Name: Paul Midden
Book Title: Riley
Genre: Adult, contemporary fiction
Publisher: Wittmann Blair
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?
Is this your first book?
Paul: No, it is my sixth novel.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Paul: Some years ago, I set up my own publishing company. So it is an indie publication.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey? The pros and cons?
Paul: I started with a small press for my first two novels. Then I switched to various kinds of self-publishing. Finally, I set up my own company, which enabled me to plan more successfully, control costs, make editorial decisions independently, and oversee the quality of the final product.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Paul: The publishing industry is pretty much the Wild West: lots of people clamoring for your attention; On the one hand, there are the major publishers, whose bottom line requires them to be very selective, and some would say limiting, in what they accept for publication. Then there are the (largely self-appointed) experts who make lots of promises, warranted or not. Setting up Wittmann Blair enabled me to turn the volume down on a lot of that, select quality professionals, and pursue publishing the kinds of books I want to publish.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Paul: It is not for everyone. I think people need to experiment and find the methods best suited to them.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Paul: Write a lot; stick your toe in different literary ponds; take risks; enjoy the process; have a support network.
About the book:
Riley is about the eponymous protagonist who is about thirty, a writer by trade, who lives in Washington, D.C. At the beginning of the book, she has left her husband and has undertaken a novel about separation and divorce. She lives in a small apartment in a D.C. high-rise.
The characters in Riley’s novel are also in a marriage that is teetering on the edge. It opens with Adam, her protagonist, trying to decide if he should talk to Suzanne, his wife about their relationship. He works from home, and he has decided this was the day they would talk. In the end, he loses his nerve and doesn’t say anything. But to his surprise Suzanne is the one who takes the initiative.
Riley’s life and the novel she is writing share many similarities, but there are also major differences. Suzanne turns out to be having an affair with her female boss. Riley’s best friend is a slightly older lesbian who is attracted to Riley but who values the platonic friendship they have.
As the story unfolds, unexpected things happen that challenge all of the characters. Without giving away the plot, the lines between reality and fantasy begin to blur, and each of the characters has to deal with the emotional impact of events as they unfold.