Interview with Sarah Elliston
Why do you think readers are going to enjoy your book?
My book, Lessons from a Difficult Person, is written to help people have a positive conversation with a difficult person about what that person does that is so difficult. I narrate the book with my experiences as a difficult person, describing what did and didn’t work for the people who tried to tell me in my life. It reads quickly and it has exercises that the reader can complete to explore his or her own life and difficult person. It includes sample dialogues of how conversations could go and an outline for a potential conversation for the reader.
Where can readers buy the book
Readers can go to my website www.sarahelliston.com and click on buy the book. If they sign up for my email list they will receive 3 exercise from my workshop that can get them started in the process of the book. They will also receive the preface of the book as an e-book.
They can also go to www.amazon.com and buy the paperback or e-book.
Or wherever books are sold.
How long did it take you to write your book?
I had been presenting the content in a workshop for two years and some of the content was familiar material. It took about 9 months of writing and editing, from February 5th – December 1st 2016. I wrote on the book every day but not for hours every day.
Did you learn anything from writing your book that was unexpected?
Yes. When I was examining my childhood, and describing how I had felt unwanted in my family of origin, I was startled to discover that my two sisters had felt that most of the family focus was on trying to make me happy. It changed my perspective of our family dynamic and my memories of my parents. I remember them much more positively today.
What advice do you have for other writers?
I encourage them to write every day even if what they write is only what is on the top of their heads. It is important to keep the juices flowing, so to speak. I find playing certain music assists my creativity. I also write until I can’t think of anything more to say before I start editing. In fact, if I wait until the next day to edit, it goes better. And lastly, I encourage other writers to find an editor they can trust, especially if they are self-publishing. Do not rely on friends who tell you the writing is good. Get a professional to look at it.
What did you edit out of this book?
I edited out a story that demonstrated now difficult I was and the inability of a colleague to tell me. I edited it out because it was showed too closely the organization I was working for and I didn’t want to embarrass any of my colleagues who might read the book. It didn’t show the organization very favourably and I didn’t think it was needed to prove my point.
Who designed the cover of your book?
Actually, I chose the graphic from free clip art but the company that formatted the book completed the design. I had the title at the top and they put it at the bottom; I had the picture bigger with more people in it but they knew what would look better. We started with the graphic of an angry person but decided against that, then I found the shadows of a crowd and I liked the suggestion of many people but nobody in particular.
What are some of your all-time favorite books?
I am a fiction reader from way back. My favorite author started with Helen McGinnis writing about Would War Two and I graduated to Leon Uris, John D. McDonald, Robert Parker, Lee Childs, Thomas Perry, John Lescroart and Daniel Silva. My favorite new author is Robert Galbraith (aka J K Rowling).
What is your favorite book you've read this year so far?
The Drifter, by Nick Petrie
What are your thoughts on self-publishing verses traditional publishing?
I think traditional publishing is harder on the writer because it takes an agent to market the book to a company and then the company decides how to promote the book, if it promotes it at all. Very little control for the author and not much money. Self-publishing is a good deal more work and an incredible investment but when people buy it and say they like the book, this author believes them. I have found professionals abound to help in the branding process and all of them have been worth the time and money. Bookstores take more persuading with self-published books but generating the demand seems to work.
If I could tell my younger-writing-self anything, what would it be?
I wish we had carried on with the book on substitute teachers that we began so many years ago. We stopped because it felt so angry but the writing would have helped and substitutes were being treated badly. They probably still are. The ideas of the book would have also helped schools, teachers, substitutes and the students.