Interview with Salley J Robins

What's the story behind your latest book?
This book is a visual trip to France created with words and photos. It's a voyage with no airfare, crowded planes, or lost luggage.When my husband and I retired to the South of France, everyone I knew wanted us to send pictures and describe where we lived and what we were doing. The numerous emails with many photo attachments were just not enough. I joined a group of online writers where I could write up what we were doing each month. I wanted to make the readers feel as it they had come on an impromptu visit to our small village. The response from readers was, "We want MORE!" So, that is how this book came about. The reader is the main character in these adventures where, as the book says, "The door's open, come on into the South of France..."
When did you first start writing?
My mother told me that I began to write stories as soon as I'd learned how to write words. I don't remember that. I do remember writing a fantasy story in second grade.
What is your writing process?
I read a lot. My mind is always trying to predict what will happen next and often, it creates a story that has nothing to do with the actual outcome. Dissatisfied, I think, "Hmm. What if?" Some time later, an idea comes out of the blue or I have a vivid dream. I scribble notes on envelopes, scraps of paper, or - more rarely - in my notebooks.

Next, I block out the idea or story in a series of boxes. If there are characters, I make little word sketches of each of them. Next, I write some or all of the draft longhand before I start working at my laptop.

A lot of time goes by as I write, write, and write. Then comes the printing out, editing, revising, and agonizing. Even when I get to the moment when I say, "Ah, that's finished" I go back and read each bit aloud to see if it really says what I want. Then my husband helps me proofread the final drafts. Editing makes up about 90 percent of what writing means to me.

Finally, I go back much later and read it all again. If it doesn't make me happy, it's back to the drawing board until I can say, "Yes, I liked reading that!"
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first story I ever read was in French because I was living in France. It was called, "Nounours et Cornichon" and was about the adventures of two children visiting their cousins in the French countryside. Nounours is the bear who accompanies the Sandman when he puts sand into the corners of sleeping children's eyes but in the story, he has adventures with the children and comes to their aide in the woods. Even without the illustrations (which were superb) I could imagine that I was with them. It gave me a love of descriptive stories and the desire to create my own to share.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
My desire to share these stories with as many people as I could as personally as I could. The web reaches the world in a very different way from traditional print. It gives the author total control and allows me to include the personal touches that big publishing never would.
What do your fans mean to you?
They inspire me! My fans really amaze me. I thought I was only writing for my small circle of friends and family. I had no idea so many people would ever read my stories, let alone leave me comments and send emails. They give me the encouragement to keep on writing!
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has given me the tools to publish my books and distribute them to the platforms I wanted to reach faster than I ever thought possible. The team is really supportive.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
By serendipity mostly and reference usually. The first ebook I read was when I was researching Alfred Daudet's book "Letters from My Windmill". There was a link to The Gutenberg Press in the article and I followed it. Since then, most of my ebooks have been chosen by recommendations made in articles and emails.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Reading is really important to me and is part of my everyday routine. Both my husband and I adore travel, history, and photography. So, we tend to spend what free time we have exploring the surrounding French countryside as well as towns, villages, and cities.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Creating worlds out of words.
Published 2014-09-12.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Seasons in the Sun - The South of France: A Second Year of Visual Visits to Roussillon
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 17,630. Language: American English. Published: October 31, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Mashups
Calling all Stationary Travelers! The door is open to the south of France and here is your ticket. Escape modern life and come to a small French village. It is the calm center of the Universe. This is your visual visit - no airfare, jet lag, or lost luggage! You could almost be in another era when Salley J Robins welcomes you with words and photos to everyday life in the real south of France.
Plein Sud - The South of France: A Year of Visual Visits to Roussillon
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 17,020. Language: American English. Published: September 12, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Mashups
Now boarding at a screen near you - first call to all Stationary Travelers. Take a visual trip to France with no airfare, crowded planes, or lost luggage. “Plein Sud” (Due South) is where you are heading. Come feel the warm Catalan sunshine as Salley J Robins welcomes you with words and photos to a small village on the Roussillon Plane in the South of France.