Interview with Yolande Brener

What motivated you to become an indie author?
More than anything, I wanted to work with a big publisher and have a team making my book the best it could be. But after years of trying to get published through traditional channels, I decided to take matters into my own hands. Over the years, I got a lot of interest from many agents, and worked with two of them, both of whom were great, particularly Marc Gerald of the Agency Group. I also got a few offers from indie publishers, but--on expert advice--I decided to self publish. Serendipitously, last year I was reunited with Danielle Imara, a friend from art school in England who had also written a fantastic memoir called Crack. We decided to work together to publish our books. Our daily chats about our progress were invaluable, and without her I would not have had the courage to do this.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has expanded my audience to a larger number of channels. I've only recently come to Smashwords so I have yet to see how many of my new potential readers will purchase my book.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy of writing is when I realize something is a great story and I know how to tell it. That is such an exciting feeling, when the words just flow and one feels connected to something beyond one's own mind. Also, getting positive feedback is wonderful, because it means the writing worked and people connected to it.
What do your fans mean to you?
Some people have written to me and said they don't feel alone any more, that they feel someone else went through the same experience they had. I love that someone I have never met could identify with my story, and I have loved learning the stories of those who have chosen to share them with me.
What are you working on next?
I am working on a novel. The story is top secret, and I'm very excited about it. I wrote the first paragraph on the 22nd anniversary of my Holy Blessing, August 25 2014.
Who are your favorite authors?
I love reading memoirs, particularly rock memoirs: Viv Albertine, Ozzy Osbourne, Marianne Faithfull, Keith Richards, Cherie Currie, Lemmy Kilmister, Marilyn Manson, Dave Navarro, John Lydon, and more. Some non-rock memoirs I like are Jeanette Walls The Glass Castle, Stuart by Alexander Masters, Coming Clean by Kimberly Rae Miller and anything by Frank or Malachy McCourt. For humor I like Caitlin Moran, and Russell Brand. I also like memoirs by women of questionable repute or groupies: Jenna Jameson, Catherine James, Pamela Des Barres and Crack by Danielle Imara.
My previously secret reading pleasure is all my Law of Attraction stuff: books by Abraham Hicks and Rhonda Byrne. If I could write something that improves people's lives the way their books do, I would be very happy.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I search in my favorite genres, or sometimes get word of mouth recommendations.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first story I wrote which still exists was about a kitten who got lost by the river. I was about 5 at the time. There may have been earlier stories.
What is your writing process?
I sit down in the morning as early as possible, sometimes after working out, and I write for 2 or 3 hours. If it's not working, I write for at least 20 minutes, and then do a bit of research and just do something else instead. Occasionally if I have a deadline, I work into the evening.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I used to love Dr. Seuss because of the rhymes and the other worldliness of the stories with their made up creatures and words.
How do you approach cover design?
I've only done this once, and I tried out a lot of ideas before I found one that worked. Then I started looking at book covers in stores that caught my eye, and thought perhaps I could have done that first, to see what was contemporary, and what made me want to look inside.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Clothes Clothes Clothes, Music Music Music, Boys Boys Boys by Viv Albertine because it's such a fun read, and also gives an insider's view of the musicians of the era.
Crack by Danielle Imara because it's so gutsy and describes a world I knew nothing about.
The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean because I love the way she uses words and everything she writes is brilliant.
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides because it made me think about what the life of a hermaphrodite is like, how complicated relationships can be, and how we try to make gender a simple thing when it isn't always so.
Ask And It Is Given by Abraham Hicks because I believe the Law of Attraction works and this book has helped me through some hard times.
What do you read for pleasure?
Rock memoirs and Law of Attraction books.
Published 2014-08-28.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Holy Candy: Why I Joined A Cult And Married A Stranger
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 90,340. Language: English. Published: August 25, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Biography » Autobiographies & Memoirs, Nonfiction » Biography » Woman biographies
What is the purpose of life? Is there a spiritual world? Does true love exist? The desire to find answers to these questions led Yolande Brener to embark on a bizarre, 15-year odyssey in a cult and to participate in one of the largest mass marriages in history. Spooky, riveting, and utterly believable, this award-winning memoir will keep you reading well into the night.