Today, I will be interviewing Hermine Strand, a writer’s writer, who will be self-publishing his books out of philosophical commitment. A writer living in Toronto, Canada, with an emerging international career in diverse types of fiction.
1.Tell me about yourself
I am 47 years old, totally unattached with no dependants (by a long-ago deliberate choice I’ve stuck to) and am retired in penurious comfort, now pursuing my first love: writing good fiction.
2. I understand you have a book, is it self published or traditionally published?
I am not yet published, but hopefully soon. My first novel will be To Dream Big Dreams, to be followed by a sequel called The Music Lives. Both will be part of the Glimpses of Next book series.
Meanwhile, I have also written a somewhat R-rated horror short story entitled “That One Time” that will likely be the first thing I publish, but under the pen name Lawry Street in order to avoid confusing readers. All of those will be self-published and only in various ebook formats. I am a strong believer in responsible, quality self-publishing and delivering good value to readers, because it’s the reader, not some intermediary, who ultimately matters.
3. Please can you let us know what it is about?
Glimpses of Next is a series featuring heroines who all have this in common: they are all skeptics who don’t believe in psychic phenomena or the paranormal, but they all have some limited foreknowledge of the future—not their own future, but a small number of future public events.
To Dream Big Dreams features Karla Smart, born in 1962 in the United States, who knows certain lovely music that makes trouble for her until her problems are resolved. Although not a children’s book, Dreams takes place when Karla is six years old. The sequel takes place when she is sixteen, and it’s in the sequel that she gets a nasty surprise about her music and faces a difficult choice in the musical career she has devoted herself to building.
Meanwhile, “That One Time” features Sonia Stark, a woman with a dark, horrible secret that haunts her. While stuck at the airport during a snowstorm, she meets Chris Wedger, an engaging man nearly half her age. Although Sonia is devoted to her long-suffering husband, it looks like she and Chris will become very good friends. Then things go horribly wrong, and it all has to do with her secret.
4. How did you come up with the plot/idea?
Glimpses of Next began as a novel entitled Lightning in the Thistles, which abruptly died as I was writing the twelfth chapter, turning into dust and ashes. The heroine of that novel, Cindy Poillon, is someone I still love, and I’m sad that her story will never be told. But the novel was too complex, so I decided to break it up into a series and add new series material as it comes up. Cindy will get reincarnated as Karla and her sisters, even though they are totally different people from her.
The first two novels of the series came to me easily from existing plans for Lightning. I just had to write a summary of Karla’s life story, even the parts that wouldn’t be in her novel, then create a plot summary for the first novel and note some ideas for the second.
As for “That One Time,” it has a highly colorful history. As a teenager decades ago, I watched a made-for-TV movie and perverted the title in my head, then started wanting to write a story to fit the title. A possible story came to me about twenty years later, but it was buffoonish and silly, and somebody had already made a porno movie by that name. Just a few days ago, I had occasion to discuss this with a fellow writer who does only short stories, and got inspired to write a genuine, serious story based on the concept. The first draft of “That One Time” took only about two hours to write even though it was about 4,300 words. Since then I have been refining it steadily, and hope to have it ready for publication soon.
5. How long did it take to write the book?
To Dream Big Dreams is only about 17,000 words and took about two weeks. The short story was written very quickly in a fit of inspiration, which happens rarely and is the most satisfying way for me to write—what former writer Shannon Grindstaff dubbed “the wordspill.” It’s one of my favorite concepts.
6. Did you do a lot or any research?
Instead of relying on research when I write a first draft, I rely on my life experience and scattered bits of knowledge that make a story believable. After the first draft is written, I verify my facts through research. It’s important to get the facts right, but I don’t believe in overpacking my stories with a lot of educational material, although other writers are totally free to write didactically.
7. Who are the main character(s)?
The main character of the novel and sequel is Karla Smart. The main character of the short story is Sonia Stark.
8. Who or what was your inspiration to write the story?
My inspiration for all stories is my life experience. I don’t write autobiographically, and in fact I make a big deal of my characters not being me, but their own people. Still, I stick to writing what I really do know.
9. What are you currently working on now?
I am currently doing the gruntwork on getting the first novel and short story ready for release, as well as trying to make sure that the readers who are right for my work have an opportunity to find out it exists.
10. Do you have a blog/website for the readers to reach you?
My website is called Nihilism for Dilettantes and is at http://earthatory.wordpress.com/. I post a new blog entry every day, and there are Work and Bio pages. My public contact email address, which I share freely, is firstname.lastname@example.org
11. Please tell us where to purchase your book.
As soon as my work is ready for purchase I’ll be sure to let you know.