Thursday, November 3, 2011

Interview with Author RJ Palmer

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m not sure there’s much to tell.  I live in Sioux City, Iowa and I’m a stay at home mom right now.  I write because it’s my passion and my compulsion and not so much a personal choice as a need.  Sometimes I feel like the little old lady who lived in the shoe from the nursery rhyme because of the sheer number of children I have and if I had a dime for every time someone had asked me if I knew where kids came from and I had answered that they shouldn’t drink the water well, I would be able to hire someone to make dinner for the family instead of making it myself.  Pity.

At what point did you decide you wanted to become a writer, and why?

I didn’t so much make the decision as it made me.  When I sat down one day and started writing and just couldn’t get away from it, I knew that I had stumbled onto something there.  I didn’t think of myself as a writer until I was a little older and someone mentioned the idea to me after they had sampled my written work and told me I needed to pursue a career as a writer.  Funny that because up until then I would feel somewhat morose when I thought about a career choice.  I figured my only marketable skills were an ability to work a cash register and realistically, if being obnoxious is a marketable skill, I wouldn’t have to work for a living.

How do you write: outline or seat of your pants, and why?

It’s seat of my pants all the way because ideas pop into my head while I’m freelancing it that don’t come when I’m trying to follow an outline and it may sound a little OCD but I can never manage to bring myself to add a little here and there to an outline.  It just doesn’t seem right so I’ll make quick notes here and there on scratch paper and follow those but I’ll probably never be able to follow an outline.  How silly is that?

Tell us about your inspiration for Birthright:

There’s not much to tell unless sheer penniless boredom has become anecdotally interesting.  Not in my experience but I had had the idea for Birthright bouncing around in my head for what seemed like an eternity and it was only when I didn’t have anything else I could do (therein lies the penniless boredom) that I acted on my compulsion to write a book and the rest of the story tells itself.

Who designed the cover of your book?

I did and that’s a problem because while I can write fairly well, I have absolutely no artistic ability beyond that.  I was flat broke so I couldn’t hire a cover artist and I googled a free program, dabbled with it a bit and then came up with the cover for Birthright.  I know someone else could do better and I have every intention of giving someone else the opportunity to improve upon the cover art or scrap it entirely and do something much cooler.

Why did you choose to self-publish?

I am the world’s biggest coward when it comes to rejection.  I had gotten about forty or so rejection letters from agents when I spent the time and energy to send them query letters and I couldn’t take it anymore.  What a pansy, huh?  Anyway, my other half told me about the no cost self-publishing on Amazon and the rest kind of snowballed from there.  I wasn’t about to pay to publish because I can’t see myself giving my hard earned money to the tune of thousands of dollars for something I could pay a lot less for, do the work myself and end up actually turning a profit.  I will never go the vanity publishing route because it just seems like such a waste to me.

What is the best advice that you have ever been given when it comes to writing?

Don’t worry about anything else right now, just sit down and write.  That and my favorite and most respected author told me that I needed to be stubborn though the word he used was “persistent”.  It worked out well for me because it taught me not to just give up or leave well enough alone and here I am a few years and a couple novels later, happily independent and loving it.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

The Netherlands and not for the purely obvious reasons.  I mean yes, I would love to go visit one of their coffee shops and get myself wasted but that would just be because I could.  Other than that, the Netherlands are steeped in history and they have the red light district which may sound a little unusual coming from someone like me, but anyone who says they’re not faintly curious about what goes on in the RLD, not the commerce mind you but the sheer freedom of the idea, is lying to themselves and everyone else.  I’m inquisitive by nature and it just seems like it would be interesting to see.  That and the largest flower garden in the world, what a sight that would be!  Just to get a taste of the culture would be awesome.

Do you prefer ebooks, paperbacks or hardcover?

I think that ebooks are the green option and I really have no preference any or all ways.  I’m just as fond of curling up with a paperback as an ebook reader or a hardcover, it’s all the same to me.  The only thing of which I’m not fond is the cost of some ebooks because while to a certain point I can understand the cost of a paperback or hardcover because you have to factor in production costs; paper, ink and the like such costs simply don’t exist with an ebook and I feel that to charge the same price for an ebook as you would a hardcover copy is exorbitant price gouging.  That’s just how I look at it though it may not be the same point of view as everyone else.

One of your favorite quotes:

One of my favorite quotes has nothing whatsoever to do with writing and while I have several favorites, I’ll choose a shorter one.

One must never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar. – Helen Keller

This is a powerful and complete thought that in my opinion truly needs no further explanation.  Well said, Ms. Keller!

Learn more about RJ Palmer here!


One beleaguered man…

In the bitter cold of an unseasonable Colorado winter, Raine Donnelly’s life is turned hopelessly upside down.  The things that begin to happen couldn’t possibly be real.  Machines malfunction and electricity goes haywire, and that’s just the beginning.  The doctors think it’s a brain tumor and that he’s having blackouts and hallucinations and insist on further testing.  But if that’s the case, why is someone trying to kill him?  Isn’t one scared and dying man relatively harmless?

One woman living in no man’s land…

Raine’s widow Sierra is planning a vacation to Colorado with her twin daughters, Renee and Elizabeth who have been contrarily insisting that they’re going to visit their dead father and ruining Sierra’s carefully cultivated calm and rationality.  It took her a long time to piece her life back together after he died and for her daughters to refuse to accept the truth is tearing her apart.

An inevitable chance encounter…

When their worlds collide all hell breaks loose and Raine must find a way to piece together the fragmented truth of his past without getting all of them killed…

Get your copy of Birthright on Amazon and Smashwords