Monday, March 28, 2011

A Chat with Hibbs... I read an Ebook the other day, "The Bear with Two Shadows," by Roland Yeomans. The story of a youthful bear named Hibbs, who may in fact be something a bit more than your average bear. A journey through an enchanted forest, where trolls lurk in shadow...where an ancient boulder covered in moss for generations, may not be a boulder upon second glance. It's the story of a befriended hawk who speaks in riddle...of impending violence...a love affair that simply can not happen. A bear named yearns to grab a tuft of grizzly fur and squeeze, yet holds back, riveted, but unsure. After all, he's still a young bear...

Roland Yeomans, the author to whom Hibbs should be forever grateful, has stopped by the homestead while on tour, (a Bear Fest of sorts ;) for a little Q 'n A.

Q-...Roland, as I read your story, skipped along the wooded path behind Hibbs the Bear, (remaining at a safe distance, of course,) I was reminded of Neil Gaiman's "Stardust," one of my favorites. Of C.S. Lewis's classic journey, beginning right on the other side of that wardrobe. And even went so far as to recall Kenneth Grahame's "The Wind in the Willows," a childhood masterpiece. And so I'll ask you the first question I'd consider asking each of them, were I ever so lucky to be granted the exchange. Being a writer myself, but not of fantasy scribe, what was your inspiration to create Hibbs the Bear?

-"Echoes beyond the sunset," Hibbs might say. The echoes of my mother's voice in that frozen basement apartment, murmuring that magic does exist...just beyond the grasp of mind's eye.

Echoes of those very books you mentioned, Elliot. Plus "The Last Unicorn" and "The Princess Bride," which can be read and watched with enjoyment by both adult and child.

I aimed at writing a classic--not out of ego--but out of the storyteller in me, wanting to reach the minds and hearts of children, in body or only in heart, to bring alive that sense of wonder, magic, and adventure which made my childhood never lonely.

Those magical voices tugged me out of the coughing fits, into a mystic realm where anything was possible--even getting better.

And on those ugly Detroit streets where my father deserted me as a six year old, those voices told me if Ulysses and David the shepherd boy could survive, I could too.

I wanted to make the magic live again...for don't we need to see the magic some days just to get through them?-

Q-...A question I'm often asked, and have yet to come up with a viable answer that doesn't result in a flustered, romantic mess..."I've read your work, and just gotta ask, when did you realize your passion for writing, and how long did it take before you considered yourself...ready to be read?"

-For as long as I can remember, I would insert myself into the adventures of my favorite heroes as I read along. I would make up characters to chat with and do battles alongside, against the monsters I imagined in the shadows.

I owe a great debt to a wealthy neighbor, Mrs. Hilton. She took care of me while my mother was ill in Lafayette. Catching me reading a frayed, read-worn copy of "Green Lantern," she prompted me to make up a story of my hero where his worst enemy attacked him, using his greatest weakness.

She typed as I talked. Then, she had me read aloud my own story. And from that moment, I was hooked. I knew what I wanted to be: a storyteller!

As for when my tale is polished enough for a reader--I remember Mrs. Hilton again. I read my tale aloud. When it sings for me, then my tale is ready.

But a part of me feels as if I am sending my "child" out too soon, asking it to fly when it can barely walk. Yet, as with children, sometimes we just have to trust our instincts over our doubts.-

Q-...Upon completion of "The Bear with Two Shadows," readers are left yearning for a sequel. Have you begun work on Hibbs' next adventure? And if so, will you once again choose Ebook publication? I understand many writers are experiencing success using Kindle.

-I stopped it like that for a reason. I have reached the end of a favorite book, only to feel depressed. No more adventures were just over the horizon. I stopped "The Bear with Two Shadows" as I did to let my readers know there is more to come...that the story of life is never over. Ripples of a loving life lived with courage and determination go on out over the horizon of the ocean of existence, ending up who knows where.

I have started a new chapter in Hibbs' adventures where they stopped. Just a chapter, but the plot unwinds in my mind.

Hibbs, to safeguard a wounded faerie queen against the three High Queens and their armada, uses the artful weapons Archimedes devised to defend Syracuse against the Imperial Roman army and fleet.

Feral Sidhe are on the horizon. Racing across a whirlwind of flying boulders. Facing off for the final showdown between Hibbs and the Gray Bear.

But my blood work drains me. Also there are the sequels to "Victor Standish" and "French Quarter Nocturne" that I am also writing.

I would E-publish Hibbs' sequel, but his sales have been so meager as to not warrant the time spent away from my other two books to spend the necessary time and creative effort.

Still, Hibbs is alive in my mind, images and sounds of his further adventures vivid in my I may write them sooner than I think.

If I can conquer how to format my work for myself, I may E-publish the first two Sam McCord adventures, set in the Bermuda Triangle of 1853, "Rites of Passage," and "Adrift in the Time Stream."

Unless you can get into the top 100 Kindle sales list on Amazon, you just languish and wither away. You need 10 favorable reviews to lure strangers into buying your unknown quality of a book.

Say several people in different cities were to buy my book at the same time, while another person posts a favorable review...ZOOM goes my ranking.

Right now I'm at #46,000--an entire galaxy away from being in the top 100.

I'm saying this for those considering E-publication. You have to find some way to garner attention and desire to buy your book. Perhaps a hook of a title: "I was a Teenage Ghoul Prostitute." No, Lindsey Lohan is too old to star in the movie. (Just joking, Lindsey.)-

Q-...Roland, knowing how busy you are promoting your release, I'll leave you with a final thought to ponder. A while back I wrote a post involving the two of us and several of our writing peers, celebrating the completion of a successful book signing down in your neck of the woods. Writing it was fun like ice-cream, and the buzz it generated on both Blogger and Facebook made it well worth the time invested. And so I'll ask...if and when that day arrives, when the two of us find ourselves side by side, signing our names to the stories we each created, where's the favorite "hot spot" eatery down there to celebrate the day? Hey, we're writers...dreaming is what comes naturally;)

-Easy answer: Meilori's, the Crossroads of Worlds. We could chat with Samuel Clemens, Raymond Chandler, H.P. Lovecraft, Ernest Hemingway and the like as we get THEM to sign our books! Hibbs and his two "brothers" might even show up.-

...Thanks for stopping by, Roland, and may the power of a humble bear lift your sales to new heights!

Contest: Drawing to take place on April 1st. Read and follow carefully to win one of these autographed books.

A comment will give you one entry to win one of the signed books above. Another two entries for linking the book to twitter or Facebook. Any blogger who posts a legitimate review on Amazon by March 31st will get three entries into the drawing. That is a win, win since you will get to read Roland’s amazing book. If you twitter and do the Facebook link, make sure you email Roland at: rxena77@yahoo. with the links to your to your twitter and Facebook.


KarenG said...

Enjoyed this interview Elliot and Roland. I am wanting to read The Bear with Two Shadows. Now I just need to get my Kindle back from my daughter.... And Elliot, thanks for your comment on my post today. Much appreciated.

Donna Hole said...

What a cozy chat :) I can seriously picture El and Roland in a quiet lounge, shooting the breeze about publishing and the next story idea.

Have a good evening, both of you.


Roland D. Yeomans said...

Karen G : I would like to hear your take on THE BEAR WITH TWO SHADOWS, so I hope you can get your kindle back! lol.

Donna : I would like a long table at Meilori's with all my blog friends having a great chat. But my great hope is to one day sit side by side to Elliot on a book signing of both of our books.

Hey, I write fantasy! LOL. Roland

Judy Croome said...

I've had Roland's book on my kindle for a while and was just thinking this weekend that it's been calling me to read it! I'm not sure I'll make the 31/3 deadline, but I'll try to get that review up there on Amazon & Goodreads within the next week or so. Excited to meet Hibbs! :)

Roland, thanks for your honest comments on the difficulties of getting attention for a self-published book. I'm in the throes of converting mine and it's good to be aware of realistic expections.
Judy (South Africa)

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Judy : I'm glad I could help in some small way with your thinking of self-publishing. THE BEAR WITH TWO SHADOWS is such a different book with no werewolves, vampires, teenage, angst-maddened high school girls that purchasing agents wouldn't approach it for fear of not getting back their advance in these uncertain publishing time.

But for personal reasons, I wanted Hibbs to see the light of day and wrinkle his nose at curious readers. He may find a slowly building fanbase in the days to come. I can only hope, Roland

Elliot Grace said...

...and speaking of fantasies...I just came across the announcement that one of Gaiman's best sellers is headed to the big screen.

All it takes is a healthy following, (and a little luck, of course) and who knows?

This was fun, Roland. Hoping everyone enjoys our chat as much as I did:)


Anne Gallagher said...

Thank you Elliot for interviewing one of my favorite authors. And I remember that post you wrote. I believe I was included and if we all do ever get together, (no offence Roland), and we are in Louisiana, I want to go to Antoine's. Nothing but the best for us.

Roland, as usual, you have made me salivate to read this book. Alas I have no Kindle. But I know, someday it will be in print form and I will happily by 10 copies. I'm also waiting for Sam McCord. Whatever happened with the interest from the agent. I can't get over to your blog as you know.
Much continued success, this is only the beginning for you and Hibbs.

DEZMOND said...

well, done, El! A lovely interview!
Wishing lots of luck to Roland with his next book.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Elliot : I hope the film-makers do justice to AMERICAN GODS. Thanks for having me. This was truly fun.

Anne : You can download for free the application "Kindle for PC," making your personal computer or laptop a Kindle without spending a cent. That way you can read my novel's first 3 chapters for free. I, of course, hope you like them well enough to want to read the rest. LOL.

DEZMOND : Didn't Elliot do a great job? I had such a fun time here ... and so did Hibbs. Thanks for the well wishes for my next book. I'm kinda hoping a bit of that luck sticks to this one! Roland

N. R. Williams said...

Don't despair, Roland. I have a blogger friend who just started making money on kindle. She has seven books out. The more books you have, the easier it is for readers to find you and purchase. Tagging is as important as reviews. You can email me anytime for up dated news since I am watching this carefully.
N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium.

Margo Benson said...

Thank you both for such an interesting interview. I love the sound of your neighbour, Mrs Hilton, Roland, what a gem! I know that sales will grow as Hibbs becomes a must have!

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Nancy : Thanks for the encouragement. It's formatting the books and making the covers for them that is beyond my tech capabilities right now. Thank you again for your support and friendship!

Margo : Yes, Mrs. Hilton was a gypsy Mother Theresa if you can imagine such a thing! Thanks for your faith and support! Roland

Michael Di Gesu said...

HI, Roland, Hi, EL

Nice interview EL... I didn't know you had a sequel in mind, Roland. DO you ever sleep?

I think you should right "I was a teenage ghoul prostitute... Now that's a snappy title..LOL. Not for you my friend, you are literary scholar.

Olivia J. Herrell said...

Great interview and answer session, it's time I download that app and Hibbs' story myself. Considering Roland's over at my place tomorrow, ummm, I'd say I'm just a skosh behind, wouldn't you?

Redfaced I am, that rebel, Olivia

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Olivia, I'm looking forward to our interview tomorrow ... ah, today - since it is past midnight, and I am still at work. I need a vacation! Thank, Elliot, for having me and asking such great questions! Roland

Elliot Grace said...

Farewell dear Hibbs, and thanks so much for stopping by:)


Adeeva Afsheen said...

Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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