Interviews by Publishing Secrets





Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let's begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?

I once worked in Turkey as a translator and guide, and I lived in a small, restrictive community like the one I describe in my book. The police were aggressive and corrupt, there was political unrest, and life could be frankly dangerous. I also spent time on archaeological sites in Israel, England and France and Greece, so I also know a certain amount about artifact theft. Therefore, it was only natural to combine the things I knew and my experiences in a book. I love writing, and I particularly enjoy writing romances with all the complications and doubts of two people discovering each other. But I also love mysteries, and in The Turkish Affair, the reader can link up the clues and find the guilty party.

Is this your first book?

No, this is my eight published book, plus one photography book. I suppose I should add I have two finished non-fiction manuscripts that are looking for a publisher.

With this particular book, how did you publish - traditional, small press, Indie, etc. - and why did you choose this method?

I always publish through a publisher. I suppose I need to know that a traditional publisher finds my work good enough to be accepted. And, I usually work with small presses.

Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?

I have generally had good relationships with publishers. However, one editor I worked with on a non-fiction book wanted me to make so many changes - she rewrote almost every sentence - which I found unacceptable. If she didn't like the way I used language, she shouldn't have accepted to be my editor. I called her up and asked if we could meet for breakfast the next morning. That's when I told her I wouldn't be making the changes, and would prefer ending my contract. She immediately backed down. The book was published the way I wanted it, and it won a literary prize. However, I did run into two other writers who had the same problem - one of them with the same editor. They accepted all the changes instead of fighting, and since the published book was totally different from the one they had written, they hated it.

I had a similar experience a few years ago. One publisher contracted me to write a book, but when he saw how critical it was, he refused to publish it as is… it was supposed to be all sweetness and light. We decided to end our deal but we've remained friends.

A year later, another publisher wanted me to add chapters about modern music stars. Since I was writing a biography about a 19th century rebel poet and the political situation in Eastern Europe before WWI, I refused.

What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?

I've very much enjoyed working with several publishers, and I love working with my editor for, The Turkish Affair, Eilidh MacKenzie. I've already worked with her on three books, and I never disagree with her.

I also like working with small presses because I can have a personal relationship with the people working there. One thing I dislike about the large publishing houses is how they choose a few writers - usually famous ones or one who are writing about “trendy” subjects - then spend an enormous amount of money promoting them. They let all their other writers sink or swim, and that usually means that the forgotten authors' books are on the shelves for three months, then they're ground into pulp.

Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?

Small press publishing? Definitely. But you'll have to do an enormous amount of promotion if you want to make money. However, if you don't care about the financial side of things and just want to write, then fine, go for it.

What's the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?

The one thing all writers are faced with at one time or another, is rejection. I have no words to lighten the dismal feeling a rejection slip brings, but we just have to get on with it, send that manuscript out again. After a while, rejection doesn't even hurt: it's just another challenge.


Turkish Affair

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