Interview with the author of “The Woman Behind the Waterfall” Leonora Meriel, October 2017
– What do you like to read – fiction, non-fiction?
I love to read both. I am a fiction writer, so I read fiction for pleasure and to study the techniques of other writers. I read non-fiction to learn different perspectives on the world around us. For fiction, I read any genre as long as it is high quality, and I try to read a balance of old and new, western and non-western books. For non-fiction I love books such as “Freakonomics” and “The Spirit Level” or political and business books.
– What is your writing experience?
I have completed and published two novels. My debut novel “The Woman Behind the Waterfall” is literary fiction and magical realism, set in Ukraine – where I lived for 10 years. My second novel “The Unity Game” is metaphysical science fiction, set in New York, a distant planet and an after-life dimension. Before that, I wrote many short stories and poems.
– What advantages of being a writer do you see?
The greatest advantage of being a writer is that most writers are fulfilling a dream. For myself, ever since early childhood I had wanted to write books and to be a published author, and however hard the job is, I am doing what I have always wanted to do. I think this is the same for most fiction writers. For non-fiction writers, there is the thrill of having your name in print and knowing that readers are spending hours taking in what you have written. It is a very special job.
– What disadvantages of being a writer do you see?
There are many disadvantages! Writing a book takes a very long time, from 6 months to 10 years, and at the end of that time, there is no guarantee of any success whatsoever, or any financial reward. The job can be isolating, as you spend hours alone either writing or researching or editing. It is a job that demands enormous sacrifice and also faith to continue doing it for so long.
– Can you give some recommendations on how to write an interesting/useful book?
I have 3 recommendations for any book: fiction or non-fiction:
First of all, have an idea that is strong enough to last months and months of writing. It will take countless hours of your time, so you need to believe in the idea enough to give it this portion of your life.
Second, whatever your genre is, find the most successful, popular and best-regarded writers in that genre, and study their work. Do an analysis of why they are successful. What is their writing style? Who is their audience? What makes them different? Learn everything you can from the best writers in your genre.
Third, keep your readers in mind while you are planning and writing the book. You want to sell some copies of the book when you are finished, so build a clear picture of who is going to buy your book – and why. Is it students? Is it pensioners? Is it business managers? If you have an idea of who your book will appeal to then there is a far higher chance it will be successful when you have finished it.
– Can you give some recommendations on how to promote a book?
Promotion really depends on the genre of book you write. However there are some things which apply to all genres.
Start off with a website. People will search for your name on the internet and they need a central place where they can find all the official information about you. Make a professional, attractive website with your biography, your books, information about how to buy your books, and some extra features. Your website should reflect the public persona you choose to have as a writer.
Next, make sure you have a great profile on Amazon. It’s the biggest bookshop in the world and you are selling books. Set up an Author Page on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk at the very least. Add attractive pictures and a biography. Make it look professional and link it to your website.
Finally, think about who your target readers are. You should have a picture of them from when you were writing the book, so think hard about where they might find your book. Make an action plan for promoting your book in places where they could find it, and then try everything from that plan – in time, you will find out what works and what doesn’t.