Wednesday 14 November 2012

Ramblings in Ireland - Kerry Dwyer

Today I am lucky enough to be part of a blog tour for Kerry Dwyer. Her blog is interesting and varied with a host of ramblings.
You've made a book of your ramblings. Did the book evolve out of the blog or vice versa?

Neither really the blog didn’t start to promote my writing or even to tell people about my life in France. It started with a conversation I had with a friend about how I avoid ironing.  Then, a couple of weeks later when she was in a panic to go out and still had her housework to do I told her about my philosophy on housework. She said I should write a book about it. I didn’t think it was enough to write a book about but maybe a blog post or two. I wrote the Slut’s Guide to Housework. That was really the beginning of my blog. It has evolved considerably.

The book was inspired by a walking holiday in Ireland. I was so enthralled with the place and the people and the different sort of relationship I had with my husband whilst we were there. We hadn’t been in each other’s company quite so intensely for a long time. As we were walking, ideas for the book kept popping into my head. Something would happen or we would talk about something and a new chapter would formulate in my head. The book almost wrote itself by the time we got back to France. I then updated the blog to tell people about the book, at that time I thought publishers would be lining up to put me in print, little did I know.

I can relate to ideas popping when walking or driving, best when riding, that way I can write them down! You post regularly. What is your go to when you need something new to ramble about?

I’m rarely short of something to talk about. I’m interested in my environment and there is always something happening. If there is only one dry day in a week, I will go out in it then I have something to blog about. I have even been known to go out in the rain just because I wanted to walk and I needed something to blog about. Sometimes I have no idea where my post ideas come from, my mind is quite random. If nothing else I will take pictures of what I am cooking for the day and blog about that.

On the rare week where I have done absolutely nothing and I have no inspiration, I look at other blogs to see if something sparks my imagination. Sometimes I will find a post that I like so much that I re blog it. It is good to give support to other people as well. I have guest posts sometimes as well. That can be interesting, seeing how other people view things and how they write. I have a contact page on my guest post page and some notes on what sort of posts I like.

Do you have another Rambling book planned?

Not another rambling book, no. I did think to write one about my recent holiday in the Trentino Highlands. The walks were fantastic and I posted pictures to my blog each day, but the inspiration just wasn’t there. I was quite disturbed by the shadow of the First World War that still remains in that region. I am writing another book about life here in France. Not my life, but the life of ex-pats and how they mingle (or don’t) with the local people. It is centred on an English book exchange and it was at the book exchange that I got my inspiration for this one. It will be a work of fiction. I have used the stories of several real people to create each fictional character and story line.

It is very different and I am learning about writing fiction as I go so it might take some time. Fiction is considerably harder to write than I thought it would be. Imagining peoples’ back stories and inventing entire personalities is really not that easy. This process has given me tremendous admiration for those authors who manage to capture the readers’ imagination straight off. A novel that you read and thing ‘hey that was so smooth’ and ‘I really liked so and so’. That is hard to do.

Tell me how excited you are (or were when it arrived) to have your book in your hands. Is it hard to describe?

The day Joel posted the picture of the approval copy on facebook I was so excited I couldn’t speak. It is hard to describe, yes. I at once felt this great surge of pleasure that it was finished and at the same time a sort of regret that the procedure was over. That sounds odd, I know. The closest thing to it is looking at your grown child. You feel so happy that they are independent and on their way to adulthood, and a small regret that they no longer rely on you to keep going. Does that make sense?

I had to wait another three weeks to get my hands on a physical copy. By that time my cousins in America had already had theirs and told me all about them. When the box finally arrived here the initial impetuous had already died down somewhat. I was still excited don’t get me wrong and it was wonderful to be able to give real copies to my friends and family.

It makes perfect sense. The baby has grown up. What was your process in building a blog audience. How is it different than your book audience?

I didn’t have a process for building my blog audience. I invited my family and friends to start with and then didn’t do very much to encourage people. I occasionally visit other blogs that interest me or that catch my eye in some way. On Wordpress there is a list of blogs that are highlighted by being ‘freshly pressed’ some of those are really interesting and I would comment or follow them. When you look at the freshly pressed posts, some people comment every one. That must take a lot of time. I look for posts that have something in them that appeals to me. They tend to be about writing, cooking, walking or blogs about living in a foreign country.

Since my book came out, I have tried to put my name out through the social media a lot more. I’ve used my blog in that posts go automatically to other sites, but I haven’t changed the way I connect with other bloggers. I have actively increased my twitter, facebook, goodreads and Linked In connections. I have no idea if I am doing it right or not, time will tell. I’m not so sure that social media works that way. Certainly on twitter there are a lot of people who use automatic programs to tweet so they will not read my tweets. I’m connected to a lot of other authors. Realistically they won’t be buying my book, no one has time to read all the books that are available. All I can hope for is that someone likes it and gives it a good review, a good enough one to make other people want to buy it. It is more difficult to find readers that it is to find writers.

I think no one is quite sure how much each one does, but you definitely have your bases covered. You have a lot of travel posts. Are you ever home? (kidding!)

That’s a little misleading. I generally post something each week, but when I am away I post every day. My company gives me five weeks holiday a year, and I can only take holiday during the school holiday periods. I would love to go away more. There is so much of the world to see. I truly believe the quote from Saint Augustine “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page.” One of the best ways to travel is on foot. You see so many things that you don’t see from a faster form of transport. I love looking at other peoples travel blogs, they make me long to go to other places. I would love to travel more but I don’t currently have the time or the means to do so. I make the most of what I have around me which is a lot of very lovely countryside.

Alas, my travels are quite limited, but I figure, in Canada, I have one big country to do it in. Where is the one place you've never been but want to visit?

The Far East. The cultures there are so different to our own. I particularly want to go to China. I want to see the Great Wall and the Summer Palace and the Terracotta army amongst other things. I have heard though that there are all so commercialised that I might not enjoy the trip. I will have to take that chance. I regret not travelling more when I was a lot younger. For one I had more energy and secondly the world was not so commercialised.

I share that one, but I think, like you, I'd like to walk in the back areas. Better learn my Mandarin and Cantonese. Where is the one place you've lived that you wished you could never leave?

The places I have lived previously I must have wanted to leave at some time otherwise I wouldn’t be here. So far I have no desire to leave here.

Thank you for your honest and interesting answers. It has been a pleasure to host you. If you have any questions for Kerry, please leave a comment! Kerry's book, Ramblings In Ireland can be found through her publisher, Someday Box, or directly on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords. She also suggests you visit Looped Walks.