Today Wise Ink is featuring an interview with indie author Marcy L. Peska, author of “Head Buckets & Hashtags.” Marcy provided fantastic insight about her writing process and publishing experience. Check her book out here.
1. We love the title of your book, Head Buckets and Hashtags. Can you share a little about your book and how you came up with the title?
Thank you! I love it, too because it feels like I’ve uploaded a portion of my personal paradigm to the collective consciousness! I get a kick out of the notion that someday, hundreds of people will know what a head bucket is.
Head Buckets & Hashtags tells the story of my childhood, much of which I spent living on boats. Nautical language was part of daily life in my family and I grew up using words like bow (front), stern (back) and galley (kitchen). I even learned port and starboard before I learned left and right. On a boat or ship a “head” is the toilet or the bathroom.
When my family moved into the tiny float house that I describe in my memoir as The Little House, we used what most folks would refer to as a “honey bucket”. We also had a honey bucket, though; filled with honey. It seemed unwise to risk confusion so we called our piss pail a head bucket.
2. Your memoir is written through a series of 140-character tweets with hashtags incorporated throughout. What an original idea. Can you tell us about your writing process?
My writing process for this project was pretty haphazard; I didn’t mean to write a memoir. Doesn’t that sound funny? I laugh at myself when I realize that I accidentally wrote a memoir!
I started out tweeting factoids, sharing details about Alaska and opening a small window for others to catch a glimpse of this splendid place. My factoids gradually gave way to reminiscing about some of the more exotic elements of my childhood.
Then, I realized that the stories I was tweeting were coming together in chronological order and felt cohesive. For several days, maybe as much as a week or so, I tweeted spontaneously each day at noon. I didn’t plan what I wanted to share that day, I just let it happen.
As more and more people started to tune into my noon tweets, I grew more intentional in my storytelling; deciding an hour or so before I tweeted, what I would share that day. Then, I think around day 11, the words were flowing fast for me, so I sat down and wrote out the remainder of what I wanted to tweet over the final four days.
Some folks are fond of the notion that process and routine are the hallmarks of “a real writer.” I tend to think that self-discipline is an important skill and one that helps people complete various projects. I also think that practice is necessary to improving any skill.
Where I differ from some writers is that I don’t believe compulsive adherence to an imposed writing schedule directly correlates to the quality of writing output or the validity of what is written. Humans are beautiful and marvelously varied and there’s room for as many creative styles as there are people.
I usually enjoy writing every day but I’m most motivated and productive in the springtime and I’ve always been that way. Sometimes, after a few months of writing for several hours each day, I get burned out.
When that happens, I stop writing for a while. I find other activities and creative outlets until my brain fills up with words again and my computer calls to me like a siren.
3. Can you share with our readers your overall indie publishing process? How did you go about publishing your book?
After I wrapped my tweets up, one of my close Twitter pals asked me what I planned to do with what I’d written. The question stunned me for about three seconds because I hadn’t considered doing anything further with it.
Hard on the heels of those slack-jawed three seconds came the realization that it was important for me to publish my story. My friend made some suggestions about possible publishing options and encouraged me to think about what felt right to me. I spent a day researching literary magazines and other possible publishing routes.
I’ve been working on a larger writing project, a fantasy novel, for over a year and determined some time ago that I would publish the novel independently using Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).
At the end of the day, and after exploring a lot of options, I decided that, even more than my fantasy novel, I needed to be in complete control of Head Buckets & Hashtags. It’s my story, not just because I wrote it, but because I lived it and because a portion of it deals with child abuse and disempowerment. I’m not willing to adapt this piece to anyone else’s expectations.
Once I made that decision, I decided on a title, created a cover image, wrote the blurb and front matter and did some light editing.
Two weeks after my last day tweeting the story, I was ready to self-publish.
4. What did you learn through the publishing process that you would you advise authors to be aware of?
This question makes me chuckle because I managed to publish Head Buckets & Hashtags before I was ready. I somehow missed the prompt that allowed me to preview the uploaded product, hit enter at the right (or wrong) moment and, whooooosh; my book was published! I hadn’t yet sorted out some formatting issues and none of the photographs were uploaded at that point. It was an entertaining 24 hours of uploading and re-uploading as I experimented until I got it right.
So, from the perspective of a publishing neophyte, the two things I’d recommend are to learn how to transform a Word document into a compressed zip folder before you upload and to stay alert as you whiz through KDP’s easy-to-use digital publishing process.
5. What’s next for you? What other projects do you have in the works?
I’m thrilled to be putting the final touches on my debut novel. Magic All Around is a contemporary fantasy set here in Juneau, Alaska. I’m a dog-lover, so there are plenty of canine characters as well as magic, adventure and a touch of mystery.
Magic All Around will go live on KDP on Mother’s Day! The following day, (5/13/13) I’ll be hosting a Twitter launch party for the novel from noon-2p.m. Alaska Standard Time (4-6pm ET) complete with games and give-aways.
I’m eager to begin writing the sequel to Magic All Around during the second half of May!
If folks are interested in learning more about me, I’m all over the internet, or at least I feel like I am!
Additionally, I welcome questions and comments via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Marcy-Peska/e/B00C632QOW/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
Marcy L. Peska is a dog-loving author who lives with her husband and their four-footed pitsky (pit bull/husky mix) Jeb, in Juneau, Alaska. Ms. Peska blogs at http://mpeska.blogspot.com/and wrote a short memoir, Head Buckets & Hashtags: An Alaskan Childhood In Tweets, about growing up in “bush” Alaska. You can learn more about Ms. Peska’s short memoir, as well as her upcoming fantasy novel, at her web site www.marcylpeska.com.