Monday, August 5, 2013

Author Interview – Tanya Karen Gough

at 5:30 AM

What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing? I think they’re all challenging at first, but they all do get better over time. If you’re looking to get published traditionally, then it’s a very hard slog to find an agent, and then a lot of work to support that agent until your book is sold. But when you’ve done it once, it’s much easier to keep going, assuming your work is good. On the other hand, if you’re self-publishing, the first time out can be very daunting – there’s all that technical stuff you need to know, plus all the costs to get things done if you’re not able to do it yourself. But again, once you’ve gone through the process once, it gets easier. With writing, I think it’s harder when you’re just getting started, especially if you’re still working out your style and your craft, but again, as you gain technical confidence, it’s easier to enjoy the process. Marketing is the one thing I enjoy the least, so I suppose that’s the hardest aspect for me, but again, it’s really just a question of trying different things and keeping track of what works and what doesn’t. I expect that my marketing plan for my second book will be quite different, hopefully cheaper and more efficient, because I’ll already know what to do.

What other jobs have you had in your life? Gosh, what haven’t I done? Let’s see, in order, I’ve been: a baby sitter, a newspaper delivery girl, data clerk and page at the local library, a camp counsellor, Chuck E. Cheese (yes, I was *the* Chuck), a retail clerk, a bookseller, an office admin, an ESL teacher overseas, an editor and online researcher, a store owner, a content manager and a social media strategist. I think that’s all, but I might be missing a few. I never got to be a cowgirl, though. That would have been fun.

Tell us about your new book. What’s it about and why did you write it? ROOT BOUND is the story of Emma and her father, who are always on the move, travelling from place to place as her father’s work demands. Their new home, however, is different. There’s a frightening woman who lives down the hall: she bears an uncanny resemblance to a witch. A mysterious light comes from her apartment, and a small boy seems to be trapped inside. A group of odd creatures called basement brownies appear in the air vent in her bedroom, and she follows them underground in an attempt to restore magic to both the brownie burrow and the human world above.

The story started as a writing fragment that I wrote nearly 10 years earlier.  There was an old cold water flat with a piano in the corner. A girl was curled up under the piano, crying. The wind was blowing, making the curtains dance, and there was something – I didn’t know what – watching her. For some reason, the image stuck with me, and when I found the time to sit down to write many years later, I found myself back in that room, wondering what was going on. I wrote ROOT BOUND to find out.

How do you feel about self-publishing? I’m still a bit torn when it comes to self-publishing, even though that is the route I chose for ROOT BOUND.  As a writer, I’m grateful that it’s possible to publish my own work, especially at a time when traditional publishing is shrinking and so afraid to publish anything that isn’t standard blockbuster material. On the other hand, the rapid growth of self-publishing and eBooks are part of the reason this situation exists in the first place.  From a marketing perspective, self-publishing is tough. Really, really tough. I think it was still possible to strike it big like Amanda Hawking or E.L. James when there were fewer people fighting for a growing number of readers, but now, the number of readers has tapered off, but more people are self-publishing than ever. It gets very difficult to cut through all that noise. But again, getting a traditional book deal is no guarantee that your book will sell either, and you have to put in the time no matter which way you go.

Finally, as an avid reader, I am painfully aware of the way the changing publishing industry has affected bookstores, especially all those great indie shops who are currently struggling or already gone. I might also feel the loss more than most people, since I’ve already been through this process when I closed down my own CD and video store in Stratford, Ontario. And self-published authors rarely get into bookstores in the first place. I don’t think that print-on-demand services will ever compensate for that.

How long have you been writing? All my life. My mom has books of poetry I wrote when I was 8, 9 and 10 years old. I wrote short stories through high school. I majored in English in university, so I concentrated on research and academic writing at that point. Then I went overseas to teach, where I contributed lesson plans and reading passages to English textbooks. Since I came home, I’ve worked on a number of Shakespeare text projects, and I’ve written quite a lot of marketing copy for my own business and other jobs. Since I started working in content management, I’ve become interested in working with language as data, and I hope to continue working in that area. It’s quite fascinating.

How did you come up with the title? I chose ROOT BOUND for a number of reasons: first, the series was always intended to center on the elements (which is why they’re known collectively as “Emma & the Elementals”). ROOT BOUND is the earth book, which represents home, grounding oneself, and finding your place in the world. The title points to several of those aspects: you are rootbound when you are stuck in your life and have no place to grow, or you can be root bound in the sense that you are travelling toward your roots. Emma is both; she’s trying to break free and find her own way, but at the same time, she needs to settle down someplace in order to do that. I take the metaphor even further in the book, but I’ll leave your readers to discover that for themselves.

Root Bound

Buy Now @ Amazon @Smashwords

Genre - Middle Grade Fantasy Adventure

Rating – G (ages 10+)

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