purely imaginary perspective (i.e., science fiction or fantasy), which nobody has lived yet, then I believe a good amount of time and effort needs to be spent mapping out the “world” and how it all works and comes together. It still needs to make sense, sound credible, be logical, and not have any glaring inconsistencies. That is all hard work to do properly and create from scratch.

The easiest thing about writing is covering something you have lived or that has happened to you. It certainly helps to have a good memory in that regard, so you can dredge up all the relevant details. You can then always change or tweak it, by applying a little artistic license and imagination to make it more appealing, interesting, shocking, or humorous, as needed, but the core is always best based in something that happened, and you were there for it.

Stitching the two parts together seamlessly with one’s own unique style and flair is the art of the deal.

TBL: Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?

BB: Fortunately, writer’s block is something that has not happened to me yet, so I am lucky. If it looked like I was getting stuck on one passage or chapter, I could easily change gears by moving to another chapter, or do some research or editing on another part or angle altogether.

The way this first book was (and how future books will be) structured, on an episodic basis, albeit with many connecting tendrils between each “chronicle” or chapter, allows me to hop around from chapter to chapter. It took my editor some adjustment to work along this way as well, since the novel’s chapters were not completed in sequence, but were rather all over the place, and delivered individually for follow-on editing and review.

I realize writer’s block is a very personal thing that affects writers differently, so I imagine that everyone could have a different solution. Doing something completely different and changing your environment may work, like exercise or getting outside. I think it would be important to flag the problem area, put down some notes or placeholders, and then leave it for a while, and come back later.

Another factor could be time of day as well, as I think many writers work to different biorhythms, so knowing and understanding yourself and your zones of optimal creativity, and when you work best / most efficiently is important and can play a part in the solution, or at the minimum, staying away from recurring problematic time periods.

Music has a big influence over me, and helps my creativity, so music would be a factor as well. I always have music on as I write, to create a backchannel of random stimulation and unlock potential. Maybe that is why writer’s block hasn’t happened to me. If it ain’t broke, don’t go lookin’ to fix it.

TBL: Name a song that describes your book best?

BB: That’s a real interesting one. I’ll alter (or bend) the question a bit in terms of “a song” (i.e., single).

The book, in terms of styles and structure, (and my character) is a mix of many different traits and influences, and so I think a “song” in the realm of Mashups / Bastard Pop / Plunderphonics would be most accurately representative.

There is a lot of great stuff to choose from, but I’ll pick Girl Talk (aka Gregg Gillis) and the album Feed The Animals. Now, technically, one may view the entire album stream as one long contiguous “song”, but it has been broken up into 14 consecutive tracks to make it more digestible.

It combines hundreds of song samples, artfully woven together in an aural tapestry to create something new. It similarly represents the way I slammed and fused many different elements on multiple fronts/topics together for the book’s tale. It is also perhaps a model for the way I think as well. If you don’t want to consider the album as one “song”, then feel free to pick any of the 14 constituent tracks for a random sample.

This Wired Magazine infographic deconstructs one track “What It’s All About” from the album, visually mapping out in time and layers all 35 samples used for that one song.


In terms of describing my character in the book, and what Bobby Bo may be thinking at the end of it all, the last three songs in the Epilogue playlist by Nada Surf, Eels, and West Indian Girl were purposely chosen in sequence to add another angle as to how to interpret the ending, and what may be going on inside Bob’s head that he isn’t otherwise communicating.

Listen to those three songs, if no others in the book, and a reader will probably come away with a modified / enhanced understanding or perspective of the ending than the one given by the text alone.

I could go on a bit more about the music in the book and its overall general purpose, but this web/blog post I did a while back sums it up pretty well.

TBL: Chocolate or vanilla?

BB: Well, let me start by saying I have generally been a savory over sweet person for quite a long time now. I will always make more room for that extra piece of pizza or another helping of the main dish, and forego dessert altogether in most cases.

But faced with a choice, if it’s ice cream, I will take vanilla as my preferred flavor, but some squares of chocolate will always trump ice cream in a face-off, but it need be dark chocolate.

White chocolate doesn’t count at all as real chocolate—strictly speaking it is considered a derivative product, and doesn’t have the cocoa solids. Milk chocolate as a choice probably will keep me sticking to savoury.

I am not a hoity-toity, fussy eater by any means, so faced with situations where there is no choice, I go with the flow, eat what’s there, and not bitch about luxury decisions. Overall, in this part of the world, many of us have it pretty good when it comes to food and lots of choices. I will eat just about anything within mainstream reason and not complain.

TBL: Any favorite things / likes you want to share?

BB: In no particular order:

Mode of transport – train, for the continuity, views, pace, and not needing to be captain; note this ain’t the same as the subway.

TV show as a kid – Ultraman (it’s from Japan in the 60s; we had this stuff growing up in Canuckistan even in the single digit channel universe at the time, pre-cable).

Night of the week – Thursday, cuz it’s busy enough to be real good, not as crowded as Friday and Saturday with lines, and even if you hurt your ass real bad partying, you can limp through the day Friday at work/school to get home and collapse on the sofa and flop out.

Song/artist – can’t peg it to one as way too much I like; my next one though is something/somebody I haven’t heard yet. Get a very small feel for selections from here.

Sleep time – 4/5am – 9/10am (5 hours); unfortunately this doesn’t jive with much real-life, grown-up activity, and is at cross-porpoises [sic] with my best writing times on the front end. I do need catch-up days with more sleep now and again though for sure.

Food – so much I like, but thin crust pizza, Asian across the board, and Mediterranean fare are all up there at the top of the pyramid.

Booze – red wine

Other drug(s) – music, travel, and the above mentioned grape juice

Life moment – It hasn’t happened yet.

Color – blue (and shades therein for variety)

TBL: Do you think that giving books away free works and why?

BB: There is a lot of debate out there and ample well thought-out material has been written about the value of free with books, music and many other products / services. I certainly see and understand the multiple facets of the equation.

This Wired Magazine piece by Chris Anderson from 2008 is a good overview of the matter, and useful for getting started thinking about it all. But there is so much more out there, both pro and con.

I think this approach can be used effectively when done occasionally for brief periods of time (e.g., giveaways, contests, and short promotions) but if used constantly across the board, where does that leave a writer long term? If you, as creator, are not placing any value to your work, who else will? Any writer or other artist needs to be the biggest champion of his or her work.

In my case, I have one novel to date, with more to come. I have elected to put a commercial value on it for several reasons—it’s a highly differentiated product, initial third parties and readers have reacted favorably so far, and there are other value-added elements attached to it like the music playlists. Further, I also made sure the end product was professionally edited from start to finish. There is a lot of “free” and self-published stuff out there that isn’t edited, so that was another wrinkle in the mix.

Another consideration in my decision making on this matter is that pretty much all the e-book and online platforms provide for an adequate preview capability of the product, so any reader gets a really good “free” look at what they may be potentially plunking down part of their entertainment budget for.

When you are a first-time author starting from zero, it is tough to break into the market to begin with, given the sheer amount of new titles coming out all the time, and technology has really opened up the floodgates with increasingly sophisticated and polished self-publishing options.

Then one is also competing with all the other types of media / entertainment forms today, and social media. Then you have limited consumer mental bandwidth and time as physical constraints.

There is an ocean of free stuff out there as it is, and some evidence suggests many readers never finish or even get to start all the free e-books they amass on their reading device(s) of choice.

Providing a review copy to literary blogs/websites, highly-ranked independent reviewers, and select tastemakers / high profile folks is another matter, pretty much standard practice, and makes sense, given the volume of queries and material they contend with and would otherwise have to pay for. You never know how they will like, love, or pan it though in their review. It’s out of your control.

Whether a book is given away free or sold commercially to the public, the real bottom line investment any reader is making is in the actual time to read the book. If someone is going to allow a writer to crawl into their headspace for hours at a time to entertain, enthrall, inform, and/or shock at times too, then the currency sale price of the book paid by the reader is rather irrelevant at the end of the day when divided by the physical time spent reading, and looking at it on a $/hour basis. But that sale price revenue can certainly make a difference to the author.

You can experiment with pricing, but it can be difficult to go up in price from “zero, zero, he’s my hero,” as opposed to having the wiggle room to play with price selectively from a higher point.

In other cases, generally, the book itself, may be just a part of an overall business model with other revenue streams down the road too, such as speaking engagements, consulting, or other related revenue-generating activities, if that is what a writer desires and what kind of books are being churned out. One need to know and understand what their own end game and objectives are here, and many a time, it may not be the book at all.

At the end of the day, each writer will do what they think is right for their own situation, factoring in all the parameters at play, and where they feel they fit in the overall marketplace with their offering.

Then you can also just close your eyes, throw a dart and see where it lands on the board (or even missing altogether), and let that dictate your strategy as well. Ida know. Vega$, baby, Vega$.

TBL: Why do you write?

BB: There has never been some lifelong longing to write since childhood. It all manifested itself over time. Sure at school, one had to write essays, papers, and do projects. Then with business, there is a lot of writing as well, whether it is for planning, proposals, marketing collateral and other related biz type docs. Hell, even crafting a well-written email can be a challenge too. You are still always telling a story in some way, trying to convince someone of something, or impart something.

Probably my earliest knowledge of knowing I could write anything entertaining and humorous, dates back to my initial international work and travel days in the late 80s and early 90s. At the time, when abroad in places like Europe, Egypt, India, and the UAE, on the go, and many a time in remote areas or with no reasonable or convenient telephone options, the best way to shoot friends and family an update on what was up in life was via postcard. The major shortcoming was speed of delivery (weeks if not months at times), and the odd one may have also gotten lost along the way.

You had the picture on one side, and not a lot of room on the flip, once factoring in space for the addressee info, and the stamp(s). I kinda cheated (or altered the boundaries of the format) by writing in bordering-on-microscopic (but still legible, at least to younger eyes anyway) print, giving me a quite a bit more room than normal to play with.

I developed my own personal informal style of telling a short story of the place, picture and life moment and/or perceptions of where I was, and delivering it in comedic and graphic fashion. So much so, that over the years, I discovered that many of those friends and family have saved those postcards to this very day, because they said it made them howl with laughter, and was some of the funniest and out there stuff they had ever read.

Years later, I managed to get some of them to scan or loan them back to me for a bit. There is some real good material in there that may see the light of day in future series about travel and/or work abroad.

I knew I had something there in terms of some raw potential nuggets of value, but it still took quite a few years before it all came together, and knowing what to do with any of it.

Along the way, there were all these experiences abroad (for work, vacation, and school) that just started piling up over the years. The topic of weddings was just the first one to come bubbling up as the vehicle to tie some of that together into a longer story packaged in book form.

TBL: What does your family think of your writing?

BB: Well, a good chunk of the family is dead (parents, uncles, aunts, grandparents) so that makes things very easy! smiley With all the funerals there to date, plus some friends too, I see the raw potential down the road for another eye-opening series, but I will save that whole approach for when all other topical series have been exhausted.

Start with weddings, and end with funerals. Hmm, I think this one may have been done once before, but I think I can do it differently enough to make it interesting.

Other family members (sister, brother-in-law, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.) don’t do the e-book thing yet at all, and are awaiting the imminent (but months overdue) paperback release to dive into it, and give me their overall opinion, even though a few may have had the odd early-stage preview chapter. Younger relatives, like nephews, still have a long way to grow up before they will be wanting to read this. Also, there is no wife to worry about yet either, and what she may think. So overall, this family angle really hasn’t been a shaping factor to date.

I will wait and see how this all turns out, and get back to folks on that with a more definitive answer if this question ever gets asked again down the road. I imagine that some family members will like it (or parts thereof), and others will be shocked by a lot of it too, as the material can be quite out there, and delivered with Tucker Max like flair at times. It’s just part of my natural writing style that goes back to my postcard writing days abroad. I did however tone down my language for family (a bit anyway) in those old cards, as opposed to friends and others, which were done with more of a no holds barred approach. If I was writing those cards for grandparents with very limited English capability, I had to keep things really simple.

TBL: Do you have any suggestions to become a better writer? If so, what are they?

BB: I am really just getting going as a writer, so I ain’t like no expert or nuttin’, but from very early stages years back, I certainly valued Authonomy as a forum to throw out early versions of chapters and see what people, especially other writers who may be a little more critical, thought. Those initial comments (all based on the raw first drafts, before any editing) can still be found up here. I haven’t been really up there much anymore apart from the odd update.

At the time in late 2009 when I first started on Authonomy with a few initial chapters, the book had a working title of All Over The Map with the byline underneath of Global Weddings, Wandering and Pondering. Bad, isn’t it? It was way too long, and got changed along the way, as the current title is a better fit. I had a long list of potential titles, and batted them around with quite a few friends, family, and my editor. At various stages, I had several more chapters up there (at one point about 70% of the full manuscript I reckon), but have since culled it back to pretty much mirror what is available now in preview mode for the book retail sites online.

I knew from the start I was trying to do something quite different in terms of concept, story and structure, and each wedding / chronicle / chapter was far longer than a normal novel chapter. I wanted to get an early feel to see if I was barking up the right tree, so to speak. There were things I picked up along the way based on initial feedback, and I was able to refine and fix them, the most important being how to split up those otherwise long chapters into smaller chunks, employing a series of repetitive icons to act dually as break / separation points, and also to symbolize different days and/or day parts for the event.

Getting all that right very early on was valuable to me. However, some writers might be loath to share early raw drafts of a new book for fear of rejection, nasty commentary, or having ideas stolen (or their publisher forbade it), but I didn’t see a problem with any of that and wasn’t tied to any contracts. Also, as a minor added deterrent to others copying and extending material, my editor felt early on that my style, tone and structure were quite unique, and would be hard to mimic.

I just felt I needed to test the waters early on, and was very glad I did. So that would be my only suggestion—get stuff out early on, and adjust accordingly as needed. I suppose if one is a seasoned pro, you may not care for or need that approach because you are comfortable with the whole product creation process.

TBL: What draws you to this genre?

I like to think my style of writing is rather genre-defying, as it mixes in so many different elements.

At the very least, it is a mashup, and in the way that Girl Talk wanted to turn things up several notches on the music front with his work, I endeavored to do so with this first instalment of Wedding Chronicles. I didn’t want to feel constrained or limited by standard industry labels or tags that would be applied to try to categorize it. There are too many, making it all meaningless in the end. It is what it is. It’s part of the reason why I created my own label for it, f(r)iction, and it’s explained right at the beginning of the book. We’ll see if it ever sticks over time.

Throwing fully-integrated music playlists into the mix was yet another thing I wanted to do, because music is something that is a big part of my life, and has a lot of power to help a story along (e.g., movies, TV, games) and set mood.

I intend to continue writing exactly like this. It is just me, following my own vibe, with a delivery and structure that feels comfortable and natural.

People can call it what they want in the end. I just hope they enjoy the read ride, and want to come back for more.

To close off this topic of style and genre, this Toni Morrison quote fits the bill nicely.

“If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.”


Bob N. Boguslavski - An Author Interview
Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Source Link: Guest Posts & Interviews With Tina Marie Says

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

My bio is here below, but in summary, I have been fortunate to be able to have done a lot of different jobs across multiple industries, in many places around the world, and that has provided the basis for my style and all the material for this book and future ones. It has given me a bit of a unique perspective.

Expressed mathematically, it might be something like this:

(Live + Think) x Different = Write Different

***
Born and bred in YUL, Canuckistan (home of the first peanut butter patent and Wonderbra™ trademark), of Ukrainian Polish heritage, Bob N. Boguslavski has been a bit of a world wanderer the last decades. Life, career, and school have moved him between multiple places in Egypt, India, Spain, The Netherlands, UK, and USA and he reckons he's not done yet either by a long shot. He has traveled to many other spots on the planet for business, pleasure, and a seemingly ungodly number of weddings.

Along the way, he has successfully managed to dodge his own wedding bullet(s), and collect a mass of raw fodder for literary porpoises [sic]. Having worked in several sectors for companies massive, tiny, and sizes in-between, some of his friends (and family) persist in thinking he once was (and maybe still is) some sorta spy or sumpin' like that. His real-life experiences and observations form the basis of a unique, eclectic, and humorous writing style. For some strange reason, cats dig him (he wishes it would work just as easily and well with women) and if he could jar and sell it, he would be really wealthy.

He currently resides on the Left Coast of North America in YVR, and when he's not busy attending a wedding somewhere, or writing about it while listening to very loud house music, he has the semblance of a normal life and job. Sorta. Kinda. He enjoys being misunderstood in different languages he has butchered and warehousing inane information and factoids upstairs until Alzheimer's or dementia sets in to make it all disappear. One of his favorite sayings is "Your next best friend is someone you haven't met yet" and it's a philosophy he tries to apply as he mucks and muddles about the globe.


What were you like at school?

During high school, I was a bit of a nerdy bookworm, and spent a lot of time in the library. If there were frequent reader miles given out back then, I would have been Super Platinum Plus measured by ass-in-seat page turns.

The librarians all knew me very well, and usually had a stack of suggested reads for me to pore through when I refilled with new material.


What are your ambitions for your writing career?

I think I have a very unique style, a fresh and easygoing voice, and have mapped out an innovative structure for telling the overall tale I want to convey over a few different series of books.

They will actually all be interconnected. I just hope I will be able to pull it off if life allows.


What genre are your books?

My style is a bit genre-defying or –busting, but the closest tags of which elements apply are fiction, humor, mashup and something I define at the start of the book.

“This is a work of f(r)iction, where fact and fiction rub up against each other, and nobody wants to know it regardless.”


How much research do you do?

There was actually a ton of research that went into Wedding Chronicles on several fronts. After so many years and weddings, I needed to go back to the couples and review details of the day on various aspects. Not surprisingly, in most cases, the woman always remembered much more of the specific details of the day, but one could get a lot of information overall from both, my memories of the day, and from other friends present there.

Then a lot of historical research was needed on the venues and current events/news (especially!!) at the time, as it pertained to conversations in the book, be they serious or lighthearted in nature.

There was more on cultural and societal elements as well for all the far-flung foreign locations, and the music as well.

It was a lot of work, and I needed to be very organized, as there was a lot of connecting the dots to paint the full mural.


When did you decide to become a writer?

There’s actually a bit of a weird and interesting story behind this, and it happened in two steps.

The condensed version is that at Halloween 2006, an astrologer who was very accurate in her reading of my past and present life events and personality suggested that I become a writer. At the time, I didn’t really pay much attention to that, but it remained in the back of my mind.

Eight months later in July 2007, in between a flurry of weddings, I was complaining to a friend of mine about all the weddings I was attending all around the world the past decades, and the money, time and effort spent going to them. He looked at me and said “Geez, you’ve been to more weddings than anyone I know. Why don’t you write a book about it?”

I was like “D-oh, Homer!” and that’s when the light bulb went on inside my head, and here we are now.


What made you decide to actually sit down and start something?

After that dual step process above, and the high level idea, I spent some time making an outline and some notes to see how I would map out the story, and how I would make it an engaging story. After that was done, I realized that there was definitely something there, and it could be entertaining.


Do you write full time or part time?

It was a mix of both over the years, and I hope that moving forward, I will be able to devote most of my time to writing the next books in the trilogy, as well as other series down the road.

I think I’m far from spent in that regard of having raw fodder to draw from.


Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?

After about a year or so of experimenting, I find that my best period for tapping out new text on a white screen is between 2am – 6:30am (in the dark, except for the laptop lighting), after going to bed early (and not staying up all night).

Research, reading, notes, structure, and editing can happen at any other times of the day with no problem, however, I am most efficient with telling the story in that early morning window. Trying to do it at other times is much slower and painful even. It’s just the way my mind is at that time of the day. I am funnier and more imaginative then typically, as least as regards material for a book anyway.


Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?

Not at all, as it depends on what needs to be done at the time, reading for research and making notes, writing fresh prose on a white screen, or editing.


Where do the your ideas come from?

The omniscient “they” always say to write about what you know, so after having been to so many weddings, I had lots of material to play with.

I hope to do the same thereafter with another series about all my work experiences around the world. I have done a lot of different things over the years, so I have ample fodder there as well. It will be written in very much the same off the wall style and structure as this first novel on weddings.


Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

A serious amount of outlining, notes, and mapping out the structure happened well before any prose was written. It took a couple of years actually, and I had almost 700 pages in this massive file that probably only made sense to me. That file became the basis of the first book, and there is enough stuff in there leftover to write the next two instalments of the trilogy.


How long on average does it take you to write a book?

There is no “average” really to date, since there has been only one book.

This first one took several years actually. The initial idea was hatched in July 2007, the outline was done by end year, and then I spent two years collecting data, making notes, doing research, emailing and talking to friends, and throwing down any thoughts on the keyboard that came to mind. After those near 700 pages were done, then I set about to really writing it all out in normal sequential fashion a reader could understand, and that happened over 2010 and 2011, along with some initial editing, largely to refine my style and skills per below. 

Along the way, I realized the initial concept as envisioned, one novel, was way too long, and would be on target for 1500 pages when complete, so I decided I had to pull it apart like spaghetti strands from a pile, into a trilogy, and that took a lot of work to figure out.

The first full draft was complete on the afternoon of May 5, 2012 (cinco de mayo on a full moon that evening), and editing took another year thereafter, and then formatting and layout for e-book distribution took until late August 2013. It was a long road, and a lot of the initial editing work in 2010 was really also doubling as writing tutorial and education as I really was working more on refining my capabilities and style.


Do you ever get writer’s block?

Fortunately, not yet. Lucky so far. If it looked like I was getting stuck on one passage or chapter, I could easy change gears by moving to another chapter, or do some research or editing on another part or angle altogether.


Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?

I am a big believer in having a detached, capable and professional set of eyes look at your work, and make it much better. I think it is very difficult for most of us to cook up a flawless and pristine manuscript on our own, or having your aunt who was an English major review it.

It will ¢o$t you some Benjamin$ for sure, and depending on your budget it may be a strain, but if you are serious about being a writer and going to market, it is important to set your work apart. It will make the work more polished, especially in the indie and self-published market, what with hundreds of thousands of new titles coming out every year, and that’s not accounting for any language translations either.


Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?

I tend to do that with various chapters for sure. Sometimes, certain chapters have been left for half a year at a time, before I look at them again, and take them to the next level of completion.


Who edited your book and how did you select him/her?

I was introduced to my editor, George-Thérèse Dickenson , through the friend of a friend in NYC who had collaborated with a group of over two dozen writers on a big non-fiction project. She is an experienced and talented editor, writer and poet, located in NJ outside of NYC.

I feel very lucky that she decided to work with me, a first time writer, with no prior writing experience, as she is very selective with her projects and engagements. I highly recommend her, as she has transformed and elevated my writing skills along the way, as well as doing a bang up job on the book edit itself.  I look forward to working with her on the next books in the series.


What do you think makes a good story?

Pretty much any topic can make for a good story. One just needs to have the flair to make it engaging, entertaining, and fresh. Throw in a new twist or angle, or make it funny, and you are away to the races.


What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

There’s probably a few of them at play.

One very important thing is I write always while listening to music. Without music through a set of headphones, my work is painfully slow, and less imaginative. It’s like the music does something to my mind and releases freer and more smoothly flowing expression. Louder is better, and my best writing seems to come out when listening to house music / electronic dance music. But my musical tastes are all over the map generally in terms of genres and styles I like and listen to. I need to better educate myself to opera and country though, as I am just not into them that much at all. But I am always open to great music suggestions, and I spend an undue amount of time listening to music every day.

Another quirk is the best time period of the day for writing as mentioned above. In the dark from 2:00am to 6:30am for fresh prose is the best for me. I have played around a lot with that, but now know my “zone” so I don’t fight City Hall anymore.

After notes, outline and research, I wrote the ending of the book (Epilogue) first, before anything else. I read that way too. I would always read the last pages of a novel or book first, and then go back to the beginning to commence the story. I like surprises, but just want to know how they turn out ahead of time. I do the same with paper magazines (as opposed to electronic versions). I thumb from the last pages forward. Maybe I should have been born in other parts of the world where things flow right to left.


What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

A great imagination is one thing to help with writing, but if you ever have the opportunity and are lucky enough to get out there and see more of the world in your life, be it for work, education, or personal travel, it will make you a better writer, and give you additional insight and experiences upon which to draw from.

I feel very fortunate that things happened for me at a relatively early age to set me on this journey to different parts of the world, and I have learned a lot from it all, and continue to do so all the time. You will look at things from different perspectives, and that can certainly help with writing.


What advice would you give to your younger self?

Keep traveling, or as all those Johnnie Walker ads state, “Keep walking.”


What is your favorite quote?

I have a few of my own that I made up, that kind of reflect my personality or sense of humor.

One is “Your next best friend is someone you haven’t met yet.”
It can be tweaked to be “favorite song” and “heard” as well.

Another is, “It’s always funny until someone loses a testicle.”

There are so many great ones out there by others, and I try to throw a few of them out throughout the book, as people may notice.  But they need to be a fit for the conversation at hand, and in the right context.


Tell us about your book cover/s and how it/they came about.

The cover designer, Anouk Jansen, is someone from Amsterdam I first met on a new record label consulting project back in late 2005 and early 2006. I thought her work back then was great, she had talent, and so when I was thinking about a cover for the book in early 2013, I thought about her again and reached out to her to see what she could do.

We emailed about the book concept, and outline, and I asked her to read one chapter or wedding to get the flavor for the book’s style and flow. She developed three different concepts, and after having a group of my friends and contacts, many with marketing, art, or graphics in their background, comment and vote on / prioritize the concepts, I made a decision to go with the current one, and we refined and tweaked it through a few more iterations. It was a process, but I think she nailed it, and I am happy with it. I get a lot of favorable commentary about the cover.

I wanted something to reflect the very different nature of the book on several fronts.


Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?

Absolutely, both online and at brick and mortar retail. Obviously, smaller images online bring certain restrictions, so you need to be able to work with that as well.


How are you publishing this book and why?

I have gone the self-publishing route. I know my style is very different and out there on many fronts, and the traditional route of querying agents yielded no interest. I know my work doesn’t fall into any neat pigeonholes, so that would make it difficult to garner a nice fit with most agents and publishers. My writing takes a lot of chances creatively in terms for style, story, and structure, plus throw in the music playlist angle, and it is enough to scare away just about everybody, even those who say they are looking for something different that pushes the boundaries. So, after quite a bit of querying, and reading up about both the traditional publishing industry and how it works, and the self-publishing side, I decided I just needed to stop wasting my time, get on with it and get it out there.


What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?

Self-publishing advantages are that you as writer have way more control over the entire process on everything from final content to editing, cover design, marketing, financials and business aspects. At the same time, you also have to do everything yourself, or be willing to hire the right resources, consultants and people to do things you can’t. You also get to market much faster. You need to front all the money for this, but in the end, you control the process, and copyright, and have way more flexibility for the future, for any possible business deals with publishers if they ever become interested later on.

There are no middlepersons either in terms of the agent and publisher. They can certainly offer value on a few fronts, but there are large trade-offs. You need to balance that all off.


How do you market your books?

It is a mix things between a website/blog/trailer just very recently out a few days ago after the “Holidaze” period as I like to call it, social media, engaging with reviewers and blogs, and other things. In many ways, I am just getting started, but will push a lot more once paperback is also out very soon.  I am trying to focus on that as the next priority.


Why did you choose this route?

The choice was made for me. I felt good about the final product, and rather than continuing to query incessantly on deaf ears, I decided to just move and get going.


Would you or do you use a PR agency?

I am open to the idea for sure, and may well do something on that front down the road. But today, with the Internet and social media, an author can do a lot on their own, if they are willing to devote the time and effort to do so. I need to spend more time to understand the value proposition and payback of the PR agency approach. More research needed on my part.


Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?

Yes, it is a lot of hard work, and you need to put as much effort into the marketing of your book(s) as you did on the writing, editing, and cover design.


What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book?

It is an ongoing process that requires a lot of time and effort. Not enough, so there is more to be done for sure.


What do you do to get book reviews?

A lot of effort is required here, and patience. You need to target them, read and pay attention to their submission requirements, and exercise patience.

Many have huge backlogs and waitlists, so it can be months sometimes before they get back to you, and even more before a review see the light of day. Casting your net far and wide, yet focused, is important.


Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers?

I try to spend time targeting reviewers who are open to multiple genres and something different, as opposed to being focused on particular genres like say, romance, paranormal fantasy or historical fiction. There’s no point in trying to engage with someone who wants vampires and werewolves when your book is about killer zombie cats from Planet Myrna 77.43 who lust after beer post bloodbath, or something like that.

As my work is quite different, reviewers who read multiple genres may better appreciate the work, and then I have a better chance to get through to them, work into their waitlist or backlog, and get a review.


What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?

Bad reviews will inevitably happen. Reviews are the opinion of that particular reviewer, and one needs to respect that.  It is certainly easier to swallow a poor review if the reviewer professionally maps out their reasons and logic as to why a book didn’t work for them. Take it in, and keep moving, even if easier said than done.


What do you think of “trailers” for books?

They play a valuable part of the marketing mix for sure. Being able to distill a book down into a minute or two of imagery, words/voice, and/or music in combination,  is key in a world where consumers have very short attention spans before they disengage and wander off to some other distraction.

I was adamant to keep my own video trailer to one minute in length.

Since Wedding Chronicles has so many different things going on, and is not plot driven in the traditional sense, I tried to encapsulate a few other angles of the book experience, using fewer words, focus on the cover a bit, and with more of an emphasis on imagery for the journey’s backdrop and music. I know the sequence of locations is not a very common one for a novel, unless it is some sort of spy thriller.


Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?

I used to read a huge amount, and was the kind of reader who stayed up all night to finish a good book.

Alas, in early 1997 while living in Amsterdam, I came to the conclusion that I was reading too much, so I quit cold turkey after I finished two novels by Irvine Welsh, Trainspotting and The Acid House. One must keep the crack away from a crack addict.

One day, I think I will go back to reading books again. Just not yet.


For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?

I am totally into e-reader devices and think the advent of them has changed reading habits and the publishing industry for good.

Paper is great still, and  think it will always be there, albeit perhaps in diminished form, but the notion of having a library on a tablet, and being able to read in the dark in night screen mode is fantastic. You just don’t want to drop that sucker in the bathtub if you like reading there is all.


So, what have you written?

Wedding Chronicles is my debut novel, and the first instalment of a trilogy. The summary/blurb is here below.

***
Life’s a wedding for Bobby Bo, who’s traveled to nearly 100, from Tenerife to Singapore and Chile to Iceland. He’s been best man, groomsman, “father” of the bride, and bridesmaid—but always the single guy, whether with a girlfriend, flying solo, breaking up, meeting a new flame, or witnessing an ex take her vows.

An interracial cast of diverse personalities from all rungs of the socioeconomic ladder entangles him in a kaleidoscope of comedic conversations and adventures that unveil the wounds and wonders of the places, cultures, and religions he encounters. Quirky, elegant, and quickly moving dialogue roams from agribusiness to colonialism, war to world trade, yielding insight into the state of world affairs. There’s even the odd sexcapade thrown into the mix. Each wedding features a music playlist that sets the mood and may provide clues as to what’s really going on.
Fueled by his and others’ experiences, Bobby Bo humorously offers the occasional wedding “how-to” and receives usually unasked-for advice on marriage and relationships, all the while being pressured to join “the club.” Will it ever end? He seems in no rush to be a groom.

This first novel in a trilogy is a roller-coaster romp through 13 weddings spanning two decades. It’s a genre-defying mashup best described as Wedding Crashers meets Up in the Air crossed with a biting, male Eat, Pray, Love on a James Bond backdrop.


What are you working on at the minute?

Answering all these interview questions for you. I started at 3am on Left Coast time, and it’s now almost 7:30am as I am about to finish. I didn’t answer the questions in sequence either.

Besides that, working on website related material, and the second instalment of Wedding Chronicles is well underway, but I won’t focus on that really hard core for another few months I reckon.


What’s it about?

It’s the next/second book in the series, but as I want to tell the story differently, it is told in an innovative way from what you might normally expect in a traditional sequel or prequel.  It will be both at the same time. The intention is that each book in the series can be read in standalone fashion, but the sum of them will collectively spin an interlocking, more sweeping and deeper saga.


Where can we see or buy your book?

The ebook is available on Amazon, Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble Nook, and Kobo in all country markets. Trade paperback availability is expected end January on Amazon and CreateSpace in all their country markets.

Where can people connect with you?

E-mail

Website

Twitter

FacebookFan and Personal pages

GoodreadsBook and Author pages

Pinterest 

Google+

Grooveshark for the music playlists


Thank you for your extensive interview, Bob.