Today I am welcoming debut indie author, Zuzanne Belec to the Indie Spotlight.
Zuzanne is a writer, poet and translator who now lives in the heart of Europe, after being lucky enough to spend her first thirty years absorbing the contrasting textures of Africa.
After she quit the rat race, she spent fifteen years as a translator before discovering the world of writing. This discovery, and the encouragement from her daughters, partner and friends, led to her decision to delve even deeper into writing. She then grew a long grey beard and became a hermit, studying the craft and immersing herself into this world that is magic.
About the time when her beard reached ankle-length, she knew she was on the right path when three of her stories were published in Canadian literary magazines.
Her debut collection, Layers: A Collection of Short Stories, is the result of this passion. And it is only the beginning …
Contact Zuzanne here:
Hi Zuzanne, welcome to my blog.
What made you decide to publish your book independently?
It may sound silly, or selfish perhaps, but as a late bloomer, I don’t have the luxury of queuing long-term in the standard ‘waiting lines’ of trad publishing ;o) I say ‘luxury’ though, because those waiting periods do make for a great learning curve, which can also serve to enrich the writer. I sure learnt a lot when I tried it out before opting for the indie way. I personally think it is good to try out the trad way for a while, to learn how the publishing industry works, at the very least.
What are the benefits of being an indie author?
Besides the natural benefit of being in control of one’s entire writing and marketing process, it also provides great motivation to give it one’s all, to strive for quality work that one needn’t be ashamed of. Also, it provides an internalizing opportunity to improve one’s self-discipline and willpower. It brought out the best in me, as I had to reach deep within – more so than if I were managed by an external entity. I think it gives indie authors the chance to discover what they really have within, both from a creative and a managerial/administrative point of view.
So you need a lot of different skills to be a successful indie author. Self-management is not something everyone is good at. What other challenges do indie authors face?
Willpower! Plus, besides the technical/practical challenges, there are other internal challenges, like maintaining a good emotional balance, i.e. not falling into depression when things don’t go as one would like, and likewise not becoming overly cavalier when they do! And if we overcome all those challenges, we might just discover something incredible about ourselves …
A good emotional balance is important for us all, I think. In terms of getting bad reviews, it must be very difficult to maintain such a balance and to accept that other people’s opinions of books are entirely subjective and every book will not be to everyone’s taste. But I’m sure it must hurt when anyone is less than positive about your creative output.
What advice would you give to aspiring indie authors?
Constantly aim for improvement. And be patient. Besides that, there is no one bit of advice that would apply to each and every one of us, as everyone is different. I would however say that we should at least be open to those constant bits of advice by professionals, because even if it seems like they might not apply to us, there is a chance that one or more bits of such advice might just impact our work someday – if not now, then perhaps later as one develops more. The trick is to ‘see’ it when it shows up, and then to utilise it properly, and gradually build up confidence that way too …
What have you learned from being an indie author?
Patience. And a whole bunch of techie things!
What can we look forward to seeing from you in 2021?
Another short story collection. And hopefully the first installation of my magical realism series, Paths Taken.
I enjoyed your short story Paths Taken – it will be interesting to see how it develops in the coming series.
Thank you so much for joining me today on my blog, Zuzanne, good luck with Layers and with these new projects. A series with magical realism sounds very interesting – I’ll be on the lookout for Paths Taken.
Thank you very much, Sue, for this wonderful opportunity. It’s great to finally communicate with fellow writers and readers following the emergence from my cave, after so many years…
May your ventures go wonderfully too, just as planned. And to everyone reading this, thank you for your time ;o)
Layers – A Collection of Short Stories
The Christmas Charge
Instead of enjoying their Christmas preparing eggnog cream pie and sipping sherry by the fireside, three batty grannies go on an African safari. At this stage of wisdom in their lives, nothing can go wrong. Right?
When her grandmother ‘kills’ a man on a busy town square, Hecate is forced to face her worst fears and use her own unsettling powers to help her. But where will these new paths take her?
All Earl needs to do is hand his work over to his successor. But is it that easy to let go? And where does one hide from one’s inner noise?
The Old Man and the Donkey
Deep in northern Portugal, an old man and his donkey go about their lonely routine. When an unexpected visitor shows up, everyone is given a new chance of happiness. But have they all been stubbornly avoiding it for too long?
The Arctic Haze
Since he was little, bad luck has stuck to George’s soles like clingy dog mess. Some of us are luckier. Or are we really?
Penny’s Purple Robot
A loving father exceeds himself to make his daughter happy after her mother passes away. But can he force himself to face a brutal truth?
Deep in Africa, a desperate mother accepts her own fate, but refuses to face an even harsher reality. Mothers will do anything for their young. And things may not be as they seem.
Running from their regular lives, Sam and Patsy end up in an artificial town – Yeehaw Theme Park. Will they find their true selves in this synthetic world?
If you like a minimalist and dark, yet humorous look at the contrasts we face in the world today, you will enjoy this collection of mixed-genre stories.
My Review of Layers can be found here.
Add Layers to your To Be Read list here:
Most retailers: https://books2read.com/u/4A77zd
A modern story of ancient good. Set in modern India, this is a tale of a chance meeting between a poor boy and an old Brahmin succumbing to senility. How can an old man on the verge of passing help a boy on the cusp of hopelessness? If you enjoy stories of good and of hope, this story will warm your heart.
Available for free download here: https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/o5o4a1
Who’s next on Indie Spotlight?
Next Thursday (21st January) I will be welcoming John F. Leonard to the Indie Spotlight. John is an independent author of Horror stories.