About Robin Gregory:
I‘m a devoted wife and mother, writer, and occasional land surveyor. Born in Pensacola, Florida, I grew up in California, accompanied by seven siblings, and surrounded by horses, real cowboys, and the occasional rattlesnake. I’ve always been drawn to helping others, a trait that began, to my mother’s horror, with bringing home swallow chicks stricken from their nests. I’ve worked as a journalist, lay minister, and infant massage instructor for mothers and babies at risk. Currently, I live with my husband and son in a Carmel cottage old enough to make you sneeze. I love foggy days, chai, and ladybugs. The book I wish I wrote, ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE, by Gabriel García Marquez. Connect with me on Facebook or Twitter.
What inspires you to write?
I came to writing sideways, really. I always thought I’d be an artist. First, I told stories through paintings. It wasn’t until after I discovered metaphysics that I felt a need to play with words. They give me a new slant to exlore spiritual realities, ideas, psychologies, permission to leave the mind-box.
Tell us about your writing process.
I just found out what I am “a panster.” I write flying by the seat of my pants, that is, I am prone to give the reins over to that wild artistic muse (who I suspect is Salvador Dali). Working out a cohesive structure, with character arcs and proper scene breaks, and silly things like that, come later. It’s probably the hardest road to take.
I could have saved myself a lot of grief on my first novel had I checked out Michael Hauge or Fiction University websites. Or if I actually followed the directions given in John Truby’s THE ANATOMY OF A STORY, or Blake Snyder’s SAVE THE CAT. Or my first Creative Writing teacher, Ed Norris. But no. I had to do it my way. Art first. Logic later. Like life. I should have listened to Iain Banks when he said: “The trouble with writing fiction is that it has to make sense . . . whereas real life doesn’t.”
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I often feel as if I’m eavesdropping on some, poor unsuspecting soul on the other side of the world when I’m writing. The characters feel that real to me. It’s as if over time I slip into their skin. No, I don’t talk with them because I am them. Ha!
What advice would you give other writers?
If you’re in a hurry to be published, which I was at first, beware. You don’t want to pick a peach before it’s ripe. A good book takes time, re-examination, and more time. The problem and the stakes must be right up front and center, and they must be compelling. The plot needs adept pacing. And, of course you know the writing must be polished. Every extraneous word, phrase, passage, must go. Every time your reader asks a question, re-visit your passage. Writers need dialogue with trusted readers. Be willing to listen. Sometimes be willing to ignore. But mostly listen. Ask yourself what you want to give to your readers, and let that idea ripen with the writing. Above all–approach your work playfully and be willing to be surprised!
How did you decide how to publish your books?
When I finished my upcoming novel, I decided to publish without an agent. Over the course of a year, I was offered three contracts, none of which met the industry standards given in the SCBWI Manual for Writers. Since I’m not computer-savvy, and know little about self-publishing, I was reluctant to forge ahead on my own, not knowing how to gauge the wide range of costs and services offered to writers.
Around that time, I discovered award-winning Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing, Inc. in Deadwood, Oregon, by researching the origins of one of my favorite books. Publisher Nancy Cleary has been in business since 1998, publishing books traditionally and also pioneering a unique program to assist independent writers. I contacted several of her authors, and they overwhelmingly recommended working with her. After the initial consultation with Cleary, I knew she was exceptional, and I knew that I wanted to go the independent route. For a reasonable fee, she has walked me through the publishing process, taking care of everything from copyright registration, book packaging, creating a publishing imprint, opening an account for international distribution with Ingram, and making the book available on eBooks for every device. She conferred on a marketing plan, promotion and pitching, as well as future avenues of revenue from my book including speaking, private-labeling, licensing, and foreign rights. Cleary directed me on sending advance review copies, literary contests, and more. Her expertise has been absolutely invaluable, her enthusiasm and support, priceless.
Remember that not all publishers are created equal! Research your options. A good literary attorney can give you a professional opinion on a contract in half an hour. We authors get to choose our partners. It’s a big responsibility. We must be thorough, do our homework, and take the time to choose wisely.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
It seems daunting to publish right now, given that the latest World-o-meter tally of books published worldwide between January and April of 2015 is: 905,000. That’s more than two sold-out football stadiums a month!
The bad news: it’s harder than ever for new authors to find a traditional publisher.
The good news: authors have never had more power to decide the course of their careers.
I envision a time when publishers and writers will be working more as partners, where the author will keep most of her rights, be a party to editorial/design decisions, and the relationship will be more equitable.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: YA, magical realism, coming of age, visionary, literary, historical fiction, family and relationaships, disability
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
Robin Gregory Home Page Link
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit, to allow you, the reader, to hear the author in their own voice.