Eugenia (Genie) Parrish interview with David Alan Binder

posted Aug 2, 2019, 3:26 PM by David Alan Binder

Eugenia (Genie) Parrish interview with David Alan Binder


Her links:



1.     How do you pronounce your name?

Yew-jeen-ya.  Thanks for asking.  I’ve had every kind of pronunciation, from Spanish (ew-hen-ya) to Greek (ev-yeh-neeya) to Russian, which is very close to the English version, only I’ve been told with some insistence that the Russians had it first.

2.     Where are you currently living?

Now living in Vermont, which is quite different from the southwest where I spent most of my adult life and where most of my stories are set.  Whether climate or custom, I’m still adjusting.

3.     What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?


It ain’t gonna happen by waiting for it to happen.


4.     What would you say is your most interesting writing, publishing, editing or illustrating quirk?


Don’t know how interesting it is, but I never use spell-check or grammar-check—I don’t trust them.  English is constantly changing, but let’s not disrespect its history by taking shortcuts on what makes it beautiful in the first place.


5.     Tell us your insights on self-publish or use a publisher?


I’ve had a good experience with my small indie publisher.  No, you don’t get any kind of advance, but neither do you pay thousands for the publishing like a vanity press.  I pretty much have to do my own marketing, but the way the Big 4 (or whatever number they are now) are going, authors tell me they do most of it themselves anyway; no more paid promotional junkets or big spreads in magazines unless you’ve already made them a lot of money.  They may have bigger distribution outlets, but with unknown writers, they tend not to spend money on advertising or placement, so the author is still out there saying “Hey, looka me!” 


6.      Who is the name of your publisher and in what city are they located?


Banty Hen Publishing, based in Austin, TX, handles the print publishing.  Their affiliate Glair Publishing takes care of eBooks.


7.     Any insights eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?

I think nowadays it depends on what you want as a writer.  Amazon, Kindle and the internet exploded the old system, and people are beginning to realize that publishing is publishing, sales are sales, and both have advantages and disadvantages.  Do you want the “prestige” of a Big Name publisher, which may take years of effort long after you’ve spent your advance, and will probably cost you control of your copyright?  Or are you willing to do all the work to keep all control of your product and get your book out there faster (albeit “merely” an eBook), hopefully to be gobbled up by voracious readers?  There’s no guarantee that either way will make you rich or famous, so first concentrate on writing the best book you can.  That’ll give you some leverage to pick and choose.


8.     Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published?


I haven’t seen anything new in years, just the same old “secrets” refurbished.  They’re all out there, on writer blogs, newsletters, public articles, how-to books.  Write the book you need to write, polish it, and then start getting up to speed about publishing—it’s changing constantly.  Which is no secret.


9.     How did you or would you suggest acquire an agent?  Any tips for new writers on getting one?


I never had an agent, because I preferred to do my “sending around” myself.  Maybe after I become rich and famous, I’ll want someone to do all that for me, but frankly, there are so many horror stories these days.  You have to be really careful when you’re starting out, all starry-eyed and eager, about who you turn your baby over to.  Do your homework on this as on everything, read (or have an expert read) every kind of contract anyone wants you to sign.  It won’t necessarily save you from the “rights grabbers” who have sprung up in the wake of the wannabe-author flood, but it’s less likely you’ll get ripped off.  If and when you feel comfortable with someone, and it’s worth it to you to let them do the shunting around and negotiating while you write your next book, go for it.


10.                        Do you have any suggestions or helps for new writers (please be so specific that this most likely will not have been seen elsewhere)?

Listen to the people you let read your stuff; consider what they say, accept what makes sense and feels right to you, then let the rest go.  Know that it’s your story and not theirs, so in the end it’s a critique you want, not a co-writer.

11.                        What was one of the most surprising things you learned with your creative process with your books, editing, publishing or illustrating?

How much darn fun it all is!

12.                        How many books have you written?


Three murder mysteries, one New Adult novel set in 1965 and a volume of short stories.  Working on the fourth murder mystery.


13.                        Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer (please be so specific that this most likely will not have been seen elsewhere)?


I would bet it’s all been said elsewhere, but I think the best way(s) to become a better writer is to write every day and read every day—read everything, different things, and you’ll begin to recognize what works and what doesn’t in the basic craft of telling a story.


14.                        Do you have any suggestions for providing twists in a good story?

Don’t know if it applies to twists, but if things get boring, I think of the old tagline from the movie “Westworld”:  “What could possibly go wrong—click—go wrong—click—go wrong . . .”

15.                        What makes your or any book stand out from the crowd?


If I knew that, I’d be the next Dan Brown.


16.                        What is one unusual way in which you promote your work?


A lot of writers hand out bookmarks and business cards with information on how to find their books, but I don’t just wait for conventions or book signings.  If I’m casually talking to someone who says, “My friend/sister/mother loves mysteries!” (or their book club does), I hand them my bookmark and say,  “Please give them this – maybe they’d be interested in the books I’ve written!”


17.                         What is the one thing you would do differently now (concerning writing or editing or publishing or illustrating) and why?


Start younger to get serious about it.  I’ve wanted to write a novel nearly since the first time I read one, but my insecurities kept me from admitting it to anyone, or letting them catch me trying (and failing).  So I let life get in my way, thinking “someday”.  “Someday” doesn’t happen until you sit down and do it, no matter what age or what anyone else has to say about it.


18.                        What saying or mantra do you live by?

Shut up and listen.  (. . . well—I try.)  You can’t learn anything from anyone about anything if you’re doing all the talking.  You don’t get much written down either.


19.                        Anything else you would like to say?

This is a wonderful time for everyone to tell the story that dwells in their heart, with a good chance of it being heard by someone other than their family.  As we’ve been saying forever, everybody has a story to tell.  The first step is to sit down with pen, typewriter, or computer—and “tell” it.