Tuesday, 5 June 2012

News from Dead Mule Swamp - Joan H Young - Blog tour

Please welcome Joan to Madsheep Reading give her your best welcome as we interview her and find out all about her work.

1. Do you find that it is hard to get people excited about what you do?

My interests have almost always been a bit out of the mainstream, so I’m quite used to having difficulty getting most people excited about my outdoor writing. It’s been encouraging that when people see my multi-media programs they often catch my excitement and then will buy the book about my hikes. People tell me they are surprised that it is so interesting, and not just for hikers.

2. What is your opinion on people who post bad reviews?

My first full book was published in 2005, and is a collection of essays about hiking the North Country Trail. It’s called North Country Cache. It was reviewed by several outdoor writers, one of whom gave it a bad review. It hurt then, and it still hurts now. Not because he’s not entitled to his opinion, but it seemed as if he either didn’t read the book, or was not familiar with other books in the genre. That said, people are not all going to agree. I’m much more philosophical now, and try to examine whether there is a grain of truth in the criticism.

3. Are you an independent artist or are you represented by an agency?

All of my publications have been released independently. I knew that North Country Cache was not going to appeal to mainstream publishers. I was a middle-aged woman, hiking an unknown trail, slowly. Therefore, I self-published, and I’ve never regretted it. I found that I enjoy the details of the publishing process.

4. Have you made any mistakes along the way?

Despite having no regrets, there are a couple of things I should have done differently. I was overly optimistic about how many books I could sell.  To get a lower printing price, I made a large order. For a self-published niche book, it’s done well. I’ve sold over 1100 copies, and it still sells. However, I haven’t yet paid back the money I borrowed for the printing. Despite every effort to eliminate typos and other errors, there are plenty. It would have been better to print a shorter first run, and then issue a second edition with corrections.

5. Did your art come from just a need to express yourself or a particular experience that you had?

North Country Cache was based on a particular experience. However, I’ve always liked expressing myself through media, and enjoy being able to bring others into the experience with my words. Now that I’m writing more fiction, I write both to make people think, or just to give people something to enjoy. The Anastasia Raven mystery series is very light, purely recreational reading.

6. What is your opinion on Indie publishers versus Self publishing?

I’m independent, sometimes too much so. I looked at several self-publishing houses, but with North Country Cache, I had very specific ideas of what I wanted to do. I did not find a publisher who would let me create the book I desired. So, I registered my own publishing company. Once that was done, it just made sense to continue, and self-publish my own e-books.

7. Do you think that the future is ebook or print?

Print books are not going away, probably not ever. That said, I think recreational reading will be more and more digitally served. Some books just don’t work well digitally, picture books, or instructions with large diagrams for example. Some books people just like to physically own. However, for light reading, there is little value in having the paper copy. Digital books are perfect for recreation.

8.  Any shout outs to people who have helped you along the way?

With North Country Cache, I learned the value of listening to editors. Two friends edited the manuscript. Prior to that time, I arrogantly thought that my writing was too good to need an editor. Ha! Both of these patient people helped me read passages through other people’s brains, and showed me that even I make grammar mistakes and typos, and yet, we still emerged as friends.

Now that I’ve moved into fiction, the Accentuate Writer’s Forum, run by Michelle Devon has been a great source of encouragement and professional tips. I’ve also joined a local writers’ support group, the West Side Gang. They are always honest and encouraging.

Blurb for News From Dead Mule Swamp by Joan H. Young
Anastasia Raven is running from the pain of a failed marriage, and hopes to hide from the world in an old farmhouse she has purchased at the edge of Dead Mule Swamp. When a hundred-year-old newspaper she finds inside a wall is stolen by Cliff Sorenson, and then Cliff disappears, Ana is convinced that the paper holds the key to the mystery. But what old news could be important enough to put Cliff in danger?

Author Bio for Joan H. Young
Joan H. Young has been writing stories about the outdoors since the age of 7, when "The Adventures of Skippy the Field Mouse" made its debut. The work survives, but is best left in the box with crayon drawings of squirrels and pressed leaves.

"The Family Christmas," a seasonal poem made it as far as the local newspaper when she was 12, proving that the serious child was already harboring an evil sense of humor.

As an adult, Joan has made a career of proving that she can bumble through life without ever deciding what to be when she grows up. She began with a degree in Communication Arts with an emphasis on theater. Realizing that drama, for her, was like whiskey to an alcoholic, she left a possible career in stage management for a driven man and 10,000 teenagers. (What was she thinking?) A few years later the couple had legally adopted one of the teens, and two younger children, but were still feeding most of the stray 10,000 teenagers as well. No time there for writing anything except grocery lists, and a journal of the wild ride!

In 1986, still longing for a career in sciences, she went back to school, taking higher math and chemistry in hopes of being accepted into the University of Michigan graduate program. From 1992-1995 she lived in Ann Arbor, and did receive a Masters in Environmental Engineering, cleverly getting U of M to pay for it too! Meanwhile, the writing bug still squirmed, and Joan worked hard at collecting rejection slips from a nice series of reputable magazines and publishers. Also during this time slot she began hiking the North Country Trail (NCT), the longest foot path in the United States.

Now armed with an "advanced degree" she returned home and attempted to establish a reputation as a wetland specialist. Well, she was one, but she wasn't very good at marketing herself, and when offered a job as a web site manager, that became the next career. Essays about her hikes on the NCT demanded to be written, and friends urged her to publish.

In 2005, /North Country Cache/ made its debut for the 25th Anniversary of the North Country Trail. Since then, more and more of her time has been spent writing. If only more and more money came from that endeavor, it could be called a career!

Recently, she has begun writing more fiction, including several award-winning short stories soon to be published by Twin Trinity Media, and the Anastasia Raven mystery series.

Young has enjoyed the out-of-doors her entire life. Highlights of her outdoor adventures include Girl Scouting, which provided yearly training in camp skills, the opportunity to engage in a 10-day canoe trip, and numerous short backpacking excursions. She was selected to attend the 1965 Senior Scout Roundup in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, an international event to which 10,000 girls were invited. She has ridden a bicycle from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean in 1986, and on August 3, 2010 became the first woman to complete the North Country National Scenic Trail on foot. Her mileage totaled 4395 miles.

Buy Links
Paddy Plays In Dead Mule Swamp is tentatively scheduled to release June 1st. So be prepared to plug that too. I will send info.
The Hollow Tree at Dead Mule Swamp is FREE on Smashwords and hopefully soon Amazon, we should plug that too. Here is the Smash Link, but I will update when it goes free on Amazon. http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/154647
Stalker Links
Amazon link

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for being part of the tour. Paddy Plays in Dead Mule swamp is definitely available!