Anthea Carson, author of The Dark Lake
If you were trapped on a desert island, and a magical talking stork could bring you one book (not yours) which would it be?
If a magical talking stork came to me, I would want to talk to the stork. I would ask him to tell me all the stories of delivering babies, flying through the nights hanging those little blanket-bundles from their beaks. How do they manage to fly so far without dropping them? I would be so mesmerized by the stork and his stories I wouldn’t want to read. After all, reading is secondary experience. Talking to a magical talking stork is primary experience. That being said, I’d pick The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner.
Which authors influenced you most?
Marcel Proust, William Faulkner, Daphne Du Maurier, Truman Capote, and a couple of books here and there like Peachtree Road, by Ann Rivers Siddon, and Lost Girls, by Andrew Pyper, and the Girl in a Swing by Richard Adams. I also notice influence of Doris Miles Disney.
What made you go indie?
I had been published by a small publisher, and I enjoyed it, but I longed for the control and independence that comes with being an indie author. I also knew that being published by a traditional publisher whether large or small still meant doing all my own promoting. I resent the idea that I do all my own promoting and then turn around and give my publisher a large chunk of my profit. If publishers are no longer willing to put the investment in to promote their authors, what do we need them for? We used to need them for large scale printing. That’s no longer the case as we can now use print on demand and print only the number of copies we need. Even if there are editing issues, small numbers of copies printed means it is very easy to fix typos and other editing issues. And now, with Kindle, we can publish without killing a single tree. We don’t really even need Amazon, because they don’t really provide all that much more exposure, we still need to get most of our audience through our own blood, sweat and tears. So why exactly do we need publishers again?
I love the independence of that!
What’s your favourite part of indie publishing?
The independence of course. I don’t have a publisher telling me what I can write about, what genre is “selling these days,” what message their particular publishing company wants to send the world, what topics I can talk about, what subjects are in, what subjects are out, which ones are taboo. Ug, the confinements of that! If I followed the scripts of the publishing world I would gag on my word processor. Oh, and one more thing, I get to pick out my own book cover and set my own price.
What’s your least favourite part?
I like the umbrella effect that a publisher provides. If someone thinks your book stinks, and says things like “Why did you write this terrible book that is badly written and needs editing and has no story…?” you can simply point to your publisher and say, “I don’t know, ask him? He’s the one who believed in my work enough to publish me.” When you are totally indie you answer for yourself. You say, “Hey buddy, I thought it was good enough. And that was good enough for me.”
Summarise your writing style (or books) in 100 words or less:
The Dark Lake is a surrealistic novel that goes back that oscillates between the past and the present. It is a bit confusing for some people, but my intention was not to write a clear story that was easily understood. Like the dark lake itself, my writing style, at least in this story, is murky, cloudy, difficult to see, frightening and confusing. The unconscious mind that the dark lake represents, is also half hidden, shadowy. It is deliberately unclear as to whether you are in the past or the present in The Dark Lake, as with madness and addiction.
If you were offered a book-deal would you take it?
Ah ha! The old, ‘you only are self published by necessity not by choice’ trick. Well, I am currently offered a publishing deal from the same publisher who published my other books, and I am truly struggling to decide whether to go with her. The one condition, she says, is that I can no longer offer my book The Dark Lake as an indie book. She thinks those indie books are trash. I don’t agree, and I don’t think there is more money going with her. I will still have to do all the work of promoting, and I will be added the extra burden of trying to sell a book for more than people wish to pay for it. I will take pretty much the same amount of money from each sale. I don’t see the advantage, but on the other hand, like I said before, I like hiding behind respectability. Now if the deal were great, and it was a well known publisher, and they were going to do all the promoting, and I was going to make large sums of money and be on talk shows and have their name backing me up, I would take that deal.
Why should someone pick-up your book(s)?
If they like reading something that is a bit difficult to understand, that takes a bit of effort, and isn’t an easy read they might like The Dark Lake. If they like interaction between characters, and if character development is more important to them than plot, then my story is for them.
What formats is it/are they available in and where?
My book The Dark Lake is currently available only for the Kindle at Amazon as is Girl with the Alligator Pants and Two Moons (A Short Story). That may change if I decide to go with the publisher. My other two books How to Play Chess Like an Animal and Ainsworth are available in paperback and hardback.