Name: Leif and Jason Grundstrom-Whitney
Book Title: The Hidden Chalice of the Cloud People
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Publisher: Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing
Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published. Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
Leif and Jason: We have both written throughout our lives. Poetry, short stories, tales, etc., have always been part of the fabric of our family. To be quite frank, we can't imagine a day that would be possible without writing. Like breathing, eating, brushing your teeth, writing is good hygiene for the creative soul. We decided in particular to write this book as we saw a paucity in the genre for well-written literature that is reminiscent of Gulliver's Travels, The Jungle Book, etc. We also have a strong passion for satire (think Swift) and world culture and lore. All this comes together in this first novel of a four-part series.
Is this your first book?
Leif and Jason: Yes, this is our first book, and we want to continue the series and continue writing together! This is the first book in a tetralogy.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Leif and Jason: We went with Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing to get our book out to the world. We hope for traditional publishing and feel that this book shows our capabilities as writers. Our goal is to have the entire series published traditionally.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey? The pros and cons?
Leif and Jason: Like any publishing endeavor, it can be broken down into three steps: 1.) the releasing of the material; 2.) the publicity of the product;
and 3.) the tenacity to continue forward no matter what the obstacle.
I feel that the publishing process is rife with pros and cons. One pro is releasing your manuscript to the world. This is a birthing process, a subtle catharsis of letting this creative child out of your safe and warm domicile and into a world that at times can be cold and indifferent. The con for this pro is articulated in the last sentence. Your creative work is your gift, your internal process worked out with your muse; then carefully, slowly, edited, and refined along the way. When the process is complete, your wings unfold, and your gestation is revealed in the published form. To have this child go into an indifferent world can be maddening at times. We cannot escape the fact that new children are born to this world (new ways of thinking in the creative arts) and then not supported. Thelonious Monk felt this and became quite reclusive. We scratch our heads now and ask how is it that people did not see the beauty he created!
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Leif and Jason: It is hard not to be somewhat skeptical of an industry that has produced so many overly commercial products over the last twenty years and has a demand for fixed formulas. Publishing is such a sacred craft, bringing forth fresh, new and dynamic ways of seeing the world via book form. For instance when you think about what it was in classic literature that first captivated you, you may answer, 'It had me thinking in ways I had not thought before. It was subtly troubling, and with this troubling, a new process of thought enfolded and enabled me to think in a relevant and clear way about the theme presented.'
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Leif and Jason: I believe it is a good start. I also feel that self-publishing and indie publishing apply some pressure to more the traditional publishing industry. It is roughly akin to the survey they did in the 1990's when they found out a huge portion of the American population used alternative medicine in their approach to wellness. Look at the implications of that survey and subsequent studies! Now they offer acupuncture, yoga, qigong, meditation, and indigenous herbology in several medical schools. The pressure from the populace created that change. I am in hopes that the publishing I have listed above will change the traditional publishing to go back to its roots in being pliant and open to new ways of thinking and styles of writing.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Leif and Jason: We impart this advice to aspiring authors: Take your art seriously; refine your abilities, hone your skills and develop a habit of writing on a quotidian basis; not necessarily a piece of art that inspires the pneuma and rattles the firmament but something that is at least adequate or decent. Practicing your craft plays a crucial role in maintaining the well-being and the liveliness of your mental character as well as improving your writing abilities. Let the sensitive fabric of your psyche become pachydermatous and persevere through all the vicissitudes that adversity can muster.