Heidi Greco interview with David Alan Binder
Post date: Aug 13, 2017 11:32:35 PM
Heidi Greco interview with David Alan Binder
I still don’t have a proper website, though I have kept a blog since 2006. It’s a blog of generalities, just one of the places that keeps me putting words out there. www.outonthebiglimb.blogspot.ca
Here’s the URL for the publisher’s site, the page for Flightpaths. http://caitlin-press.com/our-books/flightpaths-the-lost-journals-of-amelia-earhart/
Here’s the URL for a recent review of my latest book, Flightpaths: The Lost Journals of Amelia Earthart. http://www.miramichireader.ca/2017/07/flightpaths-review/
And the URL for a blog I was asked to write about the research process behind Flightpaths. https://alllitup.ca/Blog/2017/Under-the-Cover-Flightpaths#topofpostcontent
1. How do you pronounce your name?
Greco rhymes with echo. Maybe that’s appropriate because I often repeat myself.
2. Where are you currently living?
I live on the west coast of Canada, not all that far north of the US border.
3. What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?
The most important thing I’ve learned is to not give up, no matter how many rejections or dead ends you think you’re encountering. Keep at it.
4. What would you say is your most interesting writing, publishing, editing or illustrating quirk?
I doubt that I’m alone in this, but most of my lines and/or ideas come to me during the night. Quirk-wise, because I don’t want to disturb my husband’s sleep, I keep pen and paper on my nightstand and have trained myself to write reasonably clearly in the dark. Of course, some mornings I discover a completely illegible mess; luckily, that doesn’t happen too often.
5. Tell us your insights on self-publish or use a publisher?
Although I have assembled a couple of small chapbooks to give as gifts to friends or family, my books have been brought out by commercial publishers. Because most of my work is poetry, these have been small literary presses: Anvil Press in Vancouver; Quattro Books in Toronto; Caitlin Press in Halfmoon Bay, British Columbia. I have another book of poems scheduled to come out in 2018. That’s with Inanna Publications in Toronto. I may well be too lazy to self-publish. I am happy to help a publicist in any way I can, but self-publishing (for me) seems to require too many decisions and responsibilities. Besides, I am not a good businessperson.
6. Any insights eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?
No particular insights beyond the most obvious – my Kindle has sure made it easier for me to carry a library of books along when I travel. To tell the truth, I’m not even sure which, if any, of my books are available as eBooks.
7. Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published?
Aside from perseverance and not giving up, I can’t say I have any secret tips. But here, for what they’re worth, are a few points that certainly shouldn’t be secret. Do enough research on the kinds of books a company publishes before you submit to them. Most publishers now have information on their website about what they look for and what their process for submission is. Some presses require that you submit only through an agent; others don’t. Some ask you to submit ten or so pages, perhaps with a synopsis; others want the full meal deal. A few publishers state that it’s fine for you to submit elsewhere (as long as you let them know); others warn against this practice. As with so many other aspects of life, common sense and intuition can be very good guides.
8. How did you or would you suggest acquire an agent? Any tips for new writers on getting one?
I have never had an agent – but then, because I’m primarily a poet, I have never had cause to believe I’ll ever be hustling any bestseller, a condition I still (probably mistakenly) associate with having an agent. I just write and consider myself fortunate when someone lets me know they’ve read my work – especially if it has had any kind of effect on them.
9. Do you have any suggestions or helps for new writers (please be specific and informational as possible)?
The tried-and-true (and yes yes yes to the ‘true’ part of that cliché) is to read read read. Anyone who’s ever taken a workshop that I’ve led knows that this is probably my number one piece of advice – and specifically to read in your genre. Face it, people who want to make films go to movies; you can bet that filmmakers who want to make horror flics watch plenty of gory scenes along the way. Painters go galleries to see paintings by other artists. Playwrights go the theatre. If you’re writing science fiction, I sure hope you’ve looked at some of the classics in that genre – but also that you’re poking your nose into work by today’s up-and-comers. While I hope that all of this seems pretty reasonable, for some reason I keep encountering would-be poets who have never bought (or read) a book of poems. Huh!?!
10. What was one of the most surprising things you learned with your creative process with your books, editing, publishing or illustrating?
I’m not sure how surprising it was (at least to me), but it might be surprising to others: I don’t have a strict routine or schedule of how/when I write. However, I am good at working to deadline, whether that’s self-imposed or to suit someone else’s timeline, so I guess I must still manage a certain amount of self-discipline even if my life may appear to be a little crazily chaotic.
11. How many books have you written?
I have three published books of poetry (and one coming out next year) as well as a single novella. There’s another long-standing work of fiction still in the works. Who knows when for that one?
12. Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer (please be as specific and information as you possibly can)?
Read your work aloud. The words you trip over may not belong. Repetitions will reveal themselves, as will phony or overly pretentious words. And of course, try to find a small group of like-minded writers. Form a writing group that meets regularly. Good guidelines for starting and moderating such groups are available online.
13. Do you have any suggestions for providing twists in a good story?
Let the characters reveal themselves. Get far enough into their heads, and they are bound to present ways to surprise you. That certainly happened with my novella, Shrinking Violets. I had no idea it would take many of the directions it did.
14. What makes your or any book stand out from the crowd?
I like to hope that it’s good writing that makes a book stand out, though with so many books now in the ‘crowd’ it’s hard to know where to start looking.
15. What are some ways in which you promote your work?
I’m a bit of a dinosaur, so while I use social media a bit (and often begrudgingly), I am primarily a word-of-mouth kind of promoter. I enjoy doing readings, especially when a lively Q & A session is part of it.
16. What is the one thing you would do differently now (concerning writing or editing or publishing or illustrating) and why?
I’m not sure what I’d do differently regarding writing or editing or publishing. There are a few things I might do differently in my personal life, but those aren’t really things that have had an effect (I don’t think) on my writing.
17.What saying or mantra do you live by?
I’m not trying to be a fan of Sinatra, but I definitely believe in doing things my own way, even when (sometimes especially when) that’s not the way things are ‘supposed to be’ done. I sometimes fear that individuality is going by the wayside, that we’re all becoming clones of each other. That’s not a world I want to be a part of. And yes, this answer is a little long to be a mantra. Would you prefer: “Be who you are.”
18. Anything else you would like to say?
I’d like to say thank you for the opportunity to be part of the community of writers you’ve interviewed. Gracias.