What’s it like to be a writer?

Posted by Pat Mestern on Mar 26th, 2014
Mar 26

I’m always asked what’s it like to be a writer. How do I handle all the publicity, all the fans, any negative reviews, positive reviews.  The answer(s) are quite simple. 

What’s it like to be a writer? I don’t write for a living, thank goodness. If I did, I’d starve to death in a dirty sleeping bag under a bridge somewhere.  I write for the love of putting words to paper, of telling a story that has been fermenting in my mind for months – years and needs to be told. I lead a somewhat normal life, as normal as one can be when one gets on a writing bender. On the other hand, there are days, weeks or even months when the well runs dry and I get bored.  That’s when I turn to travel and lifestyle writing . . .

 How do I handle all the publicity?  What publicity?  As I’m not one of CanLit’s family of the chosen twenty, getting publicity for my books is an ongoing struggle, for my publishers and for myself.  I write well.  I have books in the personal libraries of the President of the U.S. of A, and of Canada’s Governor General yet, my name is not exactly a household word.  By the way, I wouldn’t want to be one of those twenty chosen individuals. I’d find living in a fishbowl a difficult job.

How do I handle my fans?   I love them to bits.  I love to hear from people who have actually read my books, who have questions about the characters, who can hardly wait for the next work of fiction to be published.  Bring ’em on!   But, not by the busload please.  I’ve had that happen – fun and games.  Thanks to great neighbours I was able to come up with cookies, iced tea and a couple of gardens to tour.

What about those negative reviews?   I’ve not ever had a negative review.  I did have one group of Amish, or was it Mennonite, people took a dislike to “Anna, A Child of the Poor House” and “Rachael’s Legacy”.  One of their deacons said that the books were “sinful” and subsequently both books – all copies circulating in the community as a matter of fact were burned. Burned! Can you believe that in this day and age.  I’ve no idea why the burning of the books. I don’t write smut or bodice rippers.  I don’t have excessive violence or any sex (I close doors) in my works.  Appaently, the womenfolk were well into the stories and thoroughly enjoying them before one of the men – a deacon in one of the churches browsed the books and decreed that they be turned into firewood.  The other side of the coin is that “Rachael’s Legacy” is listed as a source for biographical information by a Mennonite group in Iowa. So you never know what’s coming down the tubes, surprises are the spice of life!

How about the positive reviews?  I love them.  I’d love to have more.  If any of my dedicated readers, and those who’ve just found my books, would like to post a review on Amazon or Barnes & Noble or even Chapter/Indigo or Goodreads.com – any website that accepts reviews, please feel free to do so.  And, thank you from the bottom of my heart!

If you have any difficulty getting any of titles, espcially “Magdalena’s Song” or “No Choice But Freedom”  please contact Ingalls Publishing Group, my U.S. publisher.  www.ingallspublishinggroup.com  If I’ve got that link wrong, just google Ingalls Publishing Group.  At the moment, both titles “Clara” and “Anna, A Child of the Poor House” are out of print.  They may be republished soon.  They should be available through interlibrary loan. For the time being, I’d suggest Magdalena’s Song,  No Choice But Freedom and my favourite Granite.  Have a great read.

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