Jane Wilson-Howarth interview with David Alan Binder
Post date: Aug 5, 2016 1:09:36 PM
Jane Wilson-Howarth interview with David Alan Binder
Short Bio from her website: Jane Wilson-Howarth is a physician with a zoology degree and passion for wildlife and wild places. HIMALAYAN KIDNAP an adventure story for children will be available from 17th August
My website which includes a blog is www.wilson-howarth.com
A GoodReads author profile is here: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/259432.Jane_Wilson_Howarth
Amazon author profile is at http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B001KC6010
Youtube clip of author reading a fragment from HIMALYAN KIDNAP
1. How do you pronounce your name?
Lots of people seem to struggle with How-arth and stutter hoh-worth or something similar. Folks from the north of England have no trouble with the pronunciation. It sounds the same as the Bronte’s village.
2. Where are you currently living? Cambridgeshire
3. Where would you like to live? Kathmandu (I have just applied for a couple of jobs there).
4. Why did you start writing?
Parental pressure. I started writing letters to my grandparents who were away across the Irish Sea. It was a weekly chore that became a habit and when I started travelling in my twenties naturally I wrote home. I found I enjoyed creating word-images of the places I was visiting and I loved it when relatives and friends wrote back. I didn’t settle down to writing a book until I was rendered unemployed in the middle of two wars in Sri Lanka – wanting to work but condemned to memsahib-hood. My first book flowed, perhaps because there were no distractions, but also perhaps because of a lot of the sounds and scenery of Sri Lanka recalled a lot of what I’d seen in Madagascar, just across the Indian Ocean. The result was published as Lemurs of the Lost World.
5. What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?
To imagine a target audience. For my first book, this was my lovely bookish Dad, who being Irish appreciated a good story (but wasn’t very interested in rare creepy-crawlies).
6. What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
Smells and bugs. I love to conjure the olfactory scenery, and I work hard to make at least passing mention of the local wildlife – large and small: from mosquitoes to moles to marmots and macaques.
7. Tell us your insights on self-publish or use a publisher?
Using a publisher gives you the opportunity to use their experts to improve your writing. If you are going it alone, employ an editor. Many of the best authors work with editors before submitting to their publisher. It is impossibly hard to work in complete isolation. It is so, so easy to believe either that your work is complete rubbish when it isn’t or that it is going to be a best-seller when it hasn’t a hope. Many authors oscillate between this is excellent / this is crap several times a day. A publisher will also have some resources – although often these are meager – to aid publicity and to get the word out.
a. Who is your publisher and in what city are they?
I have been lucky enough:
· to be first published by Impact, London
· Then Cadogan, London
· Then Bradt, Buckinghamshire
· Then Travelers Tales, California
· Then Pier 9 in Sydney
· Then I tried self-publishing a novel, which has been picked up by Speaking Tiger in Delhi
· Then my latest books – for children – are being published by Eifrig in Pennsylvania and Berlin.
8. Any insights eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?
I really liked being able to publish my novel electronically but continue to work on it as I received comments and suggestions from readers and critics. It is – of course – important to edit and proof and hone and edit again until the book is as good as you can get it and wherever the book is going, it is worth employing an editor. Sadly friends are too polite or too in awe to be good critics.
9. Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published?
Research the publisher. Know their list. Give talks. Write articles. Make sure you – the author – can be found on the web. Never give up
10. How did you acquire an agent? Any tips for new writers on getting one?
I have had several. I was fortunate enough to get approached by an agent after giving a lecture at the Royal Geographical Society. I thought I would be made as a writer then. Sadly though agents come and go and writers get passed around or don’t like the next piece of work. It seems that for most of us, you start from scratch finding or wooing an agent to represent each book. It is very hard to get one to take you on but it isn’t necessary to have an agent. Some small publishers will take a good look at submission from authors, but an agent will get your submissions taken more seriously than if you are doing it yourself.
11. Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
From my extensive travels – all my writing has a travel theme, and I have lived and work in various remote corners of Asia and Madagascar for more than 11 years.
12. Do you have any suggestions or helps for new writers?
Join a writers group. Consider going along to workshops or find an evening class. Don’t take every criticism as the gospel.
13. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
When I started writing my first work of fiction – Snowfed Waters – I had the beginning and knew how the tale would end but I was surprised at what happened to my heroine on the journey. It was much more fun writing it than I expected it would be.
14. How many books have you written?
Six published all of which have appeared in multiple editions. I have nine books written; the first of my series of three eco-adventure stories for children will be launched in September but will be available next month.
15. Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer?
Read your prose out loud. Read it out to people. Listen to conversations and note down exactly what people say.
16. We’ve heard that it is good to provide twists in a good story. How do you do this?
Gosh – it is hard to think up a good twist. I’m not sure where the inspiration comes from!
17. What makes your book stand out from the crowd?
My children’s eco-adventures beginning with HIMALAYAN KIDNAP are packed full of animals that some readers won’t have heard of but will learn about effortlessly as the story unfolds. This is a straightforward tale set in Nepal, a country I know intimately. It also looks at the challenges of poverty and caste. I’m lucky to have been able to commission the perfect person to illustrate the stories as Betty Levene is zoologically knowledgeable as well as a terrifically good artist.
18. What are some ways in which you promote your work?
Writing for blog posts, doing talks and radio interviews, speaking in libraries and schools. I also have my own author website which I try to keep interesting.
19. What is your latest book? 2016 is going to be a great year for me. In November the second edition of SNOWFED WATERS will launch. I am so flattered that a book by a Brit – an outsider – is being published in the subcontinent. HIMALAYAN KIDNAP will be out before that and the sequel CHASING THE TIGER next. It is possible that 2016 will be a three book year.
20. What is the one thing you would do differently now (concerning writing) and why?
I don’t have the habit of writing a diary. I wished I’d kept diaries at critical times in my life, and in particular during expeditions to the Andes and the Himalayas. No matter though, as I shall go back.
21. What saying or mantra do you live by? [Question changed in reverence for my friend Sandra Brannan]
“The Chinese say that there is no scenery in your home town. They’re right. Being in another place heightens the senses, allows you to see more, enjoy more, take delight in small things; it makes life richer. You feel more alive, less cocooned.” from A Glimpse of Eternal Snows: a Journey of Love and Loss in the Himalayas