Interview with Elizabeth McDonald

Why did you decide to publish your books in Ebook formatt as well as hardcopy?
After I published What If Worries in paperback I promoted it in Canada and decided that I wanted an easy option for purchase for international customers. I also wanted to make it more affordable for families.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes, I was in primary school and had a relief teacher who told me my story was really good & he would take it & have it bound for me. I was so excited but he never returned with my story!
What is your writing process?
My books have often began as an idea that develops through therapy sessions with clients, I then begin the drafting process, give them a few test runs in therapy until I am happy with my product. Then my illustrator comes into play along with a few more drafts, as there is always something else that needs altering or re-jigging!
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
As a child it would have been the Enid Blyton books, as a teen it was the Narnia books, as a therapist it was Hold Onto Your Kids, and my hopes are that some day somebody identifies one of my books as impacting on their life.
How do you approach cover design?
Cover design is a shared process with my illustrator who knows me well and relates well to my stories. The cover helps to give a glimpse of the story.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
What If Worries, because it was my first baby!
Rainwater because my son bought it for me and it showed he at the age of 19 knew his mother's likes well.
The Happiness Trap
Shindler's List
The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
What do you read for pleasure?
I have about eight books on the go at any one time, currently I am reading, The War Within by Don Tait (again). I'm also reading Sins of the Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon, Testing the Waters by E McNew (all ebooks) an a few paperbacks that lay around my house so I can pick something up and read a few pages to unhook from thoughts, work or what ever.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have a Kindle that my daughter bought me for Christmas years ago but I also have other e-readers on my phone, laptop and ipad so I can choose from any provider bookstore I like. I use Kindle, ibooks, news stand, & Kobo.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I have self published in paperback and through Smashwords, in doing so I have used three different hard copy publishers who have promoted their own services well selling me promotional deals, unfortunately they have not been as good at promoting my books as they were at promoting their own products! Marketing success for me has been about blowing my own horn. I have visited schools, kept my books in peoples minds through online promotions such as face book, sent links at the bottom of emails, forwarded copies or brochures to Doctors and specialist, done talks at community groups etc. This works better than any promotional package ever will.
Describe your desk
Which one?
I work as a Mental Health Social Worker/ Psychotherapist five days a week. Four out of five of these days I am in a different location. At home where I write I have a great office which I designed myself. It has a floor to wall bookshelf at one end and a built in desk that takes up half a wall that looks out onto my back yard where I can see my ducks and chickens. However I tend to write at my kitchen table as I like the sound and contact I have there with my family.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the Mallee of Country Victoria, Australia. A little city called Swan Hill. Its on the Murray River. As I grew up in a poor family with few opportunities for sport etc I become a water baby with my Grandmother taking me and my older siblings to the lake where we were in the Royal Life Saving Club, we also did St John Ambulance thanks to Nan. I guess these things sparked an interest in supporting and helping those in need and in pain. I also had a desire to achieve as there was very little in the way of success around me. Those within my small community of Castle Donnington during my very young years who had bit more than the likes of us tended to look down their nose at others, so I wanted to always stay in touch with the regular people and not become one of the stuck up type who thought their excrement was fresher than an uncut rose! I also went through secondary school carrying the legacy of my family name, with brothers who were well known, sometimes for the wrong reasons. After getting over the idea that if I'm going to be labelled as trouble I will be trouble, I decided I wanted to make something of my life. Social Work, Drug and Alcohol Work and ultimately Mental Health and Writing were what felt right to me and seemed to be a natural flow on from one to the other.
When did you first start writing?
In primary school with that relief teacher who kept my book. It was about a rabbit who went to space. I even did my own illustrations!
What's the story behind your latest book?
My last published book is a protective behaviour book to help build skills to reduce the risk of child sexual abuse. It come out of wanting to be proactive in preventing this happening to children. You see regardless of age or gender, I high proportion of my client body at some point In counselling disclose an incident of child abuse in their life. So often this is a catalyst for a lifetime emotional, behavioural and psychological problems. If my book can reduce this risk for a handful of children then it is a success.

My next book that I am writing takes on a whole different style. Its a novel and I like to think, its rather twisted!
What motivated you to become an indie author?
It was the flexibility of having the world at your fingertips. There are no boundaries to who I can reach in this format, that is an amazing opportunity.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
When I first started to sell books via Smashwords I was shocked to see that my books were being bought by people in countries I never dreamed of selling to. To know that my work and author name is popping onto the readers and laptops of people world wide is exciting to say the least.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Having a child read my book and then meet me and say; "I have your book at home, your the lady who's picture is on the back of...." That gives me such a buzz, but not as much as when I hear a child tell me that my first book, What if Worries made them stop stressing so much, or when I had a mum of a three year old tell me how her daughter told somebody her body belonged to her and she didn't want to have a cuddle from them because she liked having her body boundary, it made her feel safe. Mum was proud and surprised at how her daughter had developed assertiveness from My Body Book and I was pleased to see the evidence of the message taking form.
The greatest joy you can get from any book written is that those reading it take something away from the book, a message, a skill or simply to step into a different world for a period of time.
What do your fans mean to you?
My fans give me affirmation that my writing pleases someone else other than me.
What are you working on next?
My current writing is a novel. I haven't written a novel before so this is a big step. It's rather twisted and began via a nightmare I had a few years ago.
Who are your favorite authors?
Enid Blyton, the imagination and ability to allow the reader to leave the real world and step into the worlds of her books still blows me away.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I hate wasting too much time on sleep.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I work as a Psychotherapist in my own practise five days a week so that keeps me very busy. As a mum of four kids and one Grandson I am occupied by family a lot also. My husband and I along with our whole family love spending time on the river, we swim, fish or just float down the river on our party boat that my husband and his mate built together. Although work life is very demanding I think we have a good balance.
Published 2014-12-13.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Liquid Diets
Price: $2.89 USD. Words: 1,620. Language: English. Published: October 18, 2012. Categories: Nonfiction » Cooking, Food, Wine, Spirits » Health & Healing / Weight Control
Liquid diets are used for many medical conditions such as pancreatitis, digestive complications; irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, gall bladder problems, weight loss, oesophageal problems, post surgery for oral surgeries, most stomach surgeries including bariatric surgeries such as gastric banding or bypass and bowel surgery.
When Jarrod's Grandpa Died
Price: $8.60 USD. Words: 1,220. Language: English. Published: October 9, 2012. Categories: Nonfiction » Children's Books » Social Issues / Death & Dying
(5.00)
Children often struggle with the concept of terminal illness and death of a loved one. After all this is a tough topic for all of us. For a child with limited understanding and coping skills it becomes even more challenging. When Jarrods Grandpa Died; gives children a concrete description of the terminal illness, death and funeral process.
What If Worries
Price: $9.10 USD. Words: 5,410. Language: English. Published: September 13, 2012. Categories: Nonfiction » Psychology » Anxiety, Nonfiction » Children's Books » Health
(5.00)
What If Worries is a guided therapy book designed to help children build skills to manage worry thoughts and anxiety disorders. It takes the child and parent/care provider or therapist through the symptoms of anxiety. It also provides explanations for some of the body symptoms that commonly occur. Finally it gives a therapy or treatment guide to managing anxiety disorder.