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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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.

In the Image of a Father

  Noble fathers have noble children. ~ Euripides

I was not initially hitched to the Mad Men bandwagon as it hurled its way to phenomenon status; I missed the kick-off and never jumped on. But once the media analyses and water-cooler accolades became so hyperbolic as to raise the show to “Breathlessly Zeitgeisty Must-See TV,” I knew I had to get with the program; it’s bad enough I never watched an episode of Survivor!

So I’ve been Netflixing the series and, I have to say, it is a fascinating snapshot of a historical time teetering on the brink of explosion. It well depicts the era’s style and panache (now called “mid century”), and paints a clever and sometimes unsettling anthropological thumbnail of human nature at a point when society was remarkably different. While it focuses mainly on only one or two class sub-sets, it does a good job of breathing life into the anachronistic “swells” and “dolls” of the jargon, the girdles and slicked back hair, and the propensity for unrestrained smoking and drinking (after watching several episodes I felt both asthmatic and buzzed!). But what it illustrates most pointedly is the distance we’ve come in our gender politics.

my-boys

I was a child during those years and though aware of the more superficial elements, was clueless to the nuances and expectations in the roles of men and women in how they related to each other and certainly as parents. It’s one of the truer clichés of the time that “women’s work” was mostly defined as homemaker, house cleaner (unless affluent enough to afford “help”), and primary parent. Despite the Madison Avenue secretaries and the exceptional women who worked their way up toward the glass ceiling (ala Mad Men’s Peggy Olson), most women carried the weight of child raising and Dads would show up after cocktails to give big hugs, have dinner, then go off to do “man” things while Mom put the kids to bed. Fathers were loving and involved in their way, but the extent to which they were hands-on was minimal. And while certainly there are still fathers operating from the antiquated paradigm of Don Draper, they’re a different breed these days, the product of an evolving and equalizing culture.

Our views of motherhood have remained fairly constant; it’s the role of “father” that has fluctuated and changed with the times. Men’s life expectancy is still up to six years shorter than women’s so, to put it bluntly, Daddies die sooner. While more women work outside the home than ever before, men still rely on them to take the larger role in parenting, meaning Dad’s intimacy and influence with his children is commensurately less. Some family compositions simply transcend without a traditional father: post-divorce custodial mothers, families with deceased fathers, single mothers who never married, same sex mothers, etc. Statistics show that these families can thrive and be remarkably “whole” and functioning without a male figure, so the question remains: How essential is a father these days?

tom-benIn families that have them? Very essential. It’s not whether a family can survive without a father – it can, that is well documented. It’s whether a family that has a father has one that is fully present, involved, and contributing in the most effective ways possible for a child’s best shot at success.

Scores of books and studies have dissected, analyzed and deconstructed the role and there is likely not one man on this earth who doesn’t have at least some notion of the task based on his own experience as a child. Typically a man either admires the parenting he received and mimics it, or abhors his father’s choices and becomes determined to make better ones. Which gets right to the point.

Modeling. A father is the first male role model a child has. In most families the father is the BIGGEST, most influential authority figure to first set boundaries, examples, and expectations. Through him a boy conjures his first idea of a man, picking up the nuances, proclivities and emotional expressions he will emulate in his own version of the role. In a father, a girl sees All Men – at least in the early years. She learns what to expect from other men by virtue of how her father treats her (and her mother). Through him, she sets her bar for the level of respect she’ll require, the honor she’ll demand, the self-confidence she’ll exude, and the aspirations she’ll pursue.

It’s a big responsibility, no doubt about it. We have come a long way from the Mad Men who saw their children as so many props, but new eras bring new problems and in a world where too many young men advance into adulthood needing anger management skills, a better understanding of how to be strong without being a bully, and a clearer sense of the purpose of honor and integrity, a father’s work is cut out for him. When a daughter sublimates herself in her relationships with men, loses her sense of confidence in the face of career adversity, or can’t determine how strong a woman to be without losing appeal, she clearly needs wise fathering to help reconstruct her perspective.

There are as many ways to be a good father as there are fathers and this is not to say a mother is any less important to the outcome of a child. I used to find it difficult to find father themed gift but thanks to the internet and sites like gearhungry.com, father’s day is no sweat! But a father’s role is unique, specific, and very powerful. As we celebrate Father’s Day, it merits mention, as Euripides stated, that “noble fathers have noble children.” So wear that well, Dad, celebrate your nobility. Embrace your role and never forget you hold center stage – and always will – in the eyes of the children celebrating this day with you.

A very Happy Father’s Day to all the “noble fathers” in my life.

fatherdaughter

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