- Name: Linda Ballou
- Website: Let Me Take You There
- Book: Wai-nani, High Chiefess of Hawai’i-Her Epic Journey
- Genre: Historical Fiction
- Date Published: May 2008
- Publisher: StarPublishLLC
What is your day job?
Real Estate sales person in Studio City, California
What is your book about (in a few sentences)?
Through the eyes of high chiefess, Wai-nani, you experience the Hawaiian society as it existed when Captain James Cook arrived at Kealakekua Bay in 1779; ride the billowing seas with Eku, the wild dolphin she befriends; learn why she loved the savage, conflicted ruler, Makaha; walk with her as she defies ancient laws and harsh taboos of the Island people; share the love she received from all who knew her and learn how she rose to become the most powerful woman in old Hawai’i.
??Most challenging part of the writing process: Staying true to the culture was extremely difficult. As one would expect there are many contradictions in a 200-year-old oral history. Deciding which version was most correct was not easy. Not using modern words like plastic that would snap the reader back into the 21st century became an enormous challenge. You don’t realize how hard that is until you try!
What motivates you to write?
The goal is self-actualization. Writing expands and excites my universe while providing purpose to my adventures. It is my form artistic self-expression that allows me to be a part of the “Long Conversation” that is our civilization.
Did you experience writer’s block? If so, how did you overcome it?
As with any task, the hardest part is getting started. I force myself to get the first paragraph of any writing project onto paper. This helps formulate what it is I am trying to accomplish and the rest follows. Sometimes, I have to go back and rewrite the opening paragraph because the story that has revealed itself to me is different than what I thought it was going to be when I started.
?How long did it take you to write this book? It is the culmination of a 30-year love affair with the Islands and the woman who inspired this tale Ka’ahumanu, the favorite wife of Kamehameha the Great. It became my mission to visit all the places in the story that I could so I could absorb the mana—that is the spiritual essence –of the people of old.
Why did you decide to self-publish this book?
I wanted to do it my way. Agents and traditional publishers are looking for block buster material that will pay their mortgage payments. That means they will change your work around to fit a pre-existing mold that has succeeded in the past. I don’t believe they are interested in pure literary efforts unless the author can show them that the work is commercially viable. One way you can do this is to self-publish and let the reading public write reviews. If people love your book and share it with friends you can convince a traditional publisher to invest in you. In my case, I had no choice, in terms of my own psychological development I had to get Wai-nani out of my drawer and into the hearts and minds of readers. It was necessary in order for me to move forward with other writing projects and my real estate career. The process has been empowering, rewarding and has allowed me to interact with the wider world as a writer.
What is the biggest misconception about writing a book?
Writing is not a gift as much as it a craft that has to be polished to perfection. Writing Wai-nani and getting it into to publishable format is the hardest thing I have ever done, but sharing Wai-nani’s story is also my proudest achievement and has proved extremely rewarding. People often say, ‘You are a great writer, how about writing my story for me?” They don’t understand we all have our own stories to tell with limited time on the planet to do so. I have more stories in my drawer than I can ever get done in one lifetime.”
What was your favorite aspect of the writing process for this book?
This story is set in pre-contact Hawai’i, a sensual age that fired my imagination. I lived for one carefree year on the north shore of Kauai. The romance of the place and the beauty of the culture is what inspired me. Writing this book allowed me to surf with the royals, dance the hula with beautiful hula sisters, and imagine would it be like to live in lush Waipio where cliffs sparkle with triple-tiered waterfalls. I actually stayed in the famed valley a couple of nights hoping to capture a sense of the place for my readers.
What tools/methods have you employed to promote your book?
The internet is the way the truth and the light for self-published authors. Brick and mortars are simply not cost-effective. They have limited shelf space and most of it is dedicated to big publishers who pay them for their best advertising slots. They return books that are not sold in thirty days and that eats up any profit you might have made on other sales. Without the internet alternatives for marketing, that are often free, I don’t know if I would have ventured onto the self-publishing path.
Blogging seems to be the most effective tool I have used so far. My blog posts go to Facebook, Twitter, my page on Amazon, Kindle, and Goodreads.com automatically, as well as other places that I chose to post manually. I am an adventure travel writer, so many of my posts are about my trips. I published my travel collection Lost Angel Walkabout in May of 2010, so I have reviews of that book as well as for Wai-nani on my website and blog.
I also give talks at various venues around southern California about my books. I love to take Wai-nani to Polynesian fests which are a lot of fun with hula and Hawaiiana of all kinds.
What advice would you give to writers regarding promotion?
One of the dangers of the internet is that it can be a real time drain. Yes, it is all fascinating, but you need to stay focused on getting your own writing work done. If you are like most people you have limited time for your creative endeavor. You must be very selective about how many newsletters, writing tips and you- tube videos you are going to view on any given day.
I’m a writer – if I stop writing, I am nothing. -Wilbur Smith? Is this true?
Surgeons cut, writers writer. If you have invested yourself in the craft and it is your form of self-expression, I would say yes! I do not feel good about myself if I am not devoting my best energies to my writing projects. I feel very satisfied when I finish an article or essay that really hits the mark! It makes me feel that I am living up to my promise as a human being.
Inspiration is the act of drawing up a chair to the writing desk. – Anon How do you feel about this statement?
As I said earlier, the hardest part is getting started. Your mind will automatically help you organize and structure something it can see, but if it is just a jumble of ideas whirling in your head, it can’t. You have to kick start the process. I enlist my subconscious in this endeavor by reading at night about the subject I’m trying to get going on and write first thing in the morning before the pressures of a busy day set in.
Thank you Sonia for this opportunity to share my thoughts. If readers would like to become one of my “Hot Contacts” and receive blog posts they can come to my site and enter their email address. I have lots of articles and photo essays there for them to enjoy.