Virgin Interview and delusions of Ms. Hart

So recently I had my very first interview as an author for “Sex & Samosas”.

The person interviewing me was someone I had met almost three years ago when I was looking for a writer’s group and seeking out my fellow peeps.

Brian had told me that the majority of articles he does are generally automotive related but when he offered to do a review of my novel I jumped at the chance. And no, he wasn’t interviewing me because of the porn scene set in a mechanic’s shop that takes place in the novel when Leena watches her first XXX rated movie…though come to think of it, that would have been funny to talk about. This was a straight up interview about what prompted me to write the book, about my background and about my plans for writing in the future.

As Brian asked questions he interspersed comments with praise for certain scenes in the novel. He was so complimentary about the story that at one point I asked him if he was setting me up for a rouse so that if Mary Hart interviews me later in life and tells me the book is crap, I will sit there saying: “Mary, why you got to be such a !^$@meanie?? Brian said the book was good!!” and then Entertainment Tonight would have coverage of me lunging at their anchor and tackling her until she admitted there was at least one paragraph she liked.

And then I remembered that she retired so I wasn’t as concerned.

Brian made the entire experience enjoyable (check out that alliteration folks!) and now I can’t wait to see the article in print. (I’ll be sure to include a link here when it comes out).

As far as my virgin interview went it was the kind of firsts that a girl can look back on with pride knowing it wasn’t so much about the act itself as it was about the mutual love fest.

So bring on what you got ET Canada. Thanks to Brian, I’m ready for whatever you can dish out.

Three Women/Three Books – one major epiphany

Yesterday I had the distinct and wonderful honour of sharing the stage and podium with two great women writers: Sandra Nicholls and Nerys Parry.

We were reading from our novels and tackling questions on the pros and cons of traditional versus self published authors.

Sandra is an indie author like me. She regaled the pros of having complete control over your own work and detailed the exhausting cons of needing to be press, promoter and manager of your own career.

Nerys has an agent and a traditional publisher. She touched on the pros of having a collaborative team behind you who support your creativity and the cons of still requiring to do a lot of the press yourself when you’re a first time novelist.

I realized as they spoke that as an indie author I have inadvertently placed myself among those that are judged and discriminated against because of the method I chose for publication.

Being the only brown girl in most of my schools growing up, I am no stranger to the damage that can be done when people try to pigeon hole you or assume you are only one dimensional, inferior and not good enough because you are different.

The indie author suffers from a similar stigma.

Sure, times are changing.

As Nerys most wisely pointed out, readers don’t care how you got published, only writers do.

She is right.

But reviewers and book award committees care and there are still many of both that will not consider your work if you have decided to publish on your own. The stigma of not having the approval of a publishing house or agent still stings when your work isn’t taken as seriously because it doesn’t fit the prescribed genres built to accommodate a marketing machine’s proven safe bets.

And then something remarkable happened.

We each read from our novels.

And I witnessed the crowd reacting with joy, empathy and laughter.

They were moved.

Each of us read very different passages and each of us elicited very different reactions from the crowd. But all three of us touched total strangers with our words. At that moment it didn’t matter who the publisher of our work was, it only mattered that we reached them with prose.

That feeling, of looking out into a crowd, witnessing them react to the emotions that you create for them with your work was one of the most magnificent moments I have had since the launch of my novel.

It reminded me that though we were three women, with three different books and three different avenues to publication we were united in the one thing that really mattered: The written word and it’s ability to transform, ignite and inspire change.

Redef-indie success

What is success?

As I was sitting with my friend Ken today having coffee we discussed what the independent author has to go through to get their work recognized and reviewed.

It’s a steep uphill climb. The kind that can make your nose bleed and your rations run out before you’re half way to the top. So why bother? Well I guess it depends on what you define as success.

For Rocky (yes, I love him…hello? You still there?), as I was saying, for Rocky, it’s about going the distance, not about winning. book cover

It’s the model I’ve used every time I’ve thought about quitting when publishers and agents kept telling me this book wasn’t going to get printed. And now that it is in print, (gorgeous print I might add with extreme bias), and the reviews for it are starting to come in, I can’t help but think to myself the indie writer really has to redefine success for themselves.

Success for me isn’t sitting in a limo asking the driver, “Where’s my cappuccino jerk?” or walking into a store wearing sweat pants and saying to the clerk, “Do you know who I am? Where’s my cappuccino jerl?”

No, success is measured in the difference you make in another person’s life.

Since the launch on Oct. 16th, I’ve had three people tell me “Sex & Samosas” has changed their lives.

One woman said her husband wouldn’t let go of it. He took it out of her hand the moment she bought it and he loved every page. The fact that they are now discussing things openly, things they would never have talked about before, is a bonus.

Couples are reading the book.

Couples are reading it each other.

They are laughing, they are talking and they are making love (this part is always good to hear).

So take away the limos, the store clerks and the cappuccinos and what do you get?

You get a tremendous sense of accomplishment, an inner satisfaction of saying to yourself that even if no one else believed in you, you believed in yourself. No matter what the outcome – it’s always been about going the distance.