Val Poore – author profile

I’m delighted this week to welcome Val Poore who has just released her latest book Harbour Ways about life on a canal barge. Val is an experienced author who has had books out both with publishers and under her own steam. What’s more she’s a very warm and generous person who is incredibly supportive of other writers. Welcome Val.

For those who don’t know you can you tell us a little about your background and about yourself as a person Val?

biopicThanks, Chris, and firstly can I say I’m really honoured to be back on your blog. As you know, yours is one of my favourite and regular weekend reads, so it’s really great to be here again.

As for telling readers about me, what can I say? I’m actually a former advertising, marketing and communications person now turned teacher of English, both academic and business. I had to change roles from doer to teacher when I left South Africa in 2001 and came to live in the Netherlands.

Not speaking Dutch rather limited my ‘doing’ options at the time, but I don’t regret the change as I really enjoy teaching, especially the uni and college students. That’s really about it for the day job. For the rest (as they say here in NL), I spend much of my life messing about with boats both large and small. Keeping a 116 year old barge afloat keeps me very busy, and then with whatever time is left after that and marking student assignments, I write!

Tell me a bit about your publishing history – the different ways you have published books and how those experiences have been for you?

Good question. Let’s see, I started off self-publishing mainly because with the barge and work and everything, I didn’t have time to try and find a publisher for my first book. Then I discovered It was amazing how much I learnt from their self publishing site. I’d never formatted anything for publication before – we always had agencies to do that in my job – so I discovered things all this stuff about page and section breaks, headers and footers and drop caps – it was as if I’d worked with Word for years and had only used a fraction of its features – by the way, I still feel that now.

But I have to say it was a huge thrill to get my own product for the first time. I really felt I’d made my own book, bar the actual printing. I did two books that way, and then I was lucky enough to be picked up by a publisher in the UK, Sunpenny Publishing. They were great and they published The Skipper’s Child for me and also Watery Ways. But they’ve now re-structured and I’ve now gone back to self-publishing, but this time with a difference.

The digital age has developed since I first issued African Ways, so now I’ve had to learn how to format for e-books – another challenge, but just as satisfying. My first e-book was the humorous novel I published last year (How to Breed Sheep, Geese and English Eccentrics). I’ve got the others as e-books now too.

Tell me about your latest book – Harbour Ways, what it is about and what inspired you to write it? The book is based on your own life experiences. How does that work for you, do you make an effort to keep it ‘true to life’ or is there plenty of artistic licence?
P1020438 copyHarbour ways is the story of how I converted my century old barge for living on. I decided to write it as so many people have shown interest in how I came to be here on an old barge and when they’ve found out I converted it myself, they’ve wanted to know the story.

So, I thought I might as well put it on paper. I had a lot of fun and frustration during the conversion process and as the book says at the beginning, everything, but everything, takes at least ten times longer than you think it’s going to, so you learn to have a huge amount of patience. There were some pretty funny moments as well, so it’s been great re-living them in the writing. About the true-to-life thing, what I can say is that everything happened as described.

I didn’t keep a dairy, but I had notes, and I have this kind of filmic memory, so I can remember complete scenes as if they were yesterday. What’s certainly happened is that not everything occurred in exactly the order I’ve written it. My memory’s not that good! I follow the first year and a half pretty closely, but not on a day by day basis, so in that sense, there’s a bit of license there and the things I ‘think’ in the book are sometimes put there to create the narrative flow, but they’re all true. So it’s a kind of patchwork of memories and scenes, but it wouldn’t stand up in court as an accurate blow by blow account! 

This is the second book in the series telling about your adventures afloat – does that bring this chapter to a close or are there more to come do you think?

No, I don’t think there’ll be another about the harbour in Rotterdam. If I ever write another memoir like this, it’ll be after I’ve given up the struggle to make a living by teaching – or it’s given me up – and I’ve gone travelling by boat. My dream is to sail away to France and just potter about the canals there. France or Belgium. 

What are you planning to write in the future, are you working on a book now and what would you like to write?

I am planning another book. Another three, in fact, but I don’t know which one to write first! One is a memoir type book about Belgium, where I’ve spent a lot of time. The other two are novels. At the moment, I’m busy writing my thesis for my Masters in second language teaching, so I have to focus on that, but I’ll be writing a book again soon. I can’t seem to resist the urge for long…   

Here’s where you can find out more about Val and get in touch with her

Chris, it’s been great to chat to you again and thanks for giving me the chance to wave my flag here too. Anyone who wants to connect with me on this wonderful web can find me on:

Val’s blog click here

Facebook click here

Twitter click here

Harbour Ways on Amazon click here.

Five things I’ve learned as a published author

My book Song of the Sea God has been out in the world for more than a year now so I’m in a position to compare my naïve beliefs about being published before it happened to what I’ve learned since. Here are five things I know now that I didn’t know before.

Some of the people you expect to care that you have had a book published won’t care at all.

Boeken_Kringloop_Woerden_03You might think your friends old and new will all gather round and be incredibly supportive about your book when it comes out – and generally speaking, of course they will! But you might find also find yourself surprised that this isn’t uniformly the case. If you had written a list before publication of people you felt absolutely certain would buy a copy of your book then examined it later you would find some of those names didn’t show the slightest interest in doing so.

What I’ve learned is not to take this to heart. The truth is that some people just don’t care about your book – it simply isn’t their thing, maybe books generally aren‘t their thing either. And, just because they know and like you, have a connection to you, doesn’t mean they are going to buy your book, plus an extra copy for their partner, rave about it on Amazon and make it their life’s work to promote it. They are going to ignore it, and carry on as if nothing has happened. And it’s probably best if you do that too!

Some people you hardly know, or don’t know at all, will be incredibly supportive.

The flip side of the coin is that some people who are only vague acquaintances, and many, many people you have never even met, will support your book. They will buy it, they will give it positive reviews, they will wax lyrical about it to anyone who will listen. These people might live on the other side of the world from you, they might have an entirely different life experience, but they will have found something in your work which has chimed with them and they will be generous enough to tell you about that – and to tell others.

I suppose the reason for both this point and the previous one is that, outside of your immediate nearest and dearest, basically people are supporting the book, not you. Which brings us to point three…

You are not your book, your book is not you.

So it pays not to get too upset if someone doesn’t like it – and indeed not too puffed up with how wonderful you are when someone says it’s a terrific piece of work.

387px-Rudyard_KiplingAs Kipling said – you need to:  “meet with Triumph and Disaster, And treat those two impostors just the same”

I’ve been lucky so far not to have had any negative reviews for Sea God. I suppose one could say it’s been a kind of cult success in that not that many people have read it, but those who have done so are often very enthusiastic.

There’s no point me wringing my hands and worrying that it hasn’t sold like Harry Potter – I made a fair fist of writing it, I’ve done what bit I can to promote it – as have my publishers. After that it’s on its own and there’s no point me worrying about what I can’t really control.

Overall the world is benignly indifferent to your creation.

To me, and I’m guessing to pretty much any author, having a book published is a pretty special thing –  we work hard to learn to write, we work hard to write a book worthy of publication and we wade through the rejection slips until we find a home for it with a publisher. Maybe the book you finally get published isn’t the first you wrote – I know it wasn’t mine, (I have another three sitting in my bottom drawer) so there’s been a whole weight of expectation on your part.

Bearing that in mind it could  come as a surprise, maybe even a disappointment, to realise the world really doesn’t care about your pride and joy.  On the whole it’s an uphill battle to get any attention for a new book – and I suppose the basic reason for this is that there are so many books out there, and more arriving by the day – which brings me to number five…

Seemingly everyone has written a book

I didn’t really know this was true until I started on Twitter. I had no idea that there were so many writers out there. I suppose it’s the self-publishing revolution that’s lead to these huge numbers. In the past the only real route which was to do what I did – write, submit your material to publishers, get rejected and then do it all again until finally you found a publisher. Now people can be their own publisher and the old adage that everyone has a book in them has turned out to be true! It’s a great thing in many ways of course – more choice for the reader, more opportunities for the writers. But it does make it more difficult to get your work noticed.

I’ll be back another time with five more things I’ve learned since I’ve been published!

Tell me – what have you learned about the world of books and publishing?

Song of the Sea God visualDon’t forget if you get a moment to take a look at my book Song of the Sea God.

You can look inside to read the first few pages free and download a free Kindle sample for UK readers here. And for readers in the USA here.

Carol Hedges – Author Profile

I’m delighted today to welcome back a good friend of this blog Carol Hedges to tell us about her new book Diamonds and Dust. Carol is a very experienced author whose publishing history will be of great interest anyone who is looking to get their own book published, or even to publish it themselves. She is also a very kind and friendly person who is a great supporter of fellow writers – including me. I’m very pleased she’s agreed to come today and talk to us – welcome Carol!

Carol Hedges bookFor those who don’t know you can you tell us a little about your background and about yourself as a person Carol?

Okay. I was born in 1950 in Welwyn Garden City – not far from where I now live. I studied English & Archaeology at London University, then trained as a Librarian. After having my daughter in 1984, I stopped work and began other work: I ran my own clothes business, making and selling handmade items. I taught patchwork at a local college, I worked as a dinner lady, then as a TA. It was when I retrained as a teacher that I got my first ‘paid’ writing job – I did a series of pieces for the TES on the joys and woes of teacher training. The books followed on …

I know that you are a very experienced author who has had an agent and been published by a traditional publisher, you have also self-published a book and have also had a book published by a small press. Could you tell me a little about each of these experiences and share what you learned from them?

Being traditionally published (in my case by OUP and Usborne) is the goal of so many writers. Looking back, once the gilt had worn off the gingerbread, it was not such a good experience for me. I found the lack of control, and the inability to do what I wanted very limiting. Yes,I got reviewed in magazines and was submitted for awards, but marketing departments are ruthless beasts, driven by sales alone. I was a ”mid-lister”, I didn’t sell enough, so I was dropped. I gather it is even worse now, with even well-known names being shed like autumn leaves.

Self-publishing, a steep learning curve, allowed me and still does, to market my book (Jigsaw Pieces) as I like, when I like. And I don’t have to share the profits with a publisher or an agent!

I have so far really enjoyed working with a small press (Crooked Cat Books). It’s good to have someone else doing the formatting and arranging the printing. I like that I can contact the publisher and establish a rapport, and that I still have a lot of autonomy over the marketing.

Front Cover High Res.Your latest book – Diamonds and Dust is set in the Victorian era – tell us why you were drawn to write about this period in history, what you like about it and what you think it lends to the book?

I love the Victorian period: it is a bridge to our own century. So many of the things we take for granted such as clean water, sanitation, trains, shopping, date from that time. And I love the writers of the period. To produce a work referencing them and that time has been so much fun!

It is a novel for adults where in the past you have written mostly for children and young people. What made you want to write an adult novel and how was the experience different for you from writing your previous work?

I have always written adult fiction: I write short stories and have had two stories broadcast on the BBC, so the only jump was to produce a longer piece of writing. I had reached a writing crossroads anyway. Usborne had turned down a fifth Spy Girl and my former agent was unable to place the next four teenage novels. Deciding to change genre was the logical decision in the face of the constant door-slamming that was going on at the time.

I know this book has only just come out – but perhaps you could tell me a little about what your plans would be for the future, do you intend to write more fiction for adults?

I am writing the sequel to ‘Diamond & Dust’ – so many people have said they love the characters and want to know what happened to them next. So, a second outing for some of them, and a first for some new ones!

Thank you for coming back to visit my blog Carol – always a pleasure to talk to you!

Chris, the pleasure is entirely mine!

Here’s where you can find out more about Carol and get in touch with her

Carol has a fantastic blog which you can read if you click here

Twitter: @carolJhedges

Diamonds & Dust:

UK click here

US click here.

Q and A – the strange world of Song of the Sea God

Here’s the latest in my series of Q and A sessions today, with a question from Lanna, a reader of my book from the USA. Many thanks to Lanna for the question and if you have anything to ask me about my book, writing generally, or indeed anything else then please ask in the comments below or let me know on Facebook or Twitter.

How did your imagination take such flight into that strange world? My trip through your book opened my thinking about how there are so many strange things we don’t understand. I felt it caused me to be lost in many things I often question, and wonder how the mind can often take us to places we don’t understand, but still have a grain of truth, and often question, what do we really know about the unknown?

Lanna from Washington Iowa

480px-3quarter_globeThanks Lanna. The world of Song of the Sea God is strange isn’t it? Mind you, the world we live in can be pretty strange too. When I think about the book and the journey it takes us on I sometimes wonder myself how I got there. When I read a passage from the book it’s almost like it  was written by someone else.

I think the answer lies in the fact that a book doesn’t come all at once, fully formed, it develops over time so that the ideas in it – and the plot, the characters and so on, build up over a period.

For example – in Song of the Sea God, I got myself to the point where I knew I had a character who wanted to be, or believed he was, a god. But, once your reach that point then you have to start asking yourself – how does he go about his job of ‘converting’ the local people? How would someone do that? So you look for ways he could persuade people.

And, of course, he wants to be a god – not just a here today, gone tomorrow, cult leader – so he has to do things which will leave a legacy – be talked about and mythologised after he has gone. So I needed him to leave his mark in some big ways – like building his temple on the shore for example.

Research plays a big part in something like this. I did a lot of reading around what various religions believe – ancient ones as much as those which are around today. I looked at the beliefs and traditions of the Celts for example, who were in Britain before the Romans came. And I leaned heavily on a book called the Golden Bough which is a vast collection of religious beliefs gathered from around the world.

Even my temple on the shore had it’s roots in research – I looked at ‘outsider art’ and the incredible fantasy structures and buildings some men have built – I based John Love’s temple on those.

But also, from very early on, I had the idea that I didn’t want the book to be straightforward in that it told everyone what to think about John Love. I didn’t want the reader to say – he’s just a magician fooling people – I wanted there to be some doubt. Was he really doing something spiritual and other-worldly or was it just smoke and mirrors?

And I wanted the world of the book to have one foot in reality, and the other in a kind of unreal world. So I made it quite real, but slightly strange.

442px-Cosmetic_Jar_in_the_Form_of_the_God_Bes,_664-525_BC,_Late_period,_Dynasty_26,_Egyptian_blue_-_Cleveland_Museum_of_Art_-_DSC08776Look at Bes, the narrator for example. I tried to make every aspect of Bes just about believable and physically possible. And yet, there’s still something unreal and other-worldly about Bes I think. I got the name from the Egyptian god Bes who was also dwarf and whose job it was to guard the home and keep snakes away from the fire – I thought that was very appropriate for the book.

So there we have it. I hope I managed to answer your question satisfactorily  and thank you again for asking it!

If anyone else has a question about the book, or about my blog or writing in general then please ask away in the comments section and  I will do my best to answer in a future blog post.

Song of the Sea God visualDon’t forget if you get a moment to take a look at my book Song of the Sea God.

You can look inside to read the first few pages free and download a free Kindle sample for UK readers here. And for readers in the USA here.

Rupert Copping – Author Profile

It’s always a delight to feature a fellow author on my blog, and particularly one who is  with my publisher Skylight Press. But I’m sure you’ll agree that Rupert Copping has a fascinating life story which is worthy of the plot of a novel in its own right! Welcome Rupert – it’s a great pleasure to have you here.

Tell me a little bit about yourself as a person?

001 (1)What can I say? I was born in London. My father was well known antiquarian book dealer called Peter Eaton but my parents split up acrimoniously when I was an infant and I didn’t know he was my father until I was sixteen.

My eccentric mother and even more eccentric stepfather took me to South America when I was three. I had a fantastic childhood in Ecuador because I was given a lot of freedom and could do pretty much anything I liked, such as playing truant from school and going to the jungle and other stuff I’d better not mention. My stepfather had left England under a cloud. He was an anarchist who tried to start a schoolchildren’s union and got in trouble with a boarding school he ran when one of the teachers got an underage girl pregnant and who happened to be the daughter of a government minister.

In Ecuador, for a living, my stepfather started out by collecting frogs and snakes in the jungle and selling them to universities in the U.S. But on one of his trips he got polio, so he had to give up the jungle and he started working for the British Embassy where he was recruited by the secret service and was about to be appointed head spy for the Caribbean when he got leukaemia and died in his mid forties… Anyway, when I was sixteen and I was about to leave Ecuador by shipping as a cabin boy on an oil tanker my mother told me my step father wasn’t my father – which I’d sort of suspected anyhow, so I wasn’t too taken aback… After a few months at sea I decided to leave the merchant navy because the cook tried to rape me. I disembarked at Liverpool.

After the freedom and wonderful climate of Ecuador, England came as a shock. I was miserable. That winter in ‘63 or 4 was one of the worst on record. I was snowbound in a cottage near Hastings with my grandparents. When spring came I couldn’t stand it anymore. I wanted to have fun and meet girls and so I decamped to London where I met my father for the first time. I stayed with him and my stepmother for a bit, trying to learn the book trade, but then I got involved with the nascent hippy movement. That led me to an avant garde dance group called the Exploding Galaxy and a tour of Europe, but for most of it I was high on marijuana and LSD.

When I got back to London I met my wife and we went to Spain, to what was then an unspoilt coastal village on the hippy trail, near Malaga, called Mijas. Although at that time Spain was under fascist rule, I loved Mijas. I could speak Spanish again, and there was sun and cheap booze and the Spanish people were great. There was also a number of Americans; some were artists and writers, others veterans from the Korean War or younger refuse-niks from the Vietnam War. I met a lot of interesting people in Mijas, both Spanish and foreign, and some of them famous but I don’t suppose this is the place to start name dropping…

After Mijas and a short interlude back in the UK, my wife and I and our two young children moved further inland, to a village in the mountains in the province of Granada. This region, called the Alpujarras, has become famous now. It’s been declared a national park and is popular with tourists, but in my day, in the early 1970’s it was completely abandoned and largely unknown. One of the few people who did know about it was the Bloomsbury writer Gerald Brenan, who became a good friend, and wrote a book about the region in the 1920’s called South from Granada and which is still being published. We lived some 10 years in the Alpujarras on a wing and a prayer, under very strained financial conditions. By then we had three children and in the end it all became too much, we just couldn’t make ends meet and my writing career was going nowhere. Although I had some good contacts, and for a while even had Gillon Aitken as my agent, still no one wanted to publish what I wrote. They said my work wasn’t commercial enough, and sometimes they said it was too exotic!

Anyway we returned to the UK dead broke, and since my wife is Scottish we ended up living on the Isle of Skye. There, after something of a struggle, we went into business. My wife opened a whole-food and bookshop and I opened a candle workshop which eventually, after a number of years of going to night art classes, I turned into an art gallery where I could exhibit and sell my paintings. So from being a

writer I became a painter. My art gallery is now closed and my wife has retired from business, but I still have a studio close to our house and I still paint. Some people collect my paintings and now and then I have exhibitions in other galleries, so I’m still a working painter.

I really enjoy painting. You can listen to music and physically move around when you’re painting, which isn’t the same as when you’re writing, which is more static and more cerebral…

I’ve been living on the Isle of Skye for close to thirty years now, but I go to Spain and Portugal every year for a few months because I can’t live without the sun, and now and then my wife and I go to Mexico, where one of our daughters lives. Our other children live in or around London so we go there as well, and two years ago we went on a tour of England which we really enjoyed and which surprised me because it’s taken me all my life to properly appreciate just how beautiful some parts of England are, and how generally welcoming and friendly the people are, too.

Tell me about your journey as a writer – how you started and how you have developed?

I started writing really young. I always dreamed of being a writer. In Ecuador, my parents had a lot of books they had brought from England; some of them beautifully bound editions of Shakespeare and other classics. I didn’t read these books so much as hold them and look at them. I didn’t really start reading properly until I was in my early teens, and one of my favourite books then was Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller because it was smutty. An Irish American friend had a copy and we’d get together and read pages sniggering and chuckling. After that I read Catcher in the Rye and books by Stevenson, like Treasure Island and Kidnapped.

When I was twelve I tried to write a book about a journey I made into the jungle, acting as cook and translator, with an Oxford University botanical expedition. But my attempt was extraordinarily clumsy, I feared I had no talent for writing whatsoever, and it wasn’t until I was twenty and living in England that people started talking about dyslexia and I realized I might be slightly dyslexic myself, which in fact turned out to be the case and now partly explains why I was so hopeless at school. But the idea of wanting to be a writer persisted in spite of all my failures to write anything decent. By the time I was in my twenties I was reading anything I could get my hands on. Thrillers, bestsellers…I wasn’t fussy.

Certain types of books I liked more than others, though; books that contained adventure, like Exploration Fawcett, or novels that kept you turning the pages but also made you think, like Camus or Bellow, and of course, all the world literature classics that everyone knows about. But what is really pleasing for me is to discover a book that is out of fashion or that few people have heard about and to be totally gripped by it. In this category I would put the books of someone like B. Traven, or Janet Lewis. Finally there are those rare books that touch your soul, like the works of Primo Levi.

What I can’t understand is people who want to be writers without first being readers. To be a good writer, it seems to me, you’ve got to be prepared to read everything and anything. Only then can you start choosing from what you’ve read and decide in which direction you want to go. In my own quest as a writer I’ve always wanted to tell a good story which at the same time reflects my personal experience of life and manages to speak a truth or two that readers can recognize.

How would you describe your work – it‘s themes and the important things about it?

Like all writers I always dreamed of fame and fortune. That it hasn’t turned out that way can be seen as good or bad, depending on your point of view, for the truth is that generally speaking the more commercial you become the more your integrity tends to take a back seat.

Of course there are exceptions but these only prove the rule. In the past, at certain times of desperate need, I did try to write commercially but somehow I never managed it successfully. So really I’ve had no alternative but to write the way I do. I want to tell good stories, but also stories that are honest and reflect my search for emotional and intellectual truth. In this respect I diverge from writers like Kafka or Philip K Dick. They are universal writers who I enjoy reading and admire profoundly, but they are writers who are more interested in the fantastic ideas they wish to express than in the verisimilitude of their settings and characters.

Of course I also sometimes get gripped by fantastic ideas and my novel, Before the Dawn, is a clear example of this; but unlike the writers I’ve mentioned I’m not prepared to sever all connection to reality for the sake of the ideas. So things like reality, depth of character and emotional honesty are important to me, and to make this happen, it seems to me, a writer needs to be able to tap into his own experience of life, which is why I think a writer worth his/her salt needs to have knocked around for a bit.

As for plot, yes that’s important, but too much of a plot can often kill a novel. Even thrillers are not immune. Personally I like stories where the plot feels natural, uncontrived, but sometimes this is extremely difficult to achieve, especially if you are writing a story rooted in a fantastic idea rather than in contemporary, or even historical, life.

So really, how a writer structures a book depends on the kind of story he wants to tell. In my own work I have preferences for the kind of things I’d like to write, but I’m open to trying my hand at anything so long as I make a good job of it. For me that’s the most important thing: to do the very best possible job you can with what you’ve chosen to write about. If you do that then you don’t have to justify yourself to anyone.

Tell me about your current book – what is it about and what makes it a great read?

9781908011299 (1)I tell people I started writing my current novel, Before the Dawn, more than thirty years ago, but actually the idea occurred to me way back in 1970, just after I’d read a Hundred Years of Solitude, and I started the actual writing of it in 1972. Around that time there were a lot of books about red Indians coming out as well as the Castaneda books. And also there was the hippy movement of which I was a part, and my childhood in Ecuador… Well, it all sort of combined to get me writing Before the Dawn.

I wrote the first draft in Mijas. I wrote it quickly in a room I’d borrowed in the house of an aging ex-Hollywood actress. When I finished it I had the idea I’d written a work of genius but it was more likely a work of utter clumsiness and immaturity, even if it did contain some redeeming features. Anyway, it failed to attract any attention whatsoever from publishers. So I put it aside.

Then a few years later I had another look at it and saw where it could be improved and decided to re-write it…. And that has been more or less the pattern for the last forty years. Every few years I’ve re-discovered it and re-written it and improved it (sometimes with a lot of heartache) and sent it off to agents and publishers and got nothing in return but knock backs.

Altogether I must have written Before the Dawn five or six times and sent it to over well over 60 agents and publishers. I think the last big publisher to read it was Bill Scott Kerr, who’s now head of Transworld/Random House. He sent me a long sympathetic letter telling me what a wonderful book he thought it was but how parochial the market was and how my novel just wasn’t commercial enough.

Against such obduracy there is nothing you can do. Big publishers and agents have only one interest when it comes down to the line, and that’s whether the book is going to make them any money. I’ve always believed these people are wrong, and judgements fallible, and that’s why I’ve persevered through thick and thin in trying to find a home for my novel and get it published. Before the Dawn is a great story. And oddly it’s one of those stories that rather than less pertinent has become more pertinent to current events as time has gone on. And I guess the novel will become still more relevant so long as the world’s forests are further destroyed, and the indigenous people who dwell in these forests are wiped out, and so long, too, as all over the world people’s freedoms are eroded, and they are economically exploited and their right to self expression is denied.

This on one level. On another level, the novel is about the dangers of mysticism. And it’s also about the quest for artistic truth. But ultimately, what I’ve want to do with this novel is tell a good story; a story that the reader can’t help but get involved in, that is unusual and satisfying and moving, and makes the reader more human, not less.

Where can I buy a copy of your book?

You can buy a copy direct from my publishers, Skylight Press.

Or from Amazon books here.

Or you can ask in your local bookshop. If they don’t have a copy in stock you can ask them to get one for you.