Interview with Lillian Brummet

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I spent a lot of my early life leap-frogging from one place to another, but mainly resided in Western North America. I have fond memories of an early childhood in California and Nevada (USA) and except for a couple years in Northern BC I spent my early teens and young adult life up in the south-central region of BC, Canada - with a short stint in the Arctic Circle. My business partner, co-writer and husband Dave was born and raised in Kelowna (BC) where he caught me in 1990 and we have been together ever since. Dave and I have collaborated their efforts and have authored of 5 books (to date, 2013), with another book of poetry coming out in early 2014, followed by a 7th book due for release in late 2014.
When did you first start writing?
I first got the writing bug back in my youth when I used writing as a release tool for the childhood trauma and unstable life. Through writing I was able to find answers to my many questions, purge emotions, express the things I witnessed. Later in 1999 I decided to take writing seriously as a career - this was sparked by a career interruption and then taking many career courses and personality tests, which revealed a tendency toward writing as a career. Memories came alive at that point of awards and recognitions and poetry or short story publications in my youth... so this is what sparked the journey into writing professionally.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The latest book is a short e-book titled Jump Start For Writers, this is really a compilation of many articles I'd written giving advice to new and upcoming writers. I was taking a look at all the published materials and noticed there was enough there to put this book together. I use this ebook a lot for media and other events where I can use it as a free gift as well. Jump Start For Writers acts like an introduction to the world of writing and invites people to learn more through our in-depth guide titled Purple Snowflake Marketing - How To Make Your Book Stand Out In A Crowd.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
We've had our first two editions of our first two books published through traditional publishers... which was a very good experience. By going with traditional publishers first we had the opportunity to really learn about the publishing industry, how publishers work, what the publication process is like, how to work with publishers most effectively, etc. When the contract ran out on the second editions we had the choice of renewing the contract, or finding another publisher. We chose the latter - in fact we had gained so much confidence through our previous experience, courses, studies and connections in the industry that we felt we were able to move into the industry without the backing of a traditional publisher. We've really enjoyed being self-published!
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords is one service I often recommend to other writers who have the necessary skills to run their business without aide. This service makes the publishing process so easy, so smooth - but it is, of course, up to the author to promote and manage their book just like it was any other product, and to manage their career as a business. Luckily, between Dave and I, we have the ability to do the graphics, to create ads, to promote the books, to interact in the media, to have strong networking and reliable relationships in the industry. As such we felt confident using the service.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Writing, for me, is a way to leave a lasting legacy - one that helps readers see the world in a more positive light and empowers them with inspiring information on how they can live a more conscious, proactive and green lifestyle. I write about what moves me - so poetry is one genre, but I also write in the realm of biodynamic gardening, cooking, green living, green office/business, the zero waste initiatives, interviewing people that are leading the way showing us all how individuals can have a massive impact in the world, alternative agriculture, and more. I also enjoy dabbling in short story writing, but haven't yet had a chance to do more with that then just dabbling.
What do your fans mean to you?
Fans... that word brings to mind the wonderful people who express how my work has changed their life. When people tell me they are now volunteering somewhere or have started a balcony garden, or have a new outlook for recycling and have become very passionate about it... this encourages me to carry on my work in this direction, gives me hope that I can and do have a positive impact on the world. I keep some of the comments I receive on a special page on my blog called "testimonials" (http://consciousdiscussions.blogspot.com) and another file on my computer as well. I will visit those pages whenever I need an emotional boost - such as slow book sales or times of lower blog readership numbers or reduced listeners of our radio show. Because numbers like these fluctuate, it can be really exciting when the numbers are high but when they slow down it can be a scary and daunting time. So having those comments on hand helps me keep my spirits up even in the dark periods.
What are you working on next?
Currently I am working on the final touches to a 2nd poetry book. This one deals with mature life challenges and joys ranging from owning property, to caregiving for and losing parents, and of course it also celebrates passions like the environment and being proactive in life. Dave has also contributed his poetry to this book - and he speaks about society, changes he's seen, the powerful impact of music and more. We are excited about this new release and expect it to be available for the public by the end of January or early February 2014. I am also working on a manuscript that has been in the works for nearly 15 years, this is a cookbook that focuses on harvests from local market gardens, or your own garden. It offers healthy, low-fat, recipes - many of which are vegetarian and a few vegan, but there are meat dishes in there as well. One of the other more unique aspects of this book is that it offers nutritional and historical information about the ingredients in the dishes. All of the recipes are of our own creation - however we have chosen to include a few to honor friends and family who are no longer with us or who are in the last stages of their lives as a way of celebrating their influence in our lives and helping them to leave a legacy as well through their recipes. There will be dozens and dozens of photographs for the print version - I'm not sure yet if we will have images in the e-book version. And while I haven't done a final count yet, I believe there are about 250 recipes. People can learn more and watch for more book releases via the store page on our site: http://brummet.ca/store.html
Who are your favorite authors?
I grew up fascinated with the Lord of the Rings series by Tolkein; I actually wore out several copies of the series – and now on my fourth copy. My all-time favorite book is Shibumi by the author Trevanian. I read a fantastic book by Michael Crichton titled: Time Line - which has to be a second favorite of all-time. Startide Rising by David Brin is another fantastic book. The Verdant Passage by Troy Denning is another favorite. You know, I read a lot and it is quite difficult to choose just one author… my three book shelf units have many authors listed there but you’ll see quite a few by Stuart Woods, Robert Ludlum, Stephen King, Jonathon Kellerman, Lawrence Sanders, James Patterson, Tim Powers and Clive Cussler.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Knowing that my work is contributing to the global wave of conscious, sustainable, proactive and positive living - this is what gets me up and keeps me up even when times are tough, or depression sets in, or I feel exhausted or overwhelmed. I realize I am only one little drop in the wave, but it is a wonderful feeling to have some meaning to my life beyond the selfish pleasure of writing just for a creative outlet. I have wonderful people around me to who keep me inspired to pursue my work - they encourage me and many actually look up to me, which can feel awkward some times but it is also motivating.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
If I didn’t pursue writing, I probably would have done something in the realm of biology. I just loved studying cells, life forms, gardening – it just fascinates me. I garden all the time and have worked with master gardeners in the past via the family market garden for 11 years, where I learned a great deal. I study garden books and love talking plants with others… (and to plants too!) I found a passion for many years through working with the Seeds of Diversity organization (http://seeds.ca) where we helped to save rare and endangered plant varieties from extinction. Today, we donate a portion of our book sales to this and several other non-profit organizations. I have a huge passion for rescue animal shelters of all shapes and sizes, and my home is never empty because of this passion. In those few stolen moments when I am not in the office Dave and I can be found spending time with indulging in nature, camping and walking the many trails in BC’s (Canada) wilderness. We do a lot of individual volunteer trail, park and beach clean ups as well, picking up litter and sorting out the recyclables.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Mostly the books I've been exposed to over the last 7 years come from 2 places - my father-in-law loves second hand books and passes them on our way when he is finished. The other main source is simply through my involvement as a member of the media - people send me books in various formats all the time... in fact I receive as many as 6 books a month from this, and being a voracious reader I consume every page. I used to review books professionally and that allowed me to play a role in the local literacy groups by donating the books once the review was done. I haven't done this for many years but hope one day to return to that passion. I still donate books though, about a dozen a month, to one or another nonprofit organization or fundraising event or the literacy group in our city, etc.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. I was scared by it in fact. I had written a story about a sad, lonely, elderly widow who put loud clothes on with bright colors and flowers or textures, and wore bold make up in order to brighten her day. It brought my elementary school teacher to tears and she read it to the class. I was, of course, embarrassed by the attention and totally overwhelmed with the teacher's reaction. The experience kept me from sharing more writing for quite a while. Now though it is a source of pride for me that I could impact an adult at only 7 years old. I have always been a sensitive person, seeing what is behind people's masks, imagining what their life must be like, etc. It comes through my poetry mainly now, but as I mentioned earlier in this series of interview questions - I do hope to delve into short stories in the future.
What is your writing process?
I write about things that stir me - whether it is emotional reaction or intellectual curiosity or passions... I love to explore and express these. I have had experience as both a staff and freelance writer where you were either assigned a topic and a limited word count, or you have to find one that suits their unique audience... but I prefer this writing process I use now.
How do you approach cover design?
Cover design is a tricky thing. How will it look on the shelf, will it stand out on a webpage filled with other book images? Are the colors striking, does it compel people to look twice? Is the text large enough to see, but not so large that it overtakes the cover? How does it look in different formats, different book shapes, different angles, or in black and white color? The mood and topic of each book should be reflected in the cover and color choice as well. This is really my husband's, Dave, forte.
What do you read for pleasure?
I read voraciously, pretty much anything I get my hands on from tourist magazines to local city newsletters, the books I am sent from people wanting to be a guest on my radio show or blog, from agents and publishers, from my father-in-law... but when I get time to read books and choose them myself the ones I tend to choose are fantasy with a lot of action and interesting concepts... something I can get lost in. I grew up fascinated with the Lord of the Rings series by Tolkein; I actually wore out several copies of the series – and now on my fourth copy. My all-time favorite book is Shibumi by the author Trevanian. I read a fantastic book by Michael Crichton titled: Time Line - which has to be a second favorite of all-time. Startide Rising by David Brin is another fantastic book. The Verdant Passing, Friday... books like these that I can disappear into. My three book shelf units have many authors listed there but you’ll see quite a few by Stuart Woods, Robert Ludlum, Stephen King, Jonathen Kellerman, Lawrence Sanders, James Patterson, Tim Powers and Clive Cussler.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Currently - my computer. I don't yet have a device simply because when I'm out of the office I try to rest my eyes and if I do read away from the office it is print format. However, I long for an apple e-book reader and have it on my wish list. Hubby says he'll get me one on a birthday or something one day. I can hardly wait! I can really use this for times when I'm waiting in the car for him or in a waiting room or camping or traveling.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Having a diverse marketing plan that lasts the life of each edition of each book is key. I'm always trying something new, but tend to utilize my radio show ad space for promoting the books, article contributions and interviews on other blogs, and radio, podcast or video-cast interviews. Bookmarks have been most effective as a print promotional item.
Describe your desk
Red cedar stained pine frame, glazed metal handles, 2 drawer with pull out keyboard drawer... fake black leather top inset in wood frame. I tend to keep the desktop fairly neat, but not overly tidy. I have 2 desktop organizers, everything else is in the filing cabinet or in binders on the office shelf. I have a lovely glass paperweight that holds down the papers I'm dealing with at the moment. Two small speakers on either side of my Mac screen. Tucked behind the screen is the mic stand and digital phone charger - to the right side is the printer and other peripherals on another identical desk. On the wall is a cork bulletin board that has hooks on the bottom holding various cords and headsets. To my right is a double glass sliding door leading out to the deck.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
I grew up fascinated with the Lord of the Rings series by Tolkein; I actually wore out several copies of the series – and now on my fourth copy. My all-time favorite book is Shibumi by the author Trevanian. And most recently I read a fantastic book by Michael Crichton titled: Time Line - which has to be a second favorite of all-time. Startide Rising by David Brin is another fantastic book.

You know, I read a lot and it is quite difficult to choose just one author… my three book shelf units have many authors listed there but you’ll see quite a few by Stuart Woods, Robert Ludlum, Stephen King, Jonathen Kellerman, Lawrence Sanders, James Patterson, Tim Powers and Clive Cussler.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Yes, and I still have the book - it was a book given to my mother when she was a little girl, a gift from her aunt. It is about a hen who lives in the country and had to deal with a fox problem. The story showed ways of finding solutions of seeing the reasons for someones dark actions and has illustrations on every other page. The book is falling apart now so I have it in a sealed plastic envelope stored safely away. I guess it is kind of like a family heirloom. I remember coloring in some of the illustrations as a child and getting in big trouble for that. Looking at it now though I was pretty good at coloring!
What advice can you give for writers out there looking to promote?
While there are many techniques to marketing - two of the best skills that I have learned as a self-marketing author are: Common Courtesy and doing Research.

Research every single thing, the department you are trying to reach, the audience they serve, who you will be contacting, who their advertisers are… what they have on their site for guidelines… Research every single thing you can before considering sending a query or networking with any contact.

Common courtesy comes in the form of putting yourself in the shoes of the person you are about to contact… What do they need from you? What does their day look like? How can you make their job easier? What can you offer them that they will appreciate?
Name three places readers can find you?
Our main site is: http://brummet.ca
The Brummet’s Conscious Blog: http://consciousdiscussions.blogspot.com
FaceBook: http://www.facebook.com/lillian.brummet
Published 2014-01-04.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Rhythm and Rhyme
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 10,130. Language: English. Published: February 6, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Poetry - multi-author, Nonfiction » Biography » Personal memoir
Dave and Lillian Brummet share their individual poetry writing styles, expressing their passions for nature, love, animals, music and real life experiences including the loss of family members.
Jump Start for Writers
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 11,210. Language: Canadian English. Published: November 16, 2012. Categories: Nonfiction » Reference » Writing skills
This book will encourage readers to reach for the dream of seeing their work published. Discover what it takes to prepare for a book release, tips on working with another writer, networking, time management tips, and answers to common writer questions.
Purple Snowflake Marketing
Price: $12.99 USD. Words: 89,100. Language: English. Published: April 9, 2012. Categories: Nonfiction » Reference » Publishing and books
The book offers a realistic outlook on what a new author can expect and how to employ research and preparation to make a memorable first impression. Viewed realistically it is packed with statistics to assist in making informed decisions. As you put together a marketing plan, you will be able to proceed with the confidence of a seasoned writer. Get your book into the hands of paying readers!
Trash Talk - It's Easy to be Green - Book Two
Price: $6.99 USD. Words: 50,100. Language: English. Published: March 30, 2012. Categories: Nonfiction » Self-improvement » Motivation and inspiration
The Sequel to Trash Talk Book One. This second book in the series offers more ways to live life with a smaller ecological footprint. It goes beyond recycling and reusing and looks at reducing and other green activities that individuals can easily employ at home, in their office or condo.
Towards Understanding
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 20,370. Language: English. Published: March 26, 2012. Categories: Nonfiction » Inspiration » Personal inspiration
This book is a collection of 125 non-fiction poems written in chronological order. It is a true story of a young pre-teen female growing up on her own, struggling to survive, breaking the chains of inner demons and finally growing towards understanding of her value and purpose in life – but not quite reaching it. - Thus the title… 'Towards Understanding'.
Trash Talk - It's Easy to be Green - Book One
Price: $6.99 USD. Words: 41,310. Language: English. Published: March 23, 2012. Categories: Nonfiction » Self-improvement » Motivation and inspiration, Nonfiction » Inspiration » Personal inspiration
(5.00)
You have the power to do the right thing. This book is packed with ways to re-use and re-purpose waste. Trash Talk inspires the reader through education about recycling, offering tips on reducing, refusing and rethinking "waste" issues. Save money at the same time too!