Interview with Pat Sewell

What do you read for pleasure?
Books with political content, newspapers and Internet book reviews.
Book reviews on the Internet and in NYT, mostly.

Looking through our SmashWords interviews/responses, 'seems like there'll soon be some fresh pleasurable reading.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Hard to limit this to five favorites, largely because my own tastes keep shifting. At present my highest five would be drawn from such categories as Children's books (age eleven and up all the way through Coming of Age and into Second Childhood}, Short-form fiction, Quasi-realist perspectives, e.g. Anne of Green Gables, Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, Pippi Longstocking, the Penrod series of some three books....

Q: Why are these particular favorites cited?
A: I am preparing a book for publication that fits several of their characteristics, and I hope to swap tips.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
My reading device is the computer screen. Tempt me with alternatives.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I am a Newbie in e-book marketing. Previously I worked with academic presses for publication of books of an academic nature: Princeton University Press, United Nations University Press, Macmillan. Thus far I have published only print non-fiction books. I'm hoping that the titles of some of these may be displayed somewhere in this space while DOROTHY BEFORE THE TWISTER completes its formatting and together SmashWords and I can test the efficacy of distinct market techniques. Prior to formal publication or the possible distribution of a few free copies, however, word-of-mouth with an emphasis on public/schools librarians probably presents the most promise.

UNESCO and World Politics

Multilateralism in Multinational Perspective (editor and co-author)

Functionalism and World Politics

In advance of sales, I'm considering offering a few free copies of Dorothy Before the Twister, so wonder what experience fellow authors may have had who have gone this route, then assessed it as a "marketing technique."
Describe your desk
Have you ever observed your plate after eating an artichoke? After pulling off the tender tip from the leaf with your teeth, the remaining leaf is dropped onto the plate in random fashion. Such is the visual appearance of scraps of paper on my desk. Whenever I have a thought, I jot down some reminders on recycled bits that pile up on the desk. I would be remiss if I didn't mention the multitude of pencils of assorted colors and condition, pens picked up from wherever I have traveled that lay about anywhere on the desk surface. And, oh yes, the contents of my pants pockets, various To Do lists and clothes pins used to prop open books to pages for word processing. Finally I would add to this scene my daily thermos of green tea, drawings from grandchildren and photos of family and students. "Geniuses thrive on Clutter" was posted by my dear wife on the door to my study.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a little town near Wichita Falls, Texas. My reading and yet more my writing were powerfully and directly impacted by cultural norms that favored outdoorsy activity like organized sports, hunting and fishing, and camping rather than reading books. Someone said "You can take the boy out of Texas, but you can' t take Texas out of the boy ." There was not a lot of writing or reading going on in my eleven grade public school. And when to my surprise our local newspaper printed a poem I had written and a teacher had submitted to the local press, I felt not only astonished, but also embarrassed, because Texans didn't write poetry, let alone share it if they dared to create it. Or so I thought at the time. Of course as I grew older I came to realize that the Northeast offers its special appeals also.

Growing up in Texas presents happy and abundant opportunities to the writer. One opportunity is the feeling that anything in life is possible since the open horizon shows us this is so.
When did you first start writing?
I did quite a lot of letter writing correspondence with girls toward the end of my high school and early college years. I've penned a number of limericks. But only recently have I begun to write seriously.

My first writing submission would have been when I was 15 or 16. It was a story for Boys Life.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book, DOROTHY BEFORE THE TWISTER, started as a way to activate a promising family gift to me from grandson to grandfather. The gift book overflowed with questions posed by children and young adults about life in the olden days. I felt good about this endeavor. It validated my dream of leaving some tangible legacy to my family.

I delighted in helping to create our family's spiritual legacy. Also I felt a keen desire to rise to the challenge of addressing unaccustomed issues in inventive ways, not particularly academic ways. I have assumed that if there exists anyone on the planet to whom The Wizard of Oz remains unfamiliar, she or he will want to view the 1939 film before or after reading my DOROTHY. ( I leave unspoken any thoughts on the future of book/film hybrid productions.)
How should an author best choose an illustration or image for a short fictional work meant for teens?
Search for a good fit between the key concepts and characters in the story and their graphic representation. Clearly, the issue of images relating to words deserves serious thought, perhaps beginning with consideration of what IS "a short fictional work meant for teens" and for bright PRE-teens (as well as inhabitants of second childhoods). My prequel, DOROTHY BEFORE THE TWISTER, can be labeled and described as short-form fiction, as has been done; but I have not presently sought to author a short story or stories.

The last step is the hardest: choosing the image or illustration or color pattern or whatever will tie everything together while advancing the narrative. If we have selected wisely, this decision should prove joyous in implementation.

I am fortunate that the image I chose for my book's cover was not hard to find. My wife was a pre-teen fan of Judy Garland at the time of Miss Garland's Dorothy Gale in the 1939 Wizard of Oz classic film.

After my wife's brief modeling stint, she returned to elementary school. However, her likeness continues.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
For me the greatest joy of writing is learning that I have a happy reader.
What do your fans mean to you?
I don't know whether I have any "fans," but if I do, or learn that I do have readers, that will probably inspire me to write further -- and reach out electronically in order to try on friendships.


Have you sought to address any world politics issues by comparing the writings of other authors?


Yes. For instance I have tried to make sense of phenomena of change in the Middle East, though with little success:

James P. Sewell, "Justice and Truth in Transition," Global Governance, Vol. 8 (review essay).
How do you as its author presently describe Dorothy Before the Twister?
I view it as a coming-of-age story that follows a girl growing up among adults during Dust Bowl conditions.
Published 2014-10-27.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Dorothy Before the Twister
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 10,570. Language: English. Published: January 26, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Historical » USA, Fiction » Coming of age
A coming-of-age story about a girl who is growing up in the predominant company of adults during the Dust Bowl period.