Category Archives: Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Joe Downing

When we decide to publish a manuscript at Boyle & Dalton, we become invested in the cover with bordersuccess of the author. It’s great to see hard work pay off, and we love celebrating our authors’ accomplishments. We recently sat down with Joe Downing, author of The Abundant Bohemian, and learned more about his creative process.

The Abundant Bohemian extols the benefits of working less, while still making a living, and finding time for the simple pleasures life affords us. Find The Abundant Bohemian on Amazon.com here.

B&D: Why did you decide to write The Abundant Bohemian? What was your inspiration for the book?

JD: Seven years ago I was a minor partner in a law firm working fifty or more hours a week and having to follow someone else’s rules and value system. I had no time or mental energy left at the end of the day to pursue my passion of creative writing. I was miserable and thought I hated being a lawyer. After two years of fear-based dithering I took the risk and quit the firm and opened a small private practice, convinced that I would fail. I didn’t. Because I now kept my profits without giving the majority of it to senior partners and I no longer wasted time in pointless meetings, I was able to cut my hours back to less than thirty-five a week, and in my first year I made more money than my best year with the firm. Most importantly, I had my autonomy and my time back: I now could pursue my writing. I discovered I didn’t hate being a lawyer, I hated someone else controlling my work life. After this, I became evangelical about helping people find ways to do what they love. I spent two years interviewing entrepreneurs and creatives, including writers, artists, dancers, and sculptors, on how they followed their passion and still managed to not just survive, but to thrive. Those interviews became the basis of The Abundant Bohemian.

B&D: In the book you draw from lots of other sources–interviews, quotes, experts from other work etc. What was the research process like for you?

JD: The research process was a labor of love. The people I interviewed were passionate, energetic, and eager to share their secrets. I met amazing people, who then referred me to even more amazing people. The process caused me to reevaluate my views on risk, security, the role of money, and how work that you love is really play. I also drew on many historical figures whose stories have much to teach us. The research for this book was so life-changing that if I had to burn the manuscript when finished I still would have written it.

B&D: How does living the Bohemian life impact your writing process?

JD: Living the Bohemian life is making an affirmative commitment to the value one puts on one’s art. I have all my material needs met, but I try to keep those needs minimal because the time I am not working at my law practice is time I can devote to my writing. I actively seek out and engage other people passionate about their art and their energy feeds my creative process. The Bohemian life values art over material wealth, autonomy over security, authenticity over status: all things necessary to be a contented writer.

B&D: You wrote a blog post a few months ago, and in it you talked about finding success in publishing a book, regardless of the number of copies you sold. How has that outlook impacted your publishing and/or writing experience?

JD: I knew I had to be prepared for the book to be well received and I had to be prepared for it to be criticized, or even worse, ignored. I was passionate about writing the book and that leads to expectations. But I knew I had to detach myself from what came next. How others respond is out of my control, but how I experienced the writing of it was all mine. The lessons I learned and the people I met inspired me and changed my life. I’m a different person than I was when I started the process four years ago. That is the true compensation and value I received. If others benefit and enjoy it, all the better. But the experience justified the time and labor involved. We all want to be validated. We want our work to be respected, appreciated, and consumed. But the act of doing it? That’s where the treasure lies.

B&D: Why did you decide to publish with a hybrid publisher like Boyle & Dalton instead of pursuing the traditional publishing route?

JD: I attended the San Francisco Writer’s Conference several years ago and although I learned a lot, much of what I learned was quite depressing. The majority of the promotion and work to get a book to its audience has shifted from the publishing house to the author. Unless you are already an established best-selling author, little support is given. Without a well-developed platform already in place, few publishing houses will take a risk on a new author. And if you have developed a strong platform, you have to ask: why do you need the publisher in the first place? Technology and the Internet has opened up a new world for writers and other creatives. And many bestselling authors who have published with major houses, such as Tim Ferris and James Altucher, are now self-publishing their books because they were disappointed with the archaic methods and lack of support from traditional publishing houses. They discovered they can do it better themselves. I didn’t want to wait around for some self-appointed gatekeeper to decide whether or not my work was worthy to share with the public. When I chose Boyle & Dalton I received excellent content and copy editing, design and marketing help. And my work and its destiny remained in my hands. That’s what the Abundant Bohemian is all about: people pursuing their art on their terms and making it work. It would have been hypocritical of me to follow any other path.

B&D: What advice do you have for authors who have finished, or are working toward finishing their first manuscript?

JD: First, make it the best work it can be. Many authors rush to publication before their books are ready and then are disappointed when they get rejected or the world doesn’t embrace their work. Take the time and do the hard work of learning the craft of writing. Join a writing group and get feedback from talented writers who will be honest with you. Remember that most writing is re-writing. Read books in the same genre as yours and know your market. Build a platform via a blog, website and social media. Network with other writers and support them. This is not a one-way street. And only when you know you have written the best book you can possibly write, submit it for publication.

B&D: What are you working on next?

JD: I’m continuing to expand and grow my blog at www.abundantbohemian.com, where I explore the themes of creativity, autonomy, financial freedom, and creating fully authentic lives. I’m in the process of creating a Dayton, Ohio based literary journal with author Jenny Monet. And after spending the last four years on nonfiction, I’m excited to be starting a new novel.

If anyone has an interesting story about how they thrive pursuing their art, I would love to hear from them and promote them on my blog. They can write to me at joe@abundantbohemian.com.

Interested in working with Boyle & Dalton? We are now accepting new manuscripts for review. Send us a sample here, or contact us at info@BoyleandDalton.com.

Ours Is the Storm: Now Available!

Ours Is the Storm by D. Thourson Palmer, the latest release from Boyle & Dalton, is now perf5.000x8.000.inddavailable as a paperback and e-book on all major markets.

Find Ours Is the Storm here.

They held each other for a long time, and just as Ahi’rea was about to cease her Sight and go to the fire, Mother spoke again. “He butchered them. Halkoriv. He butchered Teh’rahin and the others. I’ve never seen anything like it. The dark came from inside him, and it ate them.” Father brushed her hair and held her, but she went on. “The dark came from him and ate them, and when it lifted there was nothing left but blood and bone.”

-Ours Is the Storm

Revik Lasivar knows he is a savior. He knows he will never be defeated. He knows he is fighting for good.

Everything Revik Lasivar knows is a lie.

Revik is the prophesied heir to an ancient power, born to deliver his kingdom. Ahi’rea is the nomad seeress fighting to destroy it. As Ahi’rea leads her warriors to his border, Revik embarks on a last crusade drive them out. When the savior and seeress cross swords, however, the deceptions they uncover will change both of them, and their world, forever.

Ours Is the Storm is a gripping story of betrayal and redemption. From its opening chapter to its thrilling conclusion, this book will keep you immersed in a world of harrowing adventure.

Find Ours Is the Storm on Amazon.com here, or click the icons below to purchase the book from other online retailers.

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Author Spotlight: D. Thourson Palmer

We recently announced that we’ll be publishing D. Thourson Palmer’s debut novel, Ours Isperf5.000x8.000.indd the Storm. We had a chat with Palmer about his creative process, and finding inspiration when writing. Get some insight into this Boyle & Dalton author here, and look for Ours Is the Storm on January 14, 2015.

Interested in becoming a Boyle & Dalton author? Submit your manuscript here. 

B&D: Ours Is the Storm is your first novel. Have you always been a writer? What inspired you to take the leap and write a 350+ page book?

Palmer: Even when I was young I loved books. I remember my parents reading these great, weird Uncle Wiggily stories to me, and my mom always made sure I had a book near at hand. I found a massive box of old books in the garage once, including a set of the 1960s editions of Lord of the Rings. They were in terrible shape and I put them back together with scotch tape, and they’re still on my shelf. From the time I could hold a pencil I used to write and illustrate little stories – even before I could write. They were just marks that were as close as I could get to words, filling pages of notebooks I kept around. I started longer stories and novels time and again throughout school, but it wasn’t until college and after that I started finishing stories in between classes. Ours Is the Storm somehow just kept getting longer until it was done.

B&D: What’s the writing process like for you? Do you find it easy to write, or are you forcing hands to keyboard like most of us?

Palmer: I wouldn’t say easy, but one thing that does come to me is the freedom to be crappy. Just to write, and write poorly, and fix it later. That may have come from OITS too, as when I started on it I didn’t really know what I was getting into. I didn’t start with much of an expectation or plan for it. Something else that helps is writing longhand. I write everything in pen on paper first, because it’s too much work to go backwards and edit. My work rate plummets when I’m typing. I spend way too much time fixing and adjusting individual words or agonizing (futilely) over phrasing. When I’ve got an empty notebook and a pen, though, there’s nowhere to go but forward.

B&D: What was your inspiration for OITS? I know you’ve done some traveling–did you channel any of those experiences into your writing?

Palmer: Definitely. At the time I started OITS, I was assistant-teaching English at a high school in Japan. Being pretty far out of my element, being unable to speak to most people, that was something that made it into the book. Learning about other people, other places, and comparing those things to what I always thought I knew but didn’t. Feeling lost. Actually getting lost. I got stuck on a mountain climb once while the sun was coming down, a good couple hours from anything, again in a place where I could barely speak to anyone. This was also around the time it began to occur to me that a lot of my life wasn’t going to be what I had long thought it would, but that didn’t mean it was going to be bad. Just different than expected.

B&D: Which character was the most fun to write?

Palmer: I think Tak’la ends up a lot of people’s favorite, and he’s hopeful and good and all the best things. He’s a stupendous fighter, and I like writing kick-ass fights. I liked some of the side characters the most, characters that aren’t always in the fore. Draden was fun, oddly enough. The Rider was fun to write. Rahi’sta surprised me, I started her in as an aside and she just kept coming back or poking herself in where she hadn’t been before.

B&D: Why did you decide to go with a hybrid publisher like Boyle & Dalton instead of seeking a traditional publisher?

Palmer: I like the idea of working in the community. I’ve been a lot of places but I love Columbus, and I want to see good things come from this city. Collaborating with individuals, instead of some conglomerate or committee or whatever, that’s awesome. I like being able to get away from dollar signs and tell the stories I want, the way I want, and indie and hybrid publishers like Boyle & Dalton are part of that ability. Ursula K. Le Guin spoke at the National Book Awards recently (also, go read The Left Hand of Darkness, I command it), and she said we need “writers who know the difference between the production of a market commodity and the practice of an art.” I don’t know if  can put myself in the latter camp, but I want to.

B&D: Do you have any advice for first-time authors who have just completed a manuscript?

Palmer: Don’t stop now. Do it again.

B&D: What are you working on next?

Palmer: I tried to overturn or examine some fantasy tropes in OITS while still staying in the genre, and that was fun, so I’m working on a tragic, heroic family saga, set in Feriven, like OITS. The next book follows three generations of the heroic Warden family, and mostly it’s them doing their best and everything going awfully wrong. It’s about watching these heroes and really getting into the insanity that would be part of their lives. All the violence, the loss, the expectations – there’s a little bit of work out there where the heroes have to deal with that stuff, but not a lot.

Ours Is the Storm will be released to all major retailers on January 14, 2015. Interested in becoming a Boyle & Dalton author? Submit a manuscript for review here.