Meet Florence Osmund, an author whose books you know are quality because they have Awesome Indies Approval. Her books would suit people who like fiction that gets to the nitty gritty of life. You can be assured of something with depth as well as a strong plot, because books don’t get approved by the Awesome Indies reviewers unless they have all the elements of a good novel in place.
Florence’s most recent book is called Living with Markus and it’s about a young man who is forced to choose between cultivating a satisfying life for himself and rescuing his dysfunctional family members from their certain demise. Painful soul-searching and late-night talks with the captivating tenant downstairs guide him to an unexpected decision and discovery of his true purpose in life.
I asked Florence a few questions recently, and them and her answers are below.
Tell us a bit about yourself and why you write.
After a long career working in a variety of administrative management jobs (mostly) in large corporations, I retired to write novels. Writing in a business environment—proposals, appraisals, recommendations, white papers, reports, etc.—had always been a favorite part of my job, and now being able to do it full-time with the ability to make stuff up as I go along is a dream come true. I currently live in Chicago on the beautiful shore of Lake Michigan with my 19-year-old cat Miska.
What genres do you write in and why?
I strive to write literary fiction. I say ‘strive’ because true literary fiction (per my definition) contains a thought-provoking plot that includes characters with depth and complexity, while offering a life lesson that challenges readers as to their own values and beliefs. Whether I accomplish this is a matter of opinion.
By the looks of the reviews, you have achieved it. The story certainly gives you plenty of scope to do this. I plan to read the book one day, because I like books with depth, but I’m on a fantasy sci fi spree at the moment.
Where do your ideas come from, or what inspires you to write?
Long before I retired and started writing books, I collected ideas for story lines, characters, and scenes from everyday life experiences. I could be sitting in a business meeting and hear someone say something that sparked an idea, or standing on a street corner waiting for the walk light, or in a movie theater. Whatever the thought, I wrote it down on a scrap of paper and tucked it away for later use. When I was ready to start writing, I had a shoebox full of ideas to sort through, and when I finished, I had three distinct story lines. I currently still do this and am sitting on at least two more story lines for upcoming books.
That’s great. It’s always good to have ideas for future books floating around. I have a couple that are partly completed, that I hope to get around to some day.
What kind of person would like your books best?
Initially, I thought my target audience would be middle-aged females. But I was wrong. Based on Amazon and Goodreads reviews along with direct feedback from fans, I’d estimate 50% of them are middle-aged females, 25% are middle-aged males, and 25% are young adult females.
So your books have wider appeal than you expected. That’s always nice to discover.
What’s the hardest part of being an author for you?
I carry out several marketing and promotion strategies simultaneously—social media presence, paid and unpaid advertising, writing articles, doing speaking engagements, on-line discussion group participation, and more. When I see a spike in sales, I’m not always sure of what was behind it. Was it that guest blog I wrote that received fifty comments the first day, or the $50 paid ad that ran at about the same time? The hardest part for me is not knowing which efforts are worth continuing and which ones I could let go.
I have the same problem exactly. In the end I just keep doing a bit of everything to keep my books in the public eye. But I only do what I enjoy, because it’s a long term strategy and I’m not going waste my life doing things I don’t enjoy , especially when I don’t know just how much they’re contributing to sales.
What do you like most about being an author?
Where do I start? I worked for corporations for my entire career, always following someone else’s rules, timelines, and objectives. While there are still certain governing parameters in this industry, being your own boss as an author means you have significantly more control over what you do. Secondly, I love the creative freedom that comes with writing fiction. I’ve had stories in my head for years, and it feels so good to let them go and then enjoy the rewards from reviews and revenue. There’s nothing like getting paid for something you love to do!
So true. I wouldn’t be wanting it to be my only income though. That would be stressful, because sales would become far too important.
If you could have one wish granted what would it be?
It would be the same wish that I suspect every author covets—that a screenwriter buys the rights to one of my books. Red Clover would be an outstanding choice in case there are any screenwriters reading this.
I’d certainly like that. My book Worlds Within Worlds caught the eye of a screen writer, but she ended up not having the time to move forward on it. The Diamond Peak Series would make an awesome fantasy series, but I guess it would have to be famous first for anyone to think about actually producing it. Your books wouldn’t need all the special effects mine would!
If you had the opportunity to do anything whatsoever in your day-to-day life, what would it be?
Honestly, I’d still write novels. My problem is forcing myself to do other things when I’d rather be at home writing.
Ha ha. That’s the creative drive at work.
Thanks for chatting Florence, it’s great to get an insight into the person behind the books.
Florence also gives advice on writing, promoting and more on her blog at http://florenceosmund.com/
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