Interview With Author Paul Bondsfield
Paul is definitely a very creative and artistic person. He not only writes books but also has excellent musical talent. He loves to express himself using the arts and is the type of person who keeps pushing through no matter what stands in his way. He likes to get the job done. You can check out his Amazon Author Profile here. In addition, like the Facebook page for his book. And, of course, continue reading to learn more about Author Paul Bondsfield.
What prompted you to become an author?
I have always enjoyed writing – or more accurately, telling stories through whatever medium. I also paint, am a (very amateur) photographer, make short films and am a musician. Writing is one part of a number of creative activities I use to express myself. The real-life back-story to my first novel though, was what really set me off writing in full form. The story was in my head and I simply had to get it down on paper. It was almost a decision I didn’t have to take – I just had to.
Describe your writing process.
Haphazard, unstructured, occasional…shall I go on?
I need solid lumps of time to write. It takes me an hour or more just to get back into the story and the characters, but once I’m there, then I write quickly and without thinking too deeply about grammar or structure etc. That comes later.
I do try to sketch out characters and storylines, but find whilst of some use, those pen sketches all to the wayside once the flow starts.
For Acacia, I often wrote through the night – starting at 10 or 11 ‘o clock and continuing until the small hours.
Why did you become an indie author?
I tried sending manuscripts to agencies and publishers, without much luck – and if I’m honest without too much hope either. One agent did show some interest though and that sparked a deep desire to see my story in print. When I found Amazon KDP I thought I had nothing to lose and decided to give it a go. My thinking was that the current model of agents and publishers was not always around – Shakespeare self-published, so why shouldn’t I? It also gave me control over every aspect of the publishing process, which I found to be a great way to work.
Do you have any advice for other indie authors? If so, what is it?
Just do it – to steal an advertising slogan. Just write and get it out there. If you have time and energy then promote and push to sell your work as much as you can. If not, then I found, simply the act of putting out there, for public scrutiny, criticism and hopefully acclaim, was enough. These days it’s not a difficult process and it somehow takes writing back to an earlier, less commercial age. Do it because you love it, not to be famous – or rich!
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Wow – nailing just five? Tough. I tend to like different books, authors, genres and styles at different times and in different moods – and if you ask me the same question next week, I’ll probably give you different answers, but here goes anyway.
- Great Expectations – Charles Dickens. One of the first books that captured my imagination at school – and continues to do so to this day. Amazing characters, vivid scenes and a story that possibly only Dickens could have imagined.
- The Chrysalids – John Wyndham. Another school favorite that opened my eyes to the possibilities for literature to imagine what might be.
- Any of the early southern Africa books by Wilbur Smith – the Ballantyne Series and the Courtney Series. With strong connections to southern Africa myself, these stories resonated with me – and I could draw direct links to many of the concepts and storylines in them to the stories my Grandma used to tell me as a child.
- Another cop-out – but any of the historical works by Edward Rutherford: London, Paris, Sarum, The Forest… I love the sweep of history, told by ordinary people – and the linking of history, through generations to modern day. It makes me think of my own family lines and how we’re all essentially connected to history.
- And lastly, a slightly more modern book, The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton. Another historical novel (there’s a theme emerging here), but this time about my adopted homeland of New Zealand. Eleanor’s storytelling is on a really human level and so descriptive about the times, the people and the events in a little-known part of the world. I loved it and couldn’t put it down
Who are your five favorite authors?
Again, a hugely difficult question. Looking at my bookshelf now, I can find very few authors, who have managed to sell me more than one or two books each. But, I will always check out new books by a few select authors.
- Dickens is always going to be at the top of this list (although he’s not writing so much new stuff these days) – no matter what mood I’m in. Storytelling, wit, deep understanding of his characters and the times in which they live. What’s not to love
- I love the writing of Philippa Gregory too – especially her earlier work
- Bill Bryson’s humor is something to behold in his writing. Understated and dry as a bone.
- Khaled Hosseini never fails to delight
- Zadie Smith caught my imagination with her novel, White Teeth and I enjoyed The Autograph Man too – so another author who I’d always be drawn too in the book shop.
What’s the story behind your first book?
When my Grandma died she left me several artifacts from her time growing up in southern Africa. One of those was a watercolor in a battered frame. When I took it apart to reframe it I found several other paintings tucked in behind, wrapped in a newspaper, dated in the 1930s. I wondered what else might have been hidden there – a treasure map being at the top of my wonderings. My book, Acacia, is based around that premise. Starting with the artist travelling through 19th century Africa and then leaving a puzzle behind for future generations of his family to unravel.
What do your fans mean to you?
The people who comment positively about my work are icing on the cake. They are what make the effort that little bit extra special.
I would write without those people, but to have them there, being nice, asking about what’s coming next just gives that little bit of sparkle to the whole process.
What is your best, most effective, book-marketing tactic?
Selling online is all about algorithms – and if you get that, then marketing needs to be about getting your title to the top of whatever niche or genre list it sits in. I ensured that everyone I know got a copy of my book from Amazon, either a physical copy or an e-book – and then I harangued them to leave a comment and rating. Because of this I topped the list for African novels (even above Wilbur Smith for some time) for a while. That meant more people tried it out and left more comments and so I stayed up there. I wasn’t after riches, so I heavily discounted my book, or gave it away, just to build those numbers and keep my title high on the list.
What do you do when you aren’t working on books?
I’m a family man – with two kids who take up a lot of time and energy.
But I’m a travel marketer by trade – running my own company, which is all about (you guessed it) telling stories, through film, photography, writing, campaigns and promotions for travel companies and tourist boards. I also play drums in two bands, which keeps me busy and lets me make lots of noise and get paid for it.
As you can tell, Paul is very interested in the elements of a story. He loves peeling back layer after layer as each page builds on the one before it. He is a really busy man who enjoys writing simply for the thrill of watching the story build and complete itself. Be sure to take a look at his Amazon Author Profile and like the Facebook page for his book Acacia.
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