Thanks for joining us today, Jeff.
What compelled you to write these short stories about/to your children?
My first two books are about me and my ex-wife Stephanie. These are non-fiction of course. After I finished the second book I decided to write more “Notes” books using stories about my family. Hence the third book is about my two children. A fourth will be about stories from my own life before my kids were born.
Oh boy that is a hard one. There are several possible candidates for sure. One is “An Autographed Pizza Box” which is about my son having the owner of a favorite pizza joint autograph one of his pizza boxes like the man was a pro-athlete or celebrity – there is a mP3 file of this on my website. And one about my daughter at Christmas time “One Xmas At Granbury” which describes her in a little girl wonderland of sorts as we went through a giant indoor Christmas diorama/knickknack display at a library. These stories are special since they both describe an event that has stuck in my memory but also shows a special side of their personality.
Some of the stories about the troubles my son had, born three months prematurely, were the hardest since he very nearly died. Writing about those times made many strong emotions well up inside of me for obvious reasons. It was a “yin-yang” sort of thing since he is now a 27-year-old grown man working in telecom and you would never know what happened to him if you saw him. And some focused solely about my daughter made the memories well up too – like the Note “Home With Baby Jane” where I tell about how I once snapped at her, much to my regret, but it was something that showed the loving sides of her personality and mine both. Finally, the Notes that talk about their grandparents also show strong feelings. In short, being a loving dad made many things came back into focus as I recalled the times when they were little and the places we had been together. Thus a sense of home and family comes out in many of the Notes. Here is one example from “The New Park”:
“The New Park will remain with me always. A place filled with many cherished recollections of your young and little years - memories of many good, fun, and exciting times spent together under its shady trees. It is a place that is pleasant, comforting, and filled only with good. All of the parks in our lives should forever be that way unlike the trying playgrounds we see so often in our lives”.
How did you decide to Self-Publish?
I looked into getting in print the old fashioned way and weighed the amount of time and effort that might take against the type of work I do which is consulting which sometimes requires long and weird hours plus travel and decided this would be easier time-wise. Plus I would retain control of the process – being a project manager this fits my personality to be able to manage things. So I read some books on it – you can see such works on Amazon – and the rest is history, to use the cliché.
I alluded to the upsides above as you can see: you retain control over the effort. The downside is that you have to do all of the work yourself, which implies a learning curve. One of the biggest hurdles is marketing one’s works to get sales. That is the biggest thing I am still trying to learn how to do.
What would you advise to authors considering self-publishing?
You should do your homework in detail – read the several good books on the subject to see how it works and what the options are, make sure your personality fits the model you choose, and be willing to do the work that is required to produce and market your product. Speaking of marketing I have done some book signings, and have sent out review copies of the book among other things. You should be willing to try new things and experiment to find what works best for you – again I’m still working on that part!
When I get the book about my kids done I will move on to the book about my own growing up years. I have a chapter outline already done. After that the actual writing will ensue. Plus I have some rough ideas for a fifth “Notes” book, which will be a collection of things I have written here and there on a variety of things. Some of these appear on my own blog and I want to say some are here as well.
Being a history buff I could name several people but since there is only one choice I would choose General George S. Patton. I’ve read books about him, including two volumes of letters he wrote, and of course enjoyed the two movies about him from Hollywood: Patton and the Last Days Of Patton. I would like to see firsthand what he was like and not just through the lens of books or films.
Come back on Friday for an excerpt of Notes to My Kids: Little Stories About Grown Up Kids, including a chance to win a free set of his memoirs to one lucky commentator. Contact Jeff at the following sites.
www.ilypants.net and jeffturnerbooks.wordpress.com