When did you first discover a love of writing? Is there a particular book that made you want to become a writer?
When I was in the second grade my teacher invited me to read my story to the kindergarten class. It was a story about bunnies. I drew the pictures and labored over writing all of the words by hand. The kindergartners listened to my story as if my book was just as real as any book stocked on a library shelf. That’s when I knew that I was a writer.
What’s your favourite book? What was your favourite book as a child?
I love the James Herriot series. My favorite books as a child were the Narnia series and A Wrinkle in Time.
Where do you get your story ideas?
The idea for Angels Mark, a thriller, came from a real-life nightmare that I had. The dream was long, intense and vivid. I woke up feeling as if my dream should be a novel. Often my ideas come from hearing about advances in technology. I wonder how the new technology could be abused. My fictional female sleuth Serena Wilcox will investigate! Not everything I do is fiction. Some of my ideas are based on my life, my art, and my music.
What made you decide to self-publish?
I started self-publishing in 1998, long before the Internet created a wave of indie authors. I had become frustrated after going through five years of the rejection, rejection, didn’t-read-it, in-the-slush-pile, rejection, rejection, and more rejection process until I was finally accepted by two different publishers, only to end up waiting in the publishing queue. I waited for almost two years before I’d had enough. I took over a decade off from writing books before deciding to return. This time around print-on-demand publishing and eBooks had revolutionized self-publishing. Publishing was now FREE! Anyone could do it! In this magical world of ours, anything is possible. There’s nothing holding us back from creating and sharing. And if we fight to be seen, we can even make a career of writing. I’m not sure that many self-publishers understand that the opportunity to freely publish any work is an unquantifiable gift. I don’t take this lightly. At first I dusted off my odd and raw Serena Wilcox Mysteries. I wrote new books, better books. Then I wrote more books, better books. After I’d managed to stir up the beginnings of a career I wondered what else I could do. I had the freedom to do whatever I wanted! And that’s when I put my oil paintings into my books. I’ve never been paid for my art—until 2014! I can make a difference with my writing and art. Indie publishing makes this possible—I have complete freedom! There’s no limit to what I can do with self-publishing!
Are there any self-publishing tricks of the trade you’d like to share? What rules of craft or promotion do you live by?
I don’t try to guess what people want me to be, or what they want me to write. There’s no magic formula for success. Chasing after trends is like buying a lottery ticket. Many will enter, few will win. The best route is to be myself and write what I want to write. I work hard to improve my craft. I study the business. My books go through an intense editing process. I put myself out there with public speaking events, workshops, signings and conventions. I’m not afraid of hard work. I spend a lot of time outside of my comfort zone. I do things that I don’t enjoy because this is my job. I find a way to enjoy it anyway. I don’t write because I want an easy life. I write because that’s what I was born to do. I do what it takes to make it happen. Sure, I’m plugged in on social media, but I get off the computer and meet people face-to-face too. I’m the turtle in this race. Slow and steady wins!
You can also find Natalie:
On her website: http://www.nataliebuskethomas.com/
On Twitter: https://twitter.com/writernbt
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorNatalieBuskeThomas
On YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/WriterNBT
I really enjoyed your interview, Natalie. You have such a gracious and inspiring approach to indie publishing!
Nice interview! You and I had the same favorite books in grade school. 🙂