- Guest Author -
Today, I welcome the author of the children's series "Oliver and Jumpy" for small to primary school-aged children. The Oliver stories started out with YouTube clips and are now available as picture books as well. Werner's involvement in "Oliver and Jumpy" is the latest project in a very interesting life.
Welcome, Werner …
1. TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR WRITING JOURNEY.
I was born in Austria, worked for the United Nations in Vienna for many years before my wife and two children and I emigrated to Perth, Western Australia, in 1987. In Australia I was involved in Network Marketing, online exports and the printing trade, to finally get involved in Real Estate. Our children are married, and we have three grandchildren. With the empty house syndrome and finally retired, I had to fill the void. This was when, very surprisingly, my series “Oliver and Jumpy” came into being.
2. WHEN AND HOW DID YOU BECOME A WRITER?
I have always been an avid reader and did like to write essays, newspaper articles etc. Of course there has always been the idea about that novel to be written. The problem with immigrants is that you lose a lot of ability in your mother tongue and you never gain full expertise with your second language. I found that not only did I have the language for novel writing, which could be overcome with ghost writers or good editors, but I simply did not have any plots to tell. But whoever looks after us decided to give me an option. On an West to East-bound flight with sleepless nights afterwards, the idea for my series was born. Through the first night I was somehow given the idea to write my stories for small kids as a series. I saw the two main characters before me and had the first three short stories in my mind when I got up in the morning. I wrote another story daily. They are now nearly 60. Two days later I thought it might be great to have them illustrated. I found several great illustrators who helped me to create the YouTube illustrations and now the ebooks. This series is still continuing. There will eventually be 20 books sometime by the end of the year. A TV series is next on the agenda.
3. WHAT TYPE OF PREPARATION DO YOU DO FOR A MANUSCRIPT? DO YOU PLAN EVERYTHING FIRST OR JUST SHOOT FROM THE HIP?
I used to get most ideas for a new story in the pool swimming. I have learned to see the story in pictures and write the text accordingly.
4. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
I love doing my series, because I do almost everything myself. I write the story, source it out for illustrations, create the book and YouTube version on my Ipad, do all promoting and so forth.
5. WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
Like most writers will know, promotions are the hardest.
6. WHAT WERE YOU IN A PAST LIFE, BEFORE YOU BECAME A WRITER?
Most likely a ruler of some sort. I should be now, but can’t be bothered to go into politics.
7. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WRITING ACHIEVEMENT?
Just this series.
8. WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
Oliver and Jumpy will take the rest of my life to finish with other language version to follow.
9. WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
My daughter’s cat.
10. WHAT GENRE DO YOU WRITE?
11. DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR NEW WRITERS?
Get your work edited by a couple of people if you self-publish. I am still having things fixed!
12. DO YOU SUFFER FROM WRITER’S BLOCK?
13. DO YOU HAVE A PREFERRED WRITING SCHEDULE?
14. DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE WRITING PLACE?
On the couch with the Ipad.
15. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST JOY IN WRITING?
16. WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHOR AND WHY?
Nora Roberts. She is just so amazing with her 200 books. Of course they are much the same, but I love her language and stamina.
17. WHAT’S THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED FROM A READER?
That some of my stories are educational.
18. WHAT WAS THE WORST COMMENT FROM A READER?
That I need to edit the stories. Still in the works!
19. WRITERS ARE SOMETIMES INFLUENCED BY THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN THEIR OWN LIVES. ARE YOU?
Not in this case.
20. OTHER THAN WRITING, WHAT ELSE DO YOU LOVE?
Reading, reading, reading, walking, travelling, architecture.
21. DID YOU HAVE YOUR BOOK / BOOKS PROFESSIONALLY EDITED BEFORE PUBLICATION?
Unfortunately not. I was too full of myself.
22. DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY.
Do all socializing and promoting mornings and evenings over my Ipad. Have very late lunch out and a late long walk down to the beach. House work as needed. Remember, we are retired.
23. IF YOU WERE STUCK ON A DESERT ISLAND WITH ONE PERSON, WHO WOULD IT BE? WHY?
Now that is a trick question, because I need to say: my wife! Hopefully she will never read this. I am not saying any name, but I guess, another writer with a lot of imagination and alround knowledge. Of course SHE would need to be pretty and interested in me as well. Otherwise it still may get boring.
24. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO SPEAK TO WORLD LEADERS?
Wake up! War has never worked in the long run. Leave people live their own lives without interference; no matter how bad they manage their affairs. Look after your own people first of all. Do the best at home and look after your poor.
25. WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
Keep the series going, do other language versions, do a TV series and eventually create a new series with differenet characters.
26. WHAT FIVE BOOKS WOULD YOU TAKE TO HEAVEN?
I only read books once. So I would take five new ones. All my books come from the library in large print. I still have 150 Nora Roberts novels to go. I buy the tissue boxes wholesale!
27. DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN ANY OF YOUR CHARACTERS?
Yes, I am Oliver, the tomcat.
28. DOES THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY FRUSTRATE YOU?
Doesn’t it to everybody?
29. DID YOU EVER THINK OF QUITTING?
No. I am not a quitter. I push things through no matter what.
30. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE MANUSCRIPT TO WRITE? WHY?
I only do this series.
31. HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE ‘SUCCESS’ AS A WRITER.
In the end success is measured in money. The majority of people on Amazon never sell any books. They would tell you about the satisfaction they get from writing and seeing their book published. B…! Everybody wants to sell books and see how successful they are!!!
32. WHAT SHOULD READERS WALK AWAY FROM YOUR BOOKS KNOWING? HOW SHOULD THEY FEEL?
Children should enjoy the drawings and the uncomplicated stories, maybe learn a little lesson now and then.
33. HOW MUCH THOUGHT GOES INTO DESIGNING A BOOK COVER?
Well, everybody says covers sell the book. Thats why you see so many very good covers that you can’t make a choice. I have been told my covers are crap. But I believe in a series you need a uniform approach that brands the series. So I opted for simple covers. The pictures are taken out from the books. The great thing is that I do them myself as well and if you see my book between a hundred other covers, you will immediately remember that you have seen another book from this series.
34. WHAT’S YOUR ULTIMATE DREAM?
Get invited by Ellen DeGeneres.
35. WRITING IS ONE THING. WHAT ABOUT MARKETING YOU, YOUR BOOKS AND YOUR BRAND? ANY THOUGHTS?
I spend unlimited time on promoting and finding ways to promote. LinkedIn Groups are a fantastic place to find new ways. I spent hundreds of hours collecting emails of reviewers and manage to get 30 reviews within a short time.
36. ARE YOUR BOOKS SELF-PUBLISHED?
Yes, I have an aggregator helping me with this, because I thought I save time. Bad news. I would have been faster doing everything myself in the end. After a year we are finally getting somewhere.
37. DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN FIVE WORDS.
Logical, efficient, motivated, individual, imaginative. Sorry if that sounds like Oliver!
38. WHAT PISSES YOU OFF MOST?
Illogical, inefficient, unmotivated, sheeps, unimaginative people.
39. WHAT IS THE TITLE OF THE LAST BOOK YOU READ? GOOD ONE?
One of fifty Nora Roberts books. I don’t even look at the titles anymore. I know the guys kiss after ten pages and have three times sex throughout the book.
40. WHAT WOULD BE THE VERY LAST SENTENCE YOU’D WRITE?
41. WHAT WOULD MAKE YOU HAPPIER THAN YOU ARE NOW? CARE TO SHARE?
Being able to look after our grandchildren.
42. ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE TO ADD?
Clancy's comment: Well done, Werner. Love the illustrations. Keep going. My best wishes to Oliver and Jumpy.