- Guest Author -
Welcome to an interview conducted with an author from South Africa - Leonard Rawlins.
Welcome, Leonard ...
1. TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR WRITING JOURNEY.
I am now fifty one years old, and was born on 21 April 1963 in a small mining town called Carletonville, in South Africa. Me and my wife, whom I’ve been married to for twenty-five years, still reside in Carletonville. We have a son, aged 25, and a daughter, aged 22. My journey as a writer/author, must have started when I was still in Primary School. Books were an everyday part of my life, and I read as many books as I could about any genre. Reading was almost as good as food to me, but it was only later on that I realised just how much it meant to me.
2. WHEN AND HOW DID YOU BECOME A WRITER?
As I’ve mentioned before, my writing career started off in Primary School. I was the one who always wrote essays for all my friends in school, and received the nickname Professor for my uncanny ability with Grammar and spelling. I could also, and am still able to do so, write a story on any subject. This continued through-out my High School career as well. A couple of years later, after settling down with my wife, I started writing again, but this time did so with my focus on completing a manuscript, not only short stories. A couple of manuscripts piled up in a box, and twenty-three years later, in 2011, I decided to take the leap and submit part of my latest manuscript for review. Four days after submitting it, I received a very positive reply from the Publishers, with an offer to submit the completed manuscript. It took me another year and a whole lot of research in between working a fulltime job, to complete it. In February 2013 it was submitted, and five months later I was holding the Print Proof Copy of my Novel.
3. WHAT TYPE OF PREPARATION DO YOU DO FOR A MANUSCRIPT? DO YOU PLAN EVERYTHING FIRST OR JUST SHOOT FROM THE HIP?
I don’t do any preparation for a manuscript before I start writing. I shoot straight from the hip, and my story and characters develop as I write.
4. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
The thing I enjoy most about being a writer, is the way the story unfolds, the plot comes together, and the development of my characters. I also enjoy being alone in my study when I write. I’m in another world when my book is forged from my brain onto paper.
5. WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
The hardest thing about being a writer, is most certainly the marketing aspect of the completed product. Marketing is all about Strategy, and building a platform from which one can work. It sounds easier than it is, and most Authors fall into the pit here, because of the lack of knowledge concerning the marketing.
6. WHAT WERE YOU IN A PAST LIFE, BEFORE YOU BECAME A WRITER?
Well, I don’t believe in all that past life diddle-daddle goo choo, but if it were true, I’d definitely say a Cowboy (Sheriff, to be precise) hahaha.
7. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WRITING ACHIEVEMENT?
I’d say my greatest achievement up to this point in time, was getting my Novel published. It’s a legacy in the making, because my book will be there for my Grandchildren to read, and their children, and so forth. The written word is there for all to see, and ages to come.
8. WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
At the moment I’m busy with two more Novels. One is another Western, and the other a Thriller. Then I’m also busy with a true story, inspired by actual events, which is about Substance Abuse.
9. WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Small things inspire me, for instance when someone reads my book, and finds it intriguing and fascinating, or if someone says something that really sticks in my mind.
10. WHAT GENRE DO YOU WRITE?
I like writing Westerns, but I wouldn’t say that it’s my specific Genre that I’m going to keep writing about. There are plenty of Genre’s to write about, and I’ll make full use of the playing field.
11. DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR NEW WRITERS?
Yes, I do. Market yourself as well as your Brand before your book gets published or released. That way, by the time your book is released, you’ll already have some platform established which you can work from. Use all available Social Media websites to promote and market your product.
12. DO YOU SUFFER FROM WRITER’S BLOCK?
No, I don’t. I find that there is not enough hours in a day to write. Whenever I sit down to write, I’m not at a loss for words.
13. DO YOU HAVE A PREFERRED WRITING SCHEDULE?
No, not specifically, but I like writing during the late afternoon. Not because I prefer to, but because I do my marketing during the early hours of the day, which leaves me with more time to write.
14. DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE WRITING PLACE?
Yes, my study is my most favourite writing place. I have a splendid view, and nobody interrupts me while I’m in there ploughing away on the keyboard.
15. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST JOY IN WRITING?
My greatest joy in writing, is seeing others enjoy reading my book as much as I did writing it.
16. WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHOR AND WHY?
My favourite Author is John Grisham. His court-room battles are extremely compelling, that it’s almost real.
17. WHAT’S THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED FROM A READER?
That I have a natural talent for writing, as I do not have any formal qualification like a degree in Literature or Journalism. I’ve also been told that my characters come alive.
18. WHAT WAS THE WORST COMMENT FROM A READER?
I have not had any negative feedback from any person who has read my book. I’m not saying that I write faultless, because nobody’s perfect. I know there is someone who will find mistakes in what I’ve written, but I take negative critique to be a building block to a stronger foundation.
19. WRITERS ARE SOMETIMES INFLUENCED BY THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN THEIR OWN LIVES. ARE YOU?
Sure I am, it’s only human. One of the three books that I’m busy with at the moment, relates to a person very, very close to us who was(don’t know whether she still is) addicted to hard-core drugs, and the way that it has influenced our lives up to now.
20. OTHER THAN WRITING, WHAT ELSE DO YOU LOVE?
Aside from writing, I do pencil-sketching and oil painting. I also like watching a good action movie, real crime and of course, a good Western.
21. DID YOU HAVE YOUR BOOK / BOOKS PROFESSIONALLY EDITED BEFORE PUBLICATION?
No, I do all the Editing, Proofreading and Formatting myself.
22. DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY.
I have a nice, hot shower when I wake up, and put on my most comfortable clothes, which happens to be a tracksuit. My breakfast is tasty, not too large, with a good cup of superhot coffee. I spend half an hour playing with my Bullmastiff pup, who is now one year old and extremely large. Then I open my e-mail and start answering mails, go onto the Social websites and do some marketing. Around two pm I start writing, and take a break every two hours in between, until six-thirty pm. On Saturdays and Sundays I don’t do any writing, nor do I open my laptop.
23. IF YOU WERE STUCK ON A DESERT ISLAND WITH ONE PERSON, WHO WOULD IT BE? WHY?
I’d have to say that it would have to be Confucious. He has so many wise proverbs, and I’d like him to give me the meaning of all those wise words of his, so I could understand them and put them to good use.
24. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO SPEAK TO WORLD LEADERS?
World leaders? Everybody believes that they’re a world leader in their own right. I have quite a bit I’d like to say to them, give them a piece of my mind. They’d have me locked up straight away for insubordination. Best I keep my thoughts to myself.
25. WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
My plans for the future are to build a strong client base of readers who enjoy reading my books, to become a well-known Author, and to improve my family’s lifestyle.
26. DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN ANY OF YOUR CHARACTERS?
Yes, I do. I’m sure that every Author/writer has at one time during their lives created a character very similar to their own.
27. DOES THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY FRUSTRATE YOU?
At times it does. Not everybody who works for a Publishing House, knows what they’re doing, nor do they have all the answers. I write something in my Novel the way I mean for it to be, and then an Editor wants to tell me that it’s not supposed to be written like that? Is he inside my brain to know what I meant when I wrote those words? On top of everything they want you to pay them an arm and a leg to edit your hard work so it pleases them.
28. DID YOU EVER THINK OF QUITTING?
Yes, I have, especially when it feels like you’re not getting anywhere with a marketing campaign, and your book’s just not doing what you imagine it should be doing.
29. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE MANUSCRIPT TO WRITE? WHY?
My Novel, Guns of Justice, that got Published and released in August 2013. That was really my brainchild, and I enjoyed writing it the most. I think it has (no, I know it has) the potential to be made into a REAL BLOCKBUSTER of a movie, even if I dare say so myself.
30. HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE ‘SUCCESS’ AS A WRITER.
Success as a writer to me means to write as many excellent books as possible, and have them all read by people who really enjoyed them as words of art.
31. WHAT SHOULD READERS WALK AWAY FROM YOUR BOOKS KNOWING? HOW SHOULD THEY FEEL?
Readers who walk away from my book after they’ve read it, should know that it was written with passion. They should feel like they have just lived out their lives in the characters of my book.
32. HOW MUCH THOUGHT GOES INTO DESIGNING A BOOK COVER?
A book cover is an Authors most efficient marketing tool. The cover tells a story on its own, worth more than a thousand words. It has to attract the reader’s attention at first glance and make him/her want to buy the book.
33. WHAT’S YOUR ULTIMATE DREAM?
My ultimate dream? To race along a four-lane Highway at breakneck speed in a Candy Apple Red Lamborghini. No other car on the Highway, no traffic cops.
34. WRITING IS ONE THING. WHAT ABOUT MARKETING YOU, YOUR BOOKS AND YOUR BRAND? ANY THOUGHTS?
Perseverance and marketing strategy. A well planned support system, and a lot of patience. Advertise as much as possible, wherever possible. There’s no such thing as over marketing your product, yourself or your brand. Why is Coca Cola so successful? ADVERTISING OVER AND OVER.
35. ARE YOUR BOOKS SELF-PUBLISHED?
Yes, my book is self-published. Going the Traditional way doesn’t do it, too much of a schlep, time-consuming, too little Royalties.
36. DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN FIVE WORDS.
Charismatic, Honest, Loyal, Christian, Family-man.
37. WHAT PISSES YOU OFF MOST?
If someone goes back on his/her word of honor, and if someone is disrespectful of another’s needs.
38. WHAT IS THE TITLE OF THE LAST BOOK YOU READ? GOOD ONE?
The last book I read was Elephant Song, by Wilbur Smith, and like all his previous Novels, this one was also excellent.
39. WHAT WOULD BE THE VERY LAST SENTENCE YOU’D WRITE?
I apologise to everyone for all the wrongs that I’ve committed during my life.
40. WHAT WOULD MAKE YOU HAPPIER THAN YOU ARE NOW? CARE TO SHARE?
Happier than I am now? Yes, there is one thing. That my daughter comes to realize the predicament she’s in, and takes steps to free herself from her situation, and accepts the help we want to give her.
41. ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE TO ADD?
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my book and thoughts with others like myself and potentially interested clients. I also want to thank God for blessing me with the talent to write.
· http://sbpra.com/LeonardDRawlins (Author website)
· Twitter: @JusticeGuns
· LinkedIn: za.linkedin.com/pub/leonard-rawlins/57/949/85a
· Facebook Fan page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Guns-of-Justice/574069929304397
· About me: http://about.me/ldrawlins
· YouTube: http://.you tu.be/nLUtkB_ncE4
Clancy's comment: Go, Leonard! Many thanks for sparing the time to be interviewed.
Think about this!