Interview with Nancy O'Hare

What's the story behind your latest book?
Searching for Unique captures the best and most unusual destinations from my recent travels.

Dust in My Pack pulled my most memorable journeys from the past twenty years to recreate the essence of remote destinations. The stories distil my research and learnings for each location by providing links and practical guidance enabling readers to devise their own trip. I aim to promote the "travel urge" in others so that they may also go beyond the average traveller's experiences.

Both books group destinations by theme, such as trekking or ancient cities. This helps readers pick and choose according to their interests.
What differs between the eBook and paperback versions of Dust in My Pack?
If you are trying to decide which is best for you, here are my thoughts on paper vs ebook:

- more affordable due to lower printing and shipping costs which I have passed on to the reader.
- lower carbon footprint (save a tree, save shipping emissions)
- less weight to carry around
- more discrete to read on a phone or tablet than hauling out a paper book. My travel moto is to blend in, to reduce potential triggers that scammers may spot.
- colour photos
- active links to websites referenced

- maybe I'm old school, but it feels nice to hold a book in your hands
- you can display it on your bookshelf or toss it in your bag
- internal photos are printed in black and white
- you don't have to worry about a low battery

Whichever you choose, I hope you enjoy the read and your personal travel journey!
What are you working on next?
I am really excited about my second book which will be similarly structured around several countries and activities from my latest travels. Later this year, my husband and I are travelling through Iceland, the Baltics, Bhutan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Brunei. One of the challenges will be trekking for seventeen days straight through the Himalayan Mountains in Bhutan. We were in the Faroe Islands earlier this year and some of its wild and rough countryside will also feature in my next book.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
River God by Wilbur Smith. This book brought Egypt's historical magic to life. Smith incorporated immense research and facts to create a complex storyline. The words connected an ancient world with a plausible narrative, full of emotion so that I, as the reader, felt connected to Egypt's past.

Dark Star Safar: Overland from Cairo to Cape Town by Paul Theroux. This was one of the first travel narratives that I read. It inspired me to explore remote, lesser-visited places and look beyond the typical tourist sites in search of the essence of a place.

Half of a Yellow Sun, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I read this book soon after living in Nigeria and its story showed a different yet authentically realistic side of the country than I had experienced. The characters and their story were complex and fascinating.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson. I was addicted to this book after reading only a few pages. The story was compelling and fast moving. The characters were unique and intriguing with a plot full of depth and unexpected twists.

The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini. This was the first book I read about life in Afghanistan. For a country that typically receives news reports of war and oppression, Hosseini's story personalized the life and people behind the headlines.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
There are two parts to this question; the transition to become an author and the choice to self-publish as an indie. Writing slowly drew me in after a twenty-year career based in many countries working as a finance professional. This career transition may sound odd, to go from a very structured field into such a creative sphere. But looking closer, there is a common thread that connects these varied pursuits—travelling. Exploring our planet alights a passion inside me. It inspired me to pursue roles in Australia, Oman, Switzerland, Canada and Nigeria. It galvanized my decision to save enough money to take a few sabbaticals and travel the world with my husband. Countless stories unfolded from these journeys and these are the moments that I have captured in my writing.

After deciding to write a book, the choice to publish it as an indie author proved a natural fit. The process offered flexibility and control. I read a lot about publishing options, their pros and cons as well as various viewpoints from seasoned writers. Ultimately, two factors solidified my decision. First, as an indie author, I could manage everything including the book's timeline and choice of editor, cover designer and proofreader. Second, the cost of independently self-publishing is lower than going through a publishing house. As an unknown author starting out, I was not convinced that a publisher would create sufficient value to warrant paying their higher fees. I wanted to produce a low-cost book, accessible to anyone interested in reading it. By keeping my expenses down and taking on much of the marketing and management myself, the indie route allowed me to sell Dust in My Pack at an affordable price. This leaves more money in my readers' pockets for their own travels.
What is your writing process?
1. Develop the outline and structure of the book's chapters and topics.
2. Research and confirm my editor, proofreader and book cover designer
3. Write obsessively.
How do you approach cover design?
I know this is a very important part of the book. I also recognize that design is not my forté. So, I researched cover designers and viewed their past work. I found a great fit with Bright Wings. The owner is passionate about his business, the future of books and their impact on the environment. These values resonated with me. Bright Wings had a fully supportive team, which was important to me as a new author.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I feel a surge of energy when I envision that my words could inspire people to visit places they had not previously considered or to gain a surprise insight into a country. The challenge of phrasing words to trigger emotions or bring an experience to life motivates me. On a personal note, writing Dust in My Pack has allowed me to relive some of my most memorable moments with all the intensity and feeling that I originally experienced. It has been a fun journey.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Each morning I am inspired by spending time with my husband, strong coffee and a morning run or hike in the mountains. These activities rejuvenate me. Since I started writing, I feel torn between my almost constant desire to work on my book and getting outdoors to prepare for our upcoming treks in the Himalayan Mountains and Iceland.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Travelling, running, hiking, skiing, baking and acting as photographer's assistant-in-training for my husband who has transitioned into photography.
Published 2018-09-29.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Searching for Unique
Pre-release—available November 22, 2018. Price: $6.99 USD. Words: 77,000. Language: English. Categories: Nonfiction » Travel » Specialties & interests, Nonfiction » Travel » Hikes & walks
Searching for Unique is meant for travellers seeking hidden sights that most people overlook or simply do not know exist. Discover more than twenty-five places across five continents through bite-sized narratives that fit into your busy, pre-trip schedule.
Dust in My Pack
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 72,840. Language: English. Published: July 25, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Travel » Specialties & interests, Nonfiction » Travel » Travel - Reference
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
Dust in My Pack is a new kind of travel book. Instead of choosing a country, travel the world based on what interests you. Adventure travellers can explore over thirty countries across all seven continents. Relive a chaotic ferry ride across Lake Malawi that stretched from twenty-four hours into sixty. Encounter three Mayan cities that continue to seep through their timeless ruins.