I would like to introduce Author Martin Crosbie the winner of the B.R.A.G Medallion
Please tell us about your book, My Temporary Life.
Thanks, Stephanie, I'd love to, and thanks for the opportunity to do this, too, I really appreciate it.
My Temporary Life is a story told in two parts. The first section is a coming of age story about young lad who never has anything permanent in his life. He's shipped between his parents, his father who lives in Scotland and his mother who lives in Canada. Throughout his childhood, he's faced with not only two very different cultures but also bullying and poverty.
The second part of the book picks up twenty years later where the boy, now a young man, is stuck in a major life rut. He meets a girl who had her own traumatic childhood, and through a series of circumstances, the most important being that he falls in love with her, he's given the opportunity to help her recapture something from her childhood.
It's been called a coming of age/suspense/romance, and I know that sounds confusing, but hopefully it sounds intriguing too.
Was there any challenges you faced writing this story?
This story is fiction but most of the events told in the novel did indeed happen. If they didn't happen to me, they happened around me. So, I was either a participant or an observer for all of them
In writing the story I had to go back there, and sometimes that was okay, and other times it wasn't so okay. When you're writing a story, you reach a point where the story, the characters, everything, takes on a life of it's own. And, for me, it doesn't stop when I close my laptop. That world that I'm creating, or re-living, is with me all the time. So, although I was disappointed to leave the characters behind when I finished writing, I was also glad to have the closure too, and when I uploaded that manuscript, and hit the publish button, it was quite an emotional experience for a lot of reasons.
Is there a message in your story you want readers to grasp?
Yes, there is, there's more than one message that I'd like them to grasp, but I'm not going to tell you what it is. My favourite novels are the ones that take twists and turns that I don't expect, and quite honestly, I just don't want to give anything away. I had a reviewer describe My Temporary Life but saying that it was a "good story that touched on difficult subjects".
That's an accurate description and from the comments that have been made to me from readers, the theme of the novel does come through. So, with my apologies for evading your question, I'm afraid I'm not going to elaborate any further.
What is your greatest strength as a writer?
The aforementioned twists and turns. I love to be surprised and not see things coming. I hate when I can figure out the ending before I'm even at the middle. I think I manage to do that.
I hope you read My Temporary Life, and don't figure out what's going to happen next. Life can be stranger than fiction, for sure, but believable fiction can be stranger than life, and I think I manage to involve the reader in the story so much that they don't figure out what's going to happen next. I hope I manage to do that anyway.
What is your next book project?
My Temporary Life is the first of a series of three books. The second book, my work in progress, is called My Name Is Hardly. It's the story of one of the characters from My Temporary Life. We don't see Hardly for twenty years in the first novel. This is his story. It's the story of what happens to him. I'm having such an incredible time writing it. Part of it takes place in Ireland during the eighties and nineties, and Hardly is in the British Army. So, it's very important to me that all of the little details are accurate. I know how irritating it can be, as a reader, if the author is wrong about something, and I don't want that. I want my readers to be able to lose themselves in the story and enjoy it.
So, yes, I'm having a great time writing it and hopefully it will be published this December (gulp).
What do you think contributes to making a writer successful in self-publishing?
I've been very fortunate in that I've had some very generous mentors. The first was Robert Bidinotto, the author of Hunter. Robert is a true self-publishing success story, and he's done very well. I contacted him early this year when I first self-published and had only sold a couple of hundred copies. He was kind enough to offer me some great suggestions and when I put them into practice, and did the work, I started to sell some books. Currently, five months later with free and paid downloads, I have over 120,000 ebooks out there in the hands of readers.
Having said that, there was no secret formula that Robert gave me, it was more of a philosophy, and I try to operate the same way myself. I have a "pay it forward" mentality. I've been very lucky to have had some major media coverage because of the success of My Temporary Life, and because of that coverage, I get contacted by other authors who want to self-publish. I try to help all of them. I tell them what I did that worked and what I did that didn't work. I answer emails, phone calls, whatever it takes, and it's a privilege to be able to do that. A year ago, all I wanted was for someone to read my book. Now, I have all these folks who have read it and other writers asking me how I managed to get it out there. What an incredible opportunity.
I believe, that as independent authors, the only way we can compete with established publishers and their marketing budgets is to help each other, and work together. Yes, we're competing against each other too, but I can tell you absolutely that all the help that I've given other writers has come back and rewarded me many times over.
Who is your favorite author and why?
I enjoy Philip Roth. He has the ability to get me inside the heads of his characters. I just love his novels. There are some great new independent authors who recently published too. I read some of the work of authors who have published through Amazon, on their own, and it blows my mind. There are just so many talented writers out there.
You know, I hear it said all the time right now that it's a great time to be a writer, and it is, but you know what, it's a great time to be a reader too. With the advent of Kindles and other ereaders, and the affordability of ebooks, and the amount of great writing out there, it's a truly a fantastic time to be a lover of good writing.
What is your favorite quote?
I used to like two John Irving lines.
"Invite a lion to your home and he'll stay for dinner."
"Keep passing the open windows."
Today, my favourite one probably is, "God didn't bring you this far to drop you now."
It changes all the time though. Ask me next week and it'll probably have changed again.
Who or what inspired you to become an author?
I spent the first part of my life growing up in Kilmarnock, Scotland, and one of my primary school teachers was a gentleman by the name of John White. Mr White would read Charles Dickens to us. He had us try to read A Tale Of Two Cities and David Copperfield and then he'd read it back to us and explain it all. He would have that class of ten-year olds awestruck. I remember thinking, that's what I want to do. I want to write something that will have people waiting for the next word with such a look of intent that they can hardly wait.
So, I keep writing, and trying to become a better writer, so that I can get that same look from readers that Mr White and Mr Dickens managed to get from my primary school class.
What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
Listen to every bit of advice that you're given, but at the end of the day, listen to the little voice inside your head, and if it makes more sense to you, follow it.
Right now, there are fewer rules than there ever have been. The only real rule is to write something that readers want to read. So, if you feel that the advice you are getting doesn't make sense, don't do it. Listen to the little voice inside your head. Nobody knows your story better than you do and sometimes you just have to follow your instinct, and run with it.
Author Bio and Links:
My Temporary Life is Martin Crosbie's first published novel. It's been called a Coming of Age/Romance/Suspense story. He claims that it was never his intention to cover so many different genres, it's just the way the story unfolded.
Martin was born in the highlands of Scotland and manages to travel back there every few years. His current home is another rainy location-just outside Vancouver, on the west coast of Canada. When he's not writing he enjoys long-distance running, and has competed in several half-marathons. In between writing his next book, he's training for a full marathon which he hopes to participate in this October.
This is my website
This is the Facebook page for My Temporary Life
And, on Twitter, I'm @Martinthewriter
We are delighted that Stephanie has chosen to interview Martin Crosbie who is the author of My Temporary Life one of our medallion honorees at www.bragmedallion.com. To be awarded a B.R.A.G. MedallionTM, a book must receive unanimous approval by a group of our readers. It is a daunting hurdle and it serves to reaffirm that a book such as, My Temporary Life merits the investment of a reader’s time and money.
Thank you Martin and IndieBRAG for the pleasure of this wonderful interview!