Interview with Serena Englander

What is your e-reading device of choice?
My family gave me a Barnes & Noble NOOK for my book club books because the bad ones kept piling up and collecting dust. One daughter has a Kindle and the other has an iPad.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I'm brand new to this game and "Recovering Life" is my first ebook. I'm going to watch and wait to see what -- if anything -- happens.
Describe your desk
Cluttered but organized.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the Washington, DC, suburbs and didn't know I could write a sentence until word processing came along. Part of the problem was dysgraphia and the other part is poor fine motor skills. Writing a single word with pencil and paper was painful. Once I learned to type, cut, and paste, the power of words became available to me.
When did you first start writing?
In college because I had no choice. I managed to write some decent essays but my right hand still hurts -- and that was decades ago!
What's the story behind your latest book?
This book is the journal I kept while in an outpatient addiction rehab program and afterwards during my twelve-step process. I decided to publish it for two reasons. First, I believe very strongly that everyone, whether they are abusing substances or not, should go through recovery. If more people did so, the world might be less brutal to those without resources. My second reason for publishing my recovery journal is to share, with anyone who cares to read it, what happens in a recovery program.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I have never been any good at the type of self-promotion required to find a book agent and publisher who might be willing to read my work. By putting this book out there through Smashwords, I am hoping that people who might benefit from reading it will find it.

Best of all is that I retain total control of the finished product and answer to no one except myself! Whether I make a dime from this book is irrelevant because I am keeping my day job.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I'll answer that one in the future.
Why do you write?
Why do you breathe?
What are you working on next?
I have just begun a companion book for "Recovering Life" the working title of which is "Words to Recover By". It is workbook for anyone whose life is out of balance.
Who are your favorite authors?
Tolstoy, Shakespeare, Dickens. Modern writers whom I admire tremendously include Barbara Kingsolver, Vikram Seth, and Jonathan Franzen.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I actually spend very little time writing because I am extremely busy taking care of my family, animals, and business matters.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
My book club.
What is your writing process?
I sit down at my computer, open Word, and the words start flowing. When I reach a stopping point, I go to the beginning and read what I have written out loud which enables me to catch clumsy phrasing and other problems. Sometimes I will not write a word for weeks because the words are coming together in my subconscious and I have to let them be.
How do you approach cover design?
I respond to beautiful photographs and occasionally succeed in taking one. The cover for "Recovering Life" was inspired by a dead fern plant that I tossed in my compost pile. One day, I noticed some little fiddleheads poking out and I decided to put them in the ground to see if life would take hold. This fit the theme of my book perfectly so I snapped many pictures at different times of the day until I got one I liked.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
I don't like questions like this.
Published 2014-03-05.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.