Welcome to the five hundred and eighty-eighth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with children’s author Stephen Lamoreaux. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Morgen: Hello, Steve. Please tell us something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer.
Steve: I have spent my adult life in the State of Connecticut, USA, but was born and raised in New Jersey. I have four children between the ages of 24 and 6 (married twice) and have made a career in Sales of various products (financial, software, corporate). You could say that this first children’s book of mine developed over almost 30 years, when I sketched “the little wave” character in 1984, with no thought of an accompanying story at that time. The initial story emerged over the following decade as I became a new father and the implications of man’s behaviour as it effected the future of the earth’s environment because apparent to me. In the late-1990’s, the first draft of a story was written in prose. In the mid-1990’s I rewrote the story in rhyme, but it took another fifteen years of editions and a number of illustration styles (worked on from time to time) before this book, “The Little Wave: An Adventure in Earthly Care – Part One”, was finally worth releasing.
Morgen: Wow, that’s dedication. How did you decide what to write about?
Steve: I’m afraid I cannot name a specific inspiration that lead me to write this book as it appears today. It has always felt to me like it had a life of its own and I was just following along.
Morgen: You’ve self-published, what lead to you going your own way?
Steve: I used a self-publishing company that allowed me to retain control of every step of the creative process. The best input this publisher had was to break my story into two books (the initial story was too long for a single children’s book).
Morgen: It’s great you had that feedback, some would have just left you to your own devices. Is your book available as an eBook?
Steve: Yes. After the paperback copy was released, the publisher created eBooks in a variety of formats.
Morgen: The joy of going digital. Did you choose the title / cover of your book?
Steve: I have retained full creative control of this publishing process. I created the illustration for the book cover, the publisher found the font to use for the text on the cover and within the book.
Morgen: What are you working on at the moment / next?
Steve: Because my original story was too long, most of the work for the second book is already done. I will probably revisit some of the illustrations when it comes time to begin the process to release Part Two. Right now, my time is spent trying to find ways to market Part One. This is an exciting challenge.
Morgen: I’m glad you find it exciting. 🙂 It’s certainly a challenge. Do you have a method for creating your characters and if any of your books were made into films, whom would you have as the leading actor/s?
Steve: I tried to make the characters in my book creatures that every child would be familiar with and were directly affected by the environmental condition of which they spoke. I have not given much thought to the persons who might do the voice-overs should my book become a video / movie.
Morgen: Do you manage to write every day? Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?
Steve: No. I do not write every day. I worked on my book when the urge came upon me to do so. There was a period of a few months last year when I was unemployed. It is amazing how much creative work can be accomplished when your mind is not preoccupied with work. It was during this time that I was able to rewrite my original story in to two parts; re-illustrate the stories; find a publisher with which to work; and publish this book.
Morgen: I’ve not been preoccupied with a day job since March but my brain is still easily filled. 🙂 Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
Steve: Since these stories are written in rhyme, there was a lot of editing and re-writing in order to say what I wanted to say while keeping the cadence / pattern and rhyming words intact.
Morgen: I write very little poetry but do enjoy rhyming when it’s done well and as you say, it’s takes more work to get it right. Do you have to do much research?
Steve: I read the newspapers / periodicals and listen / watch the news. Everyday there are stories about environmental abuse.
Morgen: There are, sadly. Do you have pieces of work that you think will never see light of day?
Steve: I hope Part One does well enough to warrant the release of Part Two. Beyond that, I have nothing in the hopper right now. Although I have a few ideas kicking around inside my head about other children’s stories that may be worth telling regarding prejudice, hunger, aging, respect of others. I make no guarantees that any of these will come to fruition.
Morgen: I write very little for children (mainly because I don’t have any) but I know how important it is to have a message within the story. Have you had any rejections? If so, how do you deal with them?
Steve: Years ago I tried to have my story published by traditional publishing houses without success. At that time, it was not the book we see today.
Morgen: It does sound like it’s worked out for you. Do you enter any fiction competitions?
Steve: The publisher and I are narrowing down a list to about 10 contests in which my book will be entered.
Morgen: Oh, good luck! We mentioned marketing earlier, how much of the marketing do you do for your published works or indeed for yourself as a ‘brand’?
Steve: Virtually all. The publisher did have someone create a Facebook page for the book. I created the Website and am trying to find ways, daily, the market the book, mostly online. I did physically deliver the book to a few local bookstores and libraries, who now carry the book.
Morgen: That’s what I’m planning with my chick lit as it’s based in my home town. It’s only in e-format so far but almost everyone I’ve spoken to has said they still prefer holding a book and when it features over forty local locations it would be mad not to publicise it here. I know some authors who have sold more by public appearances that online so it make sense for every author with a paper version to try that route – readers love meeting authors. 🙂 What’s your favourite / least favourite aspect of your writing life? Has anything surprised you?
Steve: Favourite — I think it is exciting to “Google” the book title and find it available around the world in both paper and eBook form. Least favourite – marketing is a new challenge that I am still getting my head around.
Morgen: Yes. You’re in about 90-95% of authors who have said marketing in answer to that question. It takes us away from what we should be doing, the writing. What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Steve: In this age of self-publishing – go for it. If you think you have something to say, there is probably someone out there interested in listening / reading.
Morgen: Absolutely. We all like such different things – I’ve had reviewers (on Goodreads especially) who love and others who hate my eBooks, one who vowed never to read anything else by me. 🙂 If you could invite three people from any era to dinner, who would you choose and what would you cook (or hide the takeaway containers)?
Steve: Jesus Christ, William Shakespeare, and Benjamin Franklin. I make a pretty mean Italian tomato-basil sauce over angel-hair pasta with sweet sausages and a salad with vinaigrette dressing.
Morgen: Angel-hair pasta with sweet sausages sounds delicious. Is there a word, phrase or quote you like?
Steve: “You never know with bees” – Winnie the Pooh.
Morgen: or readers 🙂 Are you involved in anything else writing-related other than actual writing or marketing of your writing?
Steve: I wrote a little piece of music (a 6-part choral composition) with lyrics based upon The Lord’s Prayer that I have shown to a local music director. It would be neat to hear it performed.
Morgen: Wouldn’t that be great. I love knowing that people are reading what I’ve written but to be there when they’re doing so… What do you do when you’re not writing?
Steve: I am blessed with two young children and a very patient wife. I go to the gym every weekday morning (and have done so for decades) and still lift more weights than someone my age should probably do anymore. I also have a yard that constantly needs taming.
Morgen: 🙂 Are there any writing-related websites and / or books that you find useful?
Steve: I used Google extensively while researching for a publisher. There is a ton of information on the Internet about self-publishing.
Morgen: And lots of debates, especially on LinkedIn. Are you on any forums or networking sites? If so, how valuable do you find them?
Steve: I have recently attempted to use LinkedIn Groups. I am somewhere on the beginning of the learning curve. I am still in the infancy stage regarding Facebook. And I haven’t a clue about Twitter, Pinterest, etc.
Morgen: The trouble is there are so many sites to choose from. I’m on over a dozen and I lose track (I put links on the https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/contact page so I can access the irregulars when I need to!). I think using those four is a great start. What do you think the future holds for a writer?
Steve: There are far greater opportunities because of self-publishing capabilities, but I would think this simple fact makes it even harder to be “found” – the sea is so much larger now with many more fish in it.
Morgen: It certainly is, which is why (I think) the likes of guesting on blogs has become so popular (although I could be a tad biased :)), because we have to jump that little bit higher, shout that little bit louder. Where can we find out about you and your writing?
Steve: http://www.thelittlewave.com – Book Website
- http://sbpra.com/stephenlamoreaux – Author’s Website
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKDUFwGJAeo&feature=youtu.be – YouTube PR video
- http://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Stephen-Lamoreaux-Strategic-Book-Group/355167884541893 – Facebook for Book
- http://www.linkedin.com/in/stephenlamoreaux – LinkedIn Page
- http://www.thelittlewave.com/excerpt—chap1.html – Excerpt
Morgen: Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
Steve: Thank you for the opportunity to converse with you.
Morgen: You’re very welcome, Steve. Thank you for joining me. Is there anything you’d like to ask me?
Steve: Do you know a good press agent?
Morgen: I don’t personally but I’d suggest going through the Writer’s Market or Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook, or http://pred-ed.com. Thank you, Steve.
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