Today, I present a special spotlight on a special guest–my friend and colleague Victoria Adams, who is PDMI’s business director and also an author. She’s got great insights into life and writing, and I’m proud to work with her and happy to have her here to share her thoughts with you. Welcome, Victoria!
1) So, how did you get started writing? Any favorite books or authors that inspired you?
I’ve actually been writing for years. Granted, a lot of it was business related and had to do with business modeling, accounting, law and whatnot; but still a lot of conveying an idea with the written word. I also spoke and taught for several years and prep always seemed a bit like writing a story. The real initiative that sent me into publishing something was my husband’s diagnoses of vascular dementia. I felt very alone and overwhelmed so I went to something I knew; I wrote. Eventually my jottings became a book. From there I decided to try to do something that very same man had been bugging me about for years; really write. It’s slow going with the current demands on my time, but I am making progress.
2) I know that you have a business-related background. How easy is it to get the business mind and the creative mind to co-exist (as it seems to me is pretty essential for authors these days)?
I think it depends on how you look at business. I love to create. I like to take an idea, piece of property, or going concern and see what I can do to make it tick better. What can I help build? What future can I help envision? All of my accounting, finance, tax, and business law background goes into taking that vision and putting it into words that garner support. Or that keeps tabs on progress. I try to communicate accounting in a way that non-accountants can see clearly where their vision needs to go. I don’t see them as two different minds. Maybe a different medium in which to communicate.
3) Talk a little bit about your two most recent writing projects—your already-published book Who I Am Yesterday, and your current work in progress, which not everyone reading this may know about?
Who I Am Yesterday chronicles my first year as a full time caregiver. It was my journey to acceptance and some of my first small steps in getting accustomed to a totally different life style. I don’t have all the answers and I still have days I want to run into the street screaming, but I’m learning. PDMI Publishing and I are planning a sequel sometime in the near future. It will be an expanded version with much more material. Current working title is Caregiving Backstage (as used on my blog).
Why Me? Come Let us Reason with Job is an entirely different kind of project. It is the type of work my husband has wanted me to publish for years. Part philosophy, part theology, and part critique. It, too, in many ways, is a personal journey. There is a life time of experience that goes into such a discussion. Why do things happen or not happen to this or that person? Is there Someone that is looking out for us? Do we have a part in what happens? Is there cause and effect? Or do we imagine it?
4) How did you get involved with PDMI?
Ahh. A story indeed. I bumped into Tc and Nessa in a lovely group created by Virginia Jennings for Writers and Authors. “Back in the day” when it was small and just taking off. Their attitude interested me but I wasn’t sure we were a fit. I really wasn’t that interested in the genre that prevailed in their portfolio. But they were expanding and looking for traditional contracts. They read the preface on Job and wanted it. I remember signing their contract and thinking I could write a much better one. Not long after they talked me into a reissue of Who I Am. Now, of course, our portfolio is quite diverse and growing rapidly.
A few months later I was starting to help them with a few business things and one thing led to another and here we are. A year later I’m a publisher.
5) You’re a strong proponent of blogs. Tell me how you think the blogging phenomenon influences the world of writing these days.
I really need to practice more of what I preach. I think that blogs are an incredible tool for authors. No matter what profession you choose to pursue there are always ways to strengthen your skill. Little practice things to get you into shape. A blog does that. It hones your skill so that you can drop a couple hundred words on any subject, anytime, anywhere. That way when you do sit down to work on a manuscript you are in shape. The words don’t drag out of you, you see a vision, hear a voice, and off you go.
It is also a really great way for the public to get to know who you are and what you do. As long as you don’t spend all of your time talking about writing. My blog is about my philosophy, my interest in science and my caregiving adventures. I do write book reviews and have guests occasionally, and when I get really excited about something in the writing profession, I’ll share that. It’s my “Reading Alcove” and I like to keep it in that mode. A place to sit and learn or just read a darn good story.
6) What about self-publishing? Do you think self-publishing helps or hurts the industry?
Both. I enjoyed my experience because I planned it. I researched all the things you are supposed to do to make a professional looking book. I tend to research everything I get myself into. I had people edit my book and I crafted my own cover. The last because I am a hobbyist when it comes to photography and fancy myself at least moderately skilled in some of the arts. It is a book that is well received if not widely marketed. I think that the serious author can self-publish a solid, marketable book. You have to be willing to wear a bunch of hats and work yourself to a frazzle or carefully contract the help you need.
It is bad because there are no gatekeepers. Anything can get published and if you rush to publication you could ruin your name and your brand. People get the impression that the whole thing is so easy when it really isn’t. Crafting a professional, commercial product takes a lot of hard work. It takes a lot of research to know what the trends are and what will make the title sell. I think you have to make up your mind that whatever path you choose, you give it your best however long it takes.
7) Do you have a personal motto or philosophy you can share with us?
I choose to do everything I do the very best way I can. If I don’t know how to do it, I find a way to figure it out or someone to teach me. I am a Christian, though I am not “churched.” I believe my faith informs my decisions but does not give me the right to make decisions for others.
8) What is the most rewarding thing about being involved with a small press like PDMI?
Watching people create. I get goose bumps sometimes watching a talent blossom and grow. Watching a small company come together and really get it on. It is an amazing atmosphere and one worth all the extra hours, the occasional stress and sleepless nights, and the occasional mother hen moments.
9) Anything you’d like to add that I haven’t asked?
Well, that’s a wide open question, now isn’t it? I guess my hope is I can keep all this up long enough to get some books out there, help Tc and Nessa spawn a successful company full of talented, energetic people, and find ways to keep my husband home with me. Both financially and emotionally.