Q: As President of FriesenPress what have been some of the challenges you have experienced over the past few years in regards to the self publishing industry and the digital revolution in terms of books?
A: I think the most significant challenge that self-publishing has faced is the stigma; the label that it was plastered with early on of “vanity publishing”. The truth is, today self-publishers are producing books whose quality would rival any traditionally published book. Self-publishing is not seen as the last choice anymore. It is seen as the most flexible, empowering and economically advantageous choice.
Having said that, as the growth of the self-publishing industry explodes, it is incumbent upon the keepers to develop products and services that are relevant, value-laden, effective and affordable.
We not only need to respond to an ever changing industry, but also an economy that is constantly shifting. Whether it be a recession that restricts the consumers wallet, or the challenges we are facing right now with the weakening dollar.
Q: Do you have any advice to aspiring writers?
A: Break the overwhelming task of writing a book into small digestible bits. Start with a mind map of ideas, create your outline and chapters and challenge yourself to write small pieces with great regularity. You won’t love everything you produce, but the discipline of writing regularly will help you hone your craft and will eventually produce something you are proud to call yours. By the way, we are our worst critics. Keep this in mind.
Q: What are the ingredients for a blockbuster story to you?
A: Great character development. I want to love them, or hate them. I want to relate to them or not get it at all. I want to laugh with them and cry with them. I want to miss them dearly before I even read the last page. This was how I felt as I finished each book in Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” series.
Q: What story do you enjoy reading over and over again?
A: Robert Munsch’s “Love You Forever”. I will never forget the first time I read that book to my daughter. I still well up with tears when I read it to her.
Q: How would you increase literacy?
A: Remind people that libraries are a wonderful place that are open to everyone and free. Not much is free anymore. Libraries still are. Having worked in a library shelving books for 5 years, I have an incredible attachment to and passion for libraries and the printed word. You can travel to any corner of the world, slay a dragon, cook an exotic dish, train a hamster, grow a garden, learn a new language, restore an old car and learn to read, all within the four walls of a library.
Q: What is your favorite drink while writing and/or reading?
A: A nice deep dark earthy red Malbec.
Q: What is your favorite tech brand? App?
A: My favorite app must be paired with another, for as a team they are a powerful force in my household. I love Pinterest for discovering new recipes and pinning them. So whomever in my household has cooking duties that day, they can just grab a recipe from my board. Pair that with Asana for keeping our grocery list up to date in real time and accessible whenever one of us runs into the store. Dynamic duo!
Q: What is your favorite genre of music, artist?
A: Having lived through so many great decades of music I love everything from Kiss and Queen in the 70’s, to the long hair glam bands of the 80’s like Bon Jovi and Motley Crue, to garage band grunge in the 90’s like Nirvana and Pearl Jam to my tamer mommy days in the 2000’s listening to classical while pregnant (hey they said it was good for baby’s development!) to the likes of the Doodle Bops and Raffi. Pretty wide range! Today, my favorite concert experiences have been Jack Johnson outdoors at Deer Lake Park. Epic! And Bryan Adams recent “best of” tour. What a walk down memory lane. Sigh…
Q: What is your favorite movie, tv show, superhero?
A: My all time favorite movie is Slapshot. Such a classic from the 70’s that makes me laugh every time.
Q: What is your must have snack?
A: If I have a glass of Malbec, it must be accompanied by extra large green olives stuffed with blue cheese. Yum!
Q: If heaven exists, what is the first thing you would like to hear from God when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
A: Your mom has been waiting for you.
Q: What ice cream flavor would you invent?
A: Why mess with perfection when pink bubble gum already exists. That’s my favorite!