Interview with Aussie Scribbler author of How To Be Free.
How long have you been writing for?
That’s a difficult question as I have moved into writing very gradually. In the late 80s I started expressing some of my views through letters to newspapers, later I wrote a couple of articles and eventually moved on to writing a few erotic stories only for the amusement of myself and some friends on-line, and then, just last year I wrote my first non-fiction book and published it and some of my erotica in ebook form.
What would you say is the most difficult part of writing a book?
I’ve never found writing terribly difficult. I suppose the hardest part is actually finding the time to write or perhaps the time to eat and sleep once the writing process takes hold.
What genre do you generally write?
I’ve written one psychological self-help book and a bunch of humorous erotica. I’ve also written a couple of non-erotic satirical pieces.
Do you have a favourite author and why?
I suppose I would have to say John Waters as he is a kind of hero of mine. He’s my favourite film director, but he also writes books, and those books express the spirit, sense of humour and philosophy which strikes such a chord with me.
What is your book called and how did you choose this title?
My self-help book is called How to Be Free. Originally I was thinking of calling it The Freedom Manifesto but that seemed kind of presumptuous, and How to Be Free says very simply and directly what kind of advice it is that I want to share with the reader.
Unconditional self-acceptance is the foundation for mental health. Our efforts to prove our worth or to try to be “better people” can make us depressed, anxious and uncreative people, but if we start by accepting ourselves as we are now and recognise that the love of perfection is the root of all evil, we can move towards a state of freedom, wholeness, love and creativity. The human race has been neurotic since before the dawn of civilisation and all forms of human destructiveness are symptoms of that neurosis. But we are living at a time in which the repressive dogmas and structures of society are breaking down and we may be on the threshold of a new world in which our deeper unconditionally loving nature can flourish.
Has your book been published and how did you go about this?
So far How to Be Free has only been published in ebook form. I published it myself through Smashwords and made it available as a free download as my main interest is to share the ideas which have been useful to me in freeing myself from a depression and anxiety.
Approximately how long did it take you to finish your book?
The ideas grew over a period of many years, and I put some of them into writing at various times, but the actual writing of the book was something which only took two or three weeks, with a few weeks after that getting feedback and making minor changes.
What advice would you give aspiring authors?
Read really good writing, as we generally end up writing somewhat less well than those whose books we are in the habit of reading. Also I recommend reading Keith Johnstone’s book Impro : Improvisation and the Theatre. Although it is ostensibly a book about theatrical improvisation, Johnstone gives advice on how to unlock one’s imagination and creativity and on what makes for a compelling story. If I had not read Johnstone I would probably have written little if any fiction as every time I write it is with a conscious application of his principles of improvisation. As far as I’m concerned his book is the cure for writer’s block.
Do you use social media to promote your book, if yes then which social networks do you like the most?
If you had to do it all over again what would you do differently?
I have no regrets, but maybe I would have started earlier with ebook self-publishing. I never realised how easy it is.
What books do you like to read in your spare time?
I like to read books about movies and also playful erotica and anything which makes me laugh. I just wish I had more time to read as I do enjoy a range of different genres of fiction, from science fiction to horror to detective stories as well as non-fiction, but I only end up reading a book here or there.
What do you feel is the most important stage of writing a book?
I think the most important stage is coming up with the idea for it. If the central concept is poor, it won’t be a good book.
How did you go about designing the cover for your book? Please provide an image.
I’m not very experienced with creating cover designs, but always do my own working from the philosophy that a striking image (which I buy from a royalty free image site) in a simple layout with an attractive font is all that is necessary to make for an attractive, eye-catching cover.
Are you writing or considering writing a follow-up to your book?
I have a couple of possibilities in mind. I’ve written a few essays for my blog or for Facebook expanding on ideas in the book. So I could collect them into another supplementary ebook. The other idea which I have in mind but which might require quite a bit of research would be to do a book specifically related to a rational non-supernatural interpretation of the philosophy of Jesus and how our neurotic society perverted it into something oppressive and superstitious. This is something I only touched on briefly in How to Be Free.
Do you have a day job (if so, what do you do?) or do you write full-time?
I work in a library part-time.
Where is your book available to buy?
My book is free from the following places: