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Interview by Lee Masterson
Fiction Factor - What initial reactions did you receive from friends/family when you announced that you would be e-publishing your work?
Patricia Crossley - They were delighted. Most people don't seem to think this is 'inferior' in any way, but many ask where they can buy a print copy - even those with computers don't always want to read on the screen.
I'm looking forward to print on demand and to the new e-readers to add to the number of those wanting the book.
FF - Would you consider e-publishing to be a viable stepping stone into the publishing world?
PC - It can be. I had an opportunity to be interviewed by a senior editor from a prominent publishing house at a conference recently to pitch one of my books. The editor said she was interested because I had established a prior publishing track record with my three e-novels. I think reviews in reputable mags also help.
FF - In your opinion, has e-publishing helped or hindered your writing career?
PC - I'm not sure about the career, but it sure helped my writing. I guess career-wise the answer is also yes. I have a credential and my work has a priority with one of my publishers.
FF - What pros or cons can you suggest that e-publishing brings?
PC - Pro: Your book is read and appreciated. I would never have been published in print at first (believe me, I tried) because my books don't fit the 'mould'.
Con: The small market and slowness of some online stores to put up titles. Exposure is still limited. Some publishers in the industry don't make the most of the promotion opportunities and have less-than-sparkling web sites. Of course the lack of available, inexpensive e-readers is a drawback, but that will change. One of my books, which is available from Palm Pilot, is provoking some interest and doing reasonably well.
The biggest con is the amount of time, energy and know-how needed to reach potential readers. Everyone knows to go to a bookstore or library for books, but there's a world of 'techy' people out there that we need to reach.
FF - What major differences have been most noticeable with e-publishing vs. print publishing?
PC - The speed of response from the e-publishers is the most predominant difference. And the small lead time, although this is getting longer. It's not necessarily easier to contract a book with an e-publisher. 90% of submissions are rejected.
The good thing is my books have no limited shelf-life, unlike with print publications. I can promote again and again as long as the book is at the publisher's site. There is also a close-knit community of e-writers all sharing together.
FF - Would you personally recommend e-publishing as a starting point to newer writers?
PC - It has been wonderful for me. I'm not expecting to make a fortune, but I love to write, I love the idea of people reading and enjoying my books.
FF - Does your writing schedule affect your family life?
PC - While I was working full time with family still at home, a house & a dog, I devised a schedule for myself where I basically wrote at weekends and edited during the week. Of course, the brain still worries away at plot points, scene ideas and characterization and my house had little notes scattered like confetti. My husband soon learned *never* to throw away even the most illegible scrawl on a tatty piece of paper. Now I have more leisure and I can choose my writing time.
FF - How do you discover ideas for your books?
PC - I've always loved history and I've often wondered what it would be like to live in a different time. For Journey's End I drew on my knowledge of history--I was born and brought up in London, England--and followed through with the "what ifs." What would I do, as a woman of the twentieth century if I found myself in Elizabethan England? And what would I do if I started to fall in love with a man that I met there? Of course, the plot of Journey's End is even more complex because the heroine finds herself whisked between three different time periods.
Beloved Stranger is set in the area where I used to live in Quebec. It reflects a little known period of Canadian history: a time of rebellion and secret alliances. The hero and heroine of my story have a link in the past and there are two ghosts determined to reveal the crime that was committed a hundred and fifty years ago and bring together two modern lovers. In fact, in that area just west of Montreal, there is said to be a ghost that haunts an old house. Mary Kirkbride was a serving girl who was murdered by the Patriots because she gave information to the British militia--just as Isabelle Tremblay did in my story.
FF - Tell us a little about your work.
PC - I have a contemporary romance, titled A Suitable Father, and a time travel novel available from New Concepts Publishing. Both have received excellent reviews and the time travel, Journey's End received four stars from Romantic Times.
I'm waiting for the titles to go up at B & N and Powells. A Suitable Father is already available for Palm Pilot at pdabookstore and at Amazon shops.
My latest release at the beginning of January is Beloved Stranger from www.wordbeams.com
This is a paranormal romance that reflects actual happenings in little known events of Canadian history. It has two wounded people and two active ghosts. So far, reviews have been good.
I have a short story that will appear in a romance anthology from Wordbeams on February 14. Saturday Night is in Lovey-Dovey from www.wordbeams.com
You can read the opening pages of each of my books, plus reviews at my website, www.patriciacrossley.com
FF - What does your busy schedule hold for the upcoming months?
PC - I have lots going on. I'll be signing books at the RWA conference "Royal Rendezvous" in Victoria, BC, Canada on March 10. and appearing on a panel about e- publishing at the same conference on March 11. We will also be demonstrating the new Franklin ebookman with Jude Morris. Her e-pub directory is at http://www.thewisdomkeeper.com/director.html
I've an interview planned with Monday Magazine, a wide circulation weekly in Victoria, an interview pending with CHEK-TV and a radio interview planned with a web site. I'll announce the details of these on my web site closer to the time.
I'm writing a suspense at the moment and am about three quarters of the way through. It has a strong romance thread but no paranormal elements this time. My critique group approves of it, so I have high hopes of sending it out to a publisher by the spring.
My web site has been updated and I'll be putting contests, articles and other interesting tidbits on there on a regular basis. From next September I expect be posting stories from Africa as my husband and I take up a six month posting in Kenya.
FF - If given the opportunity, would you do anything differently?
PC - I would have a crystal ball to foresee the future of the publisher . This is not a business for the faint hearted. I recommend to anyone thinking of e-publishing to pick a publisher who knows about promotion as well as editing and all the other stuff. Promotion and good communication are essential.
FF - What parting advice would you give to new writers?
PC - I have little original to add to the tried and true advice. If you want to be a writer, first of all you must write. Some of your writing will be bad, some can be redeemed, some will be excellent. And the excellent passages will grow more numerous as you practice your craft. Tiger Woods still practices every day. Writers are no different. We need to hone our craft.
On a practical level, put aside your writing time, be it every day, once a week, at weekends or whatever. As we move through different periods of our lives, we must adjust to fit the demands on our time and our attention. If you can write for fifteen minutes on the edge of the kitchen table, do it. If you need to find a babysitter for two hours once a week so you can write, do it. Then venture outwards. Send your work out to contests, find other writers you trust who will critique for you. But keep writing.
FF Thank you for your time Patricia. The staff and readers at Fiction Factor wish you all the success you deserve.
You can see more of Patricia's work at www.patriciacrossley.com
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