Interview with Helga Stipa Madland

What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The coffee grinder with my husband Richard making coffee.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Reading, of course, an answer one expects from a writer; but also throwing the ball for my dachshund Maxwell, watering plants, playing with Facebook, doing laundry and feeding the birds.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I search the internet, mostly Kindle but plan to expand. Also, Richard comes up with good suggestions.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes, I was in the Gymnasium in Germany, equivalent to the fourth grade here. We had to write long compositions and I wrote about running through the woods with my dog Peter. Little punctuation, lots of red marks.
What is your writing process?
I sit down in my chair in the family room, turn the TV to CNN, and write.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Maybe not the first one, but a book titled "Tapfre kleine Helga," (Brave Little Helga) influenced me greatly.
How do you approach cover design?
I try to figure out an image that suits the book, send it to the graphic artist at Aventine Press with some suggestions, and he comes up with great designs. I took the photo for the cover of "Turtle Bay"--the arrangement is on the black table in our front room.
What do you read for pleasure?
I did some heavy reading in my twenties and later in graduate school, but now I read primarily political thrillers.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have a Kindle.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
None, really. I am not so good at that.
Describe your desk
I have had plenty of desks as a legal secretary, then a professor, then a department chair. Now I have a portable computer stand in front of an overstuffed rocking chair, a small table on each side, and baskets underneath. I have a study at home; it has books and litter boxes for the cats.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Germany. Maybe my writing was influenced by the fact that we had to write lots of composition, in a special notebook with good paper and an ink pen. I wanted to write from age ten on, or so.
When did you first start writing?
In high school; the teacher, a nun at the Catholic high school I attended in Jefferson City, MO, asked me to read the story in front of the class.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Distant family members asking me to write about my past.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The fact that I did not want the hassle of finding an agent and publisher.
What are you working on next?
Am thinking of writing a second volume of Turtle Bay, a mystery.
Published 2014-12-11.
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