What does it really take to land on a best-seller list?
Friday, November 24, 2017
Interview with Author OLIVER FAIRFAX
THE ANGEL STRIKES.’ VOLUME 1 of THE BRANDT FAMILY CHRONICLES
Author BIO: Oliver Fairfax is a nomad. A Scot by birth, he has wandered from England to Hong Kong and back twice. He has lived in France and now in New Zealand. He worries that a generation is rising who cannot tell the difference between a citizen and a subject. He is concerned about the pervasive growth of regulation that cannot be afforded, cannot be complied with, but that seeks to remove free choice. He worries also about political correctness and the suppression of dissonance being two policies that misinform ordinary people’s decision-making processes. But those irritants aside, life’s great. For more info, see: www.oliverfairfax.com
1. What really inspired you to write your book, to force you into taking an idea or experience and converting it into a book?
As I mentioned above I became alarmed at the European 2000 Declaration on Human Rights and saw it as a step towards a form of totalitarianist government against which there is no appeal and no redress. The European Court of Human Rights is answerable to no one and it wrote its own mandate. Subsequently I realized how much I had been propagandized about European history. The more I checked the more it was true. But what to do about it? Disconnected jottings seemed to coalesce into a narrative and that was the start. Once I embarked on a history my characters became alive. I knew them and they exposed a different proposition as the story progressed. Events as sinister as the adoption of the Declaration of 2000 litter Europe’s past and these books put those events into a context of continuous power-broking. This is history, but not as you know it, although it might look similar. The differences are telling and important. When the series finishes, (Vol. 9 – I’m writing Vol. 8 now) I’m very much afraid Europe will be faced with the same problems it has been faced with in the past and I see no appreciation that the same fate awaits unless radically different policies are pursued.
Now, bear in mind just how often Americans have become entwined in Europe’s history. This is a fascinating insight. The Americans I have highlighted, Elihu Washburne in Vols. 5 & 6 and Gen. Lucius Clay in Vol.7, have shown altruism in a way that is unique to Americans and I have absolutely no doubt that it will be American altruism that comes to Europe’s salvation again. I can see no signs of any local variety developing and that is worrying.
2. What is the book about and who is your audience?
The book tells the story of a family of Russian serfs fleeing privation and worse in the 1800s. They settle in the woods south of Berlin, to survive – if they can – and to prosper – if they can. In a maelstrom of action, they become involved in some fiction and some fact that paints the picture of the times. Times when Bonaparte conquered every nation that stood up to him. By the end of this volume, (1811) Bonaparte’s doom is planned. The book spans nine years, during which time our hero Paul Brandt, grows up. Next, (Vol, 2) the French army will die in the wastes of Russia, but Paul will be inside the French force!
3. What do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts of readers about your book?
That America can do it, whatever ‘it’ may be, because Americans have done it before. Because Americans can do ‘it’ for the right motives, just as they can for the wrong ones. Americans can fall from the pinnacle, and you will see that, but only they can rise to those amazing heights that others can’t, don’t, or won’t. You will see that too.
I hope that an enduring sense of personal worth, of ability, will linger. That not all of the Brandt’s actions are laudable, and that each of us is responsible. We have free choice and must appreciate that it’s a trick. You can’t use it because you must be responsible.
4. What words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers?
If you had asked what word of wisdom do you have for fellow writers I would respond, ‘Amazon’. Plain and simple. Words, is more difficult. There is so much advice out there. Remember those advisers are selling to you. They are working for themselves, not you. They will empty your pocket if you will let them. Other writers will tell you of their successes and if you are floundering it’s the last thing you want to spend time on. You want to find readers and to make friends with them. They are out there, but you have to raise your lantern, because they won’t find you. However good you are as a writer, you were born in the mud at the bottom of the sea. There are no sales there, but there are tons of books and thousands of authors all flapping about. Put down your pen and realize you’re in the merchandizing business. Writing is a luxury. The hard yards are in the promotion. It’s a whole new skill and it is very, very difficult.
5. What trends do you see in the book world and where is the publishing industry going?
The publishing industry will survive so long as it provides livelihoods for its staff and its authors. I would expect it to continue for many years in some form or other, but I do expect that a book shop will open without any books in it. Instead there will be an Amazon Print-on-Demand machine and a computer. You will select the book you want to buy, you will select how you want it bound you will select the greeting you want on the frontispiece and you will have a coffee while your book is printed. Bookshop stock-control problems will disintegrate. But Kindle will grow and grow.
6. What great challenge did you have in writing your book?
Emotions will kill you. Depression will lurk. The journey is endless and the promises of advisers are empty, like your wallet. There is nowhere to look for success. But you go on because you are a writer. Those who give up are not writers because they have given up. So far as depression is concerned, remember that depression is found in the past. Today is depressing because yesterday was depressing because something that has gone wrong persists. Anxiety lives in the future, will it work, or won’t it? Contentment is found in the here and now. That is the place to live in. What hasn’t worked will be put aside. Something new will be tried, but what? Who knows? It is not apparent yet. But it will be, because you are thinking about it.
7. If people buy only one book this month why should it be mine?
The Angel Strikes will entertain you, whoever you are. It will provoke you and it will make you ask: would I have done that? Even should I have done that? Or possibly could I have done that? Would I do it differently? Possibly it will trigger you to look at you own life in different ways. To challenge your assumptions - and we all know about assumptions. Hopefully, you will look harder for opportunities and learn to have the courage to grasp them. Hopefully, you will want to go further on the same journey as the Brandt Family and you will keep this book, because when you go back over it, you will find more in it that you overlooked first time. The test will be when you find you’ve lent The Angel Strikes to someone who hasn’t returned it. Will you buy another copy? Maybe, maybe not, but you will certainly buy one in a second-hand book shop as you protect your set!
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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs