motivated you to write your book, to force you from taking an idea or
experience and turning it into this book? I was on a bike ride in San Francisco with my (now-ex)
husband and he was blocks ahead of me, and I had that thought that my
protagonist Hannah has: What if I just turned left? The appurtenant thoughts
were: Would he notice? What would my life turn into? That seed
grew into a whole scene in my head that wouldn’t go away. So I finally wrote it
down. That kept happening with other scenes that were clearly related. After I
had several of these, I outlined how they fit together. Initially, it was more
like the book pushed its way through me than that I had a motivation to write a
When I had most of the first draft done, it then took some motivation to take it the rest of the way to publication. That was in part knowing that my editor and good friend David Colin Carr was turning more of his attention and writing to dying. I didn’t want to miss out on the chance to work with him because I didn’t get around to it. I felt the pressure to get it done before he departed. I also knew that working on a project together would give him reason to stick around. Thankfully, he’s still with us.
2. What is it about and who is it for? It’s about breaking free of despair and discovering the
magic of life—and realizing we’re surrounded by clues that there’s something
mystical or energetic or spiritual that’s connecting us all. Hannah is
struggling with anxiety and childhood trauma. When she’s forced to leave the
baggage of her yesterdays behind, she discovers whole new potentials for who
she can be. James is torn apart by guilt and grief but finds a path to healing.
In The Left Turn, a pivotal decision splits our protagonists off into different versions of their lives. What is central to the ability to change and grow is letting go of the story we tell ourselves of who we are. The parallel universe split is completely disorienting to Hannah, but it opens a door that she couldn’t even see before that happened.
We all have our “what if” thoughts, and there are an increasing number of books and films that use that as a premise. I think that’s because of the growing awareness that life is so much bigger than we’re
generally trained to believe.
The book is for those of us who believe or are hopeful that life is something much bigger than just a physical existence that we have to cope our way through. There’s something magical and spiritual that we can tap into and that changes our lives.
3. What takeaways might the reader be left with after reading it? I hope readers will
feel empowered and hopeful, to realize and remember they can create the life
they desire. Also, to stay open to the magic of life, so they can see through
the illusion that life is a fixed objective “reality” out there. That gratitude
is the foundation of happiness and change. And encouraging people to notice the
synchronous things we all experience—the clues as I call them—that remind us
that there is something bigger going on.
4. How did you decide on your book’s title and cover design? The title not only
reflects the most obvious of the pivotal decisions in the book (there’s another
one that is more hidden), but also those moments when we think we should take
the “right” path even if we feel drawn to an alternate path. The
cover design incorporates the dark and light - moving from a dark perception of
life to one filled with light. The bike wheel calls in the biking that is a
huge part of Hannah’s life, but also movement and change. And the Golden Gate
Bridge is not only iconic for San Francisco, but bridges are emblematic of
crossing a divide. I really like where my designer Suzanne Parrott went with
the design elements.
5. What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers? Work with a team—a great
editor that you trust is priceless. Get beta readers who will be honest with
you and accept their feedback with gratitude, even if you disagree with it at
first. Stay open. Learn from others, especially in places like IBPA (Independent
Book Publishers Assn.) and BAIPA (Bay Area Independent Publishers Assn.). And
make the commitment to also do your book in audio or you’ll miss out on a big
part of your audience.
6. What trends in the book world do you see -- and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading? Indie publishing has been growing steadily. Similarly,
the audiobook growth trend has hit a decade of double-digit growth. One of the
particular challenges that I see is that although indie authors now not only do
all the creative effort of writing books, they also carry the burden of the
expenses for publishing their work. In spite of that, the retail markets are
set up in favor of the retailers getting most of the revenue generated by
sales. That’s not right. Authors are in a win-lose situation in the
marketplace, and usually they are the losers.
The good news is that there are some leaders making inroads to turn this around. In the audiobook world, it’s happening with AMPlify, the new direct-sale platform by Pro Audio Voices. I’m the founder and CEO of the company, and this is something we’ve wanted to be able to offer for years and we’re just now going live with it December 2022. It’s a really big deal and a huge opportunity for authors and small publishers.
Consumer awareness is increasing around the power of where dollars are spent: buy local and buy direct. As more people realize the impact they have by buying direct, the more we’ll see a shift away from the Amazon monopoly. If buyers realized just how little of the money they spend for audiobooks on Audible actually get to the authors, they would be shocked. We need to keep educating people about this so they can make informed decisions about purchases. Audible dominates the market and sales—but pays the lowest
On the other hand, audiobooks sold through AMPlfiy provide the authors with the income and the control they deserve. We’re all about empowering authors. Stories are life. We experience our lives as story and retell it to each other and ourselves every day.
Circling back to The Left Turn, that’s why it’s such a life changer to change the story.
7. What challenges did you overcome to write this book? My primary business and passion is Pro
Audio Voices, and my focus has mostly been on bringing other people’s books to
life in audio. So finding the time I needed took a big commitment to myself and
the book. The first year of writing was sporadic as scenes popcorned into my
head over several months. Then for a long time it sat neglected. In 2019 I felt
the push to get back to it and get it done, thanks to my editor.
8. How would you describe your writing style? I tend to focus mostly on the internal story of the
characters, what they’re thinking and feeling, than on what’s happening in their
physical surroundings. My great interest is the personal journey of
self-discovery. My editor, David, was great at pushing me to find alternatives
to internal monologues. I also love metaphors and similes. I think we can
actually understand and express feelings better that way, so I lean into that.
9. If people can buy or read one book this week or month, why should it be yours? Because it will change the way you see your own life. You’ll start to notice things you used to consider coincidental or irrelevant, and see from a new perspective. It will plant seeds that with a little nurturing can add magic and mystery to your life.
The Author: Becky Parker Geist is the founder and CEO of Pro Audio Voices, which is a Portland based company serving clients
internationally as a go-to place for exceptional audiobook production and
marketing, and producer of the soon-to-be-released AMPlify app, that offers the
highest royalties and most control to authors of audiobooks of any platform in
the industry. Her debut novel, The Left Turn, the first in the Split
Universe series, which explores self-discovery and discoveries in new science
through contemporary metaphysical fiction in the context of parallel universes,
is available for purchase on Amazon. For more information, please see:
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