How to be a Productive Author

IT’S TELEVISION TUESDAY!

 

 

 

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How to be a Productive Author (The Self Publishing Show, episode 172)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

PATREON: Self Publishing Formula Show’s Patreon page

SURVEY: Give us your opinions about a possible live SPF event in 2020

From selfpublishingformula.com

 

 

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Collaborative Writing: 10,000 Books to Glastonbury 

TELEVISION TUESDAY

 

 

TV Television Tuesday

 

 

 

 

Collaborative Writing: 10,000 Books to Glastonbury

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Interview with Neel Mullick Author of Dark Blossom

Dark Blossom

 

 

Sam returns home from a business trip a day before his son’s thirteenth birthday and is looking forward to being with his family, when his world is cruelly shattered in one fell swoop. Initially he thinks he can cope with the loss, but finally seeks the help of Cynthia, an experienced therapist, to regain his equipoise. What he does not know is that Cynthia herself is trying to cope with a debilitating divorce and the sinister shadow of her ex-husband over her daughter…

What happens when doctor and patient find themselves in the same sinking boat? Moreover, when they are rowing in opposite directions–one clinging to the past, and the other unable to get rid of it! In the midst of it all is Lily, Cynthia’s daughter, who harbours a secret that has the power to explode the lives around her.

 

Goodreads | Amazon

 

 

 

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Interview with Neel Mullick

 

Dark Blossom. I love the title of this book. Was this your first fiction book? What’s the story behind it? (No pun intended)

Thanks! To be honest, the title appeared to me in a dream. And since I’m being honest, I must also admit that I fell into writing rather serendipitously as well. Dark Blossom is indeed my first work of fiction and both the story and the characters were more or less cleaved by an imagination that had run amok at a time when I was struggling with empathy in my life.

While the characters are all very different from me and the ordeals faced by them are exaggerations of what I was going through, my innate spirit wanted to describe their experiences and interactions in a way that was entertaining for readers. This duality of finding entertainment and perhaps even levity in daily strife exists in everyone including my characters and the title from my dream captured that essence. Here’s a snippet from my book launch on that topic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iodpyiw4Z7Y&t=3s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you enjoy most about storytelling?

Given how and when I fell into storytelling, I soon found writing to be an unbridled expression of empathy. First, I needed it for my characters to allow them a full and vibrant range of expression and then, for my readers to help them partake of such expression in a riveting way. So writing afforded me a double dose of empathy if you will – and it helped fill that personal void in my life too.

In retrospect though, there is one other thing about writing and storytelling that I enjoyed as much. Call me a masochist, but I fell in love with playing around with language – its syntax, semantics, and subtleties, all of it! How a word here instead of there, a moved punctuation, or a replaced synonym can affect the way people understand intellectually and perceive viscerally is all very fascinating. As a life-long learner too, I think I have fallen in love with this process of reflection followed by articulation.

 

 

Which came first idea, theme, or character?

If I were to think about just the idea and the characters, I would have to say it’s a judicious mix. In order for a story to take place, not only must the idea be important to the characters but also they must have something important to say about it. Once this scaffolding is in place, then the idea might change less and the theme is driven by its interplay with the characters, but it’s the characters that really have to evolve the most. They have to – to fight increasing stakes, win small battles, and eventually come out on top at the end of the war!

 

 

What’s your method for character creation?

Good stories take place at the intersection of personal authenticity and people’s perceptions. Ergo, good characters must be borne from a place of sincerity. If that’s not the case, then it will be difficult to convince readers. Once I am able to make this genuine empathic connection with my characters, I follow a five-step process to give them substance – Read, Research, Reflect, Rest, and Repeat. First, I read and research a lot and this includes conversations with people who might provide inspiration. Then I let it percolate by backing off completely after a period of reflection, of course. Lastly, I find myself having to go back to the start of the loop at times when I get stuck.

 

What can you tell us about Sam?

Phew! Now that’s a toughie. Let me explain. Part of the inspiration behind the novel is my belief that the solution to a rapidly fracturing world lies in peeling enough layers to discover the similarities, rather than judging on mere superficialities. And Sam’s character is supposed to catalyze readers to reflect on how we judge the motives of those around us. In fact, I have even incentivized such reflection with a contest at www.WinTrip2NY.com.

So while Sam’s loss and his tribulations are real, his characterization has been somewhat abstract. Let it suffice to say that he is an immigrant who has assimilated well and is unsure about how to cope with a very deep loss.

 

Who is Cynthia and what role does she play in the story?

Cynthia is a psychologist and she finds herself alone with her patient and her daughter in a sinking boat. Moreover, they all seem to be rowing away from one another. While trying to heal from a debilitating divorce, Cynthia is helping her patient, Sam, who is struggling with the worst kind of loss there is. She is also trying to mend her relationship with her daughter, Lily, who is not only fighting her own demons but also holding on to a secret that has the power to explode the lives around her.

 

 

What was your experience writing the point of view?

From the very beginning, I wanted to narrate the story from Cynthia’s perspective. This was daunting since I am neither a woman psychologist nor do I share a cultural background with her. So I knew I was trying to fill shoes much larger than my own and I had to both step out of my comfort zone and dig deep. And I’d like to believe that I have grown much as a person because of it. So not only was the process personally gratifying but also her perspective turned out to be most relevant for the plot.

 

 

Was it easy writing about flawed characters? 

Aren’t we all?! But yes, confronting these flaws, let alone embracing or articulating them, is never easy. Fortunately, I strongly believe that such duality exists in all of us and I’m quite comfortable with both my flaws and my struggles with them. Even though writing about these flaws in characters that are different from me wasn’t easy, the fact that I enjoyed this process helped me immensely. Now, as to whether or not I was able to do justice to such expression – I think I’ll let readers be the judge of that.

 

 

What’s next for you?

I have only recently started researching and outlining my next novel. It’s also going to be narrated from the perspective of a young woman, Abigail, who has just started her first job as a nanny at a prominent bureaucrat’s home. The story starts with her charge, six-year-old Stewart, fighting for his life in the pool. And Abigail soon discovers that June, the boy’s older sister, may have been the one who pushed him in.

 

 

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Neel Mullick is the author of Dark Blossom. The Head of Product and Information Security at a Belgian family-office technology company, Mullick is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University and INSEAD. He mentors female entrepreneurs through the Cherie Blaire Foundation for Women, is involved in raising a generation of digital and socially aware leaders with Nigeria’s Steering for Greatness Foundation, supports improvement in the quality of life of domestic workers through Peru’s Emprendedoras del Hogar, and works with IIMPACT in India to help break the cycle of illiteracy plaguing young girls from socially and economically impoverished communities. Dark Blossom is his first novel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interview with Historical Fiction Author Leila McGrath

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Interview with Leila McGrath

 

How did you get interested in history?

My interest must have begun in college, when a professor made history more interesting by telling stories which made past heroes real. Since then, I’ve learned that “truth is stranger than fiction”, and am regularly surprised by the limitless things that can happen in life. I also feel that great people of the past deserve to be remembered, and that we can learn from their lessons and mistakes. History is our connection with our ancestors, a continuation of life from our beginnings to our present to our future.

 

 

What fascinates you about the history of Ireland?

Ireland is one of the lesser-known, yet most fascinating places in the world. My interest began when I discovered my Irish ancestry, and with my first trip to Ireland I was so hooked, I felt more at home than in New York. Irish history is culturally rich, and archeologists are discovering sites and artifacts older and more advanced than the pyramids.

3D Map of Ireland

 

 

What’s your creative approach to writing a novel?

I never know where inspiration will come from. I was planning my first book to be about German immigrants in NYC, but on a bus tour in Dublin, our plans were changed from seeing Dublin Castle to seeing Christchurch Cathedral. That day changed my life. Visiting a place as old as the Vikings, feeling medieval tiles beneath my feet, and exploring the underground crypt gave me my first connection with ancient times. From then on, I decided to write about Ireland. I have been inspired by the most unexpected things, like fishing villages, plants, abandoned islands, and even an insane asylum in Wales (which I frequented as a visitor, I might add).

 

How has your writing process changed over the years?

I used to write from the seat of my pants, but found that subsequent editing required too many drafts, and plot and character fixing. Now I take my time—months–developing an inspiring idea, drawing an outline and doing research until I feel I really know my story and characters. That way, there are no major snags in the plot. Planning definitely shows in the development of the story, and the reader can tell.

 

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How do you write the historical tone of Ireland into your writing?

Historical wording is something I’ve experimented with in various ways for the past few years. At first, I wanted the language to be as modern as possible, as I was addressing a modern reader, and wanted more than just historical readers to enjoy my books. Then I went more literary, striving for heightened language, but found the readers weren’t as fond of that. Now I’m returning to simpler language (with occasionally sprinkled historical words) with a more engaging plot. As far as historical Irish elements, I generally try to make the characters speak with the grammar and vernacular of the culture, as well as using cultural items and situations of the time.

 

What’s the historical context of Dingle Ireland, 1579?

Ireland of the sixteenth century was under the rule of Elizabeth I, who was fighting a war with Spain. Therefore, Dingle, a busy port, was subject to British rule, Spanish interference, and smuggling, as well as destruction by local Irish warriors fighting against Elizabeth and among themselves. My book talks about the struggle of Ireland’s “Black Earl”, who fought Elizabeth and his relatives to maintain the estate which had been in his family for centuries, a fight which resulted in Dingle being burned a few times.

 

 

Ireland landscape

 

 

What are some fun facts from your research that aren’t in the book.

Studying about Dingle revealed interesting facts about struggles from other time periods as well, such as the potato famine’s effect on the town, which brought the establishment of the notorious workhouses, as well as the battle at Smerwick Harbour, where Irish soldiers were decimated by the English. The most fun part of research is always the travel. Dingle is the most magical place in the world. A road winds along cliff-laden coasts where one can catch unexpected views of ancient ringforts, famine cottages, Celtic runes, and the abandoned Blasket Islands. There are few untouched places in the world, but because of an Irish tradition to respect what remains, old sites are not taken down.

 

 

Who is Englishwoman Norma Le Blanc and what is she dealing with?

Norma is a fictional character who believes her religiousness makes her superior to everyone, but a carefree, Spanish smuggler who arrives poses the greatest challenge to her ideas. Norma is lonely without her family, who live in England, and finds companionship in Vicente, despite their differences, until she realizes she’s in love. They both have something to learn from one another, as Vicente struggles with his mother’s wish to maintain faith in a God, when it seems as if God has failed him. Through their relationship, Norma learns humility, while Vicente regains his ability to believe.

 

What did you enjoy most in writing The Smuggler’s visit?

Finishing it? Ha! I always enjoy writing, and every book is different, but the first draft was most enjoyable with this one. Because my outline was established, I went off to a cabin in upstate NY and typed away to my heart’s content, finishing the first draft in two weeks. The editing process took much longer.

 

What were the most challenging aspects?

Finding detailed information about Dingle’s history was a challenge. Irish history isn’t as well-published as in other countries, and much of the Dingle info was in books or documents in their local library. Thanks to a local historian, I was able to get what I needed.

 

 

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Do you have a favorite quote?

I collect them and have so many! But I came across this the other day, by Einstein: “Failure is just success in progress.” I think that’s a good thing for us to remember, every time we challenge ourselves to do better.

 

 

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How To Write A Compelling Villain

IT’S TELEVISION TUESDAY

 

 

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How To Write A Compelling Villain (The Self Publishing Show, episode 163)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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sachablack.co.uk

 

 

 

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A Word with Kate Rhodes on Writing

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A Word with Kate Rhodes on Writing

 

 

What’s your creative approach to writing?

I treat it like a job, these days. It may sound unromantic, but writing one or two novels a year takes discipline. I tend to research, write and edit for eight hours, every week day.

 

 

Outlining or pantsing?  

I like to outline, but always veer away from my plan! I wish I could stick to my blueprint, but I get distracted by better ideas, or juicier characters, so my plans are constantly changing.

 

 

 

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When you write crime fiction what comes first? The crime, character, idea?

First the location, then the theme. I fell in love with the Isles of Scilly as a child, for their wild remoteness and knew I had to set a series there.

 

How do you get to know your characters?

I write detailed profiles, so I know all of their quirks.

 

 

 

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What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

Lack of confidence. It doesn’t matter how many books I write, I always reach a point, midway through the writing when my belief takes a nosedive. It takes one heck of a lot of stamina and a robust ego to stay in the writing game.

 

 

How has your writing process changed over the years and books written?

I began life as a poet, writing longhand, but now use my computer for pretty much everything. With poetry you have to agonise over every word because the form is so precise, but prose is much more discursive.

 

 

 

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Did you write poetry before novels?

I surely did. Two collections, Reversal and The Alice Trap, both published by wonderful London press, Enitharmon.

 

 

What do you enjoy most about poetry?

Its impact. If a poem is doing its job well, it can be like a bullet of truth, straight to the heart.

 

 

 

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Can you share one of your poems?

Not right now, I’m afraid, I’m deep in the middle of a crime novel, but my poems are floating around on the net if you go looking for them.

 

 

What next for you?

Two more books in my Hell Bay series, published by Simon and Schuster, which I’m enjoying enormously.

 

 

Hell Bay

Ruin Beach

Burnt Island

 

 

 

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KATE RHODES is a full-time crime writer, living in Cambridge with her husband, a writer and film maker. Kate used to be an English teacher and has published two award winning collections of poetry. In 2015 she won the Ruth Rendell short story prize. Kate is the author of the acclaimed ALICE QUENTIN series, with the fifth book, BLOOD SYMMETRY published in 2016.

In January 2018 Kate will publish the first novel in a new series, HELL BAY, a crime novel set on the remote Cornish island of Bryher, featuring DI Ben Kitto.
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KateRhodeswriter.com

 

 

 

 

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The Book of Mistakes: 9 Secrets to Creating A Successful Future

 

 

 

The Book of Mistakes - 3D

 

 

 

The Book of Mistakes: 9 Secrets to Creating a Successful Future by Skip Prichard (thebookofmistakes.com) is now available in paperback! 

 

 

Skip Prichard - in suit Dublin Chamber photo

 

 

Have you ever wondered why some people seem to catch all the breaks and win over and over again? What do the super successful know? What is standing between you and your wildest dreams?

 

A Wall Street Journal and Publisher’s Weekly bestseller, The Book of Mistakes will take you on an inspiring journey, following an ancient manuscript with powerful lessons that will transform your life. You’ll meet David, a young man who with each passing day is more disheartened and stressed. Despite a decent job, apartment, and friends, he just feels hollow . . . until one day he meets a mysterious young woman and everything starts to change.

In this self-help tale wrapped in fiction, you’ll learn the nine mistakes that prevent many from achieving their goals. You’ll learn how to overcome these hurdles and reinvent your life.

This success parable is packed with wisdom that will help you discover and follow your personal purpose, push beyond your perceived capabilities, and achieve more than you ever dreamed possible. You’ll find yourself returning again and again to a deceptively simple story that teaches actionable insights and enduring truths.

“This book is written to motivate individuals to consistently achieve their own high goals,” Prichard says. “Creating results and momentum is only possible when readers take personal accountability. That’s what this book is about.”

Amazon | Goodreads | B&N

 

 

 

Skip Prichard is an accomplished CEO, growth-oriented business leader, and keynote speaker. He is known for his track record of successfully repositioning companies and dramatically improving results while improving the corporate culture. He is a keynote speaker on topics ranging from leadership, personal development, growth strategies, culture, corporate turnarounds, and the future of publishing. His views have been featured in print and broadcast media including the BBC, The New York Times, CNN, NPR, The Daily Beast, Harvard Business Review, Information Today, The Bookseller, Publishers Weekly, Christian Retailing, and the Library Journal.

 

 

 

 

Skip Prichard - photo

 

 

www.skipprichard.com | Twitter

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Trip to Hidden Worlds with Sandra Ingerman and Katherine Wood

double moon above Crater Landscape on alien Planet.

 

 

 

 

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Were those people in Isaiah’s dream the same people from school? Popular soccer star Magda? George, who he’d never heard speak because he always left classes for special services help? Angry Rose, the Chinese girl who was always in trouble for fighting? And why were there dead birds and fish everywhere? When the four encounter one another the next day by the same pond from the dream, they realize they’ve shared a dream and there really are dead birds and fish covering the ground! This leads to real-life adventures and more dreams as they discover a toxic waste plant disposing of poisons illegally. Not friends in the beginning, romance blossoms as they work together with their Power Animals to close down the plant.

Amazon

 

The Hidden Worlds

Sandra Ingerman and Katherine Wood

 

 

  • Describe the initial idea behind The Hidden Worlds and its development into a viable story.

 

Both of us love working with children and have worked with them for many years, both in healing and in teaching them to perform shamanic journeys as a powerful way to feel empowered in challenging life situations.

 

Sandy felt it was important to write a book for children that included ways to work with spiritual guides in shamanic journey to help them navigate both personal and planetary challenges. In ancient shamanic cultures, children were taught to do this, to live in harmony with nature, and to use their gifts and strengths for the good of the community. Children are our future, so a story to help them bridge these ancient possibilities was important. So Sandy set the intention to write a beautiful book that would incorporate these practices.

 

When she showed her draft to her agent, she was told that it needed more to capture the imagination of the readers. The agent said it was too heavy on spiritual lessons with not enough story to draw the reader in. That’s when Sandy asked Katherine to collaborate. Katherine had taught for 31 years, had her own children and had been writing stories and taking workshops on writing for children for many years. She was thrilled by the opportunity.

 

We brainstormed plot ideas, went deeper into the character development, and selected a setting for the book. These new ideas were woven into the original story and The Hidden Worlds emerged after much revision and reader feedback.

 

 

  • How did the two of you collaborate to write The Hidden Worlds together?

 

We worked on Skype, on the phone and via e-mail. Sandy’s ideas were already in writing, so Katherine added her ideas to structure the story.

 

 

  • Does the book bear a certain theme?

 

The theme of the book is that every person has the power to make a difference in the world. We all have access to higher powers who can see the whole situation and send in ideas. When working with others and their skills, knowledge and ideas, an amazing project can emerge. We feel collaborating on this book is proof of this theme.

 

 

  • How did you select the POV characters for your book?

 

Because human beings are unique and complex, we both felt it was important to show this diversity in our characters. We wanted to show that people in middle school can cross the barriers of cliques to become friends with those unlike them. We wanted to show differing perspectives—someone with a debilitating illness, someone who was brought from another culture into this one, someone in special education, someone heavily involved in sports, someone with anger issues, someone who was a natural born leader who felt invisible, someone who was bullied about weight, someone who was popular with lots of friends, someone with no friends. Despite their differences, however, they each had passion for nature and courage to confront things that were wrong. Their commonalities were more important than their differences.

 

 

  • What are the Power Animals and what affect do they have on the characters in the story?

 

Power Animals are guides in the spiritual realm. Some say that each person comes in to this life with at least two power animals. In the original story, Sandy paired each of the characters with a specific animal. Each character developed through the loving support of these animals.

 

 

  • What do you hope for readers to take away from The Hidden Worlds?

 

It is our hope that our readers will enjoy seeing how Power Animals can help with everyday life situations because they love us, and they want to help us make life better. The book has shown tools that work in real life through the characters and the way they solve the problems they encounter.

 

 

  • Where can our audience find more information about the book?

 

Readers can purchase the book on Amazon.com. Katherine’s website is www.KatherineWoodAuthor.com. Sandra’s website is www.SandraIngerman.com.

 

 

 

Sandra

 

 

 

 

Katherine

 

 

 

Interview with Janice Cantore Author of the Line of Duty Series

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JANICE CANTORE

 

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Janice Cantore is a police officer turned writer. She retired from the Long Beach (California) Police Department after twenty-two years—sixteen in uniform, six as a noncareer employee. She is currently writing romantic suspense for Tyndale House, and her newest release, Lethal Target, second in the Line of Duty series, following Crisis Shot, is set in a small town in Oregon.

 

 

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Police Chief Tess O’Rourke thought she’d taken care of her small town’s drug problem last year. But now Rogue’s Hollow residents are up in arms over a contentious vote on legalizing the sale of marijuana within city limits. And when an eighteen-year-old is found dead of a possible overdose, Tess wonders if the local pot farms might be involved and begins to fear that a new, deadlier drug supply chain has cropped up. As tempers flare and emotions boil over, Tess faces the possibility of losing the town’s support.

With her relationship to Sergeant Steve Logan on shaky ground, Tess could really use a friend, and she feels drawn to Pastor Oliver Macpherson’s quiet presence. But the anger she holds over her father’s death prevents her from embracing his faith and finding peace.

Battling storms within and without, Tess is shocked when a familiar face from her past shows up in town to stir up more trouble. And his threats against Tess may prove lethal.

 

 

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INTERVIEW

 

What led you to apply to the police department? 

 

I had just earned a degree in physical education and I was looking for a career that would challenge me. I didn’t want to teach, and I didn’t want to be locked inside. I do like to help people, so law enforcement seemed a good choice.

 

*Where did you develop your sense of justice, and did that play a role in your applying for law enforcement?

 

My stories are always faith based, and so I would have to say that my sense of justice comes from my faith. I don’t like to see the weak or the innocent exploited or hurt. When I was a police officer, the best part of the job was stopping a bad person from hurting an innocent person.

 

 

“If you want peace work for justice.” -Pope Paul VI

 

 

*Did you ever think you’d be author one day?

 

When I was a kid I wrote horse books, and I did want to be writer. But my father didn’t think I could make a living at it, so I chose a different career path in college. The desire to write never went away. After working the Rodney King riots, which truly impacted me, I started to write about experiences at work. That led to my imagination taking over, I started asking the “what if” question and novels were born.

 

*How would you define justice?

 

Fairness, accountability, bad people being punished for doing bad things, and the innocent and weaker individuals being protected.

 

 

 

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*In the Line of Duty, Cold Case, and Pacific Justice series, is there a certain underlying theme?

 

In Pacific Coast Justice, the theme that wove through all the books was forgiveness. Woven through the series was the story of Carly and Nick, the restoration of their marriage as Carly learned to forgive. In the Cold Case series, it was justice, catching the killer that had evaded the law for years. Abby’s parent’s killer had gone free for thirty years. And in Line of Duty, after Tess’s shooting, it was about recognizing that God is sovereign and trusting him even when things go terribly wrong.

 

*Who is Tess O’Rourke and what motivates her?

 

Tess is the daughter of a police officer who was killed in the line of duty. She has the goal of becoming the first female chief of police in Long Beach. But when she is involved in a controversial shooting, her life is turned upside down. The story becomes one of redemption, faith, and community. Tess is motivated by justice, doing what is right and being the best officer she can be to honor her father’s memory.

 

*What’s your experience like writing the Line of duty series versus the others you’ve written?

 

The writing process for me is the same, asking the “what if” questions. But Line of Duty is set in a very rural area, in stark contrast to where I worked in Long Beach. I made up my own town and police department. It was great fun. I really wanted to develop a small town and the sense of community.

 

*Your newest book is Lethal Target. Name the most challenging things during the writing process. 

 

The most challenging part of any novel is the writing the end. I always have a hard time writing the end, making sure it’s plausible and satisfying for the reader.

 

*What’s next for you?

 

Cold Aim, the last book in the Line of Duty series, It finishes up the story of Tess and Oliver. Now, I’m working on a proposal for a new book and a new series.

 

 

 

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Available now for pre-order. Out July 19, 2019.

 

 

 

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What Could Go Wrong: Interview with Author Brett Grayson

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There comes a time when couples decide to create and raise tiny helpless human beings, hoping they one day become non-tiny and less helpless.

This is one family’s journey through ten months of pregnancy (isn’t it supposed to be nine months?), the first years of parental cluelessness, the terrible twos, threenagers, and the few years that follow when they begin to learn about a world that’s even crazier than they are.

Join the author and his wife as they navigate those ten months, from the always romantic conception, to her water breaking in the most unique way possible. Then watch them attempt parenthood, from the seemingly simple routine of dressing their kids for school, to the complex experience of teaching them to use public bathrooms.

It’s mostly a breeze…

No it isn’t. Pre and postnatal complications; battles with their own mental health; and those rapidly growing and irrational miniature versions of themselves. Some of it is devastating. Much of it is overwhelming. All of it challenges them to maintain their sense of humor.

And when they attempted to go on an airplane as a family… that was a sh*tshow.

 

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An interview with Brett Grayson

author of What Could Go Wrong? My Mostly Comedic Journey Through Marriage, Parenting and Depression

Why did you decide to write What Could Go Wrong?

Well, deep down it’s probably because I’m a narcissist. Anyone who writes about their life and expects others to care has to be a little self-absorbed and potentially delusional. 

On a practical level, I am a person who struggles to get out of bed each morning unless there’s something for me to shoot for. This book gave me a purpose that was lacking in my life for so many years.

The book is full of hilarious parenting anecdotes. Can you share your favorite story?

That’s like picking my favorite dog. I should be reticent to do so, but unlike with my kids, my dogs don’t understand it anyway, so I have no problem choosing a favorite.

And speaking of dogs, my favorite story from the book is probably the night my wife Lauren’s water broke in a bizarre way which related to my dogs. So I used to cook our dogs their dinner because when you don’t have children yet, you have too much time on your hands and do insane things like cook for your dogs. Well, one night I made salmon and the smell permeated the air in our tiny apartment and led to Lauren getting nauseous and facilitated her water breaking.

You are very honest in describing the good, the bad, and the ugly of parenthood, including tough times your family has had. How does your wife, Lauren, and the other people in your life feel about this honesty? Has writing the book changed any of your relationships?

With Lauren, no. The book wouldn’t have been possible without her being on board from the start. She knew it would be revealing and signed off on it, which is freaking amazing as she’s more naked in the book than I am. (Figuratively naked, I mean. It’s not a porn book.) I’m not sure I’m a secure enough person that I would have been as understanding if she were the one writing it. But that’s why I married her. She’s better than me.

My parents have been a mixed bag as they’re from a generation where you don’t share your secrets, especially anything about mental health. Slowly though, as I’ve revealed a lot through my blog, and people have responded so positively, they’ve come around.

They were also rightly concerned about my career as a lawyer being compromised by the mental health revelations. That was the driving force behind me using a pen name for the book. I can keep the two careers separate.

In the book you talk about your struggles with depression and anxiety, as well as Lauren’s postpartum depression. What has been the biggest challenge in relation to your mental health and your role as a parent?

I think being present and active in their lives is a daily challenge. On one hand, I’m better around them because they don’t know about my struggles and also because being with them gives me meaning and forces me to be present. On the other hand, they are difficult to handle for long periods of time. They always require attention and sometimes I have a hard time taking care of others when I’m so caught in my own head. They also don’t listen and require patience, which I don’t always have.

It’s hard to admit, but at times I fight the urge to want to get away from them, and at night to rush them to bed. Life is easier to handle when you don’t have to care for others. But paradoxically life is also meaningless if you’re not helping others. And I know this and love them so much and try to remind myself to appreciate my time with them rather than rush through it.

How has becoming a parent changed your relationship with Lauren?

I go into this a lot in the book and I hope my honesty on it will be relatable. Because I’m not sure that becoming parents has necessarily been a good thing for my marriage. Yes, it creates meaning and gives you motivation to work through your problems for the sake of the kids. But kids are also a burden on a marriage in many ways. You don’t get to spend a lot of quality time alone, which is something I miss and has caused us to drift apart at times. Kids also have led to a lot of fighting for us on the issue of how to raise them. Lauren and I just disagree a lot about parenting decisions.

In the book you talk about your son’s diagnosis of CLOVES syndrome. How has this diagnosis impacted your family, and how is he doing today?

He has a big surgery coming up in the first half of 2019. It’s the first big one, though likely not the last. At four-years-old, he’s still in the dark about all of it. Which is both good and bad. On a social level, we’re worried about how he’s going to do once other kids start commenting on his different appearance. But we’re not there yet.

In terms of its effect on us as a family, it’s actually brought Lauren and I closer together. While we have our challenges as I’ve elaborated in the prior answer, experiencing this with our son together is a great emotional equalizer for us. Now I’d rather find a different equalizer, but I can’t make that trade. So experiencing all this with Lauren-the trips to Boston, the dozens of doctors’ appointments-are an experience that we share and few others can understand.

What advice would you give new fathers and fathers-to-be?

  1. Don’t cook salmon when your wife is about to burst.
  2. This may slightly ridiculous – but actually sit down and talk to your wife ahead of time about

how you intend to parent. And write it down. For example, Are you going to let your baby cry or are you going to run into their room the second they cry? It seems unimportant until that moment when you start disagreeing while it’s happening.

What’s next for you?

I intend to keep writing about the absurdities and meaningful parts of my experience as a parent. I’m not sure I have another book in me for a while on this topic, as this book covered a six-year period in our lives. I’m sure I’ll be sharing my story in some form, though.

 

I’d also like to write a bit more about mental health and continue to raise awareness and reduce the stigma of anxiety and depression. It’s just so prevalent in our society. I’m not sure I really understood the extent of it until I started blogging about my own struggles. More than anything I’ve written about, my blogs on mental health have garnered the biggest response.

Where can we learn more about What Could Go Wrong?

 

Go to Amazon and buy the book. Half the money is going to support a charity for our son’s condition (CLOVES Syndrome). So you’re being a good person regardless.

And I think you’ll enjoy the book. Worst case scenario – it winds up on that place on the back of your toilet that I don’t know the name of.

 

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