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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.