Thanks to Greta Burroughs for this interview
How long have you been writing?
Actually, I started writing very short stories about the kids I worked with when I was teaching preschoolers about 30 years ago. That doesn’t really count though. Professionally, I have been working as a freelance journalist for a local newspaper since 2006, and writing my books (when time allowed) during the same timeframe.
Do you have a day job or do you write for a living?
I had to give up my newspaper work a few months ago. There were not enough hours in the day to do a proper job of writing books, promoting/marketing, writing up interviews for the newspaper and all the other projects we had going on. I had to give something up and decided there would be more of a future in writing books. But I am still doing a few articles and stories for children’s magazines, and I have recently started as a Yahoo! contributing writer.
What do you feel is the ideal recipe for a good novel/story/poem?
You have to combine equal parts of imagination, writing skills and self-discipline to do any type of writing.
What/who inspired you to write and still inspires you?
My husband, Robert F DeBurgh was my inspiration. He wrote Riders of the Wind and developed quite a following of fans. He encouraged me to give it a try, and that was when I started freelancing and writing my books. We work together as a team and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What books have you written? Do you stick to one genre?
So far, I only have one novel in publication, Gerald and the Wee People, but there are a couple more books almost completed. Wee People is a YA/fiction/fantasy, but the other two are completely different genres. One is a children’s chapter book and the other is a non-fiction account of my experiences with a blood disorder called ITP.
How long did it take you to write your book/s?
Since I was writing only when I had a few spare minutes around my other duties, it took almost two years to complete Gerald and the Wee People.
Do you have any works in progress?
Yes, I have a children’s chapter book, Patchwork Dog and Calico Cat, which is waiting for illustrations. Heartaches and Miracles has been an ongoing project since I was diagnosed with ITP in 2005. I also want to do a sequel to Wee People entitled House on Bo-Kay Lane.
Which character from your books do you like most / are most like?
That is difficult to say. The two main characters, Vernon and Gerald, were named in honour and memory of my father and uncle who had passed away. My mother, Allison, was included as a character after she died. I wanted to keep their spirits alive and putting their names in print was the best way I could do that.
Where and when do you write – do you have set times during which you write or is it just when the mood takes you?
I have to be very flexible and grab any moment I can to write. I cannot set any schedule because every day is different and my responsibilities to my family come first.
How do you find the marketing experience? Any advice for other writers? Do you use a blog or twitter, etc?
Marketing is harder than the actual writing. I am learning as I go. Thanks to groups like Indie Writers, Book Junkies and Amazon UK, I have met some great people and learned a lot, but I still have a long way to go. I am going to set up a blog and website in the near future (when I learn how to do it).
Some of your fave things... Animal? Food? Drink? Film? Colour? Band? Song? Place to chill out?
My favourite animal has to be a dog. We live out in the country and seem to attract all the homeless dogs around here. We take them in and try to find homes for them. The ones we can’t place, we keep. At one time, we had seven four-legged kids, but are now down to three. Favorite food and drink has to be iced tea and chocolate-chip cookies. As far as music goes, I have different tastes for whatever mood I am in. Mostly, I enjoy classical, soft jazz and oldies. The best place to chill out is at a local state park located next to the Lumber River. We really enjoy going up there for walks along the nature trails, or for a picnic to just sit and watch the world go by.
Which book do you wish you had written?
I enjoy reading the Dragons of Pern series by Anne McCaffery. I would love to be able to create a world like that.
Which three authors (living or not) would you like to take to the pub?
It would be very interesting to talk with Ernest Hemingway, JRR Tolkien and Anne McCaffery. It would fun to get to know the people behind the books and pick their brains on how they get the creative juices flowing.
What other hobbies/interests do you have or has writing taken over?
My husband and I are avid motorcycle riders. We have restored some old British bikes and enjoy riding, showing and just being around other two-wheel fanatics. A couple of years ago, we broke down and bought a BMW R90 for the electric start and smoother cruising. We are getting soft in our old age.
What would you like to achieve in the next five years?
In the next five years, I would like to have all the books I have started writing in production and selling decently. I am also using Wee People in talks with young people, trying to get them back into reading. Reading is becoming a dying art with the younger generation, and I want to continue my ‘Joy of Reading’ campaign and hopefully reach as many kids/teenagers as possible in the years to come.
If you won the Lotto, what would you do with all it?
That is a dream we have had for quite a while. There are many humanitarian projects that we would like to start. I would also like to have a foundation of some kind that would help people and organisations interested in the arts, specifically writing. That is after we pay off all our debts, fix all our vehicles, get a nicer place to live, do a little traveling…
Finally, what question do you wish I’d asked and, of course, what is the answer?
Where to find my book!
Gerald and the Wee People by Greta Burroughs