...so 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 Hibbs...one 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 mind...so 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.