A Whizbang Interview with Author and Book Blogger Wiz Green

WIZ GREEN BANNER

In the always adventurous world of indie publishing, the assignment to unearth and implement as many new and innovative ways to market and promote your books is ever at the forefront of your thoughts:

You maintain a small library in the backseat of your car in case you run into someone to whom you’d like to gift a copy; you seek out indie bookstores and eclectic gift shops that might prop up one or two at the cash register or on a “local authors” bookshelf; you even chat up friends in certain writing circles hoping for fair ways to exchange creative services. It’s a tap-dance like no other and you soon discover you must not only believe in your book, but must equally enjoy the art (challenge?) of marketing and promotion if you want to keep your literary baby’s head above water until it goes viral… or at least gets in a good swim!

Then, every once in a while, a serendipitous connection leads to an unexpected opportunity. Sometimes someone introduces you to someone else who happens to be a person with their own foothold in the indie book world, and who also happens to be an enthusiastic and prolific book blogger excited to write about and promote the work of authors he likes. In my version of that scenario, the introducer would be the unflagging and always generous Brenda Perlin, e-troducing me to the very creative UK author/blogger, Mark Barry, who goes by the name Wiz Green and has a blog, The Wizard’s Cauldron, focused on books, writers, and all things literary.

The Wizard’s Cauldron is described in its headline as a Dedicated Author Interview Blog from Green Wizard Publishing of Southwell, Nottinghamshire. Publishers of the fiction of Mark Barry.

In it, you’ll find concise, witty, well-written reviews, features on books and authors, promos on Mark Barry’s prodigious library of books, and, as mentioned, interviews with authors. After meeting Wiz via Brenda, I was fortunate enough to be invited to participate in one of those interview. Given that I am always happy to chatter about my books, and the fact that Wiz asked a lot of great questions, it was fun to converse across the pond about my creative journey, indie publishing in general, my books in particular; even who I’d invite to my favorite dinner and what would be on the menu (no hints… go read!).

As an author, it’s incredibly gratifying when someone discovers your work and gets excited about it. When that someone is an author himself, knows well the journey we all take, and makes it his business to shout-out about writers and books he likes, that gratitude is multiplied.

Thank you, Wiz Green, for your enthusiasm and generosity, the results of which were published this morning with the blush-inducing title: The Multi-Talented Lorraine Devon Wilke – Around the Cauldron! 

Please enjoy our conversation…

California’s Lorraine Devon Wilke has packed an awful lot into her life and she shows no signs of stopping

The third-eldest sibling of eleven, she packed her bags and hit the road as a travelling rock singer in the big-haired eighties, carrying her camera with her, before settling down to marriage, motherhood and a life of popular bloggery, including her current stint working for the Huffington Post.

Her list of past achievements and current work is quite staggering – and she’s a delightful person too!

Lorraine is now a novelist writing (in Indie terms), that quiet, shy and vulnerable industry step-child Literary Fiction.

The genre the 101 blogs tell you to avoid like the plague and yet, it’s the one area where a reader can find really, really decent writing if you look for it. And Lorraine is a really, really decent writer.

I was introduced to her by Brenda Perlin and received both her short story and novel. The former is a cracking read, but the latter – I am twelve chapters in and I am engrossed is possibly a great book. I had to buy it in paperback.

It’s a sweeping, sassy, cynical, redeeming, tricky “Terms of Endearment” type family saga – remember those? – with dialogue so acute you can experience it, a real sense of place, and characters you can see and hear as if they were next to you, the novel deserves a wider audience.

I picked up the Wizphone and interrupted Lorraine while she tapped out her latest blog on a sunkissed veranda overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Here’s what she had to say:

CLICK TO READ FULL INTERVIEW:

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Visit www.lorrainedevonwilke.com for details and links to LDW’s books, music, photography, and articles.

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The Kindness of Strangers… Meet Brenda Perlin

Brenda Perlin

I don’t know Brenda Perlin. We’ve never met, we’ve never spoken; we’ve never even emailed each other (except for a Kindle gift book). I’ve connected with her through sites like Goodreads or Facebook, particularly a Facebook writers group called Master Koda, and though she’s a fellow writer, so far I’ve only read one of her books (a short story for kids called “Ty the Bull,” written with K.D. Emerson and Rex Baughman). Yet, despite this seemingly peripheral relationship, no one has done more to promote and raise a ruckus about my novel, After The Sucker Punch, than this woman. Which I find both astonishing and profound.

There are some artists so focused on their own work that they rarely look outside that narrow sphere to see what others around them might be doing. I have people in my Facebook circle who show up only to post their gig notices, theater schedules, release dates of their CDs/books/films/blogs, or calls-to-action for petitions, votes, and Kickstarter campaigns, but they rarely comment on or share similar posts of others and it seems clear they’re not paying one damn bit of attention to me! 🙂 Which is fine. They don’t have to. But still… I always wonder why they’re there in the first place.

This “disinterest syndrome,” in fact, at least per countless conversations I’ve had with other artists on the topic, often extends outside social media to impact even our closer circles of family and friends. We’re all busy, certainly, but one can’t help but notice the repeatedly unopened or unanswered emails about the new site, the art opening, or the release of a new book; the forgotten promises to leave a review or share the book/CD/film/art piece with known contacts in the industry; the lack of response to queries, promotions, and candid requests to “check out my (fill in the blank).” We all have those people around us (and they tend to be the ones sending “sincere pleas” to donate to their Kickstarter campaigns!).

Then there’s Brenda Perlin.

When my book first came out, I was lucky enough to have some wonderful friends and colleagues who’d read advance copies and left reviews on the Amazon page… which helped greatly with marketing and promotion. But the very first “stranger review” came from Brenda. I didn’t know who she was; it just said “Brenda” on the Amazon page, but it was a thoughtful, impassioned, and very specific review… the kind you revel in as a writer (she even quoted lines from the book!). I later figured out she was the “Brenda Perlin” in the Master Koda writers group to which I belonged and sent her a private Facebook message in thanks. She responded with such sincere appreciation for the book that I was additionally touched.

But she wasn’t done there. She wrote another review on Goodreads, shared information about the book on Pinterest, Twitter and other sites, and within days, I stumbled upon a post from her blog titled, “After the Sucker Punch…a Novel by Lorraine Devon Wilke rocks… and then some!” in which she not only included her Amazon review, but extrapolated further on the book, using a few very clever photos with the cover embedded in random places like bus stop banners, door hangers and urban billboards… like this one:

ATSP subway_photo art by Brenda Perlin

And, to top it off, before I could barely blink an eye after I’d posted my new short story, “She Tumbled Down,” at Amazon, Brenda had already downloaded it, read it, and left a review both there and at Goodreads.

To be honest, I was just blown away. No one before or since (at least not yet!) has made that kind of unsolicited effort to push my work out into the marketplace and I have no idea why Brenda was compelled to do so for me. But beyond her expressed appreciation of my work, I’ve come to realize it’s simply who she is, her very generous and thoughtful nature. She gets it.  She knows what artists need and want in terms of response to their work and she’s gracious enough to offer it. She has the consideration to step outside of herself to provide something of value to her fellow artists. And that’s a gift.

I’ve seen her reach out to many other authors to review their work, encourage them to keep going, and promote their promotions. She must read more than anyone on earth and always takes time to leave a meaningful review that focuses on the positive aspect of whatever she reads. She seems to know when a newbie need a boost, a journeyman could use a hand, or just how and when to tweet, click, share, or comment so that prime attention gets paid in all the right places. She’s like the Johnny Appleseed of indie writers!

I have not yet had the chance to read her other books beyond the short story mentioned above, but I wanted to do something to thank her for being who she is, to acknowledge just how grateful I am for her efforts on my specific behalf. That I can do by throwing a little light her way.

So please visit, “like,” click, download, or just say hello. She’s a rare breed in this crazy world of distraction and disinterest; one of those “strangers” whose kindness changes that status much more quickly than most!

Her blog: Brooklyn and Bo Chronicles
Facebook writer’s page
Twitter: Brenda Perlin
LinkedIn: Brenda Perlin
Amazon Author’s Page: Brenda Perlin

Photo of Brenda from her Facebook page.
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Visit www.lorrainedevonwilke.com for details and links to LDW’s books, music, photography, and articles.

It’s Not Every Novel That Has Its Own Theme Song

Rick Hirsch & me... after writing "My Search for You"
Rick Hirsch & me… shortly after writing “My Search for You”

There’s a song in my book, After the Sucker Punch, a song that comes in the epilogue and pulls a concluding plot point off the page into downloadable form. It seemed a very cool addition to the story and it is! Quite a few people have asked me about it – how it got there, did I write it for the book, who’s performing it, etc. – so I thought I’d tell the story:

I wrote the song a while back with a wonderful guitarist named Rick M. Hirsch; it’s called “My Search for You.” With Rick’s guitar tracks to inspire me, I came up with a set of lyrics from the perspective of a woman talking to her father, written a few years after my own father’s death, with a narrative based on the struggle he and I had throughout our lives relating to each other. I’d written, at that point, ten other songs with Rick for somewhere on the way, the album we were doing together at the time, most of which had something to do with love, heartache, or relationships, and I was compelled to explore a different theme with this one. It became the song it is, “My Search for You,” and while not necessarily one of the more explosive songs on the album, it has a certain singer/songwriter quality that appealed to many listeners.

Fast forward a few years… I’m writing my novel, After the Sucker Punch, a story about a woman finding her father’s journals on the night of his funeral and discovering he thought she was a failure. Based on a kernel of truth from within my family, extrapolated into the world of fiction with all its imagined characters and plotlines, the book started and remained a story largely focused on the particular vagaries, attachments, and longings that often exist between fathers and daughters. Which is key to how the song fits in.

At some point after the first or second (or tenth) draft, as I pulled out of the fog of writing to focus for a moment on interesting marketing ideas, the notion of including the song came to me. Given that the main protagonist is a former rock & roller for whom music remains an undercurrent throughout, I had the inspired idea to somehow get an actual CD of the song included as part of the book. Brilliant, I thought!

I read through the lyrics and realized I could easily, within the framework of the story I’d already created, work certain elements of those words into the dialogue and narrative so that the song made sense. Ultimately, “My Search For You” became the epilogue of the book, the song the protagonist, Tessa, writes for her father as a culmination of the journey she experiences after his death and the discovery of the journals.

Of course, including a CD with the book was a grand idea, but only possible if the book went down the traditional road with teams of high-profile players helping to publish and market it with a budget that allowed for such novel add-ons. That, as we all know, was not the road I traveled with After the Sucker Punch, and the parameters of self-publishing were not necessary amenable to the option!

But never one to give up easily, I just had to get clever about how to include this “theme song” as a tangible part of the book. And I did.

I set up a page on SoundCloud under the character’s name, Tessa Curzio, and input the song track there. I then included that link, along with the lyrics, in the epilogue of the book (an active link the Kindle version). Readers could click over the to Soundcloud page to hear “Tessa’s song,” even click from there to iTunes to download the track. I felt it was the perfect way to bring that musical plot point off the page into the real world of the reader… and readers are listening!

So if you haven’t yet gotten a copy of the book (and I hope you will), perhaps hearing the song will inspire you to do so. Following is a link to the SoundCloud page and the lyrics. Once you’ve listened and read, you just might want to know just how this piece of music fits into the story of After The Sucker Punch….

My Search For You

You were puzzled by my need for clarity
Maybe you thought I depended on language too much
But there were volumes you didn’t say or I never heard
I know you thought the way you loved was surely enough

So elusive, I wonder if you ever figured out?
How your silence always made me feel a little loud
So convinced if I sang and danced and jumped up and down
You would see me, just me, and maybe be a little proud
And sometimes I know that you heard me
Sometimes I know that you cried

CHORUS
But you left me in early December
You loved me but we both knew our time was through
Now I stand here and try to remember
The girl I discovered in my search for you

They say love doesn’t ask for more than what it gets
So why did I always need a bigger piece of you?
In the crush of life I felt sometimes lost in the crowd
Never sure if I ever came completely into view
But somehow I learned to be stronger
And somehow I’m certain you knew

CHORUS:
But you left me in early December
You loved me But we both knew our time was through
Now I stand here and try to remember
The girl I discovered in my search for you

BRIDGE:
You gave me the passion to find my way
You gave me the eyes to dream
If we squandered the time we had
You’ve got to know
That what I searched to find in you
I finally found in me

CHORUS
You left me in early December
You loved me but we both knew our time was through
Now I stand here and surely remember
The girl I discovered in my search for you

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Visit www.lorrainedevonwilke.com for details and links to LDW’s books, music, photography, and articles.